Interview: Shelby C. Madison, Senior YA Acquisitions Editor

On Tuesday at Aussie Owned and Read I interviewed Shelby C. Madison, the Senior YA Acquisitions Editor at Turquoise Morning Press. She’s the one that acquired the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, so give her lots of love! ❤

In good news for those of you who might have a romance book (or one in another genre with romantic elements) looking for a publisher, Turquoise Morning press is opening to submissions on 1 January next year (and not just for YA!). Read more for details!

Aussie Writers

Today I’m interviewing Shelby C. Madison, the YA and NA editor at Turquoise Morning Press, or TMP. Shelby is the person that acquired my trilogy, so of course I luff her. ❤ If you’ve got a romance novel looking for a home, or a book in another genre, but with romantic elements, this may well be of interest to you!

Academy For LosersTMP has just opened up its books to submissions from 1 January 2015. What sort of genre or genres are you looking for? Is there anything that is a no go?

I mainly deal with young adult, with the occasional new adult submission. As a whole, TMP looks for engaging stories with strong female protagonists. Within your non-traditional romance genres, like mystery or crime fiction, we like a romantic element to play out in the story. We find these characteristics engage our readers. Check out our submissions page for more…

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Interview: K. R. Conway, author of ‘Undertow’

Undertow-blitz banner

If you could be any character in your book (and receive their powers as well, if they have any), which would you be and what would you do?

kr conwayOh dang . . . Ummm. I’d be Ana Lane I guess – car fanatic, surfer girl, and basically an emotional psychic on crack who is pursued by a gorgeous and devoted guy named Kian. But I am lucky enough to have a real crew of teenaged models who I get to see on a regular basis. I found Cape Cod teenagers from the real Barnstable High School on Facebook that looked like the characters (at least, in my mind) and they were brave enough to become the models in a fancy-shmancy studio we use. So yeah – Raef, Kian, MJ, Ana and Kian text me all the time – LOL.

Do you incorporate yourself into your characters’ personalities? If so, which character are you most like?

I think all authors pull from what they “know” so yeah, I’d say Eila’s dry humor is me, the craziness of MJ is me, and Ana’s take-no-crap attitude is me. Of course, all those personality traits help in my other job: driving a school bus.

What do you aim to teach your readers through your books?

Strength, perseverance, and devotion. I want my female readers to be bold and strong, and my male readers to understand that being protective does not equal being controlling. I want teenagers to see relationships painted in a positive light and that every relationship must be a balance of one another.

Where did you get the inspiration for your characters’ names? 

Kian, Raef, and Christian were all on my list of boy names for my son (he ended up as “Finn”). Jesse was a dear friend in high school as was MJ. Nikki is my niece’s name, and Mae is my daughter’s middle name. Ana, Eila, Rillin, and Collette were all just made up, though they seemed to fit the characters.

Have you always known that you wanted to become a writer?

HAHAHAHAHA – NO. I have a degree in Forensic Psychology from Mount Holyoke College (Criminal Minds type-thing), but while I was in college professors would say I had a “knack” for writing (I figured they were all high on something). Then I came out of college and was asked to interview an artist. From there other magazines and newspapers began approaching me. That was 16 years ago and the rest is history. I now teach fiction craft to teenagers at libraries and high schools. Truth = no one is born a writer, but you CAN be born a storyteller. Learning HOW to tell the story – that’s what I teach.

Do you have any routines before writing to get the creative juices flowing?

Walking and driving actually allow my mind to wander and thus, begin writing in my head (I occasionally have missed a bus stop or two, LOL). I am a rocker-girl at heart, so I listen to music non-stop while I write and blog. I just saw Paramore, Fall Out Boy, and New Politics in Mansfield. AWESOME!

Which scene(s) did you enjoy writing the most? — in Undertow or Stormfront, or both.

Oh man . . .  The bonfire scene in UNDERTOW I enjoyed writing because I had just been at the boardwalk the night before with my daughter. It is also that crazy turning point in the book when readers suddenly realize I am a seriously deranged writer. I had a lot of fun writing STORMFRONT, but I laughed myself silly writing the scene where MJ convinces Eila to become a criminal. I also spent a great deal of time writing a certain scene between Eila and Raef on the yacht. I think I rewrote it 10 times. The next book I hope to have out is Kian and Ana’s story, known as CRUEL SUMMER.

If you could give one advice to every human on earth, what would it be?

Never judge someone if you have never walked in their shoes. So much hate is based on ignorance of the other person, race, or country. All it takes is a moment to step back and realise you may not know where the other person is coming from and that your hate is unwarranted.

Book Blurb

Luckless Eila is unknowingly the last of her kind: Rare. Gifted. Breakable. Stunning Raef is her kind’s historic enemy: Soulless. Lethal. Lost. A legendary death 160 years before would set their lives to collide, forcing a beautiful killer to become a savior, a simple wallflower to become a warrior, and ruthless destiny to become a death sentence.

Seventeen-year-old Eila Walker’s new home has defied the brutal Atlantic for over 160 years. Abandoned since her 4th great grandmother Elizabeth vanished, the town legend declares that she drowned . . . or was struck by lightning.

Unbeknownst to the town and Eila, however, is that someone does know what really happened to Elizabeth, and he has returned, determined to protect the last surviving Walker from a history of violence.

But what starts out as a quest for redemption, evolves into something more and soon young guardian, Raef, is forced to reveal the truth to Eila. As hidden secrets about their warring families come to light, Eila begins to realize that she may be their best shot at survival, even if it means following in her grandmother’s fearless footsteps to save her killer bodyguard.


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About the Author

I have been a journalist for 15 years and serve on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center. I also drive a 16-ton school bus because I am ENTIRELY NUTS.

In addition to working jobs that should come with a warning label , I hold a BA in Psychos (Forensic Psych), torment the tourists about Jaws, and occasionally jump from the Town Neck bridge in an attempt to reclaim my youth.

I live on Cape Cod with two smallish humans who apparently are my kids, my fishing-obsessed husband, two canines (adept at both flatulence and snoring), and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent. Nope – that’s not a type-o. The bird is quite the indoor camper.


Interview: Vincent Morrone, YA and NA author

In case you missed it, last Tuesday I interviewed Vincent Morrone over at Aussie Owned and Read.

Aussie Writers

With me today is Vincent Morrone author of young and new adult fiction (including an urban fantasy, which everyone who knows me will be aware is my favourite and my best).Welcome, Vincent!

Your two books are a contemporary new adult, Just Breathe, and an urban fantasy young adult, Vision of Shadows. What drew you to these different genres? Do you have a favourite? (Genre to write, that is; I’m not asking you to choose between your book babies. You know, unless you want to.)

Vincent Morrone Author Pic Vincent Morrone

It’s not as much the genre as it is the story of each. I like romance, but to me there has to be more than straightforward romance. I need there to be a paranormal aspect or a killer on the loose or something else going on.

I’m also a fan of characters and both Vision of Shadows and Just Breathe have…

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Interview: C.J. Burright, urban fantasy author

Today I’m interviewing CJ Burright. Her debut novel, Wonderfully Wicked, came out on 13 May!

Wonderfully Wicked has a couple of new types of supernatural “beastie”, dreamcasters and V’alkara. Can you tell us about them?

Sure! Dreamcasters are women whose nightmares leak and come to life. Not the best qualities to encourage a lasting relationship. The V’alkara are men who invade dreams and feed on nightmares. They hunt dreamcasters, so falling for a target creates a difficult situation. What good love story doesn’t have complications, right?

Where did the inspiration come from?

The inspiration emerged from my fascination with dreams. Dreams have always fascinated me, and I wanted to write something in the paranormal romance genre beyond what’s already out there, so combining the two just clicked for me. Gives me a reason to quench my curiosity about dreams and write paranormal/fantasy–a win-win!

Where is the story set? Why did you choose it?

The main setting is deep in the forest of the Oregon Cascades. I’m an Oregonian, and I’ve always loved the woods. Plus, what better location for the secret V’alkara headquarters? But Lydon and Kalila don’t stay there long.

Are you planning a sequel?

Yes! The rough draft of Beautifully Burned, Daxen’s tale, is almost done. The last few chapters are outlined, which is a shocker for me. I’m a total pantser, but the ending hit me while running on the treadmill, so I scribbled it down, still sweaty. I love it when inspiration strikes!

If you were stuck on a desert island with any of your characters, which would you choose and why?

I would choose Lydon because he could change form and sweep us away, but if we’re truly struck…I’d have to choose Melanie. At least she’d be tons of fun while we’re dying of starvation or thirst.

Which writer most inspires you? How come?

Unfair question, Cassandra (Cass: Sorry!). Too many! But if you’re forcing me to choose only one, I’d have to say Anne Bishop. I love her tormented characters and unique, dark worlds. She’s made my heart hurt more than once, and that’s not easy to do.

What is your:

* favourite colour? Black, deep purple, red, and royal blue–equally. 🙂

* favourite drink? Mochas…wine…and more mochas.

* favourite item of clothing? A bra always comes in handy, keeps the girls in check.

* favourite time of the day? Afternoon until bedtime. Pretty much any time other than mornings. Ugh.

* favourite punctuation mark? The comma. I’ve heard they save lives. Or cause embarrassment. Either way, they’ve got some power going on.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog! 🙂

Wonderfully Wicked 800 x 1200

A dreamcaster with the ability to channel creatures from her nightmares, headstrong and cynical Kalila Montgomery longs for a peaceful, picket-fence life… until the man literally of her dreams kidnaps her.

Survival quickly becomes her number one goal, yet a growing attraction to the man in her nightmares is impossible to ignore. While she fears he will kill her, other, more terrifying enemies surround her, and Kalila succumbs to his scheme to escape. She may be his one hope for freedom…

A deadly combination of power, cunning, and cold-hearted charm, Lydon v’al Endrian fears nothing. Feels nothing. Chained to a brotherhood of men with the supernatural ability to invade dreams, he hunts dreamcasters to be harvested for their dreams and killed. His target: Kalila Montgomery. But Kalila awakens an undeniable dark desire and a longing for a freedom long-lost.

To gain everything he craves, Lydon must seduce Kalila before his plot is discovered… a hopeless challenge which, if failed, will earn him a death-sentence. Caught up in a dangerous world of secrets and obsession, doubt and betrayal, Kalila and Lydon face the nightmare of their lives, where love will either deliver them—or destroy them both.

Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo

About the Author

CJ blames her love for reading and all things Medieval on her father, who plied her often with fantasy novels ranging from Sir Lloyd Alexander to Piers Anthony.  Her love for romance, however, lies completely at the feet of her best friend Michelle, who dared to give her a romance novel for her birthday.  She smiled, politely said thank you, and tossed it in the corner, where it gathered dust.  In a moment of desperation, when only the revolting romance remained in her almost-always toppling stack of awaiting books, she sucked it up and read the romance.  Doomed.

She started writing fantasy and paranormal romance for the cathartic experience, decided she liked it, and after two overlong, horribly written novels joined RWA and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal special interest chapter.  Best classes and critique groups ever.  Double doomed.  Now, writing is a necessity, not just a hobby.

In her spare time, when she’s not writing or reading or actually working, CJ might be found in the dojang (4th Dan Black Belt, baby), rooting on the Mariners (who will some day win the World Series), working out (P90X, anyone?), gardening (a little dirt never hurt anyone), or playing Music of the Night on the piano (without mask or cape). She lives in Oregon with her fabulous husband and daughter. Not to mention her minions, a herd of cats.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Interview: Rachel Schieffelbein, contemporary romance author

Today I’m interviewing Rachel Schieffelbein, young and new adult contemporary romance author. Her newest release, Don’t Fall, came out on 27 May.

Don’t Fall is acontemporary version of Rapunzel (and I love the pun in the name, by the way!). What is it about fairy tales that inspires you?

I’m kind of a romantic. I love true love, and magic, and all that stuff. I wanted Anya and Zander’s story to still have that magical, fairy tale feel to it.

Tell us about Anya and Zander. What is their relationship like?

It’s very sweet, I think. They’re very tender to each other. But Zander does get frustrated with the secrecy, and he doesn’t understand Anya’s relationship with her mom.

What about Anya’s relationship with her adoptive mother?

It’s a bit more complicated. Anya desperately wants her mom’s approval, and her mom isn’t a very demonstrative person. Her mom loves Anya, but because of things in her past she’s very over-protective, and has a hard time expressing that love.

What trend in publishing do you feel the most strongly about, either positively or negatively?

I try not to pay too much attention to trends, to be honest. But I have noticed that we seem to be moving away from the bad boys, and there are more ‘good guy’ characters out there. Which I love. I don’t mind a bad boy, but some of the ones out there have really straddled the line of being dangerous. Plus, I dated a bad boy in high school, and I learned they aren’t as glamorous as they seem. 😉 I married a good guy and he’s worth a hundred bad boys.

What advice would you give to new writers?

The obvious one, read a lot and write a lot. You’ll write a lot of stuff you don’t like before you start writing stuff you do like, so don’t let the bad stuff stop you. Also, connect with other writers. I heard that advice a lot when I started. Find critique partners! But I’m from a small town and didn’t know how to do that. The answer, as it turned out, was online! Start blogging, tweeting, whatever works for you. There are so many wonderful, supportive writers out there.

If you could have dinner with three characters from any books, which would you choose?

Hmm, this is a tough one! I’d say Zuzanna from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor, because she’s hilarious and awesome. Sierra from the How To series by Cassie Mae, because she’s so sweet and spunky. And Death from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, because how fascinating would that be?

Quick questions:

What was your favourite childhood toy?

A plastic dog I got when I was three. I actually still own it and my kids play with it now.

What secret talent do you have?

Um . . . I don’t know if this counts as a secret talent, but I ride and show Arabian horses. I’ve won several National Champion and Reserve Champion titles in the US and Canada.

What book are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading Catch a Falling Star. I’d never heard of it before when I saw it at my kids’ book fair and it sounded good. Plus the books were buy one get one free. 😉 So far it’s super cute. I’m also beta reading a MG fantasy by Jenny Morris that is fantastic. I swear one of the best parts of being a writer is getting to read stuff by your CPs before the rest of the world!

Don't Fall

Seventeen-year-old Anya leads a very secluded life in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother. She doesn’t go to school, but instead has a private tutor. Her over-protective mom keeps her so sheltered that she doesn’t even have a best friend.

But Anya doesn’t seem to mind. She has her books, her photography, and her daydreams, and would do anything to please her mom. Until one day at the library, the only place she’s allowed to go, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy.

Before long she’s lying to her mom, and sneaking out late at night to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she will have to risk her relationship with the only other person she’s ever cared about.

About Rachel

rachel run for rosesRachel grew up in a tiny town in Minnesota. She still lives there, with her husband and their four kids. She coaches high school speech and theater, rides Arabian horses, reads as much as she can, and writes stories.

Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Interview: Tamara Mataya, new adult author

Today I’m interviewing Tamara Mataya, whose new adult contemporary, Just Breathe, came out on 6 May. This one is totally on my TBR, you guys!

Elle, the main character in Just Breathe, has synaesthesia, a condition you have direct experience with. What can you tell us about it?

It’s not as rare as people think, and there are MANY types. Basically, it just means there are extra connections in my brain between different senses. Most people know about the synesthetes who taste sound, or “see” the music. Mine’s tactile/audio. The exact same as Elle’s, but to a way lesser degree. It can be a challenge, but when I love a song, I REALLY love a song!

What is your favourite thing about Elle, Dominic and Jason?

That they’re real, and make mistakes, and aren’t perfect. A reviewer expressed disappointment in Elle making a bad choice near the end of the book. Of course she does! She’s 21-years-old! She’s going to make crappy choices, react emotionally, be impulsive! It’s part of that age. Hell, it’s part of being human. Things happen, and people aren’t perfect. Jason’s a douche, but not necessarily an evil guy. He’s just incredibly self-centred. Dominic is delightful. I love how considerate he is.

Old booksWhat draws you to writing new adult books? Does the category have its own section in your library yet?

I’ve always written NA – or rather what I think NA is. My New Adult isn’t as… angsty as some that’s out there. Sure there’s conflict and angst, but so many in the category are so dark and depressing. Mine tend to be a little more fun (I hope!). I think it’s just such a fun age to play around in. My library doesn’t have its own NA section, but we’re still in a temporary Sprung Structure because of last year’s flash flood. Our collection is only about 1/3–1/4 of what it was. 😦

Can you tell us about your next project?

My next book comes out in December, and is loosely based on my experiences during the flash flood last year. Though I never had sex on a pool table with a dirty talking firefighter. But all the stories in the book actually happened to people in my town. They’re awful, and real, and people are still recovering 11 months later. The book is called, Taken By Storm.

CoupleYou’re a co-creator of the PitchMas contest. What inspired you to start a pitching contest? Given how time-consuming they are to run, are there ever moments when you want to throw in the towel?

Jessa Russo came to me and said, ‘I want to do a pitch contest, and I want to do it with you!’ So that was how it started. At the time, neither of us had agents ourselves, so we were sort of paying it forwards, but in reverse. Contests are INSANE to run, and take up a surprising amount of time, but they’re so rewarding. Knowing we’ve played a small part in helping someone’s dream come to fruition is AMAZING. Its ultimately up to the writers, but we’re a sort of bridge. They’re a lot of work, but worth it.

What new releases are you looking forward to?

Burned by Karen Marie Moning, and Shaman Rises by CE Murphy

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advance, what would it be?

Ooo this is tough. There are so many things I’d love to warn myself about, but I feel like by getting my past self NOT to do them, I’d be robbing myself of great life lessons, and hard-won wisdom. Change enough of my past and I might be unrecognizable today. BUT if I could, I’d stay in piano lessons when I was 9 years old, and NOT go on that ski trip when I was 16 – I had an accident and twisted my knee and tore all the ligaments and tendons in my hips. Oh, and not hauling those 50 pound bottles of water that month when I was 26 – that screwed up my wrists and I had to stop playing guitar for years because of the damage. NOT getting those injuries would be excellent.

Choose one! Coffee or tea? Spike or Angel? Sweet or savoury?

-Tea! (I’ve been drinking it since I was three, and my mum is British).

-SPIKE. ALL THE SPIKE! Obv. Is it weird that I thought Angel was cuter when he was full on ripply browed vampire?

-Savoury. Or sweet. But not together. I haven’t yet hopped on the salted caramel bandwagon, but maybe only because I haven’t tried it.

About Tamara

Tamara MatayaTamara Mataya is currently a librarian; she lurked there for so long recommending books to patrons and shushing people, that she suspects they only hired her so it would be less creepy. Now she’s armed with a name tag, and a thin veneer of credibility. She’s also a musician with synaesthesia – which isn’t an issue until someone plays a wrong note, which makes her want to squirm inside out. It makes for a good live show. Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog

Interview: Paula Weston, urban fantasy author

On Tuesday at Aussie Owned and Read, I interviewed Paula Weston, author of “Shadow” and “Haze” – the first two awesome books in a an urban fantasy about angels in Australia. What is not to like about this?!

Aussie Writers

Back in February last year, Kim posted about upcoming Aussie releases in 2013. It drew my attention to an Aussie urban fantasy author I hadn’t previously encountered, Paula Weston. Since then I’ve read her first two books, Shadows and Haze –which I LOVED–and I’ve preordered the next one, Shimmer , which comes out in July.

All of this is a round about way to tell you that I’m as happy as my puppy when he sees his lead, because I got to interview the fabulous Paula.

*leaps into the air*

*straighens clothes and pretends to be professional*


Although the story in Shadows—and more so in Haze—takes the characters all around the world, Australia features heavily as a destination. A lot of Australian spec fic writers shy away from setting their stories here. Did you ever consider setting the books overseas?

When I started writing Shadows, it was…

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Character Interview: Anamae Gilbert from ‘Forget Me Not’


Today I’m interviewing Anamae Gilbert, the main character from FORGET ME NOT by Stacey Nash. Welcome to the blog, Anamae!

Image by Lindsey Sprague

Image by Lindsey Sprague

1. Anamae’s an unusual name. What are its origins?

The Ana part of my name is a bit of family tradition. My mom’s name was Anabelle and her mother was Analeise. Then my parents tacked Mae on the end. It’s for my birthday, which is May 5th. I guess they just liked the sound of it.

2. Tell us about your friends. Is there anyone special in your life?

I’m a bit quiet, and don’t make friends easily, or maybe it’s more that I don’t keep them. Who knows? I sure as heck can’t figure it out. It’s really just me and Will. It’s always been that way, I mean other friends have come and gone, but he’s my rock.

Anyone special? Do you mean like a boyfriend? Not right now there’s not.

3. What do you want to do when you finish school?

I’d love to be a professional photographer, but money is tight and that’s a dream that will never pay the bills. For now I work part-time in the diner on weekends and after school. I haven’t really decided on a career yet though. There’s plenty of time for that, right?

4. I understand your mother vanished when you were nine. That must have been hard. Did they ever discover what happened to her?

That’s, ah, kind of difficult for me talk about. She, umm…look, I was young. I’m not certain I was ever told the full story, but technically the police classified her as a missing person. No leads.

5. What has it been like, being raised by your father?

He’s a good father and I love him more than anyone else in my life, but he was a little absent emotionally. The birds and the bees…yeah, he didn’t go there. Thank god. My best friend, Will lives next door and in many ways, his mom and I are close. Then there was the housework, the garden… and don’t get me started on the dishes that are forever piled in the sink.

6. Let’s finish up with a fun question: if you could have one superpower, what would it be?

You know, that question is kind of irrelevant considering all the cool tech around. Anyone can be a superhero if you know where and how to find it. Just don’t let the Collective catch you. Yeah, that wouldn’t be very good. All of that aside though, I wouldn’t mind being able to travel through time. There sure are some things I’d do differently.

Buy Forget Me Not on Amazon or Barnes & Noble today!

ForgetMeNot_1800x2700 (3)

Blurb for FORGET ME NOT:

Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother’s favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. When the brooch and the pendant are worn together they’re no longer pretty pieces of jewelry — they’re part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewelry’s power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device — and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she’s Enemy Number One.

She’s forced to leave her father behind when she’s taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends’ lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.

Fiction is Fact. Know the Truth.

Stacey Nash (3)Stacey grew up in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. It is an area nestled between mountains and vineyards. Full of history and culture, it provides wonderful writing inspiration. After dabbling with poetry during her teen years, Stacey stopped writing until after university when she was married with young children. Now she loves nothing more than spending her days with her children and writing when inspiration strikes.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

On author interviews

I’ve interviewed a few different people on my blog now, and I’ve had feedback from several of them about how I ask insightful or “hard” questions or how I’ve done my research.

Source: wiki commons

Source: wiki commons

My desire for research before interviewing someone arises from back in the days before time (here imagine me gesticulating wildly with my walking stick), when I was at university. I did a professional writing degree, which included journalism units—as an aside, it was their helpful advice about how to deal with your interview subject if they start crying that put me off journalism as a career path.

Arising from all of this is the fact that I don’t usually agree to interview people if I can’t cyberstalk research them beforehand, to find out what their interests are, or something about the book beyond what’s in the blurb. My favourite interview subjects are the ones who not only have an interesting, updated blog, but have posted links to the interviews they’ve done elsewhere.

The downside, of course, is that research is time consuming. I’ve easily spent an entire evening stalking researching someone for an interview.

The alternative to research, of course, is form questions. But for form questions to really work, they need to have something special about them.

Chuck Wendig does this well. He has an interview series where a bunch of different authors answer the same few questions each week—it’s really interesting to compare the different answers you can get to the same question. Also, his questions aren’t just “Can you tell us about your book?” They really dig into the author’s motivations and desires. The latest series is “Five Things I Learned Writing My Book”.

Other interviewers with a series of interviews narrow the focus down to a particular aspect of writing. For example, I saw one recently that was all about dialogue.

Another approach is the one taken by Valerie Rian, who recently interviewed me for her blog. She had form questions, but provided a huge list and I got to cherry pick the ones I thought I had an interesting answer to. That’s kind of like the interview subject doing the research for the most appropriate questions on your behalf, which I thought was quite clever.

All of this got me to wondering whether I should embrace one of these two approaches for some of my future blog interviews, especially for authors that don’t have a big web presence. I’m certainly thinking about it.

When you’re reading author interviews, what sort of questions are you most interested in the answers to?

Interview: Ingrid Alexandra, Australian author


Today I’m interviewing fellow Turquoise Morning Press author and Australian, Ingrid Alexandra, about her debut novel, paranormal young adult GIFTED.

Gifted came out on 27 December. Did you squee more that day, or on Christmas morning when you saw Santa had been?

That question made me giggle. Of course I ‘squee-ed’ more on December 27th! It felt like all my Christmases had come at once, if you’ll pardon the cliché! But I was pretty stoked seeing Santa had been, too. 😉

How would Lucy, your main character, describe her greatest strength and her greatest weakness? And would you agree with her?

That’s an interesting question. Strangely enough, Lucy’s greatest weakness was what eventually became her greatest strength. Lucy lacked self-belief and allowed herself to be governed by fear. It was overcoming that fear and believing in herself that became her greatest strength. Sorry, you asked what Lucy would say. Well, I think that’s what she’d say – and I’d agree with her. 😉

And what about Heath Stone? (What a great name, by the way.)

Thank you! Heath’s weakness, by his own admission, was Lucy. But that’s secondary to the real issue. On a deeper level, Heath was afraid to pursue something he believed would be too complicated and potentially dangerous. But he grew to understand that the greatest things in life often require the greatest risks and so, similarly to Lucy I suppose, the characteristics that could be construed as weaknesses were, in the end, transformed to strengths. Both characters had the courage to overcome adversity, to challenge their innermost fears and take a flying leap of faith in to the unknown!

Tell us about Duruga. Did you create it for your story?

I’m so glad you asked! Duruga is a place close to my heart. Although I won’t reveal the ‘real’ location, I will say that the descriptions in the novel are based on a real place where I am privileged to spend much of my leisure time. It really is a little piece of paradise!

Music seems to have played a strong role in your life. Do you think that has affected the story you wrote?

You’ve done your homework! 😉 (I didn’t get a cyberstalking award during PitchWars for nothing!) I had to think about that question quite a bit, actually. I suppose, indirectly, my love of music influences the way I express myself in my own art.  All creative art forms share a common link in that they are based on the creation and expression of a concept, story or feeling, but I don’t think that in this case there is a direct link between music and how GIFTED was created. A great question, though. Food for thought. 🙂

What has been the most surprising thing about your publication journey so far?

Wow, to pick only one…?! 😉 Hmm. Aside from all the incredible people I’ve met along the way and the support network I’m privileged to have attained, I suppose I’d have to say I was most surprised by my own resilience. I didn’t think I had very thick skin (I’m a sensitive soul!), but it turns out thick skin can be grown. 😉 I faced countless rejections in various forms in my journey towards publication, but I truly surprised myself that I was able to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again. It’s been said so many times, but believing in yourself is vital. I recall, even at my weakest moments when I doubted myself and my ability, I never stopped believing that I could do this and that my dream would be realised. It wasn’t easy. But courage is being afraid, being uncertain of something, and doing it anyway.

In dark times that belief is what drove me, what got me out of bed in the morning, what gave me something to live for. Dreams are essential. Don’t let anyone tell you they’re wrong, or just a fantasy or that you could be doing something better with your life. I believe it is unfailing passion, dedication and self-belief that will win you your dreams in the end, whatever they be. 🙂 But self-belief is the single most irreplaceable ingredient. Without it, you set yourself up for failure.

Cassandra, I’d just like to thank you for this opportunity to discuss my story and my characters with you and for your insightful, thoughtful questions. 🙂 (Aww. Thanks for dropping by!)

Lucy Jones possesses an unusual—and extraordinary—gift. Her ability to sense the emotions of others is both a blessing and a curse, eventually driving her to seek refuge from its consequences by fleeing her hometown of Sydney.

The coastal town of Duruga is everything she imagined it would be: sleepy, isolated and void of the emotional chaos that plagued her in the city. But when the mysterious Heath Stone enters her life, Lucy is overwhelmed by startling sensations in his presence. Frightened and intrigued by this uncommon reaction to a person, Lucy is uncontrollably drawn to Heath. Despite her efforts, and the sinister warnings from the townsfolk, she cannot fight the force of her attraction.

When strange events begin to occur and the truth about Duruga’s sordid history is unveiled, Lucy suspects that there may be more to the quiet town, and to Heath, than she had first imagined.

As Lucy and Heath’s fates become irrevocably entwined, the answers Lucy has been seeking all her life may be closer than she ever wanted to believe.


Gripping the steering wheel, my eyes slammed shut and I sat for several seconds with my heart pounding in my ears. My breath came out in gasps, my lungs constricting in anxiety. Images, dotted with light beneath my eyelids, teased me with things I wasn’t sure I’d seen. The vision of a ghostly, young man’s face, so alarmingly handsome and with eyes of such intense green I wondered if they could be real. I dug the heels of my hands into my eyes, trying to see clearly, though the headlights provided a limited view of the shadowy world outside the car.

The road was deserted.

I shook my head, blinking to make sure I was seeing right. What the hell just happened? Was I hallucinating? If someone had been there, where was he now?

And, my conscience taunted, what might have happened if he hadn’t been there to stop you?

A tingle ran down my spine and I tensed, on alert. Someone was out there. I knew because I could sense him. Nearby. He had to be there for me to feel the strange, weaving warmth, the rapid pulse in my veins. And sadness, so deep and powerful I clutched my chest against a sob.

GIFTED is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Ingrid Alexandra

Ingrid Alexandra has been writing since she could put pen to paper. Growing up, she took pleasure in learning musical instruments, visual arts, dance, acting, singing and, of course, she spent a great deal of time reading and writing. Having so many interests meant her career aspirations had a habit of changing, but her profession eventually chose her.

She dabbled in writing short stories and novellas as a child and teen, and began writing full-length novels in recent years. Being a child at heart, it was a natural progression for her to move in to writing fiction for children and young adults. Her love of teaching and interest in human emotion and psychology play a large role in the creation of her novels.

You can find Ingrid at her website or on Twitter.