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[Author Interview] Patricia Mitchell

Patricia Mitchell’s lifelong love of writing and desire to capture the story of her mother’s life prompted her to embark on her first professional writing project—A Girl from the Hill. She holds degrees in mass media and communication, English literature, and creative writing. This work expresses her interest in Italian American culture as well as the relationship between mothers and daughters.

Patricia Mitchell lives in Smithfield, Rhode Island, with her husband Jeremy, daughter Julia and Beagle Trudy.

Her new book, Goodbye Pound Cake is available now.

You can follow Patricia Mitchell through her social channels:

Amazon | FacebookInstagramGoodreadsWebsite

What inspires me – My intention when I write is to express myself in a way that others can relate to. As a kid I found fun in sarcastic essays, but as I got older, I decided I wanted to learn the craft of fiction. To me, fiction is much more challenging, and gave me the chance to create my own world that other people could understand and connect to. I studied creative writing and literature through college, but never felt confident enough to share my work beyond the classroom until 10 years ago. I kept the desire tucked in the back of my mind as I navigated through the corporate world. When a friend urged me to go to a writing workshop, I decided to take a chance. I initially worked with book coach Lisa Tener, who inspired me to actually write something and self-publish it. As an experiment, I thought it would be fun to bring some of the stories my mom talked about growing up on Federal Hill to life. The collection of essays in in what turned into my mom’s memoir, A Girl from the Hill was my first self-published book.

My desk/writing space – I have a desk that I use in one of our spare bedrooms. I use that sometimes, but more often than not, I’m sitting in a comfy chair with my laptop.

Writing routine – I am a big procrastinator, so I don’t have a set routine, but when I do write, I always play white noise on to help me focus. My favorite is vacuum cleaner noise. I listen to instrumental jazz sometimes as well. It’s hard for me to sit quietly and write because I get distracted way too easily.

Hardest scene to write – When writing A Girl from the Hill, I learned that my mother had a nervous breakdown when she was 31. She never revealed this to me, though the rest of my family knew (I’m the youngest of 5, and was often referred to as “the baby” well into my 30’s). She was sent to a hospital in 1955 and received electric shock therapy as part of her treatment. She really opened up to me about it, and it took me forever to capture her experience in a way that was real but allowed her to keep her dignity. To this day, I am so proud that my mom allowed her story to be shared, but the actual writing broke me down to tears numerous times.

Favorite scene to write – In Goodbye Pound Cake, the scene where the protagonist Michelle and her friend Mandy are found exercising to a video by Michelle’s rude brother. He laughs at them sending Michelle after him and throwing Mandy into recoil mode. Finally, Michelle’s dad puts and end to the ensuing argument, and decides that they should all go out to eat. In addition to the three kids, Michelle’s crush interest, and her brother’s best friend, comes along for the ride. It was fun capturing that experience. It felt very realistic to me.

What inspired the book – I mentioned the inspiration for A Girl from the Hill above. For Goodbye Pound Cake, I was at a place in my life where I worked hard to get fit and feel good about myself for the first time in a long time. I wanted to write a story about a girl who faces the challenges of being overweight during the very sensitive middle school years, getting ready to transition into high school and a whole new set of challenges. It’s important for girls, and boys, to love themselves for who they are, no matter what anyone thinks. But being skinny is not what it’s all about- it’s about being healthy in body and mind. It can be difficult to accomplish and attain, as I myself have learned going up and down the scale and having my own set of physical limitations. So, I know how it feels on both sides. I hope readers will see the importance of having hope and not giving up on their dreams, even if that dream is to not be bullied for how they look.

What are you working on next – I’m not sure! I have some ideas for a short story for the 2023 ARIA Anthology that are milling around in my head. It will also be the 10th anniversary for the publication of AGFTH, and I’d like to do a new edition to commemorate. My mom passed in September of this year, and I thought it might be interesting and cathartic to document some of life’s struggles as we age. I would also like to do a follow up book to Pound Cake, but I’m not sure if I can do anything more with those characters. I’ll gauge it on the response I get now that it’s published.

What authors influenced your writing – David Sedaris is my favorite modern essayist. He can make me laugh and cry in the same breath, which is such a remarkable talent. I love historical fiction, especially during the Renaissance and Middle Ages. Philippa Gregory tells beautiful stories from those periods. I appreciate the painstaking research she does for each book. And Alice Hoffman is an old favorite that keeps popping up anytime I’m in the mood for character driven stories.

If you could live anywhere – I would probably want to live in London in the 1960’s so that I’d at least have a chance to meet a young Paul McCartney!

What is your favorite Meal – I love Indian food, and samosas are my favorite.

Coffee or Tea – both! Wine or Beer – Beer when I was younger, wine now that I’m starting to age.

Describe yourself in 3 words – Compassionate, Silly, Expressive

ARIA goes to RICC 2022

ARIA goes to RICC 2022

The Association of Rhode Island Authors returns to the Rhode Island Comic Con 2022!

If you’re looking to get a preview of Rhode Island Author Expo then going to Comic Con finding the ARIA isle is your best bet.

14 local authors who dabble in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, young adult, horror and even children’s books.

Two Writing Panels

World Building 101 on Friday

A Hero, an Anti-hero, and a Villain Walk into a Bar on Saturday!

Authors in attendance

Each photo is a link to the author’s website or Amazon page.

 

[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] 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] 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] 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.

[Appearances] Going to RICC 2021

ARIA goes to RICC!

The Association of Rhode Island Authors will selling books at Rhode Island Comic Con 2021.

Our Location:

We’ll be at tables: 613, 615, 617, 619, 621, 716, 718, 720.

Panels:

There will be two panels featuring our authors.

World Building – Mind Your Myths and Backstory

Rhode Island Convention Center 552

Saturday November 6, 2021 – 11:00 am to 11:45 am

There’s much to consider when constructing a mythical, magical, or futuristic world, and one important factor is the foundation myth or backstory. What does the writer need to know? What does the reader need to know? When do they need to know it? How does the backstory impact the characters and the current events on their world? Join us for a discussion on how to effectively craft a backstory and weave it into your tale. Panel hosted by the Association of RI Authors.

Writing the Other – Creating Characters Outside Your Comfort Zone

Rhode Island Convention Center 552

Sunday November 7, 2021 – 12:15 pm to 1:00 pm

Writing characters from different backgrounds than our own is both a challenge and an opportunity for authors. In this panel, we will explore the tools needed to write outside our own experiences to create three-dimensional characters. Topics will include the importance of research, the role of sensitive readers, and avoiding harmful stereotypes. Panel hosted by the Association of RI Authors.

Attending Authors

[EVENTS] Virtual Rhode Island Author Expo 2020

The Association of Rhode Island Authors is proud to announce that the Rhode Island Author Expo will be going virtual this year.

The Expo committee has been working hard to learn what needs to be done to put on a free virtual event.

The Rhode Island Author Expo website has been updated with a registration button, panel schedule and participating authors.

The event will be running from 10 AM – 5 PM and will be held on Zoom.

There’re author panels just like in years past along with keynote speakers and this year we’re trying something different with an author kaffeeklatsch, a nice intimate setting to sit down and talk to one of our many local authors.

I hope to see you at the Expo in December where I’ll be on two panels and a kaffeeklatsch.

You can find my schedule here.