Sunday, January 30, 2011

Steam Punk Romance Author Susan Hanniford Crowley Discusses Her Newest Book, "Mrs. Bright's Tea Room."

Scribal Love Welcomes Susan

Susan Hanniford Crowley is an author of paranormal romance. Her newest work Mrs. Bright’s Tea Room has been published by Tease Publishing LLC and is available from All Romance Ebooks.

What is the name of your latest book?  And how did you come up with the title?

My latest book is Mrs. Bright’s Tea Room.  I came up with the title in a dream but I think it was influenced by the custom my gal pals and I have of celebrating each other’s birthday in a tea room.  A tea room has tradition and certain proprieties, and I thought it humorous to use that term in a completely unexpected way. 

What is this book about?  And what genre is this book in?
The book is a steampunk romance, which means it is alternate history with science fiction elements.  I chose the Victorian Age, which took a lot of research.  I wanted elements to be true, especially since I made Queen Victoria a character.  

The book is about a middle class young woman who is in dire straits and has no choice but to work in Mrs. Bright’s Tea Room.   The plot focuses on her meeting her first character the dashing Airship Captain Travers.

Who is/are the main characters?  And why did you choose them?

Euthalia James is the young woman who desperately needs to earn enough money to free her father from debtors’ prison.  Those prisons were horrible places where people easily died, especially if they were from a middle class background.  

Captain Travers is our handsome, dashing, swashbuckling hero, the captain of a cargo airship that transports spices and other fine items from the Orient.  He’s a man of secrets, one of which is that he is a spy for Queen Victoria.  He’s Euthalia’s first customer.   

I chose Euthalia because of her range of emotions and talents.  I think all of us are capable of using undiscovered talents when placed in unexpected talents.  I loved the idea of a airship captain that is also a spy.    

What is the coolest or best part about your book?  (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc..)

I loved researching Queen Victoria’s time and merging that with an alternate history where that set the clock ahead on the use of steam in the form of steam carriages and dirigibles.  I also loved the automatons or clockwork robots of steampunk.  I used so much of real history and altered it a bit.  It was a lot of fun.  My favorite bit was when Travers introduces Euthalia to the queen.  Another secret is revealed about him.  It was tremendous fun to write.

Do you have a favorite character in the book?  If so, why?

I adore Captain Travers, because not only is he handsome but he treats people well regardless of their station in life.  He’s brave and strong and at other times amazingly tender and considerate.  When he falls in love, he’s wonderfully fun and gentle, and yet robust and exciting.  Travers is always a surprise and in a good way.

Is this book part of a series?  If so? What can we expect in future books? 

I don’t know yet.  I’m considering it.  Right now, I have made promises considering my vampire romance series, Vampires in Manhattan, and have to finished those first. 

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

Not really.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  It’s fun.  It’s Victorian.  It’s the outrageousness that is steam.  It’s sexy and yet incredibly romantic.  

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

I learned that I could probably write historical.  I loved researching the Victorian age and especially Queen Victoria.   I love, love, love the clothes.  I also love some of the preconceived notions that people have about the manners of the time.  I went to two experts to get the facts.   The people of the time were only outwardly proper.   Behind closed doors was another matter.  

Do you have a publisher?  And if so, why did you choose them? 
I’m published with Tease Publishing LLC.  I queried several agents and some publishers, and Tease fell in love with When Love Survives, which is my paranormal romance ebook about two supernaturals who through their efforts as rescue workers at the World Trade Center fall in love.  The book also introduces David Hilliard, my principle vampire in the Vampires in Manhattan series. 

I choose Tease because they fell in love with my work, and I’ve been happy with them.

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

I’m a member of SFWA and RWA. I’ve had several mentors.  Marion Zimmer Bradley was my editor and mentor.  Currently I have Thea Devine in CTRWA as my mentor.  My critique partner a.c. Mason from Toronto RWA also advises me.

What books are you reading now?  

I’m reading The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, and I just finished reading The Mortal Touch by Inanna Arthen.  Both are vampire books.

What current writing projects are you working on?

I’m writing another novel about the Vampires in Manhattan.  I tend to keep projects close to me until they are finished, submitted, and accepted.

Do you write full time?  If not, do you hope to do so one day?

I work a part-time day job and write every possible second the rest of the time, so I suppose you can say that I write full time.  I don’t make a living at it yet.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was eight, I had a teacher that started the class on journaling.  I wrote about squirrels.  

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Going deeper and deeper into the characters and their world.  I find that writing is a constant evolution of the writer.  There is a point where you have written the story as well as possible in that moment in time.  Then you let it go.  When you look at your writing years later, it will be different, more evolved, a direct reflection of your evolution as the writer.

Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time?

Find an excellent critique group that will help you grow.  In Science Fiction and Fantasy, there is Critters (an online group).  In Romance, it’s more than worth it to join RWA, just for the wonderfully helpful and practical articles in their magazine.  I also below to CTRWA, my local chapter (which has a critique group), and FF&P, which is an online chapter of the RWA for Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal writers.   I belonged to Romance Critters (an online critique group) and found my critique partner there.

Thank you, Clare, for having me.  

You are welcome!  Thanks for dropping by!

Susan has six ebooks, including her novel about a storm caller and a vampire called The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais, is available as an ebook, Kindle, and also a limited edition print book through her website at

All her books can be purchased at

She can be found on Twitter::

Nights of Passion Blog:


All my ebooks can be found at

To find out about her special contests, booksignings, and appearances, subscribe to her Newsletter by emailing her at onlyladyknight(at)yahoo(dot)com and putting “Newsletter” in the subject.  

Friday, January 28, 2011

Paranormal Romance and Horror Fiction Author Liz Strange Discusses Her New Work, "Born of Blood and Retribution"

Scribal Love Welcomes Liz Strange!

Liz Strange is an author of paranormal romance, fantasy and horror fiction. Her newest work Born of Blood and Retribution (Book 3: The Dark Kiss Trilogy) will be available from Lyrical Press in 2011.

So where do you hail?  Where are you from?

I live in Kingston, Ontario where I was born and raised.

What inspired you to write this book?

 I was inspired by my love and fascination of vampires, and my search for some darker tales in the ‘paranormal romance’ genre. I am a huge horror enthusiast, and I love ancient history and mythology, which all play a part as the series unfolds.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I will say that I am on the darker end of the spectrum for the paranormal genre, but I don’t know that I can cleanly define my style.

What is the name of your latest book?  And how did you come up with the title?

I am working on the final book of my Dark Kiss Trilogy, entitled Born of Blood and Retribution. The title comes from the circumstances surrounding the making of the world’s first vampire.

What is Born of Blood and Retribution about?

It’s about the world’s first vampire and her disapproval of the current state of vampire kind. All the world’s immortals, including the characters readers have come to know and love from the fist two books, are summoned before her and given an ultimatum. It ties up loose ends, give more back story to some of the less-defined characters, and it gave me a chance to incorporate my love of world mythology.

What books have influenced your life most?

Oh, that’s so hard. Interview with the Vampire made a huge impact on me, as did The Picture of Dorian Grey and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Did you find the idea of having your work published for others to read intimidating?  If yes, why?  If no, why not? 

I did find it intimidating, it’s opening yourself up for scrutiny and disapproval. But it has also been very rewarding. I have been touched by the comments and direct correspondence from many of my readers. I understand that my books are not for everyone, and I’m ok with that.

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

Again, that’s so hard. I don’t think I can choose just one.

What books are you reading now?

I have not read anything new in so long. I’ve been busy working on edits and finishing three other projects. I just picked up the new Karin Slaughter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’m looking forward to reading both.

What are your current projects?

After Born of Blood and Retribution I have two other books coming out. The first, The Embrace of Life and Death is an erotic (m/m) fantasy/sci-fi story following the forbidden relationship between an angel and a vampire. It’s an offshoot of the Dark Kiss Trilogy as it involves a couple of the secondary characters from that series. The other is a light paranormal romance called Love Can be Dangerous to Your Health.

Do you find that international audiences are different from your home or native country's audience? 

I’ve seen a lot of interest and support from both Great Britain and Australia, which surprise and humbles me. I still find it amazing that someone who lives around the world from me knows who I am.

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. I spend as much time on writing and writing-related activities as I do at the DDJ. It would be awesome to have writing as my only “job”.

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

I don’t think so. I’m very happy with how all three books in the series have turned out. I had a great critique partner and an awesome editor who was really on board with my vision.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My mom says I used to write before I could physically put pen to paper. I used to dictate stories to her.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding enough time. I have full-time day job and four children, so time is precious.

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

I learned how hard the process to getting your idea into a reader-acceptable format really is. It’s amazing all the work that goes into preparing a novel for publication.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up! It’s a hard business and there will be lots of rejection, but you only need one yes to make things happen.

Thanks Liz for Dropping by!

You can find Liz on the web at:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Contemporary Romance "In Love and War" by Suzanne Barrett

Scribal Love Welcomes Suzanne Barrett.  She is the author of the Contemporary Romance set in rural Ireland called, "In Love and War" from Turquoise Morning Press.

Editor's Note:  Scribal Love has found out that strangely enough that this story was at one point too controversial for New York Publishing Houses. 

In your mind's eye, picture a small country village in Ireland with the ruins of an abandoned castle in the distance. 

Tell us a bit about YOU that our readers might not know. 

Some years back, I left Corporate America and an engineering job to write full time and haven’t looked back. I live in the country, raise chickens, garden and make jewelry and sell at arts and crafts shows.

What made you want to become a writer?

Suzanne: I have always written: essays, short stories, correspondence with pen pals. I’ve been reading since I was three. My inspiration for wanting to create my own stories was LaVyrle Spencer’s HUMMINGBIRD.

Do you write under a pen name?

I use my own name.

As authors, we love all of our characters.  Is there a certain type of character that is easier to write than another?

I love the tortured hero, the shy and serious heroine (who is usually a reflection of me, or at least a facet of me). Both are easier for me to flesh out than the humorous or quirky.

Do you read in the same genre that you write in?

I love romance and romantic suspense, occasionally, the thriller. I write contemporary and historical and am currently working on my first romantic suspense.

Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

I’m definitely a morning person, up before dawn and writing, checking email with my cup of coffee. If I’m teaching water aerobics, I’m out of the house by 6:45 and back again by 10:30. The rest of my day is divided between writing, editing, working on jewelry and general home/garden tasks. I read and review in the evenings and usually go to bed by nine. With this kind of schedule, that leaves no time for TV. I catch the occasional British mystery on DVD.

Most of us have pretty vivid imaginations when it comes to story lines. Where do your story ideas come from?

From an amazing number of places. 
For my May release, which is about a female structural engineer who’s sent to England to work on an antenna support platform, I got the idea while working on...wait for antenna support platform in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Once, I took an unknown mountain road that dead-ended at a cattle guard with a dirt road winding down to a house, almost obscured from view. I did some what ifs: what if it was a dilapidated old Victorian lived in by three women and in need of a handyman? What if this handyman was an Irishman one step away from being found by ICE and deported­a man who needed to hide? 

For my upcoming release "IN LOVE AND WAR," January 24th from Turquoise Morning Press, I spent part of a winter in County Waterford researching a number of things for some articles I was writing for Irish publications. 

I had just interviewed a dairy farmer and cheesemaker, and then while there saw a program on RTE about a female farmer who single-handedly ran a sheep farm. Bingo,  I had my heroine’s occupation, plus the plausibility! Interestingly enough, nearby was a converted castle keep that was being rented out. It became my heroine’s and the place where her lodger, my embittered war correspondent, comes to heal. What if his hatred of bloody, centuries-long conflict was his Achilles’ heel, and the heroine came from an Irish Republican family with secrets? Wow! I had my story.

IN LOVE AND WAR is truly the book of my heart. It was twice a Golden Heart finalist manuscript, but because of the Irish conflict, unsalable to New York. Quinn Lawlor comes from a privileged family, his father a flag-waving pro-Republican Irishman who emigrated to the United States and who hasn’t forgotten the Cause. Quinn, on the other hand, has spent years trying to put it behind him and is estranged from his Irish political father. Because of this, Quinn is deeply apolitical and carries a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder for any group that espouses violence. Meaghann Power comes from a family with an IRA background, one with secrets to hide. She is exactly the kind of woman he should not love. Meaghann, older than Quinn, lives in a tight-knit village where gossip could ruin a life...hers. Dare she give in to the attraction that simmers between them? An attraction that could spell disaster for him as well as for her?

Writing about the conflict seemed natural. For four years I was the Ireland for Visitors Guide, and I ’ve been a student of Irish history for years (I have a five-foot-wide, floor-to-ceiling bookcase with nothing but Irish history and culture books.) I made numerous visits to Ireland and managed to get interviews with people who wouldn’t open up to the average tourist.

"It was twice a Golden Heart finalist manuscript,
 but because of the Irish conflict, unsalable to New York."
Quinn is the perfect tortured hero who’s had his career jerked away from him.  Meaghann is the typical care giver, a woman afraid of growing old before her time but who has had to bear all the responsibility in her family with none of the rewards.

I would love for my readers to tell me how this setting and story resonates with them. Do they feel Meaghann’s struggle? Can they forgive Quinn his prejudice? Is the village of Timnagh real to them? What about the secondary characters? And most importantly, from the interview and following snippet, would they want to read this book?

IN LOVE AND WAR excerpt:

County Waterford - 1993

     Father Donovan returned and directed Meaghann into his study. "Now," he said, lowering his robust frame onto an overstuffed chair, indicating she should do the same. "Tell me about this boarder. I trust you're...having no difficulty?"

     Meaghann sank into the opposite chair. "I've rented out the keep. Uncle Tom suggested it, and it seemed a good idea. It's working well. And Quinn-- "

     The priest took the tray from the elderly housekeeper and set it on a table. "Oh, thank you Mrs. Aherne." He poured two cups of tea and offered one to Meaghann.

     "Quinn, you say?" he asked after settling back in his chair. "Have I met the fellow?"

     Meaghann cast an uneasy glance at the priest's piercing eyes. Clear and questioning--definitely questioning. "Quinn Lawlor. His family left Timnagh in the sixties. You might remember his father, Patrick."

     "Hmmm. I'd just come down from Maynooth then," the priest mused. He took a bite from a square of cake on his plate. "Yes, of course I remember Paddy. A firebrand if ever I saw one." His brows formed a continuous line across intense blue eyes. "Not unlike his son, I'm told. A man in a dangerous occupation."

     "Then you know about Quinn."

     Father Donovan contemplated the cup of tea in his hand. "Just what I hear--that he's a war correspondent. I've seen a piece or two about him. Perceptive young man, so they say."

     "He's writing a book, now--since his accident."

     "Why haven't I seen him at Mass?"

     "He's...busy, I guess."

     The bushy brows rose. "Too busy to keep the sacraments?" The priest subjected her to a precise scrutiny. "My dear girl, you realize that having a man living on your property will cause tongues to wag."

     Meaghann twiddled the strap on her shoulder bag. "Tongues wag whether there's cause or not. I intend to pay it no mind, Father."

     "Just so long as you know what you're inviting. I'll not see God mocked in my parish. 'Tis easy for a woman alone to be beguiled by a man such as that one."

     A chilling silence settled over the room. "What do you mean 'such as that one'?"

     "Read the paper, my girl. Your lodger has a fair reputation with the ladies."

     Meaghann plunked her cup and saucer down on the tray. "His life is his own business, Father. Not mine."

      The priest tented pudgy fingers over the black worsted wool of one thigh. "The one that wears the shoe knows where it pinches, girl. See you remember it." His fleshy lips thinned. "We don't need another Sean Foley. One fool in a parish is enough."

Thank you Suzanne for Dropping By!

You can find Suzanne Barrett on the web at:

my website:

My Irish website:
My jewelry website:
My blog:

Her books: Late Harvest

In Love and War - 1/2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We Welcome Mary Abshire As She Discusses Her New Paranormal Erotica Novel, "Claiming the Evil Dead"

Scribal Love Welcomes Mary Abshire!

Mary Abshire is an author of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.  Her newest work "Claiming the Evil Dead" is available from Noble Romance Publishing. 

What is the name of your latest book?  And how did you come up with the title?

Claiming the Evil Dead. How I came up with the title...I made a short list of possible titles based on what the main character is going to do in the book, thought about them, and decided. Nothing too difficult. (smile)

What is this book about?  And what genre is this book in?

Paranormal Erotic Romance or Paranormal Romance.  The main character, Jessie Garrett, is half-demon and she  catches evil souls and sends them to Hell. She has a somewhat normal life and doesn’t trust other supernatural creatures. 

A sexy vampire, Drake, finds her and offers her a job to claim the soul of an evil vamp. She accepts his offer. Needless to say, they have a few problems as they search for the evil vamp and she discovers she is attracted to Drake. 

Then she bumps into a hot demon, Jeremy, who causes more problems, but also helps her. Besides dealing with evil spirits, vampires, and demons, she has plenty of her own internal conflicts to deal with. 

Who is/are the main characters?  And why did you choose them?

Jessie Garrett is the main character. Drake, an vampire, is the second main character. Jeremy, a full blooded demon, is another important character. 
I wanted someone good, bad, and in the middle. I'm not saying which fits which. (Guess)

What is the coolest or best part about your book?  (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc..)

There are several scenes that I like--when Drake and Jessie leave together, when Jessie meets Jeremy, when Jessie falls for Drake, when Jessie almost dies...twice. I think I might be giving away too much info here.

Do you have a favorite character in the book?  If so, why? 

Yes. Jeremy. He's twisted, fun, and always causing trouble.

Is this book part of a series?  If so? What can we expect in future books?  

Yes. The soul catcher series. The second book is Catching an Evil Tail and it involves werewolves. I'm working on finishing the third, Fighting Evil. Jessie struggles for her life, basically. I have an idea for the fourth book. There are so many evil souls in the world...

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

I think I would introduce other supernatural creatures that have a connection to Drake. People connected to him would come in handy for future books that I have in mind.

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

I learned to have patience and not to give up. I was told numerous times from agents and editors that they loved my premise. I still got rejections over and over again. 

Then I went back and made minor edits. I got a quick response from Noble and here we are today.

Do you have a publisher?  And if so, why did you choose them?  

Noble Romance Publishing is my publisher. I reviewed several publishers and I liked what Noble Romance had to offer. They have great books, cover art is excellent, and they are growing.

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

Kim Harrison and Jeanine Frost. Two completely different styles, yet both are excellent.

What books are you reading now?  

Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur

What are the current writing projects that you are working on? 

Besides the soul catcher series, I have an Urban Fantasy novel I plan to submit in 2011. It will be in a series. 

Do you write full time?  If not, do you hope to do so one day?

No, I don't write full time. I wish I did. I'd love to write full time one day. My goal is to retire at 50 and write full time.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was a teenager, (computers weren't in every home) I was actively involved in the pen-pal world. I didn't write stories, but I loved writing and staying connected to people. I loved reading vampire books. 

I've always had an interest in paranormal. A few years ago, I decided to take writing seriously. I wrote a piece of crap, but I kept writing. I can't seem to stop now. (smile)

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Making motivations clear are sometimes a challenge. I have to step back or put it aside for a while. When I revisit the piece, I usually see the error of my ways. 

Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time?

Never give up submitting your work. Read and write EVERY day! Set goals, reasonable ones. In my opinion, it’s ok to go to a publisher instead of an agent. '

The market is changing so fast and there are very good publishers looking for stories. Opportunities are here for writers. As always, you have to do your homework and find out which publisher is best for your wants/needs.

Thanks Mary for Dropping by!  

You can find Mary on the web at:

Friday, January 21, 2011

British Author Linda Acaster and her Paranormal Historical Thriller, "Torc of Moonlight"

Scribal Love Welcomes Linda Acaster!

Linda Acaster is a British author of long and short fiction across an array of genres. Her newest ebook  ‘Torc of Moonlight : Special Edition’, is the first in a trilogy of thrillers linking the present to the Celtic past.

So where do you hail from?  

Yorkshire, England, UK. I grew up in Kingston upon Hull, a northern city port of 300,000, which looked more to the sea as a route of communication than to roads to join it to the rest of the country. That sense of the insular, of being apart, has always fed my writing. I live only 20 miles away now, in a small seaside town within walking distance of rural countryside.

What inspired you to write this book?

A walk in that countryside, or several walks. I love maps, and in the UK we have Ordnance Survey maps which mark things such as electricity pylons and whether a church has a steeple or a tower, alongside natural features like shale cliffs and forestry plantations. And named ancient springs. It was the frequency these named springs kept popping up that led me to the research that led me to the novel.

Do you have a specific writing style? 

I’m a ‘show’ writer. I get behind my viewpoint characters’ eyes and live in their thought patterns. I take readers through night terrors and good and bad decisions, always with the unspoken ‘so what would you have done in the circumstances?’ In Torc of Moonlight SE the language has been described as rich and powerful, but in some of my other work it can be minimalist and staccato. It depends on the genre I’m writing and the narrative voice of the viewpoint character/s. Overall, if readers expect pages of description of what my characters look like or wear, then they’ll be disappointed. I don’t do fashion catalogue.

How did you come up with the title?

From the research. A torc is a neck-ring of twisted gold worn, in this case, by Romano-British Celts. The British Museum in London has lots on display and they are truly beautiful. They were an emblem of authority and were often sacrificed to goddesses of water shrines, of which Britain still has many, some Christianised, some not. Seasonal religious festivals of the period were scheduled to phases of the moon and, despite Torc of Moonlight SE being a contemporary novel, the one fits with the other. There is a paperback available, but the ebook is the Special Edition because it carries bonus material: research articles, an interview, and an opening excerpt of Book 2 in the trilogy The Bull At The Gate.

What is Torc of Moonlight : Special Edition about?

In short, the resurrection of a Celtic water goddess which, if you live in the UK, isn’t as bizarre as it sounds. Have you tossed coins into a wishing well? So who do you think is listening? And if you don’t think anyone’s listening, why are you tossing coins into it? Making some sort of sacrifice to water is built into our DNA. We have a need to do it, be it in a steel and glass shopping mall, a verdant rural setting, or even in the crypt of York Minster where an excavated Roman culvert still runs damp.

Not far from where I live is an ancient spring referred to on maps as Old Wives Well. A Roman road, invariably straight, was dog-legged so as to pass by it. The road no longer exists, reclaimed by Nature, but the spring still bubbles up pure water, and in the shrubs surrounding it hang tiny offerings. It’s an eerie place, featured obliquely in the novel. History is all around us here, mere inches beneath our feet, and it has a way of insinuating into our present, for good or ill. 

Is it a single or multi-layered storyline?

Triples and triads were powerful elements in Celtic life, so I’ve followed this through with the storylines, which is why it is written in multiple third-person viewpoint. The main storyline concerns Nick and Alice’s relationship, which continues through the trilogy. He’s a normal beer-drinking, sport-playing, nineteen year old student, she determined to rediscover a forgotten Celtic water shrine she knows is in the area. Their parallel storyline focuses on a lascivious tutor with a past that comes to haunt him through an ex lover, and the binding storyline is of a Romano-British Celt trapped in the limbo of the present. How he came to be in this state, and what it means for the present day characters, unfolds backwards as the novel progresses forwards.

So is it a man’s or a woman’s novel?

LOL! Do you mean, is there a romance? Most definitely, and it follows through the trilogy to its HEA ending. But a Celtic water goddess was a fertility goddess, so the novel examines the differences between the uplifting qualities of ‘making love’ and the corrosive qualities of ‘having sex’. The paperback was well received by both female and male readers, but I wouldn’t suggest it’s a novel to be gifted to a fourteen year old.

What books are you reading now? 

Planks and Other Timber by Michael Deane-White. I don’t often read poetry but the juxtaposition of language and caustic judgement I’m finding incisive, and he’s doing it in so few words, always a wonder to a novelist. The Doll Makers by Penny Grubb. This British PI crime won the international Debut Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association. It’s set in my area and I’m intrigued to see how another author tackles the landscape. On the story front, I can see why it won the Debut Dagger. 

What are your current projects?

I continue to bring my print backlist to ebook as an indie author – I received a Kindle from Father Christmas this year and it’s a wonderful invention – and I’m working on a fiction/non-fiction writers’ manual which explores techniques used in writing short fiction. And there’s Book 2 in the Torc trilogy to finish, The Bull At The Gate.

Do you find that international audiences are different from your native country's audience?  

I’m not sure yet. There seems a reluctance among US readers to try novels not set in the USA. If the storyline appeals, British readers are happy to pick up novels set in Alaska or New Mexico or Idaho. Perhaps it’s because US culture bombards us at every turn so we feel an affinity with it, but the same doesn’t happen so much in reverse. I was watching a programme about Scandinavian crime fiction not too long ago, and it brought it home to me that I’d only read one of the authors when these countries are just across the North Sea from me, whereas I’ve read a lot of American crime authors and we’re separated by an ocean.

Do you see writing as a career?

I’ve always seen writing as a career, even when it didn’t bring in any money. The need to be professional is an attitude of mind. All authors vie for readers’ attention, big names and unknowns. Why shoot yourself in the foot by not spending care and attention on your work? It’s liable to follow you around for the rest of your life.

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

In ebooks you can – LOL! But no, I’m happy with the end product.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

At school, around 11 years old. We move from Primary to Secondary education at that age, and dabbling in creative writing turned to composition and comprehension. I was lucky enough to have inspiring English teachers three consecutive years.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Starting. I love research, and always feel that if I just keep going I’ll find a nugget that will make the w-i-p glow. But it is easy to do that forever and not actually write.  I also edit assiduously as I go, which makes for slow progress. 1,000 words in a full day is good for me, but by the time I get to the end, bar a final overall polish, it’s a done deal. It might be slow, but I’d not like to rush a draft and then start Draft 2 from scratch. I like to savour the emotional content of my writing so that readers can experience the nuances of the reality the characters inhabit.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Learn your craft and gain constructive feedback. Even now I belong to a writers’ support group which offers stiff constructive criticism. When you think it’s ready for publication pay for either a professional critique on a partial – 50 pages gives a good indication of problems liable to appear throughout the novel and won’t cost an arm and a leg – or a professional edit, which will cost more but there’s nothing like seeing your pages littered with annotations to give a new perspective on your writing. Improvement is what you are after. It’s what all writers aim for all the time. Best of luck. 

Thanks Linda For Dropping By!

You can find Linda on the web at:

Amazon US Kindle page:  

I-Pad, Sony, Kobo, etc:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Historical Paranormal Horror Fiction Author Carole Gill and Her Latest Novel, The House on Blackstone Moor

Scribal Love Welcomes Carole Gill

Carole Gill is an author of horror and sci-fi. Her newest work The House on Blackstone Moor is available from Vamplit Publishing.

So where do you hail?  Where are you from?

I am from New York City, Manhattan to be exact. But I reside in England through marriage. 

What inspired you to write this book?

A great deal actually! I read that the gothic romance novel had fallen out of favor. That bothered me because I have always been in love with the gothic narrative. For example, who can surpass Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca with its opening: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley?”

If we think of Rebecca we remember the storyline with Mrs. Danvers and I think many of us suspect there might have been an allusion to lesbianism between Mrs. Danvers and her former mistress. I say this because I feel that would explain Mrs. Danver's murderous hatred of her new mistress.

I feel if published today, that would have been made clearer, not so much to make it graphic but to at least explain it through characterization.

This is something I fervently believe in. I want to bring new readers into the gothic romantic fold and I feel the only way to achieve that is to make the stories far darker and bolder.
I think that there must be far darker themes and much bolder storylines to achieve this. 

I don't mean paranormal romance with 'racy bits.' I mean books written in the style of Daphne DuMaurier and the Brontes and other similar authors that have themes within them that would never have been acceptable in years gone by.

This is my inspiration!

Do you have a specific writing style? What is the name of your latest book?  And how did you come up with the title?

My publisher says my fiction is edgy. I like the sound of that! I write dark horror both in gothic narrative and for contemporary pieces I write it clipped, dark and brutal (but without needless gore)!

The House on Blackstone Moor.  I had that title in mind before I wrote anything down!

I just pictured a great house that stood on desolate, haunted moorland. And then I began to envision those who dwelt within the grim stone walls! In short, I began to have my story!

What is The House on Blackstone Moor about?

Its themes are vampirism, madness, obsession and devil worship in 19th Century England.
It tells the story of a young woman who survives her family's carnage. They have been murdered by her suicidal incestuous father.

She finds herself in a madhouse and then, fragile and damaged though she is, she arrives at Blackstone House where she finds horrifying evil. Yet she finds love too--but it comes at a price, the loss of her soul.

There are wider issues here that I felt were crucial. Those who are damned might be damned I felt through no fault of their own.

Further, I bring in fate strongly.  It is, I am assured, never predictable!

What are your current projects?
I am working on a sequel to The House on Blackstone Moor.

I have been hearing so much from readers telling me they can’t forget the characters that I have been in talks with my publisher.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this sequel because I couldn’t get the characters out of my head either!

What books have influenced your life most?

Ah this is fun! Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
These books have the strongest stories possible. They tell of evil and insanity--there are twists and turns and characters that are unforgettable. They shaped my writing and gave me the greatest gifts imaginable: my inspiration!

Did you find the idea of having your work published for others to read intimidating?  If yes, why?  If no, why not? 

Well in a way. I mean it's like taking one's clothes off for the doctor! We bare our soul; our writing is from our deepest depths, it tells our secrets sometimes, our ponderings--perhaps even our fantasies!

Certainly it did. But as I began to know what Gaynor Stenson of Vamplit Publishing was like, I was no longer fearful. She is the most inspiring person to work with that I have ever known.

She believes in her authors and she makes us want to do our very best.

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

I would have to say Daphne DuMaurier. I can still remember back to the first time I heard of her and I read Rebecca. My best friend and I used to discuss it. The novel swept me away into a world I still inhabit (well, not all the time)!

What books are you reading now?

Dracula and All Quiet on the Home Front: An Oral History of Life in Britain During World War One by Richard Van Emden and about to start Strange Meeting by Susan Hill  

What are your current projects?

I am working on the storyline for my next book for Vamplit it is tentatively entitled, Passionata and it is going to be a very different take on a vampire love story set during and after World War 1. It is full of surprises!

Do you find that international audiences are different from your home or native country's audience? 

I don't think so. I think a good story with full-bodied characters have universal appeal. I think really people basically are touched by pretty similar things: love, hate, horror, terror, healing, longing and so on.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes because whatever else, it is all I want to fill up my time doing now. 
It is so much a part of me; the answer must be, YES!

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

Truthfully? No, nothing at all. I am a seat of the pants writer. Anything I wanted to change I've already changed.

I believe entirely in Stephen King's pronouncement that the plot should be kept under house arrest.

The story evolved on its own because the characters basically were allowed to do as they wished. So the answer is no.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Not really although I can remember back to performing little plays for friends as a child.
I know I wrote my first story (science fiction) when I was eight and my teacher got very excited as did my parents.

Within a few years my dad was calling me Edgarina Allan Poe because of the dark, grim stuff I wrote. My mother went to see my teacher and was told to let it all come out. They did but kept a wary eye on me!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Of course, the entire writing process is deeply challenging. I would sometimes worry that something would not be resolved but then I was led through it by my characters. I find if I write out what the problem is I can solve it pretty quickly.

The challenge for me is to write as I do, without a basic outline. It is very scary sometimes but deeply exciting!

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

I learned that it's very hard to write a book! I think I learned HOW to write a book which is very important, how to carry on and remain relatively normal when it seems increasingly difficult!

I learned to just stay with it and to finish it and to THEN go back and polish it as much as it needed to be.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes! I read somewhere that 'the best book never completed is not as good as the worst book ever finished.'

That is the most important thing for a writer to understand. Writing in general is difficult, we get inspired--we feel great but then we don't when the doubts come!

The important thing is to finish your project! Stay with it; see where it can go--how it can evolve. Try not to go from one thing to another and another.

Most importantly, develop on your own, at your own pace. Writing is a learning experience, whatever accomplishments there may be, we can always learn something new: better technique and better ways of planning our stories and expressing ourselves, it is, in my opinion, an unending process of growth!

Great News!!  "Due to massive reader response to The House on Blackstone Moor I am working on the sequel.  It will be out later this year."- Carole Gill

Thanks Carole for Dropping by!

You can find Carole on the web at: