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Author interview with Jay Scott

Please welcome debut novelist Jay Scott to Saturday Coffee with Authors. Jay is currently working on book one of his gritty trilogy, 122 Rules, which will be with beta readers next month. Book two is already complete! (No grass growing under Jay’s feet!)

When did you start writing and what made you start?

I started writing two years ago. I had wanted to do it for a long time, but it was my coworker, who, unbeknownst to him, actually prompted me to get more serious about my dream. What spurred me on was when he told me about an article he read. In it the author reported the results of a survey done on a several thousand WWII veterans. The men came back from the war, got jobs, and eventually retired. Their mindset when they got home was to work and take care of their families. 50 years later when these men were asked what they would have done differently, an overwhelming percentage of them said they wished they had done something creative. Writing, drawing, painting, and acting where the most common. I realized that if I ever wanted to write, I was just going to have to make time for it, and since my first idea (see below), I have.

Tell us a little bit about your latest books.

Here is the latest version of my synopsis: College student Monica Sable records a conversation between the mob boss, Laven Michaels, and his number one henchman. She manages to slip away without them catching her, only to be nabbed by the FBI who force her into witness protection. With her testimony they have enough to shut down Laven’s operation and put the mobster away for life.

Sam Bradford, a man living outside of society, is an expert at finding people who do not want to be found. He’s the best The Agency has to offer and a master of the 122 Rules of Psychology. With these rules he can manipulate people into doing and telling him anything.

When Sam is hired to find Monica, he doesn’t know he is ultimately working for the mob. In spite of misgivings about the case he tracks her down, seduces her and reveals her true identity. Later he reads about an explosion in her house where she is thought to have been killed. Deeper investigation reveals the truth of the “accident,” and who wants her dead. He also learns that, incredibly, Monica is still alive.

Laven has also learned Monica survived and sent his henchman across the country deal with her. No mistakes this time.

Sam is caught, forced to either right a wrong he helped create or follow orders and stand down. For the first time in his life he ignores protocol and instead pursues both the henchman and the mobster who hired him. Sam’s only plan: get them before they get to Monica.

Where did you come up with this idea?

I was on my way to work one day, listening to music and not really thinking about much when this insanely vivid scene came to me of this girl asleep in her room. In my head I could see that her bed was covered with a huge pile of blankets. Across the room was a large open window overlooking the ocean. I was even able see the books on her dresser and the dust bunnies tumbling across the floor in the breeze. All the way to work I thought about it and when I got there I typed it up…on my phone. I sent myself an email of this first scene, then lost it. No idea what happened. Just gone. Poof. It’s still probably cruising the halls of cyberspace.

So that weekend I typed it up again…on my computer. Fool me once and all that. Didn’t really know why, but this time around a dog appeared in a basket on the floor. Black and white terrier. After I completed the chapter I kept writing and the next one came out, then the next, and so forth. It wasn’t like I came up with the idea for my book, it was more like the book found me and my job was to unearthed it.

Who did the cover art for your book?

I don’t have a cover for my book yet. I have an image in my head of a guy on a motorcycle, my antagonist whom I met during my writing journey, riding towards the reader. It’s nighttime, on a long, deserted country road, with mountains and a full moon in the background. Haven’t found the art yet. I suspect whomever actually designs my cover will probably have a much better idea.

Who do find to be a huge inspiration for your writing? And why is that?

My literary hero is Stephen King. No question about it. My blog, Jay On Writing, is named for his book On Writing, which if you have not read I highly recommend. Here is an excerpt from my blog about him:

Arguably there are authors who write with a larger vocabulary, create better, more vivid descriptions, have a higher Lexile reading level, blah blah blah, but there is no one that can tell a better story, and for me it’s all about story. Whether or not you like his genre is immaterial. The man can spin a yarn that hooks you from word one.

Which one of your characters would be the best to meet in real life?

One of my secondary characters: Angel. When I first learned about her I thought she was a throw away. Someone that would simply be used as childhood friend of one my main characters, helping to give her more depth. But Angel surprised me. In spite of her being a checker at a grocery store and having no real direction for her life, she turned out to be surprisingly resourceful and spunky. She saves my main character’s behind over and over with her mad ninja-like skills and take-no-crap attitude. She would terrific fun to hang out with.

What are you reading right now?

I just finished Mary Waibel’s, Charmed Memories—I was lucky enough to get a pre-release copy from her, before that was Hank Buchmann’s, Dead Woman Creek, before that was Dean Koontz’s, Deeply Odd. The entire time, I have also been reading George R.R. Martin’s, Game of Thrones. This last book is more a marathon, where I keep stopping at different intervals, 2 miles, 12 miles, 15, to read other books. I love his story, but I have ADD and keep getting distracted.

What is the one thing that seems to always get in the way of writing time?

Time! Ugh!!! I get as few hours of sleep as possible, always riding the ragged edge between bleary and prostrate, but between family, work, working out, commuting, and miscellaneous—don’t you just love that category?—I have only about an hour a day during the week. My primary time is on the weekends were I work from my hammock, weather permitting, or from the couch if it isn’t.

Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those?

I have a complete novella in the final edit stage. My first book, 122 Rules, was originally a 157,000 word tomb—I missed the debut-novels-need-to-be-80,000-words rule—so I broke it up into two books. Never thought it possible, but I worked the manuscript over, new ideas came, and am now almost done with the initial edits. What is coming out is better than the original. I expect to have it fully edited and ready for beta readers by mid-September. The good news is that the next book, 122 Rules – Redemption, is largely complete and edited. It required a lot less modification than the first half. In addition, I have 35,000 words of the third book in the trilogy. My goal is to be querying the first book by November.

You’re throwing a fiction character party.  What fictional characters would you like to invite (name and where they are from (book/TV/Movie/etc.) and why?

I would LOVE to hang out with Christopher Snow and friends from Dean Koontz’s, Fear Nothing. I wouldn’t want to invite them to a party though, I’d want to run with them in Moonlight Bay, the town where the story is based, and go on an epic adventure.

Christopher is, hands down, my favorite character. Ever. He has XP (xeroderma pigmentosum) a disease where a person’s DNA does not repair itself after being damaged. Because of his affliction he only goes out at night, thus protecting himself from the harmful rays of the sun. He also lives near this “abandoned” old military base–only it isn’t completely abandoned–and he and his friends have all these fantastic adventures there. Christopher is also a surfer and he and his girlfriend surf at night.

This sounds like the best time ever.

Feel free to add any of these this/that questions to the end of the interview:

Coke/Pepsi – I don’t drink soda, except occasionally. I like coffee, tea, water, wine and beer.

Cat/Dog – Ugh! None please! I’ve taken care of a dozen dogs over my life, not one of which was mine!

Vampires/Zombies – Vampires from TrueBlood are awesome!

Marvel/DC – Marvel

Thor/Loki – Thor kicks booty. I normally like the villains, but Loki annoys me. My favorite scene of Loki’s is during Avengers when Hulk smashes him into the floor. Loki’s potential realized!

Hero/Villain – I always seem to identify with the villain…except in the Thor/Loki debate.

Car/Plane – Depends on my mood. Sometimes a road trip sounds like just the ticket, other times I just want to get to my destination.

London/Paris – Yes, please! England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Greece, France

Ice cream/Chips – Occasionally. When that’s what you want there is nothing else that will satisfy the urge, but if I’m going to indulge, usually it’s in dark chocolate and/or beer.

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Author interview with Kathryn Starke

Help me welcome children’s book author and now debut novelist Kathryn Starke to Saturday Coffee with Authors! I’m so pleased Kathryn stopped by to tell us about breaking out of the her genre.

Tell us about yourself. 

I am an elementary school literacy specialist, author, and the founder/CEO of Creative Minds Publications, a global educational company.
When did you start writing and what made you start?

I started writing and published my first children’s book, Amy’s Travels in 2005. I wrote this book to teach the seven continents to my students and provide an engaging, educational book for teachers around the world.
Tell us a little bit about your latest books.

My latest book, Because of You, releases November 14th. I am excited to write for an adult audience with my first women’s fiction novel.  This “chick lit” title is definitely the type of book ladies want to read in book club or on the beach.
Where did you come up with this idea?

It actually started as a dream.

Did you learn anything about yourself or your writing while working on this book?

I learned that I love writing for individuals over the age of ten, and I definitely want to continue to do so.
Which one of your characters would be the best to meet in real life?

I want to meet and hang out with Lilly, the main character. I believe she would be a great friend of mine.
What are you reading right now?

I am reading Beth Harbison’s “Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger”
Besides the genre you write, what genres do you like to read?

I love reading children’s literature and biographies.
If you had to pick one trait that makes you a better writer, what would it be?

I would have to say my determination, which allows me to always finish a story I start and work hard to share it with readers around the world.
When you are not writing, what are you doing?

I am reading and always listening to music (often singing and dancing).
What is one of your favorite places to write?

my couch
What is one of your favorite places in the world?

Southern California
Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those?

Mark your calendars for November 14, 2013 for the Because of You debut!
What is your favorite quote?

“The most important thing you can give someone is a chance.”-Anonymous
What secrets would you share with aspiring authors?

Everyone has a story to tell; it’s just a matter of getting it into the right hands of your desired readers (and publishers/literary agents) along the way.
Name one author you’d love to meet and tell us why.

I’d love to meet Emily Giffin
You’re throwing a fiction character party.  What fictional characters would you like to invite (name and where they are from (book/TV/Movie/etc.) and why?

How fun! I’d invite Clarissa Alpert from the book Maneater, Carmen from the show Devious Maids, Dr. Zoe Hart from Hart of Dixie, and Tally Atwater from Up Close and Personal. All of these women are fun-loving, hard-working, and determined to land the job and man of their dreams, which they all deserve.
Now for some This or That:
Summer/Winter=summer
Beach/Mountains=beach
Convertible/SUV=convertible
London/Paris=London
Africa/Asia=Africa
Hot dog/Hamburger=Hamburger
Beer/Wine=Wine

Kathryn image

Kathryn Starke is a literacy specialist, author, and the founder/CEO of Creative Minds Publications. She was named one of the 50
great authors you should be reading in 2013 by The Authors Show. You can find more about her here:

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Author interview with Erin Albert

I’m so happy to welcome author Erin Albert to Saturday Coffee with Authors. Her debut novel comes out later this fall and it sounds really interesting. Plus, we both love Percy Jackson, so… there ya go!

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a bona fide dreamer at the core.  For my “job,” I am a fitness trainer for runners.  Before doing that, I worked as a recruiter in a staffing agency and as an eye doctor’s assistant.  I think I would have gotten a degree in nursing if I had my schooling to do over again.  My passion lies with running, acting, reading, and writing. 

When did you start writing and what made you start?

I wrote my first poem at the age of four. When my family freaked out over it, I realized the power of the written word.  I’ve been writing since then.  😉

Tell us a little bit about your latest books.

My debut novel, The Prophecy, comes out in November 2013.  It’s the story of a girl who is kidnapped by religious fanatics and proclaimed the fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy.  You can get a sneak peek of the characters and the world here.

Where did you come up with this idea?

I was literally watching a movie and the idea hit me out of nowhere.  I jotted down some notes, contacted my friends to see if the story sounded interesting, and started writing. 

Who did the cover art for your book?

No cover yet.  Eep!!

Who do find to be a huge inspiration for your writing? And why is that?

I am in awe of Rick Riordan, Richelle Mead, George R. R. Martin, and Cassandra Clare.  They build such vivid worlds and complex characters.  I’d consider myself a success if I turn out to be half that awesome.  😉

Which one of your characters would be the best to meet in real life?

I can’t tell you yet… LOL! 

What are you reading right now?

I am currently reading an ARC of Charmed Memories by Mary Waibel.

What is the one thing that seems to always get in the way of writing time?

Life!  LOL!  If I could just hole up in a cave, daydreaming and writing, that would be ideal.  But other responsibilities encroach…

Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those?

Oh yes, I am always working on something.  Right now, I am revising the sequel to The Prophecy (working title–The Outlanders).  I wrote the whole trilogy at once, but I made some changes to The Prophecy that now must be filtered down to the other two.  I’m also putting the finishing touches on a speculative fiction short story to enter into a contest.  And finally, I’m in the process of revising a futuristic thriller tentatively called Number 25598.  Like The Prophecy’s sequel, it’s already written, but I’m doing some major rewrites. 

You’re throwing a fiction character party.  What fictional characters would you like to invite (name and where they are from (book/TV/Movie/etc.) and why?

1) Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson and The Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus series.  He is HYSTERICAL.  He would bring life to the party. 

2) Adrian Ivashkov from the Vampires Academy series and Bloodlines series.  I adore him and would fangirl so hard over the opportunity to meet him.

3) Jem Carstairs and Will Herondale from the Infernal Devices series.  These boys live in the hearts of all my friends, so they would be a BIG hit at the party. 

4) Alcide from True Blood.  He’d be my own personal eye candy.  Seriously, he’s gorgeous.

5) I guess I should invite a girl, huh?  LOL!  No, I’d invite all my friends and fangirls, so there would be plenty of girls.  😉

Feel free to add any of these this/that questions to the end of the interview:

Coke/Pepsi – Coke for regular, Diet Pepsi for diet

Cat/Dog – Cat

Vampires/Zombies – Vampires

Marvel/DC – Marvel

Thor/Loki – Thor, the Chris Hemsworth variety, please

Hero/Villain – Either, depending on the character

Car/Plane – Car

London/Paris – Either!  Gosh, I’d happily go to either.  😉

Ice cream/Chips – Chips, specifically Doritos

TheProphecy_ErinAlbert_AuthorPhoto_Smaller

Erin Albert is an author and fitness trainer.  Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word.  She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”  In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing. 

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Interview with Debut Author C. Elle Kent

Welcome to the second week of Saturday Coffee with Authors! Grab your cuppa, sit back, and relax. If you have a muffin, bring that too! Today we welcome C. Elle Kent, whose debut novel will be released in late summer.

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Tell us about yourself.  When did you start writing and what made you start? 

Just yesterday I stumbled upon one of my very first stories. I was eleven. I’m sure it was a school writing assignment but I remember loving the writing process nonetheless.  (And, apparently, I was a horrible big sister because, in this story, I tell about how I left my baby sister in the bathtub alone when she was two. Hey, I was eleven. What did I know? Hmmm…perhaps I need to burn this evidence.)

My first memory of writing something for pleasure was in the sixth grade when I wrote a short play with my best friend at a sleepover. We decided on the characters, wrote the script, threw in a song, practiced until Letterman was over (when we knew my dad would be coming upstairs), turned my dad’s bedroom into the set, and performed the two-girl/five-character ditty for my dad, who gave his usual nod of encouragement and then told us to go to bed. I remember the story vividly. I’m sure I have that script somewhere in my hoarder’s attic. Hmmmm…..

My latest stint with writing came courtesy of NaNoWriMo in 2009. I was perusing the Internet one October night while feeling all mid-life crisis-ey and thinking about all those bucket list items I really should get started on. I stumbled upon National Novel Writer’s Month and signed up immediately. It took me a week to tell my husband (I was afraid he’d shake his head at yet another item I was adding to my already-chaotic life. His response? “It’s about time! I’ve been telling you that you need to write a book!” Whew. Disaster averted.) I’ve done NaNo every year since then and I find I look forward to it more and more. It’s the only time I feel truly justified locking myself in my room for days on end, making my kids bring me food and wait on me hand and foot. How many months ‘til November?

Tell us a little bit about your latest books. My debut novel is expected out in late August. I’m in the home stretch of the final edit (though I’ve been saying that for months now) and I am anxious to be done with this one, the product of the first NaNo back in 2009, so I can move on to the others I’ve written throughout the other NaNo’s. (My characters miss me I just know it.)

Where did you come up with this idea? I dreamed part of the first book one night, woke up at 3am, flipped open my computer, and started writing down my ideas. When NaNo started, I wrote the beginning chapters and the ending, then had to fill in the middle.

Who did the cover art for your book? Streetlight Graphics. Glendon is my hero.

Did you learn anything about yourself or your writing while working on this book? I have a hard time keeping my inner editor at bay during Nano. I’m an editor by trade, so it’s super difficult to write during NaNo without editing. I’m trying to get better at separating the two because it really slows me down! The good news is that my final edits, though uber laborious, should be fairly thorough, saving me the cost of a real editor.

I also struggle with over-thinking the story. I’m so Type-A and I just can’t help it. It has been, by far, the hardest habit I have ever had to break (and that includes giving up sugar). I’m trying to remind myself that over-thinking things will eventually start to hurt the story and I should just leave well enough alone. My beta readers probably aren’t going to wait forever.  Actually, I think they have already given up on me and are probably reading something else by now. *sigh*

Who do you find to be a huge inspiration for your writing? And why is that? Ahem…..YOU! (Jennings Wright) After hearing about all the things you had going on (business, homeschooling, non-profit, health issues, wedding, house on the market) and the number of books you managed to write and release at the same time, I really have no excuses for my ONE book taking so long. I have been so lucky and blessed to have you in my life, showing me the way and being the epitome of “No excuses. IT CAN BE DONE!” Drat. I was hoping for a legitimate out. (But thank you!)

Which one of your characters would be the best to meet in real life? Seth. He’s the guy everyone wants to know. He’s firm in his faith, completely non-judgmental, and gentle in his delivery of encouragement and accountability. I actually do already know “him.” I kind of modeled him after my kids’ youth pastor. But don’t tell him (the youth pastor) that!

What are you reading right now? Nothing. I am forcing myself to use any available reading time I *might* have otherwise had for finishing my book. Oh, wait!! I am beta reading a friend’s novel. Aaaaaaand I just realized it’s due soon. Pause! Pause the interview!

Besides the genre you write, what genres do you like to read? Mystery. I really should have been a detective in real life. I love a good crime. Clue was my favorite game growing up. I wish my parents had noticed this about me and told me detectives were real.

What is the most embarrassing mistake you’ve made as a writer? Grammar. I hate hitting the “post” button on my FB page as I post teasers and such and then realize I – the writer, editor, grammar-geek – made a mistake. Delete! Delete! Two likes already? Dang it!

If you had to pick one trait that makes you a better writer, what would it be? I think I can be fairly witty. I also have radically witty friends (they were witty long before I ever was) and I use actual conversations in my books. They tell me I’m funny. Hmmm…I hope that’s not a conspiracy.

What is the one thing that seems to always get in the way of writing time? Ugh…I have to pick one? Seriously. Everything gets in the way. Homeschooling. Business-running. Leading my daughter’s American Heritage Girls Troop. Teaching Yoga. Sleeping. I am so bad at setting a writing schedule and sticking to it. If I had to narrow it down, I would say it’s my ability to allow myself the time to sit down and write. I have a hard time justifying sitting still for that long when my bed is covered in laundry.

When you are not writing, what are you doing? Did you not read the answer to the above question? See above question.

What is one of your favorite places to write? The beach. I have a friend with a condo there that overlooks the water and I try to go a few times a year. I do my best writing when I can go clear my head oceanside and get into a zone.

What is one of your favorite places in the world?  Hawaii. We took a family trip there in 2005 and did a lesser-known (read difficult) hike to the top of a ridge where we had the most breathtaking 360 degree view. With the ocean on one side, mountains on another, and gorgeous valley below, I could have sat there and marveled at that view forever (okay, fine. Also because I didn’t want to hike back down.) Seriously. When I die, scatter my ashes there. Yosemite National Park is a close second.

What is one thing about you most people find interesting (or unusual etc.)? I have a fairly serious heart condition and have had a pacemaker since I was 21. I was looking like a criminal at airport security long before all the hype over the TSA pat-downs.

Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those? Once my debut novel is released, I’m diving right into editing book two (NaNo 2010.) I’m trying to get that done by November so I can attempt my first series, which I hope to tackle for this year’s NaNo. (This may require an entire week at the beach. Or two. Or four.)

What is your favorite quote? “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.”  – Erma Bombeck

What secrets would you share with aspiring authors? You don’t need a big-time publishing company to fulfill your dream of being an accomplished writer. Write because it’s what you love to do, and if you make money from it, consider it a bonus.

Name one author you’d love to meet and tell us why. Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. They knew what they were talking about, and they weren’t afraid to share it with the world. OR Corrie Ten Boom. To sit with this woman and hear her stories first-hand would be amazing. The Hiding Place is my favorite novel…ever.

You’re throwing a fiction character party.  What fictional characters would you like to invite (name and where they are from (book/TV/Movie/etc.) and why? This is such a hard question to answer because I read so little fiction. (Yes, I know, it’s what I write so it’s what I should be reading.) I would have to with Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. I’ve loved his story of repentance and redemption ever since high school. He may be fictional, but we should all take note and be inspired.

How about a little “this or that?”

Hot/Cold                               Cold

Summer/Winter                  Summer

Coke/Pepsi                           Neither! Soda bad

Cat/Dog                                Dog

Water skiing/snow skiing         Water sliding 😉                 

Beach/Mountains                Mountains

Romance/Action                  Action-filled romance?

Convertible/SUV                 Convertible

Flip Flops/Dress shoes         Flip flops

Historical/Futuristic            Historical

Hero/Villain                          Hero

Car/Plane                             Plane

London/Paris                        Paris                                              

Mexico/Canada                    Canada

Ice cream/Chips                   Chips

Hot dog/Hamburger            Zweigle’s white hots!

Beer/Wine                             Wine

Skittles/Hershey Bar            Hershey Bar

BIO:

C. Elle Kent has always had a deep love for writing stories. She is thrilled to release her first novel, Finding Grace, this fall and has two more novels waiting in the wings. A singer before she could talk, she can be found on any given Sunday singing on stage at her church. C. Elle lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children, whom she homeschools.

Want to find out more about Finding Grace and C. Elle Kent? Here’s where to find her!

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