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text 2018-04-09 13:40
Interview with CJ Tudor, author of "The Chalk Man" + Book Club and Ask a Question

 

C.J. Tudor, author of the bestselling and widely acclaimed The Chalk Man, talks to us about her debut!



Tell us a few words about yourself - whatever you want to share about your personal and professional life, but also why you decided to become a writer.

 

Well, I’m 46. I live in Nottingham with my partner and little girl. I left school at sixteen and I’ve had many, many jobs over the years – from television presenter to dog-walker. But I’ve always loved making up stories. When I was very small I lived in a complete fantasy world. Then, in my teens, my English teacher, Mr Webster, really encouraged me. He once wrote on the bottom of an essay: ‘If you do not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author I will be very disappointed!’

 

The Chalk Man - C.J. TudorThe Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor 

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran - the Chalk Man. He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body. Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure. Is history going to repeat itself? Was it ever really over? Will this game only end in the same way?

 

How did you start writing?

 

I didn’t properly knuckle down to try and write a book until my mid-thirties. I was too busy having fun in my twenties! The first thing I wrote was rubbish, but at least I’d proved to myself that I could actually finish something. It still took me over ten years to get published. There were many rejections and failed projects along the way!

 

 

What are you writing habits? How often do you write, and how long at one time?

 

Well, now I’m lucky enough to write full time I usually go and sit in a coffee shop for a few hours. I don’t stick to rigid word counts or anything like that. I write for as long as I feel like and then go for a walk or head to the gym. Something to clear my mind. Then, it’s usually time to pick up my little girl from school and chaos descends until she goes to bed! I might squeeze in another hour or two in the evening.

 

Did you love The Chalk Man? Want to ask the author a question? Hop on board! Leave your question(s) in The Chalk Man discussion group and we'll forward them to C.J. Tudor! 

LEAVE YOUR QUESTION(S) TO CJ TUDOR

 

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a writer - so, to someone like you the person you were, maybe a year or more ago?

 

Never give up. It isn’t too late - I’m a debut author at 46. Don’t get disheartened by rejections. We all get them. You don’t need expensive courses – the slush pile works. Don’t try to write what you think publishers want because that changes all the time. Stick to your guns and write what you love. Oh, and a good agent is everything!

 

 

Your first book is a mystery-thriller - is this your favorite genre? What do you like to read?

 

I like anything dark and twisty. Crime, thrillers. I’m partial to a bit of sci-fi. Horror is good too.

 

 

Who are your favorite authors and have they inspired you in any way?

 

Stephen King, Michael Marshall and Harlan Coben. I’ve been reading Stephen King since I was twelve. When he tweeted and recommended The Chalk Man recently it was a dream come true. I’m still grinning!

 


What would you like to say to your readers? What do they need to know about you and your first book? Is it very, very spooky?

 

It’s creepy rather the scary. The story is set in 2016 and 1986. That’s when we first meet twelve-year-old Eddie and his friends. They invent a game, drawing chalk figures on the ground to send secret messages between their gang. But the game turns sinister when the chalk men start to appear on their own and lead them to the body of a girl in the woods.

 

Thirty years later, Ed thinks the past is behind him. Then he receives a letter containing just two things – a drawing of a stick figure and a piece of chalk...

 

 

 

 

Reviews of The Chalk Man are stunning, I mean among regular readers, not just the press. What do you think makes the book so attractive and unique?

 

Blimey – I wish I knew! I think it’s different to a lot of recent psychological thrillers. There’s a dash of horror. It’s been compared to Stranger Things and IT, and 80’s nostalgia is big again right now. Not that I could have predicted that when I wrote the book back in 2015!

 

 

I heard that you have a two-book deal, is this the case? Are you now writing book number three? Are the books interlinked in any way?

 

No, they’re all stand-alone but the stories do all exist in the same universe, so readers may spot some subtle references. I haven’t ruled out linking them or returning to some of the characters in the future! Watch this space!

 

Haven't read The Chalk Man yet? Want to re-read? Great! Join The Chalk Man book club!

LET'S BUDDY READ! 

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url 2018-04-04 13:00
wayneturmel.com/2017/07/spirituality-and-historical-fiction-with-natasa-pantovic-nuit
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma: Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit

Spirituality and Historical Fiction with Nataša Pantović Nuit

My relationship with the spiritual and religious is complicated, to say the least. And while I remain very skeptical, bordering on the agnostic, in most issues, the search for the soul and the things that bring it peace fascinates me. Basically, I gave up searching a while ago, but respect and cheer on those who continue their journey. As usual, it’s taken me a long time to get to the point: today’s interview with Nataša Pantović Nuit and her novel “A-ma: Alchemy of Love.”

Nataša is an author, trainer, Yogi and spiritual researcher who lives and works in Malta. She’s the author of 9 Mindfulness Books called  the “Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training.” Ever fascinated with the energies of: Love, Divine, Power of Mind, Creativity, Tao, Living one’s Highest Potential, Nuit writes self-development courses exploring topics of inner-development, esoteric or occult teachings, and New Consciousness. The main theme of her Mindfulness Books, her poetry, and for today’s purposes her novels, is our alchemy transformation, the alchemy of soul, our everlasting quest to find the gold within, and discovering the stone that transforms metals into gold.

Like I said, that’s way more work than I’m willing to put in. But it’s not like spirituality, religion and restlessness of the soul haven’t been behind some of history’s greatest movements so….. (and at least it’s not another story about the Civil War or the #$$%@%ing Tudors)

In a nutshell, what’s Ama about?

We follow Ama through her life journey. Ama was born of an African mum and a Portuguese Lord De-Nobille. She was an alchemy mix of a White King and a Black Queen and she was supported with all the knowledge, money, spiritual insights from both the East, African spirits, and the Western Alchemy. She is a Goddess incarnated to help the transition from one Era to the next. All the events and manuscripts mentioned within the book: the Dutch attack on Macao on the 24th of June 1622, Fortaleza do Monte proved crucial in successfully holding off the attempted Dutch invasion, the Dutch East India Company, the Reform of the Chinese Calendar during 1630s in China, Father Schall’s [Johann Adam Schall von Bell] Appointment to the Chinese Board of Mathematicians (during 1650s), the Witch hunt and Witches Manual, are carefully researched historical facts. During the 17th century, some 5,000 slaves lived in Macau, around 2,000 Portuguese and 20,000 Chinese. The book uses history to create the connection between actions of the individuals that live surrounded by magic.

I think that historical fiction is a great way of asking the important questions in life, don’t you?  

Yes, using historical fiction, my major question to the audience was: How much of our thoughts, feeling or insights are truly ours and how many of them repeat within the various historical settings on Earth, throughout the centuries. Within our own spiritual journeys the major question is our eternal addiction to suffering (in my story this is the voice of Lilith). Can we let it go? Can we live our highest potential? Can we open to Love?

What is it about that time period or character that intrigued you and motivated you to write about it?

I was triggered by Giordano Bruno’s writings and his drive to change the existing “dogmatic” structure within the science and religion of his time. Trying to prove that the Earth is not at the center of our  Universe, placing humans at the periphery of Gods attention, shook the essence of our Adam and Eve story, our story of Jesus, our promises of Heaven and Hell, and has threatened to undermine our Religious and Political foundations. Entering the Age of Reason and Age of Enlightenment from the long period of darkness, fighting so many “demons” must have inspired many enlightened souls and their “revolutionary” spirit and works: Leonardo Da Vinci, Martin Luther, Christopher Columbus, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Galileo Galilei, to name just a few.

Now, imagine living during these times, imagine the 16th and 17thcentury China, being in the shoes of Jesuit Portuguese Priests who came to convert the Chinese into Christianity and for the first time truly met the wealth and depth of this most amazing culture…

Why China you may ask? I found it most intriguing that China had a compass and gun powder centuries before they came to Europe. Did you know that they possessed the most advanced Navy, yet they always focused on the trade with their neighbors, never went into frantic invasions of other continents. Reading about holocausts committed all around the world by Colonists powers around different continents (American Indians slaughter, Australian Aboriginals destruction, or crimes against New Zealand Maoris) all gave me an insight about how unfair was our world, and difficult our fight for justice, better world, and freedom. Within A-Ma we follow insights and subtle energy battles following lives of a group of enlightened souls who understood the prime importance for West and East wisdom sharing.

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

It is the setting of my story.

The world without a coffee or a tea shop was also our reality, not such a long time ago. The books were kept within the cellars of privileged, with an access only to the few. Various Monasteries were great for studying, however going out of their walls, there were a few places where people could gather to discuss life and philosophy. Coffee or tea shops mushroomed during this time, each one of them having similar setting where all classes are mixed and each could afford this inexpensive cup of delicious liquid. They were called “Penny Universities”, they gathered artists, philosophers, time-wasters, actors, poets. This became a natural setting of my story, Ama’s coffee house in Macao, at the edge of China. Ole within its walls gathered all sort of researchers.

Source: wayneturmel.com/2017/07/spirituality-and-historical-fiction-with-natasa-pantovic-nuit
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text 2018-04-02 13:40
An Interview with Rebecca D. Costa, American Sociobiologist + Non-fiction Giveaway

 

Rebecca D. Costa is an American sociobiologist and futurist. She is a world renowned expert on "fast adaptation" in complex environments, and a recipient of the prestigious Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Award. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, The Guardian, and other leading publications.

 

Read our interview with Rebecca to learn more about her writing habits and inspiration!

 

 

NON-FICTION GIVEAWAY!
WIN On the Verge by Rebecca D. Costa  

On the Verge - Rebecca D. CostaAccording to Costa, advances in Big Data, predictive analytics, genomics, artificial intelligence, and other breakthroughs have made it possible to pinpoint future results with mind-blowing accuracy - cracking the door to what Costa calls predaptation: the ability to adapt before the fact. Never before has the information needed to avert danger, get the jump ahead of others, or prepare for the inevitable been so clearly within grasp.

Through fascinating real-life examples, Costa reveals how technology has brought nations, businesses, and individuals to the edge of clairvoyance. Yet, our ability to act on foreknowledge often falls short - causing leaders to squander the advantage of preemption. To counteract this failure, Costa illuminates 12 principles of adaptation, and predaptation, used to succeed in fast-moving environments.



Tell us a few words about yourself – whatever you want to share about your personal and professional life, but also why you decided to become a writer.

 

After spending much of my childhood abroad and enjoying a successful career in Silicon Valley, I returned to my love of Charles Darwin and study of human evolution. My work in technology caused me to observe a growing gap between the speed at which change was occurring and the slow pace of physiological adaptation. This compelled me to write my first book, The Watchman’s Rattle, which became a success in 21 countries, and which thought- leaders E.O. Wilson, Richard Branson, Dr. James Watson stepped forward to lend their support to. Six years later I published On the Verge.

 

The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking our Way out of Extinction - Rebecca D. CostaOn the Verge - Rebecca D. Costa

 

How did you start writing?

 

Upon selling my company in Silicon Valley I retired to the small hamlet of Carmel, California, where I began combing through notebooks I maintained throughout my career, working with companies such as Apple Computer, Amdahl, Oracle, General Electric, etc. The notebooks inspired me to write my first book.

 

 

What are your writing habits? How often do you write, and how long at one time?

 

My writing comes in fits and starts. Similar to a radio station, clarity comes and goes. I am often awoken at 3 AM to write - and the duration of any writing period can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Then, just as suddenly, the signal is gone. For this reason, it is impossible to keep any semblance of a normal life when writing. There is a reason gifted writers are often alcoholics, drug addicts and have disagreeable personalities – writing is madness.

 

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a writer – to someone like you before you became a published author?

 

Writing is not a choice. It’s a calling. If you have the calling, then regardless of whether one person, or millions, read your work, the process is gratifying. You won’t make any money writing a book, so any illusions about getting rich should be quashed early. Find a good agent and editor and always listen to your editor.

 

 

Who are your favorite authors?

 

E.O. Wilson, Yuval Noah Harari, Jared Diamond, Carson McCullers.

 

 

What would you like to say to our readers? What do they need to know about your

books?

 

The opposite of politics is science. The more facts we have at our disposal the better able we are to guard against manipulation. But facts don’t have to be boring. Good storytelling is good storytelling regardless of the subject. Our favorite teachers in school made history come alive, science fun, and turned mathematics into a game. Good nonfiction writing should be held to that standard – it should engage us to the point where the time flies by and we didn’t even notice we were learning something new. I hope my easy style is what separates me from other writers in my genre.

 

 

Love science books?

Join The Flat Book Society Book Club on BookLikes.

We're here to read and discuss what would generally be called 'popular' science titles; one book every other month. Welcome!

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text 2018-03-26 13:15
Interview with Diana Forbes, Author of 'Mistress Suffragette'

 

Read our interview with Diana Forbes, a historical fiction author who is passionate about old New York, ancestry, and untold stories. She is a ninth-generation American, with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Diana Forbes lives and writes in Manhattan. When she is not cribbing chapters, Diana Forbes loves to explore the buildings where her nineteenth-century American ancestors lived, loved, survived and thrived. She is passionate about vintage clothing, antique furniture, ancestry, and vows to master the quadrille in her lifetime.

 

New historical fiction! 

Mistress Suffragette - Diana ForbesMistress Suffragette by Diana Forbes  

Out: March 05, 2018

A young woman without prospects at a ball in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island is a target for a certain kind of “suitor.” At the Memorial Day Ball during the Panic of 1893, impoverished but feisty Penelope Stanton draws the unwanted advances of a villainous millionaire banker who preys on distressed women—the incorrigible Edgar Daggers. Over a series of encounters, he promises Penelope the financial security she craves, but at what cost?

Skilled in the art of flirtation, Edgar is not without his charms, and Penelope is attracted to him against her better judgment. Initially, as Penelope grows into her own in the burgeoning early Women’s Suffrage Movement, Edgar exerts pressure, promising to use his power and access to help her advance.

But can he be trusted, or are his words part of an elaborate mind game played between him and his wife? During a glittering age where a woman’s reputation is her most valuable possession, Penelope must decide whether to compromise her principles for love, lust, and the allure of an easier life.

 

Tell us a few words about yourself - whatever you want to share about your personal and professional life, but also why you decided to become a writer.

 

I feel like writing chose me, and not the other way around. At the age of 6, I was writing diary entries. By the time I was 8, I wrote poetry. Two years later, my school asked me to help start the school newspaper. Later, I wrote features for my college paper, restaurant reviews for a review guide, and interviews for a local newspaper in Manhattan. I always knew that I wanted to write, and for me the question was what form should it take?

 

 

How did you start writing?

 

Writing was a form of creative expression, and I was better at it than other forms of creative expression, such as painting and music. I experimented with those as well, but writing seemed to “take.”

 

 

What are your writing habits? How often do you write, and how long at one time?

 

I am a creature of habit. I am fortunate to have an office where I do all my writing. I get into the office at 9 in the morning and write until 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. I take a break at 3:30 and work on promotional ideas for my debut novel, Mistress Suffragette. I leave around 7 p.m. during the week and try to hit the gym. On Saturdays, I have a “short writing day” – maybe two hours. On Sundays I have a long writing day—at least 8 hours, sometimes 10. It’s at this pace of writing that I feel things begin to happen for my projects. I also take two writing classes per term, so I’m reading other people’s work always. Additionally, I try to read great literature for about an hour a day before I get to my office.

 

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a writer - so, to someone like the person you were before you became a published author with rave reviews?

 

First, believe in your project. Know that it will improve the more drafts you do. So, if it seems to be taking a long time to write it, that’s perfectly normal. Second, never try to “time the market.” There is no way to predict what will be the next big thing in fiction. A lot of people say, “write what you know.” That’s great advice, but I also feel it’s a good idea to “write what you love.” It’s easier to sit in the chair and write when the topic is something that’s really close to your heart.

 

 

Who are your favorite authors and have they inspired you in any way?

 

I love the classics.  Right now, I’m reading The Great Gatsby for the fifth time. I love the poetic voice of the novel. Emma and Pride and Prejudice, I return to over and over. With Austen, I appreciate the ironic distance and her world view. I have read Gone with the Wind at least four times, and I am lured into the sweeping saga each time. The Catcher in the Rye feels as fresh today as the first time I read it. I think I’ve re-read it six times. All that said, I also read novels that are written today, and there are some classics that I’ve read only once. I also read newspapers, short stories, and flash fiction.

 

 

What would you like to say to your readers? What do they need to know about you and your first book?

 

I am so grateful to my readers. Thank you for spending time with my story! I really wanted to write a book I would love to read. For me, that’s a novel that whisks me away into its world.

 

 

Are you writing and when can we expect to read your second book? Will it be linked in any way to the first?

 

Thank you so much for asking. I am polishing the sequel to my novel. After that, I will be writing the third book in the trilogy. I have also written ¾ of another novel that takes place during the current time period.

 

Diana Forbes is an historical fiction author who is passionate about old New York, ancestry, and untold stories.

She is a ninth-generation American, with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Diana Forbes lives and writes in Manhattan. When she is not cribbing chapters, Diana Forbes loves to explore the buildings where her nineteenth-century American ancestors lived, loved, survived and thrived. She is passionate about vintage clothing, antique furniture, ancestry, and vows to master the quadrille in her lifetime.

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text 2018-03-19 19:47
An Interview with Deborah LeBlanc + Two Paranormal Giveaways

 

Interview with Deborah Leblanc, author of over a dozen books with elements of mystery and horror, paranormal suspense, and paranormal romance.

 

What’s her advice for beginner writers? Read our interview and find out!



Tell us a few words about yourself - whatever you want to share about your personal and professional life, but also why you decided to become a writer.

Well, I'm an author, a business owner, a licensed death scene investigator, a licensed private investigator, worked in funeral service for 12 years, have been a paranormal investigator for almost thirty years and started a non-profit called Literacy Inc., to help fight the growing illiteracy rate in America's teens. I'm also the house 'clairsendium' for the upcoming television show, Through the Veil, which should be airing the fourth quarter of this year on Destination America. I served four years as the president of the Horror Writers Association, 2 years as the Southwest President of the Mystery Writers of America and eight years as President of the Writers' Guild of Acadiana.

As to why I decided to become a writer, I have to admit that it wasn't something I aspired to as a kid. Although books were my saving grace growing up, I never thought about becoming a writer. It wasn't until I was in my late thirties that I woke up one morning, brushed my teeth, and while staring in the mirror simply said...."I think I'll write a book." And write it I did. I was too naive at the time to know that most authors don't sell their first book, much less get an agent. By some stroke of luck, however, a month after writing the book, I had a New York agent who sold my novel within weeks to a New York publisher.

 



How did you start writing?


I simply sat down at my computer and started telling a story that had been ruminating in my head for some time. I had never written a novel before, so to understand pacing and cliff hangers and point of view changes, I took four books from different authors I admired and literally typed half of each book until I got the 'feel' of how their language flowed. Doing that helped me get a better handle on how to tell my story.

 


What are your writing habits? How often do you write, and how long at one time?

My writing habits are a bit obsessive. Once I get a story in my head, I'm anxious to see it written on paper. I write every day, and, depending on my life responsibilities, write anywhere from 2 to 18 hours a day.



What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a writer - so, to someone like you the person you were before you became a published author?

Have a great story to tell, then plop your backside down in a chair, fingers to your computer keyboard and start writing. Don't give up and don't keep going over the same chapter forty-five times before moving on. Just get the story told, then you can clean it up once you rewrite. So the advice is basically: Read, read, read---write, write, write...and NEVER give up!

 

 


Who are your favorite authors and have they inspired you in any way?

I have so many favorite authors it's difficult to name them all. I enjoy Jodi Picoult, James Lee Burke, Janet Evanovich, J.D. Robb, Sandra Brown, Steven King, and Dean Koontz to name but a few. All of the ones I've named have special qualities that I appreciate as a reader. Characterization, the simple art of storytelling, intertwining romance elements, and laughter.

 


What would you like to say to your readers? What do they need to know about your books?

That I appreciate every reader who takes the time to read one of my books. Out of all the books available to them, having them choose one of mine to add to their library is truly an honor. Many of my books include paranormal suspense and paranormal romance.

 


Why do you write such scary stuff? Do you like being scared yourself, or does little scare you anymore?

With my background, very little scares me anymore. I enjoy writing suspense, the unknown. To me, it gets people thinking that the tough situations in their present lives may not be so bad after all.

 


Do you only read books in the same genre as yours, or do you also enjoy very different stories - like happy romance?

Oh, I read all genres, romance, horror, paranormal, autobiographies, biographies, true crime, etc. As long as the story is well told, I'm a happy camper. :)

 

Deborah Leblanc's books on BookLikes:

The Wolven (Harlequin Nocturne, #101) - Deborah LeblancWater Witch - Deborah LeblancA House Divided - Deborah LeblancMorbid Curiosity - Deborah LeblancThe Keepers: Christmas in Salem: Do You Fear What I Fear?The Fright Before ChristmasUnholy NightStalking in a Winter Wonderland - Heather Graham, Deborah Leblanc, Kathleen Pickering, Beth CiottaGrave Intent - Deborah LeblancGhost Box - Deborah LeblancWhite Hot - Deborah LeblancBottom Feeder - Deborah Leblanc
and more

 

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