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Category Archives: Interviews

ellen1I recently interviewed Ellen Shreiber, author of the Vampire Kisses series amongst other books. Check out her website at http://www.ellenschreiber.com/! She has some exciting books news to share you all of you. Book 7 in the Vampire Kisses series, Royal Blood, will be out in June. Also, all of the Vampire Kisses book covers are getting a make-over! So here is my interview with her, enjoy!

How thrilling is it to walk into a bookstore and see your books on the shelves? It is amazing!!! Mostly a surreal, feeling. But I get excited every time I see them.

Was the publishing process hard? My brother was instrumental in the beginning. He showed my first book to his Dutch publisher and that publisher took my book. I was ecstatic! That publisher published the other books I wrote. However, it took a little longer to get it to US publishers, since I didn’t have an agent. I sent Teenage Mermaid to Katherine Tegen at HarperCollins when I read that she was taking unsolicited (not represented by an agent) manuscripts. I was amazed to hear back from her that she wanted to publish it–and two of my other novels. She’s also been instrumental in my career!

Do you need to have something or be somewhere specific when you write? No, I usually can write anywhere. I have an overactive imagination and it helps to write it down sometimes–even if I’m not at the computer. Otherwise, I just remember the scenes and write them down later. I usually switch the location that I write it–to keep things fresh.

From what or where do you get your inspiration? Everything–love, moods, a title that I come up with.

It must be hard to write a series. Do you ever get tired of the characters and wish you could start something new? I do love writing about Raven and Alexander. I don’t get tired, but rather inspired by continuing their story–but I do have some other novels I work on in between writing them.

Why do you think people today are so in love with vampires? I think it’s nice to escape and romance is always hot. Also, vampires are very sexy and alluring. I think they are popular all the time.

What is one thing readers might be interested to know about you? That when I’m not writing, I love to shopp on ebay.

Ms. Schreiber has also been kind enough to give away one of her books!  She is even autographing it!! One winner will have his/her choice of a paperback of Vampire Kisses or a hardback of the Coffin Club. This contest ends 11:59 p.m. Central on February 27, 2009. I will then pick a random winner using random.org and e-mail them, they will have 2 days to respond, otherwise I will pick another winner. To enter all you need to do is leave a comment saying that you would like to win. Please provide your first name and a valid e-mail address.

Want extra entries? Please post each extra entry earned in a separate post, otherwise they will not count! Here’s how:

Blog about this giveaway [provide link (+1 entry)]
Facebook about this giveaway (+1 entry)
Myspace about this giveaway (+1 entry)
E-mail 5 friends with the link to this post [include my e-mail, penguinqueen@hotmail.com (+1 entry)]
Subscribe to my blog (+2 entries)

Good luck everybody!!

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Being Written by William ConescuWith the holidays I did not have an author interview for the month of December, but here is one for January!  This month’s author is William Conescu author of Being Written (www.williamconescu.com).  If you have an author you would like to see interviewed, or if you have a question you think I should ask, e-mail me at penguinqueen@hotmail.com

Where did you get the amazing idea for Being Written?
I thought this would be a fun story to write and to read.  It’s actually a combination of two ideas.  First, I was interested in writing about artistically-minded people in their 20s and 30s struggling to figure out how best to live their lives.  And I also had this playful idea about a man who has made the disheartening discovery that he’s only a minor character in the imagination of an author.  Daniel’s basically the literary equivalent of an extra in a movie.  He fills out crowd scenes in other people’s books.  But he wants to be something more.

 

So I combined the two ideas:  Daniel hears a story being written about these artsy 20/30-something-year-olds, and he works his way into their lives and their story, and ultimately he hijacks their book.

 

 
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading another first novel from Harper Perennial:  CAPTAIN FREEDOM by G. Xavier Robillard.  It’s hilarious.

 

 
What is one book that you wish you could have written?
Hmm… Maybe DESPAIR by Vladimir Nabokov. 

 

Have you ever tried to write anything other than books (i.e. poems, songs, etc.)?
Well, I’ve written fiction of various lengths.  Does that count?  And I’m curious about scriptwriting.

Do you think it’s important for an author to write every day?  Why or why not?
I don’t think there’s a magic schedule that works for everyone.  But if you’re committed to writing something, I think it’s helpful to set goals for yourself and to schedule time to write.

 

 
Have you ever met any famous authors?  If so, who was your favorite?
Oh, I’ve met many terrific authors.  I couldn’t begin to name a favorite.  And I’m looking forward to meeting others when I’m at the SC Book Festival, February 27 – March 1, 2009.  (
http://www.scbookfestival.org/)

 

 

Do you have any advice for people who would like to be an author?
Revise, revise, revise.  Be receptive to constructive criticism, and think of revision as a creative process, not something limited to moving commas and changing the occasional word.  Also, if you want to learn more about the writing process, there are lots of great books out there.  One of my favorites is Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD.

 

What do you think of penguins taking over the world?
Fantastic!  I think they’d make it a priority to address global warming, don’ t you?

Hey all!  Cynthia Smith, author of a brand new fantasy novel entitled Tantalize agreed to do an interview with me!  You can visit Mrs. Smith website by visiting: http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/!  Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Mrs. Smith.

How did you get started writing Native American stories?

 

My early manuscripts were about all kinds of people and things—a three-legged dog in Mexico, the weariness of winter, you name it.

 

But I’d also heard the advice to “write what you know.” For me, that meant stories of kids from families in the mid-to-southwest who were Native and not.

 

Contemporary daily life stories—not the historicals people associated with “Indian” books for kids—but stories about such pressing questions as what to do when your favorite barbershop closed.

 

What made you want to try fantasy?

 

I’m a reader of fantasy, and the second piece of advice given to beginning writers is: “write what you love to read.”

 

I also have a vivid inner life. As a kid, I was blessed with a three-years-younger friend who was (and is) more of a little sister and who gave me the opportunity to play “pretend” much longer than my same-age friends.

 

Have you found a specific genre that you enjoy writing most?

 

I write across age-markets and both fantasy and realistic fiction. But my work is uniformly contemporary. I seem to have no interest in crafting a historical.

 

I’m not sure why because as a reader I enjoy them. It’s not the research. There’s little I enjoy more than doing homework for a book.

 

So far, though, I seem to be in a contemporary fiction place. Perhaps that will change…with time.

 

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?

 

Not really. I have only so much to give a manuscript in any particular writing session. But for the most part, once I have the first page down, the rest follows. It may change dramatically along the way, but it follows.

 

On those occasions when a scene or solution is just out of my grip, though I generally find it useful to get into the water—swim, shower, bathe—or to dance in the dark to the soundtrack from “Xanadu.”

 

Any advice for people who want to be an author?

 

Don’t. Don’t want to be an author. Want to be a writer. Want to be a writer so much that when you finally become an author, your responsibilities as such—however enjoyable—vex you because they’re getting in the way of your writing time.

 

What were some of your favorite books/authors growing up?

 

I adored Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia and Kongisburg’s Mixed-up Files and Speare’s Witch of Blackbird Pond. I also read a lot of Judy Blume and Nancy Drew and Stephen King and comics.

 

What was your dream job when you were little?

 

I wanted to a princess/senator living a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I had the hair for it, too.

 

What do you think of penguins taking over the world?

 

Awesome! Tacky for President!

Thanks again Mrs. Smith!  I hope everybody enjoyed this interview.  Do you have a favorite author you’d like me to interview?  E-mail me the author’s name and website at penguinqueen@hotmail.com and I’ll try to contact the author!

Jesse Kimmel-Freeman author of Bella Notte

  You’ve been waiting for it and here it is!  Jesse, author of Bella Notte (not yet published) got back to me very quickly on this.  Thanks so much Jesse for taking the time to answer my questions!  I wish you luck on your book-publishing journey!  Here is a little bit about Bella Notte:  NOTE: This was taken directly from the official Bella Notte site.  Please do not use it in any way, shape, or form without the author’s consent.

Bella Notte is the first book in what I hope to be a four book series. It is the story of Emma Hutchinson and her transformation from the living human world into the not undead vampire world. You’ll find that my vampires are quite different from the everyday type, which I pride myself on. The story is filled with the normal issues that many teenagers are faced with on a day to day basis, but it is also colored with the lens on a vampire. You see, Emma was born human, but she was born to two vampires. Now, before you gasp for breath, you see, that is the way things go… they are all born human and then they go through a transformation or a change (whatever you want to call it) and their very DNA changes into a vampire. Her change is brought on by a very serious event (no I’m not going to tell you, you have to read the book to find out!). But it is her change that triggers all the really cool stuff that happens in the book. I really hope that you enjoy it, as I loved writing it and I can’t wait to start writing the next one.

Where did you first get the idea for Bella Notte?

Bella Notte came from my long obsession with vampires and my love of
the supernatural genre. I wish that I had an exact moment where I was
like ‘I know what I’ll write about,’ but unfortunately, I’m just not
that organized. It developed and grew into what it is today. It
started with me writing what I knew about Emma Hutchinson and Michael
O’Shanold down on paper from their perspective. I guess that was my
warm up. After I wrote that I out, the dream came and I built on to it
from there. There is a whole section that is part of the book, I think
it’s now chapter 4, 5, and 6 (originally it was just a really LONG
chapter 4) that wouldn’t even be there if I hadn’t had to take a break
while I was on strict lay down all the time bed rest while I was
pregnant with my son. So it was an organic process that grew… but it
started with my characters.
 

 When did you start writing?

I’ve always written and told stories, I also used to write poetry- one
day I hope to get my memorial book of poems for my sister published,
but I have to finish it first. My friends have just recently thought
to inform me that I was always an awesome story teller so it’s no
wonder that I wrote a book- I was clearly not aware of this! LOL. As
for Bella Notte, I started writing it around May of 2007, and finished
it after my son was born.
 

 When was it that you thought, “I should try and get this published!”?

I think from the very beginning I had hoped that I could get it
published. But it wasn’t until I had finished it and let my fiance and
best friend read it and they loved it! That was when I thought maybe
other people would actually like to read it too. Now let’s just hope
it gets published! :P
 

 How did you come up with the names for your books?

Well, Bella Notte- meaning beautiful night, is actually a name taken
from the story itself. It is the name of a club. Once I wrote out the
part where I named the club, I knew that was what I was going to call
the book. As for the others, once I decided on Bella Notte, I knew I
was going to be writing the story as a series so I needed something
that would go together, so I thought about what each book might have
in it and decided on the names. So you have Bella Vita (Book 2, which
I am currently working on) which means Beautiful Life, Bella Tristezza
(Book 3, which I have the prologue done for) which means Beautiful
Sadness, and Bella Morte (Book 4, I also have this prologue done as
well) meaning Beautiful Death. Each title has to do with something in
the book, but maybe not what the reader expects at first, so please
don’t think that the titles give away anything to the storyline- they
are merely a taste of what is to come. :)

 You say that you have conversations with the main character of Bella Notte,
 Emma Hutchinson. What do you two talk about?

Besides her waking me up during the middle of the night to tell me
something else I have to include in the books? She gives me her
opinions about stuff, or I’ll try and consider what she would think
about something I’m going to buy or do. It is by far the strangest way
to live in one’s own head that I think I’ve ever heard of. I am not
crazy in any sense, but I do hear voices. I don’t just hear Emma’s,
but she is the closest one to me- my friends tell me that she talks
and acts like I do, go figure. I hear all of my characters and it can
be quite crowded sometimes. The worst is when I’m in one of my
graduate classes and I’m trying to focus on what is being said when
they pop up and start talking about what I should be writing down.
That’s when I have to pull out my little composition book I carry
around for the book I’m working on and I have to write- if only to get
them to shut up! I probably sounds like I’m ready to be carted off to
the looney bin, but that is part of being a writer- you have to have a
connection to your characters.

Are you a fan of any of the other vampire books out there?

Heck yeah! I love them all! I’ve read so many. Vampires are my
obsession, did I mention that already? I’ve been reading about them
forever- long before the genre became what it is today. My bookcases,
yes plural, are filled with this stuff. I think right now the ones I
am keeping up with are: The Twilight Saga, Vampire Academy, Vampire
Kisses, The House of Night, Vampirates, Blue Bloods, I know there are
other ones, but I just can’t think of them. It is hard trying to fit
in extra reading on top of my grad school homework, baby time,
writing, and trying to keep my house stuff up- but somehow I manage!
:P

 Why do you think that everybody is so in to vampires?

I think that Meyer’s books have done a great job of getting people to
notice vampires. She is the current Anne Rice of our time. I think
that people have always had a thing for them, but right now it is
blown way up. The vampire allure is something that is a very powerful
thing, and it connects back to the idea of the unknown- you’re either
drawn to it or you fear it. Either case, it holds something for you
that could easily suck you in and never let you back… just look at
me!

 What were some of your favorite books/authors growing up?

I wish that I could say that I was an avid reader when I was a kid.
But the cold truth is that I HATED reading, I was slow at it and being
called on in class was the worst thing that could happen to me. I had
no confidence and it was hard for me. It wasn’t until I was an older
teen that I found the Harry Potter books, by then the first three were
in paperback, that I started reading. They were my starting point and
from there I read anything I could. In fact, in my storage unit I have
a HUGE box filled with used books I bought that are all the classics
that I never read when I was a kid, so one day when I have time I am
going to have lots of fun reading them.

 What was your dream job when you were little?

I wanted to be a paleontologist! I love dinosaurs. But when I started
college it was impossible to find an undergraduate vertebrate
paleontology program so I had to go with Anthropology instead, and
that’s what I did. So now I am working toward my degree in Archaeology
so I can be the next Indiana Jones!

 Do you have any advice for wannabe authors?

The most important thing to do is not give up. No matter what people
say to you, and sometimes it will be horrible things, do not give up.
When you finish your book and you send out query letters, do not let
the rejections you get make you feel bad. It is all a matter of
opinion, and as long as you believe your work is worth something, then
it matters! Your story should be told, so don’t give up!

 What do you think of penguins taking over the world?

Will they all have happy feet? I think that people should look out for
the dancing penguins first… they might be cute and all but you know
they are planning on taking things over as soon as we let our guard
down!
Thanks again, Jesse, for doing this!  I hope everybody has enjoyed reading this!  Please check out the official Bella Notte site at http://bellanottethebook.weebly.com/index.html