Category: Author Interviews

Periodically, we sit down to talk to authors about their upcoming or recent releases and the writing life.

Leslie Scott – Author Interview

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Jenn interviews Leslie Scott, contemporary romance author and creator of the Arkadia Fast series
Jenn interviews Leslie Scott, contemporary romance author and creator of the Arkadia Fast series

Jenn sat down with Leslie Scott, an author we’ve featured before here on Thrice Read Books, to talk about life, romance, and her new release, Hot Lap. (You can find links to her reviews for Leslie’s books at the bottom of this post.)

Jenn: I’ve had the privilege of reading two of your books so far, and I’m in love with your style and characters, but before we get to them… Could you tell us a bit about you?

Leslie: Thank you, by the way. Especially the part about the characters. That always makes me smile.

I live in North Alabama. So think more rockets and engineers and fewer cotton fields and rednecks.

Jenn: Right on…

Leslie: I’ve been a stay at home, homeschool mom since this writing journey started. I have an eleven-year-old gifted son and a school setting was difficult for him. So if I’m not writing, often I’m teaching. It’s been a learning experience for both of us.

Or playing Mom-Taxi, there’s a lot of that.

Jenn: Homeschooling is a huge challenge that requires flexibility and constant adaptation. I remember those days well.

Leslie: It’s really a mess, a lot of times. My mom lives with us (and has for years), the other day she asked me if I was ever planning on cleaning the books off the kitchen table.

To which my son piped up “That’s the math lesson right now, we can’t.”

Jenn: Right! When Sam decided she wanted to do public school last year, I think I had a mini-celebration for all the new shelf space I’d acquired.

Leslie: Right? LoL. But we do that, we rescue and foster cats and dogs. I currently have eight (4 of each) right now and none are fosters. Well, one is a foster fail.

When this writing gig got busy, I had to enlist the aid of an online curriculum. So, while I supplement heavily, it’s not all on my shoulders anymore. And he’s doing well with that.

Jenn: So, you write romance, teach middle school, foster kitties and doggos…plus entertain rocket-men and engineers?

Leslie: LOL, mostly yeah. And Mr. Scott does cars. Always cars. Buying, selling, fixing, restoring, playing… cars. Which is where the idea for Arkadia Fast came from, lol.

Jenn: Hehe… I’ve known a few of those. I noticed a distinct flair for classic muscle in Hot Lap. If you ever get out to the West Coast in the Summer, we have a couple of fantastic little car shows.

So, how did this writing gig get started? Have you always wanted to be a writer? Or was it more of a hobby/idea that came from extra homeschooling time?

Leslie: I’ve always been a writer. Since I was a little girl, I’ve told and wrote stories. Won writing competitions. And for years I wrote on writing sites on the internet… for fun. (back when that was a thing)

I’m actually jumping into the Radish App this spring, which will be like going back to those days for me. The homeschooling thing just allowed me time to really pursue this as a career.

Jenn: That’s one I haven’t heard of… What’s Radish?

Leslie: Radish Fiction is a mobile app for serialized fiction.

Jenn: That sounds like fun.

Leslie: Basically, you read a few episodes for free, then pay a small amount to open the rest. Yeah, the likes of Bev Jenkins and Kelly Armstrong have stuff on there.

Jenn: Oh… that does sound interesting.

Leslie: It’s a cool way too, for me to explore new genres

Granted, the app is romance heavy, I’ll be writing an Urban Fantasy (with romantic elements).

Jenn: I’m always curious about this when I get the answer “I’ve always been a writer.” Did you pursue writing/creative writing in college?

Leslie: In high school, yes.

I went to a technical college first, and they didn’t have creative writing. But after the plan was to go for an English degree (still on the agenda, but haven’t got around to it) with a focus in creative writing.

My 8th grade English teacher goes to church with us.

She told me back then I should be a writer, she’s thrilled now.

Jenn: Hehe… That’s awesome!

So, as we transition over to talking about your books, let’s dive into the source – Where do you get your ideas for stories?

Leslie: lol, is “the voices in my head” a good answer for that?

Jenn: As a writer… it works for me!

Leslie: In truth, some just come to me. Others I get a spark of inspiration from everyday things.

Jenn: Right.

Leslie: The Arkadia Fast series came from watching drag racing/street racing videos on youtube with Mr. Scott. And going to a few street races (and the drag strip).

BUT Two Hearts, One Stone I wrote specifically for a publisher’s open call

Jenn: I figured there was a personal experience there. The descriptions were too precise.

So, let’s talk about Two Hearts first… That was my introduction to your work, and I fell in love with your style in that story.

Leslie: Awe, thanks! I love my little cowboy novella.

Jenn: It’s a really sweet story.

Leslie: Thank you.

Jenn: You wrote it for an open call. For those who aren’t sure what that means, could you explain it a little?

Leslie: An open call is when a publisher wants a certain type of story. So they put it out there (both to their authors and often to the public) that hey we’re looking for this type of story written to a certain type of parameter.

For Stone, it was a novella about a cowboy and a baby.

Jenn: That sounds challenging. Do you write the story on a deadline? Or write the proposal and then do the story while you’re waiting on the response to your proposal

Leslie: Different for each story, truly.

For Stone, I wrote it on my own and submitted it when I finished (no real deadline).

Jenn: Okay. That makes sense.

Now, Arcadia Fast… that’s an entirely different thing, and I haven’t read book 1 yet (book 2 was awesome, and I didn’t feel like I was really missing out on anything by having not read #1). is that your only other series on the shelves so far?

Leslie: Right now, yes. I hope that changes by the end of the year. There are quite a few other things in the works. But, this business moves so slow. LoL.

And there are still four more Arkadia Fast novels to go.

Jenn: It does! Between the creative work and the product development (pretty much everything not writing and editing), it’s not an exact science.

Leslie: Indeed not. There are lots of things happening behind the scenes, though, and I can’t wait until I can share them with everyone.

Jenn: Yay! I’ll be looking forward to those.

Leslie: Let’s just say, my first true love… is romantic suspense. And at some point, more cowboys.

Jenn: Hot Lap comes out in just a little over a week, so let’s talk books! For those who haven’t gotten around to the review yet, what’s Hot Lap about? (Because it’s not about lap dances!)

😉

Leslie: Well, let’s start with what it means, first.

Jenn: Indeed!

Leslie: Hot Lap is a racing term for the turn around at the end of a track and running the race again without a cool down period for the car.

It’s dangerous, exciting, and well… yeah.

Jenn: More danger, more excitement.

Leslie: So, in Hot Lap, our hero is stepping back into the world of romantic relationships. Hadley, the heroine, is his Hot Lap.

The novel is about a young woman trying to find a place to belong and a young man trying to hold his little family together.

Jenn: He’s also a single father, with complications.

Leslie: Yes, indeed.

A young, single father, which really ads in another layer of problems

Meanwhile, the heroine is trying to hide a very large secret about herself.

Jenn: This is book 2 in the series, but I didn’t feel totally lost in reading it. Can you back up just a bit, and introduce book 1?

Leslie: There is a very major plot point in book one.*

The entire series follows a group of friends in the small town of Arkadia, Texas.

The Finish Line (book 1) is about Raelynn Casey and what it’s like to come home when it’s the last place in the world you want to be and the only place you need to be… All at the same time.

First loves, tragedies, and all of those things.

Jenn: I think I know which group of friends…Is this the race track/street racing bunch?

Leslie: Yes, it is. Most of the town is drag and/or street races. The prominent family in the first three novels (hint to book 3) own a Performance Speed Shop in town.

Jenn: Exactly. I caught a heavy hint of that tragedy in book 2.

Leslie: That tragedy, the loss of someone you love, haunts the entire series in its own way.

Jenn: It’s not something to just “get over”. That’s for sure.

Leslie: Indeed not. I think a lot of books do that, just skim past it as back story.

In truth, when something colors every decision you make, it becomes its own character in a way.

BUT, the books aren’t depressing. They are about finding the light and love despite such a thing.

Jenn: It does. And honestly, the way that you’ve portrayed the ongoing effects of such a loss, makes your characters come to life in a different way, which I love.

Leslie: Thank you, very much.

Jenn: I can’t speak for The Finish Line, but Hot Lap was definitely not depressing.

Leslie: The Finish Line is not either, it’s exciting and fast-paced and sexy.

Jenn: Two Hearts was, as well, so I have no doubt!

Leslie: I wish Book 3 was about to come out, as we could expand on this much more. We should revisit the topic when it does come out. lol

Jenn: Perhaps!

Leslie: Especially if you like big scary guys who turn into teddy bears.

Jenn: Hehe…

What one tidbit would you dangle in front of a prospective reader? What would you most like for a reader to know before diving into your books, or if they were considering reading one of your books?

Leslie: Oh wow. I don’t know!

I guess, that they may be romance novels (and romance gets a bad rap) but the characters come to life. Their stories, what happens to them, is more than just a romance. I like to write characters that become your friends, your family in their own right.

That’s why I said it means a lot when someone mentions them as you did at the beginning.

Jenn: You do that superbly, by the way.

❤

Leslie: Thank you.

Jenn: I hate when I hit the end of one of your stories, and dang it! The page won’t turn, because that’s the end!

Leslie: LOL. That’s a pretty awesome compliment.

I’m blushing.

🙂

Jenn: Aww

As we start to wrap up, what’s the best way for readers to follow you?

We have links at the end of the article, of course, but where are you most likely to be hanging out?

Leslie: I’m a Twitter-aholic.

Jenn: The writing community on Twitter is amazing, isn’t it?

Leslie: Yes, it really is. That’s the best way to interact with me as I’m constantly there and have Tweetdeck open all the time.

And sign up for my Newsletter. I don’t spam, but any updates and the like I get (giveaways, contests, cover reveals) all go through my mailing list first.

Jenn: Sweet. We’ll be sure to link to that, too.

Leslie: And if you really love the stories, I have an ARC  group on Facebook. So, a chance to read my stuff before anyone else. And a glimpse into all the stuff I’m doing I “can’t talk about.”

Jenn: For a quick recap, The Finish Line is already out, Hot Lap comes out soon… and book 3 is waiting in the wings. Any chance we could get ball-park release time for book 3?

Leslie: I’m hoping Book 3 (Full Tilt Boogie) will be out this winter.

Jenn: Very good!

Leslie: But, my serial, Black Water Magic will be out early May on the Radish Fiction app.

Jenn: Alrighty! I definitely have to add that to my tool kit.

And there goes my TBR pile… Again.

Leslie: LOL. Mine is RIDICULOUS, btw. I have an ad running on Bookbub so I log in daily to check it, and the first thing it shows me are the sale ebooks in my favorite genres.

So… yeah. LoL

Jenn: Hehe. I came home from RWA-2018 with over 100 books… And that’s just from RWA.

Leslie: Oh yeah, we did a small conference (you’d love it) in Atlanta called Moonlight and Magnolias

Jenn: Aww!

Leslie: And my CP had to check her suitcase on the flight home because she brought home so many.

Jenn: Oh, no! I know we had about $150 in shipping to get the books home because I couldn’t even fit them in my bags.

Leslie: Yeah, I can see that.

Jenn: But the one thing Hubby never hears is “I have nothing to read.”

Leslie: I drove, thankfully, and brought mine with me.

Jenn: Exactly! I’d like to thank you again, Leslie, for joining me today, and having such a fabulous little chat.

Leslie: This was fun, Jenn. Thanks for having me.

Jenn: I’ve been looking forward to getting to sit down with you since I read Two Hearts, so this was a HUGE treat for me.

Leslie: oh yay!

*Jenn has The Finish Line in her reading cue, so keep an eye open for the review!

Jenn interviews Leslie Scott, contemporary romance author and creator of the Arkadia Fast series

Jenn interviews Leslie Scott, contemporary romance author and creator of the Arkadia Fast series

Find Leslie on the Web!

Website Newsletter BookBub Facebook

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ARC Review Group

Our Reviews of Leslie’s books:

Two Hearts, One Stone Hot Lap

The Finish Line (review coming soon)

Buy Leslie’s books here:

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Katherine Hastings – Author Interview

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Jenn sat down to talk to author Katherine Hastings about her debut historical romance, In the Assassin’s Arms

*This post originally appeared in the July 12, 2018 edition of BETWEEN THE LINES – our monthly newsletter. We’ve since changed the format, and you can sign up here.

Another amazing historical romance novel made its debut this week, along with its author! Jenn read and reviewed the book, and sat down with author Katherine Hastings, to talk a bit about the story.


Allow us to introduce… 

Katherine Hastings.

Jenn: So, Katherine… New book, FIRST book, coming out next week. Are you more excited, or nervous?

Katherine: It’s coming up so fast! I’m switching between nervous and excited with enviable speed. I think I may give myself whiplash.

Jenn:  No! No whiplash.

Katherine: I joked that I was going to wear a neck brace on release day so I don’t hurt myself. LOL

Jenn: LoL… totally.

So, In the Assassin’s Arms comes out in a little over a week. Could you tell us a little bit about it?

Katherine: Sure can! In the Assassin’s Arms is the story of John Douglas and Charlotte “Charlie” Cornewalle who were childhood friends, and each other’s first crush. They haven’t seen each other since childhood and then Charlie comes back into John’s life… but not how he’d hoped. The sweet little girl he remembered is now a skilled assassin, just like him… and she thinks his father murdered hers. He thinks she killed his friend. If that isn’t bad enough, they are each members of different factions of assassins… and sworn enemies. When they both end up with a target on their back, they must work together to find out who is after them, and solve the mystery of who killed her father. Both of these assassin’s must battle their way not only through the people who are after them, but through the feelings for each other that grow on their adventure.

Jenn: Oh, wow! Now, this is a historical romance… What time period does it take place in?

Katherine: It is set in 1714 England.

Jenn: I’m looking forward to reading it (I just got my ARC a couple days ago… squee!). And this is your debut novel… have you always wanted to be a writer?

Katherine: I’m so excited that you’re participating in my first book release! As far as always wanting to be a writer, when I was a child I said I wanted to be a writer. But, like most children with their dreams of being professional ice skaters, or hockey players, I didn’t really think it was an actual option. I put aside my writing after high school and didn’t write again until a few years ago when I got knee surgery. I was so bored I decided to start writing a book I’d come up with, in a dream, about a decade ago. There I was with my leg stuck up in the air and I just started typing away. Once I started I couldn’t stop! I finished the novel in a couple of weeks and was so sad it was over, I started another, then another. Even with a few books written, it still hadn’t occurred to me that I could actually be a writer. But, with the encouragement of my friends, I sent one in for consideration, and Fiery Seas sent me the email they wanted to publish it. There was lots of jumping that day. Lots and lots of jumping. LOL

Jenn: I bet! So, is In the Assassin’s Arms the first in a series? Or is it a standalone novel?

Katherine: It is the first book in a series. So far, I have three written.

Jenn: Oh, very awesome! I adore series…

Katherine: Me, too! I like to get lost in a series and follow all the characters as long as the author will let me!

Jenn: Do you write full time now? Or do you juggle your writing with another J-O-B? And if you do the juggling thing, how do you find balance?

Katherine: I have a business handling marketing and social media for businesses in my area. Luckily for me, it’s incredibly flexible so when I get an idea for writing, I can usually stop what I’m doing for work and write. It’s made balancing the two quite easy, actually. I’m very lucky!

Jenn: Very cool! The businesses that have you working for them are very lucky, indeed. That social media marketing thing can be a killer when you have the million OTHER things needed as a business owner.

Katherine: Exactly! It’s my job to handle their social media so they can focus on what they do best!

Jenn: How much planning do you put into your writing? Or are you more of a pantser?

Katherine: I am a planner through and through! Each book I write starts as a dream. Then from my dream I figure out the plot from start to finish. Once that is done, I put it into a chapter by chapter outline. I leave plenty of room for creative twists and what-not, but when I start writing I have the entire book plotted out. It helps me write so much faster than before I started doing this.

Jenn: I totally envy your ability to write like that… Every book I ever outlined, I had to start back over from scratch.

Katherine: LOL! It definitely takes a lot of thought before I start writing the outline! But so far I’ve stuck to it quite well!

Jenn: Very cool. You mentioned that Assassin’s Arms is the first in a series, and that you have 2 more finished. Could we get an idea of when we can anticipate book 2?

KatherineBeneath the Assassin’s Touch is the second book in the series. Fiery Seas has it signed for publication and it will be out in print and digital hopefully later this year! I’m really excited about this one. It follows a character you’ll meet from In the Assassin’s Arms, Viktor, on his own romantic adventure.

Jenn: Yay for continuing adventures and learning more about other characters!

Katherine: He wasn’t a planned character in In the Assassin’s Arms, yet I adored him so much when he waltzed into my book I knew he needed his own!

Jenn: hehe… Those tend to jump out at us, right?

Katherine: Right!

Jenn: Our review of In the Assassin’s Arms will be live on July 12, and we’ll have buy links up as soon as they become available. is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you or your debut novel before we wrap up?

Katherine: I can’t wait to see what you think about my first book baby! I hope that you and others have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s plenty of action, adventure, and romance for anyone who enjoys those kinds of books. This has been such a childhood dream come true and I look forward to writing more books that hopefully everyone will enjoy!

Jenn: Here’s to book babies and dreams come true that you never thought would!

Katherine: It’s been an incredible adventure!

Jenn: I bet!

I’d like to thank you for your time, on behalf of Thrice Read Books and our readers. This has been so much fun, and I’m so looking forward to reading In the Assassin’s Arms.

Katherine: Thank you so much for hosting me! It’s such an honor to have you take interest in my book, and I can’t tell you how much you book bloggers mean to us new writers! We appreciate you more than you know!

Jenn: Just out of curiosity, would you be heading to RWA2018 in a few weeks?

Katherine: I actually won’t this year due to a bunch of work stuff, but next year I hope to! It’s on the calendar!

Jenn: Aww. Awesome!

Katherine: I really do appreciate all your support! This has just been so fun! You’re my first official interview! LOL

Jenn: Whoohoo! I love that we get to be firsts

I’ll have buttons for this at the bottom of the post, but can readers find and follow you on social media?

Katherine: Great! I love getting social with people!

They can find me at www.katherinehastings.com. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. [We’ve got the links in the buttons below!]

Katherine: Thank you again for hosting me!!

Jenn: You bet!

Have a great day, and watch out for that whiplash!

Katherine: HA HA HA! I am pretty accident prone! LOL

Jenn: You, too, Katherine. Thanks again and good luck.

Jenn sat down to talk to author Katherine Hastings about her debut historical romance, In the Assassin’s Arms

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Our Reviews of Katherine’s Books:

In the Assassin’s Arms Beneath the Assassin’s Touch

By the Assassin’s Side

Buy Katherine’s Books Here:

Interview with Charley Pearson – Author of SCOURGE

*Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. You can read the legal stuff here if you’d like, but know that we appreciate you supporting Thrice Read Books by using our links to buy.*

Thrice Read Books interviews SCOURGE author, Charley Pearson

On this edition of “Between the Lines”, we sit down to talk to author Charley Pearson about his writing career, life, and new release, Scourge.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: I was reading your bio this morning while setting up the blog post for Scourge. It sounds like you have a fascinating background in all kinds of science-y goodness. Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Charley: Well, I started in biology, moved on to chemistry, then joined the Navy (after protesting the Vietnam War) and spent a career with them as a nuclear engineer. They had to give me extra training for that. Mostly oversaw chemical and radiological environmental remediation after the end of the Cold War, releasing sites for unrestricted future use.

Jenn: That’s an unexpected life choice, going from protester to the Navy.

Charley: I may be unique, for all I know. Gotta defend our right to protest. LOL. I was in the first OCS class post-Vietnam that was 100% volunteers, no draftees.

Meanwhile, raised two daughters and spent hundreds of hours backstage at their ballet studio, on sets and stuff.

Jenn: Biocheminuclear engineer by day, ballet stage-dad by night? And I hardly think you’re alone in the “defend our right to protest” thing. I’ve met a few folks in my years as Army wife and Army civilian that would join you in that sentiment.

Charley: Good. Oh – you’ve heard of soccer moms? The other guys and I called ourselves “ballet dads.” (heh, heh). Wrote a humorous mini-memoir that got published last January by Kallista Gaia Press

Jenn: Ah, yes! You mentioned your humor collection before we began. Before we get into the yummy stuff about Scourge, could you tell us a bit about your humor?

Charley: Well, that ballet thing was separate. The humor collection’s title piece, “The Marianated Nottingham,” finally tells the truth about Robin Hood, by revealing the Sheriff of Nottingham’s side of the story. (Poor guy’s trying to found a national park to protect deer, for goodness sake.) Full-length screenplay. Then there are 24 short things – skits, stories, and ballads (solid meter, strict rhyme, and no redeeming social value). Off the wall and sometimes Pythonesque.

Jenn: Aww… Are you gonna make me add more to my TBR pile? Everyone in the Thrice Read family is a huge Monty Python fan.

Charley: Yay! It is available from Amazon; the e-book is only $2.99.

Jenn: I’ll add a link down below for those interested.

Having read the blurb for Scourge though, this seems to be a huge leap from humorous screenplays, poetry, and skits to intense medical thriller. How did that come about?

CharleyScourge – yes, quite different. I had this idea for the technology back in college, but it was premature. Now that computers are so much better, I dug it out and couldn’t resist finally writing it. The tale includes a recurring theme for me — pragmatism vs. morality (aren’t there at least some situations where ends justify means? Maybe?), plus the idea of someone who decides, dang it, they’re going to do what seems right no matter what it costs them.

Jenn: The Messiah archetype?

Charley: Perhaps. But coming from a flawed character who’s been concealing a dark secret about her Roma clan her whole life.

Jenn: It’s those flaws that really make those characters pop off the page and become real. Now, in reading the blurb… is there a single protagonist? Or do you have co-protagonists (hero and heroine)?

Charley: Ah, there’s a love story subplot about these two geeks who have no clue how to read each other. The woman is the main lead, but the guy cons her into trying something she wouldn’t have on her own. The resolution depends on both.

Jenn: Nerd-love! While saving the world, no less. Very cool.

Charley: So terrorist virus, multiple villains, and FBI who thinks the protagonists are at fault, and health agencies who could never solve the problem on their own.

Jenn: Sounds rather twisted and complex, and a little too close to plausible.

Charley: I have a Kirkus quote, “Imaginative and full of action…continually shifting the quirky plot into places that are both surprising and fantastical.” – Kirkus Reviews

Jenn: So, on the seriousness scale, where would you say Scourge falls, between light-hearted and ultra-serious/dark?

Charley: Hmm, tough one. The science may be achievable someday, which I find seriously worrisome from an oversight standpoint. But the story has a lot of light moments and comic relief. I particularly like the parrot, as will your Monty Python fans.

Jenn: I’m trying not to laugh hard enough to alarm Brian. I can imagine how a Python-esque parrot might fit into the story.

Charley: He’s named Mr. Praline. You know, for the John Cleese character, in the.. well, you know which sketch. 

(Clip from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Season 1 episode 8, aired 12-7-1969)

Jenn: Oh, my!

Charley: Sometimes I have a difficult time avoiding humor, even when writing serious stuff. Sigh.

Jenn: I personally like a little humor in the suspense I read, because I get heavily invested in the really good ones, and that makes for some disruption in the real world. And I know several readers that are the same way.

Charley: Yeah, the pacing is essential in any tale.

Jenn: I noticed that your protagonist/heroine comes from a Roma family. When I read that, I think of gypsies. Am I assuming incorrectly? Or could you clarify that, for our readers?

Charley: Ah, yes, Roma = Gypsies = Romani, though the latter is also an Italian name. Some people have used the term Gypsies in a disparaging manner, so it has been dubbed incorrectly occasionally. I tried to clarify the issue in the novel. The clan often refers to themselves as Gypsies, but outsiders vary.

The female lead is in the clan. The guy isn’t. That’s one of the key problems between their ever getting together.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: Okay. Major intercultural hurdles can make for some delicious tension.

Charley: Hey, my mother (mixed English/Irish/Belgian/who knows ancestry) faced prejudice from my father’s parents (3rd generation pure Swede). It’s amazing how stupid prejudices are.

Jenn: It is. And yet they persist, sadly. Hopefully, as the literature world starts to come around to diverse books, that will begin to change.

Charley: Yup, diverse should help a lot. The MC in my historical is Japanese-American, and I was really lucky to find a guy born in Tokyo in 1938 to give me a beta-read and advice.

Jenn: Very awesome! That particular generation, while I grew up surrounded by them, they are rapidly disappearing. You’re very fortunate to have that kind of reference.

Charley: True. My dad was the meteorologist on Tinian during the war. Got me interested in that theater and era.

Jenn: And probably gave you a little boost in the direction of a science-based career?

Charley: Undoubtedly. No way he would let me major in music no matter how good a drummer I was. No money in it. Gotta have a productive career. Depression mentality that generation grew up in.

Jenn: Exactly. Although… I think a few drummers have made quite the living, but, erm… I don’t quite think that working in a rock band would have fit the description of “gainfully employed” by his standards?

Charley: LOL – you got it! Hey, I had a great career, so can’t knock his advice!

Jenn: Bingo!

As we reach the end of our time, is there anything else that readers should know about Scourge, or you as an author?

Charley: Well, I’ve got a couple of short stories out in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fantasy anthologies, if anyone reads those. And I’ve got a YA-historical that’s nearing completion. So don’t count on any consistency from me.

Jenn: LoL! Keep us in mind when that YA is finished! I bet Sam will be all over that.

I’d like to thank you, on behalf of Thrice Read Books and our readers, for taking the time to answer some questions for us.

Links for your published work and your social media are down below, so readers can find you.

Charley: And a humongous thank you back at you! Most fun, and truly helpful for getting the word out to potential readers. Here’s hoping they like it!

Jenn: May your launch be successful, and your book sales through the roof!

Charley’s Social Media: 

             Facebook              Twitter               Website          

 Buy Scourge:

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Check out Charley Pearson’s

THE MARIANATED NOTTINGHAM AND OTHER ABUSES OF THE LANGUAGE

Interview with Donna Migliaccio – Author of RAGIS

*Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. You can read the legal stuff here if you’d like, but know that we appreciate you supporting Thrice Read Books by using our links to buy.*

Jenn sits down to talk to Donna Migliaccio about her GEMETA STONE fantasy series, and about her new release RAGIS on this edition of the Thrice Read Books blog

Welcome to another edition of Between the Lines! This week’s featured author is not a new name around Thrice Read Books. In fact, we’ve taken part in three cover reveals and reviewed her first three books in The Gemeta Stone series. Book four, Ragis, is now out, and we’ll be reviewing this one as well. She is an author and actress. We sat down with Donna Migliaccio back in July, to talk books, writing and more.

Jenn: Welcome, Donna! We are so excited to get a chance to sit down and talk with you today.  I remember doing the Fiskur cover reveal as our inaugural blog post on the Thrice Read Books website, and I have gotten the opportunity to enjoy all three books in The Gemeta Stone series. Are you excited to see book 4 come to life in print?

Donna: I am indeed. The story has taken some very interesting turns through the years, and I’m especially proud of some major new plot points and characters in Ragis.

Jenn: Oh boy! I’ve been catching little snippets and teasers over on Twitter, and I’ve long since given up trying to predict the plot twists.

Donna: Oh, goody. That means I’m doing them right.

Jenn: For those of our readers who aren’t familiar with The Gemeta Stone series, could you tell us about the series in general, and then maybe focus in some on Ragis?

DonnaThe Gemeta Stone is the story of Kristan Gemeta, a gentle young prince who loses his father, his kingdom and his family’s legendary talisman to Daazna, a powerful magic worker seeking revenge for an injustice done him years before. In the first book, Kinglet, Kristan must find regain both his family’s Stone, his self-respect and his courage before he can make a stand against Daazna. He’s helped by Heather Demitt, the youngest of a band of rebels who have fled Daazna’s stronghold. In Book 2, Fiskur, Kristan finally meets up with Daaza, at a terrible cost. In Stoneking, Kristan has regained his kingdom at last, but he’s physically, mentally and emotionally broken by what’s happened to him. When he’s forced into a dangerous midwinter journey, his condition continues to deteriorate. Ragis picks up the story in mid-journey, where a series of setbacks and betrayals have accelerated Kristan’s descent toward madness.

My, that sounds grim.

Jenn: Indeed! It falls in the fantasy genre, but it’s certainly not Disney.

Donna: I’d say it lives somewhere between Lord of the Rings and A Song of Fire and Ice. It’s not quite as “high fantasy” as LOTR, and not as “grimdark” as ASOFAI.

Jenn: Yes. Sam’s been dying to read the series, and I keep putting her off a little longer.

Donna: I think it’s suitable for readers 16+ since there’s a fair amount of violence and sexual content.

Jenn: It’s the latter that I think she’d struggle with. She loves horror and fantasy, and she’d love the Kentavron (I think I spelled that correctly), but the sexual content that picks up in book 3 would definitely set her teeth on edge.

Now, it’s been a while since I read Kinglet, and I just can’t remember. Was Kinglet your debut novel? Or do you have another body of work I haven’t discovered yet?

DonnaKinglet was my first novel. I’ve had a couple of short stories published in anthologies, but The Gemeta Stone has taken up most of my writing time and energy.

Jenn sits down to talk to Donna Migliaccio about her GEMETA STONE fantasy series, and about her new release RAGIS on this edition of the Thrice Read Books blog

Jenn: As I recall, this series has quite a history to it, going back a ways?

Donna: The germ of the story came out of a writing assignment when I was in high school. I finally finished the book when I was in my early twenties, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and there was no internet. I went to the library, checked their latest copy of Publisher’s Marketplace, picked a fantasy publisher and fired off the manuscript to them. They kept it for nearly nine months before sending it back to me, asking me to add more magic and cut the manuscript back considerably. I edited as best I could, but I really didn’t know what I was doing, and they pretty promptly rejected the revision. I put the manuscript away for a couple of decades, but the story stayed in my head, and in 2009 I started rewriting it, with an eye toward eventually getting it into publishable shape. And here we are in 2018.

So it only took me 40 years or so to finish it LOL.

Jenn: And here we are! With this amazing, epic fantasy! And now I don’t feel so bad for leaving my own work sit for almost 2 years, hah!

Donna: Real life has a way of interfering, doesn’t it?

Jenn: It does!

So, is Ragis the conclusion of Kristan’s tale? Or will we be breathlessly awaiting more of his misadventures?

Donna: There’s a fifth and final book in the series, which I’m working on now. I also wrote a prequel, which was intended more as research into Kristan and Daazna’s youths and that fateful moment when their paths finally crossed. It actually turned into a fairly decent story, which might be worth publishing as well. I haven’t looked at it in a long time.

Jenn: Oh, wow! Yes, the history between those two would be great to read. The snippets that readers get in the books are kind of an appetizer to a much richer story.

Now, Daazna has some natural magical talent, but he’s not a witch. You’ve used an entirely different term, and to be honest, I’m not sure how to pronounce it (and the spelling is escaping me as I type this). Could you explain to our readers what he is, and maybe, how to pronounce the term?

Donna: Daazna is “Wiche.” It’s pronounced with a soft glottal on the “ch,” so it’s closer to our “wick” than the similar “witch.” It’s essentially magic, but in the world of The Gemeta Stone, it comes in two forms: Learned, which is magic that can be taught and developed and altered according to the user’s whims, and True, or Tabi’a, which is magic in its natural state, which exists for its own purposes and can’t be controlled. The Stone itself is Tabi’a – it exists to protect the head of the Gemeta family, but it has other properties which Kristan is only beginning to understand.

Jenn: Thank you for that pronunciation! I’ve been trying to figure it out since November. And the stone creates some conflicts for poor Kristan, doesn’t it?

Donna: It does. He thinks at first that it’s just a talisman, but discovers it has a will of its own. A large part of Stoneking and Ragis is about how Kristan deals with what he wants, as opposed to what the Stone wants.

Jenn: Right.

Donna: So much of the conflict in The Gemeta Stone comes out of the psychology of magic – what it can do, both to those who use it and those it’s used on.

Jenn: Now, with book four, Ragis on its release countdown, and book five & that little backstory in the wings. The Gemeta Stone series will eventually come to an end, as all things do. Do you have plans to continue writing?

Donna: I’m sure I will. I have a couple of story ideas on the back burner, and I’d like to explore writing more short stories.

Jenn: Now, you’re both multi-talented and multi-passionate. How do you find time for writing in the middle of all of that?

Donna: Well, I don’t idle well. I always have a half-dozen projects going on at once, and I find if I have nothing to do, then I do nothing. The busier I am, the more I get accomplished.

I do my best writing when I have the least time for it – when every minute counts.

Jenn: No time to sit and question every word that way?

Donna: I tend to edit as I go, which probably comes from my journalism background when I was writing on deadline.

I’ve never been able to just sit and spew words.

Too messy.

Jenn: Ahh! So, are you more of a planner in your writing style?

Donna: See, here’s the weird part. I don’t outline. When I sit down to write, I know how I want things to end and I have a general idea of how I want to get to that ending, but I’m open to letting the characters’ personalities take the wheel, so to speak. They sometimes drive the plot car in a much more interesting direction.

Jenn: And what interesting directions they have taken The Gemeta Stone!

Donna: Just as an example, the character of Heather has changed dramatically since I first conceived her. She started off simply as a love interest, but she turned out to be so strong and vital a force in the story that she moved from being a secondary player to a co-main character with Kristan.

Jenn: I know by the end of Stone King, she’s kind of taken on her own storyline. And I adore Heather, by the way. I think she’s part of why Sam’s dying to read this series.

As we reach the end of our time together… For our younger readers – What advice would you give a young writer?

Donna: Read. READ READ READ. And if you want to write, give yourself the leeway and the time to fail at it. Too many young writers want instantaneous results: they expect to produce a polished, publishable book after only a few months of writing. It doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to log a lot of BIC hours (that’s “Butt in Chair,” for the uninitiated) before you’ll even get close to writing a satisfactory story.

Jenn: YES! And as a reviewer, I’ve seen far too many writers slap together the first draft and publish it (cringe).

Donna: I highly recommend a website called AbsoluteWrite.com for writers who are serious about writing as a profession. The forums there, while not for the faint of heart, are invaluable.

Jenn: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know before diving into The Gemeta Stone?

Donna: Don’t let the fact that there are five books in the series put you off. I promise, they’re pretty fast reading. And if you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me through my website: donnamigliaccio.com, or via my Twitter account @donnamig. I love talking to my readers.

Jenn: I know you’re super active on Twitter, and I’ll have buttons at the bottom of the page with links to your social media and website.

Thank you so, so much for your time today, Donna. I know you’re probably getting super excited for the release of Ragis in August (I know I am!). On behalf of Thrice Read Books, we wish you all the best on your release and your show!

Donna: Thank you for interviewing me. It was a lot of fun!

Jenn: You are very welcome!

Donna’s Social Media

Website      Facebook      Twitter      Pinterest

Buy Ragis

Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Kobo     FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE

Other Books in the Series

Kinglet (book 1)

Fiskur (book 2)

Stoneking (book 3)

 Ragis (book 4)

Interview with Anthony Thomas – Author of BREACHERS

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Thrice Read Books hosts another stop on the BREACHERS blog tour with Fiery Seas Publishing. In this post, an interview with BREACHERS author, Anthony Thomas.

This week, we have as our guest, Mr. Anthony Thomas, whose debut novel, BREACHERS, was recently featured on Thrice Read Books’ review blog. We talked to Anthony back in August, about the release.

Thrice Read Books hosts another stop on the BREACHERS blog tour with Fiery Seas Publishing. In this post, an interview with BREACHERS author, Anthony Thomas.

Jenn: Okay! You have a new book coming out in September, Breachers. Before we talk too much about the book, is this your first published novel?

Anthony: Yes it is. The first novel I wrote shall forever remain in a drawer, never to see the light of day again. Breachers was the first book in which I pursued publication and was very excited to receive an offer from Fiery Seas Publishing!

Jenn: Congratulations! And never say never… You might work up the courage (or the boredom) to pull that first one out and do something with it. You never know.

Tell us a little about you. Having read your bio, you’re a bit of a mystery.

Anthony: I was born and raised in Northern California, enlisted in the military, then stationed in Las Vegas. After separating from the military 6 years later, I accepted a contractor position overseas for right around 18 months. I recently returned home, just in time for the long-awaited release of Breachers!

Jenn: Oh, yay! I know deployments don’t always go as planned, even for contractors. And yes, it has been long-awaited! I think we did the cover reveal with Fiery Seas back in… February?

Anthony: Definitely was February. I’m not counting down the days or anything… okay. I totally am.

Jenn: It’s okay. I think it’s a bit like expecting a baby… And there’s so much to do, isn’t there?

Anthony: The to-do list is insane. Far more than I ever anticipated. Luckily, I was well guided throughout the entire process and had a very good experience.

Jenn: Why don’t you tell us a bit about Breachers?

Anthony: Breachers stemmed from a dream that woke me in the middle of the night. One where I was shot (we all have those kinds of dreams don’t we?) and instead of dying, I replayed the entire scene. A do-over if you will. I woke up, grabbed my phone, and typed in the notes. Breacher- Someone who can move through time.

Then, I went back to sleep. After I had woken up, I looked at my phone and everything just sort of built up after that!

Jenn: So, is Jason (the protagonist and anti-hero of Breachers), a time traveler? Is that how he is able to change events?

Anthony: Yes. Each death triggers his ability to replay the moment unfolding before him. Think of a video game. Super Mario falls off a platform, dies, then does it all over again.

Jenn: Before I spin off into the ether with questions that our reader might not get (and thus, avoid inadvertently asking for spoilers!), why don’t you tell us a bit about the book?

Anthony: There’s a hero mold I wanted to avoid. Hero gains ability. Hero stops the bad guy. Hero saves the day. This was a route I considered in the early stages, but then I thought to myself, what would the average person do if they learned they couldn’t die? Would they really save people? Or use the gift for personal gain? Let’s face it. There are a lot of people out there who are only looking out for #1. And if a person like that couldn’t die, they would no doubt use the gift to their advantage. Jason is that idea. And Breachers follows Jason through his less than favorable ways to acquire wealth.

Jenn: I agree. And the anti-hero is starting to show up in more and more fiction. It’s a fascinating concept.

Anthony: It gives a realism that the cookie cutter superhero cannot.

Jenn: Right. But Jason doesn’t get to just do his thing and get rich, right? You’ve put the squeeze on him and forced him to make a choice.

Thrice Read Books hosts another stop on the BREACHERS blog tour with Fiery Seas Publishing. In this post, an interview with BREACHERS author, Anthony Thomas.

Anthony: Jason has to make more choices than he is physically or emotionally able to handle. His latest score comes from a man with power. One who comes knocking on his doorstep. Not for blood. But a job.

Jenn: A little blackmail in the mix?

Anthony: Let’s just say he definitely stole from the wrong person.

Jenn: Whoops! That’s usually the end of most crime sprees, though, isn’t it?

Well, making critical errors, anyway.

Anthony: For Jason, it’s the beginning.

Jenn: Sounds intriguing! Is this the first in a series? Or is it a standalone?

Anthony: This book is a standalone with series potential. I enjoyed the characters so much, it was a door I didn’t want to completely close.

Jenn: So… are we able to expect more of Jason’s exploits in the near future? Or is there something else in the works?

Anthony: Nothing in the works just yet. But I have caught myself plotting from time to time. Who knows? We will have to wait and see

Jenn: Hmm.. The plot thickens…

As we wrap up, is there anything else that you’d like readers to know before embarking upon reading Breachers?

AnthonyBreachers is something I wanted to feel fun. Fast-paced. Filled with fight scenes, shootouts, and hilarity that forces the reader to quite literally, laugh out loud. And my biggest hope is that I deliver on all of the above.

Jenn: We’ll be reviewing it in September, for sure…and I say “we” because Brian may snag my ARC when I’m done with it, and throw his two cents in. Especially if I’m keeping him awake at night, laughing!

Anthony: I look forward to it! Thank you so much for having me!

Jenn: You bet, and thank you for your time today.

Anthony: It was my pleasure!

Check out the review here.

Buy the Book: 

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Interview with Gabriele Russo – Author of INCOHERENT GODS

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Thrice Read Books presents an author interview with Gabriele Russo, author of the GODS, INC. series, and recent release, INCOHERENT GODS

Our guest this week is no stranger to the Thrice Read blog. Sam reviewed her first two novels in previous posts, and this week, we have the pleasure of hosting a promotional post for her newest release in the series. Today, we’d like to welcome Gabriele Russo to our blog!

Thrice Read Books presents an author interview with Gabriele Russo, author of the GODS, INC. series, and recent release, INCOHERENT GODS

Jenn: Welcome, Gabriele. Before we really dive into the books, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Gabriele: Yes, anything in particular that you would like to know?

Jenn: I gather from your name and where you went to university, that you have a rich cultural background, and that life has brought you a long way from where you started out.
Gabriele: I was born in Québec City, and I now live in Virginia, which is not that far, but not exactly where I thought I’d end up. I love it though – at least it’s warmer. I did live in Europe for a few years (my mother was German and so I still have family there), and South America, in Paraguay, for a bit.

Jenn: So, you’ve really been all over the world. What a fantastic experience! Have you always wanted to be an author? Or did you discover writing more by accident?
Gabriele: I did try writing a few times before these novels, but it never quite meshed… I never finished anything, anyhow. Then I discovered Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, and I thought “This! This is what I want to write.” Something quirky, where I can have fun with words and dialog. And so, when my life changed, I sat down and tried to write. It worked, even if I still had ways to go into perfecting my craft.

Jenn: What advice would you offer to would-be authors?

Gabriele: First, I guess I would tell them to be certain that’s what they want to do. It can be heartbreaking at times. You need a thick skin. Then I would advise them to take classes, maybe not as I did, but at least a few – and most importantly to verify the credentials of the person giving the class. Which brings me to my third item of advice: to be very careful. The world of publishing is now filled with scammers.

Jenn: Indeed. We see a lot of warnings to would-be authors and published authors seeking homes for their new work.
Alright… On to the good stuff. Book Three in the Gods, Inc. series comes out in just a few weeks. I know that Sam reviewed the first two books in the Gods, Inc. series, but could you summarize the series up to book 3 for our readers?

Gabriele: The series takes place in a world where the ancient mythological gods live alongside humans. They now mostly work at Gods, Incorporated, a huge multinational that polices the interactions between mortals and immortals, which is led by its CEO, Queen Louhi Pohjola, a mortal demigoddess turned vampire on a diet.

Jenn: A dieting vampire?

Gabriele: She doesn’t drink human blood, or at least tries not too. In the first book, Goblin, a bitter goblin with childhood issues takes over the company, to then take over the world and turn it into hell. In the second book, a fanatic atheist at the head of a powerful lobby/terrorist group has found a way to kill gods.

Jenn: The series plot sounds complex.

Gabriele: The thing to remember is that all the novels are independent stories. The third one is even more to the side. It takes place in the Gods, Inc. zoo, and pits Louhi and the gods against an old evil witch that doesn’t actually want to take over the world, just destroy it.

Jenn: Right.  How would you classify this series? I’m getting a Young Adult/Paranormal vibe here. Maybe with a dash of fantasy?

Gabriele: It is not Young Adult, that’s for sure. There are almost no characters younger than thirty, and most are centuries old. Paranormal certainly. Fantasy, of course – other dimensions, magic being omnipresent… And if you take the official definition of naturalizing the supernatural, that fits too. This mixed with a humor that is also probably not very juvenile, more social satire.
In fact, this third novel is the first one with a young character.

Jenn: Speaking of book 3, Now sounds like a great time to talk about that.

Gabriele: The story revolves around Hercules, Jupiter’s great-great-great-…-great-grandson. He’s the manager of the zoo, and lately, his charges (mostly immortal animals or gods in animal shape) have been going insane. When Louhi (accompanied by Jupiter, her fiancé Ba’al, and bodyguard Andrew) goes for her yearly visit, he tries to hide this from her but fails – let’s not forget to mention that he has a huge crush on her. When they investigate the matter, they realize that this plague of insanity is not natural and that the real target is Yggdrasil, the World Tree. And if Yggdrasil loses coherence, then so will the fabric of reality – meaning that there will be no more way to move between the planes of existence: the dead will be stuck on earth, souls meant to reincarnate won’t be able to come back, etc… All this because the evil witch Chiloe doesn’t want to go to hell, which she knows she richly deserves (she is quite the unapologetic villain).

Jenn: LoL… You have to love a villain who’s fully vested in her destruction!
As we draw closer to the end of our time, is there anything else readers should know before they embark on this witty, satirical, mythological journey that is Gods, Inc.?

Gabriele: I wouldn’t want to give away any spoilers by inadvertence. Maybe just that I hope my books bring a little joy to them in these turbulent times.

Jenn: That’s a valid purpose to any book!
How can readers connect with you on social media, or follow you on a website or newsletter?

Gabriele: They can follow me on Twitter or on my facebook page. My website also has a contact form and quite a few links to articles and interviews.

Twitter     Facebook     Website

Jenn: Awesome! Thank you so much for sitting down with us and sharing about your upcoming release. We wish you all the best for your launch.

Gabriele: Thank you very much for having me. 

Thrice Read Books presents an author interview with Gabriele Russo, author of the GODS, INC. series, and recent release, INCOHERENT GODS

Buy the Book: 

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Related blog posts: 

Sam’s review of Incompetent Gods

Sam’s review of Inclement Gods