Guest Writers

Writers on Writing

I really love this idea - that writers interview each other about the whys and wherefores of writing.

If you would like to be featured here, please email me: and I will send a list of questions.

If you have any comments about the authors featured here, please add them below, or contact the authors directly using their contact details.
Thank You

Ninth in the big black chair is Andrea Domanski – author of the incredible Omega series.

A few details about the book (Crossfire):

Title: Crossfire, Greco, Rogue, Pandora

Author: Andrea Domanski
Science Fiction Fantasy > New Adult & College     
ISBN: 978-1495982477 Pages:278
Price: £6.99/$10.99(paper)   £2.26/$3.54(E-book)
A few details about the author: Born and raised near Toronto, Canada, Andrea Domanski moved south to get away from the snow and cold when she was 24 years old. She now lives in Savannah, Georgia with her husband Mark, their two children, and their goldendoodle.
After selling her business in 2012, Andrea focused her energies on raising her two children and finding a new career path that excited her. It wasn't long before she decided that writing a novel - something she'd always wanted to do - would be her next big adventure. Andrea is a proud member of the WorldWiseWriters group ( and is currently working on the next book in her Omega Group series.
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Birthdays suck!

For her eighteenth, Mirissa Colson receives a package from the mother who abandoned her over a decade ago. The family secret it reveals transforms her life from trying on prom dresses to battling an ancient race of demons. Thanks, Mom.

Her nineteenth brings forth an even more treacherous foe—one maniacal demi-god bent on ruling the world. So much for dating. Thankfully, the years of martial arts and sharpshooter training her ex-Navy SEAL dad put her through gives her the perfect skill-set to build upon.

When she’s called on to save the world—literally—Mirissa finds she has a lot more in her arsenal than just a mean roundhouse kick. Burgeoning powers she previously thought impossible, like controlling the elements and sensory expansion, give her some confidence. But when she is propelled into a world teeming with preternatural beings—all with powers of their own—she finds herself outmatched and outgunned.

JAG: Welcome to my blog and I’m sure there are many who would be fascinated to hear more about your experiences in writing this fantastic series – you are without doubt the most prolific author I’ve ever known. Where did the idea originate? Tell me more about how you came to write it and how long it took.
AD: My niece inspired my main character. She’s been taller than me since she was thirteen and handles her younger brother and cousins with such grace. Her height made me think Amazon warrior, and the rest came as I wrote. Now she plays a role (some small and some big) in every book in the series.

JAG: Great story – I bet your niece has hinted to one or two friends that she is the role model. How would you describe your writing “voice?”
AD: Since I tend to write in my characters’ voices, it changes with each book. When I’m writing from Mirissa’s point of view, I tend to be a bit snarky and tough. She’s very strong willed but is also just a typical nineteen year old girl with all the stuff that goes along with that age

JAG: That’s such a good point – many people miss the fact that an author’s voice will change to suit the character. What would you consider your best skill: world-building, characterisation or plot? Please tell us why.
AD:For me it’s probably plot. I love a lot of excitement and action in what I read, so I tend to write that way. Luckily, my genre kind of demands that, so it works out.

JAG:Yep, plot oozes out of your stories like it’s looking for trouble. My favourite kinda read. What would you consider your best skill: narrative, dialogue or scene? Reasons?
AD: I like to think I do pretty well with Dialogue. It drives me crazy when I read a book where the characters speak as though English is their second language (when it’s not). I like to write dialogue that sounds the way you’d expect a person to speak in real life, warts and all.

JAG: You do way more than pretty well – it is totally credible, realistic and character-appropriate. Which one of the following describes your preferred writing method: planner/researcher/seat-of-pants?
AD: I’m definitely a pantser that wants to be an outliner when I grow up. When I started Crossfire, I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen on page ten, let alone page two hundred. The story came to me as I wrote. I’ve gotten a little better since then, having a general understanding of where I want the story to go, but I still write pretty much by the seat of my pants. I guess that just works for me. It allows my characters to grow and change and take the story somewhere I hadn’t expected (that happens a lot).

JAG: Totally with you on that one – the best stories are where the characters take over. What is your worst vice as a writer?
AD: That’s easy. The word “was” is my nemesis. “She was this” or “It was that.” I had no idea how often I used that word until I started writing. Even though I know I have a problem with it, it still creeps into my work far more often than it should. After I finish my first draft, that’s the first search I do. After pulling my hair out for a while at the sheer number of them, I go through and cull the herd. Maybe one day I’ll get better. Maybe.

JAG: I completely sympathise, I have the “was” disease too. Can you give me an idea about your book in terms of existing movies/books/TV shows? And who would you have (living or dead) starring in the movie version?
AD: Oh man that’s hard. I never really made comparisons to existing stuff before, although I totally imagine every scene on the big screen when I’m writing it. I’ve had a couple of reviewers mention that the series feels like Avengers type stories, and I can’t really argue with that. I have thought about who I would want to play Mirissa in a movie, but I always get stuck on height. She’s six feet tall and I don’t know any actresses that fit that description.

JAG:‘Fraid I can’t help you there, but maybe our readers can offer some suggestions. We haven’t had a chance to chat about the other three books in the series – or your experiences with getting the audio books and a box set. Maybe we can do this again when the next book comes out. Thank you so much for chatting, Andrea.

A few details about the book:

Title: Five Weeks: a Lifetime

Author: Hannah Sullivan
Memoir, Death and Grief      

ISBN: 978-0991592739   Pages:138
Price: £5.42/$7.9(paper)   £2.58/$3.99 (E-book)
A few details about the author: Hannah Sullivan lives with her husband and children in Meridian, Idaho. A member of the WorldWideWriters group, she is the author of Thunder: The Shadows Are Stirring, a young adult fantasy adventure written at the request of her oldest daughter. Her hobbies include eating chocolate, running, and reading. She would love to hear from you! Visit her website at
Suppose you have a teacher who knows the secret of life. A teacher who can show you what it takes to live to the fullest, to love until your heart bleeds out—to have it all, and then to let it all go. Now, suppose your teacher is only five weeks old. When the Sullivans are told their unborn child has a congenital heart defect, they have no idea where the news will lead them. Their dreams of bedtime cuddles and soft baby coos give way to the incessant beeping of hospital machinery and the sharp smell of antiseptic. With two young children in tow, the uprooted family takes an unexpected journey discovering the truth of love, sorrow, and ultimately, the gift of life. This true story—comprised of journal entries, letters, and emails—is the legacy of one small boy’s lifetime.

JAG: Welcome to my blog and I’m sure there are many who would be fascinated to hear more about your experiences in writing this incredible book. Where did the idea originate? Tell me more about how you came to write it and how long it took.
HS: Five Weeks was actually an idea floating in my head for about eight years, ever since our infant son, Clinton Jacob, died. I’d kept a journal during my pregnancy with him, and held onto notes of his life, emails from that time, and the years after. We’d given out a brief journal at his memorial, and we had a lot of positive feedback. In fact, hospitals in three separate states (California, Idaho, and Oregon) had copies on hand for their chaplains or other hospital members to share with patients/family members. And not just for people who lost babies, but for people dealing with any kind of loss. I knew I wanted to put together a more complete picture of Clinton and his impact on me and my family, in the hopes of sharing it with others. It’s something that so many people are able to connect to, and just maybe can help people to find the voice of their own story.

JAG: It sounds like you had a lot of persuasive reasons for writing something that even now must affect you so powerfully. I’m sure many will take comfort from the way you share Clinton’s story and your family’s experiences. How would you describe your writing “voice?”
HS: This book, since it is a journal-style memoir is utterly and completely my regular, human voice. This is me, talking to my unborn baby, dreaming with my newborn, letting go of my baby, grieving with my husband, sharing with the world ….

JAG: Your voice really comes out strongly in the writing; it is exactly the right tone for such a difficult topic. This book is non-fiction; how did you transfer from your normal fiction style?
HS: This book is basically a memoir, and I tried to make this a cohesive journey of my son’s lifetime. So, even though it’s written through journals, emails, conversations, etc., I tried to hold it to the basic need of any story—a firm, cohesive plot, resting squarely on the shoulders of the main character, Clinton. My desire was for a reader to be able to feel with me as we moved through our time with Clinton, to know the ups and downs, live the love and sorrow, and understand the hope. An author of any genre needs to be able to get the reader to believe in the story, to be able to live in it and breathe through the characters’ lungs, see through the characters’ eyes.

JAG: You do that incredibly well. I’m sure everyone who reads it feels a strong connection to your brave son. Even though it’s a memoir, did you still consider the structure of the book in terms of a balance between narrative and dialogue/scene?
HS: I didn’t want the journal to be just a narrative read of my son’s life, yet the bulk is written from journals. The narrative had to be strong enough not to become tedious to read. Fortunately, I wrote my journals as if I were talking to my son, because that is what I felt I was doing; it was my way of communicating to him. So the narrative itself is hopefully not static. I put in key conversations that were important to me, and the situations we were dealing with, because dialogue can be pivotal for getting across certain emotions. In general, dialogue should be written, and then read aloud. If it doesn’t sound like something someone would actually say, it doesn’t work. Time for a re-write! Also if it’s hard to say, or to capture the cadence or the correct interpretation of the words, try to trim it to real-life manageability. I was lucky, in that the dialogue of Five Weeks is real—it’s what was said to or by me. I didn’t have to try to get it to “sound” real because it WAS real.

JAG: It’s perfectly obvious that every incident is real and I’m so glad you didn’t feel the need to alter situations/emotions to sensationalise it. Can you choose one of the following to describe your preferred writing methods/style: morning/day-time/night-owl, planner/researcher/seat-of-pants, linear/flashbacks/start at the middle/end, first person/third person/multiple viewpoints.
HS: Oh gosh, I write best at night when my world is quiet and my brain gets dreamy. Also, except for my six-month-old, my children are all tucked away, so I can work with minimal interruptions. I am definitely one to write by the seat of my pants. I usually start out with no clue what is going to happen next, things just come to me, and my fingers plunk them out. In the case of Five Weeks, I didn’t know what conversations were floating around in my brain, what emails would fit right into the storyline I was trying to create, but the ones I needed were there and waiting. I love all the styles of writing from linear to starting at the middle or and working my way through, and I love books of all viewpoints. I would get bored if I only read one style, and I would miss out on so many beautiful and clever books if I limited myself to only one choice. So that’s how I write. Whatever the story is, I write it how it is told to me in my brain. Five Weeks, I wrote as linear as a person can—by date, starting with finding out I was pregnant, and moving on to the present. It’s written in first person and second person actually, as for parts I am talking to my son in the entries, and it’s all “You this” and “You that.”

JAG: I would agree – every story has its own style. What is your worst vice as a writer? (e.g. many of my characters use the word Amazing and they all start sentences with But and end with a preposition).
HS: I’m sure I have tons of vices. I’m incredibly fond of adverbs. Apparently, I have a love affair going with the word “and” as well, and need to remind myself to use this nifty mark called a comma!

JAG: Can you give me an idea about your book in terms of existing movies/books/TV shows? And who would you have (living or dead) starring in the movie version?
HS: Being so close to me, a part of my life, my family, my son, I can’t imagine a movie version—plus I’m so bad with actors, I really don’t know who I’d choose to play us. I haven’t read many memoirs in my life, so I don’t know really what it would compare to; most people have told me they’ve never read anything like it before. The only other book that I’ve read as an all-out diary is The Diary of Ann Frank. The connection between these two vastly different life experiences is the undercurrent of love and hope and just simply living through a situation that could have the reasonable potential for breaking a person’ spirit. Also the book, Fly a Little Higher, by Laura Sobiech. This one’s not a journal style, but it is a family’s experience living through the lifetime of their second son and third child. In this case, it’s cancer and not a heart issue, but in both situations, there is that undercurrent of light and love and living life to its fullest.

JAG: Well, it’s been an absolute delight to hear all about this fabulous story and I’m sure there will be many families using Clinton’s bus to help their children through this tricky experience. Thank you so much for sharing, Hannah.

Seventh in the big black chair is Veronica Richards – creator of a magical fantasy world.

A few details about the book:
The Heartless Fey  
Author: Veronica Richards
Young Adult Fantasy Fiction      

ISBN: 978-1507783795   Pages:342
Price: £8.21/$12.38(paper)   £2.58/$3.99 (E-book)
A few details about the author: I live in the U.S.A in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and 2 dogs. I write YA Fantasy and have dabbled in Historical Fiction. "The Heartless Fey" is my first novel. It started as a dream, then turned into a daydream that screamed to become a novel.
Most teens hate school, but thirteen-year-old Faye has good reason to: Her teacher is trying to kill her. . Swallowing her fears, she marches past the scattered bones of unsuccessful students and battles through a maze of deadly spells. Faye survives, only to be greeted by fireballs and curses from Stonereader, her instructor. So much for becoming teacher's pet. Such is the life of a half-breed, ostracized by both human and Fey society. When her magical team assembles to help her, they are not what Faye expects: a talking rock, a dog with unusual skills, and a sword that continually attacks the most handsome prince she's ever seen. Awkward! With only a band of misfits to save her from the teacher who's determined to destroy her, she should give up, as Stonereader wants. But Faye has a dream worth dying for: to bring a lasting peace between humans and Fey. THE HEARTLESS FEY is a young adult fantasy about the power of impossible dreams.
She’s not going to do that.

JAG: Welcome to my blog, Veronica, I'm so pleased you took time out of your busy schedule to talk to me. Where did the idea for your book originate? Tell me more about how you came to write it and how long it took.
VJR: The idea for The Heartless Fey series came from a dream I had of the city of Croidrai, white stones and all. It looked nice in the "brochure" so to speak, so I decided to visit it in my waking dream of writing fiction. At the time, I was working intensely on a historical novel about slavery in the U.S. in the early 19th century. The world of Croidrai was a wonderful distraction while I did extensive research on the historical, as I gave myself permission to write a story that required no research, it was just my imagination. Interestingly, the themes of race and how it can determine one's destiny became a theme in The Heartless Fey.

JAG: How would you describe your writing “voice?”
VJR: I would describe my writing voice for The Heartless Fey as playful. I was playing while I wrote to relieve the stress from my day-to-day life. I began to associate the Kingdom of Redmond with relaxation. I would turn issues over in my head that I was having in my life and poke fun at them.

JAG: What would you consider your best skill: world-building, characterisation or plot? Please give reasons and ways other writers can improve their ability in this area.
VJR: I consider plot my best skill. I started in writing as a playwright and love to structure the plot so it follows the age-old rules of dramatic structure with a beginning, middle and end. I enjoy working on the main conflict between the protagonist and antagonist. I'll fiddle endlessly with what the story would be if the antagonist were the protagonist. It's fun to turn the lens like that. I always gain new insights into the characters motivations that drive the action forward.

JAG: What would you consider your best skill: narrative, dialogue or scene? Please give reasons and ways other writers can improve their ability in this area.
VJR: I have had an ear for dialog ever since I was a child. I love writing dialog and can't imagine writing a story without lots of it. The best way to improve writing dialog is to listen to people talk, even strangers, and then write it down. When I was just starting out in writing, I would go to coffee shops and write down the conversations around me. I'd then spruce them up to make them more interesting. I never really used any of that work, but it did teach me how to catch the rhythms of people speaking.

JAG: What is your worst vice as a writer? (e.g. many of my characters use the word Amazing and they all start sentences with But and end with a preposition).
VJR: My worst vice as a writer is I hate reading what I've written. I already know what happens in the end, so what's the point? :-) I also hate editing my own work. I like the freedom of creating a world, characters and plot. I hate the process of going back to refine. I'd rather move on and write the next book than edit what I've written. That's how I came to have over 1100 pages of rough drafts for The Heartless Fey series. I'm happy to report that my "refining' of the second book in the series, Heart Loss, is going well. I'm on track for a January 2016 release.

JAG: Thank you very much for sharing with us Veronica. Let us know when the sequel is out.

Sixth in the big black chair is L.A. Rikand – a truly inspired and inspiring writer.

A few details about the book:
Girl the Reaper  Author: L.A. Rikand
Young Adult Supernatural Fiction      ISBN: 
Pages:200    Price: £5.68/$8.99(paper)   £1.93/$2.93 (E-book)

Death can be a beginning, instead of just an end. Fourteen-year-old Cate Evans’ 1976 life is on the dull side. So dull, she borrows obscure troubles such as the price of gas and the Argentinian coup d’etat to occupy her mind. Her carefree ways and lazy days come to an abrupt end when Death comes for her father. 
But Death makes a mistake and Cate inadvertently gains possession of the token – a star – that Death needs to take John Evans. Cate’s father remains alive and unaware of how close he came to dying.
Cate, however is in a borderland, where she exists in both her old life and with the newly dead. And the borderland is anything but dull. One downside is Death, who waits, haunting Cate’s every move. All she has to do is give the star to her father and Death will take him.
She’s not going to do that.

Where to find the book:
A few details about the author:
Like Cate Evans in GIRL THE REAPER, L.A. Rikand grew up in small-town northern Wisconsin. Later, she graduated with a BS in Business Administration and Equestrian Science from William Woods University, and received an MBA from the University of Texas-Dallas. Since college, her day-jobs have been in business consulting, project management and information technology roles. She currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and two amazing daughters.
GIRL THE REAPER is L.A.'s debut novel. It is also a prequel to a work-in-progress trilogy entitled THE SAME SPIRIT.

Here’s how L.A. does it:

JAG: Welcome Lisa – can I call you Lisa? I cannot tell you how excited I am to talk to such a powerful writer. Your book moved me like no other has done for a very long time. I cannot remember being affected like that for a good decade or two. Where did the idea for your book originate? Tell me more about how you came to write it and how long it took.
Lisa: I had been struggling with a 3-book series called THE SAME SPIRIT for about 2 1/2 years and decided that the best way to get that series straight in my mind was to write a prequel to it. GIRL THE REAPER is that prequel, but it takes place in the current age. In it, I was able to figure out the significance of the artifact that plays a major role in the series, which takes place thousands of years in the future. I was also able to build a character who will pass her strength and beliefs down through her descendants. Cate Evans's great-grandson is the protagonist of the series-to-be. I began GIRL THE REAPER in April of 2011 and published it in September of 2012.

JAG: Wow – it’s official – we are twins.J My hero Archer began life in a story about his 30-year-old self, then I went back and wrote about when he was 16. How would you describe your writing “voice?” Does it change for the different books you have written?
Lisa: My voice on the keyboard is the same one I have in real-life. I am visual to the extreme--I can't remember a name to save my life, but I remember weird things like a dad in a schoolyard who rakes his eyes over a mom's chest. Or a little girl who stares at the back of a bully's head. For years I can't see that dad or that girl around town without imagining the "why" of it. My brain can create all kinds of scenarios in the silliest and most obscure situations. Those make it to the keyboard often, and don't seem to vary whether I'm writing YA or Romance or General Fiction.

JAG:  I totally get the people watching thing. Even with my back to the room, I still know the life story of all the other people in a restaurant by the end of a meal. Drives my hubby up the wall … What would you consider your best skill: world-building(setting), characterization or plot? Please give reasons and ways other writers can improve their ability in this area.
Lisa: None of those! I am a beginner at all three. If I must choose the one which gives me the most joy, it's characterization. Jane Austen was amazing at it and I strive to be half as good. To me, there are thousands of books put out every year and the only ones I remember are the ones which had characters that stay with me. One way I try to get better at it is to remember how incredibly complex humans are and try to duplicate that on paper. They don't just talk. They don't just scratch their chin when they think. They do all sorts of weird things, and considering the average person only exposes less than 20% of themselves to other's a lot of material I can imagine about them. So my advice is to "watch your characters."

JAG:  Again with the agreement – all my books are totally character driven. What would you consider your best skill: narrative, dialogue or scene? Please give reasons and ways other writers can improve their ability in this area.
Lisa: Gosh, I hope it's all three. But narrative is something I need to get better at which means a lot to me. A strong narrator makes or breaks a story, in my opinion. If my character isn't too funny but my narrator is--say the narrator pokes fun at the character--that adds interest to the text. Again, my opinion, or my style. These skills are improved greatly by reading your words out loud.

JAG:  Absolutely. I don’t just read the dialogue but every single word. If I stumble when I say it, people will stumble when they read it, so I try to make it smoother. Choose one of the following (or give an alternative) to describe your preferred writing methods/style: morning/day-time/night-owl,   planner/researcher/seat-of pants,     linear/flashbacks/start at the middle/end,   first person/third person/multiple viewpoints.

Lisa: I only write when it strikes me to. When my muse visits--and she is finnicky. I can go for a month without writing a sentence, then put down 10,000 words in a day. Most of my "writing" is done during the quiet times when I'm lying in bed without a laptop in sight. That's where I imagine the plot, the characters, the dialogue. As far as the overall book goes, I'm a planner. I have a spreadsheet with plot structure, sections and chapters written down before I start. I write a few paragraphs about each main character so that I know them well.
As far as style goes, I've been told that it is literary. That makes sense to me: I prefer classics and/or award-winners over the bestsellers. Translated, I guess that means I write what I read. Prefer not to read the books that can be read in one or two sittings, but the kind that are savored--sometimes a paragraph or two at a time. LOVE a good narrator voice, which is why I don't write in first person and prefer not to read it either because it's very limiting in its perspective. I like to think while I'm reading (or watching a movie) and don't just want to be entertained.

JAG: Yay, another planner – although I tend to write a whole bunch first, and then do a spreadsheet to keep track of things. It gives me something to do if the dreaded writer’s block hits. And yes, your style is definitely literary, I thoroughly enjoyed savouring every page. What is your worst vice as a writer?

Lisa: Passive verbs, for sure. I also use the word "it" like it's going out of style ... see what I mean?

JAG:  I get it – it’s almost like a disease. Can you give me an idea about your book in terms of existing movies/books/TV shows?
Lisa: Wow, hadn't thought about that. Maybe The Lovely Bones without the violence/murder/suspense? Crossed with Bridge to Terabithia? Would love Bruce Greenwood as John Evans (the dad). Maybe Hailee Steinfeld as Cate Evans if she were a couple of years younger (she was in True Grit and is 17 this year).

JAG: I hadn’t heard of either of those films, but I looked them up and yes, I can see the similarities. Well I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking with you and wish you the very best with your writing – I know everybody says it, but I really can’t wait for the next book.

To leave comments, click here
Fifth in the big black chair is Thomas A. Knight – fresh from his book launch and still finding sparkly bits in his sweater.

A few details about the book:
Legacy (The Time Weaver Chronicles)   Author: Thomas. A. Knight
Science Fiction/Fantasy      ISBN: 978- 0986843730
Pages: 300    Price: £9.87/$14.99(paper)   £2.03/$2.99 (E-book)

Once upon a time...
...a warrior of light defeated an insane wizard, but behind every heroic story lies a truth never told. A man washes ashore on the island of Arda after a terrible storm, remembering nothing but his name: Krycin. The blue wizard Gladius finds him, takes him in, and is determined to help Krycin regain what he's lost.
The Fates have other plans. Krycin's presence on Galadir is disrupting the fabric of the universe. The solution? Eliminate him, by any means necessary. When Gladius sides with the council, his efforts to destroy Krycin spark a war that threatens all life on Galadir.
In order to save himself and what remains of his people, Krycin must defeat Gladius, but time is running out. Every step Krycin takes to destroy Gladius makes things worse, and now a massive army is marching on Findoor. Krycin must come up with a way to defeat Gladius before it's too late, and forge his legacy for the future of Galadir.

Where to find the book: (paperback):

A few details about the author: 
Thomas A. Knight has built a career out of software development and took up writing in his spare time. Since then, he has released two books and is in the process of writing a third. His novels are epic fantasies set in Galadir, an alternate world of his own design.
His debut novel, The Time Weaver, is the recipient of an indiePENdents Seal of Good Writing, has reached both the Sci-Fi/Adventure and Epic Fantasy Amazon best-seller lists, and is considered by many to be an exciting and unique story that appeals to readers of all types.
When he's not writing or developing software, Thomas enjoys family time with his wife and two little girls, or playing fantasy role-playing games. He is also an avid supporter of Free and Open Source software, and uses entirely Linux and open source software in the writing and production of his novels.
To find out why so many authors in a world-wide writing community revere the legendary Sir Thomas (for reasons that become clear when you get to know him) visit the incredible pitch thread he runs for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Also, he donates a chunk of his proceeds to Reglue (, a charity that provides free computers to underprivileged children and families.

Read more about Thomas on his website/blog
or facebook page:   

JAG: Welcome Thomas, I'm so thrilled to have taken part in the release day for your new book Legacy - I think it's been a long time coming for a lot of your fans. Tell me something about the day, how did it go for you?
TAK: It was a bit surreal actually. I took the day off work because I knew there would be far too much distracting me to get any actual work done, and spent most of the day bouncing between social media sites. Today was the culmination of about fifteen months-worth of work, from more people than just myself, so Legacy was a long time coming.

JAG: But you will have made a lot of people happy if the Amazon comments are anything to go by. Where did the idea for your book originate? Tell me more about how you came to write it and how long it took.
TAK: Legacy is the sequel to my debut novel, The Time Weaver, and thus I already had a wealth of material to work with. Still, many of the ideas and concepts that I use to build my world come from right inside my head, formulated from years of role-playing experience. Galadir is something new to the fantasy genre: a fantasy world without elves or dwarves. The people, places, races and cultures on Galadir are fresh and new, something that I felt the fantasy genre was in dire need of.

JAG: Yep, your fantasy creatures are definitely original – even the dragons are not the same ole same ole. How would you describe your writing “voice?” Does it change for the different books you have written?
TAK: I try to keep a very adult voice in my books, a real voice. I wanted a story that people could relate to and read no matter what kinds of books they read. I keep my voice pretty consistent for my current trilogy, but that may change when I finally get into something new.

JAG: It’s definitely the sort of voice I would trust to lead me through a story – friendly, kind and technically competent. Now who does that sound like? What would you consider your best skill: world-building (setting), characterization or plot? Please give reasons and ways other writers can improve their ability in this area.
TAK: It's hard to pick between these, because I would give equal weight to all three. I approach writing like a balancing act. Readers need equal parts in various things to keep them interested. Too much of one thing can destroy the rest of the book for a reader. I strive for balance in everything I write.

JAG: That really is the secret of the best writers – getting that balance right is one of the hardest things to do. What would you consider your best skill: narrative, dialogue or scene? Please give reasons and ways other writers can improve their ability in this area.
TAK: Scene is probably my strongest skill here. I like to bring a scene to life with the right details and sensory description. Bringing people into my world is the closest thing I can get to creating something real.

JAG: I know exactly what you’re saying – Archer’s story ran like a movie in my head and I was just trying to keep up with him and write it all down. Choose one of the following (or give an alternative) to describe your preferred writing methods/style: morning/day-time/night-owl, planner/researcher/seat-of pants, linear/flashbacks/start at the middle/end, first person/third person/multiple viewpoints.
TAK: I'm a very linear writer, and do all of my writing in third person. As a proud pantser, I never really know how a book is going to end until I write it.

JAG: Lovin’ the proud panster – I may nick that and use it elsewhere. What is your worst vice as a writer?
TAK: One of the things my editors get me on is how often I leave out apostrophes. I have really good editors, and so none of this gets seen in the final draft, but there are often dozens of missing apostrophes in my early drafts. I also tend to repeat the same word in short succession, which is another thing my editors call me on.

JAG: Can you give me an idea about your book in terms of existing movies/books/TV shows?
TAK: I hesitate to say that I have something completely unique here, but I don't know of any popular shows or movies that I could compare to. Legacy and The Time Weaver have some of the usual fantasy tropes in them, but also draw on a lot of my imagination, so there's a little piece of me in each book I write. I've often given thought as to who would play my characters in a movie adaptation of my books, and Joseph Fiennes would be perfect to play Gladius. Mia Wasikowska is totally Malia (that's who I modelled her character after...) and Krycin would have to be played by an unknown.
I'd just like to say, thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Jacky. I truly appreciate it.

JAG: Mmm Joseph Fiennes – funny how us Brits always get cast as bad guys – but yep, I can totally see that. Not heard of Mia, but I’m sure many will know her as Tom Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Well it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on my blog and spending some time in your fascinating, heroic world.

Also by Thomas A. Knight:
The Time Weaver
 A reluctant hero comes to terms with a new world, new powers, and a family history buried deep in the folds of time.
Seth Alkirk doesn't know he's a Time Weaver. In fact, he knows very little about his past. That changes when he's kidnapped from his quiet life in Iowa and taken to the world of Galadir.
His kidnapper, the warrior Malia, needs his help as much as he needs her protection. Malia's kingdom is in danger from a wizard who will stop at nothing to capture the last Time Weaver and take his powers. Their journey to her kingdom reveals his powers to him - the ability to slow down and even stop time, and powerful magic he thought only existed in the stories his father once read to him.
The longer Seth spends in Galadir, the more he learns about his father and his family's mysterious past. The more he learns, the more he grows to love this new world and the female warrior accompanying him. When a much more ancient evil is awakened and threatens to destroy Galadir, Seth becomes the key to defeating it. But how can Seth save a world he never knew existed with magic he never knew he could wield?

29 Days of Fantasy
What is 29 Days?
It's a celebration of the fantasy genre, and fans have every reason to party! The fantasy genre is bigger and better than ever before, and shows no signs of letting up. This celebration is for the authors, the creators, the artists and producers, publishers and promoters of fantasy, but most importantly, this celebration is for the fans!
Fantasy author Lorna Suzuki writes about incorporating reality into fantasy, author J. Robert King brings is The Heart of Villainy, world renowned author and game developer Jeff Grubb spills the beans in an in-depth interview, and much, much more.
This is a compilation of all blog posts from the first annual 
29 Days of Fantasy celebration. All proceeds from this book will be donated to Reglue

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Fourth in the big black chair is Cara Bertrand – a previous ABNA finalist.

A few details about the book:
Lost In Thought  Author: Cara Bertrand
Young Adult Supernatural Fiction      ISBN: 
Pages:322    Price: £8.50/$14.99(paper)   £1.95/$2.96 (E-book)

Lainey Young has a secret: she’s going crazy. Everyone else thinks she has severe migraines from stress and exhaustion. What she really has are visions of how people died—or are going to die. Not that she tells anyone that. At age sixteen, she prefers keeping her crazy to herself. When doctors insist she needs a new and stable environment to recover, Lainey’s game to spend two years at a private New England boarding school. She doesn’t really think it will cure her problem, and she’s half right. There is no cure, but as she discovers, she’s not actually crazy. Almost everyone at Northbrook Academy has a secret too. Half the students and nearly all the staff are members of the Sententia, a hidden society of the psychically gifted. A vision of another student’s impending death confirms Lainey is one of them. She’d like to return the crappy gift of divining deaths with only a touch, but enjoys spending time with Carter Penrose—recent Academy graduate and resident school crush—while learning to control it. Lainey’s finally getting comfortable with her ability, and with Carter, when they uncover her true Sententia heritage. Now she has a real secret. Once it’s spilled, she’ll be forced to forget protecting secrets and start protecting herself. 

Where to find the book:

A few details about the author:
Cara Bertrand is a Young Adult Writer who describes herself as an Avid Reader, Vintage Jewelry Reinventor, New Mother and Lucky Wife. All of these resonate with me, but none quite so much as Unapologetic Nerd.
Cara is a former middle school literacy teacher who now lives in the woods outside Boston with: one awesome husband, two large dogs, one small daughter, and lots of words. LOST IN THOUGHT is her first novel and was one of three finalists for the 2011 Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award in the Young Adult category.

 Read more about Cara on her blog:
 or on Tumblr:
on Twitter @carabertrand

Here’s how Cara does it:
 JAG: Welcome Cara, it is an honour and a privilege to have an author on my blog who reached the final in such a prestigious contest. I’m so excited, but I’ll calm down enough to ask a few questions. Where did the idea for your book originate? Tell me about how you came to write it and how long it took.
Cara: Thank you. Really, it’s my honor to be hosted at all! Well the origin of LiT is two-fold. Actually, it’s it’s even more complex than that, but I’ll explain the two things that moved me to the point of putting words on the screen. It really started with my husband. We were in the car one day and after I finished talking about something I was reading, and he said to me, “I’m surprised you never wrote a book.” At the time, I replied, “I don’t think I could finish one.” I’m great at not finishing things. But later I got mad at myself. The thing was, I’d never actually tried to write a book. How did I know I couldn’t do it? So, I set out to prove myself wrong. And I did.

So that was step one, what got me thinking seriously about trying to write a book. Next thing that happened was I went to the liquor store. Yeah. The funniest thing was, I was pregnant at the time, so I was only even there to buy a gift. Working at the register that day happened to be a handsome young man of around 18 or 19, and I thought to myself, “I bet he was really popular with the high school girls.” And then when I got in the car, I thought, “If I do write a book, he’s going in it.” And then when I got home, I wrote a scene that would become Lainey and Carter’s first meeting. A surprising amount of what I sketched out that day survived through to what you can read now.
That was in September. By about November I thought maybe I was writing something at least readable. By the end of December, I believed I could finish the book. That’s when I finally told my husband that I was writing it. In January, I made it my firm goal to enter ABNA. I cut it close, finishing the draft less than a week before the deadline, and had one friend read through it before I had to enter.

JAG: Wow, what a story, what a schedule. And how wonderful to have such a supportive partner. Good stuff. How would you describe your writing “voice?” Does it change for the different books you have written?
Cara: Yes, I’m incredibly lucky in the husband department. And that writing schedule worked because I was pregnant with my first child and also on limited duty for months. Oh for just a few of the hours I used to have to fill now! But to answer your question,I think each character has her or his own voice, which comes to you as you write them. Everything I’ve written is different and has a different voice. It’s all still me, though, my writing. Being my first book, LiT is probably closest to my own voice.

JAG:  Yeah, I know what you mean. Guess that makes me a sixteen-year-old boy then. What would you consider your best skill: world-building (setting), characterization or plot? Please give reasons and ways other writers can improve their ability in this area.
Cara: Oh boy. This is one of those questions I think someone else should answer. I don’t know what I’m good at. Some days I think it’s nothing. Some days I read things I’ve written and think, “Gosh, I kind of liked that.” I will say that world-building and characters come to me most easily. Plot and I have a contentious relationship at best.

JAG: I would definitely say your characterisation is superb – I really felt like I knew Lainey’s “crew” – every one of them. What would you consider your best skill: narrative, dialogue or scene? Please give reasons and ways other writers can improve their ability in this area.
Cara: It’s not dialogue. Maybe scene? I think I have a good sense of how to end a scene. But really, the readers will have to chime in on this one. I have no idea. But I do know how writers can improve their abilities at every aspect of their craft: 1) READ. Widely and often. (And by this I mean BOOKS, just books, not books ABOUT writing.) 2) WRITE. As much as possible. And a very distant 3) LEARN to evaluate constructive criticism and apply it to your words.
My writing philosophy is a lot like my parenting philosophy—I only read about HOW to do it if I’m stuck. Otherwise, there are SO MANY opinions/methods/edicts that it’s overwhelming. You could spend all your life reading about how to write and never writing a word. So I read, and have read, a LOT of fiction. A lot a lot a lot. That’s served as my best writing education. I know this philosophy, like all of them, is not going to work for everyone. It is mine though.
I DO think it’s important to havea strong grasp of the rules of grammar and the written language. Because then you know how to break them. Readers know the difference between intention and accident.

JAG: I completely agree. There is no such thing as reading too much if you want to write. Ever. Read fiction and read widely outside of your genre as well as your favourite authors. Choose one of the following to describe your preferred writing methods/style: morning/day-time/night-owl, planner/researcher/seat-of pants, linear/flashbacks/start at the middle/end, first person/third person/multiple viewpoints.
Cara: I’m very much a pantser. I’m not good at prep work, can’t sit down and write out a whole plot, or a lengthy character bio, or anything like that. If I had to start with those tasks, I’d never write anything. I’m the same way when I paint a room. I can’t tape or anything like that. I know the actual painting would take less time if I prepped better, but I do not enjoy that work. Instead, I just take my time and paint and fix whatever errors I make. Even as a pantser though, there comes a point where you know how the story is going to shake out.
As far as process, I’m not afraid to skip around. I write a scene when it comes to me. Sometimes, if I’m struggling, I’ll let myself jump to a candy bar scene to get things flowing again, or a scene that’s character/backstory development, not even part of the book proper. So far first person is all I seem able to write. I won’t say I’ll never do anything else, but it’s certainly what feels natural.

JAG: It does take a while in first person before you feel brave enough to venture into third.But luckily, teens love reading it because they can identify with the characters straight away. What is your worst vice as a writer? 
Cara: My worst vice as a writer is time wasting. Motivation and I also have a contentious relationship. In my prose, junk words are my downfall. If you’ve been reading this far, you’ll know why. They’re a big part of my speech. Actually (<-- junk word), they’re a big part of everyone’s speech… but they don’t always (<-- junk word) belong in prose. Other than that, I have a penchant for backstory. It doesn’t always belong in the narrative either.
For the record, I start lots of sentences with conjunctions. And I don’t consider it a vice. ;)

JAG:  And why would you? Can you give me an idea about your book in terms of existing movies/books/TV shows? Which movie stars (past or present) would you like to see playing your characters? 
Cara: I like to say that LiT is for fans of mature, character-driven YA series like Vampire Academy. Movie stars is hard for me. I have pretty clear character inspirations, none of which are famous people. If you can find a young Jennifer Connelly, she could play Lainey. Actually, I did recently see a potential Alexis, who even has the same name—Alexis Knapp. I’d love to hear/see suggestions from readers though!

JAG: Yeah, that’s a great idea – maybe you could run a page on your blog describing each character and inviting people to make recommendations. Well thank you so much for your amazing insights – I’m sure your words will inspire others who are thinking of having a go. 

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Third in the big black chair was Maggie Plummer – a widely published journalist.

A few details about the book:
Title: Spirited Away: A Novel of the Stolen Irish
Author: Maggie Plummer   Category: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-1478140269   Pages:220
Price: £5.79/$11.95(paper)   £1.90/$2.99 (E-book)

It's May 1653. When fourteen-year-old Freddie O'Brennan trusts the wrong stranger on an empty beach in western Ireland, she inadvertantly places herself in the crosshairs of Cromwell's notorious Reign of Terror. Freddy awakens in the cramped hold of a slave ship bound for Barbados. Ripped from her loved ones, she endures a gruesome voyage and a vile auction. Freddy, sold to the highest bidder, alone, and far from her beloved homeland, faces the brutal realities of life as an Irish slave on a seventeenth century Barbados sugar plantation. Amidst the island's treacherous beauty, she must find a way to bear her cruel, drunken Master using her as a breeding slave and kitchen drudge.
Heartsick with yearning for her family and the farm life she knew, Freddy reaches deep inside herself for the strength she needs to protect her young spirit from being broken. As she struggles to survive the ordeal, Freddy’s harrowing experiences paint an intimate, compelling portrait of 1650s Irish slavery in the Caribbean.

A few details about the author:
Maggie Plummer is a writer and editor who lives in northwest Montana. Her first published novel, "Spirited Away - A Novel of the Stolen Irish," is making its debut here on Amazon.
Along the winding trail to becoming a novelist, Maggie has worked as a journalist, book publicist, census enumerator, school bus driver, field interviewer, waitress, post office clerk, fish processor, library clerk, retail salesperson, Good Humor girl, fishing boat first mate, race horse hot walker, apple picker, and bus girl.

Read more about Maggie on her 
or facebook page:

Maggie got this story idea from a trip to Ireland and her book is dedicated to those who are combating modern-day human trafficking. She enjoys character-driven books and films and this is reflected in her writing as is her ear for good dialogue. Her worst vice is procrastination and her passionate advice is to edit, edit, and edit some more! 
To read the whole of Maggie's interesting interview, click here:

Also from Maggie Plummer:
Passing It On: Voices from the Flathead Indian Reservation 
 The Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana is home to the Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai Indian people. Between 2005 and 2006 author Maggie Plummer listened to a cross-section of voices representing the tribes on the reservation and published profiles in the tribal newspaper, the Char-Koosta News. This book collects these interviews and preserves a slice of the recent history of the Flathead Reservation community.

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 Second in the big black chair was the charming Buzz Malone, talking about the Silence of Centerville. This is not just a book. It's a complete sensory experience.

A few details about the book:
Silence of Centerville        Author: Buzz Malone
General Fiction      ISBN: 978-1466437586
Pages:266    Price: £6.29/$12.95(paper)   £1.94/$3.06 (E-book)

Little Frankie Schantz emerged into a near perfect life in Centerville, Iowa. He believed that his life would always be so. He was wrong. 
Everything would change in the summer of 1945 when meningitis would leave him permanently deaf. In Silence of Centerville, Frank Schantz looks back across the rocky landscape of his life and delivers his own story from the perspective of an aging deaf man. As a boy, Frankie would endure the ostracism and loneliness that plagued so many deaf Americans during their darkest era. Over the course of decades, Frank would discover that nothing in life, not even the harshest of times, can last forever.

Where to find the book: (paperback):

A few details about the author:
Buzz Malone was raised in the slow rolling Southern Iowa hills where both sides of his family have lived for generations. As a child he listened in wonder and amazement at the oral histories of the people and places that surrounded him. Now, through his own fictional accounts, he gives voice to those long forgotten stories in his works of historical literary fiction.
"I wrote my first novel at the age of seven. However upon review, it turned out to be eerily similar to the plot and story line of star wars, but with a guy named 'Jim' instead of 'Luke'. Now, some thirty years later I am still stealing the best of bits and pieces of oral histories and Iowa events, and attempting to breathe new life into them.”
In every novel Buzz has written, there is a dash of sadness, a pinch of hope, a cup of history and a pound of Southern Iowa. 
Read more about Buzz on his blog: or facebook page:

 Buzz gets his story ideas whispered in his ear and hears his writing voice as a narrative, like Kevin Costner talking. He likes to make readers feel things and after a number of books filled with rich, sumptuous narrative, he is challenging himself with more action and dialogue. His most excellent advice is to write a bit every day, no matter what, until the first draft is finished. Character malfunctions and plot disasters can always be fixed at the end. 
To get the full lowdown on Buzz's entertaining interview, click  here: 

Also by Buzz Malone:
The Ghosts of Melrose
 Based upon true stories and set in the hills of the Southern Iowa Irish Catholic community of Melrose, this novel follows the life of Aidan Keane. Born into a family that has been cast out of the church and shunned by the community Aidan comes of age in depression era Melrose. His is a life marred my tragedy and he comes to believe that he, like his family before him, is victim of a family curse.
Through the loss of everything dear to him in this world Aidan finds that his thoughts cannot escape the memory of his one true love. His life, for all of its hopelessness and despair, seems without meaning.
In the spirit of Bridges of Madison County and the Notebook, The Ghosts of Melrose proves that time cannot heal every wound. Nothing can accomplish that sort of miracle in a life like Aidan's, nothing except for love.

The Lynching of Hiram Wilson
In July of 1870 a young man named Hiram Wilson rode into the city of Chariton, Iowa where he sold his horse and encountered Sheriff Gaylord Lyman. According to newspaper accounts of the era, less than twelve hours later, both men would be dead. The Lynching of Hiram Wilson is a novel that seeks to breathe fictional life into the events of that fateful day. From the author of The Ghosts of Melrose, The Lynching of Hiram Wilson will pull on your heart strings and have you praying for a different outcome to the very last breath of Hiram Wilson. What makes a man ride into a strange town and sell his only horse. What causes a man being hunted for murder to stop within yards of his crime when he could have escaped? Find out when you read The Lynching of Hiram Wilson.

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Virginia Lori Jennings, author of The Alien Mind was the first lady to take to the chair as part of her online book tour.

A few details about the book:
Title: The Alien Mind        Author: Virginia Lori Jennings 
Category: Science Fiction      ISBN # 978-1480111561 
Pages:272       Price: 12.99 (paper) 2.99 (E-book)

In The Alien Mind, Young Rivinaig shares her adventures and trials that began on that fateful day when a group of aliens called the Aruk abducted her and several other children. Another group of aliens called the Aunantet rescue the children and raise them as their own. Their new families teach them how to harness the full capacities of their brains, enabling them to defy the laws of physics and develop special mental abilities. The past returns to haunt them as the Aruk plot revenge and make a bid to regain their control; the fate of the entire galaxy depends on whether the children can maintain their freedom.

Where to find the book: (paperback): (kindle):        
Barnes and Noble (Nook):
For all other readers visit smashwords at:

A few details about the author:
Virginia Jennings lives in South Carolina with her husband, three kids, and two cats. She graduated from High School at 16 and was published by the time she turned 18. She is the author of two science fiction books and has plans in the works for two fantasy books as well. Her ideal evening is spent watching Star Trek or Eureka with her family over dinner.
She does most of her best writing in the car as her characters prefer to talk to her while she is driving. Finding time to write down what they tell her- now that is where the real challenge is! When she is not hanging out with her family or writing she also runs the 'Where Writers And Authors Meet' writers group online at or

In the interview, Virginia says she wants to write science fiction that even middle schoolers could enjoy and describes her writing voice as descriptive and entertaining and says she finds it easiest to write dialogue. One of her favorite aspects of writing is characterization, especially analyzing human behavior to predict how characters will react. She gives some great tips (like the one about zombies).
If you want to read the full interview, click here.


  1. Thank you for hosting me today! It have been having a lot of fun talking with you Jacky!

  2. You are very welcome Virginia, I have enjoyed this idea and hope to do it with more authors - every single one I talk to teaches me something about this writing game. B)

  3. That is quite lovely. Thank you for the interview, Jacky. This officially marks my UK debut!

  4. De nada, c'est rien. Bienvenue a Europe. Let's see if we can't build you up a following across the pond - I'm sure there are plenty who will love your poetic, observational writing and endearing characters.

  5. These interviews are quite funny and I've enjoyed reading them. I think its interesting how differently writers approach their writing.Thank you for hosting these they are fabulous.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Krissy, glad you liked them. If you want to add your own thoughts, mail me and I'll send you the questions. <3