Good Morning Paper Panda! xx

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?
Mostly tea (builders tea, has to be strong, soya milk, no sugar) with the occasional filter coffee. Biscuits must be involved.
Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?
Finn Biddybum. He’s a little, spiky extension of myself. What’s not to like about a hedgehog who loves cake?
Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

I wrote my first book on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic. This sounds more dramatic than it actually was. There were non alcoholic cocktails and swimsuits involved. Tight deadlines often mean that work spills into holiday-time. My second book was written (and photographed) at the same desk I paint and papercut on, surrounded by curios and strange bits and bobs that inspire me.

My third book (due out late 2017) was written one afternoon laying on the couch, nursing a migraine. Yes, really.
Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?
My first two books were instructional and entirely based on work and the artwork I produce. My third is a children’s book based around the characters I created over the past few years, the Woodland Friends. Everything I create is based around nature and is largely inspired by the books I read as a child.
What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?
I’m currently illustrating “Finn Biddybum’s Cake”, a children’s book written in rhyme (thank you, migraine) that’s due out later this year, fingers crossed!

Friday Interview with Shana

Friday Author Interview

Hello! to Shana Hollowell all the way from the USA!

5 Questions to Know You Better…

 

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Definitely coffee!

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

A squirrel that sings. He will be featured in one of my upcoming children’s picture books.

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture?

When the weather is nice, I love to sit outside and write at the koi pond in my backyard. It is so peaceful.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I find inspiration in everyday items. For my first children’s picture book, “Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat,” I came up with the idea from a cat toy. When my son Grayson was just learning to walk, he loved to pick up the cat’s mouse and walk around with it. I would say “eek, eek… little mouse is hungry and wants a treat.” The story developed from there. I love making up and telling him stories, especially ones about animals.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

One of my children’s stories is currently being illustrated. My illustrator is painting the pictures, as she did for my other book. I am hoping to publish it this fall.

Introducing Karen McManus – who isn’t lying…

Author Interview
Hello!  Karen, thank you for doing this during such a busy time for you…  (so excited about your paperback release on 1st June!)

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Coffee, definitely. At least three cups before I really get going in the morning.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

My debut novel ‘One of Us is Lying’  has four main characters, and I honestly can’t pick just one. I enjoyed writing all of them for different reasons. They’re all stereotypes at the beginning of the book—the brain, the jock, the princess, the criminal—but once secrets start coming out, they’re more three-dimensional than they seem.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

When I’m at home I usually write in my office. It has a deck attached and if the weather cooperates, I’ll sit outside.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I’ve gotten my last couple of ideas listening to the radio; a combination of music, for tone and mood; and news stories, for the spark of a concept than spun into something else.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I’m working on my second novel for Delacorte Press, which is also a standalone YA in the thriller/suspense vein. Expected publication is in 2018.

Good Morning to Patricia Feinberg Stoner…

Author Interview

Hello! Patricia x

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Always tea apart from first thing in the morning.  My husband and I take our dog for a walk along the beach, then collect our coffee (skinny latte for me) and sit overlooking the sea and put the world to rights.  I like the occasional hot chocolate, too, but I have to be careful because chocolate gives me migraine.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

Because of his comedy value, the dreadful neighbour in At Home in the Pays d’Oc.  I didn’t create him, though – how could you invent someone who yells at you in the street: ‘You will pay and even the Queen of England will know about it.’

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

I’m usually at my desk – which is untidy beyond belief.  I’ll include a picture when I have tidied it up a bit.  But like most writers I’m always thinking about writing, so if you see me staring into space with a vacant look, I’m probably either creating a masterpiece  or wondering what to cook for dinner.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

Visiting France and then living there for four years.  It’s a cliché that truth is stranger than fiction, but it is – and often a lot funnier, too.  I like to people watch, too, and imagine what they are saying.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

Morbignan Tales – a series of short stories based in the village I featured in At Home in the Pays d’Oc.  When I finished the book I found I had a lot of material left over, and characters who got cross with me for not having been included the first time.  It’s about half written, but realistically won’t be out for another year. In the meantime I am planning The Little Book of Rude Limericks which I hope to have out in time for Christmas.


Author of Now and Then in Tuscany x

Author Interview

Hello! to Angela Petch

5 Questions to Know you Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Usually tea, but I like tisanes too. When I am in Italy – strong cappuccino in a piazza bar where I can people watch.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

I think a character called Tiziana, an Italian war-bride who married a boring Englishman to escape the hardships of occupied Italy. Interestingly, she is a minor character in my first novel ‘Tuscan Roots’. She’s a little bit outrageous, a survivor and I enjoyed writing her. She might reappear at some stage.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

I write mostly in Tuscany, where we have a watermill that we restored and use for holiday lets. It is very peaceful and I have more time there to write.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I am very taken with location and the way it impacts on characters. My first two novels are set in the Tuscan Apennines. It’s beautiful but harsh and I researched the effect of war on ordinary people who lived in the area in the first book and in my most recent novel ‘Now and Then In Tuscany’, how the peasants coped with difficult winters. I’m quite nosy and have a vivid imagination; the two ingredients make for stories.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

My next project is completely different and moves away from Tuscany to the British seaside (where I live in Winter). Together with my lovely sister, who is providing the illustrations, I am working on ‘The Adventures of Mavis and Dot’. If you have ever enjoyed the William stories by Richmal Crompton, then this will be an ‘adult’ version, based on two doughty but rather naïve ladies of a certain age who retire to the seaside… and end up in all kinds of scrapes. I’ve read a few of the stories to friends and they have enjoyed them. I think we need humour in this world of ours. I hope to publish it in time for Christmas 2018 – if I said earlier I would put pressure on myself.

Congratuations to Rosemary Noble…

Author Interview

Hello! Rosemary Noble x

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Tea

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

Jane in The Digger’s Daughter – she was described to me as ‘terrifying’ so I had to find her vulnerabilities, retain her toughness but also make her sympathetic

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture? 

I just like to be comfy

 

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

Family history – putting meat on the bones of bare facts. I try to place the facts I gather into context – what was going on at the time, how did that affect them, how did they react and a story appears.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I am taking a break during the summer. Maybe I will write a short novella – a freebie by Autumn 2017. I will then will begin on the 3rd book in the Currency Girls Series. I guess that won’t be ready until late 2018. I want to take another trip to Australia to get me in the mood; to feel the heat, listen to the birdsong (it’s so different) to see the colours (red earth, yellow grass, olive green gum trees, white /grey bark). It’s making me long to be there.



Meet the Happiness Millionaire!

Author Interview

Hello! Janet Jones x

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

If it is a hot chocolate, I prefer it at a street café in Paris. At home I usually choose a peppermint and liquorice cup of tea!

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

My book is a semi-autobiographical personal development book, so I guess of all the characters I have been over the years, I prefer the last one where I broke through to my true authentic self and became an author/speaker/trainer.

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture?

My book was written in many places including the South of France. That was because of the romantic notion that authors write in glamorous places. I had to live that image, even if only for a week.

Image of where the Happiness Millionaire: Positive Images for a R.I.C.H and Powerful Life was written

The main place I wrote my book was in my attic room/office, sitting at the family dining table I inherited from my mum when she was promoted to the other side. It is an old 1970’s, wood effect, round Formica table – very trendy in the 70’s. This is quite poignant, as my book tells the sad story of my dad and his search for happiness that he was unable to find and the table appears in a photo in the book covered in cream cakes for my 22nd birthday with my mum and dad.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

My inspiration and ideas come from my obsession with analysing life’s experience and journey so far. I guess I am a thinker and I like to work things out, social things and how situations can be improved. I like to discover ways to make the world, or my world, a better place and then share that through my work in the hope that it will help others. The principles and creating the images for my book drastically changed my life and I have seen them drastically change others. Seeing these results derives me on to work harder and be more creative.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I am currently developing a tour for this book, the first live seminar will be on the 24th of June in Manchester, not quite sure where after that. I do have other ideas up my sleeve for future books and seminars. One of the greatest problems, it appears to me, is people seem to struggle with keeping their relationships alive, so I would like to write another Happiness Millionaire book focusing on improving relationships and reigniting the fire for people, not only in romantic relationships but also creating enthusiasm and passion (not that kind of passion!) with colleagues at work so people feel more excited about going to work and become happier and, therefore, more productive and successful.

As someone who experienced a major breakdown in communication in my marriage and eventually my family broke up and my work suffered, I would also like to help people in their marriage’s become more communicative and aware of each other. I believe a visual book could do that. I hope the universe channels those images to me like it did the Happiness Millionaire: positive Images for a R.I.C.H and Powerful Life. Watch this space.

 

A nice chat with Rob Keeley

Author Interview

Hello! Rob Keeley

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Are you brewing up?  Thanks, I’ll have tea, preferably Earl Grey, or strong black decaff coffee with half a teaspoonful of brown sugar.  Hot chocolate’s a bit sweet for my taste.  What a lovely way to start an interview.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

He’s a character in the book I’m working on at the moment – but it hasn’t been published yet so I can’t tell you his name!  Of those I’ve published so far, I like Ellie and Edward from the Spirits series, Liam and Justin from my short story collections (a sort of junior double-act who never do anything) and Mia and her dad, the amateur detectives, who have only had one story so far but I’m determined to do more!

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture?

I haven’t anywhere particularly glamorous to show you, I’m afraid: no cafe or writing shed!  I have my writing den, with my desk and my computer.  To the average person it would probably look about as exciting as my desk in my old office job – except for thirty-odd years’ worth of books surrounding it!  And a Doctor Who clock on the wall.  But it’s what you write, not where you write, that’s important.

Here’s a picture from my most recent author day instead (see below for more on this!).

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I never have a clue what to say to this and I’m asked it all the time!  I guess it’s about one-third life experience – people, places, schooldays – and two-thirds imagination.  When an idea comes, it’s as if someone has switched a light on and you’re away.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

Production will be starting soon on “High Spirits”, the fourth of the five novels in the Spirits series, so it should be published later this year.  It picks up with our hero Ellie in her teens, two years after the events of the last book “The Sword of the Spirit”.  She has learned her lesson about meddling in time and thinks she has left the spirit world behind – but the ghosts have other ideas!  There will be one more Spirits novel but I’m also looking ahead to when the series finishes and, as mentioned earlier, have another book for the 8-12s in the making plus several more in the planning stages.  I’ve also written a young adult novel which I hope will be published at some point.

Away from my desk I’m doing school and library workshops and recently did a half-term author day and signing at one of our local libraries, which turned out to be on the same day as Storm Doris, but we didn’t let that stop us!  Have a look at www.robkeeley.co.uk to find out more.  Or follow me on Twitter @RobKeeleyAuthor.                                                                                             

A bit about K.N Edwards…

Author Interview

Hello! K. N. Edwards

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

I’m not a coffee or tea drinker. I do drink hot chocolate on occasion, but I’d say that’s only about once every few months. I may have just put off the entire population with that one sentence! 😉 But hey ho.

Honestly, I drink loads of water. That does mean it takes me a couple of hours to fully wake up every morning, but it’s so refreshing and keeps me hydrated throughout the day. I carry water with me everywhere – perhaps I have some sort of obsession! But at least it’s a healthy one though, aye…

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

My favourite is the supporting character in The Stalker, Martha. She’s beautiful, feisty, knows exactly who she is and she’s not afraid to show it. I think she’s everything a woman strives to be. She’s full of personality but has a kind heart.

Now you’d probably expect me to say the lead, Zoey.  She does have her qualities but she’s swathed with downfalls. Traits that draw negativity towards her. But in some ways I suppose that’s the beauty of her character – no-one’s perfect. We all have issues and hang ups, they’re what make us unique.

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture?

I’m a freelance copywriter so I already have a home office, but when I’m feeling creative and want to work on my book, it makes sense to use the same space.

I bought the house a few months ago so I’m still working on the internal decoration, but here we go, this is where the magic happens!

 

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

It’s actually personal experience, but highly embellished. There was an older man who took a liking to me while I was in University. He was a Journalist and apparently a teacher. I still don’t know how much of this I believe until this day. I’d always find it very difficult to get away after he started talking to me. I’d end up spending my nights out being bought drinks and talking about mostly nothing with him. All a bit creepy really. The darker rest of the story I produced from my own, slightly warped mind. 😉

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I’m currently working on the second part of The Stalker. I’m hoping it’ll be released before summer hits.

 

Wave across the pond to Patrice Locke!

Author Interview

Hello! Patrice Locke,

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Used to be coffee, but I’m tea all the way now. Usually ‘clear,’ I think that’s what you call naked tea. Though I do love lemon, so given the option I will douse the tea in lemon juice, slices, wedges, basically any version. I drink it iced or hot, though I hesitate to admit that because I realize that iced tea is an abomination in the eyes of many. Can’t help it. I like it.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

It’s got to be Tracy from “Exit Signs.” She has a few of my interests, including Romanian pop music, the Beatles, and New Mexico history, but other than that, she is a unique creation. Her bizarre snack combinations, including blueberry-peanut butter-popcorn, are hers alone. I’ve never been as addlepated as she is at first around achingly handsome Jesse, but if that is embarrassment in full bloom, I’ve been a humiliation seedling at times. She’s also my ‘heroine’ because she gets that perfect happy ending we all deserve.

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture?

I do have a home ‘office,’ though at the moment it’s more like junk drawer that has evolved into a junk room. So I have appropriated the corner of my living room because the furniture is soft and it’s my house so nobody can stop me.

 

 

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

When my mind is unengaged, which happens more frequently than I should admit, characters show up with problems they need me to solve.

Tracy and Jesse from “Exit Signs” were ‘born’ at the Denver airport, where I was waiting for a flight. I imagined a couple having a hugely personal confrontation in front of one of the departure gates where a crowd of bored, disinterested onlookers gradually become interested.

Then I had to figure out how Tracy and Jesse got into the situation that was blowing up for them. So I guess I have a rather backwards planning process. I wrote the airport scene of “Exit Signs” first and then backed up from there. Though I always knew how they were going to end up, I didn’t know how they met in the first place.

And then I was stuck because I had two separate plots happening and I knew they belonged together, but I honestly did not know why at first. Then Jesse told me how the stories were connected. That surprises some people, but not anybody who writes fiction. Characters do have a habit of taking control of their stories and insisting that they know best. In this case, Jesse certainly did.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

My latest story is with my editor at Soul Mate Publishing right now. Fingers crossed that she will like it. It was initially titled “Ghost Sitter,” but since it’s really not a ghost story, several Beta readers suggested changing it to keep from misleading readers. I’m calling it “Fresh Start” now. It’s the story of a woman who wakes up abandoned, friendless and nearly broke in a motel 1800 miles from her home.

She realizes that she needs to hit re-start and renovate her life because her own mistakes have caught up with her. And though she likes what she sees in the mirror – she doesn’t like what’s she sees underneath– in her character. She needs to reconnect with her sister, find a personal direction, and generally become a different person.

My initial inspiration was the idea of creating a very unlikeable character and make her likeable, and to turn an unreliable narrator into someone who can be trusted. I ended up liking her, so I hope other people will too.

A key element to the story is a can of yellow paint, which I hope will feature in any future cover art. In fact, the whole story started with the yellow paint, and I worked backward from there, so I guess that is my process.

Since this story, like “Exit Signs,” is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I wasn’t surprised to see that Jesse and Tracy show up as minor characters in this second story. It happened quite naturally and I was glad to see them when they butted in.