Showing posts with label Author Spotlight. Show all posts

Today's Author Spotlight is author Lisa Hofman! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: April 5th, 2021 Amazon |  Goodreads A...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Lisa Hofman!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: April 5th, 2021

An Island in the lake. A curse. A stargazer's daughter whose time is running out.

The girl in the tower watches the stars from her window – and the black waters of the lake below.

Monsters thrive between the rocks and the fouling weeds, guarding the cursed shore. Her people seem to have forgotten her. It’s easier to forget than to fight.

Only Elnathan still knows she’s there on that island. He would fly on broken wings to the ends of the earth just to be near her, but the dark spell Abaddon cast could cost him everything, and time is against them both.

Enjoy this new magical, thrilling shapeshifter love story by Lisa Hofmann!



What's your latest release? 

Artemis' Wings - a raven shifter love story. It's one of the series of shapeshifter stories I published over the past year, and it probably has the most fairytale-y feel about it.

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 

It's a collection of short shapeshifter stories with unusual shifters. I loved writing it because they have a sprinkling of fairytale about them all, and they're set in the deep, dark forests of medieval Europe.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

I have always loved fairytales, and that's where a lot of the ideas for the shapeshifters we have today originated, so I decided to write a few of my own. I've published four over the past year, and I'm going to publish a collection of five in a single volume in September.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

I'm a planner through and through, so I knew my characters well. They'd been churning inside my mind for some time.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?

I loved writing Willa from the dragon shifter story Amberflame, because she is so gutsy!

What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?

Both, really. They had to fit together to make the pacing work. In a novella or anything shorter than a novel, both have to be well-managed.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?

Over the past years, I learned that I can actually be patient! With myself and with the process. And I also learned to love editing, which is kinda weird, but here we are.


In your opinion what makes a good story?

Good character development, a steady pace that doesn't kill me, and a few good twists along the way.


How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

It changed everything about my writing process up until that point because I began working with a very cool and competent non-eye-rolling editor, who taught me a lot about finding out what's important and what isn't, and how to further develop my voice and style of writing.


Do you read your book reviews? What do you consider "good" /"bad"?

I do - I don't think any of us can afford not to. I don't think in terms of good or bad reviews - I'm always hoping for the helpful ones. 

I want to know what my readers think and how to improve what I'm doing if something was genuinely off. 

I recall one reviewer telling me they didn't like the book cover, so 2 stars for that, despite the fact that they weren't into fantasy and hadn't read the free book they'd gotten from me... That's what I mean by not very helpful. 

But I also generally get a few that I can really work with, and the ones that are posted to Amazon definitely help me promote my work. 

What led you to start writing?

My love for reading and history, I think. Plus, I've been accused of having an overactive imagination.

Do you have any writing superstitions?

I have to have my cat nearby. She's probably the one who's really working all the magic.


What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?

Everything. In Fantasy, you can be anyone or anything and go anywhere in a thousand worlds. So much to explore there! 


What is one of your favorite words? OR Is there a word you find yourself using too often?

Shenanigans. I don't think I've ever actively used it, but I just love it. It's cheeky.


What are you currently reading?

Spinning Silver by Noami Novik


A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?

Not really - I need quiet to really get into the deep of things while I write. Sometimes I have music with no lyrics on while I'm still drafting, though. First drafts are always quick and non-wordy.


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Be a bit more brave and start publishing earlier.


What are a couple of your favorite movies to kick back with to relax?

I like shark movies, which - again - is weird and so not what I write. Whenever I'm ever really stressed out, though, I don't watch a lot of TV. I try to get out and about and into the woods.


Which animal would you say is your spirit animal and why?

The blue-and-gold-glittered Middle-European Coffee Sloth


Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?

I'll take a haunted mansion surrounded by fairytale creatures.


What is something about the genre that annoys you?

I love that women play a bigger role in Fantasy now than ever before, but think there are a lot of very similar  characters and story arcs being written, which makes some of the series that started out great quickly become a bit dull. 

I don't like formula-writing because I like the unusual twists and turns that a story can take. I wish there was more of that out there.


What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

In terms of my writing process: I tend to slash and burn my way through my finished manuscripts while revising to the point where my editor shouts stop. In terms of my style: what I hear a lot from others is that I do well with my prose. I like atmosphere, so I try to create one for the reader that's relatable - if you like my type of stories.


Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?

I'm mostly only on Facebook because I can't really deal with more than that between the busy day job and the writing and my family. 
I also have a website, on which you can find a newsletter sign-up. My newsletters are practically non-existent, though, because I have to admit I'm really sloppy about sending them out to people. I never remember... 

But here are the links:
https://www.facebook.com/authorlisahofmann 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/LisasBookdragons (the group is worth joining because here's where you get ARCs and other freebies, as well as some good bookish discussions)
https://www.lisahofmann.net


Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?

I couldn't really pick one because my favorites are always the ones I'm currently working on.


What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?

Do your thing and write that book you've always wanted to write - but remember that you're not writing to entertain only yourself. When you finish it, others are going to want to read it, so know who your readers are going to be, and what they would like you to present them with, or you're going to set yourself up for a heartache.


Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

I'm currently working on two novels. One is a fourth in a series, and the other is a standalone fantasy novel that is set in the 1920s.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

Thanks for having me on your blog! 



Lisa Hofmann's debut novel, Stealing the Light, received top star ratings and reviews on the Writer's Digest and Publisher's Weekly platforms for independently published works.

Lisa is a European-based writer, born in 1975. She was educated in the nerd factories of Germany and the mystery moors of Ireland. Before she began writing medieval and shapeshifter fiction in her late thirties, she worked internationally as an interpreter, translating specialized publications on early education and literacy.

She is a genuine Dr Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde: a teacher of multilingual children by day, and producer of character-driven fantasy novels by night. Since Stealing the Light, she has published three other novels and several shorter works. She writes predominantly in English and works with a weather-proofed Pennsylvania-based American editor.

Lisa lives in Germany with her husband, three outrageous children, and a house full of exceptionally vocal pets. Whenever she finds herself teetering on the brink of boredom, she will generally resort to exploring old towns and castles, walks in the woods, and reading anything that other people throw at her.


Craig, thank you so much for taking the time to be my guest on Cats Luv Coffee! Be sure to check out Human Tenderloin when it releases on the 15th!

Today's Author Spotlight is author Craig Wallwork! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: September 15th, 2021 Amazon |  Goo...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Craig Wallwork!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: September 15th, 2021

A prematurely ageing girl learns to fly during the end of the world. A husband makes the ultimate sacrifice for his dying wife. Two brothers endure a rainstorm that lasts five years. A father tries to save his daughter from a sleeping epidemic. A man books into a hotel where the guests check in but never check out. A group of fine-dining cannibals worry where their next meal will come from. And a grieving mother goes in search of ghosts in a haunted house.

Human Tenderloin is a collection of horror stories with heart. Some will goose the skin. Others will leave you bloated with terror. But each one will stay with you.


What's your latest release? 

Human Tenderloin: A Collection of Horror Stories. Think stories that are very dark, but with heart. 

It'll be released September 15th on hardback, paperback and Kindle. I was fortunate enough to get author quotes from some very cool writers in the horror world too. So if you don't believe me that it's a great collection worthy of being next to your Stephen King's and Clive Barker's, listen to these wonderful people: 

“From old school in-your-face horror to quiet dread-fueled chamber pieces, Wallwork infuses a uniquely absurd, macabre sense of humor as well as a sense of the humane. Bon appetite.”—Paul Tremblay, author of Survivor Song and A Head Full of Ghosts.

“These stories don’t just leave you moving through the world differently, they leave you moving through your own head differently. And don’t look behind yourself, either. There may just be bloody footprints.”—Stephen Graham Jones, author of My Heart Is a Chainsaw.

"Craig Wallwork's Human Tenderloin will carve new paths in your heart. Straight through the meat, to dark pockets you didn't even know were there. It will change your emotional geography, and there's no changing back."—Sarah Read, Bram Stoker Award-Winning author of The Bone Weaver's Orchard.

"There is a dark immediacy to the worlds within this collection – a bony finger beckoning us into Wallwork's haunted mind. A compelling blend of bleakness, grief, horror and hope."—Laurel Hightower, author of Crossroads and Whispers in the Dark.

"These stories will slice through the skin, slip into your bloodstream, and shape your nightmares. Craig Wallwork is your curator and guide through this wonderfully macabre gallery of sharp tales. Ranging from the tragic to the mythic, to the heartbreaking and horrific, this collection is sure to leave you unsettled."—Tyler Jones, author of Criterium and Almost Ruth.

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 

I’ll be jumping back into the Tom Nolan thriller/horror series. The first book is called Bad People, which follows Detective Constable Tom Nolan as he uncovers a strange cult that has been abducting children from a small Yorkshire village in England. The second book, Labyrinth of the Dolls, continues his pursuit to track down a new serial killer involved in the cult. The one I’m writing now will be the last in the series, and a fitting end to the trilogy. It’s had comparisons to Se7en, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Silence of the Lambs, so if readers like police procedural thrillers that are dark and gory, then they’re worth checking out. I can offer an exclusive - the last book in the Tom Nolan series will be titled Kill Room. And it’s going to get bloody. Very bloody. 


Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?

The one that sticks out the most is Daniel Crabtree from my debut novel, The Sound of Loneliness. Crabtree was the cynical, bitter, misanthropic person I push down deep inside myself so I’m able to function in society. Though the story is loosely semi-biographical, Crabtree was also a pastiche of author John Fante’s character Bandini from the novels Ask the Dust and The Road to Los Angeles - a struggling author embittered by the hand life dealt him. Taking Bandini as the blueprint, and amalgamating him with my cockeyed view of the world, I found writing that character very liberating. Crabtree was the protagonist, and the antagonist, rolled into one. He was funny and annoying, and a tonic to the stuffy middle-class characters often found in British literature. Many hated him. Some found him hilarious and endearing. But above all else, he wasn’t boring to read. That I’ve not revisited that book in over ten years is probably a good thing. I was a different writer then, trying to find my groove, and just how nostalgia has that ability to paint over the cracks of our past, I will always remember him fondly. 


In your opinion what makes a good story?

Solid writing, rich characters and a half decent plot. To be honest, I’d compromise on plot if the writing is sublime and the characters are engaging. I found that most of the books I loved as a younger man were character driven, literary novels. I fell in love with words, metaphor, and syntax. This is what I look for now. I struggle to read airport fiction - the mass market paperbacks where the writing is compromised for plot. For a long time, the thriller genre never interested me. It was only until I read books by Thomas Harris, or Laird Barron’s crime series, that I jumped into writing in that genre. Those two authors, and many others that fall outside the usual Lee Childs, Baldacci, Grisham and Pattersons of this world, taught me you can have a literary edge when writing thrillers. It also helps that I work alongside detectives for my day job, so I had a wealth of knowledge at my disposal. 


Do you read your book reviews? What do you consider "good" /"bad"?

Yes. But I only remember the bad ones. And I'll tell you now, that's the same for all writers. 


What led you to start writing?

I’m a failed film director. Writing is the nearest I can get to directing a movie without having to find funding, spend months in the cold at all hours, and go begging to a distributor. What I do is transcribe the little movies in my head to page, which is probably why I spend a long time on things like sensory perception. It’s important to me that the reader sees the world I’ve created, that they feel the emotions passing through the characters. If I could, I would recommend reading my novels in a dark room while eating a box of popcorn. 

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?

I grew up in the Video Nasty era of cinema, and my father was an alcoholic. Those two combined meant that my father’s friends passed various pirated copies of banned movies around in the local pubs, which inevitably ended up in our home. From an early age, I was privy to some gory scenes, albeit all were tempered by my father’s counsel that the blood was really corn syrup, and the decapitated head was from a mannequin. So you could say it exposed me to the darker side of storytelling from an early age. This could have unbalanced my mental state, but I grew to understand that horror is fun, and later, as my understanding of the genre grew, it was used to help translate bigger issues without being so direct. It’s in the realisation that the shark in Jaws is not only a Great White terrorising the small town of Amity but also a metaphor for the recession; or that The Brood was really the director’s way of coping with the horror of his divorce; or that Carpenter’s The Thing could be viewed as a story about aliens coming to earth, but it may well also be about the AIDS epidemic and the paranoia surrounding that era, that I fell in love with horror. It became the blanket we throw over the atrocities that some find hard to articulate. And because I lack a backbone when talking about personal issues, I naturally gravitated to the genre so I can hide behind the metaphor. 


A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?

Ólafur Arnalds and the works  of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. 


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

What you write is indelible, so be careful what you commit to paper. And for the love of God, take your time.

What are a couple of your favorite movies to kick back with to relax?

The Exorcist. And maybe something like Harold and Maude or Cinema Paradiso. 


Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?

I actually live in a cottage, though I have seen no fairies in the back fields or garden, so I’m going to opt for the haunted house. That said, I’m sceptical of supernatural phenomena or anything seated outside of reality. I work in a reputed haunted building, and one of the horror stories in Human Tenderloin, my new horror collection, tells of true-life incidents and accounts from staff members who have seen ghosts or experienced paranormal activity. Listening to all those accounts should have helped convinced me ghosts exist, but it’s left me leaning more towards science and pragmatism. In that story, titled The Ballad of Windsong House, I don’t discount or bolster the existence of ghosts. I play, no pun intended, Devil’s advocate, presenting the stories as they were told me, all wrapped around a fictional narrative about a group of work colleagues staying in the haunted building. It’s not my intention to discount or convince, but if the reader goes away believing there’s life after this world, I’ll be happy. All a writer can do is provide a story, and if that story resonates, or changes a person, then there is no better reward. And that’s my hope for The Ballad of Windsong House, and all the stories in Human Tenderloin - that at least one story changes the reader, however small that may be. 


Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?

You can find me mostly on Instagram: @craig_wallwork. Even though I have a Twitter and Facebook account, I prefer the sanity of Instagram. I also have a website where you can subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free book, or just read my jibber jabber on the blog section. www.craigwallwork.com 


What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?

You're going to get hurt. You're going to doubt everything you write. You'll resent your peers when they get published and you don't. So write like you're the only person left on the planet. Write for you, and if you do that, you'll realise you're not alone. 

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

Thank you for having me. And I don't know about you, but I could really do with a coffee. 


Craig Wallwork is the author of the novels, Bad People, and The Sound of Loneliness, as well as the short story collections, Quintessence of Dust, and Gory Hole. His stories have been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, many of which feature in various anthologies and magazines both in the U.K. and U.S. He currently lives in England.


Craig, thank you so much for taking the time to be my guest on Cats Luv Coffee! Be sure to check out Human Tenderloin when it releases on the 15th!

Today's Author Spotlight is author Margot de Klerk! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: July 21st, 2021 Amazon |  Goodrea...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Margot de Klerk!

Read on for the full interview.



Publication date: July 21st, 2021

Nathan is a vampire hunter on the cusp of graduation. He’s been training for this his entire life: the moment he qualifies and joins the rest of his family in their noble calling.

If only it were that simple.

His grades are a mess, his social life is a disaster, and what’s worse, his best friend is a witch! Add to that, his vampire uncle is back in town and his crush might just be supernatural too, and you have one big melting pot of potential parental disapproval. Nathan doesn’t think he can take much more, and then the dark mages come to town.

As bodies begin piling up in the streets, Nathan finds himself pulled deeper into political intrigue and a deadly plot that will pit him against his own family. When the girl he likes comes under threat, Nathan races against time to solve the mystery... well aware that with every step he takes, he comes closer to his father exposing all his secrets.



What's your latest release? 

Wicked Magic, the first book in the Vampires of Oxford series, was released on 21 July 2021. Vampires of Oxford is a series of standalone novels, exploring the lives and adventures of different characters in an alternate universe where vampires and witches live amongst us. Wicked Magic is all about Nathan, a vampire hunter who finds himself siding with the vampires he’s supposed to hate.

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 

My debut novel is Wicked Magic. It’s a story about a vampire hunter-in-training, Nathan, who’s about to graduate. He finds himself doubting the values he’s been raised with. It’s very much a story about that awkward time in life, where you’re struggling with more and more responsibilities, trying to figure out who you are independent of your parents, and learning to stand on your own two feet. It also has a little bit of romance and a supernatural mystery.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

This world has existed in my head for a long time, at least since 2013. I went to university in Oxford, and it’s a place which has always been very inspirational for me. I’ve also always loved vampire stories, and I knew my first novel would be a vampire novel.

Truth be told, I was actually working on a different novel in this series, and Nathan was a side character. One day, whilst I was working, I thought, “Hey, Nathan would be a really interesting character to explore some more.” The opening line popped into my head, and I started writing. One sleepless night later, I had fifteen thousand words written. I guess Nathan wanted his story to be told that badly.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

I start from a static point, knowing exactly how the character is at the beginning of the story. But I don’t plot out the character development. That grows organically. I like it the most when characters surprise me.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?

I enjoy writing every character, but I think I love side characters the most. It’s so fun to think about who they really are, and then to filter that through the main character’s perspective. I especially love morally grey characters. They’re not the bad guys, but they’re going to do bad things. Through the main character’s perspective, I can make the reader think a certain thing about them. In Wicked Magic, I loved Adrian and Jeremiah the most. In my next novel, there’s one character… I can’t wait to see what people think of him.

Truth be told, though, I eventually fall in love with all my characters. If I don’t love them, it’s a sure sign that I need to cut them.

What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?

A bit of both, I’d say. My novels are very character-driven. I like exploring who a person is and figuring out what they would or wouldn’t do. I’ll start with an overarching plot idea, but how it plays out will be decided by the characters. Who are they, where are they going? For me, they’re like real people with opinions, hopes, dreams. They don’t always do what I tell them to do! But I also love dropping hints about the main plot, and trying to trick the readers. My favourite thing is to write a character you think is good/bad… but they turn out to be the opposite.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?

I’ve been misusing the word “mercurial” my entire life! Also, I’m not as good as social media as I thought I was. My dad (who’s in his sixties) had to teach me how to use Twitter and Instagram. Ouch!

In your opinion what makes a good story?

It’s easy to say this is about world-building and characters, but for me it boils down to slightly more subtle things. The first is emotion. Do I, as the reader, feel the same things the character is feeling? I love a book that makes me excited when the characters are under stress, sad when they’re sad, etc. Writing style: I don’t like overly descriptive writing. A book that tells me how to feel is a no-no. I also don’t care where the doors and windows are. Dialogue: good dialogue will hook me in seconds. I’ll ignore a lot of flaws if the dialogue is great. Superb plot. I was reading a book recently, and I was literally a chapter away from DNFing it, and then the author killed off the love interest! Needless to say, I finished the book the same day. A story should be well thought out. I hate plot holes, and I really like to understand how the magic works from the start. I’ve read a few books that are about a character learning magic, and that’s fine, but that’s not an excuse to not explain what your magic is capable of from the start. Excellent worldbuilding: I’ll look at characters and plot first. To me the worldbuilding is the support staff. You might have great characters, but if the world has more holes in it than Swiss cheese, those characters are going to fall flat.

What can I say? I’m a fussy reader!

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Having only just published my debut novel, I’m not quite sure I’m qualified to answer this question yet, but I’ll give it a shot!

I used to be a very unstructured writer, working in fits and bursts. Publishing has forced me to get organised. I have lists and spreadsheets, and I work on the book and marketing for a few hours every day. I’ve had to be very disciplined, or else I’d have overshot my deadline.

Do you read your book reviews? What do you consider "good" /"bad"?

I read every review, and will continue to do so until I have too many reviews for it to be practical (and here’s to hoping that happens). I consider all feedback to be good feedback. That isn’t to say that negative feedback is fun! It hurts like an open wound. Generally, I have to take a day or two before I can consider objectively whether I want to address the negative feedback. I’m always glad when I can, because that’s when you learn, but sometimes it’s not possible/practical. Then I take it on board for the next book.

A bad review for me would be just trashing the book. I get nothing out of that, and I wonder why the reviewer bothered reading it? They didn’t get anything out of the reading, either. Those, I will ignore. Thankfully, there haven’t been any yet.

What led you to start writing?

I honestly don’t remember. Writing is just something I’ve always done, and I’ve known for years that I wanted to be an author. I remember being about eight years old. We were on the train back home from visiting my aunt, about a four-hour journey, and my brother and I wrote “mystery novels” on scrap paper with golf pencils. It was just something we always did.

Do you have any writing superstitions?

I don’t like sharing my manuscripts with anyone before I’ve finished the first draft. They’re always littered with mistakes and plot holes and random notes to myself. It also feels unlucky. I don’t know why, but I prefer for the first external feedback to be on a completed draft.

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?

I like young adult as an age group because I really enjoy exploring the tensions and conflicts that arise at that age. You’re not quite an adult, but very definitely not a child anymore. It was also a time of my life when books really helped me, so I want to honour that. As for fantasy, it’s a genre I’ve always loved. I love creating new worlds, drawing on mythology, and trying to find little bits of magic in everything.

What is one of your favorite words? OR Is there a word you find yourself using too often?

“Actually” and “really”. Grammarly and I had a bit of a disagreement on the necessity of those words.

What are you currently reading?

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. No opinions yet, but I really do love the cover.

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?

I usually listen to lofi music or coffeeshop jazz. It helps me concentrate. I’m one of those people who gets distracted very easily by any changes in environment.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Perseverance and plotting are the most important things, not inspiration. If you’ve plotted out your novel, and you can follow that plot and just push through the bad moments, inspiration will come back.

Which animal would you say is your spirit animal and why?

Definitely a cat. I love cats. I look after all the community cats in the area I live.

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?

I’ll take the cottage. I love writing scary stuff, but in real life I’m a massive scaredy cat.

What is something about the genre that annoys you?

Ooh, that’s a hard one! I will read any trope/perspective/writing style so long as it’s well written. That makes me sound like a very flexible reader, and I’m actually not. I have high standards for what counts as “well-written”. So I’d say there’s no one trope that annoys me, but poor editing, poor grammar, unnatural dialogue, or an annoying MC are likely to make me DNF. I don’t like obvious plots, nor do I like plot holes or unexplained magic of deus ex machinas. Lately I’m also a bit tired of the masquerade, where a teenager discovers a new world and then turns out to have world-saving superpowers. I prefer books about ordinary people managing to save the day with the limited abilities they have.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I only drink coffee when I’m writing. The rest of the time I’ll only drink tea.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?

I’m MargotDKwrites on both Twitter and Instagram, and I love chatting to people. I will reply on both, though I prefer Instagram.

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?

The people who are close to you might not care as much about your writing as you want them to, and that’s going to be really tough. For example, I sent a family member my final draft, and he replied that he “might have time to read it before it’s published”. That hurt! Remember you’re completely immersed in your work, and so you’re obviously going to be really passionate about it. They’ll probably get a little sick of you talking about it all the time. They’ll take ages to read manuscripts, or they might not want to read your book at all. That’s okay. Keep annoying them! One day, you’ll publish a book that will touch someone’s heart. That’s what it’s all about.

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

Yes! I’m working on the second book in my series. It’s about Cynthia (the love interest from book one). She’s just graduated school, and is heading to Berlin for a few weeks. I love writing about Berlin. I used to live there. It’s a brilliant city, with so much history and culture. It’s magical all on its own. I hope I can do it justice.

The summary will be up on my website soon, so people can head over there and find out a bit more about the trouble that Cynthia’s going to get herself into. Hint: a lot of trouble. Really, she’s totally unprepared.





Margot de Klerk is a British-born young adult fantasy writer in her late twenties. Born to South African parents, she has lived in six different countries and speaks several languages. She read German at the University of Oxford, and has a passion for old languages and linguistics. Her debut novel, Wicked Magic, was inspired by her time living in Oxford. When not writing, she enjoys photography, travelling, sewing, and various sports. She currently resides in Dubai.

Margot, thank you so much for taking the time to be my guest on Cats Luv Coffee!

Today's Author Spotlight is author Peter W. Blaisdell! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: November 1st, 2020 Amazon |  G...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Peter W. Blaisdell!

Read on for the full interview.




Publication date: November 1st, 2020


What's your latest release? 

My latest release is THE LORDS OF THE SUMMER SEASON. It’s a modern/urban/dark fantasy set during San Francisco’s ‘Summer of Love’ in 1967. This was a time of real-life fantasy when the creative and musical scene was exploding and everything seemed limitless. Until it wasn’t.

(Content warning: I tried to capture some of the 'edginess' of this time and place, so there is vulgarity in certain scenes and dialogue. Also, even the supernatural and animal characters aren't the usual cuddly fantasy tropes; they can be a bit unhinged at times!)

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 


In THE LORDS OF THE SUMMER SEASON, the main character, Bradan, is an almost immortal magician who grew up in Camelot and grew famous during San Francisco's 'Summer of Love' in 1967. Though he’s 1500 years old, he only looks about 30 years of age and intends to enjoy this period to its fullest, fronting an acid rock band and romancing a witch who’s also nearly immortal.

However, this era had a darker side, so there are scenes where creative forces run amok. The villains represent this – I’ve included some really vile villains. Even Bradan sometimes gets carried away and unleashes powers he really can’t control.
I was after contrasts, so some of the novel is painted in shades of psychedelic pastels while other scenes are done in dark grey.

As in all of my novels, I’ve included (I hope) cool supporting characters, including the aforementioned 6th century witch, tons of ghosts (including the one haunting his motorcycle), and Bradan’s eccentric band-mates. Bradan also has a pet wolf, Tintagel. ‘Pet’ is probably the wrong word. Tintagel represents atavistic, implacable nature and has a sardonic sense of humor often directed at Bradan.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?


Great question. The main character, Bradan, was in my previous fantasies and so was the wolf, Tintagel. The magician, Merlin, also shows up briefly in a flashback to Bradan’s youth in chapter 2. So I had a pretty good idea of who they were – though Bradan’s complicated to write since he’s lived so long. The challenge with him is trying to give him the wisdom of great age, but still let him do crazy, risky stuff. 

There are also two other main characters who I’d never written about before, the witch Morgana and a college professor, Taryn. I thought I knew who they were before I began writing, but they both took on a life of their own as the story progressed. They were a study in contrasts. Taryn is idealistic, rational, and sensible while Morgana is magical, age-old, but looks young and is always up for a good time. However, part of her definition of a ‘good time’ is hunting souls. It was great fun having these two collide with Bradan and each other. 

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


I write fantasy because it’s a genre that encourages – demands – that the author use their imagination. And also because you can mix interesting themes in with the magic, spell-craft and witches. My main goal is to entertain readers, but if I can also include cool ideas and motifs, that’s where the real magic happens.

What is one of your favorite words? OR Is there a word you find yourself using too often?


I use 'ironic' way too often.

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?


I guess it would depend on just how sociable whatever haunts the mansion is and whether the fairytale creatures outside the cottage are friendly. This is a fun question to think about because my latest book, THE LORDS OF THE SUMMER SEASON, has both ghosts and fae folk, as well as a half-mad Welsh god. The main ghost in my story has friendly intentions towards Bradan, but she also haunts him by reminding him that he was partly responsible for her death. The fae folk are a different story. Bradan never knows where he stands with them and they can be lethal when provoked. However, he needs to become allies with them to defeat the story’s villains, so he serenades them with an impromptu set of songs in a park (hey, it’s the Summer of Love after all). 

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?


I definitely like interacting with readers. I have a website (link: https://blaisdellliteraryenterprises.com/ ). The books are on Amazon (link for THE LORDS OF THE SUMMER SEASON: https://amzn.to/3zqKJNE )

Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?

“Radiance touches her face while she translates the Greek into Arabic, the most elegant of scripts. The kneeling woman’s features are partly in shadow, partly illuminated thanks to the muted light from outside filtering through the scrim. It is hot, but not maddeningly so as the palace’s big blocks of stone ward off the sun and preserve just a smidgeon of the previous night’s chill to leaven today’s furnace-like temperatures.

Bradan needs Lubna’s acquiescence to study in the Caliph’s libraries. He may need her help to survive.”

The lines above are from a flash-back scene in another of my fantasies, THE LORDS OF POWDER. I like them because they try to capture a setting and a mood. They also introduce the two characters and then show that one of the characters, Bradan, is in mortal danger.




Peter Blaisdell lives in the LA area. He has a PhD in Biochemistry and has conducted postdoctoral research in molecular biology as well as publishing peer-reviewed research papers in these fields. He has also published business articles on managing research in technology companies. None of this has much to do with the literary side of his life, where he is an active reviewer of fantasy, science fiction and magical realism as well as general literature. The Lords of Powder and The Lords of Oblivion are novels in a fantasy/thriller series. Each book can be read as stand-alone novels or together as part of a series.

Part of the fun of having a 1500 year old protagonist in this series is that the author can plunder history for exiting times and places to deploy in the story. To that end, most of The Lords of Powder and The Lords of Oblivion take place in modern times, respectively, Miami circa 1978 and San Francisco today. However, some chapters were set in tenth-century Spain, eight-century Lindisfarne, and fifth-century Tintagel. Future books in the series will use other cool settings.



Peter, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!

Today's Author Spotlight is author April A. Taylor! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: August 3rd, 2021 Amazon |  Goodre...


Today's Author Spotlight is author April A. Taylor!

Read on for the full interview.





Publication date: August 3rd, 2021


Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? *


Evil Eye is a classic slasher with a modern twist. 


Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


Evil Eye was inspired by three things: I Call Upon Thee by Ania Ahlborn and the movies Halloween (1978) and Crawl (2019). 

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?


For the most part, I knew who the characters were and would be. There were a few surprises, though.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?



My first published novel went through so many rewrites that I almost ruined it. Now, as long as the story works, I go with it. 

Do you read your book reviews? What do you consider "good" /"bad"?


I read professional reviews and the first 10 or so fan reviews. After that, I let it be whatever it's going to be. As far as good and bad reviews, I don't tend to look at them like that. As long as the person actually read the book, their feedback is valid, at least for them. 

What led you to start writing?


I've been writing since grade school. I don't remember there being any one thing that led me to writing. It simply felt natural, like breathing air. 

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


I've been a fan of the horror genre ever since I saw Michael Jackson's Thriller video at the age of six. I write in other genres sometimes, but I always end up putting in at least a hint of horror. 

What is one of your favorite words? OR Is there a word you find yourself using too often?


My favorite word is blustery. Unfortunately, it hasn't fit into most of my books.
 

What are you currently reading?


Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth 

What are a couple of your favorite movies to kick back with to relax?


I love watching horror movies. Everything from Midsommar to Halloween (
1978) is fair game!

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?


Haunted mansion! 

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?



What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?


You don't have to write every single day to be a good author. In fact, taking time off is a critical part of the writing process. 

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?


I do! Isnashi is a creature feature set in the Brazilian rainforest. 




April A. Taylor is an award-winning, multi-genre author. Her latest novel, Evil Eye: A Slasher Story, introduces readers to characters they'll love to root for, along with two they can hate. Her previous horror books include Sinkhole and The Haunting of Cabin Green. April has also written the Alexa Bentley Paranormal Mysteries Series, the thriller Corvo Hollows, and the Midnight Myths and Fairy Tales Series. She's a proud member of the Horror Writers Association. Visit her online at aprilataylor.net.  



April, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!

Today's Author Spotlight is author Jon O'Bergh! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: June 14th, 2021 Amazon |  Goodrea...


Today's Author Spotlight is author Jon O'Bergh!

Read on for the full interview.


Publication date: June 14th, 2021


Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 


Weaving together supernatural legends from Ireland, Nigeria, and China, Shockadelica follows two friends who must confront their own fears while fighting an evil, existential threat. With a dash of humor and horror, the story explores prejudice, conspiracy theories, and things that aren't what they appear to be. Two horror podcasters—drag artist Kendall Akande and best friend Jenna Chen—share a passion for art, fashion, and horror. When they learn their Victorian-era apartment building might be haunted, they see an opportunity for an entertaining podcast episode. But as they investigate further with the help of their quirky neighbors, they uncover something far more sinister.
 

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


All manner of things in the horror universe inspired the story. The title is borrowed from Prince's song "Shockadelica." Gemma Files' novel "Experimental Film" gave me the idea for the Toronto setting and inclusion of folk horror. The way Grady Hendrix opened each chapter of "We Sold Our Souls" with a media excerpt influenced my structure. Books in the Freezer gave me the concept of two horror podcasters. Rue Morgue magazine gave me the idea for a character whose arms are covered with tattoos of serial killers.
 

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?


It's a combination of both, and some start out more concrete than others. Take the characters in Shockadelica, for example. I knew Rooney would be the type of person who is enmeshed in a world of lies. She adopts different personas as easily as she changes outfits and makes a living with fake testimonials. That was clearly laid out when I started, and little changed as I wrote. Jenna, on the other hand, started with less detailed traits. I just knew she would be unconventional and fearless. The details then developed organically through the process of writing out the scenes, especially her anxiety about her grandmother's dementia and her jealousy when Kendall begins hanging out more with Lilith.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?


I strongly identified with Kendall. He has a lot of empathy toward others. Even though he doesn't tolerate BS and is self-assured, he still suffers moments of self-doubt. His past hangs over him. Society's judgmental prejudices hang over him. Panic attacks and nightmares bedevil him. You think you've escaped those things, but they periodically emerge like the monster under the bed and try to drag you down. I really identify with that.

What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?


How can you choose? Character is what motivates a reader to be interested in a story, but plot is what gives the story meaning.

In your opinion what makes a good story?


Complex characters--because people are complex. A certain amount of ambiguity--because that corresponds to our experience of the world. That's why writers like Paul Tremblay appeal to me so much. I like to imagine what a character would do in real life, without falling back on cliches or implausible actions.

Do you read your book reviews? What do you consider "good" /"bad"?


I do, because sometimes I learn useful things from what reviewers write, even if my story didn't strongly appeal to them. Tweeting and linking to reviews also helps promote the work. I've never come across someone who is a "bad" reviewer. Often it boils down to a matter of taste, because not everything is going to appeal to everybody. I have encountered a couple of instances where a reviewer misjudged or misrepresented something. I don't worry about that if it's one item in passing, but an entire review filled with misrepresentations would constitute a bad review.

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


I've always been interested in horror. Fear is such a primal emotion, and it can motivate you to make positive changes or to lash out at the world. I'm interested in how people process fear differently, and I infuse that into my characters. I also appreciate how horror often reflects cultural anxieties, or anxieties about death and the body.

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?


Perhaps because I'm also a musician, I find music distracting while I'm trying to write. But I love to link music with my stories. Shockadelica includes a musician named the Bone Man who writes dark songs. His album of horror-themed songs is available at Spotify, iTunes, and the usual places. In between writing bouts, I would listen to these songs. The lyrics often amplify themes from the novel, in songs like "The Beast Within," "Frankenstein Monster," and "Box of Bones."

What are a couple of your favorite movies to kick back with to relax?


My husband and I like to watch things over and over, and we quote lines to each other all the time. I never tire of watching "The Muse." Albert Brooks, who also wrote and directed the movie, plays a beleaguered screenwriter who has lost his edge and engages the services of a mythic Greek muse played by Sharon Stone. The film's sense of humor is so perfect, mildly skewering Hollywood gullibility and pretensions. For something with a touch of horror, I like the filmed stage version of "Sweeney Todd." It manages to blend humor, horror, and pathos. The closing song makes the hairs stand up on my arm.

Which animal would you say is your spirit animal and why?


A black cat. I grew up with black cats. They're often misunderstood and maligned, which I can appreciate as a gay man!
 

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?


A cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures. I would be too scared to live in a haunted house. It would be fun to visit, maybe spend one night, but my state of mind would be much better in a cottage. Ghosts and supernatural creatures both make an appearance in Shockadelica, and after experiencing both, I think Kendall would agree with me.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?


I'm on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jon_obergh.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

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Jon O’Bergh is an author and musician who appreciates a good scare. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of California at Irvine. A fan of ghost stories and horror movies, O’Bergh came up with the idea for his first novel, The Shatter Point, after watching a documentary about extreme haunts. He has published five books and released over a dozen albums in a variety of styles. His supernatural short stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines. After many years living in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., he now resides with his husband in Toronto.



Jon, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!