Meet Carol J. Perry, Author [Author Interview]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Carol J. Perry to my blog!

Carol J. Perry | Author Interview | Witch City Mystery Series | Paranormal Mystery books | Blogging | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.comHow long have you been writing?

Seems as though I’ve been writing all my life if you count school things. I was editor of my high school magazine and wrote short stories and very bad poetry! My first experience with actually getting paid for writing began when I was nineteen and was hired as an assistant advertising manager for a local fuel company.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

Two motivations. #1. I enjoy doing it. #2. I like getting paid to do it.

The beginning: I knew in the seventh grade that I wanted to be in the advertising business and planned my future accordingly. I wanted to be either a copy writer or an artist. Turns out I’m a much better writer than I am an artist.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day for you?

I’m a morning person, so I like to work as soon as I have my first cup of coffee. I try to write 500 words before noon, then stop and do housework, errands, maybe go to lunch, then come back to the computer and do 500 more. 1000 words a day is always my goal.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I’ve been fortunate to have had more than one book published. The first one was a middle grade book, Sand Castle Summer, published by Willowisp Press way back in 1988. I’m sure the first thing I did was call my husband, Dan and tell him the good news. My first mystery book was Caught Dead Handed published by Kensington in 2014 and that was a super exciting day!

What was the publishing process like? How long did it take?

The actual process from the time I deliver the finished manuscript until the book is released takes about a year. That was true of both the middle grade books and the mystery series. First the editor goes over the manuscript and makes suggestions like clarification of certain points and maybe asks for another scene or sometimes asks that it be shortened. After that the copy editor makes corrections in punctuation, spelling etc. and sometimes even makes suggestions about the story.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes. I’m working now on Book#9 in my Witch City Mystery series for Kensington. My contract calls for two books a year.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I’ve done several other things besides writing. I’ve been a floral designer, a collectibles show producer, a salesperson in a store, a cartographer, a substitute teacher–even a commercial fisherman!

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I wish with all my heart I’d taken a typing class somewhere along the line. I still have to look at the keys!

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

My favorite book is The Chronicles of Narnia by C. E. Lewis. Favorite writer is Sue Grafton. Favorite genre is and always has been mysteries.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read lots and lots of current books in your chosen genre. You’ll learn a lot about how to put your book together, how to pace the action, and what editors/agents are looking for. It also helps if you can join a critique group so that you can get some opinions while your work is in progress. I attend a critique group every Saturday morning and the help I receive there is extremely valuable.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes. If this was easy everybody would do it. Also, to quote Shay Mitchell, “Visualize. Have Faith. Then work your butt off.”

About Carol J. Perry

Bells, Spells, and Murder by Carol J. Perry | Book Trailer | Paranormal Mystery | Author Interview | Book Blogger | Blogging | RachelPoli.comCarol J. Perry is the author of the Witch City Mystery series, (Kensington.) She was born in that magical witch city—Salem Massachusetts–on Halloween Eve!  Carol’s writing background includes ad copy, non-fiction magazine articles (many on travel, more on antiques and collectibles) and several middle grade books. Her first Witch City mystery, Caught Dead Handed, appeared in 2014, followed by six more—the newest, Bells, Spells and Murders released  September 25, 2018. Carol lives in Florida with husband Dan, one black Lab and one spoiled cat.

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Meet Thomas Josef, Author [Interview]

Please help me welcome author Thomas Josef to my blog!

Thomas Josef | Author | Interview | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Wisconsin and I’m a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. I took a little time off between my sophomore and junior year of college to hike the epic 2000+ mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

In 1989 to 1991, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, North Africa as a community service worker helping local farmers manage green houses. We were ordered out of the region by decree of the State Department because of the initial Iraq-Kuwait conflict that escalated to the Gulf War.

With my Peace Corps assignment cut short and the US being at the brink of war, I decided to travel to Mexico and Central America where tensions were much more subdued. I learned Spanish in Mexico and Guatemala. When I returned to the states, I endured my career with the State of Texas and continued to reside in Austin.

After nearly ten years of service to the state, I was looking for a change in my career and one that would offer a good compensation package and travel opportunities. I decided to take a military contractor position with a Fortune 500 engineering and construction company to help serve the Warfighters of Afghanistan. During that time I started to write about daily accounts that became the premise of my book.

How long have you been writing for?

This is my first book and memoir. I started writing newsletters to send home about the unique experiences, interesting people and events, and everyday life as a contractor on a military base in a war zone.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

Unique, interesting, and out-of-the-ordinary experiences motivates me to write because these are instances that are worth living for and create interesting journeys and perspectives in life.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I really do not have a writing routine. I write when stories need to be told and I have the time to tell them.

How did you decide to self-publish instead of going the traditional company?

I researched the benefits of self-publishing and the cost difference to an author. There’s also something about the independence, the learning experience, and the creative aspects of self-publishing vs. going through a traditional publishing company.

What was the self-publishing process like? How long did it take?

I thought the self-publishing process would be much easier with better step-by-step instructions and time line, but it wasn’t. I seemed to hit a few roadblocks along the way and ended up hiring a book marketer that had the experience and expertise with self-publishing to do it in a timely manner. It took about a month to obtain the get the self-publishing accounts approved, obtain an ISBN, format and upload the book and e-book, proof, and finally publish. I thought the process would be more instantaneous by downloading my files. That was not the case at all.

Are you currently working on anything new?

No I am not.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

My dream job would be traveling the world and being a travel journalist or photographer.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

One thing that I learned through writing is that present tense has more impact on the reader vs. past tense. I originally wrote my book in past tense because I wrote about things that already happened. I went back, and rewrote and reworked my book in the present to create that greater impact as though the reader was living in the moment with me.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

My favorite genre is non-fiction. I like factual, real life stories like a memoir. I love to read the descriptions, details, and feelings written by other authors and how they articulate and interpret them. I can’t say I have a favorite because I have many.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

As a friend and fellow author told me, “Everyone has a story to share; share yours”.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

People live vicariously through others’ lives and adventures. Take them along on your journey.

About Thomas Josef

Thomas Josef | Author Interview | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.comThomas Josef is a native of Wisconsin and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. In his mid-twenties, he hiked the 2000+ mile epic Appalachian Train from Georgia to Maine and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, North Africa. He studied Spanish in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. With his passion for travel and adventure, he took a military contractor position with a Fortune 500 engineering and construction company to serve the Warfighters of Afghanistan. This is his story of that time and his first book.

Buy His Book

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Incoming! Secrets of a Contract Warrior in Afghanistan by Thomas Josef | Book Blogger | Author Interview | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Have you read this book? Does it seem interesting to you? Let me and Thomas know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Meet Herminia Chow, Writer [Interview]

Herminia Chow, Writer | Author Interview | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Herminia. I’m a reader, writer, and blogger who lives in Canada. I go to university full-time where I’m doing a major in Book and Media Studies with two minors in English as well as Writing and Rhetoric. I don’t have any books published yet, but I’ve written articles for different sites.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I started my first novel when I was in grade 8. I’m now going into my fourth year of university. I’ve been writing almost every day for about 3 years. Before then I just wrote when I felt like it.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

I love telling stories. I started writing because I had a lot of time. Nowadays, I have to make time. Even though it’s hard work, I find writing fun and fulfilling.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I try to write every day. I read in the morning and early afternoon. For some reason, I feel more creative later in the day, so I do most of my writing or blogging in the evening or at night. That being said, when I’m commuting to class, I’ll write first thing in the morning on the bus and subway. I often handwrite my first drafts before transcribing them on the computer.

Have you thought about self-publishing or traditional publishing? Are you leaning towards one over the other? If so, why?

I’ve considered both. As a kid, I always wanted to be published traditionally. I dreamt of seeing my book in libraries and stores. These days, I’m leaning towards self-publishing because I like the idea of having more control over my work. At some point, I’ll try to find a publisher, and if that doesn’t work out, I’ll attempt to do it myself.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I’m currently working on shorter pieces such as poems and short stories. I’m going to submit some of them to contests or journals. I’ll likely publish many to my blog as well. Even though I’m not working on a novel right now, I hope to start a new project soon.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

When I’m not writing, I’m blogging or reading. So I think I’d work in digital marketing or book publishing. Interestingly enough, I’ve had the opportunity to work for a digital marketing agency for a couple of summers. What’s more, since I blog about books, I get to be in contact with professionals who work in the publishing industry. I’m passionate about both fields, so it’d be awesome to work as a marketing coordinator for a book publisher.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I wish I knew that writing doesn’t get easier, but the more I do it, the better I become.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

I love crime, mystery, suspense, and thriller. I can’t pick just one book, but a few authors I admire include David Baldacci, Pierce Brown, Sarah J. Maas, and Jodi Picoult.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I’d tell aspiring writers to write as much as they can. Apply to contests. Submit your work. Go after opportunities. Create them yourself. No one is going to hand you anything. You have to make things happen on your own.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thank you for reading. Thanks so much for having me on here, Rachel.

About Herminia Chow

Herminia resides in Canada where she is fond of curling up with good books (and bad ones too), obsessing over her blog (on WordPress), and coming up with new ideas for stories (or thinking about them). She is a creative writer, a brief blogger, and an avid reader of all things.
 

Please be sure to check out Herminia and her work on her own blog! Let her know what you thought of her interview in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Want more? You can check out other Author Interviews on here. If you’d like to be interviewed yourself, you can check out the Interview Guidelines here.

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Meet Roger Peppercorn, Author [Interview]

Roger Peppercorn | Author Interview | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Things about myself? Well I’m not sure where to begin. I really don’t like talking about myself  *cough* but if I must pontificate about myself at length I will marshal on. It’s funny because as a writer you are of two minds the narcissist and the demur. I say this laughingly because if you give me a mic and an audience of at least one it’s like flipping a switch.  I like to tell stories and make people laugh. It’s what I am best at. I obviously can’t speak for other writers but I would be willing to bet they too are victims of their own hubris. I was raised as a child during the economic downturn that gripped the Western slope of Colorado.

As a child I often spent a lot of time daydreaming. The stories and events that lived in mind were fantastical in nature. As I grew older I often times would watch others and create elaborate fantasies. I wasn’t really all that popular but I did pretty well of fitting in. I wasn’t the class clown or a real show off but I did a good job of framing heroes and villains in stories.

In my mine tween years I started to craft the ability to tell stories. Particularly during English for book reports. But it wasn’t until I took a writing class at a local community college where I really started to write. I don’t recall how many words or pages you were required to crank out daily but I know it felt like a lot. It’s also where I really started to work out scenes and play around with dialogue.

I’ve said this before but the line between good and bad is not always clearly black hat or white hat. It’s this conflict I’ve always been drawn too. To me stories about crime are far more interesting when the actions and words of the characters slide in and out of good and bad behavior. The procedural stuff is a means to bring the story to conclusion but friction between people is what makes a scene really pop on the page.

When I started this book a long time ago it started with the scene in Pea Green Hall. The main thrust of how it is written today holds true to how I saw it in my mind before I wrote it and how it “wrote” are different.

 How long have you been writing for?

Really long and not very long at all. I’ve had a couple of different ideas for stories and have attempted to write them but for a lot of reasons they just never reached the end. That’s the really long side but the short side is about five years. Like I was just saying this novel started with a scene and from there I started to build a story around it. The difference for me is I always had started a story from the start and had tried to walk it through to the end. One seems like a better way than the other but hey, this one scene is how this book got written and published.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

Honestly the motivation is to get the words and images out of my head. I lived with the first book for about two years in my head and dreams before I set down to write it. Most of the stuff I produce that I really like comes out of living with it for a while. Turning it over and over. Wash, rinse and repeat. This book came about because I just wanted to get it out of my head and on the page to read.

I really got serious about writing when I started my blog. I know, I know everyone has one and some of them are really not good at all I leave them up for better or worse because it’s a way for me to gauge how I am progressing and maturing in the words and how they fit together.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

Because I’m not wealthy my typical day is just like everyone else’s. Get up and go to work come home, hang with the kids and wife. But when it comes to writing I generally write in evenings after the kids have went to bed. My day job takes me on the road so I spend a lot of time in hotels, airports and behind the wheel. The airports and windshield time is where I do a good portion of scene layouts and dialogue.

On nights or weekends when I write there are a few things that for me are a must. First the room temp has to be around seventy five or eighty. I don’t like cool wind blowing on me when I write so no air-conditioning. I don’t like my arms sticking to the top of a desk so a lot of time I have a blanket or a towel to keep me from sticking to the desk.

Like now I am sitting in a recliner with pillows stacked around me to prop up my arms and my laptop is on top of another one. The only thing missing is some type of drink. Mostly I like coffee when I write but booze works pretty good as well.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I got an email in late fall of 2016. What I remember most is the grin and the satisfaction of all the hard work and slaving over the words, grammar, spelling and formatting had finally paid off. The compliment I got from Leesa at Wallace Publishing was something I will not ever forget.

But as to your question as to what I did. First I showed my wife the letter and then we both toasted the good news and after that had a really nice evening. The details of which I will leave to your imagination. It was a really good day.

What was the publishing process like? How long did it take?

The editing process takes a while to get through especially as an unpublished writer. Wallace did a great job with the particulars of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

I really did feel for them because when I was in high school grammar and English weren’t high on my list of things to succeed at. My girlfriend at the time used to do most of the English work for me which is exactly what it sounds like.

Overall it took about thirteen months and I think we went through two major edits, one minor and one really superficial final edit. But other than grammar and some rewording of some sentences there was only one paragraph we cut. So what you read today is very close to what went to the publisher.

The thing I liked the most was I was in control and had final say on what went to print. I learned a lot and am still learning a lot about the process of writing and self-promotion.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Why yes I am. Right now I am working on some research and supporting characters for the follow up novel which is titled The Sometimes Long Road Home. It takes place about 18 months after On the Devils Side of Heaven.

Walt is a cop in Fruita and a fulltime single father which he’s never had to be. Not to mention sobriety and just being a responsible adult. For a guy like that it’s a lot to take on suddenly. Ronald is still whereabouts unknown but when he shows up he too is a different character. Jessica is still reeling from her dramatic experience and all in all life in Fruita is a lot different now for everyone. So you get to see how all of this plays out.

Oh and there is a murder or two and some dinosaurs so that makes it interesting.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

That’s funny.

I wish I was an established writer with the income to go along with it. But I still have one of those “day jobs”. In fact it’s the same job I’ve had for almost twenty years. I work in telecommunications. I travel a good deal which is fodder for the books and occasional blog.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

Honestly it’s how much effort marketing and promoting takes. As chic as the title of indie author is you are not the recipient of a larger agency who promote these for you. It takes a long time to build an audience and readership. In the end its worth it because it’s yours for better or worse and no one is a better guardian and promoter than you are.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

I have always liked a good adventure and thriller. Books that on its face require you to buy into these worlds where things happen that you know are not believable in reality. Especially in the digital world of today.

James Lee Burke is my all-time favorite author I’ve read just about everything he has written. His world and characters are visceral.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

You have to love the process of storytelling first and foremost. Write the stories you want to read and write for your enjoyment and freedom of movement of the mind and expression. Unless you have the magic ticket to literary freedom and success be prepared for a very long road to getting published. Building an audience and a following takes time, energy and some money on your part. But there are a lot of support on social media that can help. Lastly don’t expect anyone in the “bookstore” business to really help out a lot. You are your own best advocate for your work and your brand

Sometimes stories or scenes just don’t write and when it happens take some time for reflection maybe hit the backspace key a few times and either start again or better yet look for those off beat paths that are adjacent to the one you are working on. But never let it stop the story.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Don’t let anyone tell you not to write. The written word is everlasting and the core of all the arts. Plays, movies and songs don’t exist without words. My fifth grade teacher gave me probably the best advice I still use today. Never use the same word to start a sentence in the same paragraph and take care not to use the word “that” too often.

Other than that no one should tell you how to tell your stories. But when a reader takes the time to give you feedback remove the ego and listen. It will only make you better.

About Roger Peppercorn

Roger Peppercorn has suffered for the better part of his life from wanderlust and this need to see the other side of the horizon has taken him to all parts of the world. The people and backdrop of his travels have served as the inspiration behind his characters and storytelling. As a child, his mother taught him to read and write. His father’s collection of Louis Lamour novels provoked the fantastical images in his mind and the romance of the written word. In the seventh grade, his history teacher brought the characters of a bygone era alive. From that point on, Roger began to hone his skills in storytelling. After high school, Roger took a course in creative writing that was taught by a long haired hippy in a Hawaiian shirt. Roger’s grandmother used to tell tales of traveling across the plains in a covered wagon, the woes of having a son sent off to war, and the larger-than-life man she met at Pea Green Hall who later became her husband. His first two novels “On The Devils Side of Heaven” and “The Sometimes Long Road Home” take place on the western slopes of Colorado, in the sleepy town of Fruita, where he grew up. They center on the strained relationships and sorted histories of three characters – Walt, Ronald and Jessica, and violence that erupts around them. Roger is married and is a father of four beautiful children. He currently calls South Dakota his home.

Connect With Roger Peppercorn

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 On The Devil's Side of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn | Author Interview | Crime Thriller | RachelPoli.comCheck Out On The Devil’s Side of Heaven

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Meet David Ahern, Author [Interview]

David Ahern, Author | Interview | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an Irish writer who grew up in a theatrical family. I used to make serious TV and wanted to do some fun stories for a change.  The Madam Tulip books make me smile.  I hope they do the same for readers.

How long have you been writing for?

All my life, in one genre or another.  Mostly TV scripts, but plays too. The good thing about novels though is that you can just go ahead and write; you don’t need a whole crew of people to make them happen.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

In my twenties, I directed and co-wrote a solo play with and for my mother who is a wonderful actress. Believe me, if your Ma is waiting, you finish the thing. That’s one kind of motivation. In general though, if stuff runs around in your head and you want to stay sane, you’d better do something with it.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

It all depends on what other projects I’m involved with, but I try to write straight after checking the mails. It can’t always work out that way though.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Started thinking about the next one. I guess if you’re in any creative job you really only care about where you’re going, not where you’ve been.

What was the publishing process like? How long did it take?

I’m lucky in that I have a TV production company with a small publishing arm. I’m sort of the boss and not the boss at the same time. They’re testing the water with Madam Tulip, and so far they’re happy.  I’m a big fan of the freedom and independence the smaller publishers can give their authors. Writers looking for a deal with the big houses can forget that what they need is the right contract for them as a writer, and that’s not easy to get.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Madam Tulip #4

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I think my fantasy career would be as an archaeologist specialising in somewhere with a mild and pleasant climate, no biting insects, never previously explored and so a dead cert for academic fame (and tenure, of course). 

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

You don’t get holidays; your book won’t let you.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

Patrick O’Brien (a wonderful historical novelist and one of the finest storytellers ever), EF Benson (Mapp and Lucia) and Dorothy Sayers (of course). For comedy, Wodehouse, Thurber and Flann O’Brien (hilarious Irish genius). In the canon, Jane Austin is right up there for me.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Same advice everyone gives; keep writing, quitting never works.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just a big thank you for having me.

About David Ahern

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

Madam Tulip wasn’t David Ahern’s first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’s ever had with a computer. He is now writing the fourth Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.

David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.

You can learn more about David Ahern and Madam Tulip on his Website. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

About His Latest Book

Bones of Chance by David Ahern | Interview | RachelPoli.comSuspense, mystery, action, a little romance and lots of laughs

A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands. But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion. Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.
As Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.

Madame Tulip is the third in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

Buy the Book

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