Tag: new writers

An Interview With Writer M.T. Bass


M.T. Bass is the author of Murder by Munchausen; here is a link to his website:




Q: What is Murder by Munchausen about?


A: Technology run amuck—but what’s new about that, right? Well, in the near future, artificial intelligence and robotics have converged. Siri, Alexa and Cortana are not just voices in pods that sit on the coffee table eavesdropping on your life and fetching stuff from the Internet. They have extremely human like bodies – in fact, they are called synthetic humanoids, synthoids for short – and act as “Personal Services Assistants” to free us from dirty jobs and menial chores out in “meatspace.” Of course, mankind being mankind, there are those among us who hijack that technology for ill intent and profit, turning synthoids into contract killers. The police unit that tracks down the hackers and repos the murderous ‘bots is the Artificial Crimes Unit.


Q: What inspired you to write the book?


A: It’s never just one thing with me. Zombie stories being done to death – so to speak – gave me pause to ponder what other incarnate form evil could take. At the same time, guys like Elon Musk and Bill Gates are warning us that artificial intelligence will be the end of life as we know it. Suddenly, I had a vision in my head of the police take down of an android assassin which opens the book. And from there the story started writing itself. The first two installments of the opening trilogy are done.  Murder by Munchausen came out in April of this year and number two, The Darknet, will be released February 2, 2018.  I’m working on the “compelling conclusion” now.


Q: There have been a lot of novels based on Jack the Ripper; what makes your book different?


A: I’m not trying to retell the story of Jack the Ripper so much as I am using it to tell my story. Spoiler alert – Jack might not be the only serial killer involved in the series.


Q: What makes Jake worth reading about?


A: Jake is a good cop, but not a do-gooder. His willingness to bend the rules to save his partner Maddie’s career got him reassigned—in his mind, exiled—to the Artificial Crimes Unit. So he’s not a techno-wiz, but just a regular guy stuck in a strange new world and trying to make the best of it.


Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?


A: I’m a self-employed sales rep for electro-mechanical component manufacturers who sell into the aerospace, medical and industrial automation markets.  It doesn’t so much influence my writing as it feeds the beast by getting me out from behind my desk and into the real world with lots of impressions of people, places and (yawn) corporate drama. At one point, I managed twenty-five states and five Canadian provinces.  I got a lot of writing done sitting in a United Airlines aluminum tube at thirty-five thousand feet on my way from here to there and back again.



Q: What is the biggest difference between your books and those of Philip K. Dick?


A: I might be admitting blasphemy, but I’ve not read Philip K. Dick. I may have seen the original  Blade Runner when it came out, but it’s a far faded memory. Once I got into writing the Munchausen series, I didn’t want to bring similar stories into my head.  There’s probably more Elmore Leonard or Michael Connelly in the books than the usual Sci-Fi suspects.


Q: What kind of formal training have you had?


A: I was an English major and a Philosophy major at Ohio Wesleyan University. My focus of study in the English Department was creative writing under novelist and poet Robert Flanagan (http://www.robertflanagan.com).  My senior thesis for my Philosophy major was on the metaphysical aspects of language – like why Eskimos have so many more words for snow than anybody else.  After I got out of school, I just wrote and wrote and wrote and kept writing to this day.


With regards to self-publishing, though, my first job out of college was supervising the Text Editing Center at the phone company where we prepared all of the internal manuals and technical documentation for publication.  It was a lot of typesetting and formatting, which has definitely come in handy in pushing my books out into the world.


Q: What have you done to promote your book?


A: The second installment of the opening trilogy for the series, The Darknet, is being released February 2, 2018.  I’ve discounted the eBook fifty percent for pre-orders and I’ve priced Murder by Munchausen at $.99 for readers.  I’m promoting those deals in as many places as I can.  If the Bookbubbas smile kindly on me, the first book will be free for a limited time in January.


Q: What is the worst advice anyone has given you about writing?


A: “Write what people want to read.” Every time I tried that, it was crap and I hated what I wrote. So, how could I expect a reader to like it?


Q: If you could program an android to kill someone, who would it be and why?


A: “I hereby invoke and refuse to waive all of the following rights and privileges afforded to me by the United States Constitution. I invoke and refuse to waive my 5th Amendment right to Remain Silent. I invoke and refuse to waive my 6th Amendment right to an attorney of my choice. I invoke and refuse to waive my 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If I am not presently under arrest, or under investigatory detention, please allow me to leave.”


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.


An Interview With Writer Warren Pete

 Warren Pete Profile Picture 4.2016

Warren Pete is the author of The Shrinkage Situation; here is a link to his website:


Q: What is The Shrinkage Situation about?

A: After a hometown grocery store’s puzzling acquisition by a pioneering eCommerce conglomerate, one man becomes suspicious when the grocery store’s best employees – including himself – are fired.

Grant Taylor loves just two things in the entire world: bacon and his job marking receipts at Mesford Mart, the local family-owned grocery store he has worked at for 22 years. However, Grant’s idyllic existence comes crashing down when Not Evil Worldwide (NEW), the largest technology company in the world, acquires Mesford Mart. NEW’s insistence on technical innovation and analytics is a complete 180 from Grant’s old-fashioned values of hard work and excellent customer service. The culture clash peaks when NEW’s analytics technology names Grant as a key reason for the store’s loss of inventory and he is promptly fired.

Aided by his friend Ravina, a sexual harassment lawyer who is equal parts lewd and successful, Grant embarks on a quest to win back his job and prove his innocence. While investigating, Grant is forced to navigate the job market for the first time in two decades, and is aghast with a job market full of high-tech automation, hipster-owned juice bars, and entry-level jobs requiring a doctorate degree.

Initially viewing his firing as an honest mistake, Grant’s investigation unveils that NEW’s ulterior motives are much more ominous.

The Shrinkage Situation is a comedic novel that mixes humor and thought provocation. And answers the serious questions:

Who are the losers in a world of technological progress?

Why are hipsters so mean?
Is digital social networking tearing us apart?
Is there anything bacon doesn’t taste good with?


Q: What experiences did you draw from when writing it?

A: My experiences working in the tech sector played a key influence in The Shrinkage Situation. I wanted to write about the impact technology has on the lives we lead today. With every technical breakthrough or exciting free app or service there is a sacrifice made in the human experience or the right to privacy.

Q: Who is your intended audience?

A: While the rise of technology is a major theme of The Shrinkage Situation, my intention was to write a novel for everyone, not just the tech savvy, for we all are affected by these innovations that are integrated within our lives. While The Shrinkage Situationtackles several of today’s universal issues, I wanted to make it first and foremost an entertaining, funny, and original novel that could be enjoyed by a wide range of readers.


Q: What makes Grant worth reading about?

A: Grant represents a generation of Americans who were raised on the value of hard work and loyalty but now find themselves in an unrecognizable world where such closely-held values are no longer a priority. Just like Grant, millions of working and middle class workers are being forced out of their jobs due to the rise of global competition, technological advancement, and the ever-growing need to please shareholders and meet the bottom line. Regardless of income bracket or profession, we all are forced to confront the perils of technology, globalization, and the basic threat of being left behind in the rapidly changing times.

Q: What one book has influenced you the most as a writer?

A: Jennifer Government by Max Barry did wonders for me. I stumbled across his satirical bestseller in high school right when I was starting to commit more time to writing. His novel showed me that you can write with purpose without being so heavy-handed that you suck all the fun away from the reader. Although Jennifer Government was hilarious and endlessly entertaining, Barry clearly portrayed his stance on the dangers of consumerism.

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: I work full-time as a product manager and data marketing director for a mobile analytics startup. A significant part of my job is to keep up with, or define, the cutting edge of technology and to stay informed on how other technology companies utilize big data collected from their users. On a daily basis, I am immersed in both the benefits and threats that technology poses to today’s society.

Q: What is your process for writing a book?

A: Creative writing is my outlet for exploring key issues that are affecting the world today. As soon as I find or decide upon an issue I want to focus on, I just start writing freestyle to drum up ideas for characters, plot twists, and themes. Given my significant passion and hands-on involvement with the subject matter, very little outside research was needed for The Shrinkage Situation.

From a handful of freestyle writing sessions, I cobbled together a loose outline, and began writing the novel from there. While this led to some inefficiencies and a decent amount of rewriting, I don’t regret my improvisational approach since it allowed for the story to grow well beyond the original scope. The Shrinkage Situation actually started off as a short story, but I kept thinking of more and more to add, and had so much fun writing that it soon expanded to a full novel.


Q: Do you belong to a writers group or do you fly solo?

A: Outside of requesting intermittent feedback through various online communities, I don’t partake in any formal feedback groups currently. That being said, I do see the value in such programs and will probably look into joining such groups for my next project.

Q: How do you overcome writer’s block?

A: Spending the vast majority of my days working in a business setting lets me passively think about my writing projects and lets me refresh between writing sessions. In the rare cases where I may have writer’s block, I’ll take a few days to flesh out another potential story idea or dedicate more time to other creative mediums such as poetry or playing guitar. Alternating my creative outlet, whether through a different story or an entirely different artistic format, helps me take a mental breather from my current main project while still keeping my creativity running. I’ve found that often when I am least thinking of it, I’ll discover a creative breakthrough.

Q: What is Grant’s secret dream job?

A: Receipt checker. Since his first day on the job, he never considered another profession. All he cares about is dedicating his life and improving upon his craft.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Shawn Walker




Shawn Walker is the author of No One Is Invincible; here is a link to the books Amazon page:





Q: What is No One Is Invincible about?

A: “No One is Invincible” is about a 16 year boy named John, who runs away from a domestic violence filled home and finds himself alone on the streets… That is, until he finds solace in a charismatic, 6 year old, little girl (nick)named Candy, who, having faced a similar plight, recently ran away from the local orphanage. He eventually finds himself taking on the big brother role to her. Together they face extreme hunger, horrid winter weather, and apathy and inhumanity amongst the people. Starving and at deaths door, their saving grace happens when they run into a local beat up building called “Mom’s Coffee Shop.” Inside they meet a mysterious old woman who everybody just calls “Mom.” Nobody knows her real name, but her calm demeanor and sweet personality welcomes them in and she tries to feed or take care of them when she can. She’s expecting a business inspector soon, so even her supply of help is limited. The three misfit friends seem to take the world by storm, until a painful epidemic known as cancer quickly becomes the focal point of our story to one of the beloved characters…

Q: What life experiences did you draw from when writing it?

A: This book has a completely candid take on cancer, the process one goes through, and even the irritability one has after going through chemo/radiation. See, end of 2014-2015 was a hard year lived in. Not 1, not 2, but 3 people I really love and genuinely care about got different forms of cancer, one being my 3 year old little nephew who was diagnosed with acute lymphoma leukemia type b. All of this was an indecent reminder of what I went through in 2000, losing my dad to cancer. Sadly, my hippie friend died, and I had to be the pallbearer at his funeral… Good news is my nephew is in remission, who the story is loosely based on. I would like to be a thorn in the side of this epidemic and donate money in the fight against cancer based off of the accolades of this book.

Q: What makes John worth reading about?

A: His dynamic personality. You never know when he’s going to go on a rant about something he feels is morally corrupt in this world. He’s all about transparency. He is candid to a fault, but has a deeply caring/empathetic heart.

Q:  What do you think is the one thing John doesn’t want anyone to know?

A: That he’s infallible. Though he is quite modest, he doesn’t want Candy or Mom to know that he sometimes could use a little help. He’s very independent, so he doesn’t like to accept help.

Q:  In what kind of atmosphere do you like to write?

A: I like to write in places that foster nostalgia. I wrote a big part of this book in my Dad’s old shop he used to spend A LOT of time working in when he was alive. I felt more connected to him, like I was trying to harness his story and his love into this novel.

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: I work at the Dollar Tree, which helps immensely with a lot of the opinions in this novel and has an obvious influence on the writing. I learned there is a lot apathy and petty animosities that exist is this world.  Unfortunately, a lot of these problems stir and saturate because of the power card the, “My way or the highway”, way of thinking. I believe if you don’t want problems you should educate people in your opinions/wants, NOT dictate them.

Q:  Have you ever tried a writer’s group and what did you think?

A: No. I made really high grades in English and literally half of my senior English class was failing, whereas I had an A. This class was trying to take it to college English level and I loved the challenge. (Though I didn’t want to admit it then.) I always had a propensity for writing, but I believe that no one, and I mean NO ONE should ever tell you how to write. Just immerse yourself in reading and English, but NEVER let anyone tell you how to write. Don’t let some pretentious person poison the waters of creativity, I think

Q:  What do you think you can tell your readers about cancer that has not already been said?

A: It not as much what I can tell them that’s anything new as much as it is a sense empathy. There is a big lack of understanding/communication in this world that I feel it’s time for a realistic view. I want to give that since of understanding and empathy to not only people who have personally battled cancer, but to the family, friends, and loved ones who have had to watch their loved one suffer… I have spent much time in hospitals and sat there in that chair watching them deteriorate… I want people to know I care.

Q:  What have you done to promote your book?

A: Unfortunately, my mom and I only have one car to get back in forth to our jobs and promotion. I have a video and also a radio interview on the Page Publishing website. I have sent books off to reviewers, hit hard with a social media campaign, and whatever else this poor fella could do!

Q:  What character from classic literature does John remind you of?

A: John has the realistic, working class aesthetic of say a lot of Mark Twain literature. That, and a Johnny Rotten esque personality, and you’ve got yourself a character!


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.


An Interview With Author Kamlesh Thakur



Kamlesh Thakur is the author of A Middle Class Dream; here is a link to his website:






Q: What is A Middle Class Dream about?


A: AMCD (A Middle Class Dream) is a story of little boy who was born in India, discovering and nurturing his uniqueness, finding his purpose in life who challenges and breaks through numerous rhymes, reasons and sometimes superstitious beliefs of a highly discriminatory society filled with inequality in every walk of life.


It provides a comprehensive perspective of the many highly diverse cultures that coexist in the world’s largest democracy. It highlights the struggles this kid had to go through, the obstacles he had to overcome before becoming successful. It highlights the feeling of satisfaction in sharing the tools of success discovered, the skills and values learned so others may benefit and apply it in their own ways to replicate this process of success.


The message of AMCD is “no matter who you are, where you come from, or where you’ve been – as long as you have a vision of your life, a purpose to strive for, you will achieve anything you desire and some more





Q: What caste does Krish belong to and where is that caste raked in the social structure?


A: Krish is a blue blooded “Rajput” – the warrior caste (also known as the Kshatriyas). Ancestors of this caste were royalty (kings & queens) that have fought numerous historic wars. The Hindu scriptures have all documented Lord Rama as a Kshatriya.


After the British (East India Company) rule for decades many palaces, their history and heritage were forfeited under the doctrine of lapse policy. Since independence the popularity and prominence of this caste diminished and is today one of the many hundreds of caste’s.



Q: What is the overall theme of the book?


A: Victory in any endeavor of life belongs to those that believe in it the most, that believe in it the longest. We have to be the change we want to see, and we already have everything we need. So, we need to do what we can, wherever we are with whatever we have, because what we have is indeed plenty. And oh, be content, but never be satisfied.



Q: What makes Krish worth reading about?


A: If you want to experience extreme cultural diversity (cultural, educational, customs etc.) as if you were there in flesh – you would find this to be a worthy read.


Q: What do you think motivates the Sweetie character?


A: This is one character that is not motivated by anything of her own. If anything came close, it was the need to conform to societies whims and fancies, dictates. This included parents, siblings and oh, how can I forget – the dreaded CASTE barrier. Outer suggestions ruled and shaped her life, her destiny was written by others – as is for many million women (and men).


Changes are taking place, but at a snail’s pace, and for a country with 1.4 billion people, how quick will the changes take place is anybody’s guess.


Q: What sort of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing (again you do not have to name your employer, just the industry)?


A: I am a Software Program Manager, and have worked for some of the biggest technology brand names in the business. I enjoy what I do in my day job as well. In the first 10 years of my job career, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and experience numerous places, cultures and cuisine. I love interacting with people from all over the world. Through my interactions I found that though we’re different in how we look, our basic human needs, wants, desires are more of less the same.


Our perspectives are different, and that partially became the reason for me to look inside of me, to discover what I had learned, and how I could share that with the world.



Q: What is the biggest misconception Americans have about India?


A: This is an interesting question. There are a few that I’m aware of. First, it’s not all snake charmers and elephants (though that’s a small part of life in certain pockets of the country)


Everyone is Poor: This is one of the biggest & common myth. Just look at the amount of money spent at any Indian wedding and it’ll change this perspective. It’s one of the richest countries on earth (still is). The issue there is “in-equal distribution of wealth”. For this reason, you’ll find some of the world’s richest and the poorest of poor live next to each other in the same city (Mumbai is a classic example of it).


Very recently, a temple vault was opened which revealed tons of solid / pure gold. Its worth was estimated to be in billions of dollars. That was just 1, there are many more vaults in just 1 city. It was estimated (per local news) that two other vaults if opened will make at least $ 1 Trillion available in gold.


There are dozens more spread throughout the country – kept secret. You do the math (it’s in trillions of dollars – that’s certain). Check this link out.




Indians don’t speak “Indian” – There are about 2500 or more languages (not dialects, but languages), none of them are called “Indian”. That said, Hindi, English are the most commonly spoken throughout the country.

Everyone is Hindu – Though the vast majority of the population is Hindu, minorities, such as Christians, Jain, Buddhist, Muslims, Sikh, Zoroastrianism make up for more than 20% of the country’s population.

Everyone is Vegetarian – Untrue, though roughly 50% of the people are vegetarians, the rest are not.



Q: Who are some of your writing influences?


A: Brendon Burchard is one of my favorite writers. I also like Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins and Wallace Wattles


Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?


A: Ballroom Dancing of Course. When I feel like I’m experiencing a block, I temporarily off the brain, and dance Tango / Waltz or Roomba routine. The music and dance rhythm opens up my neuro-pathways almost immediately or within the next day or so, that most definitely helps me get past the writers’ block.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: During my spare / free time, I am working on a project for empowering women (it’s called the V2 project).

I also speak to groups (women’s empowerment groups in Asia) for a good cause, groups & institutions related to Leptospirosis (I’ve had that dang thing twice as a teenager). I do this outside of my day job, during holidays / vacations and sometimes weekends.



Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.


An Interview With Writer R.T. Truehall

 Me for Interview

R.T. Truehall is the author of Not Dead; here is a link to her website:




Q: What is, Not Dead about?


A: Not Dead is—in a nutshell—about vampires.  It centres around two main characters: Ellison and Ulysses.  Ellison is over 800 years old and can control people’s minds.  Ulysses is an idiot and delivers pizza for a living.  Not Dead is the first in a series featuring these two, and in this initial book the reader is taken through the story of how Ulysses becomes a vampire


Q: Why a vampire book?


A: I like vampires.  I mean, who doesn’t?  But I just got a bit sick of them being so perfect all the dang time.  It’s one or more of the same old chestnuts every vampire story: they get super strong and beautiful, they’re charming and irresistible, they’re always cool and scary.  I got to thinking what would it look like if a vampire was a bumbling fool?  What if they were terrible at being a vampire?  That’s when Ulysses was born.


Q:  How is it different from other vampire books?


A: Well, for a start, when one becomes a vampire, it takes time.  It’s not an instantaneous thing; it’s like a creeping disease.  Also, there is no guarantee the new vampire will be any stronger whatsoever, and they can’t suddenly fly, or run ridiculously fast.  They don’t have fangs and they don’t all hunt.  They don’t burst into flames in the sun, they’re not allergic to silver and holy water will only make them soggy and irritated.


Q:  What makes Ulysses worth reading about?


A: Ulysses is worth reading about because he’s you and me.  He’s not a Hollywood stereotype.  He’s a completely average guy: not particularly good-looking, not particularly smart, not particularly talented at anything, actually.  He’s clumsy, easily distracted and lazy: pretty much the polar opposite of what one would expect a vampire to be.  Ulysses is what happens when the average Joe is given immortality, and doesn’t have even the slightest inkling of what he wants to do with it.


Q: What have you done to promote your book?


A: Well, I published through Austin Macauley, so they do their thing.  I figure every little bit helps, though, so I’ve been working to boost my Instagram and Twitter presence also.  I recently ran a giveaway competition on Goodreads, and Austin Macauley were gracious enough to foot the bill for the prizes, which was awesome.  I have an author facebook page as well.  I’ve also been reaching out to Instagram and Twitter book enthusiasts and offering them a copy in exchange for a review.


Q: You are a Peer Support Worker in the mental health sector. What does your job entail?


A: A Peer Support Worker (also known as a Lived Experience Worker) is someone with a lived experience pertaining to the field in which they work.  So, for me, that means I support people with mental illness in their recovery, sort-of as the embodiment of what they can achieve.  It doesn’t mean they have to aspire to be anything like me, or model their recovery like mine; everyone’s is different.  My job is to show them that you can slip down to the depths of despair, but that there is always hope for a way back out.  I’m very passionate about fighting (and eventually eliminating) the stigma surrounding mental illness.


Q: How did you end up getting the job?


A: Actually, a friend recommended it to me.  I’d not heard of Peer Support Work before, so I had to Google it.  I was like ‘I can make a LIVING out of my mental illness?!?  Where so I sign?!?’  So, I applied for the job, knocked their socks off with my charisma and enthusiasm, and the rest was history.  Sadly, a lot of people still don’t really know how to utilise the skill set of a Peer Worker properly, but the industry is slowly getting there.


Q: What has been your most frustrating work experience?


A: The most frustrating thing when working in Mental Health is when you come across people who are full of potential, but they can’t see it.  As a worker, you can have all the strategies in the world in your tool kit, but all you can do is show people how to use them.  Sometimes, they do, and you can guide them through the process, and they develop skills to better deal with their mental illness.  Sometimes, they won’t try.  Those are the days it’s hard to go home and feel like you’ve made a difference.  But, as they say, you can lead a horse to water, but ain’t nobody gunna make that beast drink.


Q: What trends in literature do you like?


A: I’m really loving the bookish trend on Instagram.  I was afraid that as the technological realm grew, people would be steadily less interested in physical books, until they were just a quaint memory.  But there are so many users who are absolutely mad for books!  They take these beautiful photos, post them and thousands of people love them!  It gives me hope for the future.


Q:  If a vampire came to you to be treated for his addiction to garlic, what would you do to help him?


A: Hm.  Very interesting question… let’s imagine that this vampire is from a realm where garlic is harmful to him, but he loves it like a smoker loves that first ciggie in the morning.  Let’s say his name is Logan.  It would go something like this:


I was sitting on my chaise lounge with—as my Scottish friend would put it—my legs ‘in a basket’, sipping a too-hot black coffee, wincing each time.  I heard the crunch of gravel as someone approached my front door, though there was a frantic, scattered quality to it and a hunched figure lurched past the window onto my porch.  I put my coffee down as my visitor hammered on the door.

‘It’s open.’

He threw the door open, but remained on the porch.  He was red as a beet, and blistered.  He hunkered under a blanket, clutching it, white-knuckled.

‘Well?  You just gunna stand there?  Waddaya want?’

‘You have to invite me in.’  His eyes darted.

‘No I don’t, and you know it.’

‘Yeah’ he shifted from foot to foot, ‘but I like the tradition.’

‘Are you kidding me?’

‘No… please… invite me in.’

‘Ugh.  Fine.’  I waved my hand in a grandiose gesture across my living room.  ‘You are cordially invited to entre my home, mister vampire.’

He sprang in, slammed the door and leaned against it, eyes closed, panting.  I picked up my coffee again and took a sip; it burnt my lip.  ‘What’s your name?’

‘Logan.  Can we close the blinds please?’

‘Stay there.’  I got up, closed the blinds, fished a towel out of the linen closet and spread it on the couch.  ‘Sit on that.  I don’t want any blisters oozing on my couch.’

He grunted, shuffled over to the towel and sat.  He studied the floor.

‘Well?  What is it?  I’m busy.’

‘I need help… your help… please.’

‘With what?’



‘Yeah…’ he looked up, ‘I can’t stop… I love it.’

I felt my face scrunch up in distaste.  ‘You serious?’


‘How long have you been a vampire?’

‘Eight months’

‘Why can’t you stop eating it?’

‘I’m Italian.  My Mother cooks everything with it.’

‘You should be trying to wean yourself off human food, Logan.  Surely you know that.’

‘I know, but she’ll be so sad if I stop eating her food.’

I rubbed my forehead and let out a long sigh.  ‘Do you only eat it when she cooks it?’



He sat up straight, looked at me and let the blanket fall from his shoulders.  He was covered in blisters, and most of his head was bald, featuring new and old scabs, amongst sparse clumps of hair.

‘Because it reminds me of my old life.  I’m lonely.’  His eyes were a dull shade of green-grey, and he began to cry as I watched him.

‘Logan, you do know that garlic makes you so much more susceptible to sunlight, and it hinders your immune system.  It’s going to take ages for those blisters to properly heal if you keep eating it, and going in the sun.

‘I know.’

‘Where is your maker?’

‘He dumped me.’


‘Because I’m useless.’

I sighed.  I was just getting used to living on my own, and enjoying my space.  ‘You need to detox, Logan.  Away from your Mother.’

‘I live with her.’

‘Not anymore.  Down the hall, first door on the right.  There’s a bed, and clean clothes in the cupboard.  Towels are in the linen cupboard in the hallway.  Have a cool shower, get dressed and then we can chat.  You’ll be ok.’

‘For real?’

‘For real.’

Why are you helping me?’

‘Cos someone helped me.  Now get in that shower, you reek of garlic.’


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.


An Interview With Writer S.M.W. Claw




S.M.W. Claw is the author of Goggles Gone Strong; here is a link to her website:


Q: What is Goggles Gone Strong about?


A: Goggles Gone Strong is about 11-year-old Calypso Blue, who finds herself on a strange island with a strange family, wearing an absurd pair of goggles. She has to save the dad from a giant saltwater crocodile, the mom from a sacrificial ritual, herself from mauling by the evil guy’s vicious tigers (oh, and a shark!) before she can figure out those danged goggles and nab the treasure to bring it home.


Q: What inspired you to write it?


A: I came to writing a book a little bit differently than most, I think. I’ve never aspired to be a writer, but I have always been a voracious reader–cereal boxes, junk mail, calculus textbooks… anything!


I had to give up my novel reading habit when I started having kids. The problem was I’d stay up until 4 AM trying to finish the story and wake up as the Wicked Witch of the West (not exactly the mother or wife of anyone’s dreams). My nighttime routine had gradually devolved to me reading Facebook and design and political blogs to unwind.


Eventually it occurred to me that I’d been spending every evening for a couple of years in this way and I had nothing to show for it. I wasn’t a better person. I wasn’t better friends with anyone. I had no new talents or skills.


What if I used that time to do something productive? Something that could potentially stand the test of time? Something I could hand off to my kids and grandkids?


I decided to try and write a book. It took me three years, but I did it!


Q: What sets it apart from other children’s books?


A: This is great question. Thank you, Eliza.

  • Goggles Gone Strong has a very unique setting on a somewhat magical tropical island.
  • It has a large cast of characters from all over the world populating the beach.
  • Calypso Blue speaks Latin–when it comes to spiders’ binomials.
  • Delicious exotic and tropical foods are mentioned often.
  • Calypso finds herself thrown into a large family and interacting with people of all ages–from baby to ancient.
  • The baby can swim ahead of a shark, throw a grappling hook, grip to the wall and fly. The ancient can too.
  • The Blues are saved from a springing cobra by the well-timed introduction of a beloved plastic doll. Thunk.
  • I can’t think of a single other book where the main characters wear safety goggles.
  • A mysterious man in a filmstrip interacts with the Blues and transfers gifts to them.
  • The Blue’s Hideout is powered entirely by lava–lava pulsing through piping hot tubes in the ceiling.

Is that enough yet?


Q: What makes Calypso series worthy?


A: Actually, Calypso is not the main character for the entire series. There are a bunch of children in her group and each book in the series will be told from another child’s point of view.


The next book, True Tuesday, is from Reggie Blue’s point of view. He’s a bit of a know-it-all and a hothead, so things are off to a bad start from the very beginning.


Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?


A: I am a mother. I like to think I understand children’s characters and motivations pretty well.


Q:  What is your strangest work story?


A: I don’t know if this is the strangest story, but it’s the most memorable to me because I felt so badly about it. In college I worked on the grounds crew at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT (The place most Mormon missionaries go for a few weeks to learn the ropes.)


I held the coveted position of “sprinkler girl,” which meant I didn’t have to do the grunt work of mowing or weeding. I got to ride around the grounds on a four-wheeler inspecting and repairing the sprinkler systems.


At the time there was also a construction crew on the grounds installing new water lines. They would dig giant holes in lawns outside dormitories and I’d have to turn the sprinkler system off in that area, then water the dying grass around the holes manually.


I was a pretty unmistakable figure on the grounds, roaring my four-wheeler through the throngs of white-shirted missionaries, and the construction crew was always very friendly to me, waving and smiling, until one day when I pulled up to their largest hole yet. It could’ve swallowed a nose-diving truck. And next to it was a large patch of nearly dead lawn.


They jokingly told me I could only water the lawn if I made very sure to not get any water in the hole–they were going to work in there next. And I laughed, because there was no way I was going to get water in the hole–I knew how to set up a simple pulsating sprinkler, and I’d watered next to their holes dozens of times already. I set the sprinkler’s back towards the hole, carefully set the boundaries to not be anywhere even close to approaching it, watched it carefully through several rotations and then left.


And you guessed it. When I roared up a few hours later, the entire construction crew was glaring at me. The sprinkler had broken, wasn’t rotating at all and was spraying water backwards, straight into the hole, which was now full of water.


That construction crew turned their backs whenever I passed and never smiled at me again. I had to deal with that for several weeks before they they left, but now that I’ve had time to think about it… if a dry hole was so important to them, why didn’t one of them just walk over and turn the sprinkler around as soon as water started hitting the hole?? Or just turn the danged thing off???


I’ll never know. Anyways, that felt good to get off my chest. Thanks!


Q: What have you done to promote your book?


A: Hmmm, I’ve done press releases, interviews, a giveaway, and posted links on Reddit and SlickDeals to my free eBook. I think the SlickDeals link has given me the most obvious bump in downloads.


Q:  What would you like to tell other writers about self-publishing?


A: It’s surprisingly fun. Maybe it’s just because I’m a very independent person, but I love being in charge of what I do and when. I hate people breathing down my neck about deadlines. That’s half the reason I never went to grad school. Oh, and quit my desk job before I even had kids.


And really, what do you have to lose?


Q: What were some of your favorite books as a child?


A:I loved The Chronicles of Narnia. I read the entire series every summer. I also read one of The Three Investigators every week. (Maybe someday I’ll have a child named Jupiter.) I also read Joan Aiken short stories, and adored Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle–where is that woman when I need her?!


For years I listed The Fragile Flag by Jane Langton as her favorite book ever. (And don’t forget The Diamond in the Window or The Swing in the Summer House!)


Harry Potter wasn’t around until I was in college, but I’ve read all the books many, many times.


But most importantly, since I was 9 years old I’ve read every day from The Book of Mormon. Back then, I understood very little of what was going on, but it made me feel awesome!


Q: What trends in literature annoy you?


A: I don’t know if this is a literary trend, but I’m kind of annoyed with the books I see today that have an awesome premise and a sizzling first few chapters, but peter out quickly until they barely limp over the finish line. And then the next book in the series is a watered down version of the same.


I understand why this is and I have no good solutions, but I like a book that when I get to the end makes me want to stand up and say, “Hooray! Hooray for this!!”


And then start it all over again.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Author Gus Kearney


Gus Kearney is the author of The Education of Joey G.; here is a link to the books Amazon page:




Q:  What is The Education of Joey G. about?


A: The novel shows the growth of the protagonist, Joey Garden, as he grows from a young boy of six until he reaches young adulthood at seventeen. Joey deals with risk taking and independence as a six year old. How to differentiate himself from group mores and peer pressure at age eleven. At fourteen, Joey begins to learn how to handle his burgeoning sexuality through his infatuation with a girl three years older than himself. The final and by far the most complex section has Joey as a senior in high school, an “A” student and member of the basketball team, who confronts racism, political corruption, his dysfunctional parents, a large family secret and his own failings as a person to try to become the person he wants to be.


Q:  What inspired you to write the book?


A:  I started writing about my old hometown of Lansdowne, PA in an exercise at a writer’s workshop in Marin County, CA. Once I began, the material started to flow. The first piece was about a wooded area with a creek running through it that I spent hours and hours playing in as a child. I then expanded it into a story about a group of eleven year old boys told from Joey’s point of view. After this tale, which I called “The Jungle.” i thought it would be an interesting idea to show Joey at various ages as he grew up and I added three more sections.


Q:  What sets it apart from other 50s and 60s memoirs?


A: Firstly, the story is fictional with some autobiographical elements, but does not qualify as a memoir. I think what sets the novel apart from similar tales is the re-creation of a southeastern Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia. I also believe that Joey G. evokes the 50s in very clear and distinct ways. Joey changes in each section in age appropriate ways. He really IS the age in which he is portrayed in each different section. Joey’s family is dysfunctional, which is not unusual, but in a very idiosyncratic ways. There is also a lot of material about the perplexities of playing on sports team and being an academically advanced student.


Q:  What makes Joey a memorable character?


A:  Joey is an extremely intelligent boy, often much more so than the people around him. He is a deep thinker who frequently muses about serious life issues throughout the novel. Beset with numerous challenges and problematic situations, Joey responds with resilience, perseverance, insight and courage. Joey is basically a good kid with many strengths as well as flaws, who becomes more and more heroic as the story evolves. Unlike Holden Caulfield, Joey finds ways to face the challenges of a corrupt and imperfect world without recoiling into isolation.


Q: What have you found is the most important way to market the book?


A:  The best way so far is by doing readings. In the beginning of October, I flew from California to Lansdowne where I did a reading in the Lansdowne Theater which is presently being refurbished, and sold fifty books. other readings were very successful as well.


Q:  What are some books you enjoyed reading and what made them enjoyable?


A: I grew up in the 50s. My family didn’t get a television until I was eight years old. By that time, I was hooked on reading. I also have a B.A. and M.A. in English. So I’ve read literally thousands of books over the years. I like books that are both intellectually stimulating and that also evoke strong emotion. Books I put in that category are: Moby Dick, Crime and Punishment, A Hundred Years of Solitude, Ulysses, The Great Gatsby and many many more.


Q:  What are some of your writing influences and how are they evidenced in your book?


A: The two major influences were Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.  Portrait is a work of sheer genius showing the growth of Stephen Daedalus from an infant to a young man in his early twenties. Certainly this book is the template for all coming of age stories. The beauty of the language, the complex structure of the book, the knowledge of humanity, the underlying ideas make this an enduring masterpiece, I’ve drown from in many ways but mainly in showing Joey Garden go through the various stages of childhood and how a sensitive young man deals with the perplexities and corrupting influences of human society. What I most admire about Catcher is Salinger’s ability to create a totally believable and indelible boy caught in the throes of adolescence. I hope I matched Salinger’s achievement in a small way in the last section of Joey G., “Just a Game.”


Q: You were an English Teacher for many years. What was the biggest challenge about working within the California public school system?


A: The biggest challenge by far was in deal with the deterioration of the public schools after passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 to the present day. This voter’s initiative froze property taxes on structures built before 1978. As a result, California went from being third in the country for per pupil spending to forty-third. Colleges became far more expensive and out of reach for poorer students. Facilities fell into disrepair; salaries stagnated. The people of California basically abandoned their young people by passing this devastating and short-sighted bill. It was heart breaking.


Q: What was your most memorable work story?


A: By far, it was the establishment of Rooftop School, a San Francisco public elementary school, with six other teachers in 1972. Rooftop celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2012. A very popular, highly sought after program, the school has maintained high academic standards, creative teaching methods, and a family atmosphere to provide thousands of students with great memories and a top rate education.


Q:  What literary character do you think Joey would admire and why?


A: Hamlet, as shown in the book. Joey identifies with the Hamlet’s procrastination in achieving his goals which is similar to his own emotional paralysis. He also admires Hamlet’s complex mind and philosophical ruminations.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.