Author Interview: Rebecca Lloyd

Book Squirrel chats with Rebecca Lloyd, author of dark fiction and magical realism.

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Interview Orange

Book Squirrel chats with Rebecca Lloyd, author of dark fiction and magical realism.
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Welcome, Rebecca! It’s great to have you here.

Thank you, Book Squirrel!

I’m a big fan of the darker side of fiction. What is your favourite thing that you have written?

My novella Woolfy and Scrapo, available from The Fantasist Magazine, and it’s because, even though the characters are just a pair of gloves, their love for each other, as brothers, is very deep, slightly troubled, but happy. This book along with my novel Oothangbart is very different from my usual literary horror material because they celebrate innocence.

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

Right at this moment it would be Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam, although I could have as easily chosen something from Walter de la Mare or Kevin Barry.

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

The best book I’ve read this year is Lamb, a book which some people were very much against. What a brave writer to have written that and so beautifully.

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

Although the distribution of your books might be a whole lot less than if you were an author with one of the gigantic publishers, there can be a great deal of pleasure in writing for a quite small body of readers, and pleasure as well in having a rewarding working relationship with your publisher if it is a company that is careful and respectful of its writers. Very few writers make much money from their books anyway whoever the publisher is, and so there’s a lot to be said for being involved with decent thoughtful independent publishers and those people they employ to do the artwork and editing. A lot of people might not agree with this thought… but it could also well be a blessing not to be tangled up with literary agents, those gate-keepers of the big publishing houses.

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

A biologist, and then later on someone who studied parasites. First I became an ecologist and then a medical parasitologist which led me to Africa, which led me to writing.

What inspired you to write?

My very moving and humbling experiences of working as a medical parasitologist in a remote hospital in Tanzania. I wrote my first novel as a result of that work but I’m pretty sure no-one would want to publish it…. it being a very uncomfortable read, and equally sure that I wouldn’t want it published. But it was a great writing exercise.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m thinking about starting something new, having just finished a novel, but I haven’t settled on anything for certain yet. I wrote a horror story called What Comes? that was published in my collection Mercy and Other Stories with Tartarus Press, and I was thinking it could be expanded into a novella and that I should have a go at it. [I always get scared that if I stop writing for too long that I won’t be able to do it again.]

Who designs your book covers?

Usually my publishers have had their own book cover designers and although they will run the idea past me to make sure I like it, I haven’t had a lot of involvement with that side of things. But my novella Jack Werrett the Flood Man with Dunhams Manor Press included illustrations inside and a book cover by the artist Dave Felton, and he worked very closely with me always being careful that I liked what he was producing. Then the amazing and very crazy book cover by Steve Novak for my collection The View from Endless Street [WiDo Publishing], was stunning and I loved it immediately, and still do. Oh! And I nearly forgot that I did design the book cover for my novel Oothangbart with Pillar International Publishing in 2014 and I loved doing that.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

I admire the wonderful perfectly mad Irish writer, Kevin Barry for his magical and breath-taking ability with words and language. I admire that strange, highly intelligent man Doctor Samuel Johnson, [1709 -1776] for his wit and kindness to the people he knew and hung out with, not the least of which was the twisted weird guy Richard Savage, poet and liar. I admire President Obama for all he tried to do for the US, the way he attempted to civilise it, and for his elegance and sophistication in a very ugly job.

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

I don’t think I’ve got a pet hate; there are a few little behaviours that I really dislike such as when cold callers phone me and call me Mrs Lloyd as if even if you weren’t married to anyone you wouldn’t mind being called Mrs anyway, but to my way of thinking that title makes me less than I am because it implies that I belong to someone, and I resent the idea of that hugely. On that same note, I did once use an entire argument that I had with a man in my short story Fetch which is in my collection Ragman and Other Family Curses published by Egaeus Press. I can tell you that it felt so very cathartic to have created something useful out of that argument. I also modelled the main character on the man himself and since I knew him well, I had his pomposity really accurately drawn in the story. [He never read it, nor ever will].

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I think that is yet to come, and every Christmas I go away on holiday to another country, so I’ve got plenty of chances to arrive at the best one in time. But one of the most useful was a holiday in Sicily in a little town called Cefalù which was where the terrible Aleister Crowley tried to set up a religious retreat. I was working on Seven Strange Stories, my second story collection for Tartarus Press and I was in need of one extra story to finish it. It was co-incidental that I happened to be holidaying in that town, but it occurred to me that because I had always been fascinated and horrified by Aleister Crowley, that he could be the subject for the last story. It was pretty hard to write, but very inspiring to stare down at the ruins of the ‘Abbey of Thelema’ and imagine Mr Crowley and his followers doing their thing in there. [I didn’t break into the place, not my style, and there are so many photos of it online that I didn’t feel the need to… besides I didn’t want to give myself the creeps!]

That’s fascinating and spooky at the same time!

I know!

Where can readers buy your books?

My books are all available on Amazon.

That’s great! Everyone knows how to find the ‘Zon.  Thanks for being here today, Rebecca!

Thank you, Book Squirrel. It’s been fun!

Meet a New Author: Rebecca Langham

Today, I’m talking with Rebecca Langham, whose debut sci-fi novel ‘Beneath The Surface’ launches on January 15th. 

Interview Red

Today, I’m talking with Rebecca Langham, whose debut sci-fi novel ‘Beneath The Surface’ launches on January 15th. 

Hi Rebecca, it’s great to chat with you. 

Hello, Book Squirrel! Thanks for having me!

What inspired you to write?

When I was about four years old or so my mother enrolled to study at university, having always wanted to attain a degree but finding it difficult with four children. A couple of years later, she undertook an honours degree and did a lot of work to write a major research thesis. She took me with her to conduct interviews and I also sat in on a lot of her lectures when she struggled to find a babysitter. I didn’t quite understand what she was writing, but I knew that whatever it was it would be long, interesting, and fabulous. So I wanted to be a writer too, even though what my mother produced back then was the history of a major Australian corporation and nothing at all like the fiction I imagined myself writing.Rebecca Langham Beneath the Surface

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

‘Beneath the Surface’, my sci-fi novel that is being released on 15 January 2018. This is the only full-length novel I’ve completed so far and, after all that hard work and many difficult lessons learned, it’ll always have a special place in my psyche.

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

I love so many books, shows, movies and songs! It’s so hard to choose. As far as novels go, I absolutely adore Michael Cunningham’s use of language in ‘The Hours’. Fannie Flagg’s ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café’ also really stayed with me. Those are some of the most memorable and heart-wrenching characters I’ve ever seen on the page. I adore the film adaptation as well, but so many rich stories from the book were left out of the film.

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

I’m terrible at just choosing one answer for questions like this. ‘The Secret River’ by Kate Grenville and ‘The Surgeon of Crowthorne’ by Simon Winchester were both thought-provoking reads that I became very emotionally invested in this year.

What are you working on writing now?

I’ve just started the second book of my sci-fi duology. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the first draft, but my goal is to try and have it finished by the middle of the year so it can be published about a year after Book I.

Who designs your book covers?

Natasha Snow. She is amazing!

I’ll say! That cover is magnificent!

Thank you!

What’s your favourite TV show?

As always, I would struggle to just name one. Amongst my favourites are Battlestar Galactica, Xena: Warrior Princess, Jane the Virgin, Orphan Black, Farscape & Wynonna Earp.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

There are a few of these. The main ones I can think of are Labyrinth, Willow, and A League of Their Own.

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

A writer. It’s taken me a while but I’m finally getting there.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Octavia Butler

Bryce Courtenay

Sarah Waters

Where can we find your book?

The best way to support me as an indie author is to go straight to the publisher – NineStar Press – where you can actually preorder the e-book and get it early!
You can also find the Kindle edition on Amazon.

You can pick up a physical copy from major retailers, including Amazon and Book Depository.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

FB – https://www.facebook.com/RLanghamAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rlangham85

Website – www.rebeccalangham.com.au

Book Review: ‘The Celtic Curse: Newgrange’ by D.J. Doyle

A gritty read for lovers of dark fiction.

This is a dark, gritty and fatalistic story of ancient beliefs, rituals and powers that grapple for control of the future of the world as we know it. Doyle builds the story masterfully, complete with twists that take the reader’s breath away and a sense of urgency that grows as the action escalates.

The contrasts between the different characters and their personal ethics are really interesting, and serve as a reminder that human nature is flawed and can, when devoted solely to an ideology or even to oneself, be truly evil without any additional help from the spiritual realm.

‘The Celtic Curse: Newgrange’ is a highly original and often macabre tale crafted from strands of legend, religion, ancient culture, sex, superstition, loyalty and friendship.

It does contain adult content and violence, so is suitable for an adult audience. If you like your fiction dark and your endings darker, this book is for you.

Acorn Award I Golden

Book Squirrel has awarded this book a shiny Gold Acorn.

Find it on Amazon.

Meet A New Author: Patrick Williams

Patrick Williams is a brand new author. His debut, Lethal As Love, released in December of 207. 

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Patrick Williams is a brand new author. His debut, Lethal As Love, released in December of 207. 

Thank you for joining me today, Patrick. 

It’s a pleasure to be here, thank you.

 

What inspired you to write?

I’ve spent the vast majority of my life as an amateur and semi-professional actor and musician with occasional forays into direction and technical theatre. While in all of those occupations one works with words and puts their own interpretation into them, they are still someone else’s words. I longed to use my own voice, to take the skills I’ve learned over a lifetime and apply them to creating something original and entirely mine. That being said, I write mostly love poetry and for that, I do best with a muse. A real-life target for the words.

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

I am a huge fan of the late Sir Terry Pratchett. I’ve devoured everything I could find that he wrote and enjoyed it all. But of all his work, I appreciate the Tiffany Aching series most, and of those, my favourite is “The Wee Free Men”.

What are you working on writing now?

Having just published my very first book, I have material enough to publish another and am approaching that (but I guess that really does not answer the question). As I’ve written, most of my work has been love poetry. But world events have recently shifted my focus a bit and I appear to be developing a social consciousness voice. Some of the work that I am currently writing is about the state of the world, equal rights for all people, and justice.

Who designs your book covers? Patrick Williams Lethal As Love

I am quite fortunate to know Brent Jackson from Peacehaven, UK. Brent is a musician, a visionary poet in his own right, and an amazingly talented artist. When I announced that I was going to self-publish, Brent stepped forward and asked if he could design my covers. I immediately accepted with gratitude and joy.

That is a fabulous cover!

Thank you! I’ll let Brent know you think so.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I have yet to find a style of music in which I cannot find examples to appreciate and enjoy. There really is no way that I could pick one genre as a favourite. I do, however, love cool jazz, punk rock, and classical music.

What’s your favourite TV show?

I haven’t watched television in around fifteen years. I find myself too easily captured by television; I’ll stare at it for hours and get nothing done. I have, of late, been watching a few television programs on the internet, however, and find that I am really enjoying Anthony Bourdain’s series “Raw Craft” and “No Reservations”. Back in my television watching days, I was an enormous fan of “Star Trek, the Next Generation”.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Oh, this is an easy one. “The Princess Bride”.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

William Shakespeare, Alan Ginsberg, and e.e.cummings. That’s quite a mixed bag, isn’t it? Shakespeare was unafraid of language, he twisted it, he invented words, and his work, all in iambic pentameter, keeps that pulse and rhythm. I strive to keep an internal meter going in my work, too. Ginsberg spoke his heart and in a new and surprising way. His work was raw yet eloquent.Of all the Beat artists, he’s my favourite. I play with word order sometimes in order to surprise the mind of the reader. And cummings? Well e. e. cummings always makes me smile.

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

As ‘Lethal as Love” is my first published work, I really do not have a deep fund of experience to go into this answer. I’m finding the whole process, however, to be an enormous challenge. I had no idea how much time and energy I would be spending on formatting, publishing, and promotion. Fortunately, I have experienced friends who are holding my hand through the process. So, what should people know? This is more work than work. Every independent book you see out there is not only months and years of writing, it’s also hours, weeks, and months of constant promotion and really hard work. An Indie Author really has to deeply believe in what they’ve written.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Finding your own voice and making money.

Thanks for joining me today, Patrick.

Thanks for having me.

Read the Book Squirrel review of Lethal as Love

Find this great book on Amazon.

Author Interview: Claire Buss

Welcome to another interview in the “Nuts About Authors” series. Today we welcome Claire Buss, Indie author extraordinaire and a generally very nice person!

Interview Orange

Welcome to another interview in the “Nuts About Authors” series. Today we welcome Claire Buss, Indie author extraordinaire and a generally very nice person!
Welcome, Claire! 

Thanks, Book Squirrel!

What inspired you to write?

I am inspired by all kinds of things – the different people I meet, books I read, random ideas I have at 4am in the morning. What I find difficult is carving out the time to actually write so most of my ideas get jotted onto scraps of paper which are carefully saved in a box for later perusal. Oftentimes it will be the character voice in my head that shouts the loudest! I do prefer to immerse myself in one project at a time.

Claire Buss The Rose Thief

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m about to have a baby! But until very recently, I have been in the final stages of getting my latest book, The Rose Thief, ready for publication. I’ve worked through all my beta reader feedback and I’ve done the scariest part – the final read through before setting up for ebook and paperback. I am really excited about this book, it was so much fun to write. Someone is stealing the Emperor’s roses and it’s up to Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher and his team to find out who the thief is and stop them before love is lost forever in Roshaven. Think Terry Pratchett meets Douglas Adams.

And that’s just been released, right? 

Yes! Last week!

How exciting!

It is, rather.

Congratulations! It’s on my TBR pile as we speak. 

Oh, thank you! How big is your TBR pile?

It’s nuts. 

*laughter*

What movie can you watch over and over again?

There are a few actually – The Princess Bride, LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies, Constantine and 28 Days (not the Zombie movie!)

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

Lois Lane.

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

It’s a full-time job being an Indie author and that’s not just the writing aspect. You are, for the most part, your own editor, proof-reader and marketer. Most indie authors already have a day job so it’s really about being dedicated to something you love and couldn’t imagine not doing. The marketing side is constant, you have to work on it every day and keep momentum – there’s an awful lot of authors out there but the good news is that people still love reading so all you have to do is get out there and find yours.

Two things in life I wish were easier.

1 – eating cake and not putting on weight

2 – learning how to not feel guilty for either not writing or doing the housework or spending time with my family

I’m with you! Those would be great things to make easier. 

*high fives for cake*

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

I’ve had a few 5 star reads so far this year but I think the series that I am enjoying the most is Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series. I’m on book four now and they’ve all been brilliant. I love all the subtle – and not so subtle – literary references and admire the huge amount of world-building that must have gone into writing the series.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Autumn. It’s not too hot like the summer and you can wear a cardi with practically every outfit. There’s that lovely crispness in the mornings and still a few summery days to enjoy, leaves to crunch and lots of apple-based desserts. Springtime can be a bit wet although all that new growth is lovely. Winter can be too dark as well as bone-numbingly cold, at least Autumn is golden.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

This is tricky because I haven’t read all the books yet but based on the small amount I have been able to devour I would have to say the top of the pile would be Sir Terry Pratchett for his Discworld series, his sense of humour and great intellect. As cliche as it may sound, I do admire JK Rowling’s persistence with Harry Potter and whilst I am well aware that her kind of success is unlikely to happen for me, it is motivating to know that you should never give up. I think my other literary inspiration is every indie author out there who is giving 100%, writing quality books and supporting others in the indie world.

Indie authors are amazing.

You’re right!

Some of the best books I’ve read have been Indie books!

Right again!

*another high five*

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My best vacation memories are those spent on my grandparents’ farm in Wales. Animals, fresh air, the Welsh coastline, homegrown produce and freshly baked cakes, an open fire and lots of love.

Where can we find your books, Claire?

You can find my books on Amazon.

 

And where can we follow you on social media?

My social media links are as follows:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/busswriter

twitter: www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407

website: www.cbvisions.weebly.com 

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16197976.Claire_Buss

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/grasshopper2407/

Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWrKBeiBMQg_subFM9ot2vw

G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ClaireBuss2407

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/Grasshopper2407

 

Thanks for chatting with me today, Claire.

Thanks for being such an awesome squirrel!

And remember, folks: support an Indie author today!

And eat cake!

Yes! Eat cake!

Book Squirrel Review: The Quantum Soul Anthology

There are some fantastic authors included in this collection.
This book is jam-packed with great value for the price.

Anthology The Quantum SoulThere are some fantastic authors included in this collection. Lyra Shanti, Claire Buss, E.M. Swift-Hook and Alan Van Meter are authors whose work I’ve read and enjoyed before, but I’ve also appreciated the opportunity to read work from authors that are new to me.

Obviously in an anthology, some will be more to one’s taste than others, but even those that I haven’t really gotten into have been really well written, very interesting and engaging stories. There are some really intriguing variations and blends into the realms of fantasy, magical realism and dystopian stories, as well as more classic scifi stories in this collection.

If I had to pick two favourites – which is quite a challenge – they would be the contributions by Jeanette O’Hagan and Lyra Shanti.

Project Chameleon, Jeanette O’Hagan’s account of Jerren’s experiences of being transformed into a cyborg, is both confronting and thought-provoking. The imagery is sharp and powerful. Writing from a perspective within Jerren’s mind is highly effective in positioning the reader to feel empathy and feel complicit in his thoughts and responses.

The Endymion Device by Lyra Shanti is a Sci-fi detective story with a distinct noir feel to it. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Shanti’s Shiva XIV series, and I love the way she writes. This compelling story is completely unrelated to that series and has a very different premise and setting, but is just as rich in imaginative detail.

This book is jam-packed with great value for the price.
Silver Acorns

It’s a Silver Acorn award for an excellent collection of great stories.

Get your copy today at Amazon.

Author Interview: James B Peartree

The Book Squirrel sat down recently to interview James B. Peartree, author of Pack: The Three Moons and its soon-to-arrive sequel. 

Interview Lime

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

The Book Squirrel sat down recently to interview James B. Peartree, author of Pack: The Three Moons and its soon-to-arrive sequel. 

James Peartree Pack Cover
Thanks for joining us today, James. Why don’t you start by telling us what inspired you to write?

What inspired me to write most of all, was my desire to redefine the werewolf mythos sensitively, without dragging it kicking and howling into the 21st century. Although if I’m being totally honest, I’ve loved writing from an early age and was looking for a suitable excuse to do so.

What’s your favourite book by written by someone else? 
My favorite thing that someone else has written has to be Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf. It’s a book you actually devour and once finished, you want to go back to the beginning and read it all over again.

What are you working on writing now?
I am currently working on the third book in the ‘Pack’ trilogy and another paranormal novel. I think it’s important to keep another project running at the same time as your primary one. It seems to work for me at least.

That sounds like it keeps you busy! What’s the best vacation you’ve had? 
The best vacation/holiday I’ve ever had was travelling to Sri Lanka with my family when I was 10. I’d never been abroad up until then and it really opened my eyes to the world beyond East London and Essex.

What movie can you watch over and over again? 
The movie I could watch over and over again would be An American Werewolf in London. I still love it to this day and strongly believe that it doesn’t need to be remade with modern CGI methods. If they could do a director’s cut of the original where they added back in some of the deleted scenes, this would be good enough for me and most other die hard AAWIL fans.

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing? 
My pet hate is people who are pig-ignorant, bigoted or even worse, both. I wouldn’t say that I’ve made a conscious effort to add these traits to any of the characters in anything I’ve written. Although they are traits that are commonly found amongst evildoers I suppose.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written? 
The one thing I like the most which I have written would be a short story titled Maurice. It would fall into the ‘psychological paranormal’ subgenre if that subgenre even exists. There I go again, creating my own subgenres. It should be published at some point in the near future, probably in a charitable publication.

There’s nothing wrong with creating your own subgenres. That might be an effective way to create a niche market. 
Good point!

Thanks!  What’s the best book you’ve read this year? 
The book I’ve enjoyed reading the most this year was Lies by T M Logan. It had me gripped from the very start and I struggled to put it down; reading until the summer sunrise was repeated until I’d finished it.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?
What aspiring writers should know about being an indie author, is that it’s an arduous process from opening chapter to release date. After which you have to get your next book written and out there whilst promoting the first as well. In short, don’t expect to write ‘The End’ then sit back and watch the royalties roll in. This only ever happens for world best-selling authors I do believe.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier. 
The two things in the world that I wish were easier are:
 a)  Getting aid to areas of the world where it’s desperately needed.
 b)  Bringing those who persecute the weak or defenceless to justice.

I so agree! It’s hard for us little guys to know how to help make that happen, though! 
It sure is, Squirrel.

So, James, where can we find your books?
You can find my books on Amazon.

And finally, can we follow you on social media? 
Sure! I’m on Facebook.

Thanks for being here today, James! It’s been great chatting with you.
Thanks, Book Squirrel!