Author Interview: Mackenzie Flohr

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Today I have the privilege of interviewing the wonderful Mackenzie Flohr, author of the incredible YA magical fantasy novel ‘The Rite of Wands’. 

We had a very cosy chat, and we’re now the best of friends.
Here’s the interview, hot off the press. 

What inspired you to write?

I don’t really have anything per say that inspires me to write. However, what motivates me to write is being told I won’t succeed. I know that sounds odd, but I’ll elaborate.
Back in 2006, I was at the airport in Orlando waiting for the plane to arrive to take my Dad and I back to Cleveland, OH. I was working on a scene, which happens in a later book in the series. There was a young girl who looked about my age with her Dad sitting across from us. They asked what I was writing about, so I mentioned a little bit about it. Afterward, my Dad smiled and told them that I was writing a fantasy series, and that I would never finish it. I was shocked, embarrassed and hurt by the outburst. Even as I am recalling that moment now, it still angers me! But that’s where he went wrong. Not only did I write it, not only did I finish it, I found a company to PUBLISH it!

Well done you! That’s the spirit!
What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

To answer this question a bit more specifically, I really enjoyed writing the scene in The Rite of Wands between Queen Anya and Mierta when the queen was trying to convince Mierta to help her. It felt like they were an old married couple!

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

The Carrigan Painting: Mysteries of Billamore Hall Series by BJ Richards

I’ll have to look it up on NutBooks!

NutBooks?

Yeah! You… haven’t heard of NutBooks? 

No… but I’ll go look them up when I get home!

Good idea. What are you working on writing now?

I am releasing a special hardbound edition of The Rite of Wands this June.

I also just finished writing a short story for an anthology, which I am still waiting to hear if it’ll be accepted. I am also working on the beginnings of the next book in The Rite of Wands series and a new futuristic sci-fi series.

Wow! You’re a busy lady!
What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Back to The Future trilogy.

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

Apparently for the garbage company LOL! My mother is notorious for saving papers I have filled out throughout my childhood, so even though I don’t recall ever feeling this way, I’ve seen it on paper!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Summer. I love having sunlight till 9 PM and warm temperatures. Living in Michigan, it is rare to have sunlight all year round, and I honestly really dislike snow and cold weather.

Yeah, I try to sleep through most of that, too…
Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Michael Ende.

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

A lot of people have this belief that Indie authors get their marketing taken care of for free, but this is far from the case. Indie authors have to do their own marketing and pay for services, too. The best method of marketing for an Indie author is word of mouth.

So, if you know an indie author and have read their book(s), leave a review! Many times this leads to at least 4-5 additional sales for the author.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Selling books internationally

Juggling time between my outside of the home full-time job and writing

Like I said, you’re one busy lady!

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I sure am!

 

Where can we find your book?

You can find The Rite of Wands through all the major retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Kobo, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, iTunes.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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Author Interview: Debbie Manber Kupfer

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Hey everyone, your favourite squirrel is back with another fabulous author interview!

Today I’m talking with Debbie Manber Kupfer, author of some great books all about paws!
Hi Debbie! Obviously I’m all for promoting great paws… tell me about your books?

Hi Squirrel! P.A.W.S is a series of Young Adult fantasy books, which features a secret institute of shapeshifters hidden deep beneath the Jewel Box in Forest Park, St. Louis.

Oh. Not about actual paws then… that’s a little awkward.

I also have stories in several anthologies, including FauxpocalypseStardust, Always,
Winter Wishes, and Sins of The Past, and I’ve published a book of puzzles, Paws 4 Logic, with my son Joey.

Hey, that’s awesome!

Thanks!

That’s a cool accent you have there. Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?

Well, Squirrel, I grew up in London, but since then I’ve lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis.

Hey, I’ve got a cousin in St Louis! What do you do there?

I work as a writer and a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. I live with my husband, two children and a very opinionated feline.

Cats, huh?

Yeah.

So, Debbie, you sound busy! When do you find time to hoard your food for winter?

*laughing* I believe that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

What inspires you to write?

Anything and everything. I’ve been writing ever since I was small and find that many of my everyday experiences end up in my stories. Also I’m an avid people watcher and often write interesting folk I see into my books.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

Probably P.A.W.S. As it was my first published book it definitely holds a place in my heart. It was where I first was introduced to my characters who have since become old friends.

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

E.A. Copen’s Guilty by Association, an awesome urban fantasy. I’m currently on book 2 of her series.

What are you working on writing now?

I’ve got book 4 of P.A.W.S. which is going to be called Londinium out with my beta readers at the moment, so in the meantime I’m getting a start on book 5. I wrote the first 30K words during Camp NaNoWriMo and hope to continue writing at least 1K words a day.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

The best, but also the saddest, was the last time I traveled with my father before he passed away. My daughter and I traveled to London (where I grew up) and met my parents there. (They lived in Israel at the time). For my dad it was his last hurrah. He knew it too and he loved that trip and especially getting to spend time with his granddaughter.

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

I wanted to be a journalist. I went on to do a gazillion different things including teacher, secretary and market researcher, but writing was always in the back of my mind. I never did work in a newspaper, but I’ve been a puzzle editor for Penny Press and today divide my time between writing fiction and writing puzzles so I’ve sorted ended up in the field I wanted as a kid.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Spring and autumn. Not fond of extremes in either heat or cold. Missouri’s weather this year has been rather odd though. We didn’t have much of a winter and have had some really hot days in March and April. Global warming, I guess.

That climate change stuff is bad news.

It sure is!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

JK Rowling, Douglas Adams, and Terry Pratchett.

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

It takes a village to publish any book. You need an editor, beta readers, a cover designer, and a support network of friends to keep you grounded. You can’t do this on your own.

It’s fun, truly it is. And really rewarding too. I started off traditionally published at a small press. It was a good start, but switching over to indie was the best decision I could have made. I love having control over my work. Release dates, prices, covers, sales. Everything. Yes it can be frustrating too, but it’s truly worth it.

Plus the indie author community is beyond awesome. I’ve made so many good friends since I started this journey. Writing can sometimes feel like a lonely pursuit and it’s true that a lot of the magic takes place behind closed doors. But once your books are out there having a network of author friends to cross-promote with is invaluable.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Getting more readers and getting more reviews!

If I had a nut for every time I heard a writer say that, I’d be a happy squirrel!

I hear you.

 

Where can we find your books? 

The P.A.W.S. Saga – P.A.W.S., Argentum, Umbrae

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N34LR1F

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N34LR1F

And paperback everywhere – if they’re not in your local store or library, you can ask them to order them.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

Paws4Thought: http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor

Twitter: @CiciCat42

Author Interview: Leah Hamrick

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Welcome to the Book Squirrel’s “Nuts About Writers” series of author interviews.  

The Book Squirrel sat down recently to interview Leah Hamrick, author of ‘Spell Caster’!

Leah Hamrick Spell Caster

Hi Leah, it’s great to meet you

Hi! It’s great to meet you, too.

Thanks! Shall we get started?

Sure!

Okay… Tell us something interesting about yourself.

Well, I’m addicted to wildlife.

*gasp* You mean… you eat them?

No! I just love them! I love anything that crawls and moves and makes noise…

Phew! That’s a relief!

…but, my favorite is the whole other world that is below the water surface.
Hey, sorry I gave you a scare there. You’re a cute lil’ thing!

Nawww shucks! It’s okay. 
So tell me, what does “being creative” mean to you?

Being creative to me means to just do what you do best. Draw a stick tree if that’s all you got, LOL!

I wonder if stick trees have stick nuts… probably not much food on those!

And cute little stick squirrels!

What are your greatest sources of inspiration?

Things that have happened in my real life. I love mixing that in with my writing.

That makes the writing much more meaningful, I agree.
Do you have any current or future projects?

Oh hell yeah. Tons. I am currently rewriting my five star novel, Frost on my Pillow, which is a New Adult Paranormal Romance. Then, after that, I have to finish the second book in the series, not to mention write all these short stories for my amazing publisher’s numerous anthologies!

Leah Hamrick Frost On My Pillow

That sounds like it keeps you busy!
If you could just feature one title, what would it be?

‘Frost on my Pillow’… but sadly, it is not for sale at the moment.
It will be soon, though, so hopefully y’all decide to check it out, and fall in love with it as many already have.

Okay! I’ll have to make sure I follow you on Amazon and social media so I know as soon as it’s out!

Great idea! You’re a clever squirrel!

But your other books are totally great, and the cover of Spell Caster… wow! It’s gorgeous.

Aw, thank you! That’s so nice to hear. And yes, my other books are all on Amazon, too.

What is the relationship between your speaking voice and your written voice?

LOL! I just got asked this yesterday, I swear to everything that is holy. I see my speaking voice as how I write. How I write is in first person past tense… BUT, I do NOT have two POVs in a chapter. Let’s say… like if I wrote “He said, leaning back onto the couch.” that is just solely what my character is seeing. There is NO TWO POVS in my work. It may seem that way, but that isn’t how I write. If I want two POVs, I’ll just label another chapter and start with another person’s POV.

Labelling it is a great way to keep things clear.
What is the best advice you have for other authors?

Don’t let bad reviews get you down! They help sales, because it’s going to make others curious about why they feel that way, when the rest of the reviews are four to five stars. Sometimes, you will get someone jealous and they’ll mark all your books one star. I had it happen to me. But, just think of it this way. Are they really–after buying one of your books and hated it–going to go out and get another one?

No, I didn’t think so either.

Who is your favorite author? And why?

I love Jennifer Armentrout! Her writing is so amazing, and she knows how to add paranormal with romance and suspense and a mixture of different things that make me squeal. If anyone asked who I am inspired by as a writer, it would be her.

If you had to pick one book to live inside, which would it be?

Obsidian from Jennifer Armentrout!

What is the biggest flaw in your writing?

Total LOL moment. But, sometimes I switch tenses throughout the paragraph. I never catch it either.

That can be tricky! Thank God for editors, eh?

Where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kookycharacters

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

Amazon Page: Author.to/LeahHamrick

Author Interview: M Pepper Langlinais

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The Book Squirrel was excited to sit down recently and chat with multi-genre author, M Pepper Langlinais. 

M Pepper Langlinais The_Fall_and_Rise_of_Peter_Stoller

 

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?
I think my favourite is still The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller, maybe because I spent the most time on it. Almost three years from start to finish.

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

I’m not sure I can pick any one favourite. I can say Watership Down by Richard Adams had the greatest impact, though.

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

Well, we’re only to April, but I think the best thing I’ve read so far is Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I wish I could write like that.

What are you working on writing now?

A lot of things! The sequel to my YA fantasy Manifesting Destiny, another Regency romance, and a YA contemporary retelling of Hamlet.

Ooh! They both sound great! I’ll have to follow you on Amazon and Goodreads so I know when you release them. 

Great idea!

Yeah! I wish more people – and squirrels – did that!

Me too!

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My friend Abby and I went to London, and that was a lot of fun. But that’s tied with a really great family vacation at Disneyland. I don’t think I could choose between those two.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

There are a lot of them, but Young Sherlock Holmes will always be my favourite. I can watch the Indiana Jones movies over and over, too.

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

I actually wanted to work in film or television. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, though. I just knew I wanted to be part of that industry.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I like spring. I like that it’s getting warm and the flowers are blooming but the kids aren’t out of school yet.

Mmm. Spring… yummy flowers, juicy buds, and fresh fruit! Spring makes me a happy squirrel! Oh… erm… right. 

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Well, I know I was inspired by John Le Carré when writing Peter.
I’d say I’ve been influenced by Neil Gaiman a bit, even though I don’t write the same genre. (Well, someone did call The K-Pro “Neil Gaiman for girls.”)
And I suppose Sir Arthur Conan Doyle inspired my Sherlock Holmes stories.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Losing weight and avoiding traffic.

When you find the answers to those, let me know, eh?
And speaking of finding things… where can we find your books? 

The easiest thing would be to visit either my site at http://pepperwords.com and look under the Books tab for all my books and places to purchase, or go directly to my Amazon page at https://www.amazon.com/M-Pepper-Langlinais/e/B008FBOSPE/

Where can readers follow you on social media?

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I’m on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mpepperlanglinais
Twitter at http://twitter.com/sh8kspeare
Instagram as http://www.instagram.com/p_stoller 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MPepperLanglinais

 

Thanks again for joining me in my tree today! It was great getting to know you!

You’re welcome! Thanks for the chat.

Book Review: ‘Souls Discovered’ by Miranda Brock

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Ohmygosh. What??
I’ve just finished this book and I have no words.
It’s SO good though. Extraordinarily good.
Highs, lows, plot twists, and every emotion conceivable… this is your fate if you pick up this book.  And if you do… you won’t be sorry.
You will love the characters, you will love the story, you will scream and cry and try to slam on the brakes as you ride the rollercoaster of this plot. And you’ll read, and read, and read, until it’s done. And then you’ll have no words either.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and curl up in the corner and rock until the sequel is delivered.

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‘Souls Discovered is available as a paperback or eBook from Amazon.

Author Spotlight: Jesse Frankel

Author Spotlight 2017-04-09 Jesse Frankel

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Jesse Frankel is a prolific writer of YA novels who was born in Canada and now lives in Japan, where he writes YA novels in addition to teaching English and being a family man.
As if that doesn’t keep him busy enough, he also enjoys weight training, watching movies and listening to music.
His novels feature highly original and exciting story lines that explore themes and issues relevant to teens and young adults today while upholding important values such as respect, loyalty and friendship. The characters are relatable and realistic, so that readers can identify with them and the situations in which they find themselves.
In a recent author interview, Jesse explained his reasons for choosing to write YA fiction:
ScreenHunter_411 Apr. 09 17.07                                                                                                   from Kelly Smith Reviews
You can follow Jesse on twitter and Amazon, and on the following websites:

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Jesse’s books are all available on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Call of Sunteri’ by Missy Sheldrake.

Missy Sheldrake’s wonderful magic continues in this second book of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series.

‘Call of Sunteri’ has multiple narrators whose stories and perspectives blend seamlessly to tell the tale of the Sunteri fae and their struggle to survive, alongside the continued story of Azaeli Hammerfel and her companions as they seek truth and justice in the face of the powers of evil.
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So vivid and compelling is the storytelling that the reader is fully engaged in the action as it unfolds, with a strong sensation of being confronted with questions about personal integrity and the nature of truth alongside the characters. There are some absolute heart-in-your-throat moments, and some that fill the reader with dread.

The ability to conjure such powerful effects on the reader is a true sign of masterful writing.

‘Call of Sunteri’ delivers action, magic and quest by the bucketload in this book. I can’t wait to finish reading the whole magnificent series.