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!

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Author Interview: Melvin Taylor

Interview Purple

 

Welcome everyone! Today we meet Melvin A. Taylor, Indie author of The Kindred Spirits book series. The series consist of two novels since 2011. Currently, Melvin is working on the third book entry which will be released soon. 

Hi Melvin! Welcome!

Thanks, Book Squirrel. You can just call me Mel if you like.

Sure thing! So tell us, Mel, what inspired you to write?

An inner voice saved my life during 9/11. That same voice spoke to me and planted a seed in my mind with an idea around a series of three books, which ultimately sparked my interest in writing and the rest, was history.

Wow! What’s your favourite thing that you have written? 

The first book in the series The Kindred Spirits: Rivers Return. After writing the book, it felt weird actually holding the book in my hands. A simple idea went from a thought to a physical finished product. I still can’t get my head around it.

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

Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson MD.

Who moved my cheese? That’s an intriguing title. 

Well, yes, I guess so.

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

Steve Harvey’s book, Jump.

What are you working on writing now? 

The third book in The Kindred Spirits series, which I hope to publish early next year.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had? 

Traveling to Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland on business. I was there for a little more than two weeks, respectively, in both cities—18 days in Zurich, came home for a week, then 18 days in Genova. After work and on the weekends I took full advantage of all that Switzerland had to offer. It was awesome and beautiful.

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

I detest shady people…the ones that come across as friends but really have a hidden agenda. So the main villain in the book is based around that type of person.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

There are several movies that I could watch all day: “Miss Sloane”, “The Warriors”, “Ghost”, “The Sixth Sense”, “Predator”, “To Sir With Love” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

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

I’ve always wanted to be a businessperson. My grandfather had that entrepreneurial spirit and business savvy, which I gravitated towards and, unconsciously, it has become a part of my DNA. To date, I’m an author of two books and founder and CEO of an independent record label called 45 Records Entertainment. Growing up, I had no idea this would be my path, but I’m grateful and the grind doesn’t stop. Who knows what will happen in the future.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love the Fall! Cool enough to wear sweaters, bundling up in warm clothes and the beauty of the changing leaves.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations? 

My sister, Carol A. Taylor, as well as Jackie Collins and John Grisham.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons. 

Rupert A. Taylor (my grandpa), Carol A. Taylor (my sister) and my cousin Gary O. Davis. They’re successful individuals, working for themselves! They go to sleep at night with dreams and they wake up, still living their dreams.

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

Remember, after writing and completing the book, that’s when the real work begins!  Be patient promote, promote and promote!! Always remind yourself the process is a marathon, not a sprint.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

1) I wish life it self was easier! I wish it came with a map, blueprints, instructions or directions as to what to do or not to do. A guide would eliminate all the mistakes that I’ve made in my lifetime. But, I’m learning as I’m going and growing and there’s a lesson in each experience. We all go through moments where we either feel discouraged, unmotivated and uncertain about ourselves—sometimes all three, ya know? But life is not about how you fall down, but how you get up. I think sometimes in life we need reminders about this, myself included; which is why I started my Resilient Warrior Story blog series and Resilient Warrior Community Facebook Group to promote stories of any kind. Sharing stories and experiences can assure someone else they aren’t alone. And the older I get, the more confident I become in my journey and where I’m headed…it’s a good feeling.

2) Losing loved ones (my mom, my dad and grandfather). If I could only spend one last time with them, to pick their brains or simply sit quietly with them…just to listen to them inhale and exhale again. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. Life has such a vicious cycle. I wish loss were easier to accept but I know that our paths will cross again and we will meet up on the other side. Hopefully, no time soon—and on the up side, I know I’m making them proud.

Oh, I’m sure you’re making them proud!

Thanks, Squirrel. That means a lot.

You’re welcome. Tell me, where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter @MelvinATaylor
Instagram @MelvinATaylor
Facebook @AuthorMelvinATaylor
Great! And where can we find your books? 
They’re on MelvinATaylor.comAmazon  and Goodreads
Thanks for being here today, Melvin. It’s been great! 

Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!

Author Interview: Catherine Weaver

Interview Orange

Welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview, in which Book Squirrel meets Catherine Weaver, the author of the Island of California books, which are fantasy books set in the present day Silicon Valley area and the magical Island of California.

Welcome, Catherine!

Thank you, Book Squirrel. It’s lovely to meet you!

Tell us, Catherine, what kind of audience you write for.

My books were written for middle-grade readers and have absolutely nothing in them that is not family-friendly. Kids who have read the books so far really like them, and most adults who have read them like them, too.

That’s great! It’s true that the best kids’ books are loved by adults as well.

Yes, there’s a child in all of us.

Or, at least, a very cute little squirrel. 

Yes, of course!

Are your books all in a series, or are they single titles?

The novels, Gold Dust and Phoenix Down, and I am currently working on the third in the series, Dragon Oil.

I also have two books of short stories: Tales From the Island of California, and More Tales From the Island of California.

What inspired you to write?

I come from a family of writers. My mother, Jane Blue, is a poet, and her mother wrote articles for newspapers in San Francisco, so I grew up with the idea that writing was something people do. But what really inspired me to actually start writing books was my huge love of reading, plus my love of the San Francisco Bay Area. I read lots and lots of books that I loved, but noticed there was a distinct lack of fantasy books set in the SF Bay Area and Silicon Valley, which I feel are among the most magical places on Earth, and I wished I could read a book like that. Since I couldn’t find them, I decided to write them.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I like them all, but have a special place in my heart for my first book, Gold Dust.

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

Ask me this on a different day and I will give you a different answer. I am a voracious reader and I have a lot of favorites. Right now I’m reading Ready Player One, which I am enjoying very much. I just finished Anansi Boys, which I feel is a perfect book. I also think most of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett are perfect. I completely loved The Martian and can’t wait for the sequel. The Thin Man is one of the best books ever written. The Harry Potter books are likewise amazing. When I was a kid, I read and re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy to a point where I had them memorized, and the same goes for the Chronicles of Narnia. There are many more.

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

Today I have to say Ready Player One.

What are you working on writing now?

The third book in my series, which is called Dragon Oil.

Do you have any books planned that feature… you know… squirrels?

Uh… no. Sorry.

It’s okay. It’s never too late, you know.

I’ll keep that in mind.

Thanks.
What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

When I went to Switzerland and stayed with friends in Yverdon near Lausanne, rented an Alpha Romeo, and drove all over the french part of Switzerland, then down the Rhone Valley in France to Marseille, staying in Valence on the way.

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

I really hate prejudice, greed and the way artists are devoured by the machine. I also hate religious, cultural and gender discrimination. These things are addressed in my writing, in a way that is palatable for kids. My books are full of humor, so the things I hate are not hit over anyone’s head.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension.

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

An architect.

Cool!
What’s your favourite season? Why?

I like autumn the best because it’s sunny but not too hot, the air smells of wood fires, and the low sunlight slanting through the turning leaves is beautiful.
And all those lovely nuts!
Absolutely!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Terry Pratchett, Dashiell Hammet, JRR Tolkien

Great choices! 

Thanks!

Where can we follow you on social media?I’m on Facebook and Twitter and I also have a webpage.

You’re also welcome to check out my Amazon author page, which has all of my books on it.

Just click through on the links.

Thanks for being here today, Catherine. 

Thank you for having me!

Author Interview: Micayla Lally

 

Interview Purple

Welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview!
Today I’m speaking with Micayla Lally, author of ‘A Work of Art’. 

Welcome, Micayla! 

Hi, Book Squirrel! Lovely to meet you!

What inspired you to write?

I have always been a writer – grabbing spare dot-matrix computer paper from the box to write stories during recess in elementary school. But I finally got serious for NaNoWriMo 2015 and have completed 5 novels since then, including publishing my debut in May this year.

Cover A Work Of Art

 

So ‘A Work of Art’ is the first one published? 

Yes.

 

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I tend to like each recent story better than the last, perhaps because I have learned more since writing the last one. Right now I’m editing something to send to an agent and I really love the ending, so it would have to be that one. It’s called ‘Flirting With Disaster’.

 

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

There are too many to name! But my recent favourite is The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, and then a list of Stephen King books that would go on forever,

 

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

*consults Goodreads*  I’ve read a bunch of fantastic books this year, but recent highlights are Girl In Between by Anna Daniels and The Radleys by Matt Haig.

 

What are you working on writing now?

My work in progress doesn’t have a title save for the character’s names – Sebastian and Isolde. It’s a story about finding love in the midst of emotional chaos. He’s a player who has to grow up and she’s returned to work after pregnancy loss and depression.

 

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Our vacations tend to be a bit fraught since we have 3 energetic boys and stuff just happens, you know? Our most recent vacation was to Scotland where our luggage was lost by the airline for 5 days, but luckily I had our clothes in the carry-on because we were renewing our vows at Gretna Green!

 

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

I’m starting to feel old and crotchety so I do have some pet hates, but it seems to be small personal things that other people do. I am writing them into a character that I have a feeling will teach the other main character a lesson about love and patience, but it’s still an idea at this stage.

 

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, but probably anything with Keanu Reeves.

 

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

A housewife, a teacher, a secretary, a writer. I’ve been lucky enough to do all of those things.

 

What’s your favourite season? Why?

To be honest, I love them all and love that I can experience them all in Oregon, USA, the seasons are so full here, though this summer and been super hot and it seemed to drag on forever. Autumn might by my least fave because of all the pumpkin spice stuff everywhere, but on the other hand – sweaters!

 

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Making time for everything and eating as much as I want.

 

Are you willing to give us a teaser about your book?

When Julene returns from a whirlwind trip overseas discovering art and professional passions, she quickly learns the love she shared with her ex Samson never quite waned — but can she trust him again?

 

Oooh! Intrigue! 

You bet!

 

Don’t trust him, Julene! Don’t do it! 

I’m not sure that helped, Squirrel…

 

She can’t say I didn’t try. 

That’s true.

 

Where can we get a copy of ‘A Work Of Art’?

Readers can order my book in most local bookstores, but it’s also available online at:

Book Depository 

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble 

 

Where can readers stalk… I mean, follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Readers can also check out my website at www.micaylalally.net

 

Thanks for joining me today, Micayla! 

Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!

 

Author Interview: J.S. Bailey

Interview Lime
Welcome to another fabulous Book Squirrel author interview! 
Today, I’d like to introduce J. S. Bailey, author of  supernatural suspense novels and short stories.
Welcome, J.S! 

Thank you!

What inspired you to write?

I don’t know! I have written for as long as I’ve known how to read. My earliest “stories” date from when I was five years old, and I’d decided to make children’s books that I illustrated myself. One was about a “baer” that went to school. Thankfully my writing has matured a bit over time. 😉

 

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

JS Bailey Ordinary Souls

I’ve enjoyed writing most of my books, but my absolute favorite is my short story collection Ordinary Souls. It’s an eclectic mix of light horror and science fiction and features 16 stories that have a sort of Twilight Zone vibe to them.
The main story in the collection, “The Mirror,” is about Elena, a wealthy antique collector who brings home an old mirror that at times shows her her reflection as it appears in the future. Once Elena has caught on to what the mirror is showing her, she fixates on what her future self is doing and tries very hard to avoid it.
Writing “The Mirror” was challenging because it takes place in London, where I have never been. I had to conduct much more research while writing this 12,000-word story than I’ve done for 100,000-word novels! I do love British literature and television, so that helped.

 

Who is your preferred audience?

I write for adults, but my books are not erotic/sexual in any way.

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

It may be cliche, but I adore the Harry Potter series and always will. J. K. Rowling has a way with words that few authors have, and her characters are some of the most developed I have ever read.

 

Oh! I love those too! I just wish there had been a magical squirrel at Hogwarts…

Nawww! What a cool idea!


What are you working on writing now?

Too many things! I’m finalizing my supernatural thriller Surrender: The Chronicles of Servitude Book 3 and have been slowly plotting out Solemnity: The Chronicles of Servitude Book 4. The series is about Bobby Roland, a socially-awkward psychic who has premonitions of disaster whenever someone he knows is about to die. Unfortunately for Bobby, the people he knows are always getting into terrible trouble.

 

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I’ve visited the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee many times, but one vacation that stands out is the time my husband and I went there in 2012 and hiked the whole week. We hiked up Mt. LeConte–7 hours round-trip–and saw so many breathtaking views. Different kinds of wildflowers I’d never seen before grew at different elevations on the mountain. It was beautiful beyond words, and I’d love to do it again.
What movie can you watch over and over again?

I don’t watch too many movies (I’m more into TV shows like Doctor Who and Supernatural), but I do love the movies Interstellar and Ed Wood. I’m not really sure what that says about me…

JS Bailey Rages Echo

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

For a while I’d wanted to be a teacher, but then I realized that large groups of children are terrifying. I did always want to be an author, so I guess you could say I’ve lived my dream.

 

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

J. K. Rowling for the reasons stated above. I’m also a massive fan of Edgar Allan Poe and Roald Dahl. Poe because his works are beautifully dark, and Dahl because his short stories are wickedly twisted. Dahl could make a sunny day seem sinister!

 

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

I admire the actor Peter Capaldi because of his kindness toward his fans, Steven Moffat for his gripping storytelling in Doctor Who, and my husband for putting up with my weirdness all these years.

 

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Paying the bills, and finding time to write!
Where can we find your books?

JS Bailey booksigning

Readers may purchase my books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible, Kobo, iBooks, and more.
 
Where can readers follow you on social media?
I might be found lurking at Facebook and Twitter
And be sure to add my books on Goodreads
Thanks for chatting with me today, J.S! It’s been fun!
Thanks, Book Squirrel!

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.

Great Weekend Reads

Looking for something to read this weekend?
Try these great recommendations – choose your favourite genre or try something new!

Contemporary Women’s Fiction: An Enlightening Quiche by Eva Pasco. 
Book Squirrel Review                                                      Find it on Amazon 

YA Fantasy: The Curious Tale of Gabrielle by Zachary Paul Chopinski
Find it on Amazon 

 

Mystery/Thriller: The Undernet by J.S. Frankel
Book Squirrel Author Spotlight                                   Find it on Amazon 

Poetry: The Passing Of The Night by Joanne Van Leerdam
Book Squirrel New Release Post                                  Find it on Amazon 

 

Historical Fiction: Royal Thief by Laura Kehoe
                                                                                              Find it on Amazon

Dystopian/Dark Fiction: Only The Few by L.N. Denison
Book Squirrel Review                                                      Find it on Amazon

 

Paranormal: Sweet Vengeance & Sweet Discovery by Aliya DalRae
Book Squirrel Review         Book Squirrel Review     Find them on Amazon