logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Author-Talks
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-04-06 04:39
THE EAGLE TREE at Boston Harbor School

I had a wonderful time presenting to the school assembly at Boston Harbor School in Olympia Washington last week. What a great group of K-5 students with fantastic questions about being a writer and a lovely discussion of books they love, including my bestselling novel THE EAGLE TREE.

 

Here's the basic slideshow I presented (with lots of discussion and interesting anecdotes to fill out this skeleton frame of a presentation

Source: www.facebook.com/SinfulFolk
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-02-19 17:36
Book Love Story: Why I love writing books

 

It's all about love during the Valentine's Week. So far we've read about book love from the reader's perspective but let's change that with the last story in our project. It's high time to look at the storytelling from the writer's point of view. We've invited author Ned Hayes to present his book love story.

 

*

 

A guest post by Ned Hayes

 

 

Storytelling as a Calling: A Book Love blog post

 

by Ned Hayes



          Storytelling is a calling: we manufacture meaning out of events through the act of storymaking. After all, the human experience doesn’t really make sense on a day to day basis. Story is a fabric laid transparent over the bumps and bricks of random occurrence, a map showing the past and the future. It is as if we weave a web of story, from inside ourselves, like a spider, and live in it, and call it world.

         I believe that story is in fact all powerful in our lives. To be truly human is to tell stories. Without stories – without that rhythm of beginning, middle, and end, without that hopefulness of meaning being given by seeing the pattern of a story – I believe that we become less than human. I believe that storytelling is what makes us human. We are homo storytelli or homo sinificans, the storytelling creature.

         This idea of the importance of storytelling was first brought to my attention by the wonderful little book The Dark Interval: towards a theology of story, by John Dominic Crossan. The critic Frank Kermode also wrote a book called The Genesis of Secrecy: on the interpretation of narrative that made an early impact on me. And finally, Annie Dillard’s book Living by Fiction also influenced my ideas about what was possible in fiction.

 

The Dark Interval: Towards a Theology of Story - John Dominic Crossan The Genesis of Secrecy: On the Interpretation of Narrative (Chas Eliot Norton Lecture) - Frank Kermode Living by Fiction - Annie Dillard

 

          Today, I write stories because they give me a way to make sense of the world. The world is a complex place, so I don’t restrict myself to one genre or one style. I’ve now written three novels that have ranged across the spectrum of storytelling, from mystery to historical fiction to young adult literary fiction.

 

The Eagle Tree - Ned Hayes Sinful Folk - Ned Hayes,Nikki McClure Coeur d'Alene Waters Preview - Ned Hayes  

 

          In telling stories, I can also help others to also make sense of this often-confusing and often frustrating world as well. The web I weave can be of use to many people. I’ve discovered this to be true most recently through talking to readers of my bestselling novel The Eagle Tree. In this novel, a young boy on the autistic spectrum wrestles to bring together his disintegrating family as he strives to climb an old growth tree. He is trying to make sense of his reality, and in this poignant and difficult story, he finds a great meaning and purpose for his life.

          I thought The Eagle Tree  was a unique and unusual story. Yet what I’ve been happily surprised by is that many readers have written me to tell me that I successfully captured part of their story of life on the autistic spectrum. They have said to me that I have “told their story” or that my story “helped to show that my son’s life makes sense.” I’ve also been told by other readers that the difficulty of interacting with a family member who has development or neurological differences are described with authenticity and with compassion. They found meaning this book as well. My small words helped to give hope to their experience and made their stories matter. The Eagle Tree  is a story that brought meaning to their lives.

        Yet along with authenticity, there’s one other duty that novelists have: Entertainment.

          “The first duty of the novelist is to entertain,” says Donna Tart, the bestselling author of the smash hit The Goldfinch and The Secret History. “It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, traveling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying.”

 

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt The Secret History - Donna Tartt The Little Friend - Donna Tartt

 

          Entertainment = storytelling as a moral duty. We have the deep and meaningful charge to write something that’s entertaining. We are not allowed to tell a boring or meaningless story. Our stories must be interesting, must be inventive, must – in the end – be entertaining to our readers.

          Entertainment sometimes gets a bad rap. People think it’s a waste of time. Yet entertainment need not be shallow. Storytelling as entertainment doesn’t need to be meaningless. We don’t have to create something false like The Transformers – because a story like The Hunger Games  or 1984  is equally entertaining, yet contains deeper truths and gives insight along with its momentum. Entertainment means delivering a tale that can lift us out of our present reality and give us a vision of something beyond our mundane reality. A good story tells the truth, and carries us along on a tide of hope and insight.

          This is why I like to read fantasy, horror and science-fiction. These genres don’t hide their attempts to entertain: these types of books wear their badges of entertainment on their sleeves, plain for all to see. Even the covers of these books communicate their intent, with their spaceships and unicorns and fantastic sorceries. Some of my favorite fantastical and horrific stories include John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy, The Ritual  by Adam Nevill, and Tim Power’s The Stress of Her Regard.

 

Paradise Lost - John Leonard,John Milton The Ritual - Adam Nevill The Stress of Her Regard - Tim Powers

 

          In the science-fiction realm, I also have special favorites. Some of the stories I admire the most in these areas include The Sheep Look Up, by John Brunner, Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler, and Downbelow Station  by C.J. Cherryh and of course, many books by Ursula Le Guin, most notably The Left Hand of Darkness.

 

The Sheep Look Up - John Brunner Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler Downbelow Station - C.J. Cherryh The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin

 

          All the books I’ve named above provide wonderful entertainment while providing deeper insight. Yet the charge we bear to entertain goes beyond the simple affectations of fantasy and spaceships. As storytellers, we have a moral charge to give our readers a removal from the world, an escape hatch into a new way of thinking. Even literary fiction must entertain – it must deliver some insight and tale that lifts the quotidian events of our lives into a higher mythical and hyper-realistic realm. The story must move us.

          I found this truth brought home to me when I wrote my second novel Sinful Folk. The famous literary agent Jenny Bent read the first draft and told me “This is beautiful writing, but there’s not enough real storytelling here.” So over the course of one year after I received Ms. Bent’s feedback, I rewrote the entire book to bring my characters from just a land of beautiful (yet un-entertaining) prose into a story that was worth the telling. To learn how to tell an entertaining piece of historical fantasy, I went back and re-read some of the masters of historical fiction, especially those who wrote about the medieval period.

          The books that most influenced my approach to historical storytelling included Morality Play by Barry Unsworth, Ella March Chase’s The Virgin Queen's Daughter, Brenda Vantrease’s The Illuminator, Kathryn Le Veque’s The Warrior Poet  and Karen Maitland’s The Owl Killers.

 

Morality Play - Barry Unsworth The Virgin Queen's Daughter - Ella March Chase The Illuminator - Brenda Rickman Vantrease

The Warrior Poet - Kathryn Le Veque The Owl Killers - Karen Maitland

 

          The story that I re-wrote as the novel Sinful Folk  was finally published. It had become a heartfelt and harrowing tale that moved my main character – a fourteenth century woman – from a place of peril and heartbreak through great danger until she achieved the heights of power and privilege. My character changed over the course of the novel, transforming from fearful subterfuge into a driven, motivated heroine who conquered the High Court of England. I changed the book into a real story. And when Sinful Folk was finally published, it was described by New York Times bestselling author Brenda Vantrease herself as a “A pilgrim tale worthy of Chaucer, delivered by a master storyteller” and received starred reviews in BookList, BookNote and many other publications.

          In fact, all of the authors I list above -- whose work I read as inspiration – ended up endorsing the novel Sinful Folk (with the exception of Barry Unsworth, who had unfortunately passed away just before I published my novel).

 

          I think this love of authentic tales that entertain goes back to my childhood, when I found myself alone much of the time. And alone with only a good book to read. So books became my companions and my friends. Donna Tartt points out that “Books are written by the alone for the alone.” C.S. Lewis said “I read to know that I am not alone.” This is true of every reader. We read to connect with other human perspectives, to know those voices and embrace those souls. We also read to be accompanied by other voices in our solitary trek through time.

          When I was a child, the books that brought me companionship included Mischief in Fez by Eleanor Hoffman, Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings  and finally, a story I’ve re-read many times – the deep and meaningful Watership Down, by Richard Adams.

 

Mischief in Fez - Eleanor Hoffmann,Fritz Eichenberg A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien Watership Down - Richard Adams

 

         Hoffman’s work brought me into other worlds, and showed me possibilities beyond my ken. Le Guin demonstrated the power of brevity in telling a fascinating tale, while Tolkien showed that fantasy could tell deeper truths, even while being tremendously entertaining. Adams continues to show me – every time I read him – that deep and powerful stories lie all around us, even in the lives of rabbits and seagulls, and that all we have to do is pay attention. The web of story surrounds us: all we have to do is open our eyes. Today, the tales told in these stories still resound in my dreams, and still are echoed in the books I write today.

         Finally, for anyone who is interested in telling a story, it’s important to note that listening to a story is how you become a story-teller yourself.

          I believe that to tell stories, we must read stories. Writers are readers. Therefore, I recommend anyone who wishes to write first become an avid reader. Read a book a month, a book a week, even a book a day. Become a reader, and you will be well equipped to be a writer. And you will never be alone as long as you have books and the tales within them.

 

*

 

And what's your book love story? Join our project, write your story, publish it on your BookLikes blog and tag with why I love tag so we could find it and share it. You can also add the link to your book love stories in the comment section below.

 

Dear BookLikers, writers and readers, thank you so much for participating in this amazing project. Presenting all those stories to You and about You was a fascinating time and we hope that you've enjoyed the book love story week as much as we did.

 

We're looking forward to creating more projects as such -- so, who's in? :)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-09-25 11:40
Author talks: Tellulah Darling

 

A witty joker, fan of good love stories and quirky romance writer herself. Also, a real darling. That is Tellulah Darling, ladies and gents. Since her latest book, Get Real is available September 25th, what possibly could be a better excuse to have her over for a chat?! 

 

Enjoy the conversation BookLikes had with the author of My Ex From Hell and enter the Giveaway to win Tellulah's new book.

 

 

  

 

blWhat are you reading now, Tellulah?

 

 


TDTwo books that I just finished and loved were I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson and Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.

 

  

 

blDid your first kiss really suck?

  

 

TDUnbelievably so. Think attack of the giant fishy lips.

 

 

  

blGot you. So, let’s play a little game. Imagine taking back the time: which of your (or others) book character you’d like to get swapped for your perfect first time kisser then?

 

TD*takes a moment to review all kissing abilities of her male characters*

Okay, for a first kiss, it would have to be Sam from Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls. He’d make it perfect. Totally screw things up afterwards, but that first time? Yeah.

 

blYour new adult romantic comedy, Get Real, is about to be released (25th September!), congratulations! ‘Sass, sex, and swoon, set in the world of “Cadabras” -- humans with magical powers.‘ Now, that seems to be a really explosive mixture! Can you tell our bloggers more about the book?

 

TDThank you! I am a sucker for romantic comedies. They’re my happy place. Thing is, I don’t tend to write straightforward ones. Once I start thinking about plot, I get into crazy mythologies, made-up magic, and madcap urban fantasy adventures. It’s incredibly fun for me to set a romantic comedy against a backdrop of something more fantastic.

 

Get Real, however, actually came from a very different place. When I was growing up, I lived in a town where mine was the only Jewish family. I dealt with othering, ignorance, and flat-out racism. I was also a reader girl who wanted nothing more than to find someone like me in the pages of a book, having an adventure or being a romantic lead. Sadly, all I could find were issue books where being Jewish was treated like some kind of after-school special. I lived that. I didn’t want to read it. With my NA debut, I wanted an awesome heroine who happened to be Jewish. 

 

 

Once I’d figured out who Francesca was as this Jewish good girl, I needed the very bad boy who set her teeth on edge. That was Rafael. Then it was all about how much fun I could have with a sexy, sassy, swoon-filled urban fantasy adventure and how far I could take these two without having them kill each other. In the end, as it always is, their journey became about the impact these two have on each other in terms of their specific character issue, in this case getting real about what they want from their respective lives.

 

blWhat is the story behind this sass and humor loving author, how did you end up being a writer?

 

 TDI’ve always written though I never thought writer was an actual career path for an ordinary person. On the plane ride to university I was trying to pick my courses, and my mom said, “How about film?” I thought she meant as a degree. Apparently she only meant as an elective. :P Once I had my film degree in hand – my M.A. in Film Theory actually, I planned on staying in academia and writing film history and criticism.

 

Then I met a boy.

 

My now-husband actually, a filmmaker. We decided to write some shorts together which eventually led to a career in screenwriting. After a great twelve year run, I was burned out and wrote a YA romantic comedy novel for fun, because I love reading YA and I’m a romcom junkie. I wasn’t thinking of a career, more like just checking to see if I still enjoyed writing. Four YA books later and now my NA debut and that love is still going strong.

 

blThis is the question we had asked pretty much every author we had here and  that's because we are really nosy, nothing else: Do you have any writing habits, like drinking a coffee from your lucky mug, not writing on Mondays, inventing the plot while riding a bike?

 

TDNot really. I don’t even have a schedule. There are weeks when I do no writing at all. I’m scrawling furious notes on scrap pieces of paper and my iPhone and various files on my laptop. Waking up at 3AM to jot something down. Eventually, the time comes when I start compiling all my thoughts, outlining, researching and eventually writing my first draft. That’s when I become consumed to the point of resenting my family for having the audacity to want meals and clean clothes. Kidding aside, they are very patient with me in that state and know to yell my name several times before I’ll answer.

 

blYou have been previously writing for the TV & film industry for quite some time, actually. Usually, writers are interested in their career evolving the other way round: books to screen… How has your previous experience been valuable, later in your book author career?

 

TDAbsolutely. I knew some of my experience from the screenwriting world would prove invaluable, such as my understanding of theme, structure, and even marketing from the indie films I did. But on a film or TV set, there is a crew bringing your vision to life. So screenplays keep description and action brief. That was a big learning curve for me. How to flesh out my world, my five senses and bring it alive on the page. In the end, I’m glad I came to novel writing this way.


Get Real

 

 blSome would say, it’s easier to make the reader/audience follow the story when there is a visual layer to go with the content. How do you keep your books entertaining for the reader?   

 

TDYou might want to ask my readers that. :) Because I am such a fan of romantic comedy whether movies, TV shows, or books, I’ve consumed and studied a ton of them. What I found was a lot of storytelling billing itself as romcom that was missing the comedy. For me, romantic comedy needs an equal emphasis on both parts. The romantic ending needs to be earned and the journey needs to be hilariously painful. I think my strength is delivering both romance and comedy in satisfying amounts.

 

blWhich TV/movie screenwriter +  title/titles you think is absolutely brilliant?

  

 

TDHow long a list can I give? In terms of writer/showrunners - Joss Whedon for Buffy, obviously. Mindy Kaling for The Mindy Project (best romcom on TV!), Stephen Falk for You’re The Worst (best anti-romcom on TV!), Graeme Manson for Orphan Black, Ronald D. Moore for Battlestar Galactica, Vince Gilligan for Breaking Bad. Nora Ephron as queen of the film romcom, the wit and heart of Billy Wilder and screwball genius of Charles Lederer and Ben Hecht. There are literally tons and tons of screenwriters that I admire.

 

blYA is one of the most popular genders on BookLikes, but surely in a wider scoop as well. Although the demand is high, not every romantic novel has 'it'. What more besides the actual love bit should this gender offer to the readers?

 

TDDespite my love of throwing other elements like magic into the romantic mix, I think it comes down to voice and earning that happily-ever-after. Our job as writers is to make our readers emotionally connect with our characters. And all the vamps or magic or backwards storytelling or whatever are not going to matter if we haven’t done our job. 

 

Generally, readers already know going in to a romance whether there is a happily-ever-after or not waiting for them at the end. We authors need to make the audience doubt the outcome. Make our characters work for that ending. And do it with a voice that engages our readers. We need to spellbind and that comes from the essential nature of the story itself, not the bells and whistles.


blOne can find a lot of references to ancient mythology in your books. This is pretty unique -- where did this interest came from? Why did you decide to use this typology in your writing?

 

TDI grew up on a steady diet of myths and fairy tales and I always loved the idea of putting my own spin on them. After Sam Cruz, which was straight romcom, I wanted to delve into mythology and Persephone had always fascinated me. There was something unfinished about her and her story, like she was a passive player and not the MC of her own life.

 

I really wanted to write about a girl living under the radar, handed ultimate power whose journey becomes one of empowerment. What better way than to have a teen girl have a goddess awakening? Plus Greek myth meant gods behaving badly and my own addition of a bad boy ex-boyfriend god. All these elements made sense for My Ex From Hell and the two subsequent books in the trilogy.

 

blWhat are you working on now? New book? Screenplay?

  

 

TDSince Get Real is book one in a four-book series, each with it’s own self-contained romantic comedy set against this ongoing urban fantasy adventure, I was supposed to spend the summer writing Freak Out, which is book two. Except I got completely distracted (i.e. obsessed) by an adult romcom/urban fantasy that demanded to be written. I’m revising that one and have finally turned my attention to Freak Out. It’s great to be back with these characters.

 

blHumor seems to be your tread mark. How would you describe your sense of humor.

 

  

TDSkewed. Sarcastic, often inappropriate – but I hope not mean.  I was raised in a family where we poked fun at ourselves and our lives. We couldn’t help but laugh at a lot of things. That’s how I view the world. With a quip.

 

 

blSo, who do you enjoy more then: Woody Allen, or Amy Schumer?

 

 

 TDI was raised on a steady diet of old Woody Allen and Neil Simon movies so I will forever have a fondness for those. Nowadays, however, while there are incredible male comedians like Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais that blow my mind, I definitely identify more with the humour of the brilliant women like Amy, Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, and (my super crush) Mindy Kaling.

 

blMost definitely, we could carry this one on much longer, as it is a great fun talking to you. Thank you, Tellulah! 

 

However, let's give the BL bloggers a chance to get your new book, go to Get Real Giveaway (it starts Friday 25th September just after 4 p.m. CET).

 

TDThank you so much for having me!

xo,

 

Tellulah

 



Wonder what Tellulah Darling is reading herself

and what books you could find on her shelf?

 

Visit her BookLikes blog and catch up with Tellulah's reviews. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-09-15 11:07
Guest post by Rod Raglin: Rushing to publish could mean blowing your best opportunities
 
 
Rod Raglin is a journalist/photographer/writer living on the west coast of Canada. He is author of the five novels; THE BIG PICTURE - A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic, FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend, and the series ECO-WARRORS that includes SPIRIT BEAR, EAGLERIDGE BLUFFS, and NOT WONDER MORE - Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.
 
Someone one wise once said: There is no right way to write. So true. But we all want to do it the right way, right? 
 
Rod decided to share his writing process secrets in this little piece about his personal writing experiences with some essential tips & tricks that may come in handy not only for writers but also readers and reviewers. Enjoy! 
 
 
 
 
 
So you’ve finally finished your novel.

Congratulations. 

What you’ve accomplished is significant and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. How many people do you know who have spent countless hours by themselves sitting in front of a keyboard creating an imaginary world?

It’s only a matter of time before your creation changes your life, and that can’t happen too soon. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start submitting it to all those fortunate agents and publishers you’ve selected, right?

Wrong.

I was once like you, full of enthusiasm and hubris upon completing my first novel. To get my masterpiece published I pulled in all my favours, two actually. I had an acquaintance who knew Jeffrey Archer personally (yes, that Jeffrey Archer), and I had a business associate who was an editor in a well-respected publishing firm.

The first response came from Archer’s agent. She suggested I take some writing courses. A little while later the editor returned my manuscript. She’d taken the time to line edit the first chapter complete with margin notes. Suffice to say the editing notes all but obscured the original text.

At the time I didn’t realize it, but I had just blown two really good opportunities in my rush to get published.  That manuscript is still buried somewhere in my filing cabinet. I’m too embarrassed to look at it.
 
Most recently I’ve taken on writing and and doing video book reviews* of the work of new, self-published authors.
 
I’ve written a lot of book reviews, but in this category – new, self-published authors the average star rating is 2.8, a bit better than I didn’t like it, but not quite as good as I liked it.
 
A few of these authors are brilliant, but most, though they have potential, are hampered by lack of craft. If they continue writing and reading I know they’ll improve. Writing is like most things – the more you do it the better you get.
 
I have to add a caveat to that statement. Your writing will improve if you continue to do it while seeking out constructive criticism and taking it to heart.
 
Most of the novels I’m giving two stars to have been rushed into publication. I know you’re excited, but remember – it’s never as good as you think it is, and it can always be better. Yes, always.
 
 
Here are some suggestions you might want to consider when you’ve completed your novel. It’s what I do and though it hasn’t garnered me success, it’s at least saved me further embarrassment.
 
- I revise the manuscript a minimum three times or until I feel it’s finished.
- I read it out loud (it drives my cat crazy).
- Then I put it away for at least three months or however long it takes to get it out of my system.
- While I’m waiting to be purged, I work on something completely different.
- Once I’ve put some distance between my ego and the book, I’m ready. I take out the manuscript and send it to as many beta readers for comment as I can. If you don’t have a stable of readers who are free from conflict of interest – that means no family and no friends, join a writing group, online or otherwise, and workshop the novel.
 
 
Once I’ve decided it’s time for the final rewrite I gather all the comments and criticisms together and begin.
 
When I’m finished I have another decision to make. Do I begin the traditional submission process or save myself a lot of time and frustration and go directly to self-publishing?
 
If you follow this method I guarantee your final version will be different and better than it was when you deemed it complete. And if someone does recommend your book to Oprah or the New York Times decides to review it, it will be perfect – or as perfect as you could make it.
 
Keep writing and remember what Nietzsche said:
 
The doer alone learneth.
 
 
* Video book reviews of self-published authors now at
Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQN
 
 
 

 

 

Rod Raglin

rodraglin.booklikes.com

 

 

 

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin... Go to Rod's blog ->

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-08-04 11:11
Author Talks: Leah Grant / Anne Wentworth


Please welcome Leah Grant to BookLikes! Leah is a romance writer, known under two pen names -- you can meet both ladies on BookLikes, have a look the author pages of Leah Grant and her YA alter ego Anne Wentworth. And to be up to date with Leah's upcoming releases, make sure to follow her BookLikes webpage at leahgrant.booklikes.com

 

Leah aka Anne agreed to talk with us about her upcoming debut young adult release (the book is released with Finch Books), baking and wild animals in her countryside. Ready? Here we go!

 

 

Have you always wanted to become a writer? How did it all start for you?

 

I started to writer very early at around age nine. Stories just came to me and my father encouraged me to keep writing. It has always made my heart happy. Characters even wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me their stories. If I'm working on a book - it plays like a movie in my head and I try to type as fast as I can to keep up.

 

You’ve mentioned that you’re using pen names: Leah Grant and Anne Wentworth. Can you tell our readers more about the ladies inside you.

How they are different and what their contribution is to your writing process?

 

I am an intensely private person - so when I decided to take the plunge into the publishing world I wanted to use a pen name. For romance I chose Leah Grant. I've always loved the name Leah and Grant is a connection to someone very special.

Anne Wentworth came about for Young Adult as I needed to keep the two kinds of writing separate.

 

 

The two names are just fronts that enable me to be creative and tell my stories. Both Leah and Anne drink far too much coffee and tend to have a sweet tooth. I'm not judging them though...

 

Your new young adult novel will hit bookstores September 2015. Congratulations! Can you tell our readers more about the book and how the idea was born?

 

Shake The Spiders is my first YA to be published (Finch Books - a division of   Totally Entwined Group UK) and I am very excited. When the story for this young adult book came to me, I wasn’t surprised. The book is about Kim, a fourteen year old that has suffered for years trying to live around her alcoholic mother. She is tired and damaged and I needed to tell her story. There are so many teens/kids out there that live through this. Some make it and some don’t.

 

When her mother drops her off for the summer at her grandma’s place – it’s almost like she’s been left at that final bus-stop. It ends up being the best thing that could have happened for her. I know so many never get that chance – someone reaching out to help. More often than not

the alcoholic manages to ruin not only their life, but everyone around them.

 

You can see the cracks in Kim’s person – she drifts, doesn’t trust people, has had to take on the role of parent from a young age, continuously has to cover and clean up the messes her mother makes – leaving her a shell – someone desperate inside for love and belonging.

 

This book is about her journey of healing and taking chances on people. It is about Kim drawing a line and choosing not to be hurt anymore. Kim does this in the book when she decides she just doesn’t want to have to deal with her drunk mother any longer. I set the story in small-town Manitoba and had a great time conjuring some interesting if not ‘flawed’ characters.

 

Being a real lover of paranormal, I wove a ghost legend into the storyline and also gave it some historical elements. I wanted to tell the story from the other side - the person that is trying to rebuild themselves and their life after the fallout from being around someone with an addiction.

 

Leah Grant writes fantasy romances, Anne Wentworth goes for young adult novels -- how do you find yourself in those genres? Did you pick them or did the genres pick you?

 

The books just happen. I don't really know how else to say it. Literally the book will just begin in my head. I don't have a clue where it will go or what will happen. Essentially, I'm really the 'first reader' and just go with it. When people ask me 'how does it end?' I often have to say, 'how would I know?'. (you should see the looks I get with that one) It is a different way to write, but it works for me.

 

You live in Canada, you love the Prairies and the wildlife that surrounds you, and even call the place “magical”. Can you tell our readers how does the setting influence your writing process? We guess that such a spectacular place just must have an influence on an individual.

 

The peace and beauty here is amazing. I love living out in the country, being surrounded by trees and critters of all kinds. The seasons and weather here are extreme - summers have massive storms (can be tornados) and winter can hit with temps falling to -40's. When I first walked on this land, I knew we had to buy the place. I felt free here and this is the place where my writing has been most prolific.

 

If I am tired or need a break, I just go outside to watch deer feeding in the trees across from our place. Sometimes there will be twenty or more hawks flying over in the later afternoon. Watching a fox scamper through the property just after midnight or a lone wolf making its way along the edge of the property - I feel so lucky to be able to experience all of this. It leaves me refreshed and must feed my imagination - as ideas for books are non-stop here.

 

You’ve mentioned you’re a cat owner. BookLikes community as well as the BookLikes team adore cats :) Does Miss Fish has her appearance in any of your stories?

 

Miss Fish was a rescue in 2012. She had been abandoned (not very nice when you think of a prairie winter) and a very kind soul fed her until a home could be found. When I saw her picture on the rescue web site - it was LOVE!  She now is part of our family and very well loved and cared for. She is our heart.

 

Miss Fish may have been some of the inspiration for 'Jammer' the huge black cat in Shake The Spiders. She is a very loving and amazing companion. She sits beside me as I write each day.

 

 

Your motto is: Don’t be afraid to step into the storm. What does it mean to you?

 

 

I believe a person has to go out and live - sometimes life can throw difficult circumstances and trials at a person. I've lived through many and the only thing I can tell others is that you can't be afraid to move forward. Sometimes the crazy/difficult/unhappy times in our lives can sweep us along to what ends up being an amazing place. If we don't step into the storm because we are afraid, we might lose out on something really good.

 

You’re a coffee & chocolate lover with a twist for cooking. What’s your best and favorite recipe? Would you mind sharing it with our readers?

 

I do love to cook and bake. Best and favorite? Ahhh... How about I list a few: roast beef and popovers (Yorkshire Pudding done in muffin tin), lasagna (very rich and layered - I always eat far too much), apple/pear pie, cheese and basil biscuits, roast stuffed chicken with vegetables, homemade bread (loaves and rolls) - hungry yet? I am. Now see what you've started? ; )

 

Best tip for popovers - heat the pan until the lard is almost smoking (handle carefully) then fill with batter and get it into that oven! Don't open the oven door until they are done.

 

From your point of view: is it easy to be a writer nowadays?

 

Yes and no. With the ebook industry - many more people can get their work out there, but that means there is so much more competition.

 

Do you have any writing habits which help you keep the story going?

 

The stories don't stop or slow down. I have to make notes to keep up with it as things unfold/characters tell me more before it is at that point in the book so I can remember to include it.

 

I drink coffee +++++++ I snack and I soak in the beauty here.

 

Could you tell our readers which authors inspire you and your works?

 

 

Just a few books come to mind - there are so many more. Eclectic would be a good word to keep in mind here.

 

 

  

  

 

  

  

 

 

Just read Chris Ledbetter's Drawn (YA) - loved it. Also read The Cat and Mrs. Cary again (Doris Gates). 

 

I read. One of my favorite things to do was go to the library and just pick books out - historical/biography/anthropology/WWII/paranormal/cooking - you name it.

 

 

 

 

 

 What are you reading now? How do you like it?

Just finished reading Drawn by Chris Ledbetter  - loved it.

 

 

Do you read when writing a new novel?

Sometimes.

 

 

Are you a book collector or a book recommender?

My husband is the pack rat - he has boxes of books.

If I like something, I'll pass it on

 

 

Paper books or e-books? Why?

Paperback.

I like holding the book. Besides, what would shelves look like without books?

 

 

What are your favorite quotes?

 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade and then drink it!

*

Don't be afraid to step into the storm...

 

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write! Don't write to fit into what is popular. Write from your heart.

Don't give up - ever.

 

What’s your favorite writing and reading spot?

(our readers would love to see some photos)

 

My office. Miss Fish has her basket behind me and naps while I write.

Isn't that smile adorable?

 

Outside is my rock garden and I can watch as the birds and deer come to feed.

Baltimore Oriole came by. Our feeder is busy year-round.

 

The 'trio' come to our feeder and often empty it out in winter

for the black sunflower seeds.

 

Thank you, Leah!  

 

Leah Grant's books on BookLikes:

Wilde Jagd - Leah GrantOver the Hill and Through the Woods - Leah GrantDream Of The Raven - Leah GrantViking Grave (Encircled by Gold Book 1) - Leah Grant

see more on Leah Grant's author page

 

Anne Wentworth's book on BookLikes

Shake The Spiders - Anne Wentworth

See more on Anne's author page

  

Read other talks on BookLikes:

Read more
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?