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[Author Interview] Christa Carmen

Christa Carmen lives in Westerly, Rhode Island with her husband, daughter, and bloodhound-golden retriever mix, and is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked, The Daughters of Block Island, and Beneath the Poet’s House, coming fall 2024 from Thomas & Mercer.

Additional work can be found in Vastarien, Nightmare, Orphans of Bliss, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, and the Stoker-nominated anthologies, Not All Monsters and The Streaming of Hill House. She has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA from Boston College, and an MFA from the University of Southern Maine.

You can follow Christa through her social channels:

Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Bluesky | Youtube | TikTok | Website

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I have been writing in one capacity or another for as long as I can remember—painstakingly bound and hilariously illustrated short stories as a child, emo journal entries as an adolescent and when I was in treatment for substance abuse, impassioned nonfiction essays and decidedly weak attempts at memoir—but I didn’t start writing fiction until about 2014. I’ve always loved the Gothic, so my first completed project was a gothic horror novel set in the Hundred Mile Wilderness in Monson, Maine… very Stephen King of me, I know. After that, I wrote predominately short stories for several years, and then returned to writing novels at the start of 2019.

Describe your desk / writing space.

Technically, I can write anywhere, but if I have the choice, I’m in my home office. My desk is over a hundred years old, a beautiful, massive, oak wood rolltop, with endless little slots and drawers and compartments, perfect to fill with odds and ends that I can look upon for distraction or inspiration. When my grandfather purchased a plot of property boasting a church and several additional buildings in 1970 or so, the desk was found in the rectory basement, once used by the parish priest, along with several gorgeous glass-front bookcases that also ended up in my home office.

My office also contains my altar, tons of paintings and artwork, books written by friends and colleagues, an old typewriter, endless candles, tarot decks, baskets of stationery and notecards, seashells, bird feathers, etc.

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

My writing time has changed significantly since having my daughter. I certainly don’t write at the same time each day; I don’t even write daily. To put it simply, I write when I have an ongoing project I need/want to work on, or if the idea for a new project or short story strikes me. Once I’m working on a project, especially a big one, I’ll get into a routine of hitting a daily page or word count, but I have to take advantage of the time during which I can write whenever it presents itself. That might be for twenty minutes in bed with my daughter while waiting for her to fall asleep or four hours straight on a weekend when my husband is at work and my daughter is with her grandparents or cousins. In a way, it’s more a more productive schedule than the one I had three years ago; I can’t waste time picking out ambient coffee shop sounds on YouTube or reheating endless cups of tea or screwing around on the internet. When I have an hour to write, I HAVE TO WRITE.

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

The Daughters of Block Island is my take on the gothic, the culmination of years of reading books like The Monk andRebecca and wanting to throw my hat in the ring of decaying castles and damsels in distress. Like many popular subgenres, the gothic has been done to death, so I had to ensure I was bringing something new to readers, ultimately deciding to “make gothic meta,” with my poor tragic heroine, Blake Bronson, believing herself to be in the quintessential gothic novel. The book is also inspired, in part, by the Twa Sisters murder ballad, often known as The Dreadful Wind & Rain, as well as the Scream film franchise, so there is a little something for everyone within its rain(-and-blood!)-soaked pages.

With that being said, my two initial titles for this book were The Dreadful Wind & Rain (after the Twa Sisters) and A Gothic Story (my blunt, meta homage to Scream), but neither my agent nor my editor thought these were evocative enough, and in hindsight, I 100% agree, so after a few brainstorming sessions, we settled on something that hinted at the both the female relationships highlighted within the story and the isolated, island setting.

Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked has a less involved backstory; the title is the same as one of the stories within the collection. I felt like it adequately captured the eclectic mix of tales and subgenres that make up the ToC: something gothic, something hardcore… a little of this and a little of that.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? What types of scenes are your favorite to write?

I’d say the hardest scenes for me to write are both the first and the last, or, maybe not the last, per se, but the climax. The first scene I HAVE to get right before I can move on, even on a first draft, because the tone and content of that scene will set the stage for me for the rest of the novel in terms of my headspace and how I’m approaching the characters and narrative. I’ll go back over it thirty-six times if I have to, and once I feel like it’s “right,” I’ll allow myself to write the next chapter. And I feel like climax scenes are hard for any writer, no matter how skilled or experienced. It’s the place where you have to put everything together, where you have to prove to the reader that they’ve made the right choice by following you as far as they have.

What inspired your book/series?

The genesis of The Daughters of Block Island was a happy accident of ideas and inspirations that evolved more and more as time went on.

It begins with two key things: my infatuation with a painting by Katy Horan from her Murder Ballads collection: The Dreadful Wind & Rain, and a question that had always haunted me… that of why a mother might have to give one child up for adoption but is able to raise another—or others—herself. For whatever reason, these two things came together in my head when the need for a new short story to critique in an MFA residency group presented itself. After considering different reasons for why a mother might give up one child—a pregnancy resulting from assault, substance abuse issues that were dealt with later, or other, more nefarious scenarios in which the mother wanted, or needed, to protect one offspring and not another—I melded this tragic adoption scenario with the themes of The Dreadful Wind & Rain (or, as the murder ballad is also referred to, the Twa Sisters), in which two sisters are two-timed by a manipulative suitor, and the seeds for The Daughters of Block Island were not only planted, but watered, give sunshine, and nurtured above all other writing projects.

Still, the story was still just that: a short story. And to make matters worse, it was in epistolary format, so I was struggling with how to make sense of the (slowly) unfolding narrative over a series of painfully convoluted emails. Luckily, those in my MFA critique group, including rising superstar poet and writer Belicia Rhea (check out her novella being published in 2024 from Dark Matter Ink, Voracious, about a pregnant teenage girl with an eating disorder who works to reconcile her visions of a doomsday of insect plagues and her unique role in what she fears in the impending bug-filled apocalypse), and inimitable moderators Robert Levy and Nancy Holder, challenged me to question whether I was using the right structure… the right POV(s)… and the right length. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t.

Fast-forward two years later, and I’m looking for the subject of a new novel to work on. I found myself rereading the critique group short story (which was originally titled “The Dreadful Wind & Rain,” like the murder ballad and Katy Horan’s gorgeous painting) and decided to try my hand at expanding it. It had potential but was also strangely boring, which was surprising… and disappointing. That is, until I realized I could really lean into the potentially trite trappings of a gothic novel if I acknowledged their occasional ridiculousness in some way. Another lightbulb went off, another unexpected source of inspiration, and I was applying the meta lens and self-deprecation of the Scream film franchise to my manuscript. Without (much) further ado, The Daughters of Block Island found its stride.

So, a murder ballad, an obsession with the psychological underpinnings of adoption, and Neve Campbell. What are the odds? The marriage of ideas resulting in exciting fiction sure can be weird.

What are you working on next?

My second novel with Thomas & Mercer, Beneath the Poet’s House, will be out next fall and also takes place in Rhode Island… on Benefit Street in Providence, to be exact, and features just as much gothic gloom and literary influence as The Daughters of Block Island.

Beneath the Poet’s House is based in part on the real-life romance between Sarah Helen Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe and set in the actual house at which Poe first spotted Whitman tending her rose garden under a midnight moon in 1845. The novel sees protagonist Saoirse White navigate both a personal haunting and the lingering ghosts of much-revered public figures, as well as the ramifications of men who treat women as stepping-stones on their way to artistic greatness.

What authors or books have influenced you to start writing?

Emily Dickinson, Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freemen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sarah Helen Whitman, Shirley Jackson, Agatha Christie, Mary Shelley, Margaret Mitchell, Sarah Waters, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Frank M. Robinson, Sidney Sheldon, R.L. Stine, Jennifer McMahon, Harper Lee, Cormac McCarthy, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael McDowell, Blake Crouch, Emma Cline, Lauren Groff.

If you had to compare your writing to another author which one would that be?

I don’t know if I can flatter myself as far as to say Gwendolyn Kiste, but I love her lush yet biting style and her lyrical way with language, the way she not only comes up with unsettling and important and ingenious ideas but executes those ideas to perfection. A lot of what Gwendolyn writes about consistently—feminist takes on vampires, sister relationships, the otherworldliness of birds, dark fairy tales, body horror, etc.—are subjects I’m drawn to as well.

Do you enjoy writing short stories or long form i.e., manuscripts? And why?

The first iteration of The Daughters of Block Island was a short story told in epistolary format, and I’ll admit it was strange for me to take an idea conceived as a short piece and expand it. Normally, the medium in which I set out to write is the medium in which I complete the project. I don’t really prefer novels over short stories or vice versa, though that wasn’t always the case.

A few years ago, I felt my strengths lied predominately in short fiction, and didn’t have as much confidence in my novel-writing abilities. That changed with—like anything else—lots of practice, and today, I switch pretty effortlessly between novels, short fiction, nonfiction essays, and children’s picture books, depending on where inspiration strikes.

Is there genre you’d like to write but never have?

Like I mentioned above, I currently write—and pretty regularly at that— novels, short fiction, nonfiction essays, and children’s picture books. I’ve also been dabbling in poetry, mostly because my last novel manuscript demanded it of me (several characters are poets, and the main character in particular is heavily influenced—maybe even possessed—by the Divine Poet herself, Sarah Helen Whitman… needless to say, I had to acquire at least a working level of proficiency in poetry, and pretty quickly). I think the only other type of writing I’d like to get into isn’t so much a genre as a category, and that’s middle grade and/or young adult novels.

What advice would you give to unpublished writers?

Advice is a tricky thing, because what might work for some might be neutral—or even harmful—for others. I’ve been asked in other interviews and by other writers and readers about advice for new authors, and I guess my simplest suggestion is simply: Write! Do not stop. Turn all your anger and disappointment and dissatisfaction (and, since I believe we each have a shadow side and a lighter side to our personality, all of your joy, success, and happiness, too!) into stories. Those stories make the world the magical place it is. It’s a real gift to harbor a talent and passion for writing. Embrace it, and share it with others, if you’re so inclined.

I do also think it helps to have a goal. Any goal, no matter how small, helps keep you on track. Maybe start with something that gets your butt in the chair as consistently as you’re aiming for and work your way up. My writing goals are simple these days: meet deadlines—regardless of what that looks like for word count or days in a row spent writing—and respond to the Muse when she comes knocking.

[Author Interviews] Amanda Creiglow

Amanda Creiglow lives by the sea with her little pitbull, Donna Noble, and the bits and pieces of too many projects in various stages of completion. She writes music, plays video games, and builds things she probably shouldn’t.

Remember to join her mailing list (found on her website) and get a free novella set in The Trove Arbitrations universe.

You can follow Amanda through her social channels:

Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | ThreadsBookbubWebsite

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write. Some of my earliest memories are scrawling down stories as a little kid with terrible handwriting. Over time, it turned into long-form speculative fiction, but I’ve written a little bit of everything. My dad used to trade me a poem for a poem when I was very young, which morphed eventually into songwriting. I had a screenwriting stint, when I thought I’d pursue being a TV writer, though as far as I got with that was a zombie script that won a very small film festival at a college in Alabama. For a while I ghostwrote Romance novels/stories for various small, independent publishers, which was a lot of fun. I looked at it more as paid practice than anything else, and while I enjoyed the stories I told, Romance as a genre isn’t my main interest. But the books I’m writing now absolutely wouldn’t exist without the skills and habits I built during that time.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I’m a gamer with a big fondness for big monitors, so I’ve got two massive ones hanging from the wall in my home office/music room. It’s almost always a cluttered mess, but it’s one of my favorite places in the house. There is, as is required by law, usually more than one glass in the immediate vicinity.

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

A little of column a, a little of column b. Routines are necessary for any serious progress, but I struggle like hell to adopt and maintain them. When I can manage to get up and get some writing done before the day crashes down on me, that’s usually when I’m most productive. Lately, I’ve formed a gym-buddies-for-writers kind of group at the local library that meets weekly as a failsafe to make sure I’m making some progress at least weekly. The big thing I find helpful in terms of routine is pomodoro timers and tracking my word count in a little excel spreadsheet, both per sprint and per day. The color-coded competition with myself means nothing but accomplishes everything.

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

For the Trove Arbitrations series that I’m writing now (and realistically for the foreseeable future) I have an established pattern of two main alliterating words, one of which is usually the main creature introduced in the book. So far they’ve been: A Grimoire for Gamblers, A Surplus of Sirens, A Reckoning of Wraiths, and sometime in the next couple of months, The Vengeance of Vampires.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? What types of scenes are your favorite to write?

I can’t think of one, single, specific scene that was the hardest. Usually the trickier ones get a lot of thought about mechanics beforehand, away from the keyboard, so it sort of evens out. I will say that action scenes of any kind in general take a lot more effort, just because you have to think through cause an effect and control tension in a more specific way than more dialogue-heavy scenes, and you end up with more description and less talking. Back when I was writing Romance, it was the sex scenes for the same reasons, although I don’t have any of that content in my work under my own name. The scenes that are my favorite to write are usually the dramatic, relationship-defining, dialogue-heavy ones. A lot of the time, I’ve had these conversations back and forth with myself many times and already figured out what everyone’s going to say (sometimes months or even years beforehand), so actually getting the scene down on digital paper is a breeze.

What inspired your book/series?

I read all the Dresden Files novels, and really loved them, even for all their flaws. I thought it would be a fantastic, absolutely unprecedented idea to do something in the vein of those books, but with a female protagonist. And then, of course, I went wandering through the Urban Fantasy landscape and discovered how truly not-novel that idea was. I started devouring the sub-genre, and honing my own preferences, and boring my friends and family with my rants and raves. As cliché as it is, I ended up writing the kind of book I like to read: long-running Urban Fantasy with little romance, more intrigue than violence, high stakes, a complex world built over time, a large cast of unique characters and, of course, some real fucked up magic with some real fucked up consequences.

What are you working on next?

Right now, I’m finishing edits on Book 4 in my series, which is the obligatory vampire novel. After that, I have some plans for Book 5 that’s I’m pretty excited about. It’ll probably be a weird, semi-experimental tangle that might be tricky to pull off, but I’m sure going to try.

What authors or books have influenced you to start writing?

I can’t think of a single book or author that I’ve read that didn’t inspire me to write. The great ones make me want to write something as well as they do; the bad ones make me want to write something better.

If you had to compare your writing to another author which one would that be?

I have no idea. I probably should, but here we are. Feel free to tell me if you figure it out!

Is there genre you’d like to write but never have?

I don’t have the self-control to want to do something and not immediately give it a try. Whether I keep it up is another matter. I think the chances are good I’ll end up in more of a sci-fi lane at some point, but we’ll see. A mix of sci-fi and fantasy is always a good time.

Do you enjoy writing short stories or long form i.e., manuscripts? And why?

I’m almost exclusively a long-form writer. I have written shorter from time to time, but it’s always a lot harder both to get started, and to finish. I just want something ambitious enough to sink my teeth into, you know?

What advice would you give to unpublished writers?

Think about what you want to get out of your writing and act accordingly. Publishing, whether it’s self-publishing or pursuing trad publishing, isn’t the be all end all—there are a ton of different paths writing can take you down and every single one of them is as valid as all the others.

Do you just want people to read your stories? Are you writing for the joy of it and don’t need anyone to read it at all? Are you doing this mainly to process your experiences? Do you want to engage in a community of people who like the same things you do, maybe even the same existing characters? Do you want to make money? Do you want the satisfaction of just holding the physical copy of your work in your hands? Do you want prestige?

The combination of how much you want different things, as well as how much time, energy, and money you have to put into pursuing them, will lead you in a particular direction. And whatever direction that is, is the right direction for you, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it. It’s also totally fair, and valid, and probably inevitable that that’ll change over time. Always be ready to let that happen.

Do you have a new book coming out? If so, what’s the title and when? “The Vengeance of Vampires”, book 4 in my Urban Fantasy series, will be out on all storefronts by the end of the year.

[Author Interview] A. Keith Carreiro

[RKB Writes Interviews – A. Keith Carreiro]

Keith Carreiro is a multi-award-winning author, as well as a poet and classical guitarist with a lifelong addiction to storytelling. Mountain ranges and coastlines fascinate him, yet he still remains stymied in suburbia. Faith, music, family, friends, and two fur babies help sustain him.

He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His academic focus, including his ongoing research agenda, centers upon philosophically examining how creativity and critical thinking are gained, learned, used, and practiced in the literary, visual, and performing arts. He has taken his findings and applied them to the professional development of educational practitioners and other creative artists.

He is writing a planned nine‒book series titled The Immortality Wars. It is a sci‒fi, fantasy, and spiritual thriller based on Christian themes. The second trilogy, the Pilgrim, is currently being written. The first trilogy, the Penitent, was published by Stillwater River Publications in August 2019.

Keith is passionate about creating worlds infused with science fiction and fantasy. Throw in a little bit of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Lee Child along with J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, and he is happy to say that these writers are his heroes who inspire him to write stories that enchant, terrify, and hopefully entertain his readers.

You can follow Keith through his social channels:

Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

At a very young age, I fell in love with storytelling. The first stories I heard were told by family members who all had the riveting ability to tell me the events of their lives and our family history. I learned about what life was like for them in the Azores and here in America from the time my grandfather first immigrated to the United States in 1900. These stories took me back in time to the first half of the 20th century. They were also steeped in the music of the islands and Portugal. My grandmother was a well‒known singer of a style of music called cantigas ao desafio, or song duels. Philosophical, sublime, insulting, and cutting straight to the heart or personality of those being singled out for ridicule, these desafios revealed the soul and spirit of the Azorean worldview.

Often, cantodores (singers) would visit my grandparent’s home, stay for hours at a time and music would spill over into our lives with much laughter and delight shared between the musicians, singers and listeners. A musical style called Fado (fate, destiny) would pour forth and the fadistas (Fado singers) present were some of the finest in our area, some even coming from the Azores and the mainland as well to visit with us.

When I was seven, some of the musicians let me join them. I played my American, classical guitar with their Portuguese instruments, consisting of a guitarra Portuguesa, a couple of steel string acoustic guitars, and one to three mandolins. I played this music until I was sixteen.

In the meantime, I became an avid reader and fell in love with the cinema.

These experiences instilled in me a deep love of telling stories. I began to write short stories and then turned to poetry when I entered high school. Years later, I did academic research and wrote about my inquiry into creativity and critical thinking. In 2014, after wanting to write fiction novels, I began writing The Immortality Wars, which is a sci‒fi, fantasy, spiritual thriller based on Christian themes.  These glimpses into life inspired me. I wanted to participate in unleashing the same kind of lightning in a spellbinding tale.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I have turned my living room into a writer’s retreat and office. I am surrounded by books, manuscripts, papers, and art work, as well as outlines of my story ideas that are placed on the two walls next to my desk computer.

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

After my teaching is over for the academic year, I usually begin writing in mid‒May throughout the summer and into October. My daily goal is to write a minimum of 500 words.

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

Creating titles for my books usually involves inspiration: researching an idea that leads to a working title, a memory of a dream providing a suggestion for a title, something said in a random conversation, or something read that sparks key phrases. Listening to music or watching a movie sometimes unleashes word impressions that lead to options for book titles also. Sometimes, they seem to drop into my awareness fully dressed as if they are all ready to go out partying at the nearest library or book store.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? What types of scenes are your favorite to write?

One of the most challenging scenes for me to write in the Pilgrim – Part I was the one involving a character named Chén Liú. He is one of the greatest beings of his time. His levels of observation, intelligence, memory, physical stamina, fierceness, and combat skills brought him to the pinnacle of his race. He was the first out of one hundred of the most powerful and influential cyborgs to sign the Armistice between humans and machines in 2455 Old Earth Time. I wanted to have the reader see him in his adopted home setting, which is on an exoplanet called Aion that is located between the first and fourth quadrant on the Carina–Sagittarius Arm in the Milky Way. The machines settled on this spiral arm of the Galaxy, which is directly on the other side of the Galaxy from human settlement.

The types of scenes that I love to write are created as if I were a cinematographer. I see them as if they are being filmed. Sometimes I hear a musical score or piece of one that allows me to get a literary signature of a scene.

What inspired your book/series?

When I was a boy my parents let me go to the movie theater to see Ben‒Hur (1959). I was completely in awe of this film. I was completely immersed in watching a powerful human drama set within the time of Christ. I never experienced anything like it. From that moment on, I wanted to see if I could ever write something similar. When I was older I read J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954 – 1955). The same powerful response to Tolkien’s work that I had to Lew Wallace’s (1880) work of Ben‒Hur, as translated by director William Wallace onto the “big screen,” occurred.

In 2014, I felt I was ready to write, even attempt, such a story. I recalled the quote by Arthur C. Clarke, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” It is Clarke’s third law about the future.

I wondered what it would be like if I could somehow bring people from the 18th century, like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John and Abigail Adams, into the 21st century. These folks are people from a fire and horse culture. What would they think of our present day world if they were taken to New York City, Paris, London, Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Beijing, and Shanghai? Would they think of me as a mighty conjuror or wizard?

Then I thought, What would I think and believe if someone from the 26th century brought me into their world? What would such a world look like? What would civilization become? What would happen to faith? To science? To people?

That scenario became the basis for the beginning idea of the series.

What are you working on next?

I am researching and story boarding the fifth novel, the Pilgrim – Part II.

What authors or books have influenced you to start writing?

J. R. Tolkien, Lew Wallace, C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, T. S. White, Stephen R. Donaldson, Terry Goodkind, Frank Herbert, The Brothers Grimm, Lee Child, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and The Bible

If you had to compare your writing to another author which one would that be?

It would be an honor to be compared to any of the writers listed above, but Tolkien seems the best for the worlds he created as well as the story and beings he placed in his tales of Middle Earth.

Is there genre you’d like to write but never have?

There are at least two, one being a crime/thriller story, and the other being historical fiction.

Do you enjoy writing short stories or long form i.e., manuscripts? And why?

I enjoy writing both, but I am passionate about writing and concluding this series. For now, I enjoy writing manuscripts.

What advice would you give to unpublished writers?

I don’t believe I am at the point in my fictional writing life to give advice to other authors or even unpublished writers. However, I do believe it is important that we communicate with one another about our writing journeys, and that we consider advocating for those of our contemporaries who are also scribbling away in like manner.

In 1974, I wrote Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) a heartfelt letter about the impact his book, Theophilus North (1973) had upon me. Much to my delight and surprise, he wrote a handwritten letter to me. He advised that I surround myself with three kinds of people if I hoped to lead a fulfilling life. He believed it is important to be able to teach those who seek your advice and knowledge. At the same time, it is important to be with your peers in order to share the knowledge you have accrued with them. Likewise, it is important to be with individuals who have attained mastery of their art and work. We have much to learn from them.

I would like to apply Wilder’s concept of human flourishing to be the basis for sound advice to other authors and writers. It is one of the reasons I am glad that I am a member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors.

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

Yes, I have a new book coming out called, the Pilgrim – Part I. It is the fourth book in a planned nine‒book series called The Immortality Wars. This series will consist of a trilogy of trilogies. The first is called the Penitent and the third trilogy will be called the Prophet. I will be releasing it on Saturday, September 16, 2023, in Dublin, Ireland where I am scheduled to be a key presenter at The International Dublin Writers’ Festival (15-17 September).

This novel is currently available in eBook and paperback versions on Amazon and Ingram.

[Author Interview] Michael Jovin


[RKB Writes Interviews – Michael Jovin]

I was born in Brooklyn NY but raised mostly in Providence RI. I love to read anime manga, novels, play video games, and Sci-Fi and fantasy genres in movies and tv shows. My love of writing started in high school, and I carried it into college. Though I never majored in writing I took a lot of short story and screenwriting classes to keep up with my interests and explore different writing styles.

You can follow Michael through his social channels:

Amazon | Goodreads | Instagram |

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

I am currently writing my second book in the Beyond the Forest Series called Remnants of LaRa. Hopefully it will be ready by early next year (February).

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

What inspired me to write was the stories in my head. I had and still have all these cool and interesting ideas for characters and plot that I want to put down and create new and interesting stories for others to love as well. I enjoy when people gather together in forums or social media and discuss the plot and lore of what they are interested in. It gives me motivation to write a great story where everyone is talking about it trying to find out what will happen next and why it moves them.

Describe your desk / writing space.

My writing space is all over the place lol, I write from my bedroom on my laptop, I write at work when I have downtime in from of my computer, and sometimes I can write a little on the go on my phone if I have some cool ideas. I try to write mostly in the mornings to early afternoons. Mornings are the best because you feel more refresh and the ideas are not crowed with daily routine stuff yet.

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

I try to have a routine as in the time of day I write, but I mostly write when I’m inspired. Sometimes something triggers it like reading something really good or sometimes its just my surroundings and what is going on in the world. My mind lights up and I continue my adventures.

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

Honestly those are hard lol, but I kind of start writing and let the story create the title. I usually ask myself what is this about and most of the time the title comes about. Sometimes I come up with titles but after writing I end up changing it.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? What types of scenes are your favorite to write?

The hardest scenes to write are the dialogue scenes when nothing else is happening but the two characters talking. If you add another character it becomes easier because that third character has to pick a side sometimes and that makes it interesting and fun. My favorite scenes to writing are action scenes because you can make anything happen and your characters have to navigate through it all. I write the scenes and I watch as my characters go through them in my head and I just sit back as they amaze me.

What inspired your book/series?

The three things that inspired my book series are 1. Power Rangers, because they were my first superheroes and I enjoyed the team up aspect and loyalty between them in fighting with your friends to stop evil. 2. Star Wars, because I fell in love with that space opera and the roller coaster ride of characters, fighting, scenery, and storytelling. 3. One Piece, because no other story I’ve read has this much world building, story, and heart. The characters, the lore, the places and adventures, and last but not least the fighting and special abilities.

What are you working on next?

I am going to be working on a movie next after my second book comes out.  I’ve had this story I wanted to tell for a while now (10+ years) and now I’m starting to put things together for it.  I’m going to be working on the screen play and get things rolling eventually.

What authors or books have influenced you to start writing?

The books that I have really enjoyed and got me going were Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Stephen King 11/22/63, Ernest Cline Ready Player One, and Lois Lowry, The Giver.  I’m currently reading Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, and Jennifer Fallon, Lion of Senet.

If you had to compare your writing to another author which one would that be?

Before a few days ago I would have said no one, I kind of write in my own style, but recently I have seen some similarities from Jennifer Fallon.  She is 100x better than me, but I find myself looking at the way she uses her words and descriptions and I like them and could see myself going about it similarly.

Is there genre you’d like to write but never have?

I would say maybe horror.  I was a big horror fan growing up and I still like some horror movies and tv shows, but it’s a genre I don’t really get into nowadays so I probably wouldn’t do it any justice.

Do you enjoy writing short stories or long form i.e., manuscripts? And why?

I like short stories, that’s where I started and continued on to long forms of writing in script and light novels.  I like a quick story where you have to tell something compelling and interesting in a limited amount of space without it feeling like you left anything out.  I also like longer stories where it’s like take a seat, get comfy, grab your favorite drink and enjoy the ride.

What advice would you give to unpublished writers?

I would say if you have a cool idea or interesting story that has been brewing in your mind for a while, go for it.  Just write what you have so far and when its all on paper it will free up your mind to fill in the holes and make it better.  But first you have to release whatever you have in your mind and write it down; your story will motivate you to continue and maybe it will motivate others and your story will be in the forums and social media being talked about because they love it so much.

[Author Interview] J. L. Doucette

Author Interview with J. L. Doucette!

Rhode Island based psychologist, J. L. Doucette is the author of the Dr. Pepper Hunt Mysteries. Her new novel, On a Quiet Street, is the second in the series following her award-winning debut, Last Seen. After earning a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University she moved to southwest Wyoming. The stark landscape of the high-desert, where a constant wind stirs crimes of passion, is the setting for her psychological mysteries.

You can follow through her social channels:

Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramGoodreads  | Website

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I have always loved stories and the beauty and effectiveness of words to convey meaning. The first adult book I read was Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I was moved by the insight the book provided into the character’s internal experience. I wanted to be able to do that.

Describe your desk / writing space. My desk is in front of a large window that overlooks a river. On the desk I have lots of small mementos of Wyoming the setting for My mystery novels.

Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired? I write most mornings. I used to be a night writer, but the timing switched organically for no particular reason I can point to. I like morning writing it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I feel more alive on the days I write in the morning I think because of the mental boost from being creative.

How do you come up with the title to your books? The titles, Last Seen, On A Quiet Street, and Unknown Assailant are all terms I read in newspaper reports of murders.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write? In my last novel there are two love scenes because the relationship between the two main characters progressed to that level of intimacy. These scenes were hard to write because I wanted them to convey the various levels of intimacy experienced. My favorite scene was in the first novel, where one of the detectives visits the crimes scene, which happens to be on the top of a mountain, and he is confronting the desolation of the landscape and the corresponding desolation of the crime.

What inspired your book/series? True crime stories which I then altered and amplified into fiction I am drawn to rime with strong psychological context.

What are you working on next? Book 4 in the Dr. Pepper Hunt Mystery Series. The working title is Innocent Bystander, which begins with an infant kidnapping.

What authors or books have influenced your writing? Tana French, the Irish author The Dublin Murder Squad Series and Jane Harper, the Australian suspense author. author. They both create ensemble characters that develop through the series.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live? A tropical island in the 1930’s

What is your favorite meal? Steak Frites

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer? Coffee, wine

Describe yourself in three words. Curious. Persistent. Resilient.

[Author Interview] JC Brown

JC Brown is a Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy author who loves to whisk her readers away on larger-than-life adventures into fantastical worlds. As a passionate wordsmith since Middle School, she enjoys nothing more than writing page-turning novels that capture readers’ imaginations with werewolves, magic, feisty heroines, and the charming hunks they fall for. From high-octane action and edge-of-your-seat suspense to pulse-pounding reverse harems, you’ll always find something to love in her books.

JC or as her family knowns her as “Mistress of Minions” currently resides in the New England area with her four wonderful goblins, a hysterical husband, and her supportive parents. When not dreaming up her next story idea, you can find her cooking Cuban meals or watching scary movies

JC’s next book, Poisoned Princess: A Dark Reverse Harem, Snow White Fairytale Retelling comes out July 1, 2023.

You can follow JC through her social channels:

Amazon | FacebookInstagram | TwitterGoodreads | BookbubWebsite

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I am a mother of too many children and the wife to a giant toddler. Kidding. My husband is more like a preteen class clown. But he is supportive and makes me laugh. I have always been interested in reading and writing. I can remember the day I found my mom’s old typewriter in my grandmother’s attic, she let me keep it and that what I wrote my first story on. One that will never see the light of day of course, but it absolutely kickstarted my passion for storytelling. As I got older, I wrote fan fiction, and horror stories with my best friend. I write stories about crazy adventures and romance that couldn’t be possible in the real world. I wanted to write things that would help people escape like reading did for me.

Describe your desk / writing space.

My desk is a mess. It’s what I call organized chaos. But I rarely sit at my desk. I do most of my work on my laptop all over the house. My wonderful husband understands my need to move around and bought me a rolling desk. I wheel it all over the living room and kitchen, sometimes I even drag it out into the yard.

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

I wish. I hope to one day when my children are all old enough to fend for themselves and can leave me the heck alone. Right now, I try to write during the day while they are in school, or very late at night while they are all sleeping. It’s basically whenever I have time to write, I will try.

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

That’s a good question and I’d love to tell you, my process. When I figure it out for myself. Really it is just completely random and sometimes it is a struggle because nothing feels right. I still have a few stories I haven’t published because I don’t know what to call them.

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

This one was a fairly easy question for me. Some of the hardest scenes I’ve written were in Asmodeus the Gift of Lust. You think from the title its just a nice, smutty, angel and demons’, enemies to lovers’ book but it is definitely much more. It touches on some heavy topics that even the scenes that allude to them are difficult.

Some of my favorites though would be all of the Meeting Scenes in the Sinful Seven Novels. The demons that represent the seven deadly sins all come together and have quarterly meetings to discuss their progress. Shenanigans often happen during these times.

What inspired your book/series?
The Obsidian Crown Series that the Poisoned Princess is a part of just came from my desire to make a spicy fairytale retelling. It is a reverse harem and I wanted to keep the theme of snow white and the seven dwarves so here we are. We have snow white and her seven sexy werewolves. There is no way I could fit all their own character arcs, romance arc and retelling arc into one book so a series is born.
The Sinful Seven Novels on the other hand was a product of my co-author’s mind. However, I will say that it is super interesting to have a series with overlapping time frames and characters, yet still be able to read them out of order if you so choose.

What are you working on next?
I have ADHD so I am almost always working on more than one thing at a time. Currently I am working with my co-author Lena Lane on Leviathan the Gift of Envy, the third installment in our Sinful Seven Novels. I am also working on a prequel of sorts to the Poisoned Princess for the Sigils and Spells anthology that is currently up for preorder.
My writing schedule is packed. When those are finished, I have another a short story in an exclusive anthology for a literary event I will be attending in July, and of course book two of the Obsidian Crown Series.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?
Well, I love Laurel K Hamilton. She is one of my favorite authors and I would say she is one of the reasons that I write. Before I decided to make the leap into self-publishing my big dream was to be published under Penguin Putnam Inc., like her. Some craft books that have really helped me along on my writing journey is Save the Cat writes a novel by Jessica Brody. I used to be a pantser but my ADHD would often take me on what I like to call “side quests” that wouldn’t further the actual main plot and often left me directionless. It helped me to plan a structure, a skeleton outline that even if I take a “side quest” I will always come back to the main quest.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?
Silver City. I don’t even have to think about it. It’s crawling with werewolves and of course you know that I love all the shifters, especially the wolves. I’d be moving in hoping to find my fated mate. (That is of course, If I wasn’t already married to my very human fated mate already lol)

What is your favorite meal?
I love Korean food. My favorite meal is Korean Barbeque. You get to eat so many delicious things and it’s a great experience. But if you don’t count that it’s definitely Rabokki.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?
Why Choose. Coffee is my go too beverage in the morning. Afternoons I drink different forms of tea and water all day. Usually during my editing though ill have a glass of wine because edits are never any fun.

Describe yourself in three words.
I am a self-described “Hot Mess Express”. Ha ha.

[Author Interview] Gledé Browne Kabongo

RKB Writes Author Interviews

Gledé Browne Kabongo writes gripping, unputdownable psychological thrillers. She is the Eric Hoffer, Next Generation Indie, IPPY and National Indie Excellence Award-winning author of the Fearless Series, Our Wicked Lies, Fool Me Twice, and Conspiracy of Silence. Her novel Winds of Fear was voted one of 24 Books to Read During the Coronavirus by Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.

Gledé holds a master’s degree in communications and has spoken at multiple industry events including the Boston Book Festival, Sisters in Crime (SinC) New England Crime Bake and the Women in Publishing Summit. She lives outside Boston with her husband and two sons.

Her new book, Reign of Fear arrives May/June 2023.

You can follow Gledé through her social channels:

Amazon | FacebookInstagram | TwitterGoodreads | BookbubWebsite

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always loved stories and reading. Growing up in the Caribbean, I devoured Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, as well as the Famous Five series by British author, Enid Blyton. Back then, I was around nine or ten years old and wanted to be a journalist, so I studied journalism in college and did some freelancing afterward. It wasn’t until 2005 that I was struck with the writing (fiction) bug.

Describe your desk / writing space.

My desk is L-shaped with lots of drawers. There’s also a ton of space for other stuff besides my laptop; a printer, piles of books, mugs, and a candle. I sometimes burn scented candles when I’m writing.

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

I used to write when inspired but figured that’s not a recipe for commercial fiction success. Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to stick to a routine, even if I don’t reach the word count I set for the day. Every little bit adds up. I’m also trying to embrace writing out of sequence.  I have a nasty little habit of abandoning the manuscript when I get stuck. Instead, I write scenes as standalones and determine where they best fit in the story later on.

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

That’s a fun game I love to play. I write the blurb for the novel first. That helps me to think about the story holistically. The title also needs to align with the genre and give readers an idea of what the story is about.

Sometimes I will look up how many books already have the title I’m considering. The novel I released in 2021, Our Wicked Lies, was originally called House of Lies and I even had the cover done under that title. Then I remembered there was a series on Showtime starring Don Cheadle with the same name, as well as a few books on Amazon.  I changed my book title to Wicked Lies but the competition was still stiff so I added “Our” to the title and that’s what stuck.

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

The hardest scenes to write are the big ones that are crucial to the plot and will have a big emotional impact. I spend a lot of time figuring out how to approach those scenes because they’re multi-layered and have major repercussions for the characters and change the trajectory of the story in some instances.

My favorite scenes to write are the ones when opposing characters, i.e. antagonist and protagonist interact. What’s going on beneath the surface is just as important as what they say or do if not more so.

What inspired your book/series?

My Fearless series was inspired by my novel Fool Me Twice. My teenage character, Abbie Cooper, was also a POV character in that novel and I felt that she had so much more to say. Readers liked her so I thought it would be a great idea to build a series around her. Turns out that was a good decision. Some of the most gut-wrenching, emotionally brutal writing I’ve ever done is in that series. I won four book awards which was nice validation. Reign of Fear, the final book will be released in late spring of 2023.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a standalone next, about three friends who are hiding bombshell secrets from their pasts. Someone is threatening to expose the truth unless they confess.

What authors or books have influenced your writing? I think there is a type of storytelling that has influenced my writing more so than particular books or authors. I like big epic stories with compelling characters and plot, multiple POVs, emotional depth and of course suspense. When I was in college, I read James Michener’s novel, Caribbean. That story stayed with me all these years because of the way it was skillfully told. Michener wove a fictional story using 700 years of Caribbean history— history I grew up studying— as a backdrop for a sweeping saga filled with compelling, larger-than-life characters, tumultuous history, romance, and intertwined destinies.

The paperback edition of the book is almost 900 pages in length and I devoured every page because the story was that powerful. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is another one of my favorites because of similar characteristics. That book almost reads like a thriller but again, the storytelling, compelling characters, multiple POVs, themes such as revenge, which is common in thrillers, and the emotional heft all resonated with me.

What is your favorite meal? I don’t have one, but I do like seafood and a good steak.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer? – Coffee, black or tea but it has to be fruit-flavored. I love tangerine, peach and mint, although mint isn’t technically a fruit.

Describe yourself in three words. – analytical, curious, compassionate.

[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.