Author Interview: Gerri R. Gray

Book Squirrel chats with Gerri R. Gray, author of humorous dark fiction and horror.

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Interview Orange

Today I’m chatting with Gerri R. Gray, author of humorous dark fiction and horror.
Welcome, Gerri!

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to write?

Writing has always been in my blood. I began writing poetry while in grammar school and reading the dictionary for fun; by junior high I was composing music on the guitar and writing stage plays (one of which eventually became my first novel, The Amnesia Girl.). I adore the absurd and the abnormal; therefore, that’s what I tend to write about. That’s what I need to write about. The mainstream has never turned me on.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

The Amnesia Girl, which was published in October of 2017 by HellBound Books. Set in the year 1974, it’s the offbeat story of two young women – one a mysterious amnesiac and the other a deranged lesbian – who escape from a New York psychiatric hospital and embark on a very bizarre cross-country journey to
California. One reviewer described it as “a wild romp through the insane.”

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. In my opinion, it’s the greatest psychological ghost story ever published.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I’m currently reading The Legacy of Old Gran Parks by Isobel Blackthorn, and enjoying it very much. It’s a dark humor novel that takes place in a strange, isolated town in the Australian outback that’s haunted by a legacy with ominous consequences.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m currently working on a second novel called The Strange Adventures of Turquoise Moonwolf.

Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?

Not really. But I have been known to celebrate the completion of a novel or other writing project with a Brown Cow (Kahlua and milk).

Who designs your book covers?

My publisher designed the cover for my first novel, The Amnesia Girl, based on a suggestion that I made. The cover of my second book, Gray Skies of Dismal Dreams, features a photo that I took in an Upstate New York cemetery. (In addition to writing, I also enjoy photography.) The ladies-only horror anthology I compiled and edited, The Graveyard Girls, was designed by the publisher, using a picture that I picked out.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

My taste in music is very eclectic, ranging from 1920’s jazz to the Jefferson Airplane.

Forest, country, beach or city?

I write best in silence and solitude, plus I like to be shaded from the sun, so I would choose the forest. I loathe the odor of manure, so the country is definitely out. I’m not a beach person, and cities are way too noisy and nerve-wracking.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

What’s a vacation?

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

Zealots and sanctimonious blowhards. And to answer your second question, most definitely! As a writer of dark humor, I enjoy exaggerating these traits in a character to make them even more atrocious, pretentious, and ridiculous than their real-life counterparts.

What’s your favourite TV show?

When I was growing up, I adored the Addams Family. And I still do. But I don’t really watch much television these days. Most of it is unadulterated rubbish.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The original 1963 version of The Haunting. It’s one of those films I never tire of. I’ve watched it so many times I can practically quote every line from it.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Don’t laugh, but I wanted to be Emma Peel from The Avengers. To me, the character played by Diana Rigg was the embodiment of beauty, genius and heroism. In my early teens, I wanted to be a roller derby skater, and then a rock and roll singer.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Autumn has always been my favorite season for a number of reasons. The sight and scent of autumn leaves are intoxicating to my senses; the crisp nights and frosty
mornings are invigorating; and I especially love Halloween. I think life would be infinitely more amusing if every day were Halloween.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edward Gorey. Not necessarily in that order.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” (Frank Zappa) I deviate from the norm as often as possible.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

It’s impossible for me to narrow it down to just three people. However, the type of people I admire are those individuals who aren’t afraid to think for themselves, pursue their dreams, and live their lives to the fullest. Never allow your mind to be controlled by the government, organized religion, the media, corporations, drugs or what-have-you.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

Well, it certainly wouldn’t be all those piles of money that we keep in our bathrooms in the event we run out of toilet paper. Seriously, it’s amazing how many people assume if you have one or more books published, you’re automatically pulling in tons of money. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for most Indie authors. I write because, to me, the penning of words is one of the most beautiful creative processes that exists in the world. It’s my passion and something I feel compelled to do. Bringing enjoyment to my readers with the strange characters and worlds that I create with my warped imagination is a reward better than money (not that I would turn down the money, mind you.) Indie authors also appreciate getting a good book review!

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Overcoming writer’s block and losing weight!

Where can we find your books?

My books –  The Amnesia Girl, Gray Skies of Dismal Dreams, and Graveyard Girls, are all on Amazon.

 

Follow Gerri on social media:

Website    |   Facebook   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon   | Hellbound Publishing

Author Interview: Tim Walker

Book Squirrel chats with historical fiction author, Tim Walker.

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What Inspired you to write?

I have previously been a journalist but only turned my hand to creative writing in 2013 as a response to being grounded with health problems. Whilst undergoing cancer treatment I did an online creative writing course and started writing short stories during my recovery. By July 2015 I was ready to self-publish my first book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales. To me, this will forever be my survival book.

What´s your favourite thing that you’ve written? 

In 2013 I had an idea to combine my love of history with a creative writing project. After visiting the site of a former Roman town in southern England, I sketched out a rough plan for a book series that connected the end of Roman Britain to the start of the Arthurian legend. After three years of researching and writing, A Light in the Dark Ages three-book series is now complete. Having launched book three, Uther´s Destiny, in March 2018, I then went back to book one, Abandoned, and extensively re-wrote it, adding in new chapters and characters that more closely link it to book two, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans.

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Abandoned, second edition, was lanched in July 2018. Now complete, this series is something I count as a major life achievement.   

What´s your favourite book that you´ve recently read?

A favourite book I´ve read recently is John Grisham´s, Camino Island. He has an easy-going style I admire and it is a skillfully-constructed thriller that´s a perfect holiday read. After finishing, I sketched out the main plot strands to get an insight into how he introduces sub-plot and peripheral characters. The copy I´ve read was autographed by the author at the recent Harrogate Crime Writer´s Festival, where he spoke for an hour (interviewed by Lee Childs) on his method and approach to creative writing. Fascinating.

What´s your favourite TV series?

My favourite TV series is ´Homeland´. I love a good political thriller and this series is so well written and acted it sizzles. After my heath battles, I found myself identifying with main character, Carrie, who struggles to manage living with a serious health condition whilst juggling home life with the demands of her job. Superb.

What film have you recently enjoyed and why?

A film I really, and unexpectedly, enjoyed was ´La La Land´. I usually watch action, adventure and thrilers, but was ambushed by the charm, cleverness and excellent acting in this worthy oscar winner. I recently watched it again on DVD to analyse what I liked about it the first time – it´s pure, magical, movie escapism at its best but with a bitter-sweet sting in the tale, with superb central performances from Gosling and Stone – recommended!

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I would pay little attention in the classroom, counting down the minutes until I could get outside and play football. Sport and mischief were my passions. I wanted to be a football (soccer) player!

What do you like about being an indie author?

I like the control of all aspects of the process. In previous jobs I have gainsed experience of researching, writing, editing, production, design, printing, marketing and sales. A little knowledge in these areas combines well to give me control of creating something from start to finish, but without the stress of deadlines. I work at my own pace, and have often fitted it in around clinic and hospital visits. It helps keep my morale up, and if I´m feeling tired or unwell then I leave it for a day or two. Also, I buy in services like cover design, proofreading and copyediting to ensure it is to a standard that satisfies me. Once launched, if it sells and generates favourable reviews then great, but if not, then that´s fine too – the enjoyment is in the creative process.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Relationships and filling in forms.

What´s your favourite season?

Spring. I´m ready for renewal after the long, cold, wet and dark British winter. The sight and sound of lambs frolicking in the field behind my flat are the reward for surviving another winter. After staring my flimsy mortality in the face and just about pulling-through, Spring reminds me that life always finds a way.

What´s your favourite colour?
Why, green of course!

To learn more about Tim Walker and his books, visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Also, don’t forget to grab your copies of A Light in the Dark Ages book series!
Abandoned      Ambrosius      Uther´s Destiny

Author Interview: J.E. Reed

Enjoy Book Squirrel’s latest Author Interview. Meet fantasy author J.E. Reed.

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Hello, everyone! Today, I’m chatting with fantasy author J.E. Reed.

What inspired you to write?

Books have always been a love of mine, especially fantasy. There’s nothing quite like escaping into a world that you know couldn’t possibly be real, but some small part of you wishes that it was. With this love, I started creating my own worlds as a child and my writing grew more elaborate as I got older. I feel like my world changed when I discovered fanfiction. For those unfamiliar with the term, fanfiction is taking characters you love and twisting the original story into whatever you want it to be. I never expected the story I wrote to blow up the way it did on the site and it inspired me to write an original work.Running with the wolves cover ST

What are you working on writing now?

The sequel to RUNNING WITH THE WOLVES. I’ve completed the rough draft, but as all the authors out there know, that is only the beginning of the journey. I’m also penning the story of a side character that has been much loved by my early readers, but you’ll just have to wait to see who that is.

Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?

Macha Green Tea. I can’t get enough of it.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I listen to almost anything, but it always pertains to what kind of scene I’m writing. Action must be fast paced and heart racing. Love needs to be a song that makes you want to dance and aching sadness needs to come from a place buried deep in your soul.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Forest or Beach. I love the outdoors, which is evident in my book. I’ve grown up running the woods and have had the opportunity to visit the beaches of Hawaii. Honestly, I could never choose between the two.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Couples Retreat. I don’t know why I love this movie so much, but I can almost quote the entire thing.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to work at Sea World as a whale trainer since before I can remember. I would still love to do this, but as an adult you realize some things. The first was schooling. I had my eye set on an animal trainer school in California, but I had no desire to travel that far. My focus shifted to Marine Biology and then to working at the Cincinnati Zoo. Somehow I ended up working with people instead of animals, but I’ll take nothing off the table. Life is a gift and I’m capable of doing whatever I set my mind to.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Spring. There’s just something about the smell in the air and the bright colored flowers. Needless to say, I love long hikes in the spring.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Paolini, and J.K. Rowling

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own. -Bruce Lee

Thanks for joining us today, J.E. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. 

Thanks, Book Squirrel! I’ve had fun!

Readers, you can get your copy of Running With The Wolves in your favourite store via the links on the author’s website.

You can also follow J.E. Reed on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram.

Author Interview: Kari Holloway

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Hi folks! Today I’m chatting with Kari Holloway, an American writer who grew up in Leesburg, Georgia. She dabbles in southern romances filled with iconic components of sexy cowboys and firefighters, explores the unexplained in her paranormal series, and has found her way to the battlefields of the Civil War, and to love’s first kiss under the weeping willow through various anthologies.Head Shot__Reduced Size

Hi Kari, it’s great to have you here.

Hello! Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!

You’re most welcome. I love meeting authors and talking about books. Tell me, what inspired you to write?

Truthful answer? I was a social fringe kind of kid. Screwed up bell-curve grades and preferring the uncool styles of country music and anime kept me there. I remember writing in school, but teachers wouldn’t allow students to bring notebooks on test days, so I brought books instead. Then in 2015 I went back to writing and haven’t stopped.

That’s the way! Don’t stop!

Absolutely!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

Only one? There are scenes in Cracked But Never Broken that hurt my heart, Behind the Lens has those tantalizing moments of unsure requited love, Mark of Cain has my MC standing up for herself.
Trapped by Design is one of my favorites. It’s a paranormal short story set in the realm of my Devil’s Playground series. I haven’t published it yet. I’m shopping it around to publications. It starts off with Ava playing a game of peek-a-boo with her kid.

Oh, make sure you let me know when it’s out, and I’ll spread the word.

Hey, thanks!

No problem! What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks if we’re talking new school. If we’re talking in all of modern time, Sackett Series by Louis Lamour.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I got to see a sneak peek of the stories in A Contract of Words. They are amazing, and some leave me in awe while others just creep me out. I think that’s a good hallmark of a well-balanced anthology.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m trying to rein in my muse. She’s trying to start me on book 5 in the Devil’s Playground series while I’m under deadline for a group release in October.

Those darned muses certainly have a mind of their own, eh.

You got that right!

Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?

No. I tend to write while drinking a glass of sweet tea, but the tea’s the only thing I drink.

Who designs your book covers?

Steven Novak of Novak illustrations did my Laughing P series. German Creative is the designer on my Devil’s Playground series, and the short story covers are my handywork.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

Country with some 60s, 70s, and 80s of Pop and Rock.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Depends on my mood. I live in a fairly rural place. Lots of woods merged with rolling farmland. The beach would be nice—watching the storms roll across the ocean, the fresh breeze, and shell collection. I couldn’t live in a city like Atlanta or New York, but small-town suits me just fine.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Scuba diving in the Florida Keys or off the coast of Panama City in Florida.

What’s your favourite TV show?

To be honest, I can’t think of the last show I didn’t catch on DVR. The two I do try to catch with regularity is Doctor Who and the Graham Norton Show.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

You’ve Got Mail. It’s hopeful and sweet.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a veterinarian.

I like you.

Awww! I like you, too!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Spring. Seeing the birds return in a slow migration of robins morphing into cardinals, the first few flowers determined to bloom, and it being warm/cool enough to have the windows open.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.”

That’s very thought-provoking!

It sure is!

What does a typical day hold for you?

I enjoy spending my evenings writing. During the day, it’s chasing my kids around, laughing at their sassy ways and the depths of their curiosity.

Sounds busy! What’s your motto in life?

Show the world the best version of you, for our actions of today make tomorrow.

Oh, I really like that.

Thanks!

Where can we follow you on social media?

I have a website, and an author page on Amazon. I’m also on Facebook and Tumblr.

Fantastic! And where can we find your books?

My books are all on Amazon, although not exclusively. The anthology ‘Love, Lust & Scary Monsters’ is in other stores as well.

Laughing P

 

 

Author Spotlight: Lyra Shanti

Lyra Shanti is a most accomplished author, poet, songwriter, and musician.

Lyra is the author of the amazing magical science fiction Shiva XIV Series and a number of short stories that explore the same world at different times in her characters’ lives.


If you’re looking for something in the realm of sci-fi/fantasy with a gripping storyline, you should definitely grab Lyra’s Shiva XIV series. It has been reviewed as “brilliant, epic space opera” and “the next space epic you need to read”. It’s really that good.

The short stories that further explore the world and characters of the Shiva XIV series are well written and add greater dimension to the characters and their experiences. The opportunity to see further into their lives and see what has helped make them who they are is always a bonus. They’re great stories that are also able to stand on their own quite successfully, although they will leave the reader wanting more.

Lyra has also published two books of poetry and a novella, ‘The Rainbow Serpent’, in which Lyra recreates the story of the Garden of Eden as told by the serpent.

Lyra Shanti Rainbow Serpent
According to one Amazon review for ‘The Rainbow Serpent’, this book is “Flawless in composition … plainly, yet eloquently written with beautiful imagery that reflects the universal truths of life” so that “the reader is left to ponder the extent of predestination vs. free will to execute one’s choices along the spectrum of morality since Creation.”

Lyra’s poetry is rich and sensory, full of imagery that draws the reader into the emotion and depth of the poet’s mind. It’s a definite must for any poetry lovers, but also shows the extent and versatility of the talent of this wonderful author.

Lyra Shanti Sediments

Lyra has author profiles at both Goodreads and Amazon.

You can also follow Lyra on social media:
Instagram: lyrashanti
twitter: @LyrtaShanti

website: www.lyrashanti.com

You can support Lyra’s work at Patreon where Lyra’s patrons have access to exclusive material and previews.

Author Spotlight: Alex Dunn

If you, or the bookworms in your family, like edgy, cleverly written YA fiction, you should give Alex Dunn’s books a try.

Author Spotlight 2017-03-27 Alex Dunn

Alex Dunn is the author of some great YA reads, including ‘Crazy for Alice’, ‘School Monitor’ and her latest release, ‘Dating Down’.

Alex writes with a highly readable and relatable style, which has made her YA fiction novels widely popular not only with teens and young adults, but also with adult readers.

If you have not yet read the Book Squirrel review of ‘Crazy for Alice’, you can read it here.
Alex will soon be launching a new series:  Alchemyne: The Blackest Phase, which follows Captain Franklin Tennant, a fifteenth generation warrior who must defeat an army of undead, led by a vengeful spirit.

If you, or the bookworms in your family, like edgy, cleverly written YA fiction, you should give Alex Dunn’s books a try.

In fact, right now is a great time to grab ‘Dating Down’ as the kindle edition is currently free on Amazon.

You can follow Alex on social media:

twitter: www.twitter.com/AlexDunnAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AlexDunn

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Alex-Dunn/e/B001KHVNS0

Author Spotlight: Beverly Knauer

Beverly Knauer is the author of two wonderful and inspirational novels: The Line Between and The Soul’s Hope – a brand new release!

Author Spotlight 2017-03-13 Beverly KnauerBeverly Knauer is the author of two wonderful and inspirational novels: The Line Between and The Soul’s Hope – a brand new release!
Each is unique, yet both are thought-provoking and uplifting novels that explore ideas about finding one’s meaning and purpose in life. Both books are available as ebook or paperback. See them on Amazon!
If you have not yet picked up either of these great books, now would be a great time, especially if you’re looking for something to pick you up and challenge you to live life to the fullest.

You can follow and support Beverly on social media:

twitter: @authorbevknauer
Instagram: beverlyknauerauthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/beverlyknauerauthor/

Why not share her posts and tweets, and help get the word out about these great books?
Beverly’s author profiles can be found on: