Author Interviews

Here you’ll find our author interviews after they have appeared on the blog.

Scheduled:

The June schedule will be up soon.

Author Interview Norman Oro

I’d like to thank Norman for sitting down with me for this interview.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m Filipino-American and came to the United States when I was three years old. I loved science fiction growing up and still do. I’m 42 years old now (where does the time go?) and worked for over 10 years in Corporate America doing accounting, finance, economics and business development. I went to UCLA as an undergraduate and studied business at MIT Sloan.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I’d been doing consulting work in finance when the bottom fell out of the job market. I’ve always wanted to write a book, so rather than waiting by the phone, I decided to spend that time pursuing a dream.

What inspired you to write The Legend of Team 9?

Difficult to say. It just kind of happened. As with my first two books, Away: Beginnings and Away: Keepers of the Alliance, The Legend of Team 9 felt almost like it wrote itself. It was as though the story came to me demanding that I write it. Of course, I couldn’t turn it down.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Not a message per se. The book does deal with loss. Specifically, it deals with losing something that underpins how a society functions. I wouldn’t say, though, that the reader needs to grasp that. Mostly I just hope people enjoy The Legend of Team 9 as a science fiction adventure story. However, if they can find deeper meanings within the story that make the book more enjoyable for them, I’m all for it.

Give us an insight into your main character. What do they do that is special?

The central characters are, of course, Team 9: Richard Redding, Ingrid Grace, Bobby Gentry and Jimmy Foyer. They’re a group of explorers. Among them, Richard is the main character. What they manage to do in the book is confront a threat to their society at considerable risk to themselves. In the process, they display an admirable degree of altruism and courage. Dr. Marshall is also important as a main character to provide continuity with my other two books. He’s a man of science, who’s troubled by his involvement in developing an incredibly destructive weapon. It’s not explicit, but during the course of the story, he exorcises some of those demons.

What are your current projects?

I’m taking a break from writing for now. I avoid watching sci-fi movies and often movies in general when I’m writing, so I’m going to the local cineplex quite a bit these days. I also plan on catching a ballgame at Citifield this season and am toying with writing an app (a hobby of mine). As before, I’m seeking consulting work in finance, which I still enjoy. In the meantime, if a book idea seizes me, I’ll probably write another story.

Why do you write?

Because there are science fiction stories out there that I’ve always wanted to read, but for whatever reason they haven’t been written yet.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Proofing. To be honest, it can be arduous and tedious, but it’s very important to me that my work shows polish. Being a self-published author makes this especially important.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Ironically, the story itself comes pretty easily, at least for my first three books. In very general terms, they’re almost fully formed by the time I start. I don’t know if that’ll always be the case, but that’s been my experience so far.

Do you ever experience writers block?

Sometimes. Sometimes it seems there are too many ways a story can go and I don’t know which one will yield the best arc.

What is your favorite go to recipe?

I don’t really cook these days, so if I had to bring something to a party, I’d probably go out to the supermarket and get a pie, either apple or pumpkin. Those are some of my favorites. Not particularly exotic, but appealing to most everyone. If the people at the party liked Filipino food, I’d call a catering place and order some adobo. It’s a Filipino dish usually made with pork or chicken in a broth of garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. I haven’t eaten adobo in ages, but it’s another favorite of mine.

I want to thank Norman again for taking the time to sit down and answer these questions for us. To learn more about Norman and his books, Click HERE.

Author Interview Steven Schindler

I’d like to thank Steven for sitting down with me for this interview.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Born and raised in the Bronx, Steven Schindler is an award-winning novelist and television writer/producer. After graduating from Hunter College with a degree in Film and Theatre, Schindler soon found himself acting in some of New York’s off-off Broadway productions. Bartering a deal at a prominent acting school to videotape classes in exchange for acting lessons, he discovered he enjoyed life more from behind the camera than in front of it. Enrolling in a video documentary class was the first step in a career that has spanned more than twenty years in television as a writer, producer and director in news, sports, reality, documentary, entertainment and magazine programming. Awards include four Chicago Emmy Awards and Best Fiction at the DIY/Indie Book Awards for From the Block. His first two novels, Sewer Balls and From the Block, were artfully gritty portrayals of the neighborhood characters who hung out on the stoops, playgrounds, rooftops and barstools during the crazy days of the Bronx in the sixties and seventies. From Here To Reality (Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books) received praise from the NY Post, Jay Leno, and Roger L. Simon (The Big Fix, Down and Out in Beverly Hills)

            On the Bluffs is a thrilling love story wrapped in a dysfunctional family mystery that begins in Washington, D.C. and winds up in a rundown mansion on the bluffs of Cape Cod.        The Last Sewer Ball is Schindler’s fifth novel.

            He is married and currently lives in Los Angeles.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Having lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles as a television professional, whenever I started telling people stories about growing up in the Bronx, they would say “You should write a book.” So I did.

What inspired you to write The Last Sewer Ball?

Most authors, whether great or not so great, usually begin with a semi-autobiographical novel. After writing my first novel, “Sewer Balls” in 1998 I tried to become more expansive in my work. With each subsequent novel (From the Block, From Here to Reality, and On the Bluffs) I got farther away from the neighborhood and began to develop new characters, plots, situations, and themes. With my return to the neighborhood in The Last Sewer Ball, I hope to revisit some of those early memories with a different perspective and utilizing all the skills I have developed over the course of writing four more novels. And hopefully enrich my work with more life experience.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I’d like readers to think back to a time when friends and family were shaping us in ways that we didn’t even realize were happening, so we can perhaps appreciate and forgive others and ourselves for what transpired in our lives. And know that even in the worst of times, there were valuable lessons that were learned.

Give us an insight into your main character. What do they do that is special?

Being in middle-age, I often wonder what happened to special people in my life. Some are dead, living or maybe half dead, but what if we had the courage to confront our worst fears and actually venture out to find the missing clues to how others traveled on their journeys and how we got to where we are. In a time when superficial connections are the norm with facebook etc. person to person contact is becoming more rare. These characters have the courage to confront those demons from long ago.

What are your current projects?

I work full time in television marketing for a major network. I’m also trying to market “The Last Sewer Ball” and develop several new ideas for a non-fiction work.

Why do you write?

To quote Bob Dylan in a song, “I’ve got a head full of ideas that are drivin’ me insane.”

What is the hardest thing about writing?

I keep a post-it above my computer screen which reads “The first rule of writing is to put the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair.”

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Stopping.

Do you ever experience writers block?

Yes. It’s not fun.

What is your favorite go to recipe?

Stevie’s Seafood Pasta with Marina Sauce. Click HERE to view recipe.

I want to thank Steven again for taking the time to sit down and answer these questions for us. Look for the review of The Last Sewer Ball in the coming weeks. To learn more about Steven and his books Click HERE.

 

Interview with Haggai Carmon

I’d like to thank Haggai for sitting down with me for this interview.

What inspired your writing?

My intelligence thrillers were inspired by my Israeli professional background, as well as by my twenty years of service for the United States Government. During those years, I had a publicly known “daytime” activity as well as a covert “nighttime” activity. Since 1985, I have been representing the United States government in its Israeli civil ligation appearing in Israeli courts in lawsuits to which the U.S was a party. However, away from the public eye, I was also engaged by the U.S government to perform intelligence gathering that required sensitive undercover work in more than thirty countries. Obviously, in my years working for the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies, I could not share the hair-raising aspects of my work with anyone but my supervisors, and some adventures not even with them. Sadly, many of these events, which are sometimes more fascinating and breathtaking than the best fiction I have ever read, will never see the light of day. The story of Dan Gordon and his battle against the invisible FOE – forces of evil—is my idea of the next-best thing.

I understand that writing is just a hobby.

True. My globetrotting legal practice has left little time for hobbies. However, one night in a small hotel in a faraway country, I finally had the time to fulfill my urge to write. I was on U.S government assignment collecting intelligence on a particularly vile and violent organization. Earlier that evening, I’d received a phone call from the local INTERPOL contact. “You’ve been exposed. I suggest you stay in your hotel. We’ll arrange for your safe departure tomorrow morning.” Is it any wonder I couldn’t sleep that night, between jet lag and the rage that came from being unarmed and unable to leave the hotel without my hosts’ protection? I poured it all into the writing, and the result was Triple Identity.

Any subsequent thrillers?

Yes. Triple Identity book turned out not to be a fluke; I wrote four sequels because I realized I still had adventures to recount, including about events surrounding that same long and sleepless night.

You describe pretty scary encounters. What’s real and what’s fiction?

Readers have asked me the same question, whether the events recounted in my thrillers really happened. One newspaper reviewer even accused me of writing “too authentic” a novel, while another reviewer praised me for it. How can you argue with that? My next thrillers may meet a similar reaction. As to how much of them are “true,” I leave it to my readers to decide. All my thrillers were inspired by my work for the U.S. government, but they are a work of fiction rather than autobiography. During my twenty years of undercover work for the U.S Department of Justice and other federal agencies, I have experienced adventure, fear, and most of the time, a great sense of achievement. That explains why sometimes, waking up in countless hotels in more than thirty countries, I had trouble remembering where I was. Walking in the long corridors of foreign airports, it was hard to remember whether I was arriving or departing.

Any additional thrillers in the pipeline?

Sure. More thrillers in the series are to follow. In my professional life, I have had enough adventures, frequently dangerous, to fill at least ten books, and those are just the ones I can talk about.

I want to thank Haggai again for taking the time to sit down and answer these questions for us. Look for the review of Defection Games in the coming weeks. To learn more about Haggai and his books Click HERE.

About the author:
Haggai Carmon is an Israeli-born international attorney sharing his time and practice between the United States, Israel and the rest of the world. Since 1985, he has represented the U.S. Department of Justice in its Israeli litigation. Several other federal agencies have also assigned him with worldwide responsibility for undercover intelligence gathering outside the United States. He has performed this sensitive investigative work in more than thirty foreign countries. The undercover work of Haggai Carmon inspired his thrillers. They describe CIA/MOSSAD cooperation where the protagonist Dan Gordon, a Mossad veteran now working for the U.S Department of Justice in foreign intelligence gathering, discovers that the seemingly routine cases he is handling are espionage or terrorist related.

Author Interview with Laura A. H. Elliott

I’d like to thank Laura for sitting down with me for this interview.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in a tree house on the central California coast most of the time. When I’m not there I can be found in Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, San Francisco or Los Angeles. I love meeting readers and other authors at book festivals. The most unusual job I ever had was painting sets in Hollywood. The best day at work was when I got to interview Quentin Tarantino. The biggest surprise I ever had nearly killed me. I have two extra bones in my feet so I’m a mutant.

What inspired you to write your first book, Winnemucca?

I wanted to write a book about a girl that awakens to her own intuition. We rarely pay attention to our own intuition. I think women are more intuitive than men and the idea of exploring this uniquely female quality really intrigues me. That, and I love the idea of writing a book about an enchanted road trip. I guess The Yellow Brick Road inspired part of the trip as much as anything because Ginny begins by taking a walk, a very long walk. I love writing about walking probably due to my mutant feet. J And I love the idea of picking a place like Winnemucca, NV to be the Emerald City of the novel because it’s anything but lavish and is an uncelebrated, hard luck town but is rich with the history as a crossroads to The West. Winnemucca [pronounced Win-A-Muk-A] is pretty cool when you say it too. Everytime I meet someone who has been through Winnemucca, they tell the best stories about their experiences there. Click here to read a few from the Santa Rosa Book Festival.

What inspired you to write Shadow Slayer, book 2 of The Shadow Series, your latest release?

Shadow Slayer explores our duality. Why we become who we are. I wanted to pit ourselves against our alter egos in an epic battle between humans and shadows. The enemy of our world are the shadows, the people we’ve chosen not to be. In Shadow Slayer, there’s a war brewing between the world of the shadows and the world of humans. The premise is that in our thirteenth year we decide who we will be as an adult. I love exploring the consequences of our choices through parallel worlds. Another parallel world book that I’ve written is Transfer Student, an intergalactic tale of beauty and the geek.

The books in the series follow Roxy O’Grady as she grows up. In book one she turns 13 on her Halloween birthday. She turns 14 in book 2, 15 in book 3, and 16 in the final book. These ages have a soft spot in my heart. If you look at the school pictures of a tween/teen from 12-16 so much physically changes, but these changes don’t begin to reflect the huge transformation that happens from within. In book 1, on her 13th birthday on Halloween, Roxie wants to be popular and fit in more than anything. So she invites all the popular kids to her birthday party. They all come and give her a birthday gift that’s literally out of this world. In Shadow Slayer, on her 14th birthday, Roxie is enchanted by and must master her powers as The Shadow Slayer, the one human who will be entrusted to protect the world from the shadow onslaught for the next five hundred years.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t like to write to messages. I write to entertain. Most of my books have an underlying theme of finding empowerment in difficult circumstances. I also explore what it means to trust.

Give us an insight into your main character. What do they do that is special?

There’s a war brewing between the world of shadows and the world of humans. Roxanne O’Grady must save the world from the shadows that want nothing more then to overthrow it so that they can become human themselves. She must master wielding the Slayer’s sword in order to slay the shadows that cross into the human world. But, she can’t even kill a spider. She also needs to trust her gut not her eyes when she tries to solve the mystery of how to keep the peace between worlds. Kind of a lot for a fourteen year old, especially when she’s auditioning for the school play and has a crush on the perfect 10 guy at school, someone she and her best friend Ally were convinced never existed. Boy, were they wrong.

What are your current projects?

Right now I am editing my first adult paranormal romance called The Storytellers, which will release 7/2. It’s a story about four women writers whose stories all come true for each other. I’m also writing Moon Killers, book 3 of The Shadow Series & Last Life, book 4 of The Shadow Series this Fall, right around Halloween J

Have you won any awards or contests?

Um, yes. Winnemucca won best book trailer of the month from booksinsync.com. Click here to see the trailer for Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale.

Why do you write?

I have to write. I write for lots of reasons. I began writing because I had a very big problem I couldn’t solve just by talking to friends. Once I began to journal about it, my path became clear. It’s interesting. Very often my personal journal is sort of like a prayer. I say what I’m grateful for, I ask for help with what I need to accomplish. My public writing is just pure fun. Characters come to call, they start speaking to me and I write to get to know them better J

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Trusting my instincts.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Having fun with it.

Do you ever experience writers block?

Only when something is wrong in my real life…a sickness or crisis. I usually always write to get through it, but the writing comes very slowly.

What is your favorite go to recipe?

Everyone who knows me knows my writing is fueled by popcorn. I LURVE it! And live on it.

Click HERE to see Laura’s popcorn recipe

I want to thank Laura again for taking the time to sit down and answer these questions for us. To learn more about Laura and here books Click HERE.

Author Interview ~ Heather McCorkle

I’d like to thank Heather for sitting down with me for this interview.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am an author of fantasy, in all its many sub-genres. Living green, saving endangered species, helping other writers, and supporting fabulous authors are a few of my passions. I am also a volunteer for the IS Foundation which works to make the world a greener place. When I’m not volunteering, writing, or surfing my social networking sites, I can be found on the slopes, the hiking trails, or on horseback. As a native Oregonian, I enjoy the outdoors almost as much as the worlds I create on the pages. No need to travel to the Great Northwest though, you can find me here, on my blog, and Monday night’s on Twitter where I co-moderate the #WritersRoad chat. 

What inspired you to write your first book?

A show on the melting polar icecaps.

What inspired you to write this book?

The Dragon Empire: A life-long love of dragons and fantasy!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Everyone can make a difference.

Give us an insight into your main character. What do they do that is special?

Grendar strives to make the world a better place for all creatures. He is fascinated by difference creatures and understands that they all have a place in the circle of things.

What are your current projects?

The First Dragonwatcher is in editing, it’s a tie-in novel to The Dragon Empire.

Why do you write?

Because I must. The characters that come to me demand that I write their stories. 😉

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The first draft.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Editing.

Do you ever experience writers block?

Of course, unfortunately! Exercise, brainstorming, or a shower usually works to break it though.

What is your favorite go to recipe?

Mocha Brownies Click HERE to get the recipe

I want to thank Heather for taking the time to sit down and answer these questions for us. To learn more about Heather and here books Click HERE.

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