Interview with Sue Tingey, Author of the Soulseer Chronicles

After having reviewed the Soulseer Chronicles trilogy (if you missed them, the links for the reviews are Marked https://wp.me/p1UhOl-1Tt , Cursed https://wp.me/p1UhOl-1TB , and Bound https://wp.me/p1UhOl-1TE), I thought it would be great to finish things off with an interview. Luckily for us, Sue had a day free and came over.

Before we start, let’s just have a reminder of those great covers:

Okay, now here’s the interview:

Hello Sue, and welcome to chez-moi. It’s great to have you here.

Thank you Carlie, it was lovely of you to invite me.

Now you’ve got a coffee, shall we make a start?

Fire away!

This first question is one that I know always interests readers. Where did the idea for the Soulseer Chronicles come from?

This is, I’m afraid, a rather long story! I have always been interested in the supernatural, messages from beyond the grave, ghostly experiences and psychic phenomena, but I’d never attempted to write a ghost story. That was until one morning I saw a piece on breakfast TV about a chap who exposed fake psychics. This gave me the first germ of an idea of perhaps writing something about a woman who was not only a ghost hunter but also exposed fraudsters trying to con the bereaved out of money.

And this was what the novel that eventually became Marked was supposed to be about; a couple of psychic investigators. The main protagonist Lucky de Salle was to be a true psychic who really could see the dead. Of course her gift, or some might say curse, has left her alone and considered a weird freak by her peers with her only real friend being a ghost – until she meets Jamie; a fellow damaged soul. He too can see the dead following a tragic and terrifying event when he lost the young woman he loved. From this point the story was to be about Lucky helping Jamie to come to terms with his own psychic abilities and their adventures as they tracked down and exposed frauds and investigated supernatural occurrences.

That was the novel I was supposed to write, but I had barely managed to get the first thousand or so words typed out when I had a seriously scary nightmare, and when I say scary I mean screaming in my sleep and waking my husband up scary.

In my dream it was dark and I was walking towards the narrow passageway that led to the front of the house where I had lived as a child. Out of the shadows a man dressed like an eighteenth century fop appeared and came walking towards me. He didn’t actually say or do anything that was in the least bit frightening, he didn’t have to, he exuded menace and I just knew if he got close enough he was going to do something terrible to me. Then he smiled showing incredibly white, pointed teeth. In my dream I tried to turn and run, but as is often the way in nightmares I couldn’t move and I think that was probably when the screaming that woke my poor husband started. The next day I wrote probably one of the most important scenes in the book using the man from my nightmare and the character of Henri le Dent, assassin to the daemon court of Lord Baltheza, was born and suddenly my ghost hunter story had become something entirely different.

At first I wasn’t at all sure where it was going, but then as the words poured out it went in a direction neither I nor my poor heroine were expecting. Suddenly Lucky’s world was turned upside down, everyone was lying to her; including Jamie and her best friend Kayla, and everyone wanted something from her, but she had no idea what.

Poor Lucky; she wasn’t having much fun. But guess what? I was having a thoroughly brilliant time. I was getting to create a whole new daemon world, with Guardians, Deathbringers and drakons; a world with two suns and two moons; with scarlet trees and rust coloured grass and home to a violent and cruel court ruled by an equally cruel tyrant.

Yep, I was having a great time and I guess you could say that my nightmare changed my life. If I hadn’t dreamed of a an eighteenth century dandy straight out of A Tale of Two Cities I would never have created the character Henri le Dent, Lucky de Salle would never have visited the Underlands, I wouldn’t have written the novel that became Marked and I would probably still be struggling to get published.

What a great story. It just goes to show that we can get inspiration from so many different things. And I know what you mean about a story idea dramatically changing – it happened to me when I wrote Heart Search: Lost.

Next one. Do you have a favourite character from the trilogy? If so, who is it and why?

That is a difficult one. I love all my characters. My favourites are Pyrites, the drakon, and Kerfuffle and Shenanigans and obviously Lucky herself, but I guess Jamie and Jinx are the ones I adore and if you really pushed me I’d have to say Jinx. I guess because although he is the bringer of death and destruction he’s probably the most vulnerable. He’s funny and witty, but it’s a cover to mask how deep he really is and how doing his job causes him immeasurable heartbreak.

I love Jinx too, especially when he’s being a bit naughty! And I’d love a drakon like Pyrites.

How did you get your book deal with Jo Fletcher Publishing?

I guess if you ask an aspiring author who has been persevering for some time what one of the best feelings in the world is, they would probably say getting any interest at all in one of their works. So when on 31st January 2014 I received an email headed up ‘Submission’ from Jo Fletcher Books, I hardened my heart for a ‘thanks, but no thanks’, and thought well, at least they replied.

It started off in the usual way ‘thanks for your submission. Sorry it’s taken so long’ and I thought here we go. Then to my complete and utter surprise, they asked to see the rest of the book. There was much punching of the air and later that evening the popping of corks. I had jumped the first hurdle – and I am a firm believer in celebrating life’s small victories.

Of course I was excited, but I tried not to get too much so. I had got this far and this was good, but I didn’t want to build up my hopes only to have them dashed. So when an email arrived about three weeks later headed up with my novel’s previous title I was ready for rejection. What I didn’t expect was to be asked if I’d like to come up to meet with the Jo Fletcher of Jo Fletcher Books and editor, Nicola Budd.

I got very excited then – publishers are busy people – they don’t ask you to meetings if they’re not at all interested. So I phoned up, made the appointment and popped another bottle of fizz. Then I got an email from Nicola saying ‘by the way if you can bring any material you might have for the rest of the trilogy or series we’d love to see it’. Trilogy? Series? Gulp!

What followed was ten days of frenzied activity where I wrote the first 8000 words of the second book and a mini synopsis of where I saw books two and three going. The period of ten days that I thought was going to be an unbearable wait now seemed far too short.

So on 3rd April 2014 I travelled up to London a complete bundle of nerves. I was met upstairs by Nicola and it didn’t take long for us to be chatting away about everything but the book. Then Jo arrived and we got down to business. Jo and Nicola had five pages of notes. It started with a paragraph telling me what they liked about my novel. Then four and a half pages of things that they didn’t exactly not like, but felt needed changing.

‘Okay,’ I said and at that point thought they’d say, ‘well, off you trot. Come back when you’ve made the changes and we’ll see what we can do.’ What Jo actually said was, ‘I’d like to offer you a three book deal’.

Oh blimey! A three book deal!!!! I think my mouth must have dropped right open and I’m actually surprised I didn’t fall off the chair.

What a wonderful surprise for you. Something like that is what every writer dreams of!

What are the chances of you writing another book in the Soulseer Chronicles, especially bearing in mind the news imparted in the last chapter of Bound?

As much as I’d like to write another chapter in Lucky’s story I think it’s very unlikely that even if I did it would get published. Being a debut author today is difficult. If no one knows the book is out it won’t get sales and if the people who do read it and like it don’t post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads it won’t get sales. Sadly, although Marked made back it’s advance so far the rest of the series haven’t. I did get good reviews for Marked including a starred review on the Booklist in the States. However, I haven’t given up all hope. Last time I saw Jo she said that you can never tell what will happen – a book can be a really slow burner and then suddenly start selling terribly well, so fingers crossed! Perhaps you’ll get me some new readers!

Actually, I think I already have judging by a couple of comments I’ve received. I really hope you will get some new readers as a result of my reviews. As you said — fingers crossed!

What sort of reaction have you had from other writers since Marked was first published?

Writers on the whole are a friendly lot and most want other authors to succeed; it’s not a competition. I’ve made some good author friends at the conferences. The JFB authors are lovely and very supportive. It’s a bit like one big happy family when we all get together.

I’ve found other authors to be really friendly and supportive too, especially at FantasyCon. That’s one of the reasons I love going there – I meet up with friends that I don’t see between conferences and make new ones too. There’s always someone who’s prepared to offer useful advice too.

So, carrying on, what’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you since Marked was published?

It must have been my launch party. Quercus had just merged with Hachette and my party was on the roof terrace overlooking the Thames. They used the location in the TV series based on JK Rowling’s Robert Galbraith books in one episode which featured – a book launch party!

That’s an unusual place for a launch party. It must have been amazing!

Yes, it was. Totally unforgettable!

I love the artwork on the three book covers. Did you have any input into the designs?

Not really. I was asked whether I liked them and when I made a comment on the colours used on the cover of Bound they did change it. To be honest I don’t think authors have much of a say, unless they’re a really big name, and to be fair publishers do know what works and what doesn’t. I guess if I had hated one we would have had a “discussion” – fortunately I was very pleased with them all.

That’s good. Now, I was told by one of my author friends that when he first got published, he lost some personal friends, which he found devastating as he never found out why (although he made a couple of guesses). Did anything like that happen to you?

That’s awful to hear. No, it didn’t. I know sometimes people can’t bear someone else to have success, but my friends were all thrilled for me. The way I see it, if a friend isn’t pleased by another friend’s success they’re not really a true friend.

I totally agree with you there.

So, let’s move on to a happier subject.  We first met at FantasyCon four or five-years ago. I know what it means to me, but what’s so special about FantasyCon for you?

I love FantasyCon. I went to my first one just for a day in 2011. I’d never been to a conference before, but at a seminar on writing I’d attended I met the lovely Stephen Jones and he said that authors really needed to network. I took him at his word. Believe it or not I am quite shy so in 2012 I volunteered to help out at FantasyCon – my reasoning being that talking to people would be a necessity, and found myself meeting up with Stephen again. I also met Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane as well as Allan Davis and Di Lewis. The following year Di and I manned Newbie Corner at World Fantasy Con in Brighton and that was lovely. I met loads of people. That was also where I had my first conversation with Jo Fletcher. I had already sent her my submission of Marked, but didn’t mention it as I didn’t think it was the time or the place. Little did I know that this first conversation would be one of many!

I never dreamed you were shy — you don’t come across that way. It just goes to show how one can overcome obstacles like that. It takes guts to do what you did. You should be proud of yourself!

I think sometimes you have to push yourself to go outside your comfort zone if you really want to ever succeed.

Yes, you’re right there. It’s something I need to do more of. Anyway, moving on…

I’ve found that the vast majority of fantasy authors prefer to read the same genre — is that also true of you? If so, do you remember which book or series got you hooked on fantasy?

I actually read lots of different genres. Lee Child, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwall, Jonathan Kellerman, which are all mystery, crime or thrillers. I love JK Rowling’s Robert Galbraith novels. In fantasy my favourites are Stephen King and the late great James Herbert, who I got to meet, which was a thrill, he was such a charming man. I am currently reading Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, which is a great novel. The books that got me hooked on fantasy were the Narnian novels by CS Lewis and actually got me reading.

I must admit I haven’t read all the Narnia books yet, although I keep promising myself that I will, but my TBR (to be read) pile is so big already, I honestly don’t know when I would have time to fit them in.

Apart from me [chuckles], do you have a favourite author or was there one who inspired you to write?

When I met James Herbert I told him, “You are the gentleman who made me want to write horror”. I have a book signed by him wishing me luck in my writing. I bet you weren’t expecting to find out I’m a horror fan/writer.

Nope, definitely not!

So, what are you working on now, Sue? Can you give the readers a bit more than a vague hint?

I have two novels with my agent. Both are totally different from my first series. One is the first of a sword and sorcery series. The second is a supernatural, ghost/psychological novel. I won’t say horror, but it is very dark.

Ooo, both sound like something I’d want on my bookcase. You’ll have to let me know when they’re published, Sue.

I certainly will!

Now, there’s a huge amount of discussion between writers on the pros and cons of self-publishing. Is this something you would consider doing? If so, why? If not, why not?

This is a difficult one. Having been published by a publishing house I would say I have learned a lot I wouldn’t have otherwise and I would still be making really obvious rookie mistakes that no one ever tells you about until you’re edited. If you can’t get a publisher interested in your novel, but are getting positive feedback, and are convinced the only way to go is to self publish then – pay for a professional editor who knows what they’re doing. If you’re self publishing properly it is expensive and there is no way around that unless you know someone who is a professional editor and will do it for free or on the cheap and the same goes for the artwork for your cover. If you really want people to read your work you have to market it. This is very time consuming. I for one haven’t the time. I want to write I don’t want to have to be a salesperson and I know nothing about marketing.

That’s great advice, Sue, and something I always tell new authors who are looking to self-publish. I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to be a salesperson and marketer — it takes so much time out of your day and if you do it properly, there’s little to no time to write. Unless you can afford to pay someone to do the marketing for you, or you have a bunch of friends who will post about your books regularly on social media, you’re basically stuffed! You could split your day between the two, but then you’re only doing half a job on both. Or you ignore the marketing and stick to writing or vice versa. Personally, I’d rather write, but at the same time I want to keep in touch with my followers and I do this by writing my blog.

Precisely my point! I think it’s lovely that you make time for your followers.

Thank you. My followers are very important to me.

So, do you have any rituals before starting to write?

No. I wrote my series while I was still working full-time and I had an hour and a half after my husband left for work and me having to get ready and during that time I wrote. I didn’t have time for rituals. The only thing I would do, and still do, is to read the previous day’s work to get me back into the swing.

I wrote my first book while I was working full-time too!

Right, we’ve spent quite some time getting to know Sue Tingey, the author. Let’s find out a little about Sue Tingey, the woman. I’ll start with an easy one. What gets you up and running in the mornings — tea or coffee?

Coffee – no doubt.

I can’t stand coffee – I’m definitely a tea person!

Do you have any pets? If so, what and how many?

I have twenty-one Koi carp and four Shubunkins. I would dearly love another German Shepherd dog or a cat, but the jury is out on that possibility for the moment. We are shortly moving back to my family home in Torquay (the Koi have already moved) and once we’re settled I guess we’ll make a decision about a dog or cat.

What do you think you’d prefer to get?

We would love another GSD (German Shepherd dog) and I keep watching out on the GSD Elite Rescue page. There are so many beautiful dogs looking for homes and I’d really like to take one off their hands.

I think it’s great that you’d go for a rescue dog. So would I, if I could persuade my other half!

Next one. Do you have any children? If so, what and how many?

No. I’d be a terrible mother.

I doubt that very much. You’re such a warm-hearted, gentle, and caring person — I think you’d make a great mum

Aww, thank you, Carlie.

Carrying on so you can get your blushing under control [laughs]. What is your favourite tipple?

White wine.

Ah! I know what to get you at FantasyCon now! [chuckles]

What’s your favourite colour?

Purple.

What a coincidence – that’s mine too!

What star sign are you?

Aries.

Ah, the same as my daughter, and the sister sign to mine!

So, where’s the best place you’ve been on holiday, and why?

Costa Rica. It is such a beautiful country with amazing wildlife. Sloths, hummingbirds, macaws. The Costa Ricans are also totally committed to the environment and are (I think) the first country to be totally energy self-sufficient.

Wow! I’d heard it was beautiful there, but I didn’t know about Costa Rica being self-sufficient energy-wise.

What car do you drive?

Ah! We are a family of petrol heads. My everyday car is a Smart, not that I drive that much now I’m not having to drive to work. My high days and holidays car is a Ford Focus RS in Ultimate Green. Our main car is my husband’s Ford Tourneo, which is a people carrier and with the seats out is great for our trips back and forth to Torquay carrying all our furniture and books; there are so many books! Then we come to our real baby, which is a blue series 3 E-Type Jaguar. Special provision is being made for the E-Type and Focus for when we move to Torquay.

A complete change of direction here. Do you believe in the ‘spirit world’?

I am slightly conflicted. My sensible head says no, but my heart and experience says yes. Psychic abilities run in my mother’s side of the family and I’ve seen and experienced too many weird things not to believe, but I am very cynical about so-called psychics and I think I’m pretty good at spotting frauds.

Okay. Just for fun, who is your favourite cartoon character and why?

Scooby Do if we’re talking about TV cartoons. If we’re talking about comic books, I used to love Superman and Supergirl.

I was actually talking about TV cartoons — sorry, I should have been clearer. So why is Scooby Do your favourite?

I suppose because it’s so ridiculously funny and it’s always the butler who’s done it! I didn’t like the films so much even though I adored Sarah Michelle Geller in Buffy. What works as silly but funny in a cartoon somehow just becomes silly when real actors are involved.

Finally, [thank goodness for that, says Sue] if you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have a superpower I would like the power of mischief making. You know – magically making something mischievous happen to people when they’re getting too serious. Like the shows when they set up jokes on people, but I could just click my fingers and make it happen.

I sensed there was a mischievous side to you and you’ve just confirmed it! [chuckles]

Anyway, thank you for an interesting and fun interview, Sue. You’ve been a fabulous guest.

Not at all, and thank you again for inviting me over for this chat.

You’re very welcome. Now what cake did you want with your coffee?

Chocolate muffin please!

You’re my kind of woman!! [laughs]

Here’s a photo of Sue and a short bio.

Sue Tingey is the author of the fantasy romance series The Soulseer Chronicles and lives with her husband in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

She spent twenty-eight years working for a major bank and, after taking voluntary redundancy in 2001, spent another fourteen or so years working as a practice manager for an arboricultural consultancy. She has now given up the day job to allegedly spend more time with her husband; he however has noticed that an awful lot more writing appears to be going on.

Sue admits that storytelling is her obsession and was thrilled when she was offered a three book deal by Jo Fletcher Books in 2014.

You can learn more about Sue on her website www.suetingey.co.uk or contact on Twitter @SueTingey

For the buy links of the books, just click on the name:

Marked

Cursed

Bound

I really hope you’ve enjoyed the reviews and particularly this interview with the fabulous Sue Tingey. If you have any comments or questions for her, please leave them below and she’ll answer them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Podcast

Back in the summer, I was asked if I would like to be interviewed for a Podcast for Blondie and the Brit. Through Facebook I’d already become friends with ‘Blondie’ aka KJ Waters – you might remember the posts on her book, Stealing Time – and we were working on my book cover together (along with Jody Smyers), so I was looking forward to chatting with her again. Also, I’d done one before so it didn’t faze me. The time was set for the recording and after a couple of minor technical hitches, it went ahead.

'Blondie' aka KJ Waters

‘Blondie’ aka KJ Waters

I have to say I had a brilliant time. It was lovely to get to know Suzanne Kelman, ‘the Brit’, and between the three of us there were plenty of laughs. We obviously did some serious stuff as well though. I can’t believe how many subjects we covered in ninety minutes: editing; jewellery making; book reviews; Of Ice & Air; my publishing group, Myrddin; the writing group I lead, Writebulb; inspiration; and, of course, writing.

'the Brit' aka Suzanne Kelman

‘the Brit’ aka Suzanne Kelman

Anyway, the great thing is that the interview went live yesterday. The timing could not have been more perfect with the launch of my new book today!

Here’s the MP3 link so you can listen to it:  <a href=”http://blondieandbrit.podbean.com/mf/play/8z67fg/Carliecullenfinal1118.mp3“>Download this episode (right click and save)</a>

I hope you enjoy it and if podcasts are your thing, check out Blondie and the Brit. They have some great ones already on their backlist and plenty of talented people still lined up.

Click to go directly there

Click to go directly there

 

BOOK TAKEOVER: Vera’s Song

Hi! Remy Injay here, indie book reporter! Firstly, I’d like to thank Carlie for letting me takeover her website today for an interview! Today we’re interviewing Ionan, a fire breathing, emerald green dragon who takes center stage in the second book in the Creatures of the Lands series, Vera’s Song! Vera’s Song comes out this Friday, June 10th. 

Vera's Song cover

Thanks for being here today, Ionan. Can you tell us a little about the book?

It’s different, this time around. In the first book my companions and I had to journey the realm in order to find a cure for a strange illness. Now my friend Kia’s son has been kidnapped, and we must go beyond all reason in order to get him back.

This book is about your first love, Vera, correct?

Yes, that is what our sequel pertains to.

And? Details?

I’m not inclined to give any, at the moment. (Lets out a puff of smoke).

Darn! Okay, then tell us about your adventures. What can readers expect this time?

What else? Danger. Excitement. True love gone wrong for multiple couples, and a despicable creature out to destroy the Lands. Usual, I expect.

You sound rather grumpy today.

You cannot possibly imagine.

But this is your book!

Yes, it is my story, though not a particularly pleasant one all the way through. People died, you know. There’s a fair bit of tragedy among the adventure. Not everyone gets their happy ending this time. Sacrifices had to be made for the greater good. The first book was lighter. Things are getting darker.

I see. And you’re not inspired to tell us anything except for what’s on the back?

I am a dragon. I do not meddle in the affairs of humans. 

Irritable reptile.

Did you expect anything different?

Okay, fine. In the first book, you participated in a great battle to save Kia’s forest. Is this book going to be similar to last time?

Things involved more people in Book 1, but now all of our battles are on a much more personal scale. There’s more to lose for all of us, if you can believe it. Our children are at stake, and the people who have them like to play mind games.  

Wait a second…if this is your story then why aren’t you on the cover?

Because dragons are expensive to make, you fool. I suppose none of you humans could catch me in all my scaled, green glory anyway.

Will you behave?

I do not know the meaning of the word.

You know we could call your rider, Keota, in here. He’ll put a stop to this.

That’s what I thought. Can you tell me a little about the book’s antagonist, Wyntier? From your honest opinion?

I could tell you I want to rip him limb from limb until he goes out of this world screaming.

Ionan!

Well, you asked me to be honest. I am a fearsome creature, as you well know, and I don’t take well to people who try to destroy everything I hold dear. I don’t suppose anyone does, really. I’m certainly not going to sit down for tea and crumpets with him…that’s what you humans eat here, tea and crumpets? I’m sure that must be what the phrase is…

Fine, fine. What’s the last thing you want to say to readers?

Expect the unexpected. Things aren’t always what they appear in the Lands, and this time, enemies are lurking everywhere…even from within our circle of friends.

That’s a wrap! Thanks again Ionan for showing up…

I really shouldn’t have.

And make sure you grab a copy of Vera’s Song, which can be found here at Amazon!

Author Interview: K J Waters

A couple of days ago, I revealed the book launch and an exclusive excerpt of Stealing Time by K J Waters. Click here if you missed it. I was so excited and intrigued by this book that I asked the author if she’d be kind enough to grant me an interview. She very kindly agreed so here it is:

kj pic

Welcome KJ. It’s great to have you here. Are you ready for a grilling?

Thank you so much Carlie, great to be here. Yes, let’s put the shrimp on the barbie! Wait… you meant the other kind of grilling. Yes, hit me with it!

CC: Your book Stealing Time deals with time travel. How long have you been interested in this subject and what was it that attracted you to it?

KJ: When I was a kid my step mother would read to us on long walks in the woods. We would sit down on a bed of leaves surrounded by the sounds of nature, the smell of pine, and the view of a canopy of tall trees and lose ourselves in the book. It set the tone for our mystical and beautiful adventures with C.S. Lewis, J. R. Tolkien, Richard Adams and more. One of books she read to us was A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle and it really sparked my imagination, and believe it or not starts with the famous Snoopy line, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

I soon discovered that the possibilities were endless with time travel. When I began writing, it was even more magical because you can go anywhere and change anything you want to suit your needs and tell an exciting story.

CC: I agree, the possibilities are endless with time travel – there are so many places you can take your characters to! I was particularly interested that you featured Hurricane Charley in the book. I was actually in Florida when it hit and lived through it myself. Did you experience this first hand? If so, how were you affected by it?

KJ: We have that in common, Carlie. I hope nothing too dastardly happened to you. Hurricane Charley was my welcome to Florida. I moved there and just like in Stealing Time, three days later Charley paid us a visit. Rude, don’t you think?

I’ve grown up on the East Coast and it seems where ever I’ve lived the hurricanes chose that location to wallop us. The prior year I was in Virginia Beach where Hurricane Isabelle devastated North Carolina and Southern Virginia coastline. I have been in over 15 hurricanes and tropical storms in my life, so it was an easy subject matter to convey the terror and helplessness you feel as the storm is raging around you, dropping trees and tornados as Mother Nature throws her tantrum.

I was lucky with Hurricane Charley, and for that matter, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne that same summer in Florida also hit, but didn’t sustain any real damage, mostly just a lot of clean up. The last hour of the last hurricane, Jeanne to be exact, a branch from a Loblolly pine dropped and pierced our Florida room roof. Other than that was just a messy clean up and the dreaded no power or cable service for a week or more after each storm. It was a hot summer anyway, but throw in no power and zero entertainment… well you were there so you know.

CC: I was actually quite lucky. I didn’t lose power or water. It sounds like you had a rough time there. Moving on though, one of your characters ends up in London – have you ever been to the UK or has all your information come from research?

KJ: I visited London with my best friend after I finished grad school. I have always been fascinated with English history and how people lived back before modern conveniences. The details and social issues I had to research, but I felt very natural writing in that place and time.

I’m definitely an Anglophile and loved visiting the castles and other historical buildings when I was there. We also visited Ireland and Scotland on that visit and I was equally enamoured with the land, the history, and the people.

CC: If you come back to the UK, we’ll have to meet up! Anyway, I’ve given away a few minor details about Stealing Time, but can you tell us more about it?

KJ: Stealing Time starts with Ronnie Andrews and her best friend Stephanie McKay watching news coverage about Hurricane Charley. Ronnie gets a call from her boyfriend to spend the night at his weather lab, he is monitoring the storm, and it’s her birthday. He shares a very special gift with her – a watch she found on her trip to London with Stephanie the month prior. The watch is a very important part of the story.

During the peak of the storm, Ronnie is thrown back in time to 1752 London, where she struggles to figure out what brought her there and how to return. She is a modern woman and the people around her start to notice differences in her speech and behaviour and accuse her of being a witch. Ronnie struggles to find her way out of the life and death struggle to return to Florida and save her neck from the witch trials that ensue.

Meanwhile, Steph heads back home and invites her hot friend Nick over so she is not alone when the hurricane hits. She and Nick are caught out in the middle of the storm a few times and quickly find everything is falling apart around them, and are faced with losing everything.

CC: I noticed it has Volume 1 on the cover. How many books do you plan to write in this series?

KJ: I started Stealing Time as one book, but as I got so detailed in the telling and found so many cool twists and turns I decided to turn it into a trilogy. I neatly ended Book 1 after the storm and will pick up Book 2 immediately after. The third book will be the final in this trilogy. If you ask my son, who is my helper on the ideas of the books, he has mapped out 3 more trilogies after this. I’ve no idea if I’ll want to move on to something different after the first three books or keep it up. We shall see.

CC: I’m so glad there’s another book in the works. Can you give us a few hints about what’s coming in the next book?

KJ: Book Two has been so much fun to write. I have Hurricane Francis approaching and if you were there, Carlie, you remember it was the size of Texas and a category 5 as it approached Florida.  In Book Two, many of the same characters, and several new and quite colourful ones emerge as heroes and villains. To give you a quick 30 second snapshot of book two I’ll provide a list of highlights.

Stealing more time, seduction, rape, deceit, mud slides, Hurricane seeding and steering, drowning, suicides, Puerto Rico, Wild West shootouts, Hurricane Jeanne, the black plague, London 1666, and past life theories coupled with string theory, fifth dimension and other religious, cultural and belief systems to explain the time travel method I’ve invented.

CC: That sounds fantastic and maybe a little darker than book one. Changing the subject, I understand you also design book covers. How long have you been doing this and how did it come about?

KJ: Great question. I designed the cover to Stealing Time with a professional photographer friend of mine, Jody Smyers. A year later, I had several author friends approach me wanting to know who did my cover and if they would help them with theirs. I’m an indie author and I know the importance of having professional cover that captures the mood of your book – as you know everyone does judge your book by the cover. I’ve seen too many indie authors either pay way too much for a good cover or struggle to create their own without the marketing and editing knowledge on how to pull it off.

I talked to Jody and asked if he’d be interested in going into the business of book cover design and he was game. We started in January 2014 and you can see some of our covers here:

book cover from calendar graphic

We offer the usual book cover services of design and we can use your photo, one you purchase or as a niche market that most don’t offer, we can create a custom photo shoot to capture the cover you want. You can see a mixture of these methods on the book covers we’ve done.

CC: What do you do when you’re not writing?

KJ: Well I’m a water lover so if it’s warm out I’m neck deep in some body of water, whether it’s my pool or preferably I’m on a trip somewhere awesome. This summer will be Cape Cod.

I spend a lot of time with my gorgeous children and help them with school, or develop fun learning things for us to do during summer with my Camp Waters, where I invite their friends over for learning, lunch, and swimming.

When it’s not warm out, I write about my love of water on my blog, Blondie in the Water (kjwatersauthor.blogspot.com) and you can see some of my water adventures here.

I love the gym and you can find me there 4 days a week, if I’m not too busy.

CC: What sort of books do you enjoy reading? Do you have an all-time favourite?

KJ: I like a lot of different genres, from Michael Criton’s science fiction to Dan Brown, but my all-time favourite is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. She is the main reason I decided to write a book. Her stories are so rich in history, character development, humour and time travel, that it inspired me to create a story of my own with more modern tilt.

CC: Let’s have a few fun ones to finish off with.

Gold or Silver?

KJ: Gold

CC: Cats or dogs?

KJ: Dogs, although I really like cats, too.

CC: Sandals or bare feet?

KJ: Bare feet, unless it’s cold. Then boots!

CC: Summer or winter?

KJ: Summer a million times over!

CC: Witches or vampires?

KJ: Witches.

CC: Hot or cold?

KJ: Hot! Hate being cold!

CC: Sweet or savoury?

KJ: I have a massive sweet tooth!

CC: And finally, pizza or chilli?

KJ: Pizza!

CC: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to come and talk to me today. I wish you every success with Stealing Time!

KJ: It has been a pleasure Carlie! Thank you so much for having me on your blog!!

CC: You’re very welcome.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did! KJ has kindly agreed to write a guest post on what inspires her so I’ll be posting that in a couple of days time. It’s another chance to learn more about her so make sure you keep checking the blog for the next post.

If you’re interested in buying Stealing Time, the buy links are on the launch post (see top of this page for the link to the post)