Friday, December 21, 2012

An Interview with Author Amanda L.V. Shalaby!

Hi Amanda!  Thanks for joining us today.  I have lots of questions for you - let's get to them...

What does your work space look like?

Oh, it’s a terrible mess.  I’m obsessed with post-its, and all the note blocks I can buy at Home Goods.  It must be the influence of my historical England stories, because I love my office space to be deliciously cluttered!

Tell us 3 interesting things about you.

My Shih Tzu dog, Bella, has a larger wardrobe than I have.

I buy Clinique makeup during every Bonus Time, whether I need makeup or not (always not).

I should own stock in Smash Burger.

What is one favorite quote?

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” – John le Carré

What inspired you to write your first book?

A dream, of course!  But that little number (written when I was fourteen years old) is right where it ought to be – in a special drawer, not to see the light of day until the time comes when I can do some serious polishing!  My Crimson Romance novel, Rhianna, published this year, was inspired by my very dear grandmother, Catherine M. Fisher, and would not exist but for her request.  It is to her and for her.

Do you write in more than one genre? 

Right now, I am enjoying writing historical romance.  My current project, which is nearing completion, continues in that genre.  But I have a special place in my heart for fiction with coming-of-age and loss of innocence themes.  As I anticipate a much-needed break from historical romance, I plan to polish some of my unfinished works in that area.


What book are you reading now?  What rating would you give it?

I’ve been re-reading the classics, even reading some for the first time.  Right now, I’m enjoying Little Women, and I give it four stars!

What are your current projects?  Can you share a little of that here?

Sure!  Here is a short synopsis of my current project:

Audra Kingsley, a wealthy heiress, may not have seen much of the world, but she knows exactly how she wants her future to play out – and a coming out ball held at her country estate, Kingsley Manor, would suit her just fine.  Her father’s wish that she be presented at St. James in London seems silly and an awful lot of trouble, since she is to marry her neighbor and childhood sweetheart, Lord Crispin Brighton.

Obligingly, she travels to King Street with her patroness, the eccentric Lady Sutherland, with the intention of returning home to her beloved as soon as the affair is completed.  Unknown to Audra, Lady Sutherland is in no rush to leave London, and intends to spend the Season in town with friends and relatives – and show Audra she has more options in the suitor department than Crispin, a second son.

Thus imprisoned, and receiving no correspondence from home, Audra finds herself surrounded by few friends, and is forced to attend parties, balls and operas – all while becoming the object of a secret admirer’s obsession.

Suspense, deception and the power of true love are laced through this adventurous tale.  Will Audra escape?  And to what lengths will she go to return home?

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your book to life?

When I began forming the story of Rhianna, I literally knew nothing of 19th century England.  I had not watched a single period movie, or read a single Jane Austen novel.  I had to do years of extensive research just so I would feel comfortable writing about the period. 

Do you ever experience writer's block?  What do you do to overcome?

I think every writer gets writer’s block from time to time.  I find the best thing for me is to walk away from the work for a while, or discuss it with a trusted companion.  My mom happens to be both my “ideal reader”, to quote Stephen King, and my first critique partner.  A hot cup of coffee helps, too!

Here are some "Fun Questions":

Fill in the Blanks:

I love pizza with extra cheese & sauce!

I'm always ready for a movie night with my hubby.

When I'm alone, I write, read, cook or dress up my dogs.

You'd never be able to tell, but I write novels!

If I had a halo it would be pretty straight.

If I could travel anywhere I'd be in London right now!

I can never try out for American Idol because singing is not my gift!

For your fans;

Find Me Here:


To order the book: Crimson Romance ebooks | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Thanks for visiting!  Good luck and great sales! 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Author Molly Kate Gray Visits!

Hi Molly Kate!  It’s wonderful to have you visit with us today.  I have lots of questions for you.  Let’s get to them…

What is one favorite quote?
It is not our abilities that show what we truly is our choices.  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

What inspired you to write your first book?
My first “book” will never be published.  My daughter had been really sad that the Harry Potter series ended.  As a fun challenge for myself (and a treat for her), I wrote “my” version of what the next year would entail for the Harry Potter characters.  It was simply for fun, but it showed me that I could write a novel-length story.  I also learned just how much I enjoyed writing.  After completing that story, I began working on original fiction.

Do you write in more than one genre?
Yes, although I’m currently only published in romantic suspense.  I have a young adult romance (with a dash of paranormal) in the works.  I’ve also just begun a contemporary romance that I hope to develop into a series.

How much of the book is realistic or based on real life?
Small Town Secrets is somewhat autobiographical.  I hadn’t realized how much of myself I’d put into the story until my husband read it and commented on it.  I knew that I found writing it to be oddly therapeutic, and I suppose that’s because I’ve seldom discussed that part of my background with others.

Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
I recently finished reading Deep Autumn Heat by Elisabeth Barrett.  I really loved her writing style and the small town she built as the story developed.  I haven’t had a chance to read the next book in the series yet, but I really thought the first story was excellent.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Originally, Small Town Secrets contained an epilogue that wrapped up the story that didn’t make it in the final, published version.  I wish I’d worked harder to keep that last chapter in the book, since I really miss the sense of completion the epilogue gave.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about his/her work?
I’m incredibly fond of Kimberly Derting’s work.  I read a lot in the young adult genre, and I’m always impressed with the element of suspense she’s able to bring to her books.  Also, watching Jay and Violet’s friendship evolve and change throughout the series has really been a beautiful story to read.

What was the hardest part of writing your latest book?
I started writing Fade to Black last spring.  When I first began working on it, I had no idea what my summer held in store.  I lost 3 family members in 6 weeks – one being my sister in law and the other was my father.  Being emotionally drained really brought my writing to an unexpected halt, and then it was really difficult to get started again.  Simply completing the story proved to be a huge challenge, and it was a relief when I could say that I’d finally worked through it and finished the story.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’d love to say that writing is easy, and while I truly enjoy bringing characters and stories to life – writing is still hard work.  You’ll have times when writing flows like melted butter on hot toast, and then you’ll also hit patches where your books are developing at glacial speeds.  People who are successful are those who just keep going, even when they’ve hit a difficult point in their work.

Do you write an outline before every book?  Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’ve been told I write in a kind of unique pattern.  While I don’t plot my stories out completely, I do write my final chapter first.  That way, I know my final destination.  After the conclusion, I write the climax of the story.  Then, I build my “novel journal” where I keep character sketches, pictures of actors who look similar to my characters, and photographs of buildings or other settings in the town I’m trying to build in my novel.

If you had to go to a deserted island with only five books, which ones would you take?
Little Women, The Little Princess, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Body Finder, and whatever story I’m reading at the time (I hate to stop a book in the middle).

Now for the Fun Stuff!  Please Fill in the Blanks:

I love pizza with Italian sausage and banana peppers.

I'm always ready for pictures of Ian Somerhalder.

When I'm alone, I’m almost always plotting my next scene (or chapter) in my head.

You'd never be able to tell, but I really hate drawing attention to myself in public.

If I had a halo it would be safely tucked away somewhere, since I’d never dare to wear it (see my answer to the statement above).

If I could do anything I'd find a cure for food allergies.  (It’s really sad when my kids are limited in where they can go and what they can do because they might accidentally be exposed to something they can’t eat.)

I can never visit Australia because I’m incredibly claustrophobic.  (I could never stand to be on a flight that would last that long.)

Where can Fans Find you?

Twitter: @MollyKGray

To order the book:  Playing with Fire

Thanks so much for being here, Molly!  We're wishing you success and many sales.