Author Mary Angela Introduces Passport to Murder

 

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Death never takes a holiday, but it certainly can take away one. Will Professor Prather find out who killed her Parisian plans before the end of spring break?

 

 

 

 

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

 

 

About the Author

Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather academic mystery series, which has been called “enjoyable” and “clever” by Publishers Weekly. She is also an educator and has taught English and humanities at South Dakota’s public and private universities for over ten years. When Mary isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. For more information about Mary or the series, go to MaryAngelaBooks.com.

 

 

Book Blurb

Passport to Murder (Professor Prather Mystery #2)

 

Start with an unlucky number. Throw in a romantic location. Include a dashing Frenchman and an uncompromising professor. And you have all the ingredients for a passport to murder.

This semester, it seems that Professor Prather’s dreams are about to come true. Ever since she was a young girl, she’s imagined going to France, and her French colleague, André Duman, has finally made that trip possible. Over spring break, she and André are to lead a group of students and faculty to Paris to explore the City of Light. But before she can utter her first bonjour, a professor dies, and they are stuck in Minneapolis. She returns to Copper Bluff with an unstamped passport and a mystery to solve.
When André becomes the prime suspect, Emmeline puts her research skills to good use, determined to find out who really killed the professor and spoiled their spring break plans. With thirteen travelers assembled, the possibilities are varied and villainous. Luckily, her dear friend and sidekick, Lenny Jenkins, is close by. Together, they will sort through the conflicting clues even if it costs them time, trouble, or tenure.

 

 

 

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  1. What was your process for creating English professor Emmeline Prather?

I knew I wanted to set my series in a small college town in South Dakota, so I imagined a young professor relocating to the area. The landscape had to be a draw for my protagonist because the pay is definitely not. I like that she’s an outsider looking in. It heightens her awareness of the region.

 

 

 

 

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  1. What do you like about an amateur sleuth versus a professional one? 

I like that an amateur sleuth is not paid to solve crimes. It’s not her job, so she doesn’t have any police experience to help her. The amateur sleuth allows me, as a reader and a writer, to become intimately involved. I like to imagine what I would do in the same circumstances.

 

  1. What are some characteristics of Emmeline that help her solve crimes?

She is an excellent researcher, which helps her dig up information. She also has a degree in French literature, so she’s great at analyzing stories. Combined, these characteristics make her a tough sleuth to beat!

 

 

 

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  1. You affectionately call her “Em.” Describe your relationship to the protagonist. 

Em is so much fun, and I do think of her as Em as I’m writing. I enjoy writing her because she can be incredibly passionate when it comes to education, students, and crimes. Sometimes I get a chuckle out of her antics.

 

  1. What are the dynamics like between Emmeline and her sidekick Lenny Jenkins? 

There is a strong dynamic between Em and Lenny; they balance each other nicely. Em can take herself too seriously, and Lenny—doesn’t. They both challenge each other to see the world from another viewpoint, which is incredibly advantageous for crime fighting.

 

 

 

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  1. Describe some challenges writing Passport to Murder. 

Moving a group of thirteen characters was hard. I had to talk to the airport police in Minnesota and South Dakota. I also had to read about police procedures and what can and can’t be done when police investigate a suspicious death.

 

 

 

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  1. What did you learn while researching this book? 

I learned that the FBI has jurisdiction involving any crime committed in the air. I thought that was pretty interesting! I also learned that a plane can’t land on a full tank of gas.

 

 

 

Seriously, Just Ahead Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Sky, Clouds and Sunburst.

 

 

 

  1. Is it challenging writing a mystery? 

Yes, it is challenging, but that’s exactly what I like about the mystery genre. It works both sides of my brain. I spend lots of time making my characters and settings interesting, but I also spend an ample amount of time creating a clever and believable plot. All loose ends have to be tied up by the end of the novel. It takes great attention to detail.

 

 

 

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  1. Do you outline your novels? 

No, I don’t, but I do create a timeline and plot some events before writing them.

 

  1. Imagine yourself as Professor Emmeline.  Given the criminal circumstances, would you make the same choices as her? Why or why not?

That’s a tough one! I think I would. I might try to reveal the murderer in a less obvious way, but if I thought I could solve the crime, I would have to try, especially if it benefited my campus or friend.

 

 

 

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  1. Have you ever been to France? 

Yes, I have been to France and loved my time there. I would like to go back and spend the summer in a little French village. That’s my hobby: looking at vacation rentals in wine country. Maybe some day!

 

 

 

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  1. What’s next for you?

I’m writing book three in the series, A Very Merry Murder. It’s a holiday mystery, so I’ve been spending most of my days dreaming about baking sugar cookies and eating fudge. Not a good omen for the impending holidays!

 

 

 

Connect with Mary Angela

 

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

 

 

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Maryangelabooks.com

 

 

 

Thanks for ridin the train folks! Come back and see us. Peace out.

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

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Chatting Books and Writing with Author Deborah Raney

 

Deborah Raney

 

 

DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Twenty years, thirty books, and numerous awards later, she’s still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. She and husband, Ken, traded small-town life in Kansas for life in the friendly city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four grown children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Find out more about Deb’s newest release—Home at Last, the fifth and final novel in her award-winning Chicory Inn Novels series—at her website: www.deborahraney.com

 

 

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Looking back, who influenced you the most to read books?

First of all, my mother. Not only did she set a great example by being an avid reader herself, but we loved sharing books and talking about books, and even reading to each other—not just when I was a child, but even after I was grown and living away from home. In a roundabout way, my kids influenced me to read as well, because I always wanted to be aware of what they were reading in school or in their leisure time. And my husband gets a shout-out for never making me feel guilty while I was engrossed in a novel—even if it meant supper was late…or burned! :}

That sounds like a wonderful surrounding to be in! 



Kids Reading Books




Which books or characters had the most impact, and why?

The summer I turned twelve and read the entire Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was the year I knew I wanted to grow up to be a writer, so definitely her characters had a great impact on me. I also read Catherine Marshall’s novels, Christy and Julie around that same time and was deeply impacted by the messages of those books. Messages about being strong, living life in a way to make a difference in others’ lives, and holding tight to faith in God, even when it seemed He was silent.

 It’s amazing how much influence a simple story can have on an individual. 



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If you could write one character into your life from your books who would it be?

Audrey Whitman, from my five Chicory Inn novels, would be an inspiring friend for me. She’s far more energetic and driven than I am, but I think she would inspire me (or already has!) to make the most of the gifts I’ve been given. So many of my characters are patterned after people I actually know (or are amalgamations of several people) that I feel in some ways my characters ARE “written into” my life!

 That’s so awesome 🙂





What’s your creative process for characters?

Being a very visual writer, I always have to have a photo of each character before they really begin to come to life. After that, I just sort of follow them through the story (I’m sure that sounds a little woo-woo to anyone who isn’t a writer) and see where they lead me, and how they grow and change through the story. Often, I get to the middle of a book and realize that the character I wrote in the first few chapters doesn’t resemble the character that has developed toward the end, so I spend some time rewriting him or her to match the “person” they’ve become in my novel. It’s rather a backwards way of doing things, but it works for me.

That’s a very interesting approach. As long as it works for you, that’s all that matters. I’m still trying to figure out what my mine is. 



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Did you read a lot when you were raising kids?

My husband and I are both avid readers and placed a high priority on story time and books when our kids were growing up. For instance, our rule was that toys and games had to be put away at bedtime, but as long as it didn’t interfere with homework or grades, you could read until midnight if you wanted. We read to each of our four kids from the time they were infants, and they’re all readers to varying degrees today.

 Oh, I love this. A book reading family! The emphasis on reading is very fascinating. 

 



Name some pet peeves, or things that bother you as a reader.

• It drives me nuts when the character on the cover of a novel doesn’t match the description inside.

• I don’t like it when two characters can’t stand each other through most of the book, and then fall into each other’s arms madly in love in the final chapter. Um…no.

• I prefer—as a reader and a writer—fewer speaker attributions (he said/she said). I’d rather SEE what the characters are doing and hear the tone in their words or actions than be told they said a line “quietly” or “angrily.”

 I love seeing the answer to this question. All are valid points worthy of remembrance. 

 


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How do you determine what motivates a character?

As my story begins to unfold, I always have to ask myself what each character has to lose and to gain if the plot goes one way or another. Sometimes those questions aren’t answered until much later in the book, and again, I have to go back and rewrite to bolster my discovery about motivation. I always try to have a positive motivation (because it’s the right thing to do or because she/he loves someone and wants the best for them) along with negative motivation (because selfishly, doing the right thing will cost her/him or because pride keeps her/him from doing the right thing.)

 Great! This will help me determine more of my own character motivations, thank you.



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Describe your intuitive approach to writing as opposed to outlining.

I’ve touched on this, but being an intuitive writer means that while others are still outlining and figuring out their plot, I’m barreling ahead with a story I don’t even know fully yet. So often that means I write myself into a corner and have to delete 2 chapters and start over. It’s frustrating, and yet it works for me. Those chapters I throw away likely didn’t take me any longer to write than the outline process took a plotting writer. It’s just the way my mind works best.

 I find that so interesting, probably because I’m more of an intuitive writer than a plotter. Perhaps somewhere in between.

 



Have you ever wept while reading?

Oh, my goodness! If a book doesn’t make me cry (or laugh or cheer or get angry) I’m not sure it’s worth reading! When I’m reading, I want to feel all the feels. And if I don’t feel them when I’m writing a book, I know my readers won’t feel them either. It’s usually in the rewrite process that I begin to be objective enough to read/edit my work and see things more clearly, more like my readers will. When I cry over my characters then, I know my readers probably will too. And that makes me happy! 🙂

 That’s wonderful. That’s what it’s all about it, right? Having that emotional response is key. 

 


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Name some of the best books you’ve read recently.

• The Memory of You by Catherine West

• Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

• To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

• The Village that Slept by Monique Peyrouton de Ladebat (translated from French)

 Thanks!




What’s next for you?

I’m writing a novel set in Winterset, Iowa, home of the covered bridges of Madison County. This will be the first all-new novel published by the small press my husband created to re-release about twenty of my backlist titles, formerly published by Howard/Simon & Schuster, WaterBrook Press/Random House, Steeple Hill/Harlequin, and Bethany House/Baker. That novel will release next spring about the same time my first book in a new three-book series for Gilead Publishers is due on my editor’s desk. That series, The Chandler Sisters Novels, opens with Reason to Breathe. After writing five books in my Chicory Inn Novels series, I’m excited to be playing with all new characters and settings.

 Wonderful. That sounds like great idea. Especially since you get to team up with your spouse.



A Nest of Sparrows

Because of the Rain

Insight


The Face of the Earth

Almost Forever


DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Twenty years, thirty books, and numerous awards later, she’s still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. She and husband, Ken, traded small-town life in Kansas for life in the friendly city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four grown children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Find out more about Deb’s newest release—Home at Last, the fifth and final novel in her award-winning Chicory Inn Novels series—at her website: www.deborahraney.com

 




CONNECT WITH DEBORAH RANEY

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Enjoy Mystery and Thrillers? Come join us for Mystery Thriller Week Feb. 12-22nd 2018. Check out more info:  About MTW

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Interview with the Multi-talented Jo Linsdell

 

 

 

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Please welcome the Award winning, multi-talented International Best selling author, Illustrator, CEO, Organizer, Cover designer, Booktuber, Social media junky, Marketing Expert and MOM!

Ladies & Gents I present to you….

 

JO LINSDELL

 

 

Books

 

 

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Book Covers

 

 

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CEO

Of Writers and Authors  which is in the Top 50  Writing Blogs of 2016.  A one stop place for people in the writing industry to learn, promote and network.

 

 

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Organizer

And the brains behind Promo Day a FREE annual online event for people in the publishing industry. Mark you calendar! The next event is Saturday May 6th 2017. #PromoDay2017. Please see Promoday.net for more info.

 

 

 

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*What part of England are you from?

This is actually a tough question for me. I was born in Gillingham but never actually lived there. I moved around a lot as a kid so the most truthful answer here would have to be ‘the South’. When I think of my ‘home’ in the UK, I tend to think of Kent, and Berkshire.

I would love to take a grand tour the UK one day. 



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*What’s it like living in Rome, Italy? 

I love it here. I came for 3 days back in 2001 and ended up staying (it was actually a lot easier to do than a lot of people think). Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’m now married to an Italian and together we have two sons. 

 

I love how much history and art is just scattered around here. Not just the big tourist stuff you find in the centre either. In fact, in the centre, there is so much there that you can walk by ancient monuments and not really notice them.

 

This is a photo I took when I took my kids for a walk in a local park.

I bet it’s very scenic!

 




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That’s part of an ancient roman aqueduct just sat there in the field. There were also parts of the old cobble roads in places. Made for a great history lesson for my boys, and was really beautiful.

Nice.

 




*Have you been to the Vatican?

One of my first jobs here was at a hostel very close to the Vatican so I know the area well. I’ve been to St. Peters several times. It’s just as impressive on the third or fourth visit as it was on the first. There is so much to see in there. I notice things I didn’t previously every time I go. 

I’d better put this one on the bucket list! 




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*You wear many different hats, which one do you enjoy most?

I love all of my jobs. My favourite varies depending on my mood. I’ve got a creative soul and so I’m always working on something; whether it’s writing a book, illustrating, or doing graphic design.

 

You are truly a multi-talented person.

 




*Can you tell us about some of the books you have written?

I started out with non fiction books about Italy; Italian for Tourists, which is an Italian-English phrasebook, and A Guide To Weddings In Italy.

 

I’ve also published children’s picture story books; Out and About at the Zoo, Fairy May, and The Box.

 

Then there are my other non fiction books; my award winning Virtual Book Tours: Effective Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home, and How to be Twittertastic.


I’m currently working on more non fiction and some more children’s books, plus some novels (romance, and thrillers). 

When you have a book release let me know, I’d love to help!

 

 


*How did you get into illustrating book covers? 

I started designing book covers just for fun in the beginning. I love playing around with photoshop and illustrator. A few friends said they really liked my designs and suggested that I add cover design to my list of services.

 

As I’m used to making my own covers for both digital and print I know exactly what an author needs. The right book cover can make all the difference when it comes to sales.

That’s so true! 

 


*Tell us about the benefits of your website writersandauthors.info

I started Writers and Authors back in 2006. I was just starting out in my writing career and thought it would be a good way to share my experiences, and learn from other authors at the same time.

 

The website has evolved a lot over the years and picked up numerous awards along the way. It’s turned into a real community for people in the writing/publishing industry, and often gets mentioned on other websites in their ‘Top sites lists”.

 

I offer writers the opportunity to be featured on the website and promote their books. Interviews, guest posts, book showcases, and excerpts. I’m an avid reviewer and so feature those on site too. There are also advertising options available.

 

Authors can have their books listed in the online bookstore too. It gives them more free publicity for their books (something us authors love ;)), and as I’m an Amazon affiliate, gain a little pocket money for me.

 

I work directly with authors, but also with PR companies, agents, and publishers. I love how the website allows me to connect with people from all parts of the publishing industry. 

Put this one on your blogroll folks! Lots of great material and resources.

 



*How did Promo day get started?

There were lots of online writers conferences but none that dealt with the marketing side of things so I created one.

 

Promo Day started out as a small event in a chatroom that I used to host on my author website. It turned out to be a huge success and so grew into an annual event with it’s own branding at http://www.promoday.net/

 

Can’t wait to tell people about this. Sounds great!

 



Awesome Gold Vintage Label




*What are the benefits of participating in Promo day? 

 

Promo Day is a whole day dedicated to promoting, networking, and learning. It’s completely free to attend and everyone is welcome.  All you need to do is register on the website.

 

There are; webinars with industry experts, forums where you can connect with other attendees and discover promotional opportunities, and pitch sessions with publishers. Publishers take pitches during the event and get back to you the same day to let you know if they are interested or not. No waiting for weeks, or even months for a reply.

 

There are a lot of social activities throughout the day too. Activities are announced in the event forums, so you can put what you learn in the webinars into action straight away. You can join in a LIVE Twitterchat, or Facebook chat. You can even get interviewed about your book, or join in a LIVE video discussion streamed to YouTube. Promo Day teaches you how to build your author brand and market your books, helps you make connection in the publishing industry, and gives you opportunities to put your new skills in action so you can start seeing instant results.

 

Wow. Sounds really fun. 

 



*How do you personally benefit from Promo day?

 

Organising an event like Promo Day is a huge amount of work but I love it. It’s enabled me to make lots of new connections within the industry, and helped establish my own author brand.

 

There are sponsorship opportunities available that help cover the costs of putting the event together. Every year I come away with invitations to be hosted on websites, and always note an increase in sales of my own books following the event. The event has also lead to numerous collaborations and other business projects.



Lovely. This is very beneficial is many ways. I’m so glad you started it!





Jo Linsdell

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Thanks for joining us Jo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extras

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

The Crown of Stones Trilogy by Fantasy Author C.L. Schneider

 

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PLEASE WELCOME ONE AWESOME FANTASY AUTHOR

C.L. SCHNEIDER

 

 

 

 

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C.L. Schneider is an author mom who just penned her first published work, The Crown of Stones. The first in a trilogy, Magic-Price is a gripping account of one man’s struggle to accept who and what he is. It’s the journey of a flawed hero, a fallen race, and a land at war. A page-turning tale of prejudice, betrayal, secrets and lies.

 

 

 

*It sounds absolutely and deliciously scrumptious!*

 

 

 

 

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GULP…

 

 

 

 

 

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THE CROWN OF STONES

 

 

 

 

 

*How long did you live in Kansas?

I was born and raised in Atchison, Kansas, a small town on the Missouri river. Atchison is the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. It is also considered the most haunted small town in Kansas. I came to New York after I finished school and have lived in the same general area (the Hudson Valley region) ever since.

Haunted small towns, eh? Just in time for Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

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*What sorts of books did you read growing up?

I come from a family of readers, all with different interests, so the bookshelves in my house were bursting with books from all genres. I was an early reader. In elementary school I devoured my older sibling’s collections of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but by the time I was in middle school I was reading a lot of the classics. Some of my favorites were: Gone with the Wind, Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Frankenstein, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Northwest Passage, The Time Machine. I loved mysteries and gothic novels. From there, I moved onto historical fiction and horror. I didn’t start reading fantasy until after high school when my brother bought me a copy of The Mists of Avalon. I fell in love and read it twice within a couple of months. I had already finished my first novel at that point, but that book changed everything for me. It narrowed my writing focus. Once I read Mists of Avalon, I knew fantasy was my genre.

That’s an interesting mix of books there! It intrigues me how certain books can have a particular affect on us. In your case it was The Mists of Avalon. 

 

 

 

 

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.-Dr. Seuss

 

 

 

 

*Who were your favorite characters growing up, and how did you relate to them?

I adored Scarlett O’Hara. She was such an amazing character. On the surface she was this incredibly strong woman who let nothing stand in her way. She knew how to work the system to get what she wanted. Yet underneath, she was vulnerable. Scarlett O’Hara was the first truly flawed character that I ever encountered and she definitely set the bar high. I was also drawn to Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. To me, at the time, he was the epitome of a tortured character. I loved his passion and recklessness.

YESSSS. Flawed characters are the name of the game. It’s amazing how we’re touched by them isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

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*What’s your educational background?

I’ve had no formal writing education. Writing is just something I’ve done for as long as I can remember.

Me neither!! Hah! But you’re trilogy looks AMAZING. The reviews I’ve seen are also very astounding. Impressive for someone who has no formal background in writing. You’re an encouragement for the rest of us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Who are you favorite characters today and how do you relate to them?

One of my favorite characters that I’ve discovered recently is Mason Stone from the Saint Monolith series by fellow indie author Tom Reinhart. Mason Stone is such a compelling character. He’s an unsung hero, a loose cannon vigilante, a tortured man, and a very lost soul. I can’t say that I relate to him, really, but I admire how he doesn’t hold back. He does the things that everyone else wishes they could.

Hmm…I haven’t heard of him, but I’ll check him out! 

 

 

 

*Tell us about Ian Troy and how you crafted him.

There is a quote by Kahlil Gibran that I believe describes Ian Troy perfectly: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” That is Ian Troy. 

Ian is an anti-hero, flawed as they come. He’s solder, a magic user, a drinker, a smart-ass, and an outcast who’s maddeningly stubborn and guilt ridden. Ian’s story is a dark one, and he goes to some very dark places. He doesn’t always do the right thing. In fact, he does some very bad things. But you can always count on him to be selfless in the face of danger and put other’s lives ahead of his own. How did he get to be this way? Over the course of the trilogy, you learn about the roller coaster of his life and how he was manipulated and coerced even before he was born.

I love flawed characters. The more flawed they are, the more opportunities they have to incite emotions in a reader. Flawed characters, to me, are far more interesting that the gallant white knights and the perfect super heroes. Those are fine, to a point. But I’m far more intrigued by what’s underneath the shining armor and the mask. What trials and tribulations did they have to endure? What past mistakes or secret desires are they hiding?

When I created Ian Troy, I set out to construct a character that I, as a reader, would want to get lost in. It was important to me that Ian carried traits from some of the characters that sparked my imagination growing up. I wanted him to be a cowboy and an outlaw, a good guy and a rogue; a detective when he needed to be, a monster when he could help it, and a hero even when he tried not to be. I knew his story would revolve around magic. That he would be flawed and suffering, bold yet strong, valiant yet broken. To me, the best way to create and explore a tortured character was to make his greatest strength (magic) also his greatest weakness.

I love, love, love your description of your characters and your entire premise. 

 

 

 

 

 

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”- Kahlil Gibran

 

 

 

*What do you love most about him?

I love Ian’s strength, his ability to keep going, to keep striving for what he knows is right even against terrible odds. It probably sounds strange, but when I’m faced with a difficult task and I feel like giving up, I think: Ian wouldn’t give up, and it pushes me to keep going.

Now that’s awesome. You’re inspired by your own character! That’s heroism at its best.

 

 

 

 

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*If you were to meet him in person how would you feel?

Oh, I’m not sure! No one has ever asked me that before. I might feel a little star struck, actually. Though, I would love to find out. It would be amazing to have the opportunity to sit down with Ian and the gang at one of the taverns in my book and share a bottle. That would be a fun night!

I can almost picture this playing out in my head, lol!  That would be EPIC.

 

 

 

*What did you enjoy most in writing the Crown of Stones Trilogy?

Worldbuilding was definitely one of my favorite parts of writing The Crown of Stones. I loved forming all those realms and crafting their history. Taking the flaws and accomplishments (and the secrets) of each society and interweaving them together over the three books was so much fun. Mirra’kelan is a world I’m proud of. I think it has a lot of potential for future stories.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the characters. One of the hardest parts of moving onto a new project was letting them go.

Yeah, that sounds like it would be pretty hard. Having to let them go and move on would be tough.

 

 

 

 

 

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*What exactly is Epic Fantasy?

Epic fantasy is generally described as a novel set in an entirely imaginary world, completely unlike our own, with environments and societies that are fully explored and realized. As a rule, the story is lengthy and often evolves over multiple books. It frequently includes a large cast of characters, complex magic systems, sweeping battles, and/or a journey across multiple realms. The plot is complex and game-changing, leaving the story-world altered on a grand scale and the characters evolved.

I like it. Just realized my story sounds a lot like epic fantasy. 

 

 

*What is Urban Fantasy?

With urban fantasy, the magical/supernatural elements are still there, but story generally takes place in more of a contemporary, urban setting than epic fantasy.

I wonder what is it if your story has both elements of Urban and Epic fantasy? Interesting. 

 

 

 

 

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*Can you give us a teaser about your next book?

My next book, Nite Fire, is the first in an urban fantasy series. It’s the story of Dahlia Nite, a half-dragon shapeshifter from a parallel world very different from our own. Many years ago, Dahlia’s emerging empathic abilities interfered with her job as an assassin. She failed the dragon queen, Naalish, and was condemned to die. Being half human (and able to shift into human form), Dahlia fled her home for the only other world where she had a hope of blending in: ours.

Nite Fire is set in the fictitious Sentinel City. Already a hot-spot for the unexplained, when a series of brutal killings disguised as spontaneous combustion strike the city, Dahlia knows the killer is one of her own kind. She worms her way into the investigation, teaming up with a human detective to solve the case, while struggling to maintain the lies that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries; believing myths and legends were just that.

As Dahlia searches for the truth behind the murders, the bit of peace she’s found in this world starts to unravel. Nite Fire is the first book in a series. An early excerpt is posted on my website on the Playground page Nite Fire Play if you’d like to have a look! Leave a comment, too. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

 

You really now how to craft a story with intriguing characters! Please drop me a line when you finish. I’d be open to review it. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Connect with C.L. Schneider!

Twitter | Facebook | Google | Goodreads | Amazon | Website

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for ridin’ the train folks!!

 

 

 

 

 

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When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature. -Ernest Miller Hemingway

 

 

 

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To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man. -Aristotle

 

 

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“When I want to read a novel, I write one.” -Benjamin Disraeli

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be a stranger…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Story of the Writer: Janice M. Whiteaker

STORY OF THE WRITER
INTERVIEW SERIES

With

Janice M. Whiteaker

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen today we have a very special guest and fellow daytonian Janice M. Whiteaker. She’s is a mom and an author. I absolutely LOVE author moms. Being a parent is tough as it is, but then being a mom AND an author, adds a whole new dimension.

Everybody please welcome Janice! 

Welcome to the locomotion. Let’s begin!

 

 

 

 

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Janice Whiteaker

 

Janice writes romances with a bit of suspense. One of her books, RUN is available now, and her new book OUT BAD is due on Amazon July 15th 2016. Here’s a peak at the covers.

 

 

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Her new book Out Bad, is available to pre-order and will be delivered wirelessly via Amazon July 15th. Check it out, I just pre-ordered!

 

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Hi Janice!

It’s so nice to interview someone from my neck of the woods.

It’s great that you are a full-time mom and pursuing your dreams. I find that very inspiring.  Well, here it goes.

Are you originally from Dayton, Oh?

I am!  I was born at Kettering Medical Center and raised in Miamisburg.  Now, I live in Springboro which is where both my grandfather’s grew up.  One grandfather’s great-uncles actually helped found the city.

That’s awesome, I love Springboro. It’s a bustling area right now too. We frequent the urgent care center there. Lol!

 

Tell us a little about when you were a hairstylist.

I did hair for 15 years, most of them as a sole-proprietor.  I very much like to be in control of things (the same reason I self-publish) and it was a great fit for me.  I made my own hours and handled my own books.  The profession requires you to be a self-starter and I have found that to be very helpful experience when it comes to writing.

I admire anyone who can tackle self-publishing head on with its challenges. You also strike me as a go-getter. That’ll definitely work to your advantage.

 

YOU’RE A MOM! AWESOME! I love moms because they’re the hardest workers on the planet. Period. So what’s a typical day like at home?

Essentially, I make food, clean up food, make food, clean up food.  All.  Day.  Long.  Oh, and I try to keep the workplace injuries to a minimum.

I can relate to this all too well. Little eating machines aren’t they? It’s hard to believe human beings can be that messy. I’ve managed to keep that quality in adult life. *sigh* The workplace injuries MUST be kept to a minimum. Safety and fall prevention is part of my day job, I completely understand! Essentially we try to keep them fed, clean, and from killing each other. Fun!

 

 

Overworked and Multitasking
An overworked very busy multitasking author-mom under stress

 

 

Do you have any major hobbies you enjoy?

I actually have quite a few hobbies.  We own an RV, so we do quite a bit of traveling/camping.  I knit and crochet.  I also love gardening, the edible kind, and canning.  I’m pretty handy with power tools and love home renovation.  These hobbies rotate in importance since there’s only so many hours in a day.  Right now, we are in prime camping season so that is the major one.

Traveling is definitely a fun one. Not too outdoorsy, but I’ll go camping. It’s great you can work power tools. I’m jealous, sort of. Kind of mechanically declined. It’s hopeless.

 

What’s your genre? Why?

I write romance.  I love it.  Always have.  I love reading and writing about the complexities of love and relationships.  Plus, I’m a little bit sensitive so a book with a sad or upsetting ending will gnaw at me for a long time.  I like knowing the end of a book is going to be a happy one.  With romance, your odds of leaving the story with a smile on your face are pretty darn high.

It’s great you write what you love, love what you write. Makes a big difference. Youre readers are keen on this. I’m curious as to what you think a bad ending is though. 

 

Tell us about your upcoming book, Out Bad.

Right now I’m neck deep in editing a stand alone titled Out Bad.  It’s about a former motorcycle gang member trying to build a new life, one he hopes will attract a future wife.  He feels his past will make most women avoid him like the plague so he works hard to build a business and a beautiful home, hoping it will be enough to offset his misdeeds.  When he meets the woman he’s been looking for, it turns out the life he actually needs to help rebuild is hers, only in a very different way.

Your premise sounds very intriguing with lots of history. Can’t wait to read it!

 

1. You’re a writer; so what’s your story?What inspired you to take this journey?

Initially, it was simply to see if I could.  It’s probably odd, but I didn’t always write.  I didn’t always want to be a writer.  I have, however, always been a reader.  At a certain point, I was reading books by women just like me and I thought, I wonder if I could do this too?  So, I sat down and started writing.  Very quickly, I realized there was more to it than just writing.  That’s when I found K.M. Weiland’s books on structure and outlining.  I took some time, educated myself and then went back to work.  Right now I have one published book, one book in editing and another completed draft hanging out and I am deeply in love with what I’m doing.

 

Hey, you can’t go wrong with KM Weiland. Your story sounds very much like mine! The only difference was I didn’t read alot growing up (this didnt stop my rampant imagination) I did however fancy words a bit, kept a dictionary in my back pocket. Lots of TV and comics too.

 

2. What’s your GOAL (S) in becoming a writer?

I want each book I write to be better than the last.  I want my books to make people feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.  I want to write stories that stick with the reader long after they’ve finished, in a good way.  I want to keep people up at night, reading one more chapter.

Hmm. I like your focus here. You sound very passionate about what your doing. I love it! The profilic James Patterson said, one thing you can’t teach is passion. Every writer needs it, and you’ve got it. A+. 

 

3. What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Well, my first issue was lack of knowledge.  I had to learn the basics before I made a big mess so that really slowed down my first book.  Now, my primary struggle is perfection.  I am constantly forcing myself to keep moving forward and not get hung up on one line.

Somehow I think we’re kin.

 

4. What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

I really like to push myself to progress.  I want to be the best I can be at everything I do, and writing is a great challenge in that aspect.  There is always something to learn, a skill to develop.

Very inspiring!  Writing will always teach you something new. Nature of the beast. Something of ourselves, characters, our writing process, the world, life etc. It’s the constant learning  that I love. You’ll find perfection in the process,  it comes included in the journey. 

 

5. What’s your main ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way of you accomplishing your goals?

This is going to totally ruin my chances at winning mother of the year, but as cute as my kids are, they are kind of energy and attention vampires.  Right now, my older son is dancing in his underwear, stabbing the television with a silk flower stem, repeating the dialogue to Pinky and the Brain at the top of his lungs.

You’re already Mom of the Year. Seriously, to your kids, your the BEST ever. That’s all they need. Nice visual.  All too familiar with underwear dancing, especially in front of the mirror before bedtime. Right when my patience is evaporated. They should make it into a sport.

We’ve got two mini-vampires aged 5 and 7. Not sure where their energy comes from, except sucked out of us. Hah! Actually we’ve got one Frankenstein, one Vampire. Adorable little cuties aren’t they?

 

~Every mom is a superhero to their children~

 

 

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Author Momma

 

 

6. Why do writers give up, quit or abandon their dream?

Being a successful writer means different things to different people.  I would guess, most people want their books to be well received and make them some money.  Unfortunately, getting to that point is preceded by years of hard work with very little financial gain while you build a back list, a fan base, and an online presence.  It isn’t just about writing books anymore.  Now you have to build a brand while you write books.  Success involves strategy and business savvy, not only talent and creativity which can be more than a little overwhelming.

I love this answer, it’s so true!

 

7. What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up? Or perhaps to encourage other moms in your position?

I think it’s important to realize writing and publishing is a marathon.  You have to train for it and then keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Nice. Words if wisdom here. Definitely a marathon. Takes training, commitment, determination, pleasure and endurance. Well said.

 

 

 

BONUS: What are your favorite quotes?

“You can’t edit a blank page.” Nora Roberts

“If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.”  Margaret Atwood

You can also list a few of your favorite books, novels, or writing books.

 

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing-Mignon Fogarty

Smarter Faster Better-Charles Duhigg

All the Writer’s Thesauruses by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

 

 

THANKS FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION

Keep writing sister! 

God bless you and your family!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain
http://www.thewritingtrain.com
Thebigcaboose@gmail.com