Meet The Author

Meet The Author: Interview with Michele Israel Harper

Stopping by Authors & Readers Book Corner today is Michele Israel Harper. Michele is an author, editor, avid reader and book reviewer. She is also publisher at L2L2 Publishing, holds many positions in literary organizations, besides being a full-time wife and mother. Her hobbies are scrapbooking, dancing and photography. Michele shares her inspiration behind becoming a writer, her tips on worldbuilding and her writing process.

Tell us about Michele Israel Harper and what inspired you to become a writer?

My writing journey began at a couples’ retreat, when my husband and I sat with another couple who were talking about the husband’s hobby of novel writing. As I sat there and listened to him and his wife, the overwhelming urge to write my own book overcame me until I couldn’t take it anymore. I sat down and wrote my first novel, Zombie Takeover, in a little under a month. I had tried to be so many things–a professional dancer and archaeologist among them, neither of which worked out–but it had honestly never occurred to me that I could write books! I devoured books, spent most of my childhood combing used bookstores, and made up stories when I didn’t have anything to read. It swiftly became an outlet for all the stories I’d been imagining in my head for years, and story after story came pouring out. I can’t imagine doing anything else, I love it so much! Books are my life.

Can you tell us about Kill the Beast and the inspiration behind the story?

Absolutely! Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairy tale. After all, it’s set in France, Belle has brown hair and eyes just like me–which was a big deal when I was a little girl–she loves books, and she found love in the most unexpected and solitary of places. I’m majorly an introvert, so being locked up in a castle with nothing but books for company sounds like heaven! (Okay, much less so the locking up part…) But I didn’t want to retell Disney’s version; I wanted to focus on the original La Belle et la Bêteby Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, which is much more involved and detailed than the much later and much abridged version by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. I did so much research, and I pray it shows and I got it right!

Kill the Beast is a retelling, which are known for world building, what two tips would you give a writer learning world building for their story?

The most important tip I would give for world building is to look at the world around you. The difference in cultures, the many foods available, the vastly different terrains, the different monetary systems, religious systems, etc.–take everything that makes our world unique and apply it to your story. And mix it up! My story was set in France, so I spent countless hours pouring over maps, customs, 18th Century history, coinage, holidays, ports, trade routes–the list goes on and on and on. Although it was more historical in nature, I needed to see what was fact, so I knew what I could take and twist and change for my own tale. But maybe you should combine Chinese culture with Western United States. (Firefly, anyone?) There is so much right at our fingertips that can be used to make a vast and unique story world!

You have many talents, book reviewer being one of them, who or what started you reviewing books?

I started reviewing books when I was approached by several authors who wanted feedback about their new releases. Instead of simply leaving a review on Amazon, I took it a step further and added a more detailed review on my blog. Then I signed up for a NetGalley account and started reviewing for several publishing houses until I had so many books I couldn’t keep up! After my own writing took off and I started acquiring for L2L2 Publishing, I stopped reviewing as much as I used to. I still try to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads if I absolutely adore a book, though!

When writing, do you have a writing process? Can you share two writing tips that have helped you?

I have tried to outline and plot till my brain went numb and I swore I would never write again, but no matter how hard I try, I am not a plotter. My brain doesn’t work that way. I discover my story as I’m writing it. Kill the Beast is the only book I extensively outlined, and it took me four years to write it, instead of the one to two months my other books have. Instead of outlining, I keep a research sheet, a character sheet, a place-setting sheet, and a timeline, and I type out the details as they come to me or when I have to research a detail. My advice is to find what works best for you! I love Scrivener, but I have to write the first draft in Word for some reason. I love the idea of outlining, but it tends to derail me instead of help the story. My other piece of advice is to find or start a writing group. Every Thursday evening, I join a lovely group of writers and we pound out words in sprints until we’re falling asleep on our keyboards or the person with keys has to go home. I wrote 5,601 words last night! Brand-new, beautiful words that fed my soul. Do what it takes to set aside writing time to create.

What have you learned from the writing and publishing industry that has helped in your writing career?

Don’t give up. This industry is one that takes time. It takes time to develop your craft, to get that first, second, and third acceptance letter. It takes time to have your book properly edited by an industry professional who follows Chicago Manual of Style and knows what they’re doing. If you’re going indie, it takes time to save up for that edit and for a professional cover that is competitive in the marketplace. Don’t give up just because you’ve hit a few snags. This industry weeds out the die-hards from the hobbyists pretty quickly, especially if you get rejection letter after rejection letter. Use each as a learning experience, and do what it takes to excel in your field. It can be done, so hold on to hope! If you have stories burning inside of you, then for the love, write. Only you can tell your story.

Tell us two to five things your readers don’t know about you.

I am a rabid fan of all things French and I love Paris more than any other city in the world; the color red is my happy place; quiet, peace, and solitude refresh me and give me strength to face people, especially talkative, extroverted people; I was once hired on as a dance instructor at a major dance company; and I once French-kissed a giraffe on a dare. (For those of you as concerned as I’d be if I read that, some guys dared me to put a food pellet between my lips for the giraffe to eat. I obviously didn’t think it through, the giraffe’s mile-long tongue went in my mouth and plucked the food out, and I gagged for days. Just don’t do it.)

What new projects are you working on?

Right now I have three projects going–a prequel novella for Zombie Takeover, the sequel to Zombie Takeover calledVampire Feud, and the sequel to Kill the Beast, Silence the Siren. It’s another of my writing quirks! I have to be writing more than one story at a time to keep the spark of loving what I do alive.

Where can readers find you?

On my website (www.MicheleIsraelHarper.com), Facebook (@MicheleIsraelHarper), Instagram (@Michele_Israel_Harper), or Twitter (@micheleiharper). I’m also on Amazon and Goodreads! 🙂

Thanks for the interview.

Thank you so much for having me! I am thrilled to be featured on your blog.

About The Book

Ro remembers the castle as it was before. Before the gates closed. Before silence overtook the kingdom. Before the castle disappeared. Now it shimmers to life one night a year, seen by her alone.

Once a lady, now a huntress, Ro does what it takes to survive, just like the rest of the kingdom plunged into despair never before known.

But a beast has overtaken the castle; a beast that killed the prince and holds the castle and kingdom captive in his cruel power. A beast Ro has been hired to kill.

Thankful the mystery of the prince’s disappearance has been solved, furious the magical creature has killed her hero, Ro eagerly accepts the job to end him.

But things are not as they seem.

Trapped in the castle, a prisoner alongside the beast, Ro wonders what she should fear most: the beast, the magic that holds them both captive, or the one who hired her to kill the beast.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling.

Purchase at Amazon.com 

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Meet The Author

Meet the Author: Interview with Annie Sullivan

Stopping by Authors & Readers Book Corner today is author Annie Sullivan. Sullivan’s  work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. She is a writer of young adult who resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. Let’s learn more about her new release, her take on the world building and writing tips.

The inspiration behind, Touch the Gold, is King Midas’ daughter, why was it the basis for your story? 

I’ve always loved fairytales, and I really wanted to explore what happened to King Midas’s daughter after he turns her to gold as child. In the original myth, she’s just a plot device used to make sure her father learns his lesson, so I wanted to see what really might have happened to her after being turned to gold as a child because that has to leave some lasting side effects mentally and physically.

Have you always loved retellings?

Oh yes! Since I loved fairytales so much growing up, I’ve always been eager to read more. For me, it’s way to look at the characters differently or explore their world in a new way. It’s a chance to spend more time with well-loved characters.

Tell us about Princess Kora.

Princess Kora is the cursed daughter of King Midas. She was turned to gold by her father when she was seven years old. When she was turned back into a human, she had some leftover side effects from being turned to gold, like golden skin and the ability to sense the locations of the other objects her father turned to gold. She also has deadly gold powers that are getting harder and harder to hide.

Retellings, fantasies and paranormal stories are known for world building, what two tips would you give writers about worldbuilding?

My first tip would be to really examine your magic system if there’s magic in the book. Make sure it’s consistent and that the rules of who has it and how can be used are consistent. My second tip would be to make sure you’re including small details that really bring the world to life. For example, if they’re in a marketplace, what’s being sold? What do they keep in their houses? What slang do they use? These small details will help bring the world to life.

You are represented by a literary agent, what steps did you take to secure your agent?

Yes! I love my agent and couldn’t have done this without her. I queried agents via email and followed their submission guidelines. And when my first book didn’t get me an agent, I kept writing and came up with a new story that did get me an agent.

When writing, do you have a writing process? Can you share two writing tips that have helped you? 

I try to write a minimum of 500 words a day. Some days I can write over 3,000 words, but some days I just write 500. That gives me a goal to work toward. So I guess my first tip is to have a goal—whether that’s a word count or writing for a specific amount of time each day. My second tip is to treat it like a job. If you’re constantly giving up your writing time, you will never get your story written and revised. If you want it to be your career, you have to treat it like it is.

What challenges have you had with the writing and publishing industry?

Oh man! The publishing industry is such a hard industry to break into. It took me eight years from when I started writing A Touch of Gold to when it released in the world as a book. A lot of that time was spent getting rejected by agents, which was really hard. You just have to push through the rejection and not let it stop you from writing your next book, and your next one, and your next one.

What are five things your readers don’t know about you?

Hmm…okay, 5 things they may not know about me…

-I find four leaf clovers all the time! It’s this crazy skill I have!

-I have traveled to every continent (yes, including Antarctica!)

-I’ve met Rosa Parks.

-I have a dog named Mittens. (My younger brother named her.)

-Belle is my favorite Disney princess because she loves to read and isn’t afraid to go save her family.

What new projects are you working on?

Hopefully A Touch of Gold will have a sequel, so I’m working on that at the moment. I also have another YA fantasy novel that’s sort of a retelling that I’m working. I’m super excited about this book because I think readers will love it. So stay tuned!

How can readers find you? 

I love connecting with readers, so please do reach out!

About The Book

Gold is wealth. Wealth is power. Power is a curse.

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?

Book order links:

Meet The Author

Meet The Author: Interview with Savannah J. Goins


Stopping by Authors & Readers Book Corner today is Savannah J. Goins, young adult fantasy novelist and professional dragon wrangler. Savannah fell in love with the genre through C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia many years ago. Since then, it’s been nothing but dragons, sword fights and talking animals. She spends her days in a veterinary hospital working with real animals, and her nights giving voices to the ones in her stories. She also enjoys sketching, drinking tea and coffee, and discovering new bookshops. Let’s learn more about her inspiration behind her current fantasy trilogy as well as what new projects she is working on.

Can you tell us the inspiration behind the Odan Terridor Trilogy?

My family drives to Georgia from Indiana to visit my grandparents for Christmas every year, and when I was fourteen, the giant icicles that hang several feet long down the mountainsides in Tennessee inspired me. I wanted there to be a place with a people group that could look into a body of water and see out of another body of water anywhere else in the world. Kind of like scrying, but more limited. And I wanted the people group to be dragons, because dragons are awesome. And magic rings had been used before, so I went super original (at least, at fourteen, that’s what I thought I was doing) and came up with magic rocks instead. And that is how the story started.

The Gwynthienian has a dragon character, how important is he to the story?

Gaedyen, the main dragon character, is the most important character besides the protagonist. They meet a few chapters into the story, and as they learn more about each other, questions are raised about how their pasts may actually be linked, though they are different species. More will be revealed about this throughout the rest of the series.

Tell us about Enzi Montgomery.

Enzi is a seventeen year old girl, brought up by a single mother and always short on cash. She has dreams for the rest of her life, but is hindered by her lack of wealth, her obesity, and the nightmares that have’t stopped since she was ten. In the beginning of the story, she discovers that the person she loves most has been lying to her for her whole life, and that her past holds more secrets than she can imagine.

What are you hoping readers will learn from Enzi’s connection with the stone?

From her connection with the stone, readers will find that things are not always as they seem. I hope that people will learn from her story that things that happen to you that you have no control over don’t make you weak, and that even if you don’t feel strong right now, you are stronger than you think.

You work with animals everyday, did this influence the dragon character in your story?

Some of the real dragons that I work with, called bearded dragons, helped me figure out Gaedyen’s proportions. I wanted his head to be just slightly higher than Enzi’s when he stood on all fours, but I wasn’t sure how long he should be. I measured a bearded dragon at work and discovered that he was four times as long as the height of his head from the ground. So I made Gaedyen about five feet tall and twenty feet long. I also based a few of his mannerisms on the behaviors of my patients. He moves his ear flaps similarly to how several different species with ears do to hear sounds from different directions, and sometimes he shakes himself like a dog will when waking from a nap.

This being your first novel, tell us some of the challenges in writing and publishing the book.

One of the biggest challenges was starting. I didn’t know how to start writing a rough draft. But several months later I had one, and I improved it myself until I was ready for beta readers and editors. I read every blog post on writing I could get my hands on, and I learned what to do from those.

Fantasy books are known for world building, what advice would you give a fellow fantasy writer about world building?

First of all, accept that not every fantastic detail of your world building will make it into your book, and avoid info dumping. Share with your readers what they need to know at the time, no more than that. And the other piece of advice goes with this, in that you want to work the world building details into the plot. Don’t create amazing world building details and then not use them to move the plot forward. For example, the ability to see through water into other places with water is not only an interesting world detail, but plays a big part in revealing a crazy bit of info about Enzi’s family. It is hinted at in the first chapter, glimpsed in a few other places, and then somewhat revealed just before the end. Because it plays a valuable role in revealing part of the plot, it is useful to the story instead of just being a cool idea.

When writing, do you have a writing process? Can you share two writing tips that have helped you?

My process is just to sit down with some coffee. Whether at home or at a coffee shop. I try to hide my phone so I will focus, but it doesn’t always work. And I try to focus on one main project per month and rotate projects monthly. That helps me avoid wasting time jumping between too many things too close together, and it keeps me from getting fed up with a single project. My biggest writing tip is not to give up. Even if you don’t have a degree in something writing-related, even if one person reads your writing and says it sucks, even if you find a giant plot hole in a mostly complete manuscript. No matter what, if you want to make writing an important part of your life, you have to stick with it even when it’s not glamorous. Another piece of advice is to read as much as you can about writing. My degree has to do with the animal medical field, it has nothing to do with writing. But I continue to educate myself on the art of writing and editing constantly, and I started by reading tons of blogs on writing. It’s free and there is a ton of useful information out there.

What new projects are you working on?

The Crivabanian, sequel to The Gwythienian, is undergoing professional editing at this time. I’m working on applying my editors’ suggestions when I have the manuscript, and when it is with one of my editors again, I am working on the third book. In November, I will write the first draft of the first book in my second fantasy series for NaNoWriMo. I am super excited about this new series, featuring dinosaurs, time travel, and a broader cast of characters than anything I’ve written to date. I also produce writing tips videos for my AuthorTube channel every Monday.

How can readers find you?

I am most active on Instagram, but you can also find me on my AuthorTube channel where I share lots of writing tips and tricks. I am also on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. My social links are below:

Instagram *AuthorTube *Website *Facebook* Twitter*Goodreads

Thanks for stopping by Authors & Readers Book Corner

Thank you so much for featuring me and The Gwythienian!

About The Book

Purchase at Amazon.com

Seventeen-year-old Enzi Montgomery had worn the stone around her neck for years. It was set in a cheap metal fitting, nothing fancy.

But it made her wonder if she was crazy.
Sometimes, when she had it on, she could disappear. She couldn’t make it happen. It just worked on its own. But always at convenient times, like when she’d needed to hide again from Caleb.

Maybe she’d only been imagining it; insomnia could do that to you. The nightmares had never left since that day seven years ago and she’d never really learned to cope with them.

But what if she wasn’t crazy?

When she finds out that someone else has been searching for the stone—someone from another world—she must decide what to do with it.

Should she get rid of it? Or find out what other secrets it holds?

Meet The Author

Meet The Author: Interview with Jessi Elliott


Stopping by Authors & Readers Book Corner today is Jessi Elliott, a law clerk and author of both young adult and new adult romantic fiction. Her love of writing was born after many years of reading and reviewing books on her blog.

She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her adorable cat, Phoebe. Yes, named after the Friends character.

When she’s not plotting her next writing project, she likes to spend her time hanging with friends and family, getting lost in a steamy romance novel, watching Friends, and drinking coffee. Let’s learn more about her Twisted series and what to expect from her in the future.

Tell us your inspiration behind writing the Twisted series.
Going into it, a knew very little, just that I wanted to write about fae that looked human, and that I wanted to have a badass female main character who gave the leader of these supernatural creatures a run for his money. After that, I just had fun with it!

Tell us about Aurora Marshall.
Aurora is my soulmate. I almost feel like she’s the person I want to be (most of the time). I see a lot of myself in her. She has goals–and works hard to achieve them. She cares deeply about her friends and family, and even about people she doesn’t fully understand. But the girl also doesn’t take any bullshit, especially from the fae, which I adore about her.

Tell us about Tristan.
Tristan is the leader of the fae and a businessman in the human world. He’s strong willed (much like Aurora), but he also has a fun, snarky side.

Aurora deals with a loss in her family, how important was it to have that particular incident in the story?
It was incredibly important. It showed the human struggles Aurora was dealing with in contrast to the supernatural ones Tristan and the fae posed for her.

You bring readers into Aurora and Tristan’s battle of attraction for each other, what should readers expect from these characters in Twisted Gift?
A lot of change for Aurora. I don’t want to spoil too much, but things do get steamy. Even more so than in Twisted Fate. There’s a lot more tension between them in this book. Aurora has a lot to come to terms with before she can make a decision about Tristan, The struggle is real, haha.

What is your process for world building?
Oh gosh, I really don’t enjoy world building all that much. Luckily, the story takes place in a human, urban setting (loosely based on Toronto, Ontario), so I didn’t have to do too much research. I based several of the locations on places I’ve actually been, which was cool. World building is an aspect of fiction writing I’m still working on.

You have a YouTube channel where you share information and tips regarding writing, what is your process for creating content for your channel?
I try to be as original as I can, but that can prove to be difficult. There are so many amazing AuthorTubers with such great content, it can be hard to talk about something fresh that no one has made a video about. I love working with other authors on collaborations, and writing vlogs are super fun to film (and they’re some of my favorite to watch)! Sometimes I plan and script my videos, other times I just sit down in front of the camera and start talking, it just depends on what kind of video I’m making.

What has been your biggest challenge as an author?
Comparing myself to other authors. It’s a dangerous game, and one that’s very hard not to play–especially with social media being such a hub for authors.

What has been your biggest challenge writing a series?
Wanting to go back and change things in the previous book to make something work better in the current book. It’s super frustrating! I end up cursing past Jessi a lot, haha.

What is two things you would like your readers to know about you?
1. I love cats
2. I’m incredibly sarcastic

As you finish up with Twisted Gift, what is next for Jessi Elliott? What should readers be on the lookout from you?
So much. I’m keeping busy, haha. I hosted a writing retreat in August, I’ll be attending Apollycon in March 2019 and hopefully BookCon in June 2019. If you read to the end of Twisted Gift, you’ll know what’s coming next. I’m thrilled about it and I hope readers will be, too!

Where can readers find you?
My website, social media, and I have a YouTube channel! I post writing videos every Friday! Come say hello!

Share with readers one of your favorite inspirational quote.
“If it’s still in your mind, it’s worth taking the risk.”

It was fun interview such a talented writer. If you would like to know more about Jessi and the other book, Twisted Fate in the series, visit her on all her social media avenues:

Website/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook 

Goodreads/YouTube

About The Book

Being the new leader of the light fae really puts a dent in your post-grad plans.

Aurora, once a snarky business major, struggles to adjust to fae life—and the diet of human energy that comes with it. A change made worse by the overwhelming ability to feel the emotions of everyone around her, especially when she can barely manage her own.

Agreeing to work with her dark fae counterpart, Tristan, in an attempt to bring peace between their people is a painful reminder of how strong they are together. Even still, Aurora fights the urge to keep her distance. She needs to be sure what she feels for him is real, and not a result of the former light fae leader’s manipulation as a part of his plan to eliminate Tristan.

Aurora thought she’d encountered the worst thing since early morning lectures when she stumbled into the world of the fae. She’s about to find out that they may not be the most twisted creatures out there.

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