Interview with Casey Bell, Author of ESSAYS FROM DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES: LITERARY BETRAYAL

What is your book about?

This book is sorta of two books in one. The first book “Essays From Dysfunctional Families” is written by a fictional author: Dean K. Brent. The book, (Essays) is a fictional book with ten essays from ten different people sharing their dysfunctional family. The fictional write used real life stories from his family and friends. The second half of the book, (Literary Betrayal) tells the story of how the author Dean K Brent became a best-selling author due to his book, however his family and friends are not so happy for him, knowing that he exposed their dirty laundry for the world to see.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

That is a difficult question to answer. I originally wanted to write a fictional, exaggerated book about the secrets of my family and friends, but felt it might be considered a betrayal so I never did. That idea was in my mind since about 2011-2012, but I never had the guts to publish it. I was too afraid people might read it and be angry with me. So that’s when I came up with the idea to write about an author who does the very thing I wanted to do. I finally wrote the book and it was published in 2014.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I HATE that we as humans think it is better to hide our pain and hurt then deal with them. I know due to shame, guilt, and condemnation, people have a tendency to keep secrets, but I know secrets destroy and kill. I decided if I wrote a book with enough dysfunction to make an addict feel like a saint, then maybe people would feel more comfortable in exposing their own dirty laundry.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I probably shouldn’t answer that question, but one of the stories in the first section is loosely based on my own dysfunction. And as said before the main character of this book did exactly what I wanted to do.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it?

I did a little bit of research for the first part of the book (Essays). I wanted the essayists to be from all over America, but I wanted to choose unknown and small towns. So, I had to do internet search on small towns in big states, most Americans don’t even know exists.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

The main thing I want the reader to take away from these books is it is okay to discuss your secrets. There is no shame in sharing. Weak people keep secrets, the courageous expose. Not so much the person, but the deed. If you never deal with a problem, you can never put an end to the problem.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Funny you should ask that. I am a diverse and multi-genre writer. When you read my books each one has its own unique fingerprint. I was raised in a multi-ethnic family, multi-ethnic church, and went to a high school filled with students from all nations. I grew up with an eclectic interest of music, and went to a diverse college. So, when I began writing it was natural for me to be diverse, colorful, and eclectic. I chose to write any many genres due to my colorful upbringing it has taught me to never segregate my gift.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a children’s book series entitled, “American History.” Each book shines light on American inventors, entrepreneurs, and innovators that the school system chooses to ignore. Two of the seven books have been published. The third one will be published in May 2020, and the rest will be published between 2020 and 2022.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I was always a writer, but never thought to do it as work. As a child I wrote poetry, songs, short stories, as well as writing in a diary. Writing was my therapy. It never dawned on me to do it as a trade. I originally wanted to be a gospel singer.

What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

The most surprising and fulfilling part of being a writer is the reactions and responses of the readers. I always enjoy hearing what readers tell me about what my book(s) have done for them.

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Find out more about Casey Bell here: https://www.authorcaseybell.com/

You can download the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Essays-Dysfunctional-Families-Literary-Betrayal-ebook/dp/B00R6NSWJA/

Cynthia Vespia, author of “Demon Hunter: Saga”

What is your book about?

In a dark and ageless time where the world knew evil in many forms: werewolf, vampire, demon and dragons, Costa Calabrese has just uncovered the truth about his past. Some truths should never be revealed. When you learn you’re the son of the world’s foremost and feared hunter of demons life’s rules inevitably change. Now it is up to him to take up the role his bloodline demands and stop the evil from spreading over the land…whether he wants to or not.

Exploring the classic theme of good versus evil, Demon Hunter blends the highly popular elements of dark fantasy with the proven concept of high-adventure novels where believable, down-to-earth characters take the reader on a journey. It is the story about a nobody who becomes a somebody in the bloodiest of ways.

This is without a doubt the darkest idea I’ve delved into in all my years of writing. But at its core Demon Hunter is a story about human frailties. Costa, our hero, is plagued not only by physical demons, but mental ones as well. We’ve all had those little voices in our head trying to sway us from our path. It is those demons not faced that are the true danger.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

I pull from real life characters. People are different in many ways, tiny character traits can set them apart just as easily as monumental things. Its the little differences that make us unique as people so it becomes necessary to add those in to the characters you create.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

The story decides for you. You let it run its course. The best endings are those that surprise you as the writer.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I’ve never been after trying to send out some sort of message with my writing. I don’t want to change the world, I simply want to entertain. If some type of message is imparted between the lines of a particular story then that is great too. But more than anything I just want readers to be moved by the characters, engrossed in the story, and taken on a wild adventure…a little escape from reality…because that is why I like to read. That is what got me started writing in the first place.

What has changed for you personally since you wrote your first book?

I’ve grown as a writer, first and foremost. The longer you continue with your chosen craft you either get better or get out of the game. I feel as though I’ve gotten better, that I’ve found my voice.

Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?

Red wine. I like a fine Merlot, Cab, or even a sweet red. It is soothing and relaxing.

What are you working on right now?

I have switched back to more contemporary work. I have two thrillers I’m working on at the moment. One is based in my hometown of Las Vegas. I’ve been waiting to showcase Vegas in a proper light rather than all the stereotypes you may have seen.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

I have one of my old trapper keepers from school that is bursting at the seams. I keep getting ideas that get piled on top of more ideas. Not a bad problem to have by any means but I wish I had more time in the day to get to all of them!

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

Relatable characters, a believable plot (even if its sci-fi or fantasy things should sync up), and description that is niether too short or too cramped and weighs down the story. I like a page turner. My time is limited so if the story doesn’t engross me within the first few chapters I’m going to put it away and move on to one of the other ones on my pile. Also, I’d like to note that alot of books these days are involving too many characters. More than five or so main characters and I’m going to get lost…and that’s even pushing it.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

To be honest I forgot where I heard this but the advice was “write for the wastebasket.” It has never left me. What it means is that the first draft is exactly that…the first draft. There will be many other drafts along the way so don’t get too attached to that first one. Just to take the pressure off imagine that you are writing everything just to toss it out so it doesn’t have to be perfect.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Learn the ins and outs of your craft. That includes the business of it. You will be your own best marketing force even if you get picked up by Random House, etc. Learn the rules and then throw them out and make your own!

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Wow, that’s huge. I don’t know about words but I’d like to know that I made the world a better place for somebody just by being there for them. My words have always been “Live Your Dreams” Because life is short and dreams shouldn’t be dashed.

Have you written any other books?

I’ve written a lot, since I was eight in fact. The Crescent Set in the days when answers were taken at the tip of a a sword, two women will face adversity and find their calling battling as gladiators in a sport of death; Theater of Pain In the world of professional wrestling everything is over-the-top. Some competitors would do anything to make it to the top…even if it means murder; and Life Death and Back a paranormal thriller where in the wake of his death a man must come to learn what it truly means to live by helping a troubled young girl find her true path before its too late.

Where can people learn more about your books?

You can find me at http://www.CynthiaVespia.com; http://www.OriginalCynAdvertising.com; facebook.com/cynthia.vespia; and twitter.com/cynfulcharm

Describe your writing in three words.

Character driven suspense

Click here for an: Excerpt From “Demon Hunter: Saga” by Cynthia Vespia

Click here for an interview with: Costa Calabrese from “Demon Hunter: Saga” by Cynthia Vespia

Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer, Author of “Talon, Come Fly With Me”

What is your book about?

My book is about Matica, the main character in the Talon series. She has a rare disorder of her body. She is trapped in a two year old body even though she’s ten years old, in the first book of the Talon series, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. It’s her story about her adventure, her courage, her inspiration, her love.

Matica’s missionary school teachers moved from Australia to Peru, South America, into a small community. Here the local Indians don’t understand what is wrong with her, so decided that she wasn’t allowed to play with their children, thinking that she is demon possessed or something similar. Lonely and with the blessings of her parents, understanding her misery, she roamed around the plateau of Pucara. Often she was thinking of running away so she didn’t need to face the rejection and the bad talk of the local Indians. But one day she saw the condors flying high up in the air and there and then, she made up her mind, to make friends with them, thinking that they could help her to become somebody, to get self-confidence and so would be accepted by the local Indians. Because she actually wasn’t a negative thinking person, she was a positive thinking person and hated her life as it was. So she had to change it and she did. Her parents always lifted her up as well and told her that there is something special out there, just for her. And she believed them and after two years she found it.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

After I survived a deadly disease, I started to write short stories for competitions. I didn’t get the first prize but very good comments. That inspired me to go on. And so, one of those short stories I wrote about Matica and Talon. And there it came to me, that I could actually write a book about her, and then why not a series? And so the Talon series started.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Matica is me, in all aspects. Not that I have her affliction, but other things and I was rejected many times as well. So yes, Matica is me.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Her name is Matica and her story is for children as well as for people of all ages to teach self-confidence, to learn and to cope and to deal with all sorts of afflictions, conditions and disorders, even being rejected by other people, to learn to face and to deal with being different as she is different. But in spite of being different, she is a loving person in her nature. She loves to help, to be there when needed. But she couldn’t do it in the village, because of the rejection she has to face.

How long did it take you to write your book?

I started to write when I recovered from the deadly disease and that was now nearly 20 years ego. I have rewritten the first story TALON, COME FLY WITH ME many times. I have sent it to conventional publishers again and again. But I always got the rejection letter back. Then I thought I might need an editor, since English is my second language. And so I found Annette Hansen, thinking that’s what was wrong. After she brilliantly edited my manuscript I have sent it to more conventional publishers, my editor even sent the manuscript to several publishers. But still we would get that rejection letter back.

Then I decided to self-publish it. And so the first book was published by BookPal end of 2009. And now I am in the process of letting the second book TALON, ON THE WING and the third book TALON, FLIGHT FOR LIFE publish with the same self-publisher. I hope with these three books out, that the world will see what they have with them.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I spent three full days in a library to get full information about Peru and their people, the land and about the condors and everything else I needed before I started to write the first book. In that time, there was nothing really available on the Internet yet, as it is now.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

I write the story as it comes to my mind. I am not much of a thinker. I just write it down as it comes to my mind. But then comes the polishing, and that is the main thing for me and I love that part of the writing. And that means rewrite it, and rewrite it and rewrite it until I am happy and satisfied with it and can’t find any other words for it. That can be after 15 to 20 or even more rewrites. But I have to be completely satisfied with it.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

That people see and learn that they are not alone if they have a disability or an affliction or anything they might think is wrong with them. My book is to guide them to get self-confidence, to learn and to cope and to deal with all sorts of afflictions, conditions and disorders, even being rejected by other people, to learn to face and to deal with being different, as Matica is, but again it can be read as an adventure story.

Matica learned, after she made friends with the condors, that she can be the person she was meant to be. Her parents never said anything negative to her, they always lifted her up. Matica even often wanted to run away or would do other bad things. But thinking of her positive parents, she never did. And now she is happy to have that great adventure with her condors.

Mira, Matica’s mother is saying: ‘Look for your condor as my daughter has done.’ She doesn’t mean a real condor like her daughter has found, but something that works for you, relates to you. Be like it, relate to it, love who you are, or do what it takes to be who you want to be.’

Quote from my book:

If you don’t know how to go on in life, whatever it might be, even if you have a disability, find a ‘condor’. That is what Matica did. Matica found the condors, but every person can find something else that they relate to, stick to it and do and be confident with it to get there, where you want to go, where you want to be. And then, as Matica, you can handle every problem and difficulties. All the rejections bounce off you.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

To face myself. When I started to write the book, I never thought of the things they came out then. I wanted to write an adventure story for children and see what came out of that. Because, like Matica, I was rejected in school, not because of the growth handicap she has. I had other things. I had to face what Matica is facing and learned, even from writing the book, more and more to cope with myself, to overcome my own rejection and to realise that I have survived a deadly disease.

Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?

In a sense it changed my life as well. I have more confidence now as I never had before. I never thought I could write a story like that. But now? I can and I will write more stories about Matica and Talon and her adventure, her life. I plan to write about 8 books in the Talon series. The second book TALON, ON THE WING and the third book TALON, FLIGHT FOR LIFE are getting published right now.

What are you working on right now?

I am writing on the fourth book of the Talon series, TALON, HUNTING THE HUNTER. It is finished but I am on the first rewrite. Many still to come. I would like to get it finished by the end of this year with all the rewrites.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

I like to reach every reader, not only the ones who need to get more confidence or have to face rejection in their lives, because it’s still an adventure story behind all that. It’s the voyage of Matica.

What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

That it is so very difficult to get published. I don’t understand that the conventional publishers don’t see the potential in my book or even for that matter, for all the other new writers out there who are in the same boat as I am. I have the feeling that these publishers might not even read the manuscripts they are getting from new writers and so, without reading the manuscript reject it because of the writer being a new writer.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Never to give up. That is my motto and I am sticking to it since I got so many rejection letters back from the conventional publishers. But I will get there. So, never give up. One day it will happen, because you don’t know when it will be, it could be just around the corner, just tomorrow even.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

‘Be you, yourself, be happy. Don’t let life pass by you. Don’t look back, look into the bright future. The future is as bright as the promise of God. Smile – it’s the most beautiful attire.’

‘I can do it.’ These four words are the most power-filled words.

‘Love and acceptance for each other, without boundaries.’

‘Self-pity is a useless emotion.’

‘Self-pity can ruin one’s life.’

‘Don’t say negative words. They don’t help you.’

Where can people learn more about your books?

My website: http://www.writersportal.org/Gigi

YouTube animation clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0ontac7S20

http://www.amazon.com/Talon-come-fly-Gigi-Sedlmayer/dp/1921578726/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317276412&sr=1-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/talon-come-fly-with-me-gigi-sedlmayer/1020753509?ean=9781921578724&itm=1&usri=talon2c%2bcome%2bfly%2bwith%2bme

Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Talon/135624816470795

Click here to read an excerpt from: “Talon, Come Fly With Me” by Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer

Kaycee Nilson, Author of Night Falls On Chicago

Welcome, Kaycee. What is your book about?

Night Falls On Chicago is about a group of vampires that converged together in order to stop one of their own. The difference between my vampires and others you have read about, the ones that I wrote live by a code of ethics. Also there is something “other worldly” about them.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

Probably all of about 15 minutes!

What inspired you to write this particular story?

My middle child was sick and he had to undergo all kinds of testing. There was one doctor that was followed by seven student doctors and when all eight swarmed around my son, they looked like a pack of vampires about to feed.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

When I started writing Night Falls On Chicago, Yahoo Chat rooms were still the big thing to do. So I went into a local room, I lived in Chicago at the time, and met a person who claimed he was centuries old and was a PSI vampire. But the locations I write in and around Chicago, they are my most favorite places about Chicago. So I did a ton of time in those spots and actually getting ran off by a couple of police in one of the areas!

What are you working on right now?

My second novel is called I’ll Love You ‘Til You Die, plus I blog hosted by Lunatic’s Folly and I have columns that I submit to Useless Knowledge website.

Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?

Yes! I love coffee and Funyuns and Cheetos, I guess I’m not the most healthiest of snackers while I write!

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

A BIG thick spiral filled to the brim with ideas that will one day become stories or blogs.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Not really, when I was a small girl, I wanted to be a Rockette in New York City, but when I realized I’d never be taller than 5’4″, that dream went out the window! But I did learn I have a knack for writing when I was in tenth grade.

Where do you get the names for your characters?

Some of the names in my first novel are either the first or middle name of close friends and family that for years I’d been threatening to kill off. My therapist says that this is probably one of the healthiest ways to deal with the frustrations that I often have.

What has been your greatest internal struggle to overcome in relation to your writing career?

Inihibitions and self judgement. I am my own worst critic!

What are your future plans? What will you bring to the literary world besides more stories?

Hopefully I would like to bring to the WORLD in general that a person can have a mental illness but turn it into an asset instead of having people pity me.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Right now, my book is on http://www.allthingsthatmatterpress.com/buynow.htm or you can go to my website, http://www.kayceenilson.com/ for more information about not only my books, but everything I have written for the past 5 or 6 years.

Dr. Dorothy McCoy, Author of the Nonfiction Book “The Manipulative Man”

Welcome, Dorothy. What is  The Manipulative Man about?

There are men who are exceptionally manipulative and having a relationship with one of these men requires special knowledge and some advanced relationships techniques. My book identifies the men, provides a checklist to make a positive identification (my law enforcement background shows at times), and decide if this is the relationship for the reader, can it be changed or should the reader consider cutting her losses and moving on. It includes many case studies that showcase how these manipulative men use their considerable skills in interactions and conversations. I also threw in some humor to hold the readers interest and make it more fun.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I did a tremendous amount of research if you include my 13.5 years in college, 15 years in private practice and journal research for the book. Some of my time in college and practice time overlapped.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I want women (and men) to understand when they are being manipulated (used) by someone in this dishonest and self-serving way. Once we realize that, we can make free choices and protect ourselves from psychological, emotional and physical harm.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

The beautiful countryside just waiting for me to run, hike and commune with nature… my dog (Sophie) “asking” to go out, to be feed, to be petted and to get her meals and snacks, and the need for human companionship. I am a people person and staying tied to a computer for long periods was very problematic.

Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?

I am more aware of manipulation now. I have also made a more in depth study of psychopaths and I use that knowledge to alert law enforcement to the danger.

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

I fix a cup of superb, fresh ground coffee (one should not skimp on coffee), wait for Sophie to get comfortably settled at my feet and go to sleep (snoring loudly) and then I am ready to write.

Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?

Yes, I prefer late morning. I have found, if I have a tsunami deadline approaching I can write at any time of the day.

Does writing come easy for you?

The type of writing I do, research based, comes easily to me. I would like to write an Agatha Christie type murder mystery. That does not come at all—at least not so far…

What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Calling myself a writer was very difficult for me. I had three published books (traditionally published) before I would call myself a writer. I still feel a little like an imposter when I claim that skill.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

A professor at Emory when I was working on my dissertation… He told me there are two types of dissertations—perfect dissertations and finished dissertations. I wanted a finished dissertation.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Write about what you know and love. Then get someone to reality test for you. Rewrite, rewrite and rewrite…

Have you written any other books?

Yes — From Shyness to Butterfly and Personality Quizzes

Where can people learn more about your books?

My website www.themanipulativeman.net and Amazon and other booksellers sites

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your books?

I sincerely appreciate my readers. There are many books they could read and when they choose mine I am truly honored. I love to hear from readers—drmccoy86@aol.com

Qwantu Amaru, Author of “One Blood”

Welcome, Qwantu. Please tell us about your current release.

One Blood is my debut novel, a story 12 years in the making. It is a supernatural thriller, set in and throughout Louisiana in the vein of books by Anne Rice, Tananarive Due, and Stephen King. The novel is pretty epic in scope, spanning 200 years of history from 1802-2002. It’s a page-turning rollercoaster that will make you think as much as it makes you jump! One Blood is a character-driven tale that involves a group of diverse characters, all tied together through hidden connections and their mutual torment by a Voodoo curse.

How did you come up with the idea for One Blood?

I was originally trying to write a short story but it just kept growing and growing until before I knew it I had a 160,000-word novel on my hands! I knew that I wanted to write a story about my neighborhood in Lake Charles, LA where I grew up and I knew that I wanted to address the interesting racial dynamics I experienced living in Louisiana which was a stark difference to what I had previously experienced in Charleston, WV and Pittsburgh, PA where I was born. I wanted to write something that was different than anything I’d ever read but would not be so different that people couldn’t get into it.

What inspired you to write this book?

I think debut novels are always written in an effort to understand one’s one life and self, but the catalyst was the combination of a creative writing assignment and a powerful memory of meeting former politician and KKK Grand Wizard David Duke when I was attending high school in Lake Charles, LA. Novels I’d read by Anne Rice, Stephen King, Richard Wright, Harper Lee, Toni Morrison, Wilbur Smith, and Tananarive Due also inspired me.

One Blood has quite an extensive cast…how did you come up with the characters?

I didn’t set out to write a novel with a large cast, but as I got deeper into the tale, characters began appearing and developing on the page. In my first draft many of the characters were mere shadows and bad stereotypes. As I revised, I went very deep into each person’s psyche and came up with the idea to give each character a dual personality that would come out in the course of the story. Some of the characters (like Lincoln, Randy, and Brandon) ended up being composites of people I’ve met in my life, others (like Panama X, Coral Lafitte, and Jhonnette Deveaux) just came out of necessity to balance the story and create the appropriate amount of drama, suspense, and tension.

How much research did you have to do for this book?

Since a large part of the book takes place in The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, I had to become very familiar with this prison which I did by reading different prisoner’s accounts, watching documentaries, and interviewing prison officials. Vodun is also a central element in the story so I had to do extensive research on the religion because I wanted to portray Vodun as accurately as possible and not do some bad Hollywood rendition.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Quite a bit of my life experience is in One Blood. I grew up in Louisiana in a small city called Lake Charles during the late 80′s and 90′s so I know the setting intimately. The family dynamics at play in the book are similar to my family as well in that my family is known for keeping secrets and not all of them are so warm and fuzzy when they get out into the open. I really created the relationship between Lincoln and Brandon based on my relationship with one of my older brothers who I really looked up to and who ultimately disappointed me greatly until I realized that I’ve never had to walk in his shoes, One Blood allowed me that opportunity. The high school (St. Louis) is based on my high-school in Lake Charles and Simmons Park is an amalgamation of two parks that were near my house. There was a guy that I went to school with and his father was a State Senator and that informed the dynamic between Randy and Kristopher Lafitte. Randy Lafitte was based on ex KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. I met him in 1992 during The Contraband Day’s Festival in Lake Charles. He was campaigning for election and spoke to a white friend of mine and completely ignored me which was my first experience with racism. All these experiences and more went into One Blood.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

This is a great question. At its heart, One Blood is a book about the danger of belief. We believe things so blindly that sometimes we find ourselves in situations where that belief is challenged and we react badly. I would like readers to question more and follow less. Find their own paths and if they must believe in anything, believe in themselves.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

I wish I’d written To Kill a Monckingbird. I just love that book and it has such resonance even today. Aharper Lee didn’t publish many books after, but she made a huge dent with that one. I will always be chasing that goal.

Without giving away the ending, will there be a sequel to One Blood?

I have a desire to write the book the way I should have done it in the first place. That is to say, there are actually 3 full-length novels that form the back story for the events in One Blood, so I definitely am interested in telling those stories. As for a sequel, I don’t think there will be one, but I am planning several spin-off books with some of the surviving characters!

What exciting story are you working on next?

My 2nd novel can best be described as The Kite Runner meets The DaVinci Code! It is titled, The Uneasy Sleep of Giants and deals with a son trying to avenge the untimely death of his father, a chemist who may have cured Cancer and been killed for it.

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

Find out more about Qwantu Amaru on his website http://www.qwantuamaru.com

Buy the e-book: http://amzn.to/s2CA4s

Buy the hard copy: http://amzn.to/weYjOI

Click here to read an: Excerpt From “One Blood” by Qwantu Amaru

T. C. Isbell, Author of “Southern Cross”

Welcome, T.C. What is your book about?

Southern Cross is a World War 2 historical thriller. A murderer is loose on a steamship with over five-hundred unsuspecting passengers. Authorities have limited resources and time to stop the next murder.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I have been an avid fan of World War Two history ever since I high school. After I retired I started an in depth research project into the time period preceding Germany’s invasion of Poland. Before I knew it I was writing a novel that weaved the story of Chris Schulte into my historical research.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Truthfully, I am all of my characters. I grew up as an only child of a working mother; so I spent a lot of time making up characters and living with them in my head. Some of my characters have lived in my head for a very long time.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

I spent a great deal of time researching my book. I used period magazines like Post, Life, and National Geographic. Some research was accomplished using old books and the Internet. However, information on the Internet has to be approached with a grain of salt.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

No, not really. My main goal is to entertain the reader, to welcome the reader into my fictional world, and have them care about my characters.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

I’m a retired engineer. My first challenge was to learn how to not write like an engineer. My second challenge was to learn everything I missed while staring out the window during my high school English classes.

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Even though I’m retired, I approach writing like a job. I believe that following an established schedule is the key to finishing a project. I start writing at seven in the morning, right after my wife leaves for work, and work pretty much through the day. I take short breaks, but other than that I’m either researching or writing. I try to add at least one thousand words a day to my manuscript. Some days the juices flow and I put down two thousand words. There are days where I write the same sentence over and over. I stop writing before my wife comes home from work.

Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?

Coffee, I drink vast mounts of coffee while I work.

What are you working on right now?

ICARUS PLOT, the second novel in my Prelude to War series, takes place in Panama in 1940. Foreign and American interests are attempting to disable the Panama Canal and effectively divide the world in half. I hope to finish ICARUS PLOT before Christmas 2012.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

For me, knowing when it is time to stop rewriting and call the book “finished.” I think writers always think there must be a better way to say something. Given the time, I would still be revising my first book.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

When I have an idea for a book, I write a synopsis and expand it later.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

That’s an interesting question. Being a Gemini, I am always working on multiple projects. Presently I have three books in the works. Icarus Plot is a sequel to my first book, Southern Cross. Of the two other books, one takes place in Seattle in the 1950’s and 1970’s. The last book is what I call “Historical Sci-fi.”

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

That’s easy – Psycho by Robert Bloch.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

Mike Lawson. If it doesn’t advance the plot, take it out.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

First: sit down and write — write everyday. Set aside a specific time each day. Maybe in the beginning it’s just thirty minutes or an hour, but do it religiously. Soon writing will become a habit. Don’t get bogged down with creating the perfect sentence. Nothing is ever perfect to a writer. Write what’s in your head and sort it out later. Second: read books in the genre you want to write in. The authors you read have spent a lot of time learning their craft and have things to teach you. Third: consider, but don’t be deterred by the opinions of others — follow your dreams.

Where can we find out more about your books?

Southern Cross is available at Amazon as a paperback in the United States and an eBook for Kindle in the United States, the UK, Germany, Italy, and France. It is also available at Barnes & Noble and Google eBooks in ePub format.

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Southern-Cross-ebook/dp/B005P8CE0G/

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/southern-cross-t-c-isbell/1106016633?ean=2940013267251

Google eBooks – http://books.google.com/books?id=BitzvGsuzEUC

My website is: http://www.mysteryalley.com

My Southern Cross Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Southern-Cross/200537310015628