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!

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Book Review: The Dragon Warrior Of Kri by Lyra Shanti

Lyra Shanti Dragon Warrior of Kri

An enthralling tale of self-discovery and destiny.

Set in the complex and dynamic world of Shanti’s Shiva XIV series, The Dragon Warrior of Kri is a powerful short story that explores part of the early life of Meddhi, whom we meet as an older man in the Shiva XIV novels.

It’s a thought-provoking storyline enriched by beautifully written sensory detail and powerful undercurrents of love, self-discovery and rising to meet the challenges of one’s destiny.

The characters are vivid and engaging, each one portrayed as complex, highly individual, and conflicted both by their own flaws and by others’ expectations of them. This makes them highly relatable, and keeps the reader hoping that their favorite will prevail.

Shanti is a master of world building and story telling. Her writing draws the reader into this world and envelopes them in the drama and crisis points of the story so effectively that it’s hard to put the book down.

Although it is a short story that fully complements the Shiva XIV series, it works perfectly well as a standalone story.

New readers should consider themselves warned, though: this book will leave them wanting more. Thankfully, Shanti’s novels and other stories set in the same world are able to provide exactly that.

The Dragon Warrior of Kri is available on Amazon.

Read the Book Squirrel’s author spotlight on Lyra Shanti.

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.

Book Review: Longing by R.M. Gauthier

Literature Lemur LeafThe Literature Lemur has been reading some great books lately! Today, our lovely lemur friend brings us a review of ‘Longing’ by R.M. Gauthier, who has been featured in Book Squirrel reviews and an author spotlight previously. 

Blurb:

Longing is the story of a Special Forces Officer and a Business Tycoon becoming unlikely partners in their fight for justice and revenge. Leroy, a Special Forces Officer, returns home from Afghanistan after serving 8 terrifying years, only to discover that his nightmare has not ended. After learning that his sister has been missing for months, Leroy sets out to find and bring her home. Meeting Landon Miller, a Business Tycoon and owner of an exclusive club exposes Leroy to a world of corruption that he had no idea even existed.

 Renee Gauthier Longing

ADR S&S Book Review:

Longing is a prequel to The Mystery of Landon Miller series, in which Gauthier gives us a peek at how everyone’s favorite Guy Friday ended up with the job of a lifetime: working for Landon Miller, himself.

In this short story, Leroy leaves the desolation of war only to find more misery waiting for him at home. His sister is missing, and Leroy will move heaven and earth to bring her home again. Along the way, Leroy discovers there is a whole lot of evil out there, and the deeper he digs, the dirtier it gets.

Once again, Gauthier has created a story where anything can and does happen, bringing life and soul to characters who we, as readers, feel connected to. Whether or not you’ve read “Control” and “Bound”, “Longing” is one short story you won’t want to miss.

You can find all things R.M. Gauthier at:    www.RMGauthier.com

Order “Longing” here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0180FSU1W

Book Review: Sweet Discovery by Aliya DalRae

Having thoroughly enjoyed Sweet Vengeance, the first book in Aliya DalRae‘s Jessica Sweet mysteries, and Bittersweet, the back story of Malcom, I was keen to read Sweet Discovery.

Aliya DalRae Sweet Discovery

Not until I started reading did I realise how ironic the title is – many more questions than discoveries were arising in the most fascinating and heart-stopping ways. Absolutely, 110% intrigued, I had to keep on reading to find the answers to my own questions and theories, as well as Jessica’s.

This book is a fast-paced roller coaster of emotions, complete with loop-the-loops and tilt-a-whirls of mystery, secrets, horror, and intense personal conflicts for a number of key characters.

It’s a mark of a great writer that a story can take you on the journey not just of the main characters and the key plot, but also of the other characters through sub-plots that weave seamlessly with the main story. Characters I disliked intensely in the first book became more likeable not only through the development of their personality and actions, but also through gaining a greater understanding of their motivations and histories. Other characters that I quite liked in the first book underwent an almost opposite kind of transition. Once again, DalRae reminds us through this fabulous book that no matter how confident we might be that we’re right about people or situations, or even that we know something for sure, things aren’t always what they seem.

If you’re looking for delicious paranormal mystery adventure laced with more than a dash of hot sauce and romance, look no further. DalRae’s Jessica Sweet mysteries are the books for you.

Now, I’m waiting with bated breath for the next in the series. I’m definitely hungry for the next course.

Aliya DalRae’s Jessica Sweet mysteries are all available on Amazon.

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Author Interview: Richard Ankers

Interview Red

 

Hi, readers! Today I’m interviewing Richard Acorns, author of the YA dark fantasy series, The Eternals.
Hi, Richard! 

Hi, Squirrel! Before we start… it’s Ankers.

Ankers? You’ve lost me.

My name. I’m Richard Ankers.

I’m sorry?

You called me Richard Acorns.

I did? That’s nuts!

*awkward silence*

I am so sorry! Let me start again.

Please do.

 

Hi, readers! Today I’m interviewing Richard Ankers, author of the brilliant YA dark fantasy series, The Eternals.
Welcome, Richard! 

Well, hello!

 

What inspired you to write?

The honest answer is, I just had to. It was the showing that writing to other people that was the problem. When I learned of a good friend’s untimely and very sad passing, I decided life was too short. So really, my friend, Peta, was the reason I shared my writing with the world.

 

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I always think the thing I’m presently writing is the best. A desire to get better with each new word powers that. However, I always have a fondness for my novels and short stories. If something is less than a thousand words though, I forget I’ve even written it about five minutes after having done so. I’m terrible!

 

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

My favourite book is called The Dancers at the End of Time by Michael Moorcock.

 

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

I reread Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I love it.

 

What are you working on writing now?

I’m working on a new Steampunk/Fantasy trilogy titled The Theatre of the Moon.

 

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Ooh… Either visiting the Ice Hotel in Sweden, or Wengen in Switzerland (I love mountains).

 

What is your pet hate?

When others get my name wrong.

*awkward silence*

Really? 

No.  *laughs kindly* I was teasing you.

Okay. I deserved that. What really is your pet hate, and have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I hate littering; it really gets on my goat, as we say here. I haven’t used that particular foible in my writing, but I might now.

 

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Lost in Translation

 

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

Anything sporty. I was lucky that I was good at all sports and unlucky that I lost focus because of it.

 

What’s your favourite season, and why?

I love winter. I’m a verifiable nutcase for snow. I’ve loved the snow ever since reading the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe as a kid.

 

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Michael Moorcock / Haruki Murakami / Gene Wolfe

 

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

I’m not a great admirer of anyone in particular, as I’m not easily impressed. I like people who walk the walk, those who do what they say, not tell others to. Perhaps Nelson Mandela if anyone. I’ve also always had a lot of time for David Attenborough.

 

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

If you’re as shy as me, it’s difficult. The loudest are often the most read, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best. Far from it.

 

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Both of my knees; they’ve got it in for me. Won’t stop me running though.

 

Where can readers find your books?

The Eternals: http://mybook.to/TheEternals

Hunter Hunted: http://mybook.to/HunterHunted

Into Eternity: http://mybook.to/IntoEternity

 

Those are great covers!

Thank you!

 

Most welcome!

Where can readers follow you on social media?

WordPress: www.richardankers.com

Facebook Author: http://facebook.com/richardmankers

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Richard_Ankers

Medium: https://medium.com/@Richard_Ankers

Amazon Author: http://author.to/RichardAnkers

 

Thanks for joining me today, Richard. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. 

I have, Book Squirrel. Thanks for having me.