interview with author lindsay ferguson

a brief background

Lindsay has been immersing herself in stories since her childhood days of sneaking a flashlight into her room14290813 and staying up reading The Babysitters Club series way past her bedtime, writing spinoffs of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and imagining herself in fascinating, far-off places. She still dreams of traveling the world one day, and finds getting lost in a good book almost as absorbing as penning her own stories and experiencing them unfold. A Communication graduate from the University of Utah, she worked as a PR and marketing writer for a computer software company for several years and has contributed feature lifestyle articles to various media outlets. When she felt the itch to attempt novel writing a fascination with history created a natural inclination toward historical fiction, with a romantic flare, of course. She lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City with her husband and four children. By the Stars is her first novel.

Source: Goodreads

the interview

1. What is your most favourite book?
Tough question! I have a hard time picking a very favorite book. There are many genres I enjoy so it’s hard to compare and I find my favorite books vary during different phases of my life. So, to help narrow it down, I’ll go with my favorite book I’ve read in the past year – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Such an excellent read! 

2. What advice can you give to those who are just beginning writing? 

I would say don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with the end when you’re at the beginning. If you have an idea just start getting the words down on paper. Take it one step at a time, one chapter at a time, and you will slowly get further into your project. I do think it’s wise to have an outline to guide you, but from there just let yourself write and see where it takes you, and sooner than you think you’ll have a good chunk of your book complete. Also, enjoy the process! Writing is the fun part. Don’t try to rush to the end too quickly because soon you’ll be wishing you could go back to that fun creative stage again :).

3. If you could rewrite one book, what would it be? 

This is also a tricky question. A book just popped into my head, so I’m going to go with it. The Giver by Lois Lowry. I loved this book growing up. Looking back, I think it was probably the first book I ever read that really made me think. I’m not saying I’d rewrite this book because it needs to be rewritten – I think it’s brilliant! I’m saying this book because I would love to go back and experience the creative process the author went through when she wrote it. So, I guess I’m saying I’d like to be placed in her shoes while she wrote it :). 

4. Where did you get the inspiration or idea of writing By the Stars? 

The idea for By the Stars came about because of a visit I had with the man the book is inspired by. I had always wanted to write a novel and had a fascination with history, especially the WWII era, and I am always a sucker for a good love story. I was lucky enough to visit with this man and hear his incredible story of love, war and hope, and instantly fell in love with it. On my drive home that day the thought entered my mind that his story could make a great basis for a novel. I was a bit intimidated by the idea in the beginning because my goal to write a novel was more of a far-off one, but I felt so compelled by the story and couldn’t get the idea out of my head, so I began working on it. 

5. Writing is a path of hardships. Describe one time where you reached the lowest point of your journey and how you overcame it. 
I’d say probably when I finished the manuscript and I began looking into what to do next. I started sending out query letters about my novel to agents. I had no connections, knowing literally no one on the publishing industry or book agent world, and was getting zero responses. I began getting pretty discouraged that nothing would come of the novel. But then I started hearing about how some of the local publishers in my area had good reputations, and that I could try sending them a manuscript without an agent. I decided to give it a try. I was pregnant with my twins at the time and ended up having a crazy pregnancy with the babies coming early soon after I submitted the manuscript. I got an offer email from Cedar Fort when my twins were a few months old and it almost felt surreal, like it came out of nowhere and from a different life! I had almost given up on my book, or at least decided to shelf it for awhile and revisit it later because I didn’t feel I had the time or energy to continue grasping at straws toward getting published. I’m so glad that email came and that I’m able to see By the Stars published and share it with others now!

6. What do you do in your spare time? 

Honestly, spare time is hard to come by these days! My twins are one years old and I have two school-aged children, so most of my spare time lately has been spent toward this book. But, in the rare moments that I do have some down time, I do the cliche thing most authors will probably give for the answer to this question – I like to read! I also like to watch TV and movies (if I can stay awake for them), and I like to bake cupcakes with my six year old daughter.

6. What part in By the Stars you hated and loved the most? 

I’ve really had to think on this one! Can I give two parts I hated? (Maybe a weird request from the author, haha). Although I really enjoyed writing this scene, I hated having to have Cal and Kate separate when he left for the war. Not only because he was leaving, but because of the way they parted. It was hard to experience them being pulled apart and to write about poor Cal’s heart breaking. He’s just such a good guy! But, it was also kind of fun to write the drama of that scene, so although a part of me hated it, a part of me really enjoyed it as well! There are a few things I wrote about during Cal’s time serving in the war that were really hard to put to paper. The hardest thing about this was that all of the experiences he had while serving in the war actually happened, so that made it all the more difficult to experience through writing. I don’t want to give anything away, but what happens to one of Cal’s closest friends in the last battle scene was really sad, and I hated having to write it. On a lighter note, as for the part of the book I loved the most – I really enjoyed writing the scene where Kate teaches Cal to dance at the Coconut Grove ballroom in Salt Lake. It was such fun to write!  I could just feel his clumsiness trying to learn, Kate’s confidence and personality seeping through, while also having so much chemistry between the two of them. And, their banter through it all. I love banter! 

by the stars

By the Stars is a historical fiction book with romance. Based on a true story, it is, as one reader stated, full of emotion, miracles, love and hope. The summary in Goodreads goes:

When Cal finally gets a chance with Kate, the girl he’s loved since grade school, their easy friendship quickly blossoms into a meaningful romance. Spirited and independent, Kate keeps a guarded heart due to a painful past, and Cal wants nothing more than to gain her trust. But World War II soon cuts their time far too short, and Cal prepares to part from her – possibly for good. After he’s gone, what Kate does next changes everything.

In the suffocating jungles of the Philippines Cal encounters the chilling life of a soldier and deadly battles of war. With Kate’s memory willing him on, Cal must put his trust in God to survive if he hopes to ever return to her. Inspired by a true story, By the Stars is a romance that stands the test of time and the most intense obstacles. 

If you are into stories of love blossoming even during periods of pain and struggle, check this book out. 


thank you for reading and um, bye!

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interview with author aaron blaylock

hello readers of mine! i understand that my last blog entry was dated october of last year. i guess you deserve an explanation. i’ll try to make a blog post about that soon. instead, we are now interviewing the author of The Land of Look Behind, Aaron Blaylock.

a brief background

Born and raised in Arizona, Aaron is proud to call the desert home. He came of age in the suburbs of Sacramento, California and as a missionary in Jamaica, where 7769270he fell in love with the people and their culture, but he has always been drawn back to the valley of the sun.

He married his childhood crush, and the girl of his dreams, in 2001. Together they are raising four beautiful and rambunctious children. He worked as a freelance sports reporter for The Arizona Republic for nearly ten years, combining his love of writing and sports. In his storytelling he draws heavily on his love of history, adventure, his faith, and his own life experiences.

Source: Goodreads

the interview

1. What are your three most favorite books?
Picking just three is hard and I’m sure to leave out books I love but as I read the question three books came to mind.  First, I love The Adventure of Huckleberrry Finn.  I just love Mark Twain and his two most iconic stories, to me at least, are highly re-readable.  Then I’d probably have to pick a Harry Potter book since I love that series so much, probably the Goblet of Fire as that has so much of what I enjoyed about young Harry’s story.  Third, I’ll throw in one of the last books I finished The Martian.  It was so different and compelling and yet so much fun to read.  That’s quite a feat considering it’s about a man trying not to die alone on Mars.  Shoot, I just realized I didn’t pick a Tolkien or a Dan Brown book.  Dang it.  Picking just three is tough and I didn’t even include The Land of Look Behind.  Is it uncool to pick your own book?  Probably is.  😉

2. Why did you decide to write this story?

This is a passion that has grown over the years.  I was introduced to the culture and history of Jamaica as I lived and served on the island as a missionary.  I love Jamaica and her people so much and found the history fascinating.  When I returned home I studied more about it and wanted to tell their story.  The idea of this modern day adventure as a means of sharing so much of what I loved really thrilled me and I am so happy I finally got to tell it.

3. Which scene did you most have fun writing and why?

Probably when Gideon, Todd and Bigga first meet Tara.  The idea of her character actually came about after I started writing the book and I couldn’t wait to get to their interactions.  Her strength and charm was something that these boys had yet to deal with on their adventure and really changed the whole group dynamic in a fun way.

4. Why did you focus on Jamaican history?

There is so much to draw from in the island’s history, I really haven’t even scratched the surface.  I found these stories entertaining and knew that the vast majority of people would be unfamiliar with them.  Plus there are so many holes found in the history books and it’s fun to be able to make up the details.

5. Describe your writing journey in making this book.
It started as a pure adventure story.  I wanted to tell a contemporary tale of adventure in our time with a historical context.  As the story unfolded, however, the historical narrative became more crucial to the story until they were equal partners in their shared journey.  That was only able to happen through the symbols borrowed from ancient times.  They brought a depth and meaning to the story that I didn’t initially plan for.

6. If you were a historical figure, who would you be and why?
I don’t know.  My first thought is I’d probably want to be a king or a Pharaoh or something because for everybody else life was pretty rough.  I enjoy the modern comforts of life today so it’s hard to romanticize how they really lived when I sit down and think about it.  If I were to allow myself to romanticize the past and forget the rigger of everyday life I’d probably pick someone from the old west.  I love Wyatt Earp but I wouldn’t want to have to fight for my life all the time.  I’d probably pick Porter Rockwell because he was a faithful and loyal friend and also a tough son of a gun who lived life on his terms.

 

the land of look behind

The Land of Look Behind is a historical fiction book, set predominantly in Jamaica. It was just published last month, on the 9th. There are two perspectives, one in present day and the other, centuries ago. The summary in Goodreads goes:

When Gideon discovers a mysterious drawing tucked in an old journal he returns to his mission area in Jamaica with dreams of finding a legendary treasure. Some would kill to keep the treasure secret. This thrilling adventure takes you deep into Jamaica’s treacherous cockpit country and back in time for a spine-tingling mystery you won’t be able to put down.

If you like action, history, adventure and relationships blended into one, check this book out.


thank you for reading and um, bye!

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laekan zea kemp // author interview

Hi.

So, today I’m interviewing Author Laekan Zea Kemp! She wrote a book I recently read: “The Girl In Between”. My questions are crap but her answers saved it! Let’s get started.


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Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, and Breathing Ghosts. Follow her adventures here on Goodreads, on her blog, or on twitter.

Source


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1.) What/Who inspired you to write this book?

I started working on this novel in April of last year and, to be honest, I can’t really remember where the original idea came from. Probably because I can’t really remember what the original idea even was. I know that it started out as a contemporary standalone and I’d been really interested in exploring dual narrative again but I suppose the story started out the way all of my stories have–with the central relationship. It isn’t always a love story that’s central to my novels but I do like to focus on human relationships, whether that’s familial or within the context of first love. The characters always come to me first and the various means of torturing them always comes later.

2.) What is the hardest part in writing? How did you push through the hard times?

All of it. I’ve written six novels so far and each one has tested me in different ways. Depending on my mood, on the random stress of life, on my strengths and weakness that day that seem to vary as often as my mood, I can be stumped at any point. I re-wrote The Girl In Between from scratch probably six times because I just couldn’t find the story’s true identity but when it came to writing the third novel in the series, the first draft just fell out of me. I wish there was one area that constantly gave me difficulty because then I could focus all of my energy on improving it but stories are wild things and it takes something different to tame each one.

3.) If you were to switch lives with a fictional character in any book, who would you pick and why?

So tough…thirteen-year-old me probably wished she was Lena in The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants. I was obsessed with Italy and Greece in my teens and was convinced that I was part of some ancient bloodline.

4.) Do you like to read? If so, what are your favourite books?

Absolutely! My mother read to me all the time when I was a kid and my love of stories really started with these beautifully illustrated Richard Scarry books. I was always really imaginative and incredibly thoughtful and could spend hours just asking myself strange questions and coming up with even stranger answers. Books really activated those most powerful parts of myself and gave me a safe place to explore my own thoughts and opinions. It’s so hard for me to choose a favorite novel but it usually boils down to whatever Melina Marchetta’s or Maggie Stiefvater’s latest release is. I’m in love with Jellicoe Road and am totally crazy about Marchetta’s Chronicles of Lumatere series. I’m also about to start reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Steifvater and can’t wait to see if it takes the place of The Scorpio Races as my favorite novel of hers.

5.) If you traveled back in time and told your 13 year old self that you would publish a novel, how would your 13 year old self react? Doubtful? Excited?

My thirteen-year-old self would be neither excited nor surprised. She had very high expectations. I just hope that despite not being president or a millionaire, she’d at least be proud of all I’ve accomplished so far.

6.) Who is your favourite character in “The Girl In Between”? Why?

Bryn is probably the character who is most like me so I’m a little biased. Of course all of my characters are some version of my best or worst self so my favorites tend to vary but I always have a huge soft spot for my side characters. After reading the initial reviews for The Girl In Between, it looks like readers agree, and everyone is team Felix! He’s Bryn’s best friend and provides the much needed comic relief throughout the series.

7.) Do you have any writing tips? If so, what are they?

The advice I would give to aspiring artists in general is to dive into your passion with a clear vision. It doesn’t have to be glamorous or grandiose, it just has to be clear. In fact the more specific it is the better. So many of us struggle with validating our choice to pursue the arts and because of that sometimes we have a tendency to shy away from the risk and rejection that comes along with it. We tow the line between our dreams and the more practical expectations of the people around us and wonder why we’re unsatisfied. Don’t be afraid to make declarations and definitely don’t be afraid to make them loud enough for other people to hear. Be honest about what you want, regardless of how silly it may seem to others, and do something every day that brings you closer to that goal.


Check Laekan’s blog for more updates about her books. The Girl In Between is a pretty good book. I am a fail on writing reviews so I didn’t get to publish it immediately but I liked it! I won’t be surprised if you’re interested in it!

Thank you for reading and um, bye!

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Author Interview with Shannon Thompson

Hello Random Readers (like that name? made it myself. *proud gaze*)

Anyway, today I will be interviewing Shannon A. Thompson!

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Shannon A. Thompson is a 23-year-old author, avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox. She was merely 16 when she was first published, and a lot has happened since then. Thompson’s work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies, including a Norwegian magazine, and her first installment of The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, became Goodreads Book of the Month. The sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, has released, and AEC Stellar Publishing released her latest novel, Take Me Tomorrow, on July 17, 2014.

She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing.

Shannon spends her free time writing, but she loves spending time with her father and brother. She also has one black cat named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart

Source: Shannon's Goodreads

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1. Who inspired you to write? What did he/she do? 
 
My mother truly turned me onto writing. As a child I suffered from night terrors, and it was really difficult for me to differentiate reality from fiction. She taught me how to turn that confusion into stories. When she suddenly passed away, I put all I had into writing. It was my passion, and it still is, and I want to spend the rest of life writing and sharing my stories with the world, but I ultimately want to help aspiring writers follow their dreams, too.
 
2. If you were to pick a character in Take Me Tomorrow to marry, who would it be and why?
 
Now, that is a blush-worthy question. I’m not sure I can answer it though. My characters – as much as I talk to them – are my dearest friends, and I cannot imagine marrying any of them, especially since I (generally) know what their futures will bring, even if I don’t put it in the book. But if I was just having fun with the question, I would say Miles. He has a kind heart, a smart head, and direction.
 
3. Who is your favorite character in Take Me Tomorrow? Why?
 
It’s impossible to pick favorites, but I do love spending time with Noah. As controversial as he is, I find him to be the most surprising. He always keeps me on my toes and challenges everyone around him, including himself. It might sound like a contradiction, but I’m always looking forward and hesitating to learn from him. He can be interesting and break your heart at the same time. It’s rather exhausting sometimes (in a good way.) Fun fact: he was going to tell half of the story, but his voice was so jumbled that it didn’t make sense, and ultimately, it had to be cut.
 
4. If Take Me Tomorrow became a movie adaptation, who is the actor that you think would best play Sophia?
 
I would absolutely beg for an open-casting call. I wish Hollywood did those more. It gives new artists a huge opportunity, and (I believe) it helps viewers believe in the character if they are new actors rather than actors they’ve seen everywhere.
 
5.  What is your favorite scene to write in Take Me Tomorrow?
 
Oh, so many come through my mind, but the first scene that I thought of is the scene of Noah and Sophia when they are locked in her father’s forgery. Other than some of the explaining that happens, I believe it’s the first time we see Noah’s facade fall down. It was a very difficult scene to write, especially when Sophia realizes she’s actually more terrified of Noah’s sober state than his tomo-state, but the moment became unbelievably real when she said that. Even I had to stop and contemplate if I should keep such a line in a book about drug-use, but it stayed because it was real. It happens to people, and that moment is one that stays with you forever.
Thank you very much, Shannon! Want to know more about her and her books? Visit her website!