Skip to content

Category: Author Interviews

[Author Interview] M. Z. Medenciy

M. Z. thoroughly enjoys adventuring, if there are lands to be discovered, stories to be told, or fun to be had—you can count on her to be there. M .Z. resides in Rhode Island with the love of her life, their two hilarious boys, a pair of energetic pups, and one cat to rule them all.

You can follow M. Z. Medenciy through her social channels:

AmazonInstagramGoodreadsWebsite

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

As a child writing was my escape. My family immigrated from Ecuador, and I am first generation American. My siblings and I were born into poverty, and endured hardships. I will spare you and your readers the details. To protect ourselves we use to create worlds from our imagination and use them as refuge. When I was in third grade my mother was on her own and things, while still financially difficult, were getting better. I didn’t need my world of imagination. Therefore, instead of running away into it, I began to write about it. My dreams manifested into wild stories that yielded curious looks during poetry and story time. I brushed off the side eyes and continued to write, but I kept it to myself. Other than a murder mystery play I wrote for a RIC student group fundraiser, Island Eight is the first story I’ve been brave enough to share with the world.

Describe your desk / writing space.

My writing space has varied from the Ocean Community YMCA pool viewing area while my son was in practice, to my car when my other son was at soccer practice. My preferred writing space is somewhere outside of my home like a park, library, or café. A place where I am forced to be a writer because there is no one who requires me to be a mother, no clients to make requests, no errands I can run, and no house to clean. Where I can put my headphones on, summon that world my siblings and I created, and begin to write. But let’s be honest, the second my cellphone chimes with my husbands, kids, or home number it’s back to reality.

Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?

In order for me to write, I have to detach myself from this reality. Sounds weird I know, but it’s the truth. My routine starts with ensuring all the housework and errands are completed, meals are prepped and all the busy work from my job has been delegated out. Once that’s done, I am able to sit quietly with my laptop and notes and concentrate on my breathing. Eventually I’ll find myself far from here, and in whatever world I’ve created. Alternatively, if I feel inspired, I’ll grab a pen, and scribble away on the first thing I can write on. There are piles of junk mail and amazon boxes with my chicken scratch on it ^_^.

How do you come up with the title to your books?

When I write I use a work in progress title. As the story evolves during the initial writing process, I’ll sometimes find one that is more fitting. More often than not, the title will come to me during those painful rewrites.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

The hardest scene for me to write was the breakfast celebration at Cytrines’. Getting into her head was difficult for some time, but after several rewrites I felt like I could understand her better. My favorite scene to write was the dance in the town square.

What inspired your book/series?

I have wild dreams. Those wild dreams inspire my writing. Island Eight was inspired by several of those dreams which featured the first incarnation of the character Gabriel.

What are you working on next?

I have two WIP. One is the continuation of the Island Eight series, I’m itching to dive deeper into several characters. The second is a modern-day urban fantasy which will also be a series.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I love the way Douglas Adams, and Terry Pratchett wrote. Their writing exuded freedom, and at the same time was meticulously controlled within that freedom. I admire, how they conveyed such organized chaos.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Zeal, from the game Chrono Trigger

What is your favorite meal?

While my favorite mealtime is breakfast (and second breakfast), my favorite meal is Peruvian or Ecuadorian ceviche

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Loose leaf tea. Neither.

Describe yourself in three words.

Un poco loca.

[Author Interview] Leigh Brown & Victoria (Vikki) Corliss

RKB Writes Author Interviews with

Leigh Brown & Victoria (Vikki) Corliss

Often mistaken for sisters, Leigh and Victoria (Vikki) consider themselves twins from different mothers.

We met on the sidelines of our sons’ baseball game and quickly bonded over books, baseball politics, and Mrs. Brown’s ‘famous chocolate chip cookies’. No surprise to anyone, our decision to write a book also came about over a pizza dinner and we’ve been sharing a love for writing and eating ever since.

You can follow Brown Corliss through their social channels:

Facebook | Twitter | InstagramGoodreads | BookBubWebsite

Do you have a new book coming out? If so, what’s the title and when?

Funny story: we’ve just spent the better part of two years drafting a story we were so excited to share with our readers, until suddenly, we weren’t, and instead of publishing our fourth women’s novel, we decided to table it instead. Sounds crazy, right? After all the countless time and energy, not to mention brain cells we’d expended bringing our baby to the finish line, why would we simply stop short like that? Well, like the song says, to everything there is a season, including works of fiction and we came to realize that this wasn’t the time for this particular story to shine. Somewhere along the way, our thinking had changed, and exciting new ideas were emerging for another, different tale that’s more in line with both our writing style and what we’re like as women, today. It wasn’t an easy choice by any means, ending a long-term commitment before it reached fruition, in fact, it was quite possibly the toughest call we have ever had to make as co-authors. Understanding that our decision to drop one story to start another could potentially cost us readers, many of whom have been waiting patiently for the next Brown Corliss book to come out, was scary, but it was even more important to be honest with ourselves and each other. And we’re clear, now, if our work doesn’t 100% meet our expectations, we have to let it go, if not forever, at least for the moment. So, even with three published titles under our collective belt, we’re still discovering the many trials and tribulations of being an author, proving there’s always more to learn about the world of writing.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

Vikki: I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember, which I believe has also nurtured my love of writing. Before Leigh and I began co-writing together, I worked in Marketing for several years, a career that afforded me many opportunities to try my hand at diverse forms of writing, from speeches and annual to reports, to proposals and press releases. Today, I enjoy writing women’s fiction and penning a genre of stories that coincidentally I also like to read. Everything comes full circle….

Leigh: I wrote my first book in the fourth grade. It was a scintillating tale called “Harry the Frog” and I’m pretty sure it’s sitting in a box somewhere in my attic. My first paid job, at fourteen, was at the town library. My role was to check out books and then shelve those that were returned. I would spend hours combing the book spines and pulling out anything that interested me. That job solidified my love of reading and planted the seeds of one day writing a grown-up story of my own. Many years later, when that opportunity presented itself and included writing with my dear friend, I jumped at it.

Describe your desk / writing space.

Vikki: I write in a small home office with a bay window that provides a lot of natural light and a great view of my neighborhood. From this vantage, I settle into my cozy chair with computer in hand, prepared to write. From this vantage, I also spend a lot of time staring out the window, waiting for the words to come together in my head as I watch the commuters head off to the office and children run for the school bus.

Leigh: I also have a dedicated home office/desk writing space but I can write pretty much anywhere. We always joke that you could plunk me down in the middle of a mall on Christmas Eve and I could still write despite the chaos around me.

Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?

Vikki: When we are actively working on a manuscript, I try to be disciplined and be in my office by 9:00 A.M., Monday through Friday.  That doesn’t mean I won’t work weekends or evenings if an idea strikes; I have to jump on it before it leaves my head!  When we are promoting our books, anything goes really and our schedules for events and programs are very flexible.

Leigh: Vikki and I have very different writing routines. I write as if I have a movie going on in my head and I’m transcribing what I see. We were just recently describing our different writing styles to an acquaintance, and I noted that Vikki creates (the words/sentences are very important and are selected deliberately) while I report (I see the story and I’m telling the reader).

How do you come up with the title to your books?

Carefully! We learned this very important lesson the hard way with our first book, Second Chances. Without thinking, we selected the title and released it, never checking to see if there were any other similarly titled publications. Guess what? There are 80,000 Second Chances, just on Amazon alone. We haven’t named a book since without first running a title search.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

Of our three novels, Second Chances is probably the most risqué. Knowing our mothers would eventually be reading the book, we were very nervous about them seeing the “racy” parts. Whenever asked who wrote those scenes, we would point accusingly to one another and deny, deny, deny having any hand in it. That feeling we had of getting away with something “daring” may also rank them as some of our favorite writing moments.

What inspired your book/series?

Each of our books have thus far reflected something of ourselves in them. In other words, writing from our own perspectives and experiences as women, allows us to create stories that feature a commonality that is relatable for most if not all women who enjoy reading women’s fiction.

What are you working on next?

A major reason we decided to pause work on our fourth manuscript is because we had an idea for another story that has us so excited, we’re chomping at the bit to start writing. That’s all we can say for now except, stay tuned.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Vikki: Leigh and I share a few favorite authors, but I particularly enjoy reading anything by Jodi Picoult, Karen White, and Elin Hilderbrand.  I also like to read a variety of genres including non-fiction biographies, autobiographies, and historical novels. I appreciate learning so much more now, as an adult, than I did as a student in school.

Leigh: While I have favorites, I like to give all authors a try. I am very fortunate to be part of a few different groups that pass along books and often I’m reading an author’s work that I might never have stumbled on by myself. For those books that I enjoy reading, I’m always trying to evaluate what the author is doing right to keep me coming back for more.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Vikki: Tough question. I honestly can’t pick just one place.

Leigh: Jurassic Park. No, just kidding! I grew up near the ocean and it’s ingrained in my soul. Wherever I am, the ocean has to be close by and I’m happy.

What is your favorite meal?

Vikki: Another tough question. I’m not sure, but a crusty a French baguette with a creamy Brie cheese would probably have to be a part of it. Oh, and chocolate anything.

Leigh: I only need a few things to survive….pizza, French fries, chocolate chip cookies and cheese.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Vikki: Both and both.

Leigh: Neither, I’m a Diet Coke drinker. Definitely wine and its sparkling cousin Prosecco.

Describe yourself in three words.

Vikki: Optimistic. Dreamer. Foodie.

Leigh: Grateful to be….

[Author Interview] Errick Nunnally

You can follow Errick through his social channels:

Facebook | Twitter | InstagramGoodreads | BookBubWebsite

Errick Nunnally was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, he served one tour in the Marine Corps before deciding art school would be a safer—and more natural—pursuit. He is permanently distracted by art, comics, science fiction, history, and horror. Trained as a graphic designer, he has earned a black belt in Krav Maga/Muay Thai kickboxing after dark.

Errick’s work includes: the novels, BLOOD FOR THE SUN and LIGHTNING WEARS A RED CAPE; LOST IN TRANSITION, a comic strip collection; and first prize in one hamburger contest.

The following are some short stories and their respective magazines or anthologies: PENNY INCOMPATIBLE (Lamplight, v.6, #3 and the Podcast NIGHTLIGHT); JACK JOHNSON AND THE HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE OF THE GALAXY (The Final Summons); WELCOME TO THE D.I.V. (Wicked Witches); A FEW EXTRA POUNDS (Transcendent); and A HUNDRED PEARLS (PROTECTORS 2: stories to benefit PROTECT.ORG). Eventually, Errick came to his senses and moved to Rhode Island with his two lovely children and one beautiful wife.

He is currently working on a novella and a novel. The novella is currently under wraps, but the novel is The Headless Woman, sequel to All The Dead Men and that’ll be it for the Alexander Smith novels. For now.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always been interested in stories. My earliest memories are my mother reading comic books like Fantastic Four and Hulk to me, the Lee/Kirby stuff. My curiosity was primarily focused in illustrative storytelling such as comics and cartoons. I ended up with a lot of action figures like Micronaughts and Marvel heroes. I needed multiple characters to play out the stories that kept popping into my head. My mother and grandmother were very crafty, so none of the toys I had remained in their “universe.” I’d recreate all sorts of costumes and tools, and create new characters. Some of that stuff stuck with me for so long, those ideas made it into Lightning Wears A Red Cape. I think, like most genre writers, the first inkling that I might write a novel came from reading Fantasy and Science-Fiction. Horror came later, mostly through those genres.

Describe your desk / writing space.

Essentially any flat surface where I can be left alone for an hour or two! To be honest, I have a desk in the basement, half surrounded by bookcases and my other stuff that I use. It helps to have the things I can’t let go of around me. Just items of interest from writing utensils, notebooks, novels, dice, lava lamp, little things my kids have made, the list goes on. I do try to keep space on the desk, however, I hate complete disarray.

Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?

I wish I had a writing routine! I write when inspired, yes, but also when I have time. My responsibilities to family, home, and work chew up quite a bit of time. I write whenever I can, basically. And it has been that way for years now. The upside is developing the discipline to write when needed.

How do you come up with the title to your books?

No idea! I do enjoy a punchy title or phrase. I think I’ve been mimicking the movie-style of titles, generally keeping it between two and four, relatively short words. Trends change and rules get broken, however. The working title for my novella is rather long!

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

In general, I think scenes of deep despair or loss are the most difficult. Especially when it comes to kids. For instance, two of the most recent were in the anthologies The Bad Book and Fright Train. The former involves the main character’s mother having her teeth taken and why. The latter is witnessing the final breaths of a mother and daughter. In the Alexander Smith series, the hardest scenes to write are Alexander’s inner-dialogue when he’s suffering mental collapse, particularly when they’re triggered by loss—losing his mind, his daughter, his lover.

What inspired your book/series?

Alzheimer’s and dementia. Memory loss, overall, along with Black and Indigenous trauma. Both of my grandmothers and one of my aunts suffered through memory loss in their twilight years. I used to get these elongated postcards with missing children on one side. There’s also the inequity of attention when BIPOC kids go missing. Mix all of that with my love of thrillers and werewolves and my loathing for cultured vampires… This all came together in a comic I painted, around 1996. I collaborated with a friend at school to develop the idea as a comic but we never got beyond plots and sketches. The idea stuck with me for over a decade after that, until I wrote the novel as a challenge for myself when I was laid and unable to find work for a couple of years.

What are you working on next?

Two things: 1) A coming-of-age novella set in 1970s Boston during the aftermath of Civil Rights and COINTELPRO, the heyday of music, at least one explosion, an illicit bookstore, and the possibility of having an alien mother. 2) The third book in the Alexander Smith series which explains much about where he was going (New Orleans) when he ended up in Boston at the start of the series, the origins of weres and vamps, demigods, a zombie henchman, two undead alligators, sorcery, voudon, etcetera, etcetera. The usual stuff.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

David Gerrold (most of his books), Kim Harrison (the Hollows series), Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim), Walter Mosley (Easy Rawlins and others), Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), a stupid amount of comic books, and whatever else caught my eye along the way.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Kauai, probably.

What is your favorite meal?

That’s a moving target, but I’d reckon an all-beef hot dog is a constant!

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Assam tea, usually. Red wine, beer, and cocktails. I can’t bear the flavor of coffee. It tastes like perverted chocolate, and I love chocolate.

Describe yourself in three words.

Skeptical obstreperous human.

[Author Interview] Angelina Singer

Welcome Angelina Singer!

Angelina Singer is a young adult / new adult author with a romantic comedy, “Just Like a Pill”, books 1-3 of a dystopian science fiction trilogy “The Upperworld Series”, and both books of The Rewind Duology available for purchase on Amazon now. In addition to her writing career, Singer graduated Magna Cum Laude from Stonehill College in 2019, where she studied English, Music, and of course, Creative Writing. Angelina is also a board member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors, managing their Young Adult initiative. She’s also a freelance editor and ghostwriter, often helping clients bring their literary visions to life.

In her spare time she enjoys crocheting (with a portfolio of work available for purchase on Instagram), as well as mentoring younger music students at a local music store, where she studied guitar for over a decade. She views her writing as a way to simultaneously escape from and embrace reality.

You can follow Angelina through their social channels:

Facebook | Twitter | InstagramGoodreads | BookBub | TikTokWebsite

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I always LOVE this question because it’s genuinely hilarious. Basically, I had a monster crush on this lead guitarist I knew from band camp for years. I finally got so fed up with him when I was 19 that I decided to write a story about how I felt. And of course, I casted him as the love interest. That’s when I realized my story could be published as a real book, and the rest is history.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I try to keep it neat; I really do! But my “office” space is more like the catch-all room for everything else. So, while my space is definitely workable, there’s always random stuff on the table ranging from sticky notes to tortilla chips and salsa bought for an upcoming party. You just never really know!

Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?

I’ve been in a long dry spell for a while now. I have very clear ideas and a loose outline, but my content writing jobs have been sucking my creativity dry. My next mission is to find the right balance between all of it so I can keep doing what I love while also building a life for myself. The dream would be to blend those two things together, and I’ll do whatever I can to make that happen.

How do you come up with the title to your books?

It’s a straight-forward process! I usually just think about the story and try to find the connecting thread through it all. Or, like I did for my most recent concept The Rewind Duology, I just thought about what John Green might name a similar book. And that’s how I got Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember / Forgiving What I Couldn’t Change!

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

I would say the hardest scene was the confrontational scenes between Lynn and her older alter ego, Vera, in the classroom with her old bullies (The Rewind Duology). Revisiting that difficult time in my life was something that hurt as much as it healed me. But I got to link up with KIND Campaign – a charity that prevents bullying in schools. It’s amazing to get to contribute to a cause that I care about so deeply with a portion of the proceeds from my creative work. I know that I’m in a better place emotionally now because of all I’ve been through, and now I’m using it to make a real-world difference.

As for my favorite scene, I’d say any romance scenes are always the most fun to write. I know they’re also my favorite to read, so tapping into that highly emotional sugary-sweet stuff is always a blast. I won’t share any spoilers about who Vera ends up with though – you’ll just have to read The Rewind Duology to find out.

What inspired your book/series?

My life, honestly! My most recent concept of The Rewind Duology involving a conversation with my younger self is heavily based on my experiences through the grade school years and beyond. I really appreciated the chance to expand this book set from a short 10-minute play I originally wrote in college to be the two-part experience that it is today.

What are you working on next?

Breakup Queen is the next project on my mind, and I do plan to try to get this one traditionally published. It’s something I think is extremely marketable, due to the sheer fact it’s a fake-dating rockstar romance. There are some unique twists to it, and there will be pieces of me in the main character (who is probably my angsty goth alter ego). But I know it’s going to be something that people will really enjoy interacting with conceptually.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Another great question! I would say John Green and Suzanne Collins are some of the strongest influences, but more recently I’ve also really enjoyed books by Colleen Hoover and Jenn Bennett. Granted, the latter two are more heavily romance, but there’s something so enjoyable about the gritty honesty of those kinds of coming-of-age novels. I’m 25 now, but I still think I’m in the middle of coming-of-age. In fact, I kind of wonder if that particularly unsteady feeling will ever really wear off. But that’s fine, because I’m not sure I’d want it to anyway. It keeps every day and every present moment so vivid and intensely interesting. Monotony is the kiss of death; gotta keep things fresh!

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

I always like to daydream about somewhere tropical, but all I’ve ever known is here in Massachusetts. So in theory, maybe Hawaii or something. But in practice, that doesn’t really resonate with anything too meaningful to me. Plus, I can’t think of any fantasy worlds that I’d actually want to live in, because most of the ones I read have a dystopian twist to it. No thanks, LOL.

What is your favorite meal?

Probably pizza or burgers. Actually, no – it has to be Salisbury steak. Which is basically like, fancy hamburger with gravy, caramelized onions, and mashed potatoes. But my mom makes it sometimes and it’s basically my favorite thing ever, so I always ask for it on my birthday.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Definitely herbal tea – I’m already hyper enough even without too much added caffeine. I will do the occasional caramel or white chocolate mocha latte though if I need something decadent to sip while I haunt Starbucks for an afternoon. Alcohol has just never been my thing, so I’ll say neither for the latter question. Call me straight-edge, but I always like feeling in control and present in the moment.

Describe yourself in three words.

Motivated, spunky, confident.

[Author Interview] Debra Zannelli

Welcome Debra Zannelli

Debra Zannelli is a retired teacher assistant and a graduate of Mitchell College. She was raised in Cumberland, Rhode Island. For eighteen years she lived in Salem, Connecticut and worked in Norwich at the Chelsea Groton Savings Bank. She enjoys hiking and sings in the local community chorus.

Her next book, Sister World 3, should be completed before the holiday season.

You can follow Debra through their social channels:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Website

 

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?
I was a lonely child and spent much of my time living in the worlds I made up. The more I read, the more I grew to love words. Their power and ability to inspire gave me a lot to think about. Words took me to places I never dreamed I would go.

Describe your desk / writing space.
I’ve taken over my son’s bedroom. It has an attached study and built-in bookcases thanks to a talented husband. I have large windows I lookout of when writing. Of course I have since covered every flat surface with research and books-mine and many other authors.

Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?
I try to get writing no later than 2:00 on weekdays. If I manage to get writing before I smile a lot.

How do you come up with the title to your books? I usually use the basic concept to inspire me. With the sister world series I wanted to make certain the concept of strong women would be brought to the front of the book.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

The hardest scene I had to write was at the end of one of my books when I was trying to explain a relationship between a father and a son I’ve revoted three or four times finally getting the feeling I had between a father and her daughter down and that was the hardest thing my favorite scene to write was when Maddie one of my characters first met the man she was to fall in love with and the way she felt when she looked into his eyes it was like the way I felt when I looked into my husbands.

What inspired your book/series? Darkness and Light is inspired by my deep-seated beliefs of how the human spirit can lift itself up beyond the circumstances life and others force upon us. We cannot control all the events in our lives. We can control our responses. Working with children you quickly learn our childhood experiences have a great effect on how we choose to live out life.

What are you working on next?
I’m presently revising Dark Night of the Soul. Over time and with more experience I have become a better writer. My characters, content and concepts are not changing, I only hope to make it a better read.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?
First and foremost will always be A Tale of Two Cities. There’s Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth and MM Kaye’s The Far Pavillion. I was also inspired by Carl Sagan. His works filled with fact brought about my love of researching the topics I write about.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?
I think I would stay in Rhode Island, but with each year becoming more sensitive to cold, the Mayan Riviera sounds better each year.

What is your favorite meal?
Can I say ice cream? I love Chicken Korma – Indian food.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer? Coffee, wine.

Describe yourself in three words. Caring smart bookish

 

[Author Interview] Martha Reynolds

Welcome Martha Reynolds

After ending an accomplished career as a fraud investigator, I am now a full-time writer and bestselling author.

My books include the award-winning Chocolate for Breakfast (the first book in the Swiss Chocolate trilogy) and Amazon bestsellers Bits of Broken Glass and Best Seller.

My novel Villa del Sol was awarded the 2018 Book Prize in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England.

The most horrible year 2020 knocked me off course a bit, but I released my 10th novel, The Summer of Princess Diana, in October 2021.

Meanwhile, I write on my blog – mainly about life, family, friends, and the changing world around us.

My new book has a working title of Always and Never Alone and I’m aiming for a release date of December 2022.

You can follow Martha through her social channels:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | BookBub | Website

  1. Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write? I always wanted to write, but my real-life job precluded me from spending enough time in that creative realm. When I retired in 2011, I devoted my energy to writing my first novel, Chocolate for Breakfast. Now I endeavor to write one book a year. It’s an optimistic goal, for sure.

  1. Describe your desk / writing space. I have written books by hand in a spiral notebook! I think I wrote the bulk of two novels that way. When it’s time to type, I’m usually in front of my desktop computer with the massive monitor (for my old tired eyes), or, if possible, I go to the computer room at my local library and work uninterrupted for three hours.

  1. Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired? I don’t believe the “rule” that a writer must write every day. Life happens! If a certain phrase strikes, type it into your phone. I write when I can.

  1. How do you come up with the title to your books? Ah, that’s an interesting question. The title of my first novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, actually came to me one night when I couldn’t sleep. I got up and wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it! The next two books in the series needed to have the word ‘chocolate’ in the title, so that was a little easier. For my novel Bits of Broken Glass, I took the title from a fragment of a James Taylor lyric, because the song it comes from figures into the story. Sometimes I brainstorm a few titles and bounce them off a couple of trusted friends.

  1. What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write? The hardest scene was in my first novel. I accurately depict the way my character Bernadette discovers that her father has died. This was word for word the way I found out. So, I relived it all, some 30+ years later. Second hardest was the sexual assault scene in my recent novel, The Summer of Princess Diana. My favorite scene to write was probably the ending of Villa del Sol because I had been struggling with the ending, and when it dawned on me, I was so joyous that I could make it work that I rushed to write it.

  1. What inspired your book/series? Every book I’ve written has a kernel of truth in it, even if they’re novels. So the “Swiss Chocolate” series was inspired by my junior year abroad in Switzerland. Much of what goes into my books comes from what’s inside me; I just make up a lot of the other stuff.

  1. What are you working on next? I recently returned from a trip to Portugal and Spain and am dying to include some of that in my new novel!

  1. What authors or books have influenced your writing? Anna Quindlen, Elizabeth Strout, Claire Cook, Catherine Ryan Hyde. I respect and admire all of them.

  1. If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live? Well, Switzerland – as long as I had plenty of money.

  1. What is your favorite meal? Even though I’ve been trying to stay away from carbs, I could eat pizza every day.

  1. Coffee or tea? Wine or beer? Coffee in the morning, tea throughout the day. Not much of a drinker anymore, a glass of wine with a good meal or an ice-cold beer in the summer!
  2. Describe yourself in three words. Curious. Optimistic.

[Author Interview] Tim Baird

Welcome Tim Baird

Tim is a fantasy and science fiction author looking to share his wild ideas with the world. He has been an avid reader for his entire life and has always enjoyed writing, whether it be a technical report for work or a fictional story.

He lives in New England with his lovely wife & adorable son. He is an automation engineer by day and enjoy using his skills to volunteer with several youth robotics programs.

His next title is a dragon romance novel, titled ‘The Dragon in the Lighthouse’. It’ll be out in Summer 2022.

You can follow Tim through his social channels:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Website 

1. Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I am a husband, father, mechanical engineer, and lifelong lover of all things literary. I’m usually reading 1-2 books, writing 1-3 stories, and desperately trying to escape our busy world by disappearing into the woods of New England. I love building LEGOs with my son, playing the occasional video game, and spending time with my family.

My inspiration for writing comes from my experiences in the world coupled with my love of fantasy and science fiction. When I’m out on hiking and camping trips, I tend to take in the scenery around me and try to imagine exciting tales which could happen there or happened in the past to make the scene look the way it is. Especially if it involves dragons.

2. Describe your desk / writing space.
My desk is an old black sheet metal construction that I liberated from the dumpster bin at work. It’s covered in a variety of in-progress projects, bills to pay, and random tomfoolery which should have been put away by then (wip Magic: The Gathering decks, miniatures to paint, or random 3D printing projects).

3. Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?
My writing routine would be described as ‘haphazard’ at best. As I work a lot of hours, have a 6 yo, and try to escape the house into the woods to hike as often as possible, I tend to avoid my laptop when I can. But I enjoy writing while I eat lunch and after my son goes to bed. So, I don’t write consistently at the same time every single day, but I have consistent time periods where it does happen, when it happens.

4. How do you come up with the title to your books?
I typically bulletize my story until I’m comfortable with ~75% of what will probably end up happening and then dive in without a title. While I type, I let the ideas/concepts simmer on the backburner and try to think of eye-catching words from the bullet list which might look nice sitting on my bookshelf. I then come up with 2-5 names and check out the Internet to see if that book name already exists or is something close.

Sometimes I sort things out and determine the name right away, and sometimes I end up changing it even after editing is complete.

5. What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

My hardest scene to write was probably a drawn-out battle scene at the end of my third book. It involved a real-life mountain top with features that I wanted to get right, several dragons fighting with multiple humans mixed in. There were a lot of moving pieces and it was hard to get everything just right and make sense when read back.

My favorite scene to write was probably the ending of my first book. It involves a battle between the MC in a helicopter against a dragon on Mount Washington. Between the players and my love of the hiking area in question, it was really neat to work through and bring to life.

6. What inspired your book/series?
My series was inspired by two things: my lifelong love of hiking in New England and a trip that I took to Iceland during a semester abroad in college. I was camping on this island off the southern coast of Iceland inside the crater of an old volcano and the beginnings of the tale came to me while I laid there in my tent. I didn’t end up actually starting the story for another decade afterwards as I was pretty afraid to start a book. I’m now working on my 6th book and wish that I had started sooner when I first had the idea.

7. What are you working on next?
I have the concept drawn up for a monster hunting SFF story set in the present time/world. It’ll focus on a strong female character who needs to work through her day-to-day life while also ridding her town of creatures trying to kill her and everyone she loves. It’ll probably feel like a mix between Buffy and Ready Player One.

8. What authors or books have influenced your writing?
My writing has largely been influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, John Scalzi, and numerous Star Wars novels over the past several decades. I love science fiction, fantasy, and especially stories which blend the two. If you can toss in some good action scenes, character development, and make me fall in love with the MC, then I’ll get hooked.

9. If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?
If I could live ANYWHERE, it would probably be Rivendell from Lord of the Rings. If I had to say here in this reality, it would probably be in central/northern Vermont.

10. What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal really depends on the day. Sometimes I love a good, juicy slice of brisket off my smoker paired with a nice salad and cornbread, whereas sometimes a simple grilled cheese will hit the spot. If I wasn’t worried about destroying my GI tract and gaining weight, I’d probably eat buffalo chicken dip and corn chips all day.

11. Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?
I have a love/hate relationship with coffee but rely on it to survive. However, I do enjoy a good raspberry green tea when it’s cooler out. If I had to choose between wine or beer, I’ll typically go with wine (Riesling or Pinot Gris), but a Gin & Tonic with Bombay Sapphire really hits the spot.

12. Describe yourself in three words.
Lost but focused.

[Author Interview] Pete A. O’Donnell

RKB Writes Presents:

An Author Interview with Pete A. O’Donnell

Pete O’Donnell is the writer, creator, and performer of Ill-Advised Stories, a children’s story podcast full of free and funny tales. He is a graduate of Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a member of the society of Children book writers and illustrators.

He makes his home in Rhode Island and the town he works in as a firefighter and EMT inspired the setting of his first book the Curse of Purgatory Cove about a boy and old man claiming to be a pirate.

He’s been telling stories about alien invasions and talking trees since first grade and loves diving into the worlds of science fiction writers such as Arthur C Clark, Issac Asimov and Greg Bear.

He draws a weekly comic strip at webtoons called Sparkie and Spaz about a ten-year-old space explorer and his cranky Robot companion. Their entire first novel is available to listen to at Illadvisedstories.com

He recently released two new books, the first installments in a seven-book series called In The Giant’s Shadow. Book one is called The Stars Beyond the Mesa and Book two is The Ocean Beyond.

You can follow Pete through his social channels:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Website

  1. Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

Storytelling has been a lifelong obsession, ever since I spun a tale to my uncle about talking trees. I was seven and it was long before I’d ever heard of Treebeard. I’m dyslexic, so reading and writing were difficult skills for me to learn, but I’ve always loved telling stories and my father was willing to write them down for me.

  1. Describe your desk / writing space.

I have a small desk that I hardly ever work at, but where things collect, starship models, figures and pictures, anything to keep my imagination going. I also draw a webtoon and create illustrations for some of my books and that’s when I have to clear the desk off. My couch is where I usually write, though I find I have to move around throughout the day to keep working.

  1. Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?

I try to write any day I’m not at the fire station and I start early, around 5:30 am, working until my kids are up. I’ll come back to it as the day goes on, often tweaking the work. I’m useless at night as far as writing goes but try to use that time for drawing.

  1. How do you come up with the title to your books?

I like it to be the period at the end of the project so I never title anything until the first draft is complete, plus I often find the title reveals itself in the writing.

  1. What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

One of the main characters in The Giant’s Shadow is blind. It happened to her fairly recently, so I find it necessary, when I write any scene from her POV, to think differently, to consider what you can’t see and how someone would use their other senses to navigate a strange, alien landscape. It’s required a great deal of research and careful consideration.

The scenes I enjoy writing the most are with a character named Amita. She’s witty and intelligent with a fun amount of attitude and she also befriends a large alien which is a childhood fantasy of mine.

  1. What inspired your book/series?

In the Giant’s Shadow started out different from the final product. When I was a teenager, I wanted to create a science fiction version of the original Robert E Howard Conan stories with a ronin type warrior who sold his services to various governments. I spent a great deal of time dreaming of different alien landscapes and building the worlds. As an adult the series became more inspired by Harry Potter and many of the thriller novels I’ve read. I know that sounds like a weird mix, but I like the idea of creating a puzzle box and having characters a reader can identify with in the middle of it trying to solve the mystery with them.

  1. What are you working on next?

I’m deep into the first draft of book three.  There are revelations coming that I think readers will find intriguing as the middle of this series quickly approaches.  I’m certainly looking forward to having a first draft that I can massage into an exciting novel.

  1. What authors or books have influenced your writing?

The world building of Isaac Asimov with his Empire, Foundation and Robot novels was something that opened my eyes to what a long view science fiction could take. Books like the Dune series and the Ender novels did this as well. Michael Crichton was my first dive into techno thrillers, a close relative of Sci-fi but with more consideration to pacing. I tend to read a wide variety in an attempt to increase my skill as a writer, which includes going through a number of classics like Hemingway and Steinbeck.

  1. If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

I’ve always enjoyed the hopefulness of the Star Trek universe and really, with holodecks, you can choose to pick a thousand other places to experience as well.

  1. What is your favorite meal? Ahi Fish Tacos and an ice cold cerveza.
  2. Coffee or tea? Wine or beer? Coffee is a necessity but I enjoy tea as well. Beer, cold and preferably Mexican.

  1. Describe yourself in three words. Loyal, Imaginative, Curious.

[Author Interview] Heather Rigney

RKB Writes Presents:

An Author Interview with Heather Rigney

Rhode Island fiction writer, blogger, journalist, and art teacher, Heather Rigney has written The Merrow Trilogy–a Rhode Island-based, dark, historical fantasy series about homicidal mermaids, the colonial suppression of women, and a present-day alcoholic funeral director trying to make sense of it all. In 2016, Waking the Merrow, Heather’s debut novel, won the United Kingdom’s Wishing Shelf Gold Award. In 2017, Waking made the top 5% in The Launchpad Manuscript Competition. Her writing has been featured in Motif Magazine, Stone Crowns Magazine, and Avenue Concept Magazine. Until Summer 2020, Heather was a weekly contributor to The Writer’s Blog by Inkitt.

Are your books available wide or only on Kindle Unlimited?

Waking the Merrow is Kindle Unlimited, but the other two are not. Both Waking the Merrow and Hunting the Merrow are Audible audiobooks and Caging the Merrow will be available as an audiobook in early 2022. All of my paperbacks are available in many fine indie bookstores throughout Rhode Island. Twice Told Tales is one of my favorite local bookstores and they’ve carried my books since 2014.

Do you have a new book coming out? If so, what’s the title and when?

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything new coming out soon. Instead, I’m opening a school for writing and art called The Orange Anchor Art School! I plan on teaching students ages 5 – 105 one mile outside Pawtuxet Village in Cranston, RI. To find out more, click here: www.orangeanchorartschool.com

You can follow Heather on her social channels:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Bookbub

  1. Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I have always admired and been in love with the works of both Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter. Ms. Atwood writes about women in a raw, intimate way. She tackles science fiction/speculative fiction with a frighteningly thought-provoking, historically-accurate feminist edge. As for Angela Carter, she was so far ahead of her time. Her dark, erotic fairy tales explored radical libertarian feminism which really appealed to me in my late teens. These fearless women inspired me to explore the many sides of the female POV. I strive to shine a light on what it means to be a woman, to leave nothing out, to include all the beauty, shame, fear, honesty, and brutality.

2. Describe your desk/writing space.

My writing takes place in many places. Coffee shops, airplanes, trains, my car, the couch. I either write on a MacBook using Google Docs or Scrivener or I handwrite in a Moleskin journal.

3. Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?

When I started writing seriously, I would get up early and write from 5:15-6:30 AM most weekdays. Then, when I stopped teaching to raise my child, I would write while my little one was in school. I would write between 8:30 AM-noon most weekdays and my daily word counts were anywhere from 2,000-5,000 words. These days, I’ve been focusing on opening my school. Once that’s established, I look forward to blocking out an hour a two a day and re-establishing my writing routine.

4. How do you come up with the title to your books?

Waking the Merrow was a double entendre. ‘Waking’ is a reference to both a state of being (as in the awakening of the merrow) and funerals since my main character is a funeral director. The other two books follow suit–Hunting and Caging. A verb before the word Merrow, which is Gaelic for mermaid, indicates what is happening to the fishy characters in each book. 

5. What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

Since this was my first book series, the whole process felt arduous because I often felt like a charlatan. I mean, I have a BFA in graphic design! What the hell do I know about writing? However, it seems that I did something right. I wrote the first book in 2014 and it’s still selling! 

My favorite scene to write was the very last one in the series. I remember where I was sitting, Dave’s Coffee on South Main Street in Providence. It was raining and I had just signed a new teaching contract that morning. It was a very bittersweet moment.

6. What inspired your book/series?

I was invited to collaborate on a now-retired, anthology called DIVE. It was a collection of short stories about mermaids or merfolk. Four authors were involved and I wrote a story called Mermaids are Not Nice. That was the birth of both my antagonist, Nomia, and protagonist, Evie McFagan. The short story received a lot of praise and more than one person stated that I needed to expand the world I had created. From there, I thought, I should make a trilogy out of this! I had no idea what I was getting myself into. 

7. What are you working on next?

I’ve started writing about my dad, Ray. He’s quite the character and there are a lot of strange, outrageous, and hilarious incidents that have shaped my life. For example, Ray recently hit me across the face with a walking stick. I think most people would be horrified if their parents assaulted them, but, for me, it’s just another day with Ray. He didn’t mean it, and it really was an accident, but it happened because he was harassing me–and this is Ray’s love language. I’ve got a lot of material to work with. 

8. What authors or books have influenced your writing?

(see #1)

9. If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Italy. Every morning, I would walk into a little village and chat up some old adorable men while sipping a perfect cappuccino. Next, I would go home and paint or write until the sun started its descent. Then, I would walk back into the village and drink my evening wine with the same little old men. This is how I plan on spending my twilight years. 

10. What is your favorite meal?

In order, I would love a dirty gin martini. Oysters on the half-shell. Caprese salad. A glass of El Oso Y La Alemana Toro Red. Spicy squid ink pasta with lots of garlic and seafood. All followed by a perfect chocolate chip cookie sprinkled with sea salt. 

11. Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

I do love tea but I’m a total coffee snob. I’m always hunting for the perfect cup of coffee. As for wine vs beer, wine. I used to love beer but then I was diagnosed with a severe yeast allergy. Unfortunately, beer (and even more tragically, good bread!)  has become an unworthy risk. 

12. Describe yourself in three words.
Quirky. Neurotic. Extrovert.

[Author Interview] Joseph Mazzenga

Born in a small town of the smallest state, Rhode Island Joseph Mazzenga knew he was a writer by the third grade. When his creative simmer turned to an imaginative rage, he embarked on a voyage with no anchor and no horizon. He stepped aboard knowing that this journey will be for the rest of his days. He still looks to the stars to find his way. The navigation can be plodding but the bearing is clear. Joe is now a full author, by way of children’s literature, Science Fiction, Non-fiction, and Urban Fantasy. Ever pursuing the itch that he can’t possibly scratch, he is constantly stretching his boundaries, honing his craft and fighting mortal enemies such as avoidance and procrastination at every turn. Whether it is a beloved stuffed seal, a hard-nosed orphan stuck on the raw streets of a future time, or a pre-apocalyptic vampire turned human, he is fantasy intermingling with the future. Joe continues to live with his wife and beloved son in Rhode Island, center of the creative universe.

You can follow Joe on his social channels:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Bookbub

  1. Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

Truthfully, as a kid who had cancer, my imagination was my safe place, and I began writing at an early age. Writing can be cathartic, and the avenue of Fantasy was a safe place to be – to be ultra-strong, impervious to everyday stresses and to save the day when no one else could…who doesn’t love that?

  1. Describe your desk / writing space.

I converted a model/hobby desk into my writing space. Every slot has pens, pencils, figurines to watch over me and pictures of wolves against the desk wall. Oh, and it is covered in stickers a la the old steam trunks of yesteryear.

  1. Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?

The routine is whenever the inspiration hits. I have to write when inspired if nothing else, make notes in a journal. I have dozens of “treatments” for stories that I dip into.

  1. How do you come up with the title to your books?

The title usually hits first just as the inspirational scenes occur. Then it will morph as the book carries on, until finally, the title is settled on – usually by half way into the story.

  1. What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?
    1. I don’t know if I have had the hardest scene yet. They’re all hard. If I have to pick a genre, then Romance may be tough especially if you are a male trying to have a female POV.
    2. A favorite go to scene, always has to do with a tense, prepare for battle type of buildup scene. I love the rhythm of the buildup before the action really hits the reader.
  1. What inspired your book/series?

I love anti-heroes and I think the reading world needs more female inspiration. Growing up a comics kid, heroes need to not be those perfect “super” people. People are flawed and so should our heroes be.

  1. What are you working on next?

 

  1. Book 2 of the Bloodline Series – Demon’s Child.
  2. Resurrection – The Last Vampire
  3. Not My Time – Lost Witch

  1. What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I was always a comic kid who followed the beat writers like Alan Dean Foster. But I also was inspired by the classics from Tolkien and Asimov.

  1. If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

In this world, I’d love to be in the badlands looking for dinosaur fossils. In fantasy, I’d love a totally tech-city where it rains all the time.

  1. What is your favorite meal?

I love food so it’s hard to pick but, being a pescatarian the choices get strange. I’ll go with eggplant vegan cheese parm. Go ahead – mock me.

  1. Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Yes, to all. But I do love me a red-blend wine.

  1. Describe yourself in three words.

Stronger than yesterday.