#ASI: Mandy Eve-Barnett

Hi, Mandy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I am originally from England but moved to Canada ten years ago. This is the third continent; I have lived on, as I was born in South Africa. The sharp contrasts in culture, weather, landscape and experience have left traces in my soul that I draw upon for my writing. My lifelong interest in the natural world and fairy folklore, influence my writing style and some of the subjects I cover. Although, I have been creative my whole life, delving into paint, clay, textiles, and everything in between, it was not until I moved to Canada that I ‘found’ writing. It seems bizarre that I never tried writing as a creative outlet before, but I am now making up for lost time. My first book was published in 2011 and to date, I have four others published with two more launching in 2018!

Discuss your newest book. My novel, The Twesome Loop, starts its journey in the late 1990’s English countryside, where several characters make seemingly unrelated choices to travel to Italy. Melissa is fleeing a loveless marriage, Gerald wants to find his soul mate, Brett is motivated by greed and Nancy’s insatiable lust drives her. They are drawn not only by the beauty and life of Italy, but by an unexplained inner longing. Each is unaware that a pact made generations before, links their souls to each other and the beautiful villa they will stay in. A parallel story takes the reader to 1874, where a young woman’s happiness is sacrificed for her father’s ambition. Unable to resist she suffers at her older husbands hands until his brother offers a way to escape.

The story came about because I have been fascinated with reincarnation for decades and it was a way to incorporate it into a narrative. I also love England and Italy and enjoyed featuring both places. Sounds amazing!

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? When I came to Canada I promised myself a creative outlet. My children were older and did not need constant attention so I wanted to find something for me, not just for my creativity but also to meet new people in our new country. During our first library trip, a regular Saturday occurrence, I browsed the many leaflets displayed for local clubs and picked up a handful. As we left I saw a notice board promoting a writing group the following Tuesday. I sorted out the leaflet read the information and decided to attend. The first meeting was nerve racking – new people, new place, and new craft. I listened and stayed quiet for a couple of meetings then braved reading a brief story. The surprise ending had everyone gasp and that’s the moment I was hooked.

What are your current projects? Oh wow! This is going to be a list.

  1. YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria – publishing spring 2018 – chapter header illustrations to decide upon & complete.
  2. Adult speculative fiction, Life in Slake Patch – final editing & revisions -publishing fall 2018
  3. Adult western romance, Willow Tree Tears – final editing & revisions 2019
  4. Adult suspense/thriller, The Giving Thief – final editing & revisions 2019
  5. Sequel to adult romance novella, The Rython Kingdom – writing narrative 2019
  6. Finding a steam-punk anthology for my short story, The Toymaker
  7. Freelance work – ghost writing a business book

A lot to look forward to in the next year. Good luck. 🙂 

What books have most influenced your life most? I would have to say, I have been a compulsive reader my whole life and there are far too many books to mention. I loved magical themes, stories of the natural world and a broad spectrum of genres. However, I am a huge Stephen King fan, his skillful story telling is masterful and awe inspiring. King is such an inspiration to many, myself included. He is a great mentor, even if he is not aware of it.

What inspired you to write your first book? My first book was a children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare, so not a complicated or long narrative! It came about when I wrote a story prompted by a word prompt on my writing group’s website. The theme was Halloween but I didn’t want to write the usual ‘someone gets scared by something’ so wrote from the point of view of a young monster on his first scare. My friend and fellow writing group member, Linda persuaded me to publish it. And that was the start.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? This is a difficult question in the case of The Twesome Loop as there are four main characters whose lives are impacted by the discovery of their past lives. (see above question). The novel, Life in Slake Patch is set in an alternative future under matriarchal law. The sexes live in separate compounds and only have weekly visits. My main POV character is Evan – a young man living the life unchanged for generations. He becomes the vehicle for change, while fighting a band of dissents, holding a secret book and becoming married.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? In The Twesome Loop, I want my readers to see love can be a powerful thing across time but also that love can overcome religion, traditions and oppression. This is a good message, especially with Valentine’s day just a few days passed.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? For The Twesome Loop, I see Liam Hemsworth and Camilla Belle as the love torn lovers.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? Once I began writing short responses to word prompts, it soon became a flood of ideas crowding my mind. The more I wrote the longer the narratives and the more I became obsessed.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Unfortunately only part-time – I have a full time job as well as a freelance writing business. I also have roles as secretary for the local writer’s foundation and president of the local arts & culture council.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? To actually finish it, I wrote the first draft during a NaNoWriMo in 2010. It was revised and edited, put away and the process repeated seven times. I loved the story but the complication of two time periods and multiple characters back and forth across time took some careful plotting and continuity. NaNoWriMo is a daunting task within itself, but the complexities of your work make it twice as. That also means twice as rewarding. 

What is the easiest thing about writing? Sitting down and typing while the story unfolds on the page – I am a free flow writer, so do not plot prior to writing. I let the narrative and characters carry me on a journey.

What book are you reading now? I have just finished Sleeping Beauties and started 11/22/63 – yes I know both Stephen King and I don’t usually read them back to back but they were Christmas gifts. I will have to check out Sleeping Beauties, it’s one I haven’t heard of.

What is one random thing about you? I used to sit in graveyards cleaning the gravestones as a youth. I find graveyards so peaceful and think it is a respectable job, cleaning gravestones.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Most of my writing is on my laptop although I do jot down short stories in notebooks when an idea hits me.

What does your writing process look like? An idea will come to me, whether from a news story, an overheard dialogue, or even a photo and it sparks a character or setting in my mind. As I have said before, I let the story flow through me and even when it diverts in a direction I was not expecting I just go with it. I can sit and write, when left alone, for hours. Sometimes I listen to classical music but mostly in silence. It is my happy place.

How important are names to you in your books? I try to make sure the names reflect the character’s traits, time period and their place in the narrative.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I am spasmodic in my promotion and need to be more organized in avenues of advertising and target marketing.

What is your favorite book and why? You will find this interesting as it is not a Stephen King book. I love and re-read on a regular basis a book called Ferney by James Long. It centers on a young woman and an old man who are the reincarnations of past lives. It is a fabulously written book and the story totally mesmerizing.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Find a writing group who supports and encourages you and where you can receive constructive critique. Like the Authors Helping Authors Beyond Marketing (New budding group on Facebook).

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Apart from the day job – freelance projects, event planning for both non-profit organizations, traveling to book events and attending local author readings.

From where do you gain your inspiration? It is a common answer from writers – everywhere and everything but I have found unusual news stories, fairy folklore and the natural world to be my main sources of inspiration. I’ve been waiting to plug this in because I found it to be my favorite cover of one of your books!

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What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? As I am published through a small publishing company, I cannot comment on self-publishing. I will say that a smaller publisher enables me to have more control over the process, the design and look of the books and it is a far more personal service.

How do you market your books? I am prolific on social media, I have a blog where my books are featured, and my publisher’s website has all my titles. I regularly attend author readings and local and provincial literary events. My books are in the local libraries and independent book stores.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? Funny you should ask I have just had discussions with a PR company this week. It is a new venture for me.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Start local and build from there – try not to conquer the world in one go. Gauge how much you want to market and where and focus on that, spreading yourself too thin only exhausts you and leaves no time to write.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? I would say writing is 60% and marketing 40% – it is the writing I enjoy and if people read my stories now or in the future that is my reward.

What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

I do not openly request book reviews apart from the occasional meme share on social media. When people buy my books I do request a review. I am keen to see what this PR company can do on this subject. Watch this space.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? When I was promoting The Twesome Loop I did entice readers by mentioning that it contained ‘spicy bits’ – several purchasers remarked on this strategy saying it was the reason they wanted to read it.

Which social network worked best for you? I find Facebook, twitter and Goodreads all have on par success for me. My blog seems to be the place readers and writers visit a great deal.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Without a doubt I would love to spend time with my literary hero, Stephen King. He is a skillful writer but also a fascinating personality, to sit down with him would be a dream come true. I would like to find out what makes the man tick.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? I would be honored to have written Ferney. It is the ultimate reincarnation story.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Don’t be afraid to try new styles, don’t restrict yourself to one genre explore them all. Let the story flow and do not edit as you go but later on once the narrative is finished.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? I am all over social media:

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/

Twitter: @mandyevebarnett

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/mandyevebarnett

Author Page: http://dreamwritepublishing.ca/authors/mandy-eve-barnett

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mandy-eve-barnett-58235250/

 

#FamilyLegacy Short-Story Chapter 1

I trap my daughter’s hair under a worn-out handkerchief. I will fix the small Afro when I get back, I think I’ll try cornrows this time. “Shayla, please try not to scratch for mommy.” I sigh, she vigorously rubs her arms instead. I have to clip her nails too. I don’t want her to get scars, something else for her father to blame on me. My great-grandma hands me two large oven mitts. “What do I do with these?”

“Put them on her hands.  I’ll give her another oatmeal bath while you’re gone. We will beat these chicken pox, eventually.”

“Thanks GG. Need anything while I’m out?”

“No dear. Tell Tasha we said hi.”

I wrestle with Shayla as she doesn’t like wearing the mitts. “Will do.”

As I pick up my keys my little girl runs to me, “Pwease don’t go mommy!” Clinging to my leg, she starts crying making me feel worse for leaving. The large oven mitts are almost comical on her tiny arms, going so far up they almost touch her shoulders.

My scrawny ninety year old great-grandfather strides over and picks her up. “Get going. She’ll be fine.”

I hide my tears and turn to walk out the back door. The only door we use now so my little girl doesn’t fall off the six-foot high porch.

My stomach is churning more with each step I take to the old clunker I own just for making this trip once or twice a year. I go through my pre-check ritual, making sure the tires and lights work. There’s nothing leaking or the well-kept engine isn’t making any funny noises. “Either would be a no-go until it’s been sent to the shop.” We don’t take chances with cars in this family. There have been too many car accidents, it’s almost a family tradition. I chuckle at my own morbid joke as I turn the ignition over.

Trying to calm my nerves, I start to sing a jingle from elementary, as I pull out onto highway 6. “G-A-double L-A-T-I-N spells Gallatin, Missouri.” My singing is horrible, but it does the trick, soon I am able to glide cautiously down the road and not be as paranoid as usual. I move to the “Bulldog Fight Song” we sang at every pep rally, as the car eats away the miles at a steady pace.

 

The freshly re-rocked drive to the gate feels as smooth as a gravel road can get, but the anxiety and nausea returns as I pass under the wrought-iron gate. Only one word between its pillars, “Cope,” but it feels as if there should be more and give entrance to Auschwitz itself. I park the car, take a deep breath…then step out into my own personal hell.

There’s great-uncle Dean, 35 due to drunk driving. A third cousin, another car accident at just 21. Oh, great-aunt Sherry looks good. Cancer wasn’t too kind to her. “Just a few more feet.” There are more family members here, but I try not to think about the multitudes of others here for one reason or another.

Finally, my mother’s spot comes into view, “Crap.” I trip in a hidden mud hole, but pinwheel my arms to stay upright. I’ve had enough practice thanks to my clumsiness.

The sky is crystal clear today, the opposite of my heart. “Hey, sorry I haven’t been back for a while. I’ve been pretty busy. Your granddaughter, Shayla, turns one tomorrow. She looks just like you did when you were younger.”

I hold the picture of my little girl for her to see that they share the same frizzy dark brown hair and dark blue mesmerizing eyes. Shayla’s hair is obviously curlier thanks to her father’s heritage. Unfortunately, you can’t see the gold specks that flicker in the light when she is up to no good. “She didn’t get your beauty mark though. She does have the slanted line birthmark on her right shoulder, she wouldn’t be family without it.”

Her crystal clear laugh rings through the air brought on by the breeze, but says nothing. Leaving me to wonder what she would think of my child and the situation I have found myself in, and how similar it is to hers back in late 1990.

     I hate this place, no matter how much maintenance the owners do to it, it still smells of death and looks about the same.

“I would have brought her to see you, but the family says it’s not appropriate.” A single tear wets my cheek, “John left last month his reason being that he tried to love his daughter but just couldn’t, so Shayla and I are back to living with great-grandma and grandpa.”

Carefully, I move a vase of old flower stems, the petals all dried and blown away by now, to sit next to her. “You’d be proud of me. I have stopped drinking while I was away. The postpartum has really been kicking my ass… sorry, arse I know how you don’t like the cursing, but the family is helping me get a handle on the depression though. So no plans of taking myself and eight other family members for a ride to play chicken with a train.” A soft chuckle escapes my lips before I can stop it. “Sorry, bad joke, I know. Your mom didn’t mean for it to happen.” At least we don’t think grandma Joy meant to kill six of her seven children, one of her sisters and herself when they were out running errands. The police believe the car stalled and they couldn’t all get out of the car before the locomotive rammed through the ’57 Chevrolet. “Guess crazy kind of runs in the family.”

Silence tears my words from me as I think back to the story my great-grandparents told me last year when I turned eighteen. They were always ranting and raving that I was turning out to be just like Tasha Raelynn and if I wasn’t careful I would end up in the same place she is.

     I think I am off to a better start. I managed to keep my legs closed for eighteen years. Two years longer than she did. My boyfriend stuck around longer as well. No one in the family knows who my biological father is, but Shayla knows hers. Though we did both meet the boys in high school and had children out of wedlock. Which to most of the family, including many who have survived the war and grew up in a more straight-laced time, believe that is a Cardinal sin.

A woman looks at me funny as she passes to visit one of her relatives. I glare back, I’ve not seen her here before, and perhaps her family is new here. She carries a bouquet of red roses and drags a reluctant husband down the aisle. Again I laugh as I picture a similar experience.

Shortly after she got pregnant, the baby’s father disappeared. My great-grandparents were up in arms about it, much like when they heard my news. I remember great-grandma hissing, “Tasha Raelynn came home practically pulling this poor scrawny boy’s arm out of the socket. Proclaiming that he is the one that got her pregnant.” All while she scowled over her coffee at the memory. Great-grandpa just quietly sucked on his corncob pipe, judging me as always.

“I saw the home movie where you brought him ‘round for a time to make it seem like a real relationship. I can’t believe you ever tried to pass that little gay boy off as my dad. Of course the family saw through it immediately, you couldn’t hide the fact that he was wearing his mother’s pearl earrings or beige lipstick.” I scoff at her naiveté, another thing that separates us. I’m not as gullible as she was back then. “Of course the great-grandparents had more colorful words for him, as they have more colorful words for everything they consider ‘indecent.’ You should hear half the things they say about Shayla being half African American.” I push my anger aside, not wanting to mar this meeting with bitterness.

Legend Series: #Revealed

Revealed picks up where Innocence leaves off, with Alexa-Jordyn learning she is a Legend and her boyfriend’s dad is a jerk. With the help of hunter friends and her best friend, Alexa-Jordyn searches for ways to control her new powers and track down her biological family. The head hunter intervenes with her plans, forcing the foursome to go on a rescue mission and into hiding after blowing up a building. Sneak Peak:

“You’re a Bean Sidhe?!” J.P. and his dad asked when they came through the door.

“What’s a Bean Shee?” I asked mispronouncing whatever they were saying.

J.P. came and stood next to me, “Dad, I think you should go spend time with Kavanagh before midnight. I need to talk with Alexa-Jordyn.”

“Yeah, what I said earlier just forget it. It was nice meeting you, even if we didn’t actually meet.” His dad tipped his hat to me and put an arm around the guy who still looked shocked.

I nodded back, too afraid to talk. I looked down as I pulled out my phone and started texting my best friend to have her do an internet search. She texted me back way too quickly to have done a search, “call me now!”

“Excuse me, where is the bathroom?” I asked quietly, afraid to leave his side.

J.P. pointed to a door behind his dad. “Through there. It’s OK he won’t touch you.” He walked me to the door, passed his dad and stayed outside of it as I closed it. I also locked it, not thinking that it was useless, because if they wanted to come in they could just break down the door.

I dialed Olivia’s number and waited half a ring, “Alexa-Jordyn? Are you OK? What happened? Was it J.P. you wailed for?”

“Olive, calm down. I’m fine. It wasn’t J.P., it was one of his dad’s thugs. He came at me to hurt me or kill me. But before he could get close enough I let out a loud earth shuddering scream. Then the rest came in talking about a Ban sid-hee or something.”

“It’s Bean Sidhe. I figured you would have picked up some Gaelic by now. It was a wail not a scream and it is normal. Get some rest I will be on the next flight out, my mom has already arranged it. I will explain everything when I get there.”

“Olivia, you don’t have to fly all the way out here just tell me what is wrong with me and how not to do it again.” I started freaking out, maybe there was something really wrong with me.

“No, I have to come and help. I can’t believe your mom sent you off to that island, she should have known better. My mom is all in a tizzy about it and sending you off to live with hunters that really was insane. What was the name of the guy you wailed for?”

“I think it was Kavanagh. Something like that.” I tried to remember. “Am I safe around Julian?”

“As long as his last name isn’t Kavanagh you are fine. I should be in by morning or afternoon. Just take it easy…and stay away from women. If you’re this upset about predicting a man’s death, I would hate to see what you’re like when you start predicting babies.”

“I what? What do you mean predicting babies?” I looked in the mirror to see if anything had changed about me, but nothing looked different about me.  It seemed impossible that everything had changed and yet nothing had.

“Just stay where you are. I’m sure the bloody hunters can care for you.” She said.

“I’m out in the country not at the O’Reilly’s. How did you know they were hunters anyway?”

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Legend Series: #Innocence

Innocence follows Alexa-Jordyn on a journey to Ireland as an exchange student in her Senior year of high school. All is well on the flight to the Emerald isle but then her whole world changes, and everything she knows to be true is wrong. The people who raised her are not her real family. Legendary creatures are real and her teacher is one. The family she is staying with are Legend Hunters for a facility that likes to kidnap and test on the Legends. Sneak Peak:

“The seven levels are where you crawled out of. I’ll see you tomorrow Professor.” I turned to walk out, but he grabbed my hand before I could open the office door.

“You will see me tonight. We still need to talk.” His mood suddenly changed from playful to dark and almost sinister.

I looked at him questioningly, “sure. Later.” He kissed my hand, I tugged it away and left.

“Looks like your guy isn’t coming tonight.” Kevin said as my shift ended. “Who was he anyway? He seemed more interested in you to just be a guy who you met on the airplane.”

“Honestly I just met him on the plane. He must be busy tonight or something.” I said clearing my last table for the night. Maybe he saw my point and thought I was right. “I’ll see you guys back at the house.” I put the dishes in the kitchen and started my walk home.

Once I was out of sight of the bar, someone started walking next to me. “Good evening Alexa-Jordyn. I thought it would be better if I didn’t show up as I saw your cousin Mary working tonight.” I looked over at him and J.P. was really trying to hide whom he was, wearing a long black trench coat and an awesome looking fedora. The fedora was black with a black and grey diagonally striped band around the bottom rim and a silver Gothic cross laying on top of the band.

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#ASI: Gabriel Woods

Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks Courtney for asking me to do this interview. I`m working as an author but I am also a qualified life coach. I was born in Ireland. I like traveling and I have lived in Dublin, London and Edinburgh. I have traveled widely throughout mainland Europe including Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Netherlands and Germany with a focus on areas of cultural importance. I have also backpacked in Australia and India.

Discuss your newest book.

I have published a kindle book Easter Rising 1916 A Family Answers the Call for Ireland`s Freedom. It`s a story about a family involved in a struggle for independence in Ireland. I was inspired to write it by an older woman whose father, aunt and uncle had taken part in the Rising. There`s also fictional aspects to the story, a character called Mother Mary who is psychic and a doctor who get caught up in the events.

I will have a novel published also, The Golden Age Dawns, by the end of March in Amazon. It will be free to Kindle subscribers for five days. This is a fiction book. There are dark forces that are determined to defeat humanity. The Protectors of the Light, immortals that protect humanity, combat the evil that threatens to overwhelm the world. They have a mission to guide humanity and individuals as the human race develops. The Protectors of the Light, travel back and forth to The Great Source, the force that creates all worlds and earthly dimensions, as they carry out their mission.
Susan is in a race against time to save London from the outbreak of a new virus that threatens to spread throughout the world. Linda, a successful clinical psychologist but a lonely woman, decides to travel in search of love. Colin is a young man from a poor family in Ireland and has been looking after his mother who has severe depression for most of his life. He travels with his friends to escape the world he lives in. He discovers he has to face events he never imagined. Colin encounters situations of social unrest that test his mental and physical strength.
The story is about how the three main characters deal with the events they are faced with.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

At school I was told by most of my teachers that I was not very intelligent and that I would not be suitable for college. I studied an honors psychology in University College Dublin, Ireland and achieved a 2:1. I was thrilled to achieve the grade because not only did I prove my teachers wrong but I also received what I believed to be a top class education in UCD. In school I had one teacher who said was a brilliant writer and in my degree I know that the lecturers there appreciated how I wrote essays and assignments. So I always liked writing.

What are your current projects?

Currently I`m publishing The Golden Age Dawns. I am also promoting my book Easter Rising 1916 A Family Answers the Call for Ireland`s Freedom.

What books have most influenced your life most?

I have been influenced by a wide variety of different types of books. As a teenager I read fantasy books a lot, I loved Tolkien`s book The Lord of the Rings. I have always liked psychology books (anything to do with psychology really). I came from a rather messed up background and I had a lot of difficulties as a teenager and young adult. Psychology books taught me new ways of thinking and acting that were beneficial to me. I gained a better understanding of myself. I read quite a lot of books by Stephen King and Anne Rice when I was not reading psychology books. Both these books have influenced my current style of writing.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Nine years ago life became very difficult for me. It seemed as if my whole life was falling apart and I was struggling to hold onto my home. I had at the same time broke my leg in three places and was in a lot of pain as I was going through rehabilitation for my leg. I was very fortunate to have good friends and my mother helped me too. I was reading certain books at the time about angels that comforted me. I was in so much pain that I turned to something bigger than me, spirituality, and I was desperate for help. So I learned methods to help me. I learned facts about myself and about life and thought about what I could do with this information. All these experiences inspired me to write.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

The main character is Linda. She is a very successful woman from a wealthy background. However she is lonely, all her friends are married with children and she is all alone. She leaves for Europe to have fun and maybe find a lover. Linda is faced with a nightmare scenario and finds strength within herself that she never knew existed. Linda behaves in ways she never thought herself capable of. She becomes open to influences not of this world.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I would be so happy if readers picked up just one message in the book. I would like people to know that there is no need to be afraid of events or people in their lives, or afraid of something about themselves. That reader`s will receive the help they need, if they are open to it and if they are humble enough to ask for help. Whatever form help arrives in, help will come.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
That is a difficult question! You are really making me think with these questions! To be honest I am not sure. I would like an actress who would have the skill to understand Linda`s character. Linda is complicated and an actress would need to be able to convey the depth of Linda as well as her sensitivity and love of people.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Exactly a year and a half ago in March when I started writing The Golden Age Dawns! I did not really decide, it was just a natural progression from all that went before. Then I had a burning desire to sit down and write, I had written many notes about my novel and put them together to form The Golden Age Dawns.
Why do you write?
I write mainly to amuse people. I write because it is the natural thing for me to do. I have always written in one form or another-poems, a diary, essays, reports and now blogs and all sorts of social media.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I wrote in response to one of the above questions that I went through a very difficult time in my life and I learned certain things. I then wanted to distill all this experience into notes that I could remind myself of what to do if life got difficult again. Then I thought about writing a book. Most of all I wanted to entertain people with a good story. Life can be tough and I wanted to create something to get people`s minds off their troubles. It turned out that that ‘something’ was books. My books are not educational books though there are facts in them. If people pick up on messages in the book that is great. My books are written to entertain primarily, to give people a break from their problems and be amused.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write full time and I hope to continue to write full time. Social media takes up a lot of time and then when that is put together with the time it takes to write my books it really is a six hour a day occupation, sometimes more hours than that.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
I have a difficulty with writing in that sometimes it is hard to stop writing. I sometimes have to force myself to stop. I can forget to take breaks during the day. When I am not writing I am thinking about what I will write next, what I will put write about the character or the next chapter. Switching off is difficult but I do manage to do so.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
My two books are being published at the same time. Easter 1916 Rising A Family Answers the Call to Freedom was difficult because, although there are entertaining events that I wrote myself, I researched the book. Learning about what actually happened at that time when some Irish people desired independence from England and the consequences of that was disturbing. The high level of violence was horrifying to read.
The Golden Age Dawns was hard to write in some ways because a lot of my personal experiences, particularly my spiritual experiences, went into the characters and into the events. I was faced with my own self at times as I wrote the characters thoughts and feelings. Writing The Golden Age Dawns helped me to rid myself of some painful thoughts and feelings that I needed to let go of.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
The easiest thing about writing is that I nearly always find it fun. Even if I am writing about something serious I tend to focus completely on my writing. The hours and days fly by!

What book are you reading now?
I am reading a book by Anne Rice The Wolves of Midwinter

What is one random thing about you?
I have traveled a lot and I tend to adopt some characteristics from the people I spend a lot of time with. I know a lot of people from different parts of Ireland. Some have very different accents and I’ve adapted some of their accents. What accent I have depends on who I am speaking to, as I will speak with their accent. I do this to such an extreme that it is random!

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer?
I write ideas for books on the notes section on my mobile then I send them to my e-mail and transfer them to a word page. I do have a note book but that is if a have an idea about publishing or promoting that I want to write down so I will not forget.

What does your writing process look like?
I do not have a process as such. I write notes as they come to me. I have a rough idea of what I want the beginning and ending to be and the dramatic points in-between and I try to stick to that.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
Not that I am aware of!
How important are names to you in your books?
Names are important. I convey where a character is from by their name.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The challenging thing is developing a piece of work that a reader can understand. To make sure I am conveying the story effectively. The editing process I find challenging. It is not as fun as writing a story!

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I hired an editor last year and she turned out to be a scammer. I paid her a lot of money and she did no work for me. I found an excellent editor after that. Check out anybody that you consider hiring, thoroughly. Check their references, actually speak to the people that give the references or e-mail them because the services websites may be dishonest.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?
This is one I just use for my own motivation: “Do not fear all is well”. It reminds me that I may not understand why something is happening to me but I will learn from it and I will be safe.

What is your favorite book and why?
I have books in my home, spiritual books, that I always read if I`m worried or stressed.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
As I said above make sure you check out thoroughly editors, graphic designers, anyone you hire to work on any aspect of your book. Websites may look well but do not be fooled by a flashy website.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like going to the cinema. I workout six days a week.
From where do you gain your inspiration?
Everything really. People I see, things people say, an idea a song gives me.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I have made no effort to approach a publishing house. I am really grateful that I can manage all aspects of my books. Nothing has been taken from the stories or characters to suit the needs of a publisher. Your story can stay the same all the way through the process if you want it to. I think that is fantastic!
How do you market your books?
I am on a steep learning curve with marketing! I am beginning with social media because I have been writing my two books so it is easier to use social media. I will be branching out to newspapers and radio in the next two months. I think I am doing okay so far, Easter Rising 1916 A Family Answers the Call for Ireland`s Freedom is selling at one or two books a day so I must be doing something right!
Why did you choose this route?
I chose self-publishing because I wanted to preserve the story of my novel. The characters and events all have significance and I wanted the story to stay the same.
Would you or do you use a PR agency?
No I do not use a PR agency.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
There is a lot of talk about targeting your audience and only using media where this audience will be found. I think it`s possible to market your book in a way that your book will sell but also make it match what you like to do or who you like to do. I do not think marketing has to be serious all the time. It is nice to have some fun with it!

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

I promote my book in the morning and write my books in the afternoon.
What do you do to get book reviews?
I am working on that at the moment. I am using social media currently. Hopefully I will receive reviews for Easter Rising 1916 A Family Answers the Call for Ireland`s Freedom from readers on Amazon.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Since I have been publishing my two books I have not concentrated on obtaining book reviews, I will do that when the novel has been published. Getting the publishing right is the most important thing for me at the moment. My followers in Tumblr are very helpful in promoting my novel.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Not yet. Positive word of mouth I think is important.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, what a reviewer says may or may not be true. I think it`s helpful to keep in mind what reviewers might say, is there some adjustments that can be made to future books that might improve them.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?
I am just beginning to market so not just yet!
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
I believe social media is very effective. There are other media that are important too I think. I think radio shows, papers, launching local events, are all important too.
Which social network worked best for you?
Tumblr is very definitely working out better for me and I have fun using that site too!
Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
Be careful of editors. After my experience with the scammer I looked up other authors experiences. Most of them at some time or another had problems with editors. This phase of writing a book is fraught with incompetent or scamming people. Be really careful who you select!

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

Not yet. I will promote my novel in these ways when it is published by the end of March. Amazon has got a lot of methods to market books when you publish with them.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I would like to meet Katy Perry. I really like how she dresses in costumes, she seems to be having fun. I think it is important to have fun in what you do.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
I would like to have written JK Rowling`s books about Harry potter. I really like the details she writes into her stories and the concepts she writes about like Hogwarts College. She has a great imagination and you can see it in her books

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I am only starting out myself so I cannot really speak from experience. Write what you feel like writing because people will pick up on the passion that you have for what you write and that may help them to like your book. People like passion!
How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Connect to Gabriel Woods at the addresses below:

Amazon

gabrielwoods.tumblr.com
gabriel854@wordpress.com
gabrielwoods777.blogspot.com
gabrielwoods@gmail.com
Facebook: Gabriel Woods
gabrielwood771.twitter.com
gabrielwoods777@gmail.com

#Book Blurb: #Revealed (Legend Series book 2)

Alexa-Jordyn just found out she is a Bean Sidhee, but what does that mean? Things get even stranger as her best friend comes to her rescue in the form of a bird, friends turn on her and things become heated with J.P. On Amazon

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#Book Blurb: #Innocence

Alexa-Jordyn is bored with her small town life, and decides to spice it up a bit. Spending her senior year in a foreign country she meets a boy and falls in love. Before her 18th birthday her world starts to spiral beyond her imagination. She learns that people are not always what they seem to be and by the end, she may not be who she thought she really was. Only on Amazon

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