Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Author Interview - Vivian Rolfe

Vivian Rolfe is a sociology student who wrote her first novel, Shapeshifters, while she was still in highschool. She likes to tackle projects that challenge different parts of her writing, whether that's description, character development, plot twists, POV; something is happening to allow her to grow as a writer. Her second novel, Shapeshifters: The Quest will be released on July 30, 2021.


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

My most recently release will be Shapeshifters: The Quest (released on July 30, 2021) and it was inspired as a continuation of the first book Shapeshifters. Following a bit of the story of the MC’s kid and how more things happen to make the MC’s doubt the truth of certain things.


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

Subplot, Edit Crazy, Planner, Double Meanings


Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Aileen Erin and her series, Alpha Girl. Erin Hunter and her many series with Warriors. Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series. Danielle Harrington as an author.


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

As long as I have one of my writing playlists going, I’m as focused as can be.


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

Consistency with the characters and plot! Minor inconsistencies are okay, as long as they are brought full circle and/or explained.


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

You start writing for you, but at some point, it becomes about the reader. Go back to writing for you because you then write what you want.


Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

Fantasy fiction, sometimes with a little romance.


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

The plot for sure! I like creating characters who will be able to go through what the storyline needs. Sometimes I’ll have a character in mind, but nothing really seems to suit them. Once I have a plot, the characters almost fall into place.


Q9: What are you working on now?

I’m working on the third book in Shapeshifters, as well as a couple stories for Kindle Vella. I’m writing a short story called The Weapon, another story called Lessons Learned, and then a Shapeshifter novella titled Undeniable. A lot of projects, but it’s all coming together.


Q10: What are you currently reading?

I haven’t had a lot of time to read, but I’ve recently read quite a few good ARCs.

Vivian Rolfe has been kind enough to share an exerpt from Shapeshifters: The Quest. Check it out below:

I was an Alpha. I was a Shapeshifter. I was a mother and a daughter. I was a human. I was a pack member. I was a protector. I was a mate.

Once, I was called Light. Once, I was a pup. I was cursed with little hope of returning to the place I knew. I was confused and lost. I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going. I couldn’t make a plan, only piece together riddles.

Now, I’m called Fantasyheart. Now, I know how to get back. I know where I’m going. I’ve been through enough to teach me how to be strong. Now, I can plan and piece together riddles. What once was a story, is now who I am, and I was never going to back down from anything without a fight

Find out more about Vivian Rolfe by following the links below:

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Benefits of Being an Indie Publisher

 I have seen a lot of discussion lately about traditional vs indie publishing. I am not against either method of publication and think both are perfectly valid methods of sharing your book with the world. I made a measured decision when I decided to self publish The Rachaya Series, after in depth conversations with traditional and indie authors, as well as people who do both. The benefits I could see, and my reaons for choosing to become and independently published author are:

1. I could choose my own editor.

I was able to shop around and find a highly qualified IPEd editor that is compatible with my way of working. I have an editor that gives me the encouragement I need, teaches me about the whys and wherefores of corrections, and is patient, kind and professional. This was the biggest point in indie publishing's favour for me. When I had a traditional publishing contract I was not able to choose my editor, and I was very uncomfortable with the editor that was chosen for me. The power to choose who works so intimately on my books has been so wonderful.

2. I could take risks with my writing.

Publishing houses look for books that will make an instant success. They are in the business of making money so they will not take a risk on books that are not a sure bet. The content, language, writing style were all up to me. I did not have to try to write the Next Big Thing. I wrote the story that was in my heart instead. 

3. I could work at my own pace.

This was especially important to me after I had a child. I was in no danger of breaching contract because Heart of Dragons took 18 months longer than I had predicted. This was better for my mental health, and it was far better for the story. I can publish as little or as much as I like. 

4. I can change anything I want.

I am currently working with a designer for new covers for The Rachaya Series, investing all my profits so far. Because I am re-releasing the books I can theoretically go in and change anything I want about my stories. Are there errors that need fixing (thanks to my wonderful editor, not really, but she did flag a few things here and there for me when she reread the books in preparation for Heart of Dragons)? Do I want a different ending? How about I add a short story as a bonus for readers? Scenes that were cut, Q&As, new character names. The world is my oyster.

5. I can genre-hop.

Because I am not vying for a publishing contract, I can go in a wildly different direction with my next book if I want. I am currently writing an adult fantasy novel rather than Young Adult, but I am also working on a contemporary piece, have been comissioned to produce a sci-fi short story for a friend, and even dabbled in poetry. I love being able to flex my writing muscles and learn from it along the way. There's just so much freedom.

Obviously, it's not all beer and skittles. There is a lot of admin, marketing, expenses etc that come with independent publishing and it is not for everyone. I have to put myself out there a lot despite my natural shyness screaming at me to stay home. But it's worth it because I love my work so much.

Book Review: The High Mountain Court, by AK Mulford

I was given a copy of The High Mountain Court in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, what an incredible debut by AK Mulford. I loved everything about it.

The world is rich and detailed. I really loved the magic in it. Yes, there are fae, but far more interesting to me was the witch magic. There are multiple types of witch - red, brown, blue. Red witches are illegal and have been destroyed. Main character, Remy, is a red witch in hiding, under the protection of a couple of brown witches. It's time for her to stop hiding, finding her power, courage and love along the way.

The story is fast paced and action packed. There is romance with just enough spice. The characters are diverse and representative of real life without any sign of tokenism. The writing style is relaxed and flows so well you can't put the book down.

I cannot wait for Book 2. This book is a solid 5 stars. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Author Interview - Nadia L. King


Nadia L. King is a children's writer and award winning short story writer who uses her skill with words to make the world a better place. Her latest release, a YA novel by Dixi Books, is called Can the Real JR Stand Up, Please? and is due out in the UK at the end of July 2021, in September in Australia. It tackles the topic of family abuse. The story is brushed with magical realism to lighten a dark and challenging issue.

 Here's an exerpt from Can the Real JR Stand Up, Please?

The lock to my cell door makes a loud clunk. At the end of a corridor, my cell has three windowless walls painted a depressing shade of grey. One side is made entirely of glass. A toilet squats in the corner and a grey plastic-coated mattress lies stiffly on the floor. A concrete bench runs along one side of the cell. I gingerly sit on the concrete bench and shiver in the air-conditioning. I shove my hands under my armpits and hunch over my shoulders. How the hell have I ended up in a police cell? I pull at the inside of my cheek with my teeth. How long are they allowed to keep me? I’m not even eighteen, who knew they could arrest kids? 

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

Can the Real JR Stand Up, Please? is my latest book published by UK publisher Dixi Books. The novel is aimed at young adult (YA) readers and tackles the topic of family abuse. The story is brushed with magical realism to lighten a dark and challenging issue. Inspiration for the story came from the Japanese manga series Naruto and the horrific statistic that one woman dies every week in Australia from domestic violence.

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

Slow, emotional, consuming, challenging, fun.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Probably too many to mention but I particularly enjoy and do my best to learn from writers such as Kate DiCamillo, Haruki Murakami, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson, and Angela Carter. Short story greats like Anton Chekhov, Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, and Katherine Mansfield intimidate and inspire me in equal measure!

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

A story that knows where it’s going.

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

Gosh, this is a tricky question. As a reader, the most important things I want from writing are:

·       meaty characters that surprise me with their actions;

·       a believable and detailed story world;

·       I want to be immersed in the story, so I want verisimilitude and visceral writing;

·       clean, sharp writing; and

·       an interesting story.

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

Read and revise—read broadly and revise your own work many, many times over!

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

At the moment, I’m really into Korean and Japanese crime fiction. It’s incredibly dark and discomforting and keeps me awake at night.

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

Characters. A character comes to life in my head, and then I try to find a way to insert the character into a story.

Q9: What are you working on now?

The theoretical exegesis for my PhD which I fear I will be writing until the end of my days!

Q10: What are you currently reading?

Currently, I’m reading:

·       Ulysses by James Joyce (a friend and I have given ourselves three months to read this book which I’ve started at least twice over the years and never finished).

·       A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (which is like a masterclass in short story writing for the price of a book—outstanding value!).

·       Wildfire by Ann Cleeves.

More about Nadia L. King

Nadia L King is a children’s author and award-winning short story writer who believes in the power of stories to make the world a better place. Her books include Claire Malone Changes the World, The Lost Smile, Jenna’s Truth, and Can the Real JR, Stand Up, Please? Nadia is currently undertaking a PhD in English and creative writing and lives in Western Australia with her family and an ever-expanding collection of books.

Connect with her:




Or go to her website here: https://www.nadialking.com/ 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Author Interview - S.J. Pratt


S.J. Pratt is a YA Sci-Fi author who has just finished her first novel, The 716: Impulse. Her writing invites readers to explore complex societal issues in new environments and reflect on our own word whilst having a bit of fun. An avid feminist, rock climber, yogi and coffee addict, Sarah is excited to introduce her debut novel soon.


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

The 716: Impulse is the first in a YA sci-fi trilogy about a guy who wants to be an engineer but, in his world, only women can go to university. It focuses on his struggle to be taken seriously, his fight for equality, and the people he meets along the way. 

As for what inspired it, it was one of those light bulb moments. I had just had coffee with a cisgender male friend and I was complaining about a sexist newspaper article I’d read and how unfair it was. He agreed, but it was lacklustre and we were soon talking about something else. Later, I saw how passionate he could get about things that directly affected him and I wondered, if cisgender men could see sexism and gender discrimination through the eyes of someone like them, would they be more passionate about eliminating such discrimination? Would it be easier for them to understand?

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

Coffee. Reading. Waking up in the middle of night to write down ideas. Time running away on me. Oh, and overwriting!

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Jane Austen is my hero. I adored We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Nought and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. To some extent, I think every book I read influences me, opens my eyes to new ways of writing or expression.

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

Quiet, coffee, laptop.

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

Character and plot. Good writing invites the reader to fall in love with characters, or to hate them or question them—regardless, to get involved in their lives. They should be unique and yet universal in a way, be interesting and relatable with real flaws and dreams. And good writing has to take me somewhere. Not necessarily to another planet or country (although I love that!), but on a journey of some kind, an emotional one.

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

Shut the door so the cat can’t get in.

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

Science fiction

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

I think the characters inform the plot and vice versa. Sometimes, a character will come to me and I wonder where they will take me. Other times, I know I want something to happen but I’m not sure who will do it, and then a character will come to me.

Q9: What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished The 716: Impulse and I am starting work on the second novel in the trilogy, The 716: Momentum. I’m super excited—it’s strange and electrifying to be plotting and planning again after so much time editing! 

Q10: What are you currently reading?

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. It’s super good!

Find out more about S.J. Pratt by following the links below:

Monday, July 5, 2021

Book Review: The Book of Eve, by Julia Blake

The Book of Eve, by Julia Blake, is a story about a woman that has spent the past year running from her problems and now she cannot run from them any longer. The story then recounts the events that led up to her need for escape. You learn about her tight-knit group of friends, their charmed lives, and how Eve got to know them all. Then you watch, nail-bitingly, as it all comes crashing down.

The Book of Eve was a real escapist read, and I really enjoyed being lost in Eve's glitzy, glamorous world. The narrative style is personable, with great turns of phrases from Eve that added to her likeability. The description of place and character was vivid and absorbing. 

I highly recommend The Book of Eve, especially if you're looking for a standalone story to break you out of a book hangover.

Rating: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐