Author Interview: Heather Dawn

Interview Orange

Welcome once again to Book Squirrel’s latest ‘Nuts about Authors’ interview.  Today I sat down with Heather Dawn to discuss life as a writer and her novel, Imbroglio: The Ties of Love and Lies.

Heather Dawn Imbroglio

Hi Heather, thanks for being here and chatting with me. 
Hi, Book Squirrel. Thanks for having me!

What inspired you to write?

Pain inspired me to write, plain and simple. I needed to get out of my circumstances into someone else’s, and thank God it worked!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I penned an essay in college entitled, Dear Little Girl, which was an assignment to write a letter of advice to myself as a child. Despite the intense joy of publishing a novel that’s getting five-star reviews, the timeless words in this essay resonate with me the most, allowing me to walk down memory lane and relish the nostalgia of my youth, grow from the mistakes, and ultimately, appreciate who I’ve become as an adult. I never would’ve thought such a simple assignment would be so invaluable to me.

What are you working on writing now?

Between my tasks as an elementary school mom and an independent entertainment production events contractor, I’m sneaking in the sequel to my debut novel.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My best vacation was a nine day trip to Italy, exploring more than eight beautiful cities and stretches of breathtaking countryside from Rome to Lake Como with a wonderful group of ladies, our own tour “mother,”  a private tour bus, delightful hotels, and food that made me hurt myself trying to devour it all!

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

My pet hate is deception––lying and hiding in relationships. Yes, I absolutely built that despicable behavior and its consequences into my writing. That is what Imbroglio, the Ties of Love and Lies is all about! An intense storyline of drama, action and suspense where a woman’s omission (intended to maintain the interest of one surprisingly debonair, irresistible and likewise mysterious man) collides with his secrets, and the two are led on a volatile, even dangerous, journey for truth, forgiveness, and love which neither of them could have fathomed. I think it would just be lovely for every reader of Imbroglio to recognize the fears that entice us to lie and consider the lamentations of Carlos and Shannon when facing such temptation! Perhaps my genre would evolve to “romantic suspense fiction with a lesson.” Hmmm…

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I can watch The Incredibles over and over and over. And over. There is something about the dynamics of their relationships. No perfection among super heroes there!

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

I wanted to be a veterinarian. With all my heart. And then I saw what happens when animals get worms and diseases. I said, “No thank you.”

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Beverly Cleary began my passion for reading with her character, Ramona (as in the pest.)
Ernest Gaines wrung the tears from my eyes with his masterful and deservedly highly-praised novel, A Lesson Before Dying. I admired his ability to write about a subject so heartbreaking and yet keep readers engaged to the end.
Stephen King paints a story so dexterously. I remember the idiosyncrasies of his characters being so vivid in my mind, loving the way he drew me into a tale, and feeling terrified to read on.

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

It will challenge your fortitude. Unlike when there is a publisher behind you, there is no one to convince the world that you (the self-published artist) have talent except you. Keep pressing onward!

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

1) I wish erasing the painful emotional scars imparted by others and restoring hope to the lost was easier. 2) I wish it was easier to say what needs to be said.

Those can be tough challenges indeed!   
Where can we get your book?

Imbroglio: The Ties of Love and Lies is on Amazon.

Heather Dawn Imbroglio Author Pic

Fantastic! And where can we follow you on social media? 

Oh! That’s easy!

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Book Squirrel Review: Christmas Miracle at Easter by R.M. Gauthier

Renee Gauthier Christmas Miracle Easter

The third instalment in R.M. Gauthier’s Christmas Miracle series, this story is a little shorter than the others but still full of the same tension, humour and characters.

Gauthier is a great writer and a master of finishing a story with a sledgehammer that leaves you wanting to read on and keen for the next story.

I really enjoyed this book, and I really hope there will be another. Christmas Miracle on Canada Day, perhaps? Now there’s a holiday this squirrel can get behind!

Golden Acorns

‘Christmas Miracle at Easter’ gets a shiny Golden Acorn!

Get your copy at Amazon!

And if you haven’t read the others – they’re great, too!

SIBA First Miracle

Book Review: ‘The Early Delivery: Angel Postmen’ by S L Tsao

SL Tsao The Early Delivery
People often speak of guardian angels and of visitations or visions, but the idea of angel postmen delivering messages to humans at appointed times is clever and thought-provoking, and one I had not encountered before. I found this concept, and the personalities of the different characters very engaging.

This is a heartwarming story with the tales of the antics of Clair, a lazy angel, embedded and woven within it. It is written with humour and a light-hearted tone, but also with some vivid imagery and quite evocative writing that added depth and impact to the writing, particularly in the cliffside conversations between the young woman and the elderly man who functions as the storyteller.

It seems to me that although English may not be the author’s first language, Tsao has certainly written with both fluency and flair. While there are times when the words do seem to flow less easily and the grammar is a little stilted, this does not necessarily detract from the story, nor did it significantly diminish my enjoyment of it. Every writer has their own style, and in our globalised world, readers can generally adjust accordingly with ease.

Overall, ‘The Early Delivery: Angel Postmen’ is an enjoyable book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading lighthearted clean romance and humour. I’ve given it one of my lovely Silver Acorn awards.

Get your copy on Amazon today!

Book Review: Calmer Girls

Jennifer Kelland Perry Calmer Girls
‘Calmer Girls’ doesn’t fall into my usual preferred genre, but that didn’t stop me enjoying this book. I was engaged from the start when it opened with a scenario that was instantly familiar to me: teen sisters fighting and competing with one another. As the younger sister in my own family, I could relate to Samantha’s frustrations and sensitivities, even though my sister and I competed and fought over different things than Samantha and Veronica do. The complications and conflicts between Samantha and Veronica are portrayed very realistically, and the reader is drawn into developing a strong sense of empathy for their general situation, as well as for the circumstances of particular characters.

I love that this book is set in Newfoundland and that part of the story relates to the experiences of the families of the fishermen who live there. The author has embedded plenty of details that really do evoke the unique character of St Johns and life in the Canadian Maritimes, so the setting felt very familiar and homey to me because I have visited the Maritimes and have friends there.

I really liked  the frequent references to the classic books such as ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ that Samantha likes to read because they gave me a stronger connection to this story. They weren’t overbearing or super nerdy, yet they communicated clearly that Samantha sees life and thinks at a deeper level than her sister. That positioned me to like her even more than the fact that she is the central character.

I found the characters to be believable and quite well-developed, and the story compelling.

‘Calmer Girls’ will hold immense appeal for anyone who enjoys YA romance and drama.

Silver Acorns
I’ve given ‘Calmer Girls’ a silver acorn.
You can get your copy at Amazon. There’s a sequel, too!

Author Interview: Blaque Diamond

Interview Cobalt

Hi everyone! Today I’m chatting with Blaque Diamond, author of poetry and contemporary women’s fiction.

Welcome, Blaque!

Thank you, Book Squirrel! It’s nice to be here!

What inspired you to write?

The question isn’t really what inspired me to write, but who inspired me to write? My fifth-grade teacher is the person who put the idea of writing in my head. She saw my talent for writing before I even noticed that it was there. She encouraged me to explore my craft. It started as her dream for me, but soon it turned into my dream for myself.

his-or-her-betrayal-cover.jpeg

What is your favorite thing you have written?

My favorite book that I have written is my novel entitled” His or Her Betrayal?” This is my favorite book because it deals with a real-life society issue. Even though we have come a long way of acceptance and tolerance of the LGBTQ community, we still have a long way to go. Although my story is fiction, I’m sure someone somewhere in this big old world can relate. Even if they can’t, it is still an interesting read. You never know the struggles that someone has to go through. My readers get to hear Michelle Anderson’s story from her own mouth.

What are you working on writing now?
Love, lies and heartbreak vol 1
Right now, I am working on the second volume of my short story anthology “Love, Lies and Heartbreak.” This anthology consists of five stories dealing with relationships that don’t end in a happily ever after. There are five different scenarios, but all of them deal with infidelity in some kind of way. Lies are told, and hearts are broken because love isn’t what they thought it would be. In the second instalment, the hurt and pain continues. None of these couples are strong enough to handle the acts of betrayal that they are dealt.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

The best vacation that I have had is when I went on a seven day western Caribbean cruise with my friends. It was the best time of our lives. It got so good that I didn’t want to come back home. I even asked if I could get a job working on the boat, but I knew it was impossible for me to give up everything to go and work on a cruise boat. It was very tempting though. We had the time of our lives visiting the different countries and observing the different cultures. I can definitely say that I have cruise fever, and I am going to make cruising a part of my vacation plans on a regular basis.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The movie that I can watch over and over again is “The Sound of Music.” It is my all-time favorite movie. I love musicals and I love all the singing and dancing that goes on in the movie. My favorite part of the movie is the children though. I think they are so adorable. I loved that in the end the children got a mother and the husband got a wife.

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

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a business owner. I wanted to own my own multi-cultural hair salon and spa. I wanted it to be a one stop shop for everything. I also wanted it to cater to women, men and children. Even though I am no longer a kid that is still what I want to be when I grow up. I do intend on making that a reality.

What’s your favorite season? Why?

My favorite season is summer. Even though most people are bothered by the heat, I am not. It doesn’t bother me at all. I am very cold natured, so I hate to be cold. Summer for me symbolizes happiness and fun. There are so many exciting things to do in the summer. Family vacations to the beach, picnic lunches and days spent sitting in the pool is my ideal summer. While I’m relaxing under a shady tree, I can work on my next publication or catch up on my favorite author’s new releases.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

My three greatest literary inspirations are Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and Alice Walker. They are my favorite African-American poets of all time.

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

I want people to know that being an indie author is hard, but it is worth all the hard work and effort you put in it. The rewarding feeling of my reader’s reactions to my stories is what gives me the drive to keep going. I love what I do, but when my readers also love it too, it makes it all worth it. The fact that I have invested in myself by becoming an indie author brings me pride. I can say that I did something for myself. Even if I don’t become a best-seller, I am proud of how far I’ve come. I had the courage to press the publish button.

What is something that you wish would be easier?

words of my heart cover

I wish that things were easier done than said. It is easy to say that you are going to do something, but it is another thing to actually do it. Whatever it is you want to do in life, do it. Don’t just say you’re going to do it. You can say you’re going to do something all day long, but if you never take the initiative to put forth effort to make it possible, then it isn’t worth saying anything about.

 

Where can we find your books?

My books can all be purchased from Amazon.

Fantastic! And where can we follow you on social media?

Social media links:
http://www.amazon.com/author/blaquediamond
http://www.goodreads.com/blaquediamondbooks
http://facebook.com/writerblaquediamond
http://www.instagram.com/writerblaquediamond
https://www.twitter.com/heartofmywords

Thanks for being here with us today, Blaque.

Thank you for having me, Book Squirrel! It’s been fun!

Book Review: ‘Bound’ by R.M Gauthier

R.M. Gauthier Bound
The mystery surrounding Landon Miller builds to a heart-pounding crescendo in this fantastic sequel to ‘Control’.
 The action is fast-paced and unpredictable, providing a really effective contrast between those moments of waiting and wondering that heighten the tension and intrigue even further.

Gauthier’s characters are for the well-written and believable, and the reader continues to build empathy with Lexi throughout the story. I felt involved in the story and shared in Lexi’s frustration and anger with various situations and other characters at various points of the plot. Gauthier very cleverly positions the reader to understand the central character so that her responses feel both reasonable and justified, even though the reader might not personally respond in the same ways. In all honesty, I know Lexi is much more brave than I am, even if her stubbornness is something I can totally relate to.

This was a great read that focused on the mystery and the chase, rather than the “underground lifestyle” portrayed in ‘Control’, which was really only alluded to in ‘Bound’.

Golden Acorns

‘Bound’ gets a lovely shiny Golden Acorn!

I’m really keen for the release of the third book in the series.

Book Review: ‘Michael’ by Valerie Albermarle

One of the marks of a wonderful writer is that they are able to capture the reader’s imagination from the outset. When Michael wakes up to a clock that reads 15:74, the reader is drawn into the mind of Michael and into the world where he works so hard to make sense of things. So many questions are raised in both Michael’s mind and that of the reader, both directly and by inference, that one is keen to discover the answers.

Valerie Albermarle Michael

Albermarle’s writing is delightfully visual. “Out in the street a robust wind played with sparkling beads of the night’s rain.” It is images like this that make reading a book like ‘Michael’ so engrossing: the imagination is regularly fed a delicious morsel that keeps one hungering for more.

Michael is a complex and well developed character. By revealing different layers of his life and personality at different times, the author invites the reader into something of a relationship with the character, developing empathy with him as the story progresses. Quirky and thoughtful, Michael is a man to whom the reader warms very quickly.

The author often leads the reader to contemplate the significance of time, not just in terms of a rogue clock, but also in how we think about time and often disregard it. This adds a layer of reflection to one’s reading of the story, causing one to think about their own relationship with time and deadlines and further engaging them in the premise of the book.
“Round clock faces without beginning or end gave the illusion of infinite repetitions, infinite new chances, while digital clocks showed only how early or late you were for an event in your infinite life. But old instruments like sand or water clocks weren’t shy about telling people that the time runs out, and life together with it.”

At times the story picks up a new strand, which leaves the reader wondering but intrigued until, before long, things fall into place and the fabric of the story begins to be woven together from all those different threads.

The best way to experience this story is to not be set in one’s expectations of what it will be or what it will deliver. Allow the author to stimulate and lead your thinking. The structure of the story, and the story itself, are reminders that life is not predictable or set in stone. Approaching stories, or life itself, with an open mind provides endless possibilities, while closing doors leaves one alone with disappointed expectations.Silver Acorns

I very much enjoyed the journey that this story took me on. I’ve awarded it a Silver Acorn.

‘Michael’ by Valerie Albermarle is available on Amazon.