Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Author Interview - D. L. Heather

 


D.L. Heather is an author, poet, certified herbalist & former music journalist. With a background in existential poetry and dark tone literature, she writes about her own experiences in love, loss, living with chronic pain, heartbreak, healing and self-discovery.

Genre: Poetry/non-fiction

Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

The name of my latest book is Life Interrupted, based around my personal experiences living with endometriosis and chronic pain.



Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

Brainstorm, write, revise, revise, decide

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Authors who have influenced me have been Maya Angelou, Edith Wharton, Sylvia Plath and Angie Dickinson.

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

Coffee, quiet and note pads.

Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Purpose and structure.

Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?

The ability to say NO is the power to create, pursue, and protect priorities.

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

Poetry, non-fiction.

Q8: What comes first for you - the plot or the characters and why?

Characters because I tend to work around the specific characters, their physical world then the rest eventually comes together.

Q9: What are you working on now? 

I'm working on a nonfiction book, Petals of Healing. It offers inspirational words, personal reflections, poems, affirmations, a grief journal and self-love practices to help cultivate new life after loss.

Q10: What are you currently reading?

Stephen King's On Writing.

To find out more about D. L. Heather, follow the social media links below:

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Keep reading for an excerpt from D. L. Heather's December 21, 2021 release, Metamorphasis



An extended edition of the best selling poetry book, Metamorphosis. This edition has over 100 new poems, along with the 50 poems previously published, and over 30 images.

In Metamorphosis, D.L. Heather takes her readers on a journey full of raw emotion that will pull at the heartstrings of her readers. A collection of haiku poetry inspired by the author’s personal experiences with love, grief and healing, a perfect read for fans of Pierre Alex Jeanty and Jack Kerouac. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Author Interview - Mitchell Tierney

 

Born in Darwin, Northern Territory, Mitchell Tierney started writing 21 years ago. He is about to release his 7th book titled The Immolation Game, a new trilogy of novellas. He has contributed to combined fantasy works such as Everdark Realms, and an American horror anthology called The Unknown to raise money for front line workers. He has a regular table at the pop culture convention, Supanova.

Genre: YA, YA horror, Adult horror and Weird Fiction

 Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

The Immolation Game. The inspiration came from a very unlikely place  - lying on my bed. I heard what sounded like a clank coming from the ceiling and imagined a ball being released. I had to follow it until it was spat out of a spout. That got me thinking, what if you woke up with no idea of who you were and suddenly, you’re thrust into the midst of mind games that involve catching small silver balls that give you food and things you need. It led me down a path of exploring the world and what it meant to be trapped.


Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

Minimal – I plan as minimally as I can. It takes the fun out of spontaneity if you know what’s going to happen beforehand.

Keep – Keep everything you write. If you think it’s not great, you may read it in a few days’ time and think otherwise.

Originality – Some tropes have been done to death. I like unique takes of classic stories / characters / situations.

Incubation – Sit on an idea or character for a while, let it appear and find its own voice.

Finish – Finish your book. No matter if there are parts you don’t like, just finish it. You can go back later in second draft and fix it.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Alan Moore, Joseph Delany

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

Quietness. I could never go to a coffee shop to write. I need to be left alone, no talking or TV or music on.

Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Practice. Most people’s first books aren’t going to be the best. Keep writing. Finish a book. Start a new one. Let other people read your work and give you feedback without being offended. If you join an online group with people you don’t know, they won’t pull their punches.

Original ideas or original takes on old ideas, such as vampires and werewolves. They’ve been done to death, but you can reimagine them, make them unique and new.

For me, also good dialogue. Write how you talk, not how you think people talk to one another.



 Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?

In regards to writing, ‘Why are you doing this?’ and ‘What do you expect to get out of it?’

‘Do you expect to be rich?’

People don’t understand that, for me, I’m compelled to write. I’ve been doing it for so long I can’t stop. I don’t expect fame or money, I just want to write and get my books out there. If people want to put you down, then that drives me even harder to succeed.

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

I like non-fiction like Hunter S Thompson and Charles Bukowski. I like their crazy writing adventures. Weird fiction like Ian Banks and H P Lovecraft.

I like horror and YA fantasy also.

 Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

Plot comes first. I can’t start writing just with characters, I need to head them in a direction. For me, it comes together like a puzzle. I’m given pieces of the puzzle, story, characters, setting, events, and when I can see what the picture is, I start writing.

Also, books will gnaw at me to be written.

Q9: What are you working on now?

I just finished the 2nd book after Immolation Game and will start book 3 shortly.

I’m writing another YA horror book called Charlie Gravedigger.

I’ve been writing my first sci fi book called Eon Empyrean for about a year now and it’s about a third of the way done.

I’m feeling the pressure to write the 2nd Wandmakers Apprentice book, which already has a few chapters down.



Q10: What are you currently reading?

I’m in the middle of the Expanse first book Leviathan Wakes. I’m also in the middle of Charles Bukowski’s book Women. Next in line is The Witcher first book and Spooks: A new darkness.

Keep reading for an excerpt from The Immolation Game, released November 5th.



Clank!

The sound of clanging metal echoed around the room. A girl was laying there on a cold, metal bench. She opened her eyes at the noise and was hit with confusion as she wondered where she was and how she got there. The entire ceiling was gleaming with smooth metal panels. She sat up and could hear something rolling around above her. She listened as it moved away, then came back towards her. Whatever it was suddenly dropped, still on the inside of the wall. She swung her feet onto the ground and its chill ran up her legs. Looking down, she noticed the floor was completely made of metal, like the bench, which appeared to be a bed. There was a single blanket and pillow, with nothing else in the room except a pair of white shoes, with white laces. They looked immaculate and new. She slipped them on and gingerly stepped towards the doorway. Outside was a long corridor, and she was the middle door. The doors on her right and left were both closed. Suddenly the door to the right opened. A boy emerged, his eyes wary and slightly confused.
Who is that? she thought to herself. Do I know him?




To find out more about Mitchell Tierney check out the social media links below:

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Author Interview - Patricia Antone

 

Patricia Antone is a mom of two who got back into creative writing during the transition to empty nest. Her husband encouraged her to take a course at a local adult learning center and she was introduced to a local writing group by the instructor. The rest is history.

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance

Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

FreeingDestiny. It is Book 4 of my Destiny’s Path Series set between 1601 Scotland and present day. The first book, Can’t Outrun Destiny was a labour of love, taking 5 years to complete. I wanted the series to become something I was proud of and kept at it until I was. I am very happy with where the story has led.

Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

I only have 2. Plotter and Pantser. I start out plotting the story and direction of where it should go. Then I get to a point where it is totally by the seat of my pants, the muse taking over. Usually, it works. Note the usually part.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

I don’t have any to be honest. My book tastes are a little eccentric. I read so many different styles, authors, and subject matter, the list is a mile long.

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

 I love to have classical or soft jazz music playing. My habits are also those of a night owl. I tend to write my best stuff late at night.

Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

If the story does not grab me by chapter 3, I am out. I try to write with that in mind.

 


Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?

It can always be edited. My writers’ group can help me find my way through a tough spot. If it has potential, they will help me reach it.

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

I love Romance.

Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

Every book is different. I have had characters come very easily; I have had stories come easily. They, unfortunately, don’t usually happen at the same time.

Q9: What are you working on now?

I am working on 5 projects at once. I have a Falling SEALs, The Blind Missions series with more guys to fall. The Destiny’s Path Series has another novel outlining, with a novella as well. Then I have my odd couple of projects I play with when I am feeling stumped.

Q10: What are you currently reading?

I am finishing a Clive Cussler novel, Pirate. A co-worker at my day job introduced me to him. I love the action and suspense of his stories.


Keep reading for an excerpt from Patricia Antone's latest release Freeing Destiny Book 4 in The Destiny’s Path Series

Finally narrowing down her 'heebie jeebie' feeling, Andrea MacKay brings home to Scotland the relic it emanates from. Next thing she knows her family casts a spell and she is staring at a real live Scottish warrior. The bonus? He is the enemy of her Uncle Gavin, who thought the man long dead, where he left him in 1601. Insert the "You got to be kidding" here.

Locked inside a cold dark prison for centuries, Roderick Roberts has no idea where he is when he is freed. All he recognizes is the feeling of warmth from the woman he's clung to until now.

Unfortunately, evil is circling back. She wants her relic and the man that was in it. She also has a centuries old bone to pick with Andrea's Aunt Anne. Knowing she is in danger, Roderick gives his protection to her and her clan in gratitude for his freedom. When he unknowingly loses his heart to the stubborn and opinionated little lass, he realizes the modern-day might not be so bad.

He just has to survive the evil after him and Andrea's Uncle, who is still debating on killing him, all while he protects Andrea the only way he knows how.

With a big sword.

To find out more about Patricia Antone, follow the social media links below:

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Author Interview - Randee Green

 

Randee Green is the author of the Carrie Shatner Mystery series and the Zoey Wilde Mystery series. Her passion for reading began in grade school with LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature, as well as an MA and an MFA in Creative Writing. When not writing, she's usually reading, indulging in her passion for Texas country music, traveling, or hanging out with her pets Daisy and Snookums G. Cat.

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

WRESTLING WITH DEATH is the first novel in the Zoey Wilde Mystery Series. Zoey is a semi-professional wrestler. When her ex-boyfriend is found murdered at a wrestling event, she jumps to the top of the detective’s suspect list. She sticks her nose into the investigation to clear her name.

I am a lifelong fan of pro wrestling, and, for years, I have wanted to write a book that involved pro wrestling. There is some pro wrestling involved in the second Carrie Shatner Mystery, CRIMINAL CHOKEHOLD, but I wanted to write at least one novel that focused on pro wrestling. I played around with a few different ideas over the years, but ultimately decided to write a cozy series starring a pro wrestler. I love reading cozy mystery series, but I find that there are few main characters who are edgy and in-in-your-face. I’ve been longing for a strong, kick-butt main character. When I failed to find one, I created one instead.

 


Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

Hectic, frustrating, blissful, and overly plotted.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

I have read so many books by so many authors that it’s hard to really signal any one in particular out. I If I had to name one, it would be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I first read LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS when I was in second grade. It was while reading that book that I had an epiphany that I would someday be a writer.

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

It’s more like what do I need OUT of my writing space to help me stay focused. I have a dog who can be a distraction—not that I mind that distraction. But I am also easily distracted by my phone or the internet. I’ll go to look up something like a word or a specific fact, and then wind up falling down the rabbit hole.

Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Strong main characters. The main characters do not have to be likable, but I have to feel invested in their story. If I don’t care about the main characters, then I quickly lose interest in the book. Forward motion is also very important. I’ve come across a lot of books that rehash/repeat earlier scenes opposed to creating new scenes/incidents. Having to read recaps of previous scenes over and over gets annoying.

Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?

When I was in grad school for creative writing, the mentors kept telling us to “just write the damn thing.” It has been my motto ever since. It’s not a fancy or life-altering quote, but it does get straight to the point. If you don’t write it, it’s never going to get written.

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

I love reading cozy mysteries—both contemporary and historical. There are quite a few series that I follow. I particularly enjoy strong female main characters and humor.

Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

My characters always come first. I have to know my main character and some of the supporting cast before I can really start plotting.

Q9: What are you working on now?

I am working on Killer Kayfabe. It is the second novel in the Zoey Wilde Mystery series. In this novel, Zoey’s coworker at her brother’s tattoo shop is murdered. CJ Neidigh went to school with Zoey and Zack, and they were the closest thing that the introverted teenager had to friends. It is not long after CJ returns to town—and mere hours after some of their former classmates learn that he’s back—that he is murdered. Zoey knows not to get involved in another police investigation, but she is compelled to find her friend’s killer. 

Q10: What are you currently reading?

I am rereading the Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen. It’s been years since I read the earlier books in the series, and I wanted to refresh my memory of what happened.



Keep reading for an excerpt from Wrestling with Death:

“None of us are going to be able to sit in the front row during the match.” Vivian yanked her feather boa from her neck. “If Devon comes anywhere near me, I’ll strangle him.”

“Your boa probably won’t be enough to get the job done,” Zack said. He tugged on Vivian’s boa and accidently pulled out a couple feathers.

“Then I’ll stab him in the eye with this!” Vivian held up the knitting needle that she was still clutching in her arthritic hand.

“Put the knitting needle down, Nana,” Zoey said.

“Hitting Devon over the head with this baby…” Zack said as he reached into the trash can full of weapons and pulled out a sledgehammer. It was the same sledgehammer that had been in the back of Zoey’s car. “This would get the job done in one or two blows.”

“Zack…” Zoey said, terrified of the evil gleam in her twin brother’s eyes. She also didn’t like the way he was running his fingers up and down the sledgehammer’s long handle.

“What? I can fantasize, can’t I?” Zack asked, giving Zoey a sheepish look. “I won’t lie to you. I want to kill Devon just as badly now as I did back then.”

 

To find out more about Randee Green, check out her social media links below:

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Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Author Interview - Marco Marek

 

Marco Marek is an award winning author from Italy. He always had a fervid imagination and a passion for fantasy stories, medieval magicians, ancient history, and unexplained mysteries. While he was visiting a castle in Eastern Europe, he had the idea of writing Hyperearth. Apart from writing, Marco is also a painter and photographer, he likes digital artwork on Photoshop. He loves travelling when he has some free time.

Genre: Fantasy/Urban fantasy

 


Q&A:

 

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Magic Streets: London Bound Book Two is my latest book. One time, while I was driving through the streets, I had the feeling the area where I was going was different than the one I thought to go. So I had the idea, is it possible while you walk to enter in another area of the city ?  From this I created this saga of Magic Streets which is about an invisible portal that should be in every city.

Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

Ideas, inspiration, research, writers block, relaxing.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Paulo Coelho

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

Silence otherwise I can't concentrate on writing.

Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

I think the ability of writing is that the reader never get bored, must be intrigued to continue to read each page, chapter.

Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard? 

Read a lot, this will improve your writing technique.

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

Well since I write fantasy I would say mainly fantasy, but I like to read also crime, a bit of horror like Stephen King.

Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

Plot came first on my old books, but now I'm developing more characters. I thought the plot is the main theme of one book, but there are readers that want to know a lot about every character, personality, weak and strong points, education, and attitude.

Q9: What are you working on now?

I'm writing book three of the Magic Streets saga, it will be in Arizona this time.

Q10: What are you currently reading?

I have to finish The Crown of Stones of Cindy Schneider


Here is an excerpt from Magic Streets London Bound Book Two:

Do you like this pub, Lenka?” Jack asked. She seemed almost in a trance.

Yes, it’s beautiful. But what struck me is the strong esoteric source that is around here. It’s an incredible thing,” replied the witch, and Jack realized she was attracted to the energy, not the pub’s lavish style.

Strange, I’ve been here many times and I never felt anything. But now that you mention it, I feel something too. What would you like to drink? I’ll have a pint of Theakston,” the photographer said. Lenka chose white wine. But while they waited for the drinks, something fantastic happened. Something was materializing next to Jack. Small clouds of smoke moved quickly, but it was still not clear what it was.

Then, little by little, they began to see a figure: first a hat, then the face became visible. Yes, it was a man in his sixties. Jack was surprised, but Lenka was not. It was likely that this was a commonplace occurrence for her.

Good afternoon,” the newly materialized man said. “I think you’re not from London? Let me introduce myself. I am Morgan Ingham. Nice to meet you.” He looked like a classy person, even though his clothes were a little old-fashioned.

Our pleasure. We are Lenka and Jack,” replied the witch, happy to make his acquaintance.

What brings you here?” Morgan asked in an affable tone. “Miss, your name seems to me to come from Bohemia...”

Yes, you’re right, sir. I am from Prague. Have you been? Jack is American, from Arizona, if I’m not mistaken.”

Jack could see that the witch liked Mr. Ingham so much, even though he was older than her.

I visited Prague many years ago. Extraordinary. I met a famous seer whose name escapes me now. You know with age your mind isn’t as fresh as it used to be. Anyway, I don’t want to bore you.” The man began to dematerialize again. Sometimes he looked like a hologram.

Find out more about Marco Marek by following the links below:

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Author Interview - Dean Mayes




Dean Mayes is an Intensive Care Nurse who is fascinated by philosophy and the paranormal, so his stories weave an element of magical realism with deep humanism. He grew up near Melbourne, Australia, and now lives in Adelaide with his wife, Emily, his children, Xavier & Lucy, and his writing partner – a 10 year old spaniel named, Sam. Dean loves outdoor cooking, anything to do with Star Wars and (insanely) long-form podcasts.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller Fiction, Romantic Fiction.

Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

My most recent novel “The Artisan Heart” (2018) is a contemporary romance novel. Having bounced around in different genres for the past few years, I wanted to return to my romantic roots and write a novel about relationships. Familial relationships, romantic relationships and relationships between people who have different communication styles – for example, there is a lovely relationship that develops between the protagonist of the novel and a deaf child. Both are able to communicate in sign language, which coaxes the child out of her shell.

Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

Chaotic, Messy, Inspired, Rambling, Insane!

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Recently, I’ve discovered the works of French author and philosopher Albert Camus and poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Camus especially writes in a vivid, visual style that is evocative for all the senses. Because he wrote in the 1920s through to the late 1950s, his use of language, adverbs and long sentences is quite different to the clipped, often frenetic sentences you see in a lot of writing today. It’s a style that I have sought to emulate in my own writing.

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I often find that playing classical music softly in the background helps me to focus. I usually have a note book and a pencil beside me to take notes as ideas come to me. More generally, it’s a mental state that I’m constantly searching for. There’s a head space I get into where I’ll write and write and write and time just falls away. It’s a beautiful thing when I touch it.

Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

A cohesive structure and a consistent narrative flow comprising set up and pay off. If you are hitting those benchmarks, I think you can get most stories to work really well. There also has to be a character to the writing. Some of the best stories I’ve read are ones that have a character to them – even if I haven’t necessarily liked the stories.

Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?

Don’t be afraid to produce lots of content – knowing that you’ll edit the heck out of it later. I think that helps in staving off writer’s block while also helping you produce material that can be used elsewhere in your work in progress or indeed, another project that you might haven’t even conceived yet.

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

Oh wow...I’m pretty much open to most genres these days but I guess I remain fond of science fiction first and foremost. I’m reading The Expanse series of novels presently and I’m enjoying the hell out of them! They’re big novels but they’re so engaging, I find myself reading like a machine! I mentioned Albert Camus earlier and I’ve become a firm fan of philosophical writing. I read “The Plague” last year (an apt title given our current Covid situation) and it blew me away. His grasp of character and character motivation in the face of overwhelming circumstance is quite outstanding.

Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

I think I have gravitated toward character development in my own writing. Plot, for me at least tends to develop from that – even though I’ll have a rudimentary plot outline that I’ve established. I think if you have well defined characters who you get to know well, they’ll drive the story forward for you.

Q9: What are you working on now?

I have been working on a sequel to my political thriller “The Recipient” over the past couple of years but progress has been slow due to some personal circumstances here at home. My wife Emily was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the middle of last year and as you can imagine, that had a profound effect on our family. I mentioned earlier that I am an ICU Nurse and with the pandemic still a major concern, I’ve been working a lot harder. My writing has inevitably been affected. But I haven’t given up on it. I’m doing little bits here and there and I’m still committed to producing a story that I think is exciting and worth reading.

Q10: What are you currently reading?

I have two titles on the go at present – “Personal Essays” by Albert Camus and “Nemesis Games” - Book 5 in “The Expanse” series by James S.A. Corey. Both are very different books that appeal to my love of philosophy and science fiction and sometimes – they even cross over!



Dean Mayes knows I am a huge fan of his work, and I have read all of his published stories, so he has truly honoured me by giving me an exclusive peek at his next book, The Recipient - Pandora's Chest.

Excerpt from “The Recipient – Pandora’s Chest” by Dean Mayes.

It’s so vast! It’s so, so vast…

Settle Saskia, we’re okay. We’ll be okay…

Forcing her eyes open, Casey risked a glance outside her window at the boiling sea far below. Her breath caught and she hurriedly had to recall a technique to calm herself. While she had grown accustomed to ocean going flight in the comfort of a jumbo jet, cruising over the white caps in a noisy and comparatively small Victoria Police Eurocopter was something else entirely. Casey had to stop herself from gasping as the pilot jinked suddenly, banking the helicopter towards a vast stretch of coastal limestone cliffs. In the fading afternoon light, Casey spotted the towering, monolithic sentinels of the Twelve Apostles, suddenly recalling a piece of trivia that recounted the relentless march of the sea had actually reduced their number to 8.

As the Eurocopter began its decent, rocking through a patch of turbulence, Casey gripped her harness tighter. She tried to hide her action from Whittaker who was sitting across from her and a young dark skinned detective sitting beside him, who Whittaker had grudgingly introduced as Jeremy Delfey. Thought still angry at Casey for having pestered her way onto the chopper, Whittaker broke his rancorous expression with a knowing grin in her direction and seemed to lighten in his mood. The young detective, seeing Casey’s discomfort, caught her notice with an enquiring nod of his own to see if she was okay. Distracted from her fear momentarily, Casey nodded back.

Through the window, Casey could see human figures moving back and forth across the landscape, close to cliff face. A bright orange crane had been stationed at the edge of the precipitous drop; its thick boom arm was extended out and over into the air. As the chopper drew closer, Casey could see an object being hauled up from the beach below and it took her mind several moments to register that it was the wrecked form of a vehicle. A trio of police vehicles, their blue and red lights flashing were positioned along what appeared to be a rough track that led into a bluff from the nearby Great Ocean Road. A pair of civilian four wheel drives were stationed on the bitumen - facing away from one another, their headlight beams shining in opposite directions as a warning to approaching traffic. Between them, Casey saw a pair of dark lines on the bitumen, tyre tracks suggesting a vehicle had served suddenly before leaving the road.

Dropping fast now, the chopper pilot circled away from a cluster of personnel about halfway in from the road, then it swung its tail around. It hung for a moment before setting down finally. Casey felt the bump of the tires as the aircraft touched ground followed by the deceleration of the rotors above her head.

Thank God, she mused, her anxiety tapering away. She steadied her breathing. Feeling a tap on her shoulder, she turned to Whittaker, who flashed a knowing grin.

“You can let go of your harness now,” he said above the noise of the rotors.

Casey blinked then looked at her hands gripping the harness. Her knuckles were white. Flicking her head up, she appraised Whittaker. “Have you gotten over your tantrum yet?” she countered shakily.

“Maybe,” Whittaker tilted his head from side to side. Helping her unclasp her restraint, he patted her shoulder. “Come on.”

Opening the door, Whittaker crouched low and gestured to Casey to follow closely. Offering his hand, Casey took it and ducked as she climbed out. Touching the earth, Casey’s leg gave a short wobble as Whittaker escorted her from the chopper.

Rounding to the front of the aircraft, the pair came up alongside the pilot and Delfey who surveyed the scene. Local police – who had been rallied in anticipation of Whittaker’s arrival – were doing their best to prepare the site, while supervising the precarious operation of the crane, which had now swung its arm around in an arc with the shattered vehicle in its grip. At a signal from an officer wearing a white jumpsuit and hard hat, The crane released the wreck and it crashed to the ground in front.

Shuddering, Casey turned away towards a uniformed officer who was speaking to a subordinate over by a 4WD. Upon seeing the new arrivals, he dismissed his colleague and turned towards them. He was middle aged, with a friendly face and large eyes that were magnified by a pair of coke bottle bottomed glassed. Hitching his trousers up by the belt, he approached, holding out a meaty hand to Whittaker.

“Senior Constable Graham Adams, Port Campbell Station,” the officer greeted in a heavy Scottish accent. “Deputy Commissioner Whittaker, yes?”

Whittaker nodded and glanced over Adams’ shoulder. “Thank you for accommodating us at such short notice. I apologise if we've inconvenienced you.”

“Not at all,” Adams adjusted his spectacles. “I appreciate the interest. We’re flying blind here so if anyone can assist in shedding light on this accident, I appreciate it.”

Whittaker gave a thoughtful nod, which didn’t escape the Senior Constable’s notice.

“I have to admit, I was surprised when they informed me you would be coming," Adams observed. “Do you have any ideas?”

“I’m not sure,” Whittaker replied, gesturing either side of him. “This is Detective Jeremy Delfey and this is civilian observer Casey Schillinge.”

Adams acknowledged both in turn, his gaze lingering on Casey a beat longer than Delfey. Casey saw his brow furrow, as though he recognised her, or perhaps her name. Her eyes darted away and towards the vehicles.

Adams gestured with an outstretched hand, inviting the trio ahead of him. Together they made their way over the uneven ground towards the wreck. The crane was retreating from the edge of the cliff on it’s tracks, the operator inside the cabin clearly relieved his task was over. Though it was blackened and twisted, almost folded back on itself, Casey could see that the wreck had once resembled the Holden utility she’d observed in the CCTV footage from the Blue Heeler Bar.

“We extracted the human remains from the wreck last night,” Adams explained. “I handed it over to the Warrnambool Detectives. There’s not much left, I'm afraid. The driver met a fiery end.”

“What about the other body?” Whittaker asked, glancing sideways at Casey. Her eyes bored into his. “The report said their were two bodies.”

The Senior Constable betrayed a note of confusion in his expression and he nudge the brim of his hat, shaking his head. “Single occupant only. There was no passenger.”

Casey felt her knee give way but she steadied herself before anyone noticed.

Lone driver?

Whittaker proceeded forward, prompting Casey, Delfey and Adams to follow. They passed by a Police 4WD and came upon the rough track she’d seen from the air. Personnel were moving back and forth, erecting bright yellow police tape.

The track was little more a pair of grooves in the sandy earth, made by a vehicle that had, apparently, left the road in a hurry. Looking back along its length, Casey noted the impression of tyre prints at various points where the sand and gravel morphed into the mud of traditional top soil, but the tracks themselves were broken, probably as a result of the vehicle having bounced over the uneven ground on its trajectory towards the cliff

Scanning towards the cliff edge, Casey saw a ruined section agricultural fence where the vehicle had crashed through before careening over the edge. All told, it was a distance of no more than 100 meters, from road to cliff.

It had all the hallmarks of a suicide run...

To find out more about Dean Mayes follow the links below:

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Author Interview - Sophie and Chris Brousseau

 

Sophie and Chris Brousseau form the husband and wife writing team behind Maple Lion Fiction. Together they have published five novellas which have now been released as a full-length novel: Isle of Chaos. Sophie honed her writing skills working in behavioural science research and Chris developed his storytelling prowess over the past decade working in video games. They each bring their own unique experience to the table, but it was their shared love of regaling others with a good story and quirky humour that inspired them to venture into the world of fiction writing together.

Genre: Dark, Humorous, Action & Adventure



Q&A:

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Chris: Isle of Chaos: Golden Age Tales is the name of the book, and what inspired it is a little bit of a story…

In 2011 I noticed a severe lack of good pirate themed movies, books, tv series as well as video games and I’ve always loved pirates. The chaos, the fun, the lawlessness of it has always attracted me, so I decided that I would write some sort of pirate novel. Around the same time Game of Thrones aired and I was hooked. I loved the multi character, dark themed semi-fantasy styled tv show, so I thought I’d go down that road with the book and that’s it, that’s how it started. I had written a few characters, written about 20,000 words or so and then I put the whole thing on pause and for some reason never went back to it.

Sophie: Many years later we met in Australia, got married and decided we wanted to work on a project together. We both think very similarly, and I had been writing research papers, so I’d got used to writing professionally but certainly not fiction. It was all very new to me. When Chris mentioned the draft and the pirate world I jumped at the chance! I’ve always loved pirates. I read the draft of what he had written all those years ago, killed off a couple of characters, wrote a second draft, then a third… and the rest is what’s out in the world today.

Chris: As for the story itself, what inspired it was a love of drama. The idea of things happening to the characters where the audience or reader knows how bad something is going to turn out, but the characters don’t. In Isle of Chaos there are six main characters and each one accidentally causes problems for another, but they have no idea they are doing so.

Sophie: Yes, everything has a knock-on effect and it makes for an exciting story.

Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

Chris: Research, planning, plotting, re-writing, crying.

Sophie: Coffee, scattered, structured, fidgety, immersive.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Chris: We aren’t actually avid readers, certainly not ‘bookworms’ TV shows have actually influenced me more, shows like Breaking Bad, Seinfeld and the Sopranos. 

Sophie: It’s true. Neither of us are ‘bookworms’ more TV viewers, our writing is very dialogue heavy, non-traditional some might say. We do read, just not the amount people might assume.

Chris: I love action packed writing. I’m a fan of Joe Abercrombie’s books, specifically the First Law trilogy as well as the new ones from that same world.

Sophie: For me, Stephen King and Clive Cussler through to Enid Blyton have all influenced my writing style. Though recently I’ve been getting more into contemporary and that may influence future works.

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

 Chris: Music for me, and a keyboard and screen.

Sophie: Coffee, water and ideally my double screen desk set up. I’m not a fan of working on the couch or somewhere romantic like a coffee shop. No work is getting done there for me!

Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Chris: Strong and interesting characters and a good story, people can overlook a lot if you have those two first things.

Sophie: Agreed. I think you want to be able to connect with those characters quickly too, otherwise the interest is lost. 



Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?

Chris: Nobody knows what they’re doing, not even the pro’s and personally after working in some of the top video game companies I know that is the truth. You just gotta do your best, forget the rest!

Sophie: Try your best given the circumstances. It’s sort of simple, but I apply it to all aspects of my life. I spent a lot of time in my life striving for perfection and it was actually stifling, so now I reflect on things and ask myself that.

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

Chris: I’m open the any genre really as long as the writing is to my style, so no long descriptions. I don’t want to have someone explain to me what a wall looks like for two paragraphs.  No offense to those that do, some people really like that style, I’ve had a few friends tell me that our style is good, but too fast paced for them. It’s just a personal preference.

Sophie: I’ll give most things try, I typically lean towards darker subject matter or humorous or both! I don’t tend to read fantasy, hardcore horror or straight up romance, but that’s about it.

Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

Sophie: This is a Chris question; he handles the plot and first draft…

Chris: Loose plot first, I want a story where this kind of thing happens. Then the characters to fit the scene. As for why? I don’t actually know, stories are usually sold as more of an event, so it’s like, hey remember when this thing happened? Remember when we went to the ice cream shop, and someone dropped their ice cream and found a golden coin which led them to buried treasure? Remember when the cruise ship got overtaken by pirates? Etc. That usually gets them into the story, but then they fall in love with the characters and remember the characters if they are good after. So, I suppose that’s how I think of stories as well, interesting plot first, then make them fall in love with the characters.

Q9: What are you working on now?

Chris: I’m working on our second detective novel, just the first draft, I’m in the research, plotting and character creation phase.

Sophie: Chris likes to stay one book ahead! I’m about to jump into our first detective book which explores the origin story of one of our characters from Isle of Chaos, Jane Hatch. Turns out she was a pirate turned detective in her early days. Should be a fun one!

Q10: What are you currently reading?

Chris: Headphones and Heartaches by Wesley Parker, I’m just about to start it, I’ve read his first one and it was amazing so looking forward to this one.

Sophie: I have two on the go. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and Diary of a Shy Backpacker (part three) by Bruce Spydar.

To find out more about Sophie and Chris Brousseau of Maple Lion Fiction follow the links below: