Monday, May 22, 2023

Daniel Castlewrite - The IAN Interview

Daniel Castlewrite

I’ve enjoyed science-fiction and fantasy as far back as I can remember. I watched movies and played video games that became more enthralling as technology improved. Over time, I became inspired by the infinite possibilities. Despite this, I never imagined that someday I would be capable of creating a story that others would enjoy reading. My perspective on life was largely influenced by my service in the military, becoming a parent, and obtaining a degree in psychology. Those milestones broadened my outlook, shifted priorities, and raised complex questions - such as ‘What drives human behavior?’ I also sought out people with experiences and perspectives different from my own. Not to prove them wrong, but to expand my own understanding. It is this culmination of ideas and perspectives, that finally gave me the confidence to write a book. So, for better or worse, I can proudly say that the worlds and characters in my works are inspired not only by my own worldviews but also by those of the people who were kind enough to share their stories with me.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Daniel Castlewrite: Helix Mysteries: The First Change is inspired by the interplay between fantasy, mythology, and modern technology. It explores the idea of what could happen if the creatures that have only existed in myths and legends suddenly began manifesting in the 21st century. Told from the perspective of the first human to evolve, the story touches on the fears, uncertainties, and frustrations of both those evolving and the ones closest to them. With an impending intergalactic invasion looming, Helix Mysteries also explores the societal and cultural impacts of a world that will never be the same. As science attempts to make sense of how everything fits, the truth about human history and even the origins of life are revealed… and they’re not what anyone would expect.

IAN: Is Helix Mysteries published in print, e-book or both?

Daniel Castlewrite: It is currently available in both print and e-book.

IAN: Where can we go to buy Helix Mysteries?

Daniel Castlewrite: Print and e-book are both available on Amazon. A print version can also be purchased from Barnes & Noble.

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Daniel Castlewrite: I definitely just wing it! This form of writing is unfortunately far more intensive when it comes to editing. However, it has spurred some of the most interesting concepts that I introduce throughout the book.

IAN: How long did it take to write Helix Mysteries?

Daniel Castlewrite: I began writing the story that eventually became HM: TFC in 2012. However, I did not commit to turning it into a book until around 2018. So, realistically, it took roughly four years.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Daniel Castlewrite: Since the story focuses on the mysteries locked away in human DNA, which is a double-helix – I thought Helix Mysteries would be an apt title for the series. “The First Change” clearly stemmed from the fact that most of the book is written from the perspective of the first human to evolve.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Daniel Castlewrite: Absolutely! Many of the characters make jokes or refer to concepts relating to my service in the military. I have also included several “easter eggs” for people who know me, especially for my daughter.

IAN: How is Helix Mysteries different from others in your genre?

Daniel Castlewrite: Admittedly, I would not be considered an “avid reader.” However, based on feedback and reviews from fans of both science-fiction and fantasy, Helix Mysteries is unlike anything they have read. Thankfully, in a good way. One key difference, based on a reader’s comment, was that “The creation story and the purpose of humanity are really unique.”

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Daniel Castlewrite: Definitely! I love to write and create unique story arcs. If my book(s) could sustain my life and travel, it would be a dream come true!

IAN: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Helix Mysteries?

Daniel Castlewrite: No, I am quite happy with how it turned out.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing Helix Mysteries and what was it?

Daniel Castlewrite: Yes, it has given me a newfound appreciation and respect for editors and professional authors. As much as I love writing the story, establishing a flow which keeps the reader engaged throughout, is no easy task. I have had to rearrange numerous chapters, so that the story unfolds throughout the book. Rather than in spurts that would either leave the reader bored or overwhelmed.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Daniel Castlewrite: Surround yourself with people who disagree with you and listen to their perspectives. Taking the time to genuinely understand perspectives that contrast your own ideas and beliefs enables you to create characters and engaging discussions. Plus, you never know what ideas will emerge.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Daniel Castlewrite: I am currently working on Helix Mysteries: The Second Suns. It is sequel to HM: The First Change. Tying off and expanding on the story arcs of several characters the second book sets up the new world with limitless opportunities for short stories – Helix Mysteries: The New World.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Daniel Castlewrite: Thank you!

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Hayley Reese Chow: The IAN Interview

Hayley Reese Chow is the author of Odriel's Heirs, the 2020 winner of the Florida Author Project, Wishing Shelf Book Award Finalist, and 5th place finalist in the 2021 Book Blogger Novel of the Year Awards. She is also the author of Into the Churn, a romantic YA sci-fi coming from Whimsical Publishing April 4th, 2023. When not falling head over heels into fictional worlds, her hat collection includes mother, wife, engineer, USAF veteran, reservist, four-time All American fencer, 100-mile ultramarathoner, triathlete, world traveler, book inhaler, and super nerd. Hayley currently dodges hurricanes in Florida with two small wild boys, her long-suffering husband, and her miniature ragehound.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Hayley Reese Chow: My latest book is a dual-POV young adult science fiction adventure coming from Whimsical Publishing on April 4th. Into the Churn tells the story of two young adults entering the Casolla system’s deadliest, and most lucrative, race in an attempt to save their stormy, backwater planet. As a string of mysterious accidents haunts the two racers and the bond between them grows, they’ll have to decide if their dreams are worth their lives. Walking in the footsteps of Hunger Games, Illuminae, and Skyward, Into the Churn features underdog heroes, slow burn romance, and high stakes sci-fi on a ruthless interplanetary stage where appearances are everything, speed means survival, and the only thing deadlier than the storms are the other racers.

IAN: Is your Into the Churn published in print, e-book or both?

Hayley Reese Chow: Into the Churn e-books are available on Amazon. Hardcovers are available on Amazon, B&N, and Whimsical Publishing. Paperbacks and special jacketed editions are also available on Whimsical Publishing’s website.

IAN: What inspired you to write Into the Churn?

Hayley Reese Chow: I spent my college years travelling nationally and internationally as a scholarship fencer and then my early twenties completing triathlons, ultramarathons, and adventure races, so I knew I wanted to write a book that centered on extreme sports and the culture that surrounds them. However, as a sci-fi junkie perpetually obsessed with Firefly, Star Trek Battlestar Galactica, and Star Wars, I also wanted to take that story to a new world full of exploration, gadgets, and new possibilities. Somewhere in that mix, Into the Churn was born.

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Hayley Reese Chow: With every book, I become more of a plotter. Now my outlines have grown to 10+ pages before I even start the first chapter. Even though… that doesn’t always mean I strictly follow them.

IAN: How long did it take to write Into the Churn?

Hayley Reese Chow: Writing Into the Churn took me roughly 3 months to write the first draft, and then roughly another 9 months to revise and edit.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Hayley Reese Chow: I love fast-paced action and dialogue, and those two things can definitely be found in spades in all of my books. In any kind of story, I might show up for the plot, but I stay for the interaction and growth between the characters, and it’s something I definitely pride myself on in my own writing.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Hayley Reese Chow: Okay, titles are tough for me. The working title for Into the Churn was actually The Belethea Race Royale… which was a bit of a mouthful. Into the Churn was a lot snappier and in this story it refers to the deadly storms that the teams of two have to survive in order to win the race, but it took me a few brainstorming sessions with my critique partners to come up with it. It’s always tough to come up with something both unique and descriptive!

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Hayley Reese Chow: Into the Churn has big themes of spreading your wings, learning to trust and rely on your friends, chasing your dreams, and understanding that you are more capable of so much more than you ever thought possible. I hope my readers take all of this away with them, and I hope it gives them inspiration and strength in their own lives.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Hayley Reese Chow: With each book, I think I put more and more of myself into these stories. In college, I was a scholarship athlete on the Notre Dame fencing team. My warm-ups were three sizes too big, the girl’s lockers were in the boiler room with a curtain of sheets hung around it, we had a string of student managers that took care of us like we were family, and my senior year, after three years of heartbreaking near misses, we managed to come together to win the national championship. All of those ups and downs, all the blood, sweat, and tears, definitely inspired Belethea’s Race Royale team, and it was so cool to really bring them to life with the touch of those personal experiences.

IAN: How is your book different from others in your genre?

Hayley Reese Chow: First of all, there isn’t a lot of young adult science fiction in the world, and that, in itself, is a travesty. Into the Churn is unique though because not only is it a sci-fi, but it’s also a sweet dual-POV romance, as well as an underdog sports hero story and even a pinch of a murder mystery. There’s a lot of elements layered in one epic, high-stakes adventure, so there’s a little something for everyone.

IAN: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Hayley Reese Chow: Big shout-out to Whimsical Publishing here! Honestly, I was really nervous about transitioning from self-publishing to a traditional small press, and entrusting my book-baby to someone else. But Whimsical Publishing has been so supportive and encouraging from day one. They took my vision for Into the Churn and made it indescribably beautiful—bringing it to life with character art, maps, book trailers, and more. The experience has totally blown me away, and I’m so grateful for all of their guidance and passion.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing Into the Churn and what was it?

Hayley Reese Chow: I was really nervous when I started this book. It was an ambitious plotline, and I love sci-fi so much, I really wanted to do the genre justice. It was also my first dual-POV story, and honestly both of those elements were so much fun. I never realized how much more relationship depth I could dig into when we get the story from both love interests. And while I tend to genre hop at the moment, it definitely reminded me of how much I love sci-fi, and I can’t wait to write another!

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Hayley Reese Chow: I just want to say thank you so much for reading and giving my books a look. As a self-published/small press author, your support makes a huge difference to me! And please consider leaving a rating or review if you can—even just a sentence or two helps get indie books out into the world, and I love hearing your thoughts! I appreciate you all so much!

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Hayley Reese Chow: I juggle several works in progress at once. I’m currently working on a young adult paranormal horror and a young adult romance, both of which I’m hoping to query later this year. But although Into the Churn is a stand-alone, with preorders going really well so far, the chances are looking good I might get to write the sequel I’ve been waiting to start on!

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Toni Cabell The IAN Interview

 Toni Cabell

Toni Cabell is a three-time B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, and her latest novel, THE LIGHTNESS OF WATER, won a 2022 Global Book Awards Gold Medal. She writes “skillfully plotted books packed full of magic, mayhem, and a plethora of dark secrets…”(The Wishing Shelf) Her fantasy books feature strong female protagonists, page-turning plots, and relatable characters that spring off the page.

Toni makes her home in a small village along the shores of Lake Michigan with her handsome husband and grumpy miniature schnauzer. When she told her fifth-grade teacher she wanted to be a writer, neither of them expected Toni’s journey to include stints as a nurse’s aid, personal banker, instructional designer, real estate broker, systems analyst, and youth director. Toni is thrilled to be an indie author and does at least half her writing in the middle of the night, which may explain her wild plot twists and unforgettable characters.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Toni Cabell: “Highlighted by a breathtaking romance, THE LIGHTNESS OF WATER is an exquisitely refined fantasy adventure that will keep you reading well into the night.” (Indies Today)

The only thing more dangerous than divining for water is falling in love with the enemy…

Solace is beautiful, strong-willed, and called the water witch by her neighbors. She divines for water in the arid hills of her home—a dangerous pastime across the border, where the king controls access to all the water. Rhees is brooding, bitter, and hiding a deadly secret. But he’s determined to find a way to help the thirsty people of his land—even if it means kidnapping the last living water diviner.

But divining for water is against the law, punishable by death. Should Solace risk everything—including her heart—in a daring race to find water, or flee across the hills at her first chance of escape?

Beauty and the Beast meets The Hunger Games in this thrilling romantic fantasy. Pick up THE LIGHTNESS OF WATER and be swept into a world of betrayal, mystery, and heart-stomping action.​​

**2022 B.R.A.G. Medallion Award**
**2022 Gold Medal, Best Fantasy Romance - Global Book Awards**

IAN: Is The Lightness of Water published in print, e-book or both?

Toni Cabell: My novel is available in print and e-book.

IAN: Where can we go to buy The Lightness of Water?

Toni Cabell: All my books are available on Amazon. Here’s the link for THE LIGHTNESS OF WATER:

IAN: Did you use an outline, or do you just wing the first draft?

Toni Cabell: I use a very high-level outline that contains some of the main beats or events of my story, and then I start writing.

I’m essentially a “pantser” – I write by the seat of my pants – which means I do a fair amount of rewriting and rework to ensure I’ve plugged any plot holes that might have developed when I was writing in the flow of the moment.

I’ve tried to write out detailed outlines for my books, but I never stick with them. My characters simply take over the story!

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Toni Cabell: According to my readers and reviewers, I write well-constructed fantasy stories populated with engaging, diverse characters. My writing style has been described as “clear” and “clean” – I tend to use the fewest words possible to convey my meaning. When I was in college, if the assignment was to write a 10-20 page research paper, you can bet my papers came in at the low end of that scale! 

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Toni Cabell: I think The Wishing Shelf summed it up best in their Five Star Review: “There were plenty of twists and turns to keep me turning the page, and the characters (the kind, the strange, and the mysterious) were interesting - even memorable…If you enjoy character-led novels with a strong element of suspense, THE LIGHTNESS OF WATER is for you. This is a stimulating and well-constructed fantasy. There’s not much not to like!”

IAN: How much of the book is realistic?

Toni Cabell: While THE LIGHTNESS OF WATER is a fantasy, the issues and conflicts faced by the characters are real enough: adversity, prejudice, greed, and tyranny. Solace and Rhees must overcome their mutual distrust—and their growing attraction—while their enemies are hot on their trail. Ultimately, this is a suspenseful coming-of-age tale populated with relatable characters.

IAN: What book are you reading now?

Toni Cabell: The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance Series) by Naomi Novik. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this dark YA fantasy series.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Toni Cabell: I started making up stories in my head when I was in elementary school and decided at an early age I wanted to be a writer. Storytelling has always held a special fascination for me—I loved listening to the stories of my immigrant grandparents, told around the kitchen table—and both my parents continued that tradition. Stories help us make connections, by seeing life through someone else’s eyes…and if we can do that, we develop empathy.

IAN: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Toni Cabell: Everything! And yet I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. The creative process is equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. The most difficult part for me is facing an entirely blank page and beginning a new story.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

Toni Cabell: Peter at Bespoke Book Covers has designed all my covers. He’s very talented and I think he’s done a remarkable job!

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing The Lightness of Water?

Toni Cabell: The battle scenes in THE LIGHTNESS OF WATER were especially challenging. They involved sword fighting on horseback and on foot, as well as slinging. I researched the ancient use of slingers in warfare because I wanted to portray Solace and her slingers as accurately as possible. I’m especially gratified by this reader’s Amazon review, “The building rebellion and battle are a joy to read and are realistic.”  

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Toni Cabell: Find a mantra that will help you through the rough patches, when your words seem to flee and nothing sits right on the page. I love Anne Lemott’s book, Bird by Bird, Instructions on Writing and Life. Whenever I’m stuck, I recall her father’s advice to her little brother, struggling to write a school paper on birds. Anne’s father told him, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” Anne applies that same advice to her writing—and so do I—you’ve got to take it word by word, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter. With persistence (and a great deal of editing, often done in the middle of the night), you will finish your book!

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Toni Cabell: Quite simply: thank you. I’ll say it again: thank you. While I love to write and take great pleasure in crafting a new story, writing is a very solitary pursuit. It can be isolating and even lonely. However, when my readers begin to react to my stories, when they actually engage by leaving reviews, or following me, or subscribing to my newsletter—wow, what a lift! I am deeply grateful to every one of my readers.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Toni Cabell: I have two works in progress at the moment!

THE WAY OF WATER, to be published in Fall 2023, picks up Solace and Rhees’s story on the eve of his coronation. An unexpected visitor arrives with an old claim that the new king must fulfill—but if Rhees follows through, he will lose Solace forever.

LADY REAPER, the fifth and final book in my Serving Magic Series, will be published in April 2023. “This series has everything I love…a powerful protagonist, a strong plot, dry humor… and rich details that transported me right into the story.” (Reader’s Favorite Review) Mara’s magic is broken, her fay boyfriend can’t give her the time of day, and the underworld has stopped processing ghosts. With chaos spreading everywhere, Mara needs a cure fast. Should she seek help from the king of the elves? You won’t want to miss this award-winning series!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

American Conspiracy by M. J. Polelle is On Sale

American Conspiracy by M. J. Polelle

Get a $0.99 Kindle copy at Amazon from January 14-20, 2022

Political Thriller

When a presidential election is thrown into Congress for resolution after the assassination of the presumed president-elect, Detective Jim Murphy of the Chicago PD teams up with Commissario Marco Leone and the new "backdoor-elected" president, Dallas Taylor, to confront a political conspiracy orchestrated by Sebastian Senex, a pharmaceutical tycoon, to take over a United States on the brink of chaos with a military coup.

“A stellar novel of action, adventure, and intrigue.” —Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author

Get your copy today.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Razi Imam -The IAN Interview

 Razi Imam

Razi Imam's debut novel MASTERS OF THE BROKEN WATCHES has won the 2021 IAN Book of the Year Award, 2021 Readers' Favorite Bronze Medal Award, and the 2020 American Fiction Book Award. In addition, his book is also listed as a finalist in The Wishing Shelf Book Award.

He has an uncanny knack of creating stories that are a cross-section of global cultures, mysterious science, human ingenuity and hard-hitting action adventure. His dream has always been to write books that would inspire readers to get involved in solving some of the greatest challenges faced by humanity such as hunger, poverty, illiteracy and disease. 

He is also the CEO of 113 Industries, an Artificial Intelligence company where his work in understanding human behavior inspire his stories.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Razi Imam: Master of the Broken Watches. An action adventure like Indiana Jones, a science adventure like Jurassic Park and a human feel-good story like Slumdog Millionaire.

Masters of the Broken Watches is a must-read.

Sebastian Miles and his team of marine biologists stare at their watches. Time outside their lab has jumped forward by twenty-two hours. Minutes before this illogical space-time event, they were analyzing a mysterious glowing nodule extracted from an unknown marine specimen.

News of this marine life reaches powerful governments, inadvertently triggering a race to hunt, capture and control it. But these governments and their nationalist leaders have never faced a team of scientists known as the Paramarines. They have no idea to what lengths Sebastian and his Paramarines will go in order to protect the species from capture and exploitation.

The first of a multi-book series, this genre-bending novel leaves readers on the edge of their seats. Thrilling like Blake Crouch and science-driven like Ted Chang, all approached in ways you’ve never seen before. A captivating adventure, a heartbreaking story of love, and a true display of human ingenuity and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds.

IAN: Is Master of the Broken Watches published in print, e-book or both?

Razi Imam: Both

IAN: Where can we go to buy Master of the Broken Watches?

Razi Imam: Amazon

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Master of the Broken Watches?

Razi Imam: I hope my readers would want the book to be true. I wish to inspire them to get involved in solving some our great challenges humanity faces today through the art of storytelling.

IAN: How much of the book is realistic?

Razi Imam: All the locations, such coffee shops, buildings, towns and villages are actual places one can visit. And the scientific research is real.

IAN: How is Master of the Broken Watches different from others in your genre?

Razi Imam: My book is multi-genre, it fits action adventure, science fiction and socio-political challenges. 

IAN: What books have most influenced your life most?

Razi Imam: Roots, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist.

IAN: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Razi Imam: Kazuo Ishiguro

IAN: What book are you reading now?

Razi Imam: Klara and the Sun

IAN: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Razi Imam: Everything. I am not a trained writer. I failed most of my grammar and English classes. Not sure how and when I developed the desire to write and now I love it.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Razi Imam: Balancing the time with my fulltime business. I feel strong sense of guilt if I ignore either of my passions.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Razi Imam: Relax and write. Do not be in a hurry. Enjoy the process. Let your mind go to places and experiences. It is a gift you have and don’t question your ability.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Razi Imam: The next book I am writing is book two in the series. It is called Masters of the Vanishing Walls. The story picks up from book one and the adventurer continues.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Tim Doyle: The IAN Interview

Tim Doyle is an award-winning political illustrator/humorist. Tim's acute eye for detail and resolve to present images truthfully has been developed by working as a commercial photographer/film maker in a previous career. During this time, Tim received numerous awards both nationally and internationally. By turning his creativity to political satire, Tim has been able to distill the broad range of political misfortune into an accurate portrayal of wrongs within the system. Tim's plans are to keep making the public aware so that change can happen, if only we are actively involved. As the late U.S. Representative and activist John Lewis said, "When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something! Do something! Get in trouble! Good trouble! Necessary trouble!"

Tim’s academic past has included a diploma in photography from the Center for Creative Studies, Detroit, a BFA in drawing from Wayne State University, Detroit, and a post-graduate diploma from the London Film School, London, England.

Tim resides between London, England and the US.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Tim Doyle: Welcome to the Swamp: An Illustrated Journey into the Deplorable World of Donald J. Trump is a relentless, cringe-worthy, boldly illustrated look at the foibles of the Trump administration, certain to grasp your sense of reality and throttle it. From talking trash on the toilet to giving a thumbs-up to the Capitol insurgents, Trump has astounded his admirers and critics alike.

This fly-on-the-wall book of political indiscretions allows the viewer to witness, without the danger of an inflicted Twitter rampage, the most abhorrent acts of self-interest by Trump and his cronies. Although it represents a sad state of affairs, Welcome gleefully pokes fun at the Cheeto-in-Charge and his ensemble of misfits. It is a compelling read that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

IAN: Is Welcome available in Print, eBook of both?

Tim Doyle:
Print only.

What inspired you to write Welcome to the Swamp?

Tim Doyle: Current events and the need to voice my opinion on what I found offensive in the previous administration.

IAN: How long did it take to write Welcome to the Swamp?

Tim Doyle: I was able to complete the book from initial concept to finished printing and distribution in just over 9 months.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Tim Doyle: The concept of Swampy Don was inspired by a Stephen Colbert interview with Jon Stewart on June 25, 2020. During the interview, the conversation turned to Trump’s nicknames for everyone within his realm. Whether friend or foe, the monikers remained derogatory. Dragging Trump into his own game and bandying about possible names, Stewart announced, “He’s not draining the swamp! He is the swamp! He’s Donald Swamp. Ol’ Swampy Don. With eyes fixed to the camera, Stewart implored the audience to forever refer to Donald Trump by his new name. Thus, was born the character of “Swampy Don” who is listed as the author of Welcome to the Swamp. Once I had the concept of Swampy Don it was easy to form a title around his view of the swamp and Donald Trump.

IAN: How much of
Welcome to the Swamp is realistic?     

Tim Doyle: 100%. The book is based on headlines and accompanying articles. Every headline/article is referenced with a date, name of publication and author/byline.

IAN: How is Welcome to the Swamp different from others in your genre?     

Tim Doyle: I don’t know if there are others that are similar in style. Most humor/satire is done in a conventional word-based approach. “Welcome” is primarily illustrations depicting the events of the day with accompanying headlines.

IAN: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Tim Doyle: Ralph Steadman and Gary Larson

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?  

Tim Doyle: Yes, definitely! I have found that creating an impact and possibly influencing peoples’ thought processes is stimulating and rewarding. As the late U.S. Representative and activist John Lewis said, "When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something! Do something! Get in trouble! Good trouble! Necessary trouble!"

IAN: Who designed the cover?

Tim Doyle: I designed both the cover (front and back) and the inside layout and illustrations.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing Welcome to the Swamp?   

Tim Doyle: Trying to keep up with current events. I had to know when to stop. There was so much political information to choose from it was difficult to pre-edit prior to illustrating.

IAN: Tell us about your next book. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Tim Doyle: 2021: A Year in Review: The Aftermath is a sequel to Welcome to the Swamp.

2021: A Year in Review: The Aftermath is a critical and irreverent retrospective of the political landscape of 2021. Although humorous in design, The Aftermath is a no-holds barred approach to stripping the skin off some of the most egregious offenses of the first year of the Biden administration. Witnessing Donald Trump's never-ending stranglehold on the Republican Party will have you gasping in disbelief and chuckling while trying to catch your breath. Whether you consider yourself Red or Blue, the illustrations and accompanying press articles will delight, enrage, elicit tears...and, hopefully, laughter as well. Enjoy the rollercoaster ride that was 2021.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

S.G. Blaise – The IAN Interview

S.G. was born in a faraway land of castles, monarchies and fallen dictatorships. Hollywood movies were forbidden under the Soviet oppression during her childhood, but her dad smuggled them in anyway, risking his life so that his children could experience the magic and hope inherent in those stories. She watched rebellions unfold in real time. Journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean for love. She ended up in sunny California, where she is living her dream - writing stories and annoying family members.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

S.G. Blaise: This is a coming-of-age story of Lilla. She is a not-your-average princess and a rebel-in-disguise, fighting for the refugee's freedom. The arrival of the mysterious and ruggedly-handsome Callum brings news of a bigger battle - the Era War between the two ruling archgods- that threatens not only Lilla's home world but everyone else's in the Seven Galaxies.

Lilla must learn to control her magic and defeat the dark god before He finds her - the last Lumenian.

IAN: Is The Last Lumenian published in print, e-book or both?

S.G. Blaise: Both. Ebook, paperback and audiobook as well.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your book?

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

S.G. Blaise: I did an outline, planning the scenes out ahead of time, but making sure to leave room for improvisation. I found that combining the two worked really well for me.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

S.G. Blaise: I aim to write in a vivid, movie-like style and prefer the first person POV. Sprinkled with humor and of course, with a little bit of romance.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading The Last Lumenian?

S.G. Blaise: I hope my readers come away entertained but also a feeling of excitement to embark on a journey with Lilla, following her as she discovers her true purpose and legendary powers. There is a lot more to come!

IAN: How is The Last Lumenian different from others in your genre?

S.G. Blaise: While The Last Lumenian is a fantasy action story, it also weaves together elements of fairytale, magic and mythology with science fiction, creating an original and complex setting for the main hero. The readers experience multiple storylines that allow them to be truly immersed inside the story and get to know Lilla and her world as if they are experiencing it themselves.

IAN: What book are you reading now? 

S.G. Blaise: I love reading Urban Fantasy books, Science fiction and even certain Historical fictions. I love reading stories that have humor and a little bit of romance in them. 

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

S.G. Blaise: Writing is my passion and storytelling is who I am. 

IAN: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

S.G. Blaise: At this moment, I feel as if I poured my soul into this story. Probably along with a pint of blood from all those papercuts.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

S.G. Blaise: I think it all started when I had a nightmare at age ten. I had a strong urge to write it down as a form of excising the dream’s terrible hold over me. But as I was writing it down, I was able to take the control back and change the story, morphing it into something that could have been even called entertaining. 

IAN: Who designed the cover?

S.G. Blaise: I had the fortune of working with Tim Barber from Dissect Designs. It was a lot of fun creating the cover that showcases the important elements of the story while also being eye-catching. It just won the Best Cover: Fiction category at the 2020 Annual “Best Books” Awards.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing The Last Lumenian? 

S.G. Blaise: I think the hardest part was not knowing how long writing the book would take. It turns out it took six years, and one more year to publish it.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing The Last Lumenian and what was it? 

S.G. Blaise: I feel like I’ve learned a lot from writing this book - about commitment, hard work and perseverance. About who I am and who I want to be. About how to enjoy the process and the journey. And most of all, about patience.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

S.G. Blaise: True Teryn: The Last Lumenian Book 2 is set to be released on December 10, 2021.