Sunday, 5 April 2015

Meet The Author  K. A. Cross presents...
Marni MacRae

About Marni,
Marni was born in the south and proceeded to skip about the states for a few decades before settling in the beautiful Northwest. Having grown up listening to her mother weave magical tales for her entertainment, Marni always dreamed one day of being a storyteller herself. Now at 41, she lives on a small farm, happily married to the love of her life. When she is not mucking out stalls or milking goats, she is chasing one of her six sons around or stealing a moment to hammer at the keyboard.
Want to know more?

   When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was ten.  My mother would weave tales off the top of her head to entertain me on long drives.  I was always so amazed that she could just make up stories!  I soon began creating my own adventures and began scribbling them down.
  
   In what kind of environment do you work best in?
Well I have 7 children, 6 of which are boys!  I was raised in a large family and learned early to block out my surroundings to read or study.  My children call it my super power.  I can focus on one thing extremely well.  Of course this has it's downsides too, I once set my kitchen on fire while writing Lady Sun, too much focusing on the book and not enough multi-tasking skills!
 
   What's your favorite thing about being a writer?
Meeting my characters!  I begin thinking I have them all figured out, but as they grow and evolve they surprise me.  I always find it astonishing.

   How did you come up with the idea for your latest book?
For Lady Sun I was actually trapped in my home in the middle of winter.  I was truly longing for a deserted island!  I began writing it to let off steam and escape vicariously through Sophia.  It quickly evolved and ended up writing it's self :)
   
   Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
Oh yes, My dreamy husband is always the foundation for my Heroes, and periphereal characters can sometimes be colorful people from my own life.  It helps me to draw on the emotional connection I have to the real people and embue those feelings or characteristics into the characters on the page.
   
   Do you ever wish that some of your characters were real?
Not so far.  My hero is my husband, so I don't think I could write a man who could compete with his awesomeness, however I would like to meet Sophia, we would get along great :)  My current book has a girl in it I would be interested in befriending as well .
    

   What do your family and friends think about your books?
Oh my Mom is over the moon.  She brags, I love it.  My sister is really supportive as well.  Oddly though, the rest of my family pretend like they don't know I write! My friends are the greatest, they push my book on everyone they meet.  Sweethearts one and all.
 

   Do you plan out your books or do you just go with the flow?
I go with the flow.  I am a research nut so there is a LOT of reading and research and I am one for being accurate in detail, but every time I try to guide the story it just does what it wants to.  Less frustration if I just let it have it's way :)

   If you could ask a character from any book a question, who would it be and what would you ask?
I was really effected by My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Piccoult, I think I would ask the mother (can't remember her name) what she was thinking?  I have many children and it is a balance, I just can't see hurting one for another... it's a tough spot and very visceral, that motherly instinct, but I was stricken by the value placed on her daughters.  Yeah, I would need a few questions answered :)

   Who is your favorite author?
Oh man, you want me to choose? Well, I change as my moods hit, sometimes I need romance or fantasy and which ever author feeds my fix is the greatest for the day, but right now I will say Hugh Howey.  That man can write!  His structure and content and mind blowing imagination is so far un-paralleled for me.

   What’s your favorite genre?
Nope, can't choose this one.  I was a fantasy nut for years, then got sucked into romance land, and then thrillers.  I love all stories, I grew up on the classic fables and Laura Ingals Wilder and presidential biographies.  I will consume any written word.  I have been known to lose days inside Wikipedia.  So no favorite, just a love of writing well done.

   What’s next for you?
I am in the middle of a novel called Nameless. It is a great writing experience as it stretches my abilities to convey information with many limitations.  I am excited to see how it turns out!

   What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Don't give up.  Don't ever let someone tell you you can't.  If someone does tell you you can't, question that relationship.  It is hard, but it is also rewarding and it is doable.  Research, push, never stop trying. Most failures are the lack of believing you have what it takes. If you can finish a book, and go through the effort to publish and put it in front of millions of readers to judge indiscriminately, then you have the moxie it takes to do just about anything.

   What’s your favorite movie?
Princess Bride (don't tell anyone!)  No wait, Shawshank Redemption. Or all of the Lord of the Rings.  Oh come on, I clearly am terrible at choosing.  I want them all . 

   If you were stranded on an island which three items could you not live with out?
I had to ask myself this writing Lady Sun!  If I can't choose people, I would choose flint and steel, a knife and a pot.  Boring yes, but I would be way happier with a fire, while my fish cooks and clean water to drink than if I had a library or a feather bed and no food, water, or fire.  The realist in me beat up the romantic dreamer :)

   If you could be born in another time when would you choose and why?
I would say two hundred years ago, give or take a decade.  Because here in America there were more opportunities for land, for growth, less restrictions on freedom (strange but true, not including slavery, which of course was horrid) and there was space, so much space!  Plus if I said anything different my husband wouldn't go with me.

   If you wrote an autobiography about yourself what would you call it?
Tell All.  Or; Tell Most.

   What is your guilty pleasure?
Dr. Who.  My oldest son sucked me in and I can't miss an episode .

   What’s your favorite season and why?
Spring!  We live on a farm, so little babies are being born, in fact, my Mustang mare is expecting to foal any second!  Also, I love the promise of warmth before the temps hit 90's and in spring everything is so green!

   Do you have a nickname?
Nope, don't anyone start now either!  I like my name, and so I am happy to hear it.  My hubby calls me Tigerlily, not sure if that counts.

   How do you handle writers block?
I haven't had that problem so far!  When I get stuck on a direction usually I talk at my kids or my husband and they let me work it out.

   What’s your favorite writing snack/ drink?
Coffee, Dr. Pepper and Zingers! 

   How do you cope with distractions?
If it's my children, I stop and go play with them.  If it's animals, I stop and go feed them, If it's my husband I stop and, um... well, go play with him :)  Writing is great, but far from my top priority.  Life comes first.

   What would be your ideal holiday?
Scotland.  My mother lived in Edinburgh before she was married.  I have always wanted to go see where my ancestors lived,  The MacRae's have a tie to Eilean Donan, so that would be my first stop!

   If you weren’t a writer what would your dream job be?
Mother. Done!

   Sweet or sour? 
Both!  if you mean food, if you mean my attitude, then Both! You keep trying to sneak in choices!  I will take all please :)

   What three words best describe you?
Oh wow, you may have to ask a friend or freinemy for that one, but I will try to be truthful.  Honest.  Bossy. Loving. Wow, that didn't even hurt :)

   What is your fondest childhood memory?
Road trips with my mom.  We would sing and eat crap food (donuts and pie and chocolate milk) and she always stopped to see neat things along the way, and of course the stories.  She told the best stories!

   Would you prefer a quiet night in or a night on the town?
Oh in my twenties I would say out on the town, but now, staying in with my family is the best.

   What has been the best day of your life so far?
I can't tell you.  You would be embarrassed, but my second best day was the day I married my husband, everything wonderful blossomed from that.

   If you could go back in time what one piece of advice would you give yourself?
Don't break.  I would tell myself to skinny-dip more, to be more discerning, to call my brother, and to not take life too seriously.

   What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I don't think your blog could take it!  I will say that hitchhiking across three states at 16 was probably the stupidist.  Does that count?

   Do you believe in fate?
Yep, I do.  And angels and God and Unicorns.  Seriously. I believe God has a plan, that I was fated for my destiny, that I still have free choice as I travel this road, that angels have my back and that unicorns once roamed the earth. 

   If you could be any animal in the world what would you be and why?
Bigfoot.  Can you imagine the publicity!

   What was the last thing that made you cry?
A commercial last night.  I am  a sucker.  I cry at the drop of a hat.  The last thing that really made me cry was the death of my brother.

   If you could have any super power what would it be and why?
Invisibility.  So I could sneak on a plane and travel the world!

   If you only had one more day to live how would you spend it?
Making love.  Lots and lots of love.

   For many of us writing is not our full time job, what is yours?
Life is my full time job.  I am a mother, and a farmer and a wife and a sister, daughter friend, I am a mediator a trouble maker a chef and a housekeeper.  Life pays me well, I will never quit, so far my bonuses have been great. :)


Interview by Kaylea Cross 

Friday, October 1st.

2015





      Interview with International award winning fiction thriller author  R. N. Shapiro

   I read that you were motivated to write this story during the midst of a cold winter at home in Washington state.  If that is true, how did you decide to set the scene of some of the action in the Maldive Islands in the Indian ocean?


   Well, I fantasized.  The winters here get bitterly cold and although we always have plenty to do in the summer, winter is spent dreaming of warmer days.  I have always dreamed of Visiting the Maldives, of all the tropical places on earth, they have some of the most remote and pristine islands still untouched by man.

     What is the first fiction story you remember actually writing when you were in grade school, how old were you and what was it about?

   

   I began writing Cinderella when I was quite young.  the history of Cinderella dates back thousands of years.  I wanted to bring the story to the current century and give girls a heroine to relate with.  Of course Hollywood beat me to the punch :)

    Did you have a teacher, professor or mentor that encouraged you to become a writer or to further your writing career?


   Oh sure, my mom.  My mother has written a couple dozen books.  We were raised quite rurally without power, our entertainment was books.  My mother would make up stories in a split second that had such color and vibrancy I thought she was magic. Later, I began writing.  She read everything I put on paper and showered me with praise.  When I published Lady Sun she was a main force behind the fateful click of the 'Publish' button.


   When I wrote Taming the Telomeres, I found a certain comfortable location that I would hang out and write.  Where did you like to write Lady Sun during the writing phase, and how do you write, meaning do you type your material?


   I happen to live 38 miles from a city with a restaurant, additionally, I live in a wide canyon, the roads in and out of our land in the winter is always a struggle, if possible at all.  So I can't go to a coffee shop!  I hole up in my office, usually when the family is asleep.  It's like a secret job :) And I type everything.  Poorly.  I can tell you, the editing process for typos alone takes longer than writing the book!

    One of the characters (I won’t mention which…) had a carefully prepared travel kit, including a multi-tool and other important necessities.  Do you keep a kit like that, and did that inform how your character decided what went into the ever-important kit?


   The kit is real Richard. I wrote the contents of my own purse. I actually excluded some items to make it easier!  I travel with a full tool box in my truck and a med kit around every corner.  They all have staplers and superglue.  My husband once caught his finger in a planer and cut the tip off, I came off a horse and broke my pelvic bone in half, and my oldest son is a type one diabetic. I happened to have a wheel chair, crutches and an array of med supplies for all the accidents we seem to encounter.  Let's just say, we use our kits out here.  Often. :)

     There is a character, Lucas, who has a major role in your novel.  Is any man as perfect as Lucas?


   This is my favorite question, because I love the answer.  Yes. I married him, Lucas is modeled after my husband who is constant, loyal, sweet, crazy sexy, funny, and hands down the smartest person I have ever met.  He can build anything, fix anything and he is always smiling.  He is a terrific father and my best friend.  I am still madly in love with him. There are great men out there. It is not just a romantic fantasy :)

    Do you plan to continue to write novels in the romance fiction category, or would you consider another category, and if so, which one?


   Oh my gosh, my head is filled with stories.  I have fantasy stories I wrote back in the nineties I am considering publishing and some mainstream fiction that  I am dying to put on paper.  However, for now, I am sticking to Contemporary Romance.  I have Nameless coming out soon and two books planned after that.  Perhaps after they have had their say I will think about branching out. :)


Thank you for taking the time for this interview Marni and congratulations on your win of silver in the Readers Favorite awards!


   Any time Richard, I wish you the best with your own work going forward!

​Marni MacRae

Saturday, October 3rd 2015

Lisa Maurer with True Story Book Blog









   Describe Sophia in one sentence.


   Sophia is the girl who is easy to be friends with, she's lovely, fun, witty and a hard worker with some grit. 


   Describe Lucas in one sentence.


   Lucas is a loner by nature but has a lot of passion in his heart, he's loyal, steady and has waters that run deep.


   Favorite and least favorite scene to write in Lady Sun?   (Without spoiling! )


   Well my least favorite scene to write was recalling Lucas' past.  His ex is my least favorite character in all the land.
I have to say my favorite scene to write is the first love scene (no spoilers there right?  Lets just assume this is a romance and things are gonna get, um ... frisky :)), I re-read it to my husband three or four times, he couldn't get enough ;)


   What’s your guilty pleasure?


   Oh gosh, my list is too long.  I love Grey's Anatomy, it makes me cry. I secretly watch Dr. Who and ask for a TARDIS every year for Christmas, and I put my kids to bed early on Sunday-Funday so mommy can have some ... um, frisky time :)
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Every mother will claim their children and that is my first, of course, but aside from parenting I would say following through and achieving my dream of writing.  Lady Sun is an award winning novel and I am super proud of that :)

   If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?


   Tom Hanks.  I know, so many greats to choose from!  But I think Tom is great and would be fun to have drinks with and hang out.  He's my favorite actor, but if he was busy, I would love to chat with Abraham Lincoln.  Seriously cool guy :)


   Favorite Word and Least Favorite Word?
 

   Least favorite; Stupid.  We don't say stupid, it's a stupid word.
Favorite. Banana. Because it's fun to say and spell!  Also scrumptious, I mean isn't it a scrumptious word?


   Biggest fear?


   Losing a child, or dying before they are old enough to cope on their own.  Sorry, did this just get sad?  I meant to say spiders.  I am freaky afraid of 'em.


   Deepest regret?


   Not spending more time with my brother.  He passed away in 2012 and I will always wish I had visited more. Oh man, this interview is super sad!


   Favorite memory?


   My real, honest favorite memory is a frisky one and I can't put it on your blog, soooo, um, there is a moment where I achieved perfection. My husband and I got done putting in a corral on the barn, it was a hot day and we were walking back to the house and I looked around and saw what I had.  Healthy, happy children, a man who adores me and I him, horses, a cow, goats, dogs, chickens, the works.  I stopped right there and realized I wasn't chasing the dream.  I was living it.


   Worst flaw?


   Procrastination. Oh man, it's bad too.  I can procrastinate your socks off if it came to a duel.


   Most annoying pet peeve?


   Mine? I cackle like a witch when I am startled into humor. :) That I don't like in others?  Talking with food in your mouth. Come on people, swallow, then speak!


   If you could change one thing about yourself…what would it be?


   I would probably procrastinate about making that change, but when I got around to it I would dance more. For no reason.  On elevators, walking down the sidewalk, in my accountants office, waiting in line at taco time.  You know, dance!


Either/Or Questions:


   Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, but dark.


   Sophia or Lucas? Lucas Lucas Lucas!


   Warm or Cold? Hot, warm is not enough.  Never cold.  Cold bad.


   Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl.  


   Outdoor or Indoor? Outdoor, like waaaaay outdoor, like back forty where only you and earth and sunshine exist. No walls.

   

   Blondes or Brunettes? Well I was born a blonde and I hate go against my kind, but brunette.  Men and women.  I think it adds a sexy allure.


Ketchup or Mustard? Hmmmm... can I choose relish? 


   Coffee or Cocktail? Coffee, all day every day. Unless it's Funday-Sunday, then cocktails, and by cocktails I mean beer, good beer, or maybe a mimosa if it's a hot night. I hate choosing!


Texting or Calling? I am notorious in my circle for being terrible on the phone.  So texting, with copious smiley faces and exclamations.  And I do mean a lot. :)!!!

   Interview by Lisa Maurer