Jan 282013
 

Headshots of Myke ColeMyke Cole exploded onto the Urban Fantasy scene with the amazing Control Point last year.  A superb blend of magic, military and mayhem, it is a gripping read that leaves you thinking about it long after finishing it.  But what about the man himself?  His bio is a dizzying read of occupations that quite honestly would leave me huddled under my desk and not only adds author to the impressive list but does it with flair! He’s also a roleplayer, loves fantasy books, comics and has a unique brand of humour that I like a lot. I know I am wittering again, so enough! On with the Irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
An officer in the finest maritime military service in the world – the United States Coast Guard.

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
The same ritual that EVERY writer has, mad procrastination. I play iPad games. I go on social media. I think of last minute chores that need doing, or friends I haven’t spoken to in ages. By the time I actually get to work, half my allotted time is gone.

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.) Include a picture if you like, unless it’s the bathroom!
Uh . . . er . . . ahem. Yes, well. It is rather spacious as bathrooms go.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
I went to every single bookstore in New York City and signed shelf stock with my long-suffering agent. It took all day from the early morning to blackest night. It was exhausting and painful and I’ve never been happier.

Whose opinion matters most to you?
Peter V. Brett’s.

Do you get fully dressed to write? (Nothing, PJ’s, etc?)
I do most of my writing on the go, so it varies depending on where I am and what I’m doing. I’ve written in my skivvies, in a business suit, in a military uniform, in a t-shirt and jeans.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Other people’s success. Because. I’m not eating anyone’s dust.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
Hugh Jackman. Which, now that I think about it, is quite possibly the most egotistical thing I’ve ever said.

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
Hand over the celery, sir. That donkey is underage.

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
Every gaming table at every con everywhere, ever. There is nothing in this world quite like being hip-deep in fellow nerds, trading snark over Settlers of Catan.

What do you value most?
Crushing my enemies, seeing them fly before me, and hearing the lamentations of their women.

How do you deal with negative comments?
I listen to them, take them seriously and don’t take offense. The words “that offends me” is the cheapest, easiest way to avoid having to listen to someone else’s argument. I don’t roll like that.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After, Everyone Dies, Or…?
As far as I’m concerned, every film should end with Captain America staring off into the middle distance, with the Stars and Stripes fluttering behind him. Especially When Harry Met Sally.

What do you do to relax?
I don’t. Ever. I’m not kidding. Ask anyone who knows me.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them? (Include a picture if you like!)
I am holding out until they come up with a breed of dog that doesn’t poop.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
The Rose Reading Room at the New York Public Library, well-caffeinated and fed, empty bladder, and movie soundtracks blasting in my ear-buds.

What is your favourite type of music?
I’m a big fan of the good kind. I hate the awful stuff.

Do you have any phobias?
Pretty much all of them, but each one is balanced by highly effective coping mechanisms. Whenever I come up against something I’m frightened of, I go charging into it. I must do it.

Do you have a party trick?
I can offend anyone in a room in record time.

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Non-skid, steel-toe combat boots. Cushioned soles for jumping, side zippers. They better be up for some punishment.

Fortress Frontier (Shadow Ops 2) Fortress Frontier, the second novel in the Shadow Ops series, is released on 31st January… and I can’t wait!

Huge thanks to Myke Cole for taking the time to answer our questions (and for such entertaining answers!), and if you want to know more about the author, visit his Website, Twitter or Goodreads!

Pictures provided by and used with permission of Myke Cole


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author, agent or publicist and would like to take part, please get in touch!

Oct 122012
 

Tracey and I were lucky enough to meet Suzanne McLeod at a recent book launch and in addition to her being a fascinating lady to talk to, we were intrigued by the sound of her Spellcrackers urban fantasy series.

Suzanne McLeod is the author of the Spellcrackers.com urban fantasy series about magic, mayhem and murder – liberally spiced with hot guys, kick-ass chicks and super-cool supes! The Shifting Price of Prey – #4 – is her latest book. Suzanne has been a cocktail waitress, dance group roadie, and retail manager before becoming a writer. She was born in London (her favourite city and home to Spellcrackers.com) and is now lucky enough to live with her husband on the sunny (sometimes) South Coast of England, about a mile away from the sea.

Now on with the irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
I’ve always wanted to be a musician and play the saxophone, only problem is I have no musical talent. :-(

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
I don’t – other than I have to have numerous cups of tea (black, green or herbal! I don’t care which, so long as it’s available :-D)!

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
I have a comfy office chair and a small laptop table tucked into the corner of our lounge.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
We, Mr Mc and I, always open a bottle of bubbly to metaphorically wet the new book’s pages! And I like to treat myself with something that’s relevant (in some way) to the book. (The picture shows something for each of my books, plus the short story – Full-Scale Demolition. The partly hidden item on the necklace with the blue bottle and gold coin is deliberately obscured to prevent a spoiler. *teases*)

Whose opinion matters most to you?
This is a difficult one as it changes depending on what stage the current book is at. Initially it’s the opinion of my editor and my beta readers, and later, once the book’s published, it’s the opinion of those readers who love the previous books in the series and who hopefully love the latest.

Do you get fully dressed to write?
Usually. Though there has been the odd occasion when I’ve started early and I’ve still been in my PJs at lunchtime!

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Thinking about my characters and what they could get up to next usually inspires me. After that it’s the actual act of writing; the more I write, the more I want to.

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
Every email or comment from a reader who tells me that they love my characters always make my heart sing. Sounds a bit sappy, but it’s true. :-)

What do you value most?
My family, friends, and my health.

How do you deal with negative comments?
I try not to. I find that negative comments can sometimes hound me like a Black Dog, so I’ve learned not to even read them.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After, Everyone Dies, Or…?
Oh, this is a hard one . . . I definitely don’t like Everyone Dies (that last episode of Angel :-( ) but Happy Every After is too Disney, so I think a mix of Happy For Now and the characters heading off to do interesting things. (I should add that my comments here in no way indicate what will happen at the end of Genny’s last book . . . *looks innocent*)

What do you do to relax?
Read, watch TV, bake, and walk – sometimes more than one of those things at the same time.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
This year we’ve had a litter of fox cubs in the garden. They’ve been wonderful to watch, though sadly we’ve had to stop feeding them so that they’ll split up and find their own territories, as nature intends. This hasn’t gone down well with them, for obvious reasons, though they still look extremely healthy so we know they’re not starving. There are more pictures here and and we have some videos here

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
I prefer silence, though if there’s a lot of noise around then I stick the headphones in, turn the volume up high, and drown it out.

What is your favourite type of music?
I’m not much of a music person (I don’t have much time to listen to it now) but two artists I love are Seal , my fav of his is Kiss from a Rose; and Queen, my fav of theirs is A Kind of Magic (well, my husband is a McLeod of McLeod!*g*).

Do you have any phobias?
Yes! Elfs! A.k.a Eight Legged Freaks or arachnids. I’m so phobic that I’m thinking of taking the ‘Friendly Spider’ course that London Zoo does to try and cure it.

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Barefoot!

Many thanks to Suzanne McLeod for taking the time to answer our questions, and if you want to know more about the author, visit her Website, Twitter or Facebook!

Pictures provided by and used with permission of Suzanne McLeod
Author photograph copyright Rob Monk


Suzanne’s latest book, The Shifting Price of Prey – Spellcrackers#4 is out now!

Sometimes a bit of magical help might cost more than you bargained for . . .

London is hosting the Carnival Fantastique, and Genny’s job has never been busier or more fulfilling. Only not everyone is so happy. Genny believed she’d cracked the fae’s infertility curse . . . but the fae are still barren. It’s a devastating plight to which the mysterious Emperor may have the solution – if Genny can find him.

She needs help.

She turns to the vampire Malik al-Khan, only to find he’s wrestling with his own demons and, when the police request Genny’s assistance with a magical kidnap, her own problems multiply too. Is it all unconnected, or can the Emperor help her solve more than the fae’s infertility? Soon Genny is hard on his trail, so it seems she’ll have a chance to ask . . . but will the answer cost more than she’s willing to pay?


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!

Aug 232012
 

Tobsha Learner is extremely diverse in her writing; playwright, author in the genres of thriller, historical romance, and of course erotica.  The latter is what I want to highlight here.  Her work has been dubbed ‘the thinking woman’s erotica’ and while I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a thinking woman, I do consider her stories to be a level above a lot of the steamy tales out there.

Now, I’m not usually a big fan of short stories but I found these hard to stop reading.  ‘Just one more’ kept going through my mind and I found them extremely engaging. Each story provides something different and are brilliant if you aren’t a big novel reader or don’t have a lot of time but want to read something saucy.  Reviews are coming soon of her three story collections but be warned, you will need a fan… and possibly some batteries ;)

Enough wittering from me, on with the irreverence!

Quiver What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
Film director, entomologist or astrophysicist – I obviously missed my calling.

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
Not really, but in the winter I like to wear a rather ugly woolly beanie (with a Chelsea football emblem on it) the temperature of my head seems to be important. Once I’m in the zone, I could be anywhere.

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
My writing studio is on the fourth floor of a beautiful Georgian building in the centre of London. It’s entirely my space and is a bit like a turret in atmosphere – I like the sense of being above, but I have had writing spaces in all sorts of strange places in the past. One was a converted laundry – not much more than a converted cupboard. The main thing is to have natural light – space isn’t that important.

Yearn How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
Long time ago now, I remember the overwhelming excitement is when you first see one of your books displayed in a shop window, the second buzz is when you see someone reading it on the train – that’s always a little disorientating – like is that name on the cover really me? I think after a while there’s a separation of identity for many authors – the writer and the private individual. Especially when you write for different genres like myself (erotica and thrillers).

Whose opinion matters most to you?
My readers – I never believe my mum anyway!

Do you get fully dressed to write?
I write during the day so yes, I also have to walk to my writing room, however I hate wearing anything too restrictive when I write so that I’m not distracted.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Writing is a discipline; the most important thing is getting into the rhythm of writing four – five pages a day – whatever one’s mood. Once you have the first draft down – the whole shape the real craft is the rewriting. So I fight to get to that desk every morning, inspiration comes in many ways – I am very much an architect so the storyline and characters are worked out before I even begin – however it’s bliss when your prose just lifts you up and flies you around the room and before you know it it’s evening.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
A young Meryl Streep or Mads Mikkelsen – ok, he has a penis but he is the sexiest guy on screen.

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
‘Not a bad writer, this Tobsha bloke.’ Overheard in an audience during one of my plays in Australia, an audience member hadn’t realised the playwright was female.

Tremble What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
I’ve had fans tell me my erotica has helped them with recovering from cancer, losing their virginity, revamping their marriages etc. I’ve had the most amazing and moving letter from a guy in a top security US prison (that was historical fiction). As a playwright I’ve sat with audiences rolling in the aisles. I love hearing how I’m emotionally moved my fans in whatever way – as long as they come away changed.

What do you value most?
Community, experience, respect and sense of place.

How do you deal with negative comments?
I don’t read my reviews – you’re screwed if you believe the bad ones and you’re equally screwed if you believe the good ones. I am a deep believer in craft and the best one can do is to always address one’s weakness as a writer and attempt to improve one’s craft with each new book. I am very self-critical and this helps keep me pushing for improvement.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After, Everyone Dies, Or…?
I like all kinds of movies – from highbrow to lowbrow – from The Lives of Others to Rock of Ages; I guess you could describe me as as a sophisticated vulgarian.

What do you do to relax?
Go for a walk in the nearest piece of Nature I can find and if I’m in my place in California – gardening.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
I have a bee hive in California, but the pets I’d really like is a colony of naked mole rats – the most incredible mammal on the planet and quite likely to hold the secret to eternal youth (amongst other extraordinary possibilities) they are also the ugliest creatures on the earth –photo attached. I think you can divide humanity into two different groups – those who love naked mole rats and those who don’t – (it’s all to do with intellectual curiosity transcending first impressions!).

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
Silence – I can’t even listen to the radio – but I do need the faint buzz of a big city.

What is your favourite type of music?
That’s difficult to say, I’m very eclectic, like classical, grew up on punk, went to school to reggae and will tolerate classical rock (hubbie use to play rock guitar).

Do you have any phobias?
Unfortunately I am recovering from a fear of flying developed suddenly ten years ago, now almost over it, thank God – my heart goes out to all who suffer from such thing – not a trivial matter. On the positive I love spiders and small ugly things (even been known to go out with a few in the past).

Do you have a party trick?
Yeah. I’m witty.

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Barefoot always – I’m a born-again hobbit.

A huge thank-you to Tobsha Learner for taking the time to answer our questions, and if you want to know more about the author, visit her Website, Twitter or Facebook!

Pictures provided by and used with permission of Tobsha Learner


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!

 

Jul 192012
 

What can I say about this amazing author? I was only introduced to her work last year and I have fallen completely in love with her characters.  She has a huge amount of style in her writing that appeals to my heart and can make me laugh and cry with a few simple sentences.  As a paranormal romance author, I rate her as one of the best and if you like J.R. Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon then you will love her, I promise!  Start with the Demonica Series (Pleasure Unbound is book 1) and if you aren’t hooked by the end, well… I will find a hat to eat or something!

Anyway, enough wittering (I do that a lot!), on with the Irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
I’d go back to being a meteorologist. I really loved that job!

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
Coffee! Oh, I need lots and lots of coffee, or no words will come…

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
Ha! I actually work in two places — I have an office, but I usually only work in it when I need quiet and privacy (like when my husband is home and I’m on deadline.) Most of the time I work in the living room with my feet up on the couch. In the winter I’ll have a fire going, and in the summer, the windows will be open. My dog, Hexe, is always on the floor next to me.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
Champagne and dinner out!

Whose opinion matters most to you?
When it comes to my writing? My editor….and, obviously, the reader!

Do you get fully dressed to write?
My work uniform is my pajamas or sweats. I shower and get right back into pajamas.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Often, music, but also a really good book.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
Honestly, I have no idea. But I do know it would be a very boring movie! :)

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
I once had a guy ask if I write while naked. And he was serious. Bizarre.

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
I’ve had so many that it’s impossible to pick just one, but I can say that when a group of readers bought me a birthday cake and brought it to a conference, it was one of the most amazing nights I’ve had with readers.

What do you value most?
My friends and family.

How do you deal with negative comments?
Honestly, not well. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and when they put those opinions in reviews, that’s fair. But when they make those comments to my face or on my Facebook page/blog/Twitter, I tend to see it much like someone coming into my house and insulting my cooking. I think it’s rude, and I’ll make that clear, though I try to be civil.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After, Everyone Dies, Or…?
As long as there is closure, I don’t care. I just hate movies that end on a cliffhanger or that leave you to interpret what happened. It’s why I couldn’t stand Inception. Brilliant movie, but the ending killed it for me!

What do you do to relax?
I read, play video games, watch movies and TV, and I go to the lake to either play on the beach with my dog, or out on a boat.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
I have a calico and white cat named Vegas who was abandoned by her owners when they moved out of their house and left her to fend for herself. Horrible. We took her in when we moved, so now she’s a fat, happy indoor cat. We also have a 100-pound King Shepherd named Hexe. She looks like an oversized, long-haired German Shepherd Dog.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
Either silence or TV in the background. I can’t listen to music because I end up singing and not getting any writing done.

What is your favourite type of music?
I’m a country music fan.

Do you have any phobias?
I have terrible claustrophobia. I’m also terrified of spiders, but I wouldn’t quite put it at phobia level. Close, though!

Do you find the time of year makes it easier or harder to write, are you inspired by spring or delayed by the summer heat for instance?
Definitely harder to write in the summer, when I want to be out on the lake!

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Slippers or socks – in the winter, both!

Many thanks to Larissa Ione for taking the time to answer our questions, and if you want to know more about the author, visit her Website, Twitter or Goodreads!

Pictures provided by and used with permission of Larissa Ione


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!

Apr 102012
 

I’m just going to go all out fan girl about Benedict Jacka!  Fated is a breath of fresh air for urban fantasy and in just one book he rates right up there with Jim Butcher and Mike Carey as my favourites.  When I started reading it, I got that frisson of excitement of reading something unique and very special.  The character of Alex Verus was brilliant and inspired and the setting was as intriguing at the character.  If you love good urban fantasy and I’m talking the gritty and intense non-paranormal romance kind then you HAVE to check this book out.  I will never speak to you again if you don’t!  Read my review and make up your own mind obviously (as long as you end up reading it ;) )  I can’t wait for the next book!

Enough of my wittering, on with the Irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
Lawyer, probably. Still might end up becoming one!

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
Staring out the window. Usually the more trouble I’m having with writing something the more time I spend watching the view instead. I know that things are going well when I don’t look up.

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
On my bed with my laptop. I have a desk but I never sit at it.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
You know, I honestly can’t remember. I’m pretty sure I had a party but I’m not sure what the details were. I guess that means it was a good one?

Whose opinion matters most to you?
Mine. I get convinced to change it fairly often, though.

Do you get fully dressed to write?
I wear whatever I’ve got on at the time (which is often whatever I’m wearing to bed).

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Not writing! Whenever I go long enough without writing something I get motivated to do something new. Then after I’ve finished writing something I get sick of it and go off to do something that isn’t writing.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
I’m absolutely sure no-one’s ever going to make a film adaptation of my life. If they did, I’d be played by some actor I’d never heard of who looks younger and more glamorous than I do. The portrayal would have nothing at all in common with my life but that’s how the business works.

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
I still get the odd message asking if the setting from my previous books (the Ninja series) is real. Sometimes they won’t believe me when I say no. It’s my own fault, really.

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
Hard to pick just one! I love getting feedback on my books and I read every email and comment I get (and answer if I have the time). I remember one lovely letter I got from a pair of children who’d written it and sent it off to my agents, where it eventually found its way to me. Knowing that someone liked my work that much always gives me a little lift for the rest of the day.

What do you value most?
“. . . courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful until it became risky . . .”

How do you deal with negative comments?
Read them with interest. I always like getting honest feedback, positive or negative, but it’s annoyingly rare to get really good negative feedback. When people love a book they show the best of themselves, but when they hate it they hardly ever give you the real reason.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After, Everyone Dies, Or…?
Happily Ever After unless I really hate the characters. I can think of a few movies where I’m rooting for the bad guys to kill the cast, but if I hate the cast that much it’s probably because they’re the writer’s pets and so completely immortal. Very unfair.

What do you do to relax?
Gaming! I don’t play computer games so often anymore but I still love tabletop RPGs.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
A very affectionate and attention-seeking Golden Retriever, who true to her name will retrieve anything left within three feet of the floor. If you’re lucky you can get it back before “retrieve” turns to “shred”.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
A little background noise, but not too much. Looking out the window onto a city street’s my favourite.

What is your favourite type of music?
Whatever I’ve got on my computer! My music collection’s so weird and has stuff from so many genres I’ve given up trying to put a label on it.

Do you have any phobias?
Wasps. Hate the little pests.

Do you find the time of year makes it easier or harder to write, are you inspired by spring or delayed by the summer heat for instance?
This is England – we don’t get summer heat, just summer-mild-warmness! Really hot or really cold weather does slow me down but I usually just end up writing at a different time. Deadlines don’t care about the season, after all . . .

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
As little as I can get away with! Barefoot in the summer, slippers in the cooler seasons, and I only wear socks if I gets cold enough to need them.

Huge thanks to Benedict Jacka for taking the time to answer our questions, and if you want to know more about the author, visit his WebsiteTwitter or Goodreads!


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!

Mar 132012
 

S.J. Watson is the author of the astonishing and award winning debut novel ‘Before I go to Sleep’.  I met him at a joint book signing with Tess Gerritsen, and hearing him speak about the book and the belief he had in it made me very excited.  The man himself is also very personable and approachable, and I am so pleased for his success.  Needless to say I was very happy when he agreed to answer some Irreverent Questions!

See my review for just how much I loved Before I go to Sleep, then buy a copy in your favourite format and read it, you’ll thank me later!

On with the Irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
A rock star or an astronaut. Neither of those seem very likely, though.

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
I wake up, make myself a huge mug of coffee, and then get to the desk. On a good day I manage to get into the book without logging onto Facebook first.

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
I’m at my desk. It’s not very tidy, but I feel happy surrounded by books and pens and bits of paper.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
On the day it was published we had a launch party, so I celebrated with lots of wine and some good friends. There were no extravagant purchases, I didn’t get a tattoo.

Whose opinion matters most to you?
With writing? My first reader is always my partner. If it’s a thumbs down, then it’s back to the drawing board…

Do you get fully dressed to write?
I do now. I haven’t always, but I realised there was something not quite right about answering the door in my dressing gown at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
All sorts of things. Mostly a hunger to find out what I’m capable of, and what my characters will do next. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing though, and the only thing that gets me to my desk is the thought of the deadline.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
I have no idea…!

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
Not weird, as much as flattering, but I often get people telling me they’ve been so engrossed in the book that they’ve forgotten to feed their children/get off the bus/put the cat out/go to bed. That’s nice.

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
I love meeting the people that have read and enjoyed the book. No single experience stands out, though I really enjoyed the spot I did at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival last year.

What do you value most?
My friends, my family, my health.

How do you deal with negative comments?
It depends on what’s motivated them. Often they’re motivated by jealousy or spite, and I ignore them. Those that aren’t? I try to see if there’s anything I can learn from them.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After, Everyone Dies, Or…?
A mixture…

What do you do to relax?
Write. Read. Watch DVDs. Chat with friend about nonsense. Pet the dog.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
We have a dog. Actually, she’s a weird alien creature, trapped in a dog’s body. She rules the house.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
Music. It has to be lively, but instrumental. Or with words I don’t understand. I’m currently writing to Sigur Ros (who mostly sing in Icelandic), which is perfect, but taking the new book in some very odd directions.

What is your favourite type of music?
Loud, fast, angry, hard. Or slow, dreamy, blissful. I like extremes.

Do you have any phobias?
Yes. I hate frogs. And ketchup.

Do you find the time of year makes it easier or harder to write, are you inspired by spring or delayed by the summer heat for instance?
Not really. The distractions are different, but every season has its benefits and disadvantages.

Huge thanks to S. J. Watson for taking the time to answer our questions, and if you want to know more, visit his Website, Facebook or Twitter!


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, weekly feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!

 

Feb 282012
 

I was absolutely beside myself when Katie Fforde kindly agreed to be our next victim guest on Irreverent Questions!

She is without a doubt one of the finest writers of contemporary romance (or chick-lit if you prefer) and I have been a huge fan for the longest time.  Her books are sweet, funny, and utterly engaging with characters you can easily empathise with.  The settings are as unique as the characters; quaint rural english villages, highlands of Scotland and even a canal barge to name but a few.  As they aren’t part of a series, you can pick up any book of hers and be absorbed, so if you haven’t experienced any of Katie’s wonderful stories, what are you waiting for?

Katie Fforde’s latest book is Recipe for Love and is released on 1st March 2012!

On with the Irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
I’d like to be a torch singer but failing that an agony aunt.

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
I play a lot of spider patience on my computer and go on Twitter. This can take hours!

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
I have a little, incredibly untidy office. It has a lovely view though. And a lot of books, a kettle, a heater and a radio.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
I felt weird when my first book was published. It just felt very very scary. Still feel like that really.

Whose opinion matters most to you?
My readers opinions matter to me. Also my editors’ (I have two) and my daughter’s.

Do you get fully dressed to write?
I usually write in my nightie and dressing gown – slippers in winter, Berkies in summer.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Professional writers always have to be in the mood to write. Although sometimes you really don’t feel like it and your have to just start. You get into it by doing it.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
Very hard to think of who would play me in the film of my life. Have a horrible feeling it would be Imelda Staunton.

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
It was from a German journalist interviewing me about the fact my books are being made into films for TV in German. She said, ‘Would you like to be as famous in the UK as you are in Germany.’ I don’t think I’m famous in Germany!!!!

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
All experiences with fans are good. I suppose it’s best when they become friends.

What do you value most?
My family, no question.

How do you deal with negative comments?
I don’t deal well with negative reviews as I always think they are right! But I don’t comment on the whole. I am a bit too sensitive.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After or Everyone Dies?
Happy Ever After! Who likes Everyone Dies? That’s what happens in real life!

What do you do to relax?
Read, watch television.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
I have many pets currently, including three puppies that need homes. Apart from them, there are two dogs (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) and a cat who thinks it’s funny to scratch me.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
I quite often start writing with the radio on (R4) but as I get into it I turn it off and have to have silence. Sometimes I have to go downstairs and turn the radio off down there if I can hear it.

What is your favourite type of music?
I like many sorts of music and love singing. I’m a member of a choir. That said, I mostly listen to talk radio. I really hate churches with bands in them that include drum kits.

Do you have any phobias?
I don’t like heights at all although have agreed to abseil down our church tower to raise funds. Yes I am mad.

Do you find the time of year makes it easier or harder to write, are you inspired by spring or delayed by the summer heat for instance?
I like to write in summer but my deadlines mean I mostly write in autumn and winter.

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Slippers in winter, sometimes barefoot in summer.

Many thanks to Katie Fforde for taking the time to answer our questions and if you want to know more, visit her Website, Facebook or Twitter!

Pictures provided by, and used with permission of Katie Fforde


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, weekly feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!

 

Feb 212012
 

This week we have the lovely Charlotte Betts, author of The Apothecary’s Daughter, answering our irreverent questions.  If you haven’t heard of this wonderful novel, you are missing out and should immediately go and read our review.  Then buy the book, you won’t regret it.

On with irreverence!

What would you be, or want to be, if you weren’t an author?
An artist. I used to love painting in watercolours but was never as good at it as I’d like to be.

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
I always make a big mug of tea – builder’s tea, hot and strong, not lapsang souchong.

Describe your working environment right now.
I’m standing up at the kitchen counter – just arrived home from work and am cooking roast chicken for dinner while I write this! It’s a country kitchen, warm and cosy from the AGA, with big windows out to the garden and the woods beyond.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
It was a normal, frantic, day at the office. But I did take a few moments to stare out of the window, smiling to myself.

Whose opinion matters most to you?
For anything personal – my family. And then my readers.

Do you get fully dressed to write?
I always write a few words early in the morning in my dressing gown while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. In the winter, when it’s cold, I wear furry slipper boots, jeans, double jumpers and a scarf. I feel the cold more when I spend hours sitting still in front of the laptop at weekends.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
I’m always in the mood to write but Life often gets in the way. I do write something every day, even if it’s only a sentence standing up in the kitchen.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
I’d like it to be Felicity Kendall but she’s too petite or Joanna Lumley but she’s too lovely. It’s hard to see yourself as others do.

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
I was at a book signing in my local Waterstones this weekend and a lady came to buy a book. She had seen an article about my debut novel, The Apothecary’s Daughter, in the Newbury Weekly News and said that she found my journey to publication really inspiring. She’s a writer herself and it was wonderful to be able to encourage her to fulfil her own dreams.

What do you value most?
Integrity and kindness. And good health.

How do you deal with negative comments?
I always listen to them but try to distance them from my emotions. If I can learn something that’s good, if not, I do my best not to let such comments bother me.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After or Everyone Dies?
Happy Ever After. I’m the eternal optimist.

What do you do to relax?
Read or write. Or bake cakes.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
I had a border collie dog, one of the most intelligent breeds. Megan died a year ago and I still miss her. We used to walk together while I worked out plot problems and she always looked so interested when I muttered snatches of dialogue as we rustled through the leaves in the woods.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
Silence or birdsong from the garden.

What is your favourite type of music?
I always dread being asked this question! I’m embarrassed to say I don’t really listen to much music – there’s too much going on in my head to want any distraction. But sometimes I surprise myself. I was listening to Ladies in Lavender the other day and it almost brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I can’t help but smile when I hear a pop song from my teenage years.

Do you have any phobias?
I don’t like stuffy, enclosed spaces. The thought of pot-holing gives me the shivers. Oh, and ants.

Do you find the time of year makes it easier or harder to write, are you inspired by spring or delayed by the summer heat for instance?
A walk in the sunshine, whatever the time of year, always lifts my spirits and brings joy to my writing.

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Barefoot in summer, slippers in winter.

Huge thanks to Charlotte Betts for taking the time to answer our questions and if you want to know more, visit her Website, Facebook or Twitter!

Pictures provided by and used with permission of Charlotte Betts


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, new feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!

 

Feb 142012
 

Midnight EnchantmentThe next victim author to brave our Irreverent Questions is bestselling paranormal romance author, Anya Bast!

Anya is a much loved and experienced author of the hot, steamy and paranormal, with several series under her belt.  I came across her work when I picked up Witch Fire, book one of the Elemental Witches.  I was still quite new to the genre at that point but what I loved most about her style of writing were the exceptional characterisations.  In my opinion that has stayed true throughout her career and when she released the ebook Keeping Kaitlyn last year, I realised I had a lot of catching up to do!

Her latest release is book four of the Dark Magic series, Midnight Enchantment.

Anyay, enough wittering from me, on with the irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
I would have been a psychologist. At the time I sold my first book that’s what I was on track to become. Who knows, maybe I’ll go back to school one day.

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
I work in an office with a desk in the corner right in front of two windows that give me a view of the great outdoors. There is always a dog on a doggie bed near me, sometimes more than one. I have bookshelves behind me stocked with my novels, bookmarks, etc. I have a poster with pictures of a kitty of mine that recently died on the wall next to me. There’s a space heater. Not very exciting. Pretty much your standard office.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
My family bought me a bottle of champagne and took me and my husband out to dinner.

Do you get fully dressed to write?
Pajama pants and sweaters (or T-shirts) are sort of my standard uniform these days. ;) Oh, the hardship.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Deadlines.

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
“Uhm, excuse me, you got [this] wrong in your novel, (XXYY). I KNOW because I’m REALLY a vampire.” I’ve had almost this same comment from an alleged faerie as well.

How do you deal with negative comments?
They used to really bother me, but my skin has grown pretty thick over the years. I usually just shrug off negative comments about my work.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After or Everyone Dies?
Everyone Dies, but in a funny way. ;) I tend to go for dark comedies or dramedys (which, I guess are kind of the same thing). Right now I’m working my way through Breaking Bad and loving it. I also like (no big surprise) science fiction movies/TV or anything fantastical in nature, like Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, and Grimm.

What do you do to relax?
I watch movies at night, cuddling on the couch with my husband and/or dog. Sometimes I engage in retail therapy. I try to make sure I take the weekends off to spend with my family. I like to do exactly NOTHING on Sundays.

BingoDo you have pets, and if so, describe them.
We have six cats and two dogs. Kitty is the most recent addition. He used to be our barn cat, (was an outdoor cat for at least eight years), but we made him an indoor cat recently when we moved. He’s adjusting surprisingly well. The second most recent addition is Bingo, a basenji mix. He’s a character, pretty high-strung, but such a great cuddler. We rescued him from doggie death row and I’m so glad we did. He’s my boy. I adore him.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
Mostly silence, sometimes music. Music can change the rhythm of your brain wave patterns (feels that way, at least). Sometimes it helps me write.

What is your favourite type of music?
Hmmm, depends. Nothing slow, usually not love songs. Depends on my mood. Some days it’s Nine Inch Nails, other days it’s Billie Holliday.

Do you have any phobias?
I don’t know if it’s a phobia, but I really hate dentists. I think it’s the perceived lack of control. I also truly hate centipedes. They are just WRONG on so many levels. And wolf spiders. ARGH. Too many legs, too fast, way too hideous. Dentists all over the world will be happy to know I put them in the same category as centipedes and spiders, right? ;)

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Slipper socks are a win/win for everyone.

Many thanks to Anya Bast for taking part in our feature and if you want to know more, visit her Website, Facebook or Twitter!

Pictures provided by and used with permission of Anya Bast


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, new feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!

Jan 312012
 

If you are a fan of great science fiction and haven’t yet read Germline, then go and track down a copy in your favourite format now!  I would say I’ll wait but then you will be engrossed and you won’t read the rest of this post so… read this first, then get cracking ;)

It’s an astonishing read; brutal, gritty and full of the reality of those who are fighting a war, even in a futuristic setting.  I can’t wait for Exogene, the next book in the series which is due out in March! If you need more convincing then read my review and then decide.  Either way, T.C. McCarthy was kind enough to agree to being my next victim author for Irreverent Questions.

On with the irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
A dog who belonged to a good family, with kids. That way I’d sleep, eat, and play all day (when I wasn’t pooping).

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
Yes. I put the kids to bed and then set my alarm for 4 AM so I can get up early enough to have peace and quiet. Ugh.Office

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
I built my own office by renovating an empty room in our house; we were using it for storage and I thought it was time to make it more useful. The two pictures; one is how my space looks right now at 5 AM – dark and out of focus. The grey splotch under the desk is one of my dogs, who is in the other picture, and who keeps my feet warm.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
I knew I forgot to do something. Crap!

Whose opinion matters most to you?
This is a fantastic question, and I’d line them in this order, from most to least important: 1. Editor, 2. Reader, 3. Agent, 4. Me.

Do you get fully dressed to write?
I’m in my boxers as I write this, and the manuscript for my next novel is open in another window – so, no? :)

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Positive reviews, negative reviews, the news, and just about anything you could think of. The mood is always there. But the inspiration can come from anywhere, and it’s just important to keep my mind open so I can recognize inspiration when it presents itself.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
Either John Malkovich or Steve Buscemi.

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
That the genetic soldiers are “male fantasy female supersoldiers.” Uh…no. I don’t fantasize about bald sixteen year olds, and I think this comment says more about its author than it does me. The choice of girl genetics was made to (a) convey a sense of gloom, that future society deteriorates to the point where it replaces women in combat with mass-manufactured girls, and (b) it just seemed really creepy. We get a better look at this society in books II and III. The curious can Google “male fantasy supersoldiers” for more information…

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
Fan mail from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan vets who convey a simple message: that I got it right.

How do you deal with negative comments?
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and it’s an honor to be part of the literary or genre debate. I’d rather get negative comments than no comments. So I ignore them when they’re motivated by something other than honest criticism, absorb them when they have value, and try to be grateful that I have a shot at writing novels.

PennyDo you have pets, and if so, describe them?
See the answer to the third question, above! I have four dogs and three kids, so it gets insane around here.

What is your favourite type of music?
I listen to Irish folk, Russian folk, and a lot of punk, shoegazer, and anti-grunge.

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Barefoot. All the way, barefoot.

Thanks so much to T.C. McCarthy for taking part, and if you want to know more, visit his Website, Facebook or Twitter!

Pictures provided by and used with permission of T.C. McCarthy


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, new feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!