Sunday, December 30, 2012

Meet John A. A. Logan, Author of Psychological Thrillers

      We're hanging out with John A.A. Logan this week near Loch Ness, in Scotland, the location of his psychological thriller; "The Survival of Thomas Ford". It's cold this time of year so we have extra blankets and will build a fire to sit by as John chats with us.
      John is featuring a contest and one lucky winner will receive a kindle version - see details below. Deanna and I have plenty of hot chocolate to go around. So find a seat on a nearby log or rock and join us in the dark, moonlit forest.

Reader’s Haven: Hi John! Thanks for inviting us to Scotland! Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know.

John: Thanks very much for inviting me to be here!
Well…I’ve been writing now for about 23 years. I decided to go “indie” after my second literary agent couldn’t find a publisher for my 5th novel, The Survival of Thomas Ford. My agent had had such high hopes for the book, and had convinced me too. His colleague at the agency had read The Survival of Thomas Ford and she told my agent it was the best novel she had read in the last four years. This was taken very seriously, as she had discovered Slumdog Millionaire as an unpublished manuscript, the book that had gone on to win 8 Oscars as a film in 2009. And yet, even with all this support, and despite my agent finding publishers in Scotland and London who said they loved The Survival of Thomas Ford, still no publisher would finally take the book. It was very disappointing. Although I’d sold short stories over the years, including to the big UK publishers like Picador and Vintage, where editors including John Fowles (The French Lieutenant’s Woman etc), and A L Kennedy, and Toby Litt, and Ali Smith, had all chosen my stories to be published when they were editors of anthologies, and this had meant I’d seen paperbacks with my stories in them go on to be sold in most countries of the world…still, I’d never had a novel published, never been given that chance.
     So, I decided to publish The Survival of Thomas Ford as a Kindle ebook.
     I went on to become a bestseller on Amazon…it won a Special Award in the E-festival of Words Best of the Independent eBooks Awards 2012…it was also Goodreads UK Kindle Forum Book of the Month and an Alliance of Independent Authors Book of the Month.
     Amazon has just put the first page of The Survival of Thomas Ford in the new UK video advert for the Kindle Paperwhite…you can see it being read onscreen from 3.00 to 3.06 in the UK product page video…that was a nice Christmas present!
     Otherwise, about me…I live in the Highlands of Scotland, and I love writing…films too!

Reader’s Haven: Wow! Congrats on all the awards. What made you want to become a writer?

John: I loved reading when I was at school, and I loved films too…anything with a story seemed to take possession of me. Stephen King was a big influence…Ray Bradbury…then I started reading all sorts of novels, anything I could get hold of, until suddenly, the idea came that maybe I could try to do this too. I suppose just loving novels and short stories I read so much made me naturally want to try to do it myself.

Reader’s Haven: Please share a bit about The Survival of Thomas Ford without giving away any spoilers.

John: The novel is a psychological thriller set in the Highlands of Scotland, near Loch Ness. Thomas Ford survives a car crash which has killed his wife. He is the only surviving witness who would be willing to identify the young, reckless driver who caused the crash. But the young driver has no intention of ever letting himself be identified. He would sooner see Thomas Ford dead than ever allow that to happen. The young driver’s father, a wealthy and powerful housing developer, is also a very important character in the book.
     So is the young driver’s girlfriend, Lorna, who is a cleaner at the local hospital where Thomas Ford recuperates after the crash. Some readers have mentioned a mystical dimension to the book in places, the forces of nature, or even perhaps unnatural forces, seeming to come into play at times, influencing the outcome of the situation as it develops. One reviewer suggested the novel might be “a study on the nature of the universe”(!)…though, of course, whatever levels or meanings readers see in the story…and it is always fascinating to hear what they have made of the book…first and foremost it just has to work as a good, tense story! As long as that basic structure and machinery is in place, then it is possible to have some fun filling in the in-betweens here and there…that’s when it can get mysterious too!  

     Anyway, in the end, The Survival of Thomas Ford becomes a race against time, to prevent a second young woman losing her life.

Reader’s Haven: Do you write under a pen name?

John: No, John A. A. Logan is my real name (including the initials!)

Reader’s Haven: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

John: It’s probably true to say that flawed, human, sensitive, troubled main characters are the ones I like best…though often they are struggling to make more out of their lives than circumstances seem to be allowing.

Reader’s Haven: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

John: I usually have to get other tasks/responsibilities out of the way first, before I can focus on working on something new. Then I will tend to be quite disciplined and write a certain amount of words a day, not too many, not too few. At another stage, the day’s work might mean reading/editing work done on another day. And now there is online promotion to do sometimes…trying to reach new readers, writing interviews sometimes! 

Reader’s Haven: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

John: They’re VERY different. I have a 200-page collection of 10 short stories, Storm Damage, published on Kindle. Each story in that collection is very different from the next: one where a strange choice of astronaut is made for Scotland’s first Independent Space Mission to Mars; one set in a village just after World War One; one set in the African desert; another about a bombing mission over Dresden in World War Two which ends up in modern India…
    It’s the same with the novels…The Survival of Thomas Ford is a psychological thriller…in 2013 I’ll publish Agency Woman on Kindle, and that is a 400-page espionage thriller, though a quirky one…I have another three novels completed, which will go up on Kindle later:
    Starnegin’s Camp:set two thousand years ago in which an insane Emperor impregnates eighteen young women with his supposedly Divine seed, and sends them by ship to begin a colony on the other side of the world, where Starnegin, the new colony’s leader, has begun to act very strangely, disappearing into the forest alone every day, to do no-one knows what…
The Major: A novel about the blue collar tyre supply depot manager in a small Scottish city who is really a visitor from the cosmos, come to do mischief among the local community.
Rocks in the Head: A social-realist coming-of-age story…set in the late-20th century.

Reader’s Haven: How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

John: It took me a year to write The Survival of Thomas Ford, then I edited the book for two years before sending it off to the literary agent in London who eventually represented the book. But then that agent wanted a few changes here and there which required further editing. Then the film consultant at that agency, the one who had discovered Slumdog Millionaire, had ideas for further editing, which resulted in her phoning me for 13 hours over an 8 week period(I kept count!)…so in that book’s case, a year to write, and then perhaps 3 years of editing…which is probably a bit extreme! Then again, my short story collection, Storm Damage, was much the same, 18 months to write, then a bit over 2 years to edit…

Reader’s Haven: Do you have to be alone to write?

John: Yes, I do. Alone, and in silence…I wear ear-plugs!

Reader’s Haven: How do you go about naming characters?

John: Usually a name just comes to me, in the flow of writing…later, I might have to change a name…especially just before publication, I have to think hard and make sure I’ve not subconsciously used a name that could be confused with any real person etc. The subconscious itself, though, that deep well within, is where the names come from usually…they just “appear” one day…

Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?

John: Again, I try not to pick anything! I try to get out of the way and let the subconscious do a good job of picking. Though I do tend to set novels in “the city”…without naming this city or saying too definitely where it is…though often much of the action occurs then outside “the city”…in the rural areas around it…forests…mountains…beaches…and more often than not, so far, these are locations in the north of Scotland…the Scottish Highlands…The Survival of Thomas Ford makes a lot of use of a forest location and this may be because I lived in a place like that, as a young child.

Reader’s Haven: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

John: I’m working on my 6th novel, which will go to my agent in London, and he will send it out to the London and Scottish publishers. He’s also currently approaching film producers about my novel, The Survival of Thomas Ford.
     My next e-book, though, will be that espionage thriller, Agency Woman…due out in early-to-mid 2013 on Amazon Kindle!

Reader’s Haven: Where can readers find out more about you and your books? 

John: On the following sites:

Twitter: @JohnAALogan

Enter through the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win 
a Kindle copy of The Survival of Thomas Ford. Good luck! 

     Thanks very much for having me here, I enjoyed it, and All best to everyone for 2013!

      Thomas Ford is the only survivor of the car crash which killed his wife. He is also the only witness who would be willing to identify the young, reckless driver who caused the crash. But the driver has no intention of ever letting himself be identified, not to mention what his father’s intentions are…or those of his girlfriend, Lorna, the hospital cleaner.
      The young driver’s father is Jack McCallum, the powerful entrepreneur who has built a housing empire, McCallum Homes, on the high hills surrounding the city. Jack has his own dark secret to protect, as well as his business edifice to hold onto. There is no way in the world that Jack McCallum will ever let anything threaten the future of McCallum Homes.
      Robert Ferguson, the passenger who was with the young driver on the day of the crash, curses himself for ever getting into the car. He watches carefully to see what the universe will do about it all, and he thinks he can hear the gears and chambers of the universe’s engine, rolling terribly towards them, out of the future, and he knows he can’t cope with that, not even if he takes his medication.
      In the end, destiny will pull them all far out of the city, some of them to the moonlit hillside, where white butterflies and mysterious gas fill the air, and wild cats wrap themselves around cold trees. Jack McCallum’s trusted Polish foreman, Lanski, will recognise the place from the folklore-wilderness of his own childhood, a place where death can come stalking in the form of a white wolf, but perhaps also redemption can appear, for those like Thomas Ford who seek it.
      In any case, the young driver has it in mind to take his destiny into his own hands now, which will soon lead to the life of a second young woman hanging in the balance, awaiting salvation or destruction, perhaps only the Fates, or the wind that blows through the trees, know which.
Happy New Year Everyone 
from Deanna Jewel and Louise James!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Meet Mystery Author Karen Hall

 Karen Hall
Mystery & Women's Fiction

     Single again, I went back to school in Rapid City at the School of Mines. I lived alone for a long time, and when I started talking back to Tom Brokaw when he said, “Goodnight” at the end of the TV news (“See you, Tom. Have a good weekend”), I realized it was time to get back out there again. The next fall I met Jeff in beginning physics class, and he eventually became my third husband. This one took. He is the third, but he’s also my final husband. In 1991, Jeff graduated in mechanical engineering and I graduated in chemical engineering and chemistry, and we moved to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I worked as an environmental engineer in the state’s largest oil refinery for eight years, then started a consulting company with another woman engineer. I wrote the first draft of my novel, Unreasonable Risk, during that time by getting up at 5:30 every morning and writing foran hour before work.
     We moved back to Rapid City in 2002, and in addition to writing, since then I’ve been involved in lots of community organizations: politics, community chorus, the photographic society, the Black Hills Writers Group, church choir, and several others. This past year I worked with many others to pass a groundwater protection ordinance governing septic system installation and inspection, and have since been appointed to the county Planning Commission. Life is never dull.
     Best of all, we are now grandparents. Our son and daughter-in-law have two girls, Annabelle and Ophelia, and our daughter and her husband have a girl, Hailee, and a boy, Dylan (named after the legendary Bob; the kids have taste). We see them as often as we can and there are, of course, pictures of them on my home page.
     Since there are no kids in the house, we’ve adopted cats. Rocky, who has toxoplasmosis (which blinded him), and Junior, cute but dumb as a post, have given us much joy and many laughs, despite the small carcasses of their prey lined up at the back door.
     Well, that’s about it. I’m about to turn 63 but still feel like 25. (You all know what I mean.) I’m president of the Black Hills Writers’ Group for a second and final year, and am enjoying that tenure, learning a lot in the process. My big news this year, though, is that the second thriller in the Hannah Morrison environmental mystery series, THROUGH DARK SPACES, is now available both in trade paperback as well as e-book format, and my first novel, UNREASONABLE RISK, will come out soon in trade paperback, too. My third novel, THE STILL HEART OF STONES, women's fiction this time, is about four women who meet as a result of their infertility and become close friends. The first draft is nearly complete, so you may see that one in print or e-book one of these days, too. I’ll keep you posted! 

Reader’s Haven: Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know. And Readers, there's a giveaway. Details below!

Karen:  I grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, where you can watch thunderstorms advance across the wide plains for hours.  It was a wonderful place – safe, flat, windy.  I remember the black winter ice that built up at intersections, lasting from November to March, as frozen exhaust added its thin layer to those laid down before.  We were hardy, wore slacks under our skirts to school and shed them when we arrived to show our bare legs, even at 20 below zero.  In summer, we swatted mosquitoes and sweltered in the humid heat, but we also swam for hours in the lakes in Minnesota’s east central region, fished, water skied and sailed with friends.  We cleaned fish and learned how to best prepare them.  I loved my local library, could hardly wait for school to start in the fall.  I guess it was a pretty idyllic childhood.

Reader’s Haven: What made you want to become a writer?

Karen: I was always a writer.  I wrote my first 8-page book, formatted and illustrated, when I was about 8.  My mom told me it was titled Old Mister Sun, but it’s been lost for decades and I have no idea what it was actually about – except the sun (duh).  I tried to write a novel when I was in my late teens, but hadn’t had enough life experience to write anything of value to readers (heck, it was barely valuable to me), so I went on with other life endeavors: marriages (3), careers (nearly too many to count), and a massive but failed effort to conceive a child.  It wasn’t until after the pain of two failed marriages and failure at conception that I came back to writing.   

Reader’s Haven: Please share a bit about your new release (enter book title) without giving away any spoilers.

Karen:  You’d think after that heartfelt confession that my novels would be full of angst and depth, but they’re really not.  Instead, they’re mysteries, thrillers based on environmental issues I’m concerned with, environmental issues that grew out of my most recent career, environmental engineering.  I’ve learned a LOT about industry in this country, and while on the whole it’s very responsible, there are things that have made my eyebrows rise.  So I’m writing about those. 

My latest title, Through Dark Spaces, deals with the hard rock gold mining industry and what can go wrong when people don’t consider how their actions can affect the environment.  Remember the coal mining disasters in West Virginia?  The one in South America that left 28 men trapped underground?  A mine is a perfect place for a thriller.  Add that my protagonist, Hannah Morrison, has trouble with claustrophobia (don’t we all?), that her high fashion model sister complicates everything in Hannah’s life (don’t they always?), and that she’s fighting not just to save her business but her life, and you’ve got the ingredients of a very personal environmental mystery.  

Reader’s Haven: Do you write under a pen name?

Karen:  Nope.  If I ever publish the book I’m working on now, though, which is not a mystery, I may consider it.  For now, I write under “Karen E. Hall.” 

Reader’s Haven: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Karen: I always prefer female protagonists.  I think they’re more empathetic, more emotional, that they struggle harder than men do simply because they don’t have the physical strength to get them out of jams.  They must use their wits.  Estrogen, I believe, makes for a much more real heroine than testosterone ever has. 

My heroine, Hannah, was a little too perfect in her first mystery outing, titled Unreasonable Risk. In the second in the series, I’ve given her more depth, I think, more flaws.  She’s still likeable enough, still capable, but to me she seems a lot more human. 

Reader’s Haven: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Karen:  Ha!  Lots of spider solitaire!  No, seriously, I’m a slow writer.  I’m very involved in my community, so find it very difficult to hole up in front of my computer for more than a couple hours at a time.  I try to write every day for at least that long, but there are days when I just can’t do it.  And I always have more than one thing going – if I’m stuck on one and start up the spider solitaire, I limit myself to a game or two and then move on to a short story or a haiku or a review of something I’ve just read.  If I find myself unable to proceed with any of my current projects, I pick up my camera and go for a long walk in the hills.

Reader’s Haven: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Karen:  Right now my books are linked by my protagonist’s profession.  She’s a consulting environmental engineer, and her first two outings have been in oil refining and in gold mining.  Her next adventure will be in the oil and gas extraction industry, and the book will be set in the crazy wild west of the Bakken Oil Fields in western North Dakota. 

I am also working on a different type of novel, though, women’s fiction this time, about four women who meet as a result of their common infertility.  It’s truly the book of my heart, though right now it has some daunting structural problems.  I may have to lose one of my characters, and the prospect of choosing which one to axe has left me desolate.  It’s either that or face a manuscript that’s over 200,000 words long.

Reader’s Haven: How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Karen:  It takes me a good year to finish a book, and that’s if the first draft is good.  I usually go through three or four drafts, though I procrastinate because I much prefer writing to editing, and the last drafts are mostly editing.  I think editing uses different parts of the brain and requires much more discipline.  The engineer side of me loves it, but the creative side – not so much. 

Reader’s Haven: Do you have to be alone to write?

Karen:  Yes.  And I prefer quiet, too.  No music, no NPR, much as I love to keep up with Science Friday and All Things Considered.   I do carry a notebook with me always, though, and jot down ideas whenever they come to me.  I’ve actually received dirty looks in grocery store lines because I’m making notes instead of placing my items on the conveyor belt.  Sometimes it’s a note about how somebody looks or acts, sometimes it’s about the weather, and sometimes it’s a plot point that’s chosen that inopportune moment to surface in my busy head.    

Reader’s Haven: How do you go about naming characters?

Karen:  It’s always a struggle to find the perfect name.  I do cheat once in a while by using lists.  One of my favorites is a list of people who lived in a huge nursing home in Moorhead, Minnesota, when my parents were both there.  Those names remind me of my childhood, and though they’re mostly Scandinavian, they’re perfect for the generation slightly older than I am. 

As an experiment, I did “sell” a couple of character names in Through Dark Spaces in a charitable auction.  The bidding was spirited and made quite a bit of money for the organization.  It was hard to change the names of characters I’d grown to know, though, and I’m not sure I’ll do that again.  Amazingly enough, the people who “bought” those character names all signed a copy of the book for me.  It’s truly a collector’s copy!

Reader’s Haven: Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Karen:  Boy, I never know what my characters look like.  I’m a strong believer in letting them grow in the reader’s mind with very little description.  When people ask me which actors and actresses should play my characters in “the movie,” I’m always at a loss for an answer.  Though I do love Claire Danes.

The one exception in Through Dark Spaces is Hannah’s model sister, Maddie.  I described her more thoroughly than I usually do, principally because her beauty provokes those pangs of sibling rivalry in Hannah. 

Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?

Karen:  Great question. In many mystery series, I find that two things are true:
1) If the sleuth is an amateur, the series risks the “Cabot Cove” syndrome, where people die entirely too often and in too many different ways.
2)  If the sleuth is a private investigator or a law enforcement officer, the characters new to the series are usually either the victim or the killer.

In order to avoid both of those, I’ve made my protagonist a consultant who travels from industry to industry.  I think the next one, after oil and gas extraction, will be either the dairy or cosmetics industry.  How’s that for variety? 

Moving from location to location and industry to industry causes its own set of problems, of course.  Not only does the reader have to learn the terminology specific to that industry, but she has to absorb a whole new set of characters, too.  It’s one of the reasons why I play so much spider solitaire.      

Contest giveaway:  I’ll give away a print copy of Through Dark Spaces, signed with a personalized note if that’s preferred, to the most interesting comment.   

Web links:

Amazon buy link (e-book)
Amazon buy link (trade paperback)
Publisher buy link (trade paperback)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Meet Adult Paranormal Fantasy Author Regina M. Geither!

     Welcome to our Haven this week where we are on location with Regina to chat about her books and learn more about her. If you don't have your coat and scarf, grab it and let's get bundled up before we head out to sit among the ruins to get a feel for this wonderful story! We've set up our coffee stand to keep us warm...complete with Bailey's for your coffee or latte!

Reader’s Haven:  Regina, thank you for inviting us to the island! Wow. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Regina:  I’m a mother, teacher, writer, and self-proclaimed authority on the teenage psyche.  Along with being an intermediate school teacher, I also teach adult novel writing. 

     I grew up in the Midwest and was raised on stories of legends, curses, and all things paranormal.  I started my writing career at the age of twelve when I spent my summer vacation typing my first novel on a manual typewriter. 

     I love writing teen paranormal fantasy.  I guess it’s due to the fact that I’d rather put myself in the shoes of a sixteen year old girl than those of a forty-something year old mom.  And the paranormal is so much more fun to write about than the “normal.”  I admit it…I don’t want to grow up.

Reader’s Haven:  That's a busy schedule! Congrats on making it work for you. What made you want to become a writer?

Regina:  I attribute my talent for and love of storytelling to my grandfather who entertained all of his grandchildren with his tales of the Great Depression, World War II, Big Foot, and the creepy monster living in his basement coal bin.

Reader’s Haven:  Please share a bit about your new release ISLAND OF TORY without giving away any spoilers.

Regina:  Island of Tory is the story of a boy, a girl, and an Irish curse.  The novel begins with sixteen year old Arella Cline en route with her parents to Tory Island, Ireland for summer vacation.  Along the way, the family is involved in a tragic car accident.  As the sole survivor, Arella is sent to live with her aunt on Tory and soon discovers that something is not right with the island and its inhabitants. 
     Plagued by shadow figures, mysterious auras, and the haunting sound of her deceased parents’ voices, Arella doesn’t know where to turn.  Declan McQuilan, a handsome, dark-haired local tries to comfort her.  While Cannon Fidelous, a mysterious outcast, warns her that the island and its inhabitants are hiding a dark secret.  To survive, Arella must unravel the island’s ancient magic before her lifeline runs out.

Readers can read Chapter One HERE.

Reader’s Haven:  Do you write under a pen name?

Regina:  No, I wouldn’t want a pen name to receive credit for my writing.  It’s just too thrilling to see my own name printed on the cover of a book I created.
Reader’s Haven:  What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Regina:  I’m partial to unlikely heroes and heroines.  I love it when a geeky, cowardly, plain, shy, or just plain average protagonist is forced to do remarkable things.  I think all of us have greatness hidden within.  Unlikely heroes give us hope and inspire us to greatness.

Reader’s Haven:  Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Regina:  I try to write every day, but I’m not always successful at keeping the faith. I’m a full time teacher, mother, and wife, so writing time is a coveted commodity. But when I am able to steal a few precious hours to indulge my obsession, my routine can best be described as painstakingly productive. I’m very careful about what I put down on paper, and this can be both bad and good. It’s bad because I can spend hours toiling over just a few paragraphs. But it’s good because the end product does not need much editing. My prime writing time is 7-9 pm, but on a day I’m not teaching I’ll write all day.  Summer is major writing season for me.

Reader’s Haven:  Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Regina:  Most of my books deal with the universal theme of good versus evil. And I love using the play of opposing forces in my characters and the situations they face. Everything in life is dichotomous, and good fiction reflects reality. We’ve all encountered sinners who do good as well as virtuous people who stray from the straight and narrow. Life is a constant struggle between the forces of light and dark. Incorporating both yin and yang in my characters and plot makes my writing authentic and true to life. 

Reader’s Haven:  How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Regina:  My writing time various. I’ve taken as long as two years to write one book in an Arthurian legend and as little as eleven months to write my current novel, ISLAND OF TORY. I can usually keep to a schedule of one year to write and edit a book, if I keep to a plan of writing at least two hours a night.

Reader’s Haven:  We do have to write every day and that also helps keep out the mistakes in plots too! Do you have to be alone to write?

Regina:  Yes, unfortunately I have to be in a quiet room by myself to concentrate. Thankfully, I’ve carved out a corner of my living room as my office. There’s no television in there, so my family usually shuns that part of the house. My productivity has increased significantly since my computer no longer shares space at the dining room table with the heaps of unfinished homework, piles of loose family photos, and stacks of unpaid bills that normally accumulate there.

Reader’s Haven:  How do you go about naming characters?

Regina:  Character names are a pet peeve of mine.  I’m very picky about the names I choose. To fit my characters with meaningful and unusual names, I use online baby name sites. The origin and meaning of the names I use normally reflect the personality or hidden essence of my characters. 

     In ISLAND OF TORY, for example, one of my characters is a kindly Irish priest named Father Cillian.  Cillian comes from the Gaelic word ceall which means church. Another of my characters is Declan McQuilan.  Declan means full of goodness, and on the surface, that’s just what Declan seems to be. My protagonist is named Arella Cline.  Arella is Hebrew for angel or messenger which fits because Arella uncovers the knowledge needed to break Tory Island’s curse.

     Using interesting and meaningful names adds another dimension to my writing. And I’d much rather write about a mysterious dark stranger named Cannon Fidelous than a guy named Joe Smith from down the street.

Reader’s Haven:  Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Regina:  I’m a very visual person and therefore a big fan of collaging. When I’m trying to get ideas for a new story, I peruse the internet for interesting and unusual images to inspire me. So for me, it is much easier to start with a picture and build my character from there. I do the same for my setting and plot as well. Once I have enough images, I paste all of them on a background. A tri-fold board is a great tool for displaying and organizing story ideas. For me, collaging solves a lot of the basic physical description problems like a character’s eye color or hairstyle mysteriously changing mid-story. 
Reader’s Haven:  What a great idea to keep your story flowing! How do you pick locations for your stories?

Regina:  I like to pick real settings that are naturally spooky and a little mysterious and then fictionalize them to fit my needs. And because I write paranormal fantasy, I look for locations where there is a lot of local lore which I can incorporate into my stories. Tory Island is a perfect example. When looking for a setting for my book, I searched the internet for an Irish island that had a lot of local myths and legends. Tory, as small as it is, is hugely abundant in folklore. There is lore about a wishing stone, a cursing stone, a shipwreck, a Cyclops, ancient ruins, and even magical mud. Yes, I said magical mud. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, you could. But why bother when it’s already part of real island superstition?

Reader’s Haven:  Wow! We love when stories come together like that. What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

Regina:  My latest book is the sequel to ISLAND OF TORY. CURSING STONE is slotted for release in March 2013 and continues with Arella’s story a year after her escape from Tory Island. In this book, Arella is plagued by dreams and visions of returning to Tory. She comes to realize that the ritual she and Cannon performed to break the curse has gone terribly awry. The invisible barrier separating the human realm from the Fae domain is threatened. And if Arella does not find the Cursing Stone before her enemies do, the terrible creatures chronicled in Irish legends will enter the human realm and destroy it. There are plans for a third book, also.

Reader’s Haven:  Congrats and good luck with the sequel. Readers do love when they can follow characters into another book! Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Regina:  You can find out more about me and my writing at the following:

Buy Links:



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