Author Q&A with Jason McMillan
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / December 20, 2018

Jason McMillan wrote The Grey Zone, his first novel which takes place in a future where The United States has joined the Global Federation of Nations to implement the Basic Human Standard, which improved life for much of the world. Mr. McMillan has been kind enough to answer a few questions about his first book and writing. The Grey Zone is available for purchase at Amazon.com Q. How did you go about writing your first book? A. Well, I was reading a book about Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombings. I was struck by the similarities in McVeigh’s beliefs and common political beliefs concerning the federal government today, as well as the similarities between McVeigh’s violent actions and the violent actions of ISIS or the IRA. I wanted to explore an American society in which radical belief can quickly morph to radical violent action and decided that, in order to best explore common American domestic terrorism, it would be best to place the story some time in the future where I could control the circumstances in which that terrorism arose. That was, I believe, November or December of 2015. I wrote a short story on the subject, part of…

Author Q&A with Kirk Kjeldsen
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / February 16, 2017

I read and enjoyed Land of Hidden Fires by Kirk Kjeldsen very much. At first I had trepidation about reading it, but I’m very glad I read the novel. Mr. Kjeldsen was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Q. How did you prepare to tell the story of Kari, a teenage girl? A. I didn’t intend to write the novel with a teenage girl as the protagonist; I first wanted to write about the story of my great-grandfather’s brother, Anfinn Kjeldsen, who helped a downed American pilot get to Sweden during WWII. I couldn’t find enough details, though, and trying to tell what had happened with what little that I had wasn’t working for me, so I put it aside for a few years. I eventually tried it again as fiction, making the protagonist a young man about Anfinn’s age, and it started coming easier. Then I thought it might be more interesting if the main character was a teenage boy, and then a teenage girl, and the story took off. So the character sort of wrote herself, in a way, which I think all good characters do.I didn’t consciously or specifically prepare writing the story of a…

A Q&A with Mark Edwards, Author of The Devil’s Work
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / October 4, 2016

As a six word story, explain what The Devil’s Work is about? Dream job becomes a terrifying nightmare.   (My original pitch was ‘The Devil Wears Prada rewritten by Stephen King’ but that’s eight words!) As opposed to other types of fiction, what do you think the is appeal of psychological thrillers? Psychological thrillers are hot right now because readers want to connect with stories in which they can imagine themselves. Marriage, relationships with friends and children, co-workers and lovers…Psychological thriller writers take ordinary situations and add a layer of fear and darkness – from the toxic marriage in Gone Girl to the everyday voyeur in Girl on the Train, readers like those familiar situations and characters and thinking about what they would do if it were them. I think it’s a reaction to the Dan Brown years, which were followed by the Stieg Larsson-fuelled Scandinavian noir period – we’ve gone from worldwide conspiracy theories and outlandish situations to what is now called domestic noir. It’s not new but it’s never been more popular. How do you come up with the idea for a great plot twist? No spoilers since there is a great one in The Devil’s Work! I…

Author Q&A with Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / November 14, 2013

Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, wrote the book Princesses Behav­ing Badly: Real Sto­ries from His­tory With­out the Fairy-Tale End­ing, a collection of mini-biographies from far and wide of the strong, crazy and brave female members of the royal households. Ms McRobbie, an American journalist living in London, has just released the book and was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Q. What made you want to write about Princess Behaving Badly? A. Mostly being asked to! My publishers, Quirk, very kindly approached me with the outline of the idea and we went from there. What I loved, however, was that though it was a topic I hadn’t given much thought to before, it quickly became absolutely fascinating – especially uncovering women whom history had left by the wayside, and whose stories were just tremendous. Q. Which princess did you find the most fascinating and why? A. I think perhaps my favourite princess is “Princess” Caraboo, although Caroline of Brunswick runs a close second. I have an abiding affection for late 18th, early 19th century British history – it could be a Jane Austen thing, if I’m really honest, but I also love the sense of this period of time…

Author Q&A with Jason Mott
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / September 7, 2013

Jason Mott, author of The Returned and newly minted New York Times best seller list has been kind enough to take some time out from his successful career and answer a few questions for this blog.

Author Q&A with Elizabeth L. Silver
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / June 24, 2013

Elizabeth L. Sivler wrote one of this summer’s hottest books The Execution of Noa P. Singleton and was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Q. How did for the idea for the novel came about? A. In my last semester of law school, I enrolled in a class on capital punishment. As part of the course, I visited Texas’s death row and worked on a clemency petition, where I spoke with inmates and victim family members. Then, for two years following law school, I was a judicial clerk for one of the nine judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and worked on several death penalty appeals. I researched the law and examined several cases from both an advocate as well as neutral perspective and wanted to present both sides of the death penalty debate by removing the obvious questions of whether or not the person did the crime, to instead focus on the question of punishment. How does society treat its prisoners? How do we accept our own shortcomings and mistakes? How does our guilt define us? These were just a handful of issues that I hoped to explore by examining the death penalty through…

Author Q&A with Glen Weldon
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / May 13, 2013

Glen Wel­don is a non-fiction book chron­i­cling the fic­tional his­tory of the Man of Steel in comic books, radio, TV, the­ater, music and movies. Mr. Wel­don is a con­trib­u­tor to NPR’s pod­cast Pop Cul­ture Happy Hour and author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography. Q. As you mentioned in your book, Superman is not “just” a hero, but also a symbol. This is not a marketing ploy but a status which the fan base bestowed upon him. Why do you think that is? A. Some of it comes down to timing: His status as the first true superhero sets him apart, ensuring that he’ll always be the ideal other heroes get measured against. He created an archetype that persists to this day. But if World War II hadn’t come along — which transformed him from an outlaw hero in the Batman/Shadow/Zorro mold to a patriotic symbol — who knows if he’d be seen as the icon he is today? People needed a hero to help them localize the anxieties of wartime — to show them that Good always triumphed. It’s a lesson that imprinted itself onto the collective consciousness of the country — and the world — and still hangs around….

Author Q&A with Tanis Rideout
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / February 7, 2013

I recently read and reviewed Above All Things by first time novelist (and Poet Laureate for Lake Ontario) Tanis Rideout. The book tells of George Mallory, an English explorer hell bent on conquering Mt. Everest and paying dearly for it. Q. As a first time novelist, how did you decide on the subject of Mallory’s Everest assent attempt? A. I’m not sure that I decided to write it – Everest, and Mallory, got into my head and the only way to get both of them out was to get writing. It takes me a long time to write, so ideas have to be things that I can’t shake, that I get obsessed with for a very long time. Margaret Atwood once referred to novelist’s ideas like an albatross you can’t get rid of. You don’t choose it and you can’t escape it. That seems pretty accurate to me. I came to be obsessed by Mallory and Everest while I was working at an outdoor equipment store after university. One of my co-workers would bring in Everest videos to show on the TV we had at the back of the store. I quickly became interested in Everest in general – it…

Author Q&A with Hy Conrad
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / February 4, 2013

Hy Conrad (web­site | Face­book) made the move from writing TV shows such as  Monk to writing mystery books. I recently read his book Rally ‘Round the Corpse which I truly enjoyed. I was lucky enough to be able to ask Mr. Conrad a few questions about his history, writing and social media. He was kind enough to answer. Q. How long have you been a fan of puzzles and mysteries? What got you started? A. Like a lot of mystery lovers, I started in my teens with Sherlock Holmes. The characters and the atmosphere made the stories unique. But Arthur Conan Doyle also established many of the great set-ups, including the small, intriguing mystery that blossoms into something important, e.g., “Why is a man, whose only qualification is his flaming red hair, hired to do useless clerical work?” If you don’t know the answer, you’re not a real mystery fan. I got my own start when a software developer asked me what kind of project might work on an interactive laserdisc. I answered, “Mysteries.” The result was the MysteryDisc and the start of my life in the genre. Q. Who do you think are the masters of mysteries among authors? A. I don’t read a lot of current mystery authors….

Author Q&A with Scott Tracy Griffin
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / November 19, 2012

Scott Tracy Grif­fin (web­site) has written and compiled a wonderful coffee table book called Tarzan The Centennial Celebration, which I thought was marvelous, a feast to the eyes and a great gift to any Tarzan, comics, movies or pop-culture fan. Mr. Griffin was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. | Q.  Tarzan has been a beloved figure since its inception to this day. Why do you think thae story has such a grep on kids and kids at heart for generations? A. Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs tapped into a primordial fantasy that speaks to many of us: the desire to return to nature and be free of the conventions and restrictions of civilization. It’s wish-fulfillment and empowerment on the most basic levels—Tarzan, a mental, moral, and physical superman, embodies the person we would like to be, living the life we’d love to live. | Q.  What prompted you to write the book? A.  I’ve been a Burroughs fan since childhood, and his writing has always inspired my artistic pursuits. After years of waiting, I finally had an opportunity to create the manner of illustrated Tarzan book I would have loved as a child—or an adult. The timing of the Centennial…

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