Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Charles E Yallowitz: The IAN Interview




Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.



IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is the 10th volume of my Legends of Windemere epic fantasy series, which sees that the heroes have been forced to split up.  The story focuses on Timoran Wrath, an honorable and wise barbarian who has been a constant source of stability for his friends.  To continue their journey, the champions must travel to Timoran’s homeland of Stonehelm and gain entry into the Snow Tiger Tribe’s holy land.  There’s just one big problem:

Timoran is an exile and returning home means he must stand trial for his sins that could lead to his execution.   Unwilling to do more harm to his people, he is ready to accept judgement and die for his crimes, which puts the champion prophecy at risk.  Lucky for Timoran, Luke, Nyx, and Dariana have their suspicions that something is not right in Stonehelm and refuse to let their friend die without a fight.

If this delay is not bad enough, the chaos elf army is on the march and the only way for them to return home is if their leader can claim Nyx’s head and raze Stonehelm to the ground.


IAN: Is Tribe of the Snow Tiger published in print, e-book or both?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  E-Book

IAN: Where can we go to buy Tribe of the Snow Tiger?

Charles E. Yallowitz: Amazon.com

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

Charles E. Yallowitz:  I’m a big planner when it comes to my stories because I want to make sure I lead up to certain plot and character evolution points.  So, I make outlines that break the chapters down into sections and use character bios to know where I want to go with them.  Do any of these plans stay intact when I start writing?  Not really, which means there is a ‘winging’ aspect of the first draft that makes sure the story flows naturally.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Yes and it’s Present Tense Third Person.  *ducks barrage of rotting vegetables* It isn’t really a common or popular style, but it’s what I feel most comfortable writing in.  This came about in high school because I was always switching tenses in my stories.  A teacher sat me down to help me realize where I was going wrong and break the habits.  This involved choosing one tense to stick with and I happened to pick Present Tense, which nobody told me was odd until I published my first book in 2013.  Honestly, this works best for my stories because I see them as visual scenes in my head.  This is why I use a lot of action and dialogue, especially since flashbacks and info dumps don’t work very well in Present Tense.

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

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Be even better if they’re excited for the next volume.  I write to entertain and draw out the proper emotions for the scenes.  So, I’m happy if a reader laughs at the jokes, tears up at the sad parts, and is on the edge of their seat during the action.  For me, one of the best things to hear from a reader is who their favorite character is or if a scene really stuck with them.

IAN: How much of the series is realistic?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  I write fantasy, so there is a lot of magic and monsters along with flashy fight scenes.  The realism comes about from how the characters react to events.  For example, I have no problem having a character cry when something makes them sad instead of them remaining the ‘stoic hero’.  Beyond that, the story is realistic within the rules of the world.  Writing fantasy requires that you make some basic laws and stick to them because consistency is key to world building.

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

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Fellow indie authors and bloggers.  Starting a blog was the best thing I did for my writing because it helped me connect with people in the same situation.  Unlike family and friends, these are people that have a full understanding of what I’m trying to do.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  If you’re asking if I’m a full-time author then yes.  Beyond that, it’s a rather complicated answer because ‘career’ sounds very sterile to me.  Writing is a path that I take a sense of accomplishment from and enjoy every day.  I guess I would say it’s the dream job more than a career.  Again, this is because the word has typically been used in a rather dull, just-earn-a-paycheck towards me by those that consider writing nothing more than a hobby.

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

Charles E. Yallowitz:  I loved writing and telling stories when I as 7, but my skills in other subjects were falling.  So, I always had a mild interest in telling stories that was kept to daydreaming and a few school projects until I turned 15.  My desire to be a zoologist died when I realized I would have to work with blood.  Around this time, I read a fantasy series called ‘The Books of Lost Swords’ by Fred Saberhagen.  Something about the world and how it came to life in my head made me want to do the same thing.  I spent a lot of my free time in high school designing my first fantasy world and the stories that would go along with them.  This ended up becoming Pre-Cataclysm Windemere instead of the main world.

IAN: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Only in my head.  Being a fantasy author, I don’t have any places to go to since the stories don’t take place on Earth.  Yet, I do try to make the environments realistic and work off my own experiences from the few trips I’ve taken.

IAN: Who designed the covers?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Jason Pedersen who is a tattoo artist out of Arizona.  He’s been doing the Legends of Windemere covers since the beginning.

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

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Since this is the 10th volume, the hardest part is to keep the characters evolving and make sure there is consistency with the previous books.  I have to keep a lot of notes to avoid creating any incongruities in Windemere, which readers seem to pick out really quickly.  This can be a reused monster that looks and acts differently with no explanation, characters forgetting previous learned information, location descriptions not matching up, and a lot of other traps that I would fall into if I simply wrote without thinking of what came beforehand.  Recently, I began going through the new outlines and making a file of any information that I would need to include from previous volumes.  This really helps with the monsters and locations.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Charles E. Yallowitz:  Have fun with your stories and listen to your gut.  If you feel like something isn’t going to work for the book then step back and think.  You might only have a partial idea that will evolve with a little more focus.  This goes for promoting your book too.  It’s good to step out of your comfort zone, but you need to make sure the promo is right for you.  People can tell when an author is uncomfortable, but might not mistake discomfort for not having faith in the product.

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

Well, I just finished a paranormal thriller that I’m going to post bit by bit on my blog in October.  Not really my genre, so I’m not confident enough to publish it.  Still, it makes for a fun series to do for a month.  Beyond that, I’m editing Legends of Windemere: Charms of the Feykin, which will be the 11th volume of the series.  This covers what happened to the other group of champions, who were left on a cliffhanger in the last book.  Those who survive Tribe of the Snow Tiger must go on a rescue mission to the southern jungles, but they are going to be surprised by what they find.  Their friends will not be the same people they remember and a new enemy will come closer to tearing the entire group apart than any other adversary.  One of my favorite parts about this story is that it brings closure and focus to many of the relationships that have been brewing for a while.


Steven Gossington: The IAN Interview



Steven Gossington is an emergency room physician (medical school - Baylor College of Medicine; residency - Georgetown University Hospital) with over 30 years of patient care experience. For 11 years, he was an academic professor in emergency medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, and he published 20 book chapters and medical articles of original research. His enjoyment of mystery and suspense fiction and his love of writing led to his first novel Fractured Eden, a psychological suspense story in which he draws upon his extensive experience with mentally ill emergency room patients. He can be contacted at StevenGossington.com.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

S. Gossington: In Fractured Eden, a doctor loses everything and attempts to reconstruct his career in a town filled with addiction and mental illness. Dr. Aaron Rovsing, Family Practice Physician, is fired from his medical practice in Connecticut because of alleged incompetence. After he flees from that nightmare and starts over in a strange town in East Texas, Aaron discovers that things are not as they first appear, and soon he must combat the deranged and addicted minds of the townspeople, some of whom test the doctor’s own sanity. Events take an even deadlier turn when he finds himself the next chosen victim of a serial killer who plans to add the doctor to his collection of notable skeletons. Aaron is aided by unlikely allies, who are themselves afflicted with mental illness or, in some cases, don’t even seem real. In this town of insanity and with a serial killer waiting to strike, how can Aaron, who is ill-equipped to deal with these bizarre challenges, manage to stay sane . . . and alive?

IAN: Is Fractured Eden published in print, e-book or both?


S. Gossington: Fractured Eden is available in paperback and e-book formats.

IAN: Where can we go to buy Fractured Eden?

S. Gossington: Amazon.com  and BarnesandNoble.com

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

S. Gossington: I did not use an outline. I started with my main character getting into a world of trouble and then having to deal with his sudden change of fortune. The story seemed to unfold as my protagonist met and interacted with other characters (allies and enemies) and as he reacted to various challenges and obstacles along his journey.

IAN: How long did it take to write the book?

S. Gossington: It took one year for me to complete the first draft and another six months for the revision process, which I completed with the help and advice of two literary experts: a developmental editor and a copy editor.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

S. Gossington: As the story developed, some of the characters took on paranormal (angelic or demonic) characteristics, and an underlying theme emerged in a “good vs. evil” battle. The setting for the story is a small town in southeast Texas next to the Big Thicket - a strange forest possessed of a spooky history. The Big Thicket is an evil place (the serial killer roamed in there) but had the potential, if good defeated evil, to become a beautiful place - like the Garden of Eden. When the doctor first arrived, he found the town to be troubled, fractured - thus the title Fractured Eden.

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

S. Gossington: No matter how dire the situation and no matter the eventual outcome, an ember of hope exists in everyone - hope that can elevate you above your circumstances and make you the hero of your own story.

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

S. Gossington: The mentally ill characters and the ER encounters in the story are based on patients that I have examined and treated in the past.

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

S. Gossington: My first writing was medically related: book chapters and medical journal articles. I discovered that I enjoyed the craft of writing, even more so if someone else enjoyed reading what I wrote!

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing Fractured Eden?

S. Gossington: The most difficult step was the revision process, which included applying fiction-writing techniques, such as “tension on every page” and “cut out the boring stuff,” and assuring that every sentence - every word - is what I wanted to say.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

S. Gossington: I’ve been attempting to write fiction for years - I’ve read instructional books about writing and I’ve attended numerous workshops. I think what finally got me to the next level (at least, I think I’m at that next level!) was working with quality editors who gave me specific advice pertinent to my needs and to my particular style of writing.

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

S. Gossington: My next book, to be published in winter 2016-17, is a murder mystery, which I plan to develop into a series.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sarah Stuart: The IAN Interview



I have a lot of interests and I’ve been very lucky to be able to follow them. Theatre, music, travel, history, and wildlife conservation probably seem an odd mix, but they do come together in the one thing I love most: writing. I was thrilled when my first two novels, Dangerous Liaisons and Illicit Passion, received five star ratings from Reader’s Favorite. Dangerous Liaisons was also a romance finalist in the Independent Authors Network Competition 2015.









IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

S. Stuart: Illicit Passion: An Erotic Romance Saga is the second book in the Royal Command trilogy, but it’s written to be read as a standalone. Lisette Marsh, a Broadway superstar, is approached by a man from her past who blackmails her with the threat to reveal that she bore a child of incest. Sixteen years later she escapes him and flies to Paris, where she joins her father, and ex-lover, for a concert tour of Europe, and he, with the help of the whole family, puts into action an audacious plan to set her free. Their daughter, Harriet, finds out the truth and vows vengeance on all who conspired to register her birth as the twin of the man she loves but cannot marry. Readers’ Favorite reviewer, Janelle Fila said: “Author Sarah Stuart handles the serious nature of the theme well and readers will love the soap opera quality of this story. The characters are larger than life, beautiful, glamorous and glitzy, but have their demons and secrets. Getting to know those secrets and peeling back the layers that lie beneath the superstar glamour is the fun of the story, and readers will really appreciate this incredible journey.”

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


S. Stuart: Both

IAN: Where can we go to buy Illicit Passion?

S. Stuart: viewbook.at/ILLICITPASSION  Is a link that takes potential readers to the Amazon purchase site in their own country, where there is a choice of eBook or print.

IAN: What inspired you to write the Royal Command trilogy?

S. Stuart: Actually, it’s who not what. I’ve been involved with show business for many years but the idea for the first book, Dangerous Liaisons, which underpins the trilogy, was a chance meeting with an international superstar of stage and screen. He told me a very personal story about how long partings affect a marriage, especially when children are involved. It started me wondering “what if” and Lizzie and Michael’s tempestuous love story developed from that.

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

S. Stuart: I start with a rough idea of what is going to happen, and I do a lot of research. Once the characters begin to “live” they take over and I think that shows: a number of reviewers describe my books as character-driven. I’m not sure if the readers realise just how character-driven; once they’re grounded, their actions and reactions turn the plot upside-down and inside-out.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?
 
S. Stuart: I use the third person so that I can show the story from more than one point of view. I use four in Illicit Passion: Michael, Lisette, James and Harriet. The ones I use in a specific chapter have their own section and I open it by using their name: after that, only other characters involved in the scene are named, frequently, to ensure it’s clear who is speaking, or doing something.

IAN: What book are you reading now?

S. Stuart: Til Death Us Do Part by Jan Sikes. I read the first three books in the series and bought this one the day it was published.

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

S. Stuart: No. I’m happy with Illicit Passion. I made several changes to Dangerous Liaisons, to ground all three books more. Writing novels is a learning curve, even though I had published short stories and articles previously.

IAN: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

S. Stuart: I travel around the UK; the family settings in all my books to date are London and Scotland, including those associated with the historical thread back to Margaret Tudor, James IV of Scotland’s queen. Otherwise I use places I’ve already visited, as I did for Michael and Lisette’s concert tour of Europe in Illicit Passion. I like to absorb the atmosphere and picture the lives of the people who live, or have lived, in a country or city; my husband is the photographer and leaflet collector.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

S. Stuart: Employ a professional editor/proofreader. I prefer the freedom of self-publishing but authors are so close to their own work they read what they expect to see.

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

S. Stuart: The message behind incest, the central theme in the Royal Command trilogy, is that we should be slower to condemn and more prepared to forgive. It isn’t right, even between consenting adults, and I don’t glamorize or condone it; I show the shame and heartache it causes.

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

S. Stuart: Dynasty of Deceit will be the final book in the Royal Command trilogy: like the others, it will be a standalone. I plotted it over the winter and I was writing the first draft throughout a discussion about Illicit Passion on Goodreads in April. Readers’ comments and questions told me which characters interested them most, and why, and that was very useful information. In a family saga it’s inevitable that older characters will die and new ones either marry into the family or be born. Michael remains eternally popular, but there were many questions about Harriet, Kit, and little-known young Greta. All of them feature in Dynasty of Deceit.