Author Interview with Tracy Sherwood


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Triskele Reviews presents an author interview with Tracy Sherwood. Ms. Sherwood is the author of the novel Death Grip.

The Interview

Justine: Hi Tracy, thanks for sitting down to answer some questions. How are you doing today?

Tracy: It’s a good writing day so all is well.

Justine: That’s excellent, those types of days are my favorite. Well, why don’t you tell me about your book!

Tracy: Death Grip is the story of a female war hero home from the Middle East who returns to her life as a suburban wife and mother. She struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after witnessing the death of her comrade. The fallen soldier was also her lover and…husband of her now-widowed sister.

Justine: What was the spark that started the inspiration for Death Grip?

Tracy: Years ago, I read an article about a woman veteran who returned from the war and had difficulty adjusting to her life as a mother. She also had suffered physical injuries that made the most mundane of household tasks very difficult. She could no longer even make a bed or fold laundry.  She struggled most, however, in reconnecting with her young daughter. Her story really moved me. At the time, I was the parent of small children and knew the challenges of motherhood. I wondered what it would be like to serve your country abroad only to become a stranger in a strange land when you return. Home and family are the very things that should feel most familiar and secure.  In Death Grip, I brought in the idea that sometimes what makes us feel most safe and comfortable can become a prison. Even though our military men and women fight for freedom, there is always a price they pay. As the saying goes, “Freedom isn’t free.”

Justine: Yes, that is very true. It’s truly awesome that you decided to base a book off of the experiences of one woman who represents thousands of men and women returned from war. What kept you going on the days that you were writing?

Tracy: Caffeine. Lots of it. That’s my only requirement besides a computer.

Justine: Did it take you a lot of time to write Death Grip?

Tracy: Because Death Grip was already in screenplay format, not very long. It took me about two months to write the story as a novel.

Justine: Are you a “Wait for the muse” kind of writer, or do you stick to a writing routine?

Tracy: If I waited for a muse to show up, probably nothing would ever be written. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a muse unless I count my cat. But she is very undependable.

By and large, writers are procrastinators whose imaginations are active.  There are days when I feel more motivated to write than on other days. I have a discipline of writing every day—even if it is only a few paragraphs. That way, I am always connected to my project.  It is much harder to face the page after being away from it for too long. All kinds of insecurities and fears take root , and the dreaded Writer’s Block sprouts like suffocating weeds.

Justine: I agree. As a writer myself, I know exactly how that happens if I don’t write every day (or nearly every day). What were your emotions when the writing was finally done?

Tracy: Exhilarated. I’ve climbed my own Mount Everest. I take in the view and enjoy what I’ve accomplished before that trek back down to reality (editing, marketing, etc.).

Justine: When it was finally published, how did that affect you? Did you instantly share it with all your family and friends?

Tracy: I felt excited—and very nervous! Still, those butterflies are part of the thrill.  Actually, it made me uncomfortable to sound my trumpet blast on social media.  Yet, I also knew it was important to share the news with family and friends from a marketing perspective.

Justine: I can definitely see why any newly published author would have those butterflies. It’s very personal, sharing the product of your imagination, and a lot of hard work. Do you feel like it’s been a positive thing in your life? Both personally and as far as feedback from readers go?

Tracy: Absolutely! Readers with PTSD write to tell me that the book has been cathartic and made the subject less stigmatized for them. On a professional note, I have film producers who are interested in my screenplay to the book.

Justine: Oh, that’s amazing! That’s an accomplishment that not a lot of writers get to brag about! So, now the big question – are you currently working on another book?

Tracy: I’m writing a thriller novel inspired by a true story, centered on a female protagonist who uncovers a cold case murder with unexpected personal implications.

Thanks for answering questions, Tracy. I look forward to reading your book and getting some more reviews out there for you!


death-gripFor more information on Tracy and her books, you can view her author page on Amazon.

You can also follow her on Facebook or Twitter!

Buy Death Grip (Kindle Edition) on Amazon today!

 

 

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Author Interview with Ted Loukes


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Author Interview with Ted Loukes

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Author Ted Loukes
Ted Loukes is an independent researcher in the field of ancient civilisations. Born in the sixties, he has been on a voyage of discovery for over forty years, questioning man’s origins by digging through ancient texts, inscriptions, myths and
legends. He moved to South Africa in 1990 and set up home in Johannesburg, appropriately just a few kilometres from the Cradle of Humankind. His particular
fascination with Ancient Egypt began in 1972 with a visit to the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition, held at the British Museum.
(Borrowed from his website)
The Interview

Justine: Hi Ted, how are you doing today?

Ted: Wonderful, thank you – it’s a beautiful spring morning here in South Africa.

Justine: Sounds amazing! South Africa is one place I’d like to visit. So, Ted, tell me about your book.

Ted: Two of the ancient world’s most enigmatic characters, Moses, who led the Israelites from bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land, yet archaeologically didn’t exist, and the heretical Pharaoh who overturned the religion of Egypt and was deliberately erased from history. Who were these two men and what was the legacy they left behind? To understand Moses and Akhenaten we need to understand the times they lived in. We need to establish how Moses came to be raised in a royal household; where he went when he left Egypt; what happened   when he returned; how the circumstances of the Exodus occurred and under which Egyptian king did it take place. We must take a fresh look at whatever inscriptional evidence there is and re-evaluate the texts that have survived. But before we do that, we need to understand why what we read in textbooks and encyclopedias today, is not really ‘cast in stone’

Justine: What got you interested in the lives of Moses and Akhenaten?

Ted: When I started I was busy running a blog looking at various controversial issues, both ancient and modern and it seemed a vaguely interesting idea; a link between Moses and the heretic pharaoh. It began as a single page post, which grew into a two and a half year long project.

Justine: Since all authors have different methods of writing, I have to ask – did you have a specific time you wrote, or an event that inspired you to work on your book?

Ted:  Not really, I wrote in my spare time. I think it was my first visit to Egypt that really pushed things along. It is one thing to look at pictures and documentaries, but to actually stand in front of those monuments and to walk those dusty roads is completely another.

Justine: Your book is nonfiction, so it comes with its own set of challenges. Did it take you a long time to write your book?

Ted: It took the best part of two and a half years, but a lot of that time was research.

Justine: It definitely seems like you would need a lot of time for research. Were you working on your book every day?

Ted: I wasn’t writing every day, but I was certainly doing research every day. Luckily, many texts and books are available online.

Justine: How did you feel when the writing and researching was finally done? It took two and a half years, so it must have had an impact on you when you finished it.

Ted: To be honest it was almost an anti-climax. I suddenly was at a loss as to what to do with myself.

Justine: I know it was kind of anticlimactic when you finished, but what was the most exciting part of having a finished manuscript?

Ted: The biggest excitement was the day I received the proof copy. It also meant I had something to do again; checking everything and fixing the odd error.

Justine: How have things worked out for you since you finished your book? Do you feel like it’s had a positive effect on your life?

Ted: I think it has had an incredibly positive effect on me. It is an achievement to be proud of and it does wonders for one’s self-confidence.

Justine: That is definitely true! Now that this book is published, are you planning on writing more books?

Ted: I am busy doing research on a follow up book that looks more deeply into certain areas only touched on in Moses and Akhenaten: Brothers in Alms.

Justine: Thanks for joining me, Ted. I can’t wait to check out your book.

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Ted’s book, Moses and Akhenaten: Brothers in Alms, is available for purchase in the Kindle library on Amazon.

You can learn more about the book, and see a brief bio of Mr. Loukes, on his website, TedLoukes.com.

You can also follow Ted on Facebook, and view his author page on Amazon.

 

Thanks for reading, and check back soon for more content!

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A Note to Readers and Authors


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Hello beloved authors awaiting a book review:

I understand that my response times when it comes to emails as well as book reviews, book spotlights, author interviews, and guest posts has been incredibly slow as of late.

I appreciate everyone’s patience. In the last month, I prepared for and then took an international vacation. During that time I was unable to respond to emails sent to the Triskele Reviews address, and also unable to download ARC novels that were on my TBR list. I am also a student, an author, and a professional, and the combination of all of my responsibilities has put a lot of my blogging on hold.

I have come up with the following time frames in which you can expect a response, depending on the nature of your email. Make sure you are emailing triskelereviews@gmail.com and not my personal email address, as I have to go through the process of noting my personal emails and responding to them through the Triskele Reviews address.

If you are writing to me in response to an email that I previously sent you regarding book spotlights, author interviews, and guest posts, you can expect a response no later than December 1st, 2016. The emails will be answered in the order they were received, and the content will be published by that standard. I understand it has already been a while, and I am doing my best to catch up.

If you email(ed) me in regard to a book review that I previously agreed to do, but have not yet gotten to, you can expect a response no later than January 1st, 2017. The delay is largely due to the fact that I want to make sure that I can give the respective authors a time frame in which they can expect their review to be published on Triskele Reviews. Remember, I always email a link to the author that takes them directly to their review. Please be advised that if you would like your review published on Amazon and Goodreads, you should respond to me with that request. Sometimes I automatically do this, but generally I leave it up to the author.

If you are contacting me with a new book review request, you can expect a reply between January 22nd, 2017, and February 1st, 2017, at the very latest. I already have a long list of books that I have promised to review, and the wait time is actually for your convenience more than mine. I want to make sure that I can personally respond to each author, provide an approximate wait time for a review, and ensure that I can give priority to the novels that have been waiting the longest for a review.

Please note that if you have already contacted me regarding a book review and you do not wish to wait for a while for your review, you are welcome to email me again and let me know that you are no longer interested. No hard feelings if you do so.

Due to these time restrictions, please understand that I do not participate in blog tours where a review is required. I will consider blog tours where book spotlights are an option, however, I cannot guarantee that I will accept the invitation.

Please understand that my schedule is quite erratic, and you may receive responses at strange times of the day, particularly if you are not in my time zone (PST). If you have not received a response within the appropriate time period with regards to your specific correspondence, please make sure that my emails have not made their way into your spam folder. You can avoid that by adding triskelereviews@gmail.com to your contacts. This will also make it easier for you to write any follow-up comments, concerns, questions, or cancellation of review requests.

I hope that this answers any questions that authors may have had about the process of receiving a book review. The time frames provided are meant to be beneficial to both myself and you, the author.

Followers can expect new content in the coming weeks, as my schedule allows.

Thanks to everyone for sticking with me.

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Book Review: Insurgent, by Veronica Roth


Book Review

 

The following is a book review of Insurgent, by Veronica Roth, written by J.A. Steckling.

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Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent trilogy. I previously reviewed Divergent on Triskele Reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

The Review

This book was okay, but in my opinion, it fell way short of Divergent. I had much higher hopes for this book. Divergent was more detailed, had real conflicts, and great characters. Character development wasn’t that amazing in the first book, but it was significantly better than Insurgent.

I saw the movie version of Insurgent first, and it is rare that I say this, but I liked the movie better than the book.

It seems that the whole book is Tris involved in a lot of interpersonal drama, and there is very little conflict related to the plot of the story beyond the conflict between the characters. It took until nearly the end of the book for the plot to pick up, and even then, the ending was just cut off in the middle of a scene. That really upset me – it’s not a smart writing choice at all, even as a cliffhanger.

Tris doesn’t seem to undergo any character development either. She’s terrified of guns because of the incidents in the first book. You would think that a little character development would get her past this, say, for the sake of her loved ones – but apparently Roth had no intention of expanding on her characters.

The plot was also rather one dimensional. Okay, Janine wants to run experiments. Big deal, we all knew that from the first book. To have that be the only major plot point in the book is just awful.

Overall, Divergent was much better. I’m curious how Allegiant will stand up to the first two books. I got it at the library yesterday, so I suppose I’ll know soon enough.

The Rating

Insurgent is not worthy of a great rating; 3 stars seemed like the most I could assign it. It wasn’t terrible, but I flat-out wouldn’t recommend it to someone if it weren’t for the fact that it’s the second book in the trilogy.

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Author Interview with Ace Varkey


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I have a new interview for Triskele Reviews readers today, with author Ace Varkey. Ace submitted his book The Girl Who Went Missing to me for review, and it’s on my TBR list, so be sure to look out for the forthcoming review. In the meantime, hear what Ace himself has to say about his book, his writing process, and more. This is an interview exclusively for Triskele Reviews, but feel free to share if you like it (just remember to list the source!).

Justine: Hi Ace, how are you today?

Ace: I’ve just had a delicious breakfast of toast, avocado and egg, and my cat, Kitty O, is curled up next to me, so it’s a great start to the day.

Justine: Great! Happy to hear it! Well, let’s get started. Tell me all about The Girl Who Went Missing!

Ace: My book is a mystery that is set in Mumbai, India, a city which might not be familiar to many readers. I hope they will enjoy steeping themselves in the aromas and colors of that amazing and varied city. The novel begins when Thalia, who is a Fulbright student in Mumbai, does not come to the airport to meet her sister, June, who has just flown in from Berkeley, California. June’s desperate search for Thalia takes her down many different paths. June is helped by Mumbai’s own Commissioner Oscar D’Costa, who is to be a recurring character, as I plan to write a series set in India.

Justine: I love books that are set in different places. It’s so interesting to immerse yourself in another culture. Sometimes the cultures are so different from our own that it seems like entering another world! Since this is such a drastically different culture that you’re writing about, what was the seed that sparked the idea for your book?

Ace: I wanted to wed the fast-paced plot of a mystery with a socially relevant topic. For “The girl who went missing,” I chose to highlight human trafficking. I knew about young girls being sold in Nepal, as well as girls sent off to the Middle East. As much as I wanted my readers to enjoy the book, I wanted to take this opportunity to make them aware of what is going on in the world right now. I enjoy learning when I read and hoped my readers would feel the same way. That being said, the novel does not have a teaching tone to it at all. It’s truly a mystery and it makes the readers guess as to what has happened to Thalia.

Justine: Mystery is one of my favorite genres, so I can’t wait to read it. They must be a lot of work to construct, though. So many twists and turns! I really do admire all that work that goes into it. I feel like everyone has a different method for their writing. When did you do your best work? Do you have a kind of schedule or method that works best for you?

Ace: I do my best work when I have an idea for a scene or character late at night and then I wake up in the morning ready to write. When that does not happen, I go back to my old pattern, which is to read everything I have written so far. I either end up editing a section, or I elaborate on a scene. I can’t write to music and the only setting I need is some place quiet. Oh, I don’t mind my cat snoring next to me! This would be Kitty O, who is the main character in my weekly blog, “Cat got my tongue.”

Justine: I love the name Kitty O. It’s so great that you set up your blog that way! Well, since we know you were mostly distraction free, how long did it take you to write your book, not including editing and such?

Ace: I started The Girl Who Went Missing decades ago, when India wasn’t as much in the media as it is today. Ditto human trafficking. The setting and the theme made many agents uncomfortable, so I put it aside. When I re-visited to the novel two years ago, it was a matter of bringing it to the present, and therefore it went rather quickly. It took me about nine months total.

Justine: Well, sorry those agents delayed your book, but I’m glad you were able to re-visit it and get it up to date. That’s the downer about going any route other than self-publishing. Speaking of, how did you feel when the writing was finally done? What was the scariest part of the upcoming steps you needed to take, like editing, publishing, and promoting?

Ace: I did not mind the editing because the suggested change made me rethink what I had written and this either meant I improved the novel or was certain of the choice I had made the first time around. I totally feared the promoting aspect! There is so much one can do these days and it overwhelmed me to such a degree I got catatonic. Honestly. Besides, I felt it took away from my writing time. I started my second mystery, “While the children slept,” as soon as I was done with the first one.  I would much rather write than promote, that’s for sure.

Justine: I think that promoting is probably the most common thing authors dread, if they don’t have a publisher that does it for them. Since you’d rather write than promote, do you write every day, or are you more inclined to write only when there’s inspiration?

Ace: I try and write every day, even if it is for an hour or less. There were times, however, when I would stare at the screen and my fingers would rest on the keys. I have learned that when nothing happens, it means I am to do something else, like watch a movie, go for a walk, clean the house….all of which clears my mind and then guilt takes over so I get back to writing.

Justine: Ah yes, the guilt all authors feel when they neglect their work for too long. Sometimes a little break is necessary, though. How have things worked out for you since you finished your book? Do you feel like it’s been a positive thing in your life?

Ace: It’s really lovely to finally let people know that yes, after all these years of wanting to be a published writer and grumbling about the process, they can now buy my novel.

Justine: And so can everyone else, which is great! You’re planning on writing at least one other book, right?

Ace: Like I noted in an earlier question, I have written the second novel in my Detective Oscar D’Costa series entitled While the Children Slept. It felt quite wonderful to get back to D’Costa and put him into another situation. He’s now like a friend….except, of course, that I get to control him!

Justine: Imaginary friends can sometimes make the best friends! So, now that Book One is published, and Book Two has been finished, can we expect a third mystery from you?

Ace: Absolutely! Now that I have the second book just about done, I have the basic plot about the third mystery. I’m very excited about this one, partly because it is new and unwritten (new things are so much more enticing) and partly because we get to see a young D’Costa.

Justine: Awesome, I’m looking forward to reading The Girl Who Went Missing! Thanks for doing the interview, and keep in touch!

Here are the images for The Girl Who Went Missing: 

About Ace: 

Find Ace on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, or on his blog.

Guest Post from Richard Denham


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Richard Denham, co-author of the Britannia series with M J Trow, discusses the joys and sacrifices of writing historical fiction with Triskele Reviews. The third book in their series The Warlords is now available, and Richard has written to me about walking the tight-rope of historicity and fiction.

When I first set out to write the Britannia series with Mei, I was keen for it to be as historically accurate as possible. However, I soon learned that fiction and historical accuracy don’t make the best of friends. If you lean too much towards historicity, a book becomes too heavy, too scholarly and far too sluggish for the average reader. If you lean too far the other way, towards fiction, the story runs away, and glaring historical errors will put off readers to the point that the story should be considered fantasy rather than historical fiction.

So this was the challenge Mei and I faced when we first put pen to paper for Britannia. As is well known, the Dark Ages weren’t called that for nothing! However, search through the rubble long enough and you start to pick up interesting pieces of information. The hagiographies of Saints of the age, though arguably embellished and dramatized – do provide an interesting glimpse into this enigmatic time. Historical arguments are also very useful; compare the Welsh folklore of Macsen Wledig in the Mabinogion for example with the panegyrics and damnatio memoriae of Rome and you can start to make sense of it all.

There are many compromises that have to be made to keep a work of historical fiction engaging and well-paced. If we were too orthodox with timings and years of events, the pace of the story would suddenly stop and we would find empty years where our characters were sitting twiddling their thumbs – which would no doubt put off the average reader who is looking, above all, to be entertained. So occasionally, some events must be concertinaed.

Some changes we hope won’t cause any problems for the reader. For instance the spirit and governmental structure of Rome had changed considerably from the days of Caesar and Anthony – the time which most people think of when they think of Rome. Britain itself was called a diocese, ruled by a vicarius but because of the ecclesiastical connotations which didn’t exist then, it simply didn’t ring true for us and thought it confused matters so we didn’t use that word at all.

Another example is Valentinus, our protagonist from Part I: The Wall. His involvement in the ‘Great Conspiracy’ of Britain in 367 and later events is unclear, but we were quite comfortable making him our villain throughout the story.

There is no question that the Dark Ages were an enigmatic time, with the British outside of the Church rarely writing things down, and preferring instead the oral tradition of Bardic culture. However, the same can be said for all history – history is not science, some things are beyond dispute, but history is written by people with an agenda, and that is an unavoidable part of human nature. The significance of a German-style military belt dug up somewhere in Essex by an archaeologist can be interpreted a dozen different ways. Where history is like science is that it is always improving, disagreeing with itself and challenging accepted beliefs. It is not so much a case of proving what happened, but disproving what didn’t. Think for example of the legends of King Arthur, the layers of myth piled on top of him and all the historical paradigm shifts he has been facing since he was (or wasn’t) alive.

Being an author of historical fiction is much like being a detective in some messy and confusing crime scene. Disagreements with colleagues over the significance of certain evidence, analysing claims and counter-claims from those involved, filtering through the irrelevant and biased to find some core element of truth. Luckily for Mei and me, this is something we enjoy.

Of course, it is all open to debate – and the writer of historical fiction will soon discover that. There will be those who disagree with you at either end of the spectrum. What is important is to try to find an acceptable middle and come to terms with the fact that you have written a work of fiction, and historicity will always take collateral damage as a result. Mei and I enjoy the challenge; history and storytelling is a passion of ours. As we creep closer to the elusive figure of King Arthur and move away from the relative evidential comforts of Roman Britain, this is something that will be all the more challenging.

Ultimately, if Britannia sparks people’s interest in the Age of Heroes and encourages them to do their own research and make up their own minds, then that for me is the best success of all.

Thank you, Richard, for sharing all of this with Triskele Reviews and its readers.

Readers: The first book in the Britannia series is available for purchase on Amazon, and you can follow the links below to purchase it. There are also links to Richard Denham’s other books. By using the links in this post, you’re helping me support Triskele Reviews.

R. Denham 1

Britannia: Part I: The Wall

R. Denham 2

Citizen Survivor Tales (The Ministry of Survivors)

Did you like this guest post? Want to see more? Check out another guest post, by Gary D. Conrad.

Book Review: The Indigo Stone, by Simone Snaith


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This is a book review of The Indigo Stone, by Simone Snaith. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Ms. Snaith for the book and her patience.
The Indigo Stone

The Indigo Stone is a fantasy novel, focusing around the oppression of a magical race of humans called the Laxens. The main character, a Laxen, finally escapes from the oppression of the Indigo in the company of two spies. She has powers that come and go intermittently, and she learns more of her history as the book goes on, which helps build up to the ending.

For more information on The Indigo Stone, please see my book spotlight on the novel from a few weeks ago.

The Review

I was completely entranced with the book from the moment it started. One of the things I look for when I begin reading a book is how quickly I’m tossed into the story. This book threw me right in within the first few paragraphs. From that point on, I was hooked. Believe it or not, I read this whole book in one sitting.

I loved all the characters in the book. The relationships between them are all unique to the two people involved. It made for a great read. I was glad to see the romance the book was building up to eventually fell into place as well!

The Indigo are the main villains in this book, with the head of the order being Enemy #1, so to speak. I was pleased that you eventually get to hear the head Indigo’s story, and that the interactions with him are consistent with what you learned beforehand. I almost felt bad for Indigo, but he was just too evil by the time the story takes place.

A lot of times, I feel a little let down by action sequences. They’re not natural to every writer, so it’s usually forgivable. This book had decent action scenes. I found the other aspects of the book, like the suspense about whether or not the story will end in a war, much better written, but the action scenes were by no means bad.

The ending of the book was good. The author didn’t just drop me off at the end of the war and give me a little prologue. It was an extra chapter that flowed seamlessly from the story, and I was quite happy with the ending.

The Rating

I’m happy to give The Indigo Stone 4.5 out of 5 possible stars.

I’m looking forward to seeing more from Ms. Snaith soon. I wish her the best of luck with her future writing endeavors.

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Author Interview With James Derry


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Hello everyone! I have an author interview to share with you. I interviewed author James Derry, who wrote Idyll, the last book I reviewed.

James Derry

James is a talented author who wrote two novels I previously reviewed. The most recent book I reviewed, Idyll, is the first book in a trilogy that I’m excited to finish. I’ll be buying them – I support authors, and encourage my readers to do the same!

 

 

Justine: How are you doing today?
James: Pretty good! My wife and I have just put the kids to bed, so this is usually the time when my motivated side wars with my exhausted side to see if I’ll do some more writing for the day, or just veg out watching Netflix.

Justine: Let’s jump right in. Tell me about your books!
James: My most recent book is ‘The Wilds,’ which is the middle book of a trilogy. Overall, the series is a Space Western that follows four young people in their twenties as they try to survive on this planet where things have gone pretty horribly wrong for the human race. The first book is called Idyll, and I’m writing the third book now. So far, all three books I think have a different status quo, with different main villains and different plot structures to them. Book 1 was a ‘road trip’ story. Book 2 has two separate plot lines that sort of intermingle then merge together at the end. Book 3, from what I have outlined, is this big build up to a climactic showdown.

Justine: That sounds awesome! I’ve already read Idyll, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next two. I’m totally going to buy The Wilds here in the near future. How did you come up with the idea for your books? Was it an epiphany kind of thing, or did you have some inspiration?
James: The idea for Idyll started with this image I had in my head of a guy riding a horse across a deserted plain. Initially, I imagined him carrying hunting gear from cavemen times (like a stone axe and a spear), but then he pulls out this holographic device, like something out of Star Wars. I liked the juxtaposition of a people who had the technology to fly to other planets, but chose to live in a much more rustic existence once they got away from Earth. Then eventually, I shifted the story from cavemen to cowboys.

Justine: That’s so cool. It’s amazing how authors end up with an image or idea, and then the characters or the story decide to branch off into something different. It’s happened to me more than once. Speaking of, everyone’s creative process is different. When did you do your best work? Did you have to have a certain setting, mood, or music to get into the groove?
James: I don’t really have a set routine or locale that really puts me in the mood for writing. I guess that’s kind of a blessing and a curse. I can usually write anywhere. Parked in my car on my lunch hour. On the couch at the end of the day. In the backyard with an iced coffee, if the weather’s nice. I’ve even done some dictating into my phone while driving through slow traffic. The unfortunate thing is that it usually takes me a while to get warmed up, and that overall I’m pretty slow. Sometime I think if I had a more set routine, I might be more productive.
Justine: Well, you know, Stephen King started out with an erratic work schedule, and ended up working on his writing in a closet, I think it was. He talks about it in his book On Writing. There’s really no right or wrong way to write – a routine might help, but routines aren’t for everyone. I get bored with them and it ends up halting my writing for a while.

Justine: Anyway, I think writing works out differently for everybody. How long did it take you to write each book, not including editing and such?
James: That’s hard to say, because with every book so far, I’ve stopped at some point in the first draft to spend a few months revising another book. Book 3 of the Idyll trilogy is the first book that I’ve written where I don’t have any other manuscripts simmering on the back-burner. So far, its going pretty smoothly, and I’m averaging about 5,000 words a week. At that rate, hopefully I’ll be done with the first draft in another eight weeks or so.
Justine: Eight weeks? Guess I won’t be waiting long to get through the whole trilogy!

Justine: I know you said you don’t have a set writing routine, but are you writing every day, or do you only write when “the muse is there”, so to speak?
James: Just about every day.  Sometimes I will miss a day, and some days I only get enough time for fifteen minutes of writing.
Justine: Fifteen minutes can amount to a lot, depending on how fast you get into it and how fast you type!

Justine: As for your previous books, how did you feel when the writing was finally done? Some people feel relieved, others a little bit of dread at the editing, promoting, and publishing to come.
James: Hmm. Probably some form of dread because the publishing stuff is definitely the most disheartening part of the process.
Justine: I believe it.

Justine: When your books were finally through the dreaded publishing phase and available for purchase, you must have felt excited! Did you instantly share them with all of your family and friends?
James: Yes, I did share it, and that’s always cool. Even more so when you hear what strangers think of your book, like reviewers and bloggers or other authors. That’s definitely been the most rewarding part of the publishing process.

Justine: So, now the big question – are you planning on writing any other books, once your trilogy is complete? When can we expect more writing from you?
James: Yes. I already have an idea for a fantasy series in my head. I think it could be really cool, definitely the type of fantasy story and characters that I want to read, and that I don’t think we see a lot of out there right now. My hope is that you will see a lot more from me. I’m still working toward my 10,000 hours (as Malcolm Gladwell puts it), so with each book I’m building up my catalog of books and strengthening my writing skills. I have this fantasy of me in my sixties, living in semi-retirement, still writing, and earning a modest amount of money from my books. But in the meantime, in case that doesn’t happen I’m still putting money in my 401K!
Justine: I think every writer has that fantasy. I think you’ll get there one day! I mean, you don’t have to be J.K. Rowling or Stephen King to still get a nice retirement from your writing (but it certainly does help).

Justine: Thanks for doing this interview, James! Good luck with your future books, and keep in touch!

You can read more about James Derry on his website. Check out my review of Idyll too! I did another review for his first novel, Line of Descent, that you can also take a look at. Follow James on Twitter and Facebook for his latest updates.

His books are available for purchase on Amazon. 
Buy Line of Descent, by James Derry

Buy Idyll (The Idyll Trilogy Book 1), by James Derry

Buy The Wilds (The Idyll Trilogy Book 2), by James Derry

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Book Review: Idyll, by James Derry


Book Review

This is a book review of Idyll, by James Derry, written by J.A. Steckling. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 Book Details:

IdyllAfter a three-year quarantine, Walt and Samuel Starboard set out from their ranch on a mission to cure their comatose mother and find their missing father. For days they ride through a blighted landscape: deserted cabins and gravestones and the ruins of towns destroyed by fire. Just when the brothers are about to give up, they stumble upon a second pair of survivors, two beautiful and determined sisters.

Miriam and Virginia Bridge offer new hope, but they also present new problems. Stirrings of emotion and shifting priorities threaten to set the brothers against each other. Can Walt and Samuel overcome years of festering resentment, or will their rivalry tear them apart before they can reunite their broken family? And will any of them survive the revelation of who—or what—unleashed the Lullaby on their home world?

[via Goodreads]

The Review

James Derry wrote an excellent novel.

Idyll is full of imagery. It sucks you straight into the world of the new planet, Idyll. There’s an immediate introduction of plot and characters that gets the story moving straight away. The reader immediately wants to know more about what’s going on. I would say that within the first few chapters, I was very curious about the world I’d just been introduced to. There are some logs between some of the chapters, and it is important that the reader reads them, even though they seem to just add more questions.

Speaking of questions, as I was reading the story, I was full of questions – in a good way. I was compelled to keep reading, even if I knew I had other things to do, because I so desperately wanted to figure out the answers along with the characters.

This book has some elements of horror, thriller, and fantasy. I love when there are elements of more than one genre in a story – it really makes a page-turner. I think the combination of these particular elements together are part of why I loved the book so much.

The main characters in the story, all on the same quest, are wonderful. There are romantic feelings, tensions from different lifestyles, trust issues, resentment, and fondness for each other despite all odds. They are all so wonderfully unique – that’s part of what makes their interactions so interesting.

The ending was quite a twist, and I am excited to read the sequel. The book set you up perfectly for it, but it’s not a cliffhanger, so you can make a choice to read it or not.

The Rating

I am very happy to rate Idyll by James Derry 5 out of 5 stars.

Buy Idyll (The Idyll Trilogy Book 1) on Amazon

Learn more about Idyll on Goodreads

By using the link in this post to purchase Idyll by James Derry on Amazon, you are helping me keep Triskele Reviews up and running. Thanks!

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Book Spotlight: The Story of Jane Doe, by R.A. Budden


Book Spotlight Banner

This is a book spotlight for the novel The Story of Jane Doe by R.A. Budden.

You can find information on discounts and purchasing options at the bottom of this post.

About the Book: 

The Story of Jane Doe

Jane DoeI look into the mirror and wonder who is looking back at me. The flashbacks have given me no clue as to what type of woman I am. Am I a killer? Am I a victim? Am I both? I just don’t know. I am at a loss of what to do. I take a deep breath and turn away from the haunting image in the mirror and look down at the street below. People walking with a purpose in life—I wonder where they are going. Home to a loved one? Home to their children? I have no loved one; I have no family. I just have myself, someone I don’t even know. I turn around and look at the little apartment I now call home. I have a sofa, a TV, and a coffee table. No pictures hang on my wall, no trinkets or memorabilia scatter the apartment, no memories of good times. Not much of a home. I put my head in my hands to try to will myself to remember something, to remember anything, to remember laughter, to remember love, to remember family. I come up blank. There is nothing. There are no memories of laughter, no memories of love, and no memories of a family. No good memories at all. I have no identity; I have no family. I only have a name. A name the hospital gave me. JANE DOE.

What People Are Saying: 

“The Story of Jane Doe was full of twists and turns. It was an easy read and a page turner- I didn’t want to put it down. Looking forward to hopefully see more from this author!” – Caitlin Klein, Amazon Customer, 5-star Rating

 

“If you are looking for an exciting read that piques all of your emotions, this book is it! You get a mystery/thriller/romance that is sprinkled with humor, steamy (but not too graphic) love scenes, budding romance, and tear-jerking story lines. I loved all of the characters in the book, and though I couldn’t wait to read each next page, I also didn’t want the story to end! I could not get enough of this book and devoured it in just a few short days. It is very much worth the $9.99 price tag for several evenings or a long weekend of good reading, and I look forward to reading more from this talented author!” – Stacey K., Amazon Customer, 5-star Rating

 

“An incredible book!! full of emotions. A great read, this book has it all…passion, thrill, drama, humour, suspense and a lot of heart. A page turner with such descriptive writing feels like your watching a movie in your head. Such a talented writer!” – Leena Gajjar, Amazon Customer, 5-star rating

 

Where to Find the Book: 

Find ‘The Story of Jane Doe’ on Goodreads, where it has a 4.25-star rating from 8 readers.

OR

Buy ‘The Story Of Jane Doe: Killer or Victim…She doesn’t remember’ on Amazon!

For a limited time, Ms. Budden is offering special pricing for her book. Between July 1st and July 31st, you can get the Kindle Edition of her book for only $2.99. If you’re interested in reading it, make sure you scoop it up before the sale is up!

 

About the Author: 

R.A. Budden is from Australia, but has been living in Canada since 2009. During her younger years, Rachel wrote many short stories but didn’t have the confidence to let anyone read them. Now that she has aged like a fine wine, she has gained the confidence to put her words out there into the world.

Notes from J.A. Steckling: 

I obtained the information for this book spotlight from the author herself. She gave me permission to reproduce the materials used for her book for the purpose of posting it on Triskele Reviews. All information that is not in the public domain, including her book cover, is copyrighted by her by law.

If you use the link to purchase the Kindle Edition of The Story of Jane Doe, it will help me continue to keep Triskele Reviews up and running. Thank you!

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