Author Spotlight: Jonathan Husband

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Jonathan Husband has been a human resources executive throughout his post graduate career. He attended the University of Hull in Yorkshire, England during the early 1960’s. His career has helped him develop a deep understanding of interpersonal relationships and the value of emotional intelligence.

He has combined this knowledge with his passion for history to perceptively describe people he knew who, from 1943 to 1972, had to deal with emotions that would spiral out of control and take charge of their regular lives. An Unplanned Encounter begins in war time England in the midst of the bombing campaign over Nazi-occupied Europe. It ends with the death of his father in 1972.

Authors Welcome had the chance to speak to Jonathan Husband about his writing career and his first novel.

AW: Tell us a little bit about your book.

Jonathan: The book is a story about a woman’s right to choose and how the circumstances of war and history can affect this decision and its consequences. It is set in England and California 1943-1972. A sexual assault takes place in July 1943, the woman discovers she is pregnant, and then makes a series of decisions that change forever the lives of the two protagonists. The central incident takes place in Yorkshire, England but the story also includes events that take place elsewhere in England, in Sacramento, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Vienna, Austria and in Shanghai, China.

AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Jonathan: The book should appeal to a broad range of readers, with a likely focus on women over 30. It is an interesting and detail rich story about human relationships against a backcloth of war torn Europe. I tried to weave a broad understanding of what life was like during the middle of the last century in Europe and the US, especially for women who were still to be socially liberated. While it is historical fiction, the events are based on a true story. The novel examines the mother’s love for a child, how this love develops before birth, and the sacrifices a woman will make to defend the well-being of her baby.

The book should also have an appeal to various narrower groups of readers because it contains stories within the main story. Its coverage of the World War II European bombing campaign should appeal to those interested in the Second World War. Additionally, Karen, the woman who one of the main characters marries, talks about her parents escape from Vienna at the start of the war and their subsequent flight across Northern Europe to Shanghai. This event is also based on a true story. Finally, towards the end of the book, there are chapters that cover the “hippy” scene in San Francisco during the early 1960’s. This may appeal to baby-boomers.

AW: How did you come up with the title for your book/series?

Jonathan: The title focuses on a single encounter (albeit unplanned) that causes two people’s lives to spin out of control, and demonstrates that all actions have consequences, and that some consequences can last a lifetime.

AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?

Jonathan: I designed the cover myself. The front page depicts a farmhouse alongside a river which is the house next door to the one where the main character in the book grew up. It also backs on to the church where this main character is buried. The Nazi image on the back cover is used with permission of the Imperial War Museum in London. It illustrates the innocence of adolescence during a time when horrifying actions took place.

AW: How long did it take to complete your novel?

Jonathan: The novel took about four months to write and a further two months while approximately a dozen people reviewed the draft and provided helpful feedback to the author. Events were researched during this period and the personal stories of the two main protagonists in the book were already known.

AW: Did you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what did you do to get out of the funk?

Jonathan: I had relatively short periods of writer’s block. Typically the answers to these obstacles would occur during the middle of the night, and on many occasions it was if the main protagonists (all dead) were giving me insights that he was not aware of previously.

AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first novel published? About how long did it take?

Jonathan: It took about six months to self-publish. Literary Agents approached were encouraging and kind with their comments, but appeared unwilling to support an unknown writer. To expedite the process, I researched alternative publishing methods and chose to use Lulu.com to assist. The process has been unpredictable and rocky from time-to-time, but overall has been satisfactory.

AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Jonathan: Mary Louise, the main character. She is the author’s mother and without her courage and love, the author would not be alive to tell the story.

AW: Who is your least favorite character and what makes them less appealing to you?

Jonathan: Bob Hutchinson, the step-father. Although many of his actions were driven by illness, he was often obstructive, disrespectful, unkind, and occasionally violent.

AW: If you could change only one thing about your novel, what would it be?

Jonathan: I would have preferred to have made the main character the storyteller throughout the book. However, because much of the story was unknown to her until after the events, this was very difficult to realistically accomplish.

AW: Give us an interesting or fun fact about your book/series.

Jonathan: It is being published to coincide with my 70th birthday.

AW: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike? Did they inspire you?

Jonathan: This novel was written without reference to others. The inspiration for the book came from the discovery by the author of his birth circumstances told to him by his mother in December 2007 when he was 63 years old.

AW: What made you decide to become an author?

Attending school with my son at Creative Writing courses, and a sense of creativity/imagination that my work as a Human Resources specialist had not allowed me to use.

AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?

Jonathan: Insufficient coverage of people’s emotions and how their feelings after extraordinary events. The author has worked hard to correct this impression.

AW: What is the best compliment?

Jonathan: This is a book that is hard to put down. The best compliment I received was that someone got up at 5:00AM to finish it before going to work.

AW: Do you have another job or are you a full-time author?

Jonathan: My plan is to write additional “encounter series” novels. I also do part-time consulting in Human Resources.

AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Jonathan: Persevere and have fun. Undertake the task for enjoyment and sharing, not for money.

AW: How to you market your book?

I will use a professional Publicity Firm and my network of friends and relatives. I also use Facebook and Twitter to promote myself. My Twitter handle is @JonathanHusband. I also have my website and blog at www.jonathanhusband.com.

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Author Spotlight: Alice Furse

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Everybody Knows This is Nowhere is the first novel from Alice Furse. It centers around a girl, an office, and an impending apocalypse. The novel is geared toward anyone who is wondering what on earth to do with themselves as it reflects that awkward time of finishing university and asking yourself what the hell you’re going to do next.

Authors Welcome had an opportunity to chat with Alice Furse for an Author Spotlight, and get the story behind the story of her book, and what the writing and publishing processes were like for her.

AW: Tell us a little bit about your book.

Alice: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is primarily about those awkward years after university, when you’ve been taught that the world will open up for you, but it doesn’t quite work out that way. Action centres on a girl who moves to suburbia with her boyfriend and starts working in an office, both of which come with their own problems and mysteries.

AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Alice: My novel targets young women. I wrote it because I felt totally disenfranchised and isolated, and I don’t think for a minute that I’m the only one. I hope it will appeal to other people who might find themselves in a similar position and at the very least, give them an idea that they’re not alone.

AW: How did you come up with the title for your book/series?

Alice: It’s actually the name of a Neil Young song. I tried to think of something original but this was just the perfect title.

AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?

Alice: I’m self-published so I had total control, which is nice – in fact, I came up with the idea of using hole punch holes and I took the photo myself. I’m lucky too in that I know a graphic designer who helped me choose that idea, tidy it up, and selected the font. I really wanted to make sure it looked like a modern novel, and not something else, like a textbook – it’s not as easy as it sounds!

AW: How long did it take to complete your novel?

Alice: In total, it took about two years to complete.

AW: Did you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what did you do to get out of the funk?

Alice: Honestly, I try not to worry if I’m not writing masses. Contrary to the traditional wisdom of getting through a daily word count, I’m not someone who works well when I force it – I’d rather work when I feel like I have something to say and the energy to say it. If you’re lucky enough to make a living from writing then perhaps you would need that structure, but for the rest of us, life gets in the way – and so it should.

AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first novel published? About how long did it take?

Alice: I wrote Everybody Knows a good few years ago, and when I finished it I approached an agent who seemed keen to get it out there. It got reasonably far with a few publishers, but in the end they said although they liked it they couldn’t market it. I left it and got on with other things, but it struck me a little while ago that this was a bit of a waste, and putting it on Amazon myself and keeping it my own seemed more interesting than building up a collection of rejection letters. I also now have a background in PR, so I enjoy marketing it too.

AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Alice: Is it too horrible and narcissistic to say the narrator? Probably is… but I’m going to say it anyway. Yeah, she’s based on me. I’m proud of how the voice develops throughout the novel – I wanted to write from a perspective that was cynical but not unkind, and I wanted her to be a force that people can identify with, but quirky at the same time. God knows if I’ve achieved it – I’m probably not the person to ask.

AW: Who is your least favorite character and what makes them less appealing to you?

Alice: I don’t dislike any of the characters. People you clash a bit with in real life tend to be the ones that are easiest to write because that’s where the energy is, and there’s always something to be said for that. They’re the most interesting people and relationships to explore. Not to get too deep, but the word ‘personality’ suggests that we’re separate entities. I think it’s closer to the truth to say that our identities are only given shape by the people around us.

AW: If you could change only one thing about your novel, what would it be?

Alice: Nothing. It’s not perfect, but it’s just fine.

AW: Give us an interesting or fun fact about your book/series.

Alice: Everyone in the book was based on someone I know.

AW: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike? Did they inspire you?

Alice: I’m not sure that there are very many books similar to my own which is part of the reason I wrote it, but I have been inspired but hundreds of writers. I love Magnus Mills’ pared-down style and while I didn’t consciously emulate it, I’m sure I learnt a hack of a lot from reading his books – The Restraint of Beasts in particular. The Bell Jar also really inspired me – I read it for the first time when I was about 14 and I love her voice, her honesty, and her cynicism.

AW: What made you decide to become an author?

Alice: It wasn’t really a decision – it was just something I always did. When I was nine I wrote stories about what my toys said to each other when I left the room. When I was twelve I wrote a lot of stories about a girl with one leg for some reason, and when I was a teenager there was a lot of the usual angsty poetry bollocks, which was all burnt in a dramatic fire – thankfully. When I was in sixth form I wrote some short stories that won competitions, and chose to study English Literature and Creative Writing at university, which properly cracked me open.

AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?

Alice: I know how this sounds, and maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I haven’t really received any. I don’t think that’s because I write the best things ever, it’s because when people don’t like something their response tends to be silence. No one’s queued up to tell you you’re shit, and if you dig around for feedback people are usually constructive.

During my first writing workshop at university, a girl told me I used a couple of clichés. She was right.

AW: What is the best compliment?

Alice: My tutor at university was always very good to me. She told me that I was one of her best students, and encouraged me to write a novel in the first place. I took that as a massive compliment.

AW: Do you have another job or are you a full-time author?

Alice: I have another job. I do PR for a sports radio station.

AW: What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a new novel or project that you are working on?

Alice: I’m focusing on a short stories at the moment with a view to getting them published in magazines, and also working on a second novel, which is about 10,000 words in. I’ve also just started a book site called The Rebel’s Book Guide, which aims to focus on literary self-published authors, as opposed to genre fiction. I’m hoping it’ll be a real resource for people to sift the pile as self-publishing continues to grow in popularity.

AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Alice: Don’t be scared of self-publishing – it has a bad reputation for being a vanity thing, but if it actually gets your work out there and being read, it couldn’t matter less. If you do it, do it properly. I don’t think you have to spend tons of money, but put thought and time into editing, formatting, and cover design, because all those things will help. Don’t expect to shoot up the Amazon chart straightaway – and if it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong.

AW: How do you market your book?

Alice: Twitter is a useful tool, though it has to be used in a canny fashion and can’t just be tweets saying “Buy my book now”. I’ve worked out who my target market is, and approached people that I think will be interested in it – it’s a slow process, but very exciting. My Twitter handle is @alicefurse.

I also have a blog site called The Rebel’s Book Guide. I hope you will check it out and follow me on social media to keep up with what I’m currently working on.

Interested readers can check out Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere through Amazon.com.

Author Spotlight: D.J. Wilson

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D.J.Wilson was raised in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. He graduated from Cumberland University, located in a small town in Kentucky quite a few years ago. We had the pleasure of chatting with D.J. about his book, Ride to Redemption.

AW: Tell us a little bit about your book.

D.J.: Righting another’s wrong landed D in the witness protection program and cost him family, friends, and everything of substance in his life. Loneliness is his constant companion until he meets Candi, the girl of his dreams. He and Candi embark on a three-week ride to redemption where they deal with mind-numbing deceit, perilous treachery, their overpowering lust for each other and their personal demons.

Nevertheless, new opportunities bring a chance to begin again. And, it doesn’t hurt that he’s got 200 pounds of illicit diamonds to use to ease the pain of those wronged. He will continue the redemption process by way of a well thought out plan involving a 5,000-mile adventure through the Western United States and Canada.

When D meets Candice, aka Candi, she captures his heart, mind and soul the instant she ‘inadvertently’ almost runs him down in the Starbucks drive-thru. Candi joins him on his three-week, two-wheeled ride to redemption, where they’re forced to face their personal demons, while dealing with wanton lust, mind-numbing deceit and perilous treachery.

Spectacular scenery and a cast of unforgettable characters they meet along the way makes the journey memorable, but nothing prepares them for the sacrifices they must eventually make midway in the ride.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” sadly, does not ring true for Candice and D throughout this first of a two part series. Lust and greed are forever game-changers, even for those who desperately seek redemption.

AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

D.J.: I wrote Ride to Redemption to appeal both to women and men, weaving a geographical adventure into a life altering, lust filled romance, between two very flawed people.

Life happens. Sometimes for the good, sometimes not. Regardless of circumstance, we choose how we embrace its next chapter, either building on the good as it comes or redeeming the bad, as it goes. In that is our hope, for those of us in the throes of life.How did you come up with the title for your book/series?

Redemption comes through second chances. The ride, via a motorcycle across the West and Canada, was used as an inconspicuous tool, to right a grievous wrong that affected thousands.

AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?

D.J.: My cover projects the heart and soul of my novel, without a single word being spoken. The beautiful body conveys the girl of D’s dreams, while the diamonds convey power through restitution. I was fortunate to find the perfect picture, in less than than four hours and with the help of my publisher, create the cover from there.

AW: How long did it take to complete your novel?

D.J.: Forever it seems like, looking back. I spent the first three months, writing and rewriting the first half of the book and two months writing the second half.

AW: Did you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what did you do to get out of the funk?

D.J.: Writer’s block was never an issue, as much as, life constantly getting in my way. Long, solitary  walks each day, helped me more than anything, to see the beginning of the end.

AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first novel published? About how long did it take?

I was fortunate to have a friend and fellow author, who saw in me a work in progress. Through his inspiration and direction, we were able to e-publish Ride to Redemption in less than thirty days. The book goes to print mid March.

AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

D.J.: Great question, but not one I’m able to answer at this time. Once the sequel finishes up, I can probably tell you who my favorite will be. Remember, life happens, the book is living proof of that. It’s fluid, as are the characters in my daily circus, aka life.

AW: Who is your least favorite character and what makes them less appealing to you?

D.J.: That’s a question, I can answer. Joseph, Candi’s Ex, who happens to be an Ivy League lawyer with an outstanding pedigree, whose mission in life is to ruin other’s, while continually enhancing his own.

AW: If you could change only one thing about your novel, what would it be?

D.J.: Thank you for the question. I’ve second guessed myself many times regarding the steaminess of the book. Only our readers will answer that question for me. Stay tuned for the answer, via the reviews, which through today have been ‘5 star’ kind.

AW: Give us an interesting or fun fact about your book/series.

D.J.: Easy, it’s sprinkled with truth, lot’s of it. It’s up to our audience to separate the facts from the fiction. To live with us in the moment or to embrace in aghast, our past.

AW: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike? Did they inspire you?

D.J.: Books by John Grisham inspired me,  as well as the novels of John Sanford and James Patterson. None, however, wove a chance encounter love interest, so integrally into the read.

AW: What made you decide to become an author?

D.J.: Life happens, remember? We’ve a story to tell, even while it continues to be written. Successful, that’s me, catastrophic failure, that’s me too. We’ve been there, done that and have the life changing scars to prove it.

Our writings reflect real life through the throes of heartache and loss, as well as through the joys redemption brings.

“Life is not waiting for the Storms to Pass, It’s Learning to Dance in the Rain.”

AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?

D.J.: Those closest to me, tell me I’m the World’s Worst Proofreader, to which I must confess, guilty as charged.

AW: What is the best compliment?

D.J.: I’m thankful you asked. Paying it forward is a personal choice that pays priceless dividends, regardless of the chaos in our own lives. Ride to Redemption conveys that message, without it wearing thin.

AW: Do you have another job or are you a full-time author?

D.J.: I’ve been blessed beyond measure to succeed in many wonderful things, and humbled by failing in a few. Currently our passion is writing and that’s what I’m  committed to do.

AW: What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a new novel or project that you are working on?

D.J.: The sequel, “Ride to Restoration” is well underway. I hope to publish in late April or May 2014. Visit my website:www.dalehollowlakelover.com to discover my next project, which will depend entirely on our readers and their nominations of the unsung hero’s in their lives.

AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

D.J.: If you are passionate about something, share it, be it through the written word or music. There is someone waiting to hear what you have to say. It’s in that passion, you will rise above the crowds, your voice will be heard, the message you convey, will be received. Settle for nothing less than your very best. Because of self publishing, the World is your marketplace.

AW: How do you market your book?

D.J.: We’ve explored many avenues, all of which require quite a bit of time. Time away from writing. Thankfully, I’m working with some amazing people who are steering me in the right direction, offering to promote me, as little, or as much as I want, while allowing me to focus on our book.

I would be honored if you’d visit my website: www.ridetoredemption.com and say hello. You can follow us on Twitter: @dhlakelover and find our blogs scattered about The Huffington Post.

Author Spotlight: Scott R. Caseley

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When I came up with the idea of starting a blog that spotlights authors, the first person I thought to do an interview was Scott Caseley. Several years ago, Scott’s book Isosceles was the first novel I ever edited. I came from a world of nonfiction books that were marketed toward writers, so this was a new adventure for me, and I’m so happy that I was able to help Scott on his journey to publication.

I had the chance to chat with Scott about Isosceles, which is a story about friendship being tested to its limits, and how far we will go to protect those we love especially after tragedy. It begins with the death of Trey Goodsby and explores through a thirteen-year period of episodic moments, his best friendships with Sean McIntyre and a woman named Madeline Edwards who was always a solid force to both of them. It also details what led to Trey’s passing, and how it affected Sean and Madeline.

AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Scott Caseley: I wanted to reach high school kids, from freshman year and on up. The story deals with a lot of themes I know I went through when I was that age; isolation, broken heart, misplaced trust, etc. But, it also has a lot of the moments that I remember fondly that I feel would be relatable to that age group; that moment when someone just gets you right away, when you succeed at something for the first time in front of a person you look up to, when you have just quiet understanding with someone you care about, etc.  I just want the reader going into this to feel like they can identify with the good and bad and realize how it affects them isn’t as isolating as they might be afraid it is.

AW: How did you come up with the title for your book/series?

Scott Caseley: It was very early on, I was writing the chapter where Sean and Trey first beat… I mean meet each other in the classroom. Trey is building a structure with blocks and when they were fighting, I knew Madeline would have to be introduced in this moment too, and I saw the fight going on in my mind out of focus, and lying on the ground was an abandoned isosceles wooden block. I thought that it could be great symbolism if done right. Then, it occurred to me that had to be the title.

AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?

Scott Caseley: One of the great benefits of signing on with a wonderful company like MuseItUp is that the authors get assigned a cover designer to work with them on the look of the book.  CK Volnek, this incredible artist was the talent that was brought in to work with me. We had a few email exchanges in which we discussed what I was hoping to achieve to say visually to tell my story. Right away, she knew exactly what I meant and sent me pictures of models she thought would best represent the three principal characters. After that, I had to do a style sheet, and she drafted a cover that was almost exactly what I wanted. Then, I gave her my suggestions to improve upon it, and she nailed it. She is one of the most gifted artists I have ever worked with.

AW: How long did it take to complete your novel?

Scott Caseley: It started out as stream of consciousness writing, and from that it became a screenplay, all in 2009. Once I met my editor, she gave me notes on a few drafts of the script, but then urged me to turn it into a novel in the summer of 2010. Together with her, she shepherded the process through several subsequent drafts. In December of 2010, we determined it was ready to try to get it published. In 2011, I started submitting it everywhere. In the midst of the sea of rejections, I met a publishing consultant, who gave me a few bits of advice for improvement. Then, in 2012, I submitted the novel to MuseItUp and it was accepted in March of that year. Through the end of the year, with the help of my Content Editor, and a Line Editor, we got it into the shape it is now. Finally, it was released in January 2013 as an eBook. So, from start to finish it took approximately three and a half years.

AW: Did you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what did you do to get out of the funk?

Scott Caseley: When I would experience writer’s block, I started to think up different scenarios for the characters that didn’t always end up in the book itself. It was just a way to think outside the box. I wanted to see them as close to actual people as I realistically could. I thought of how they would handle themselves in a variety of different scenarios, and that helped me to see how what their actions and speech would be like in the ones that were giving me the most trouble.

Also, I did other things to get my mind off the story for a bit. I like to cook, so I started to look up different recipes to keep my mind active, creative, and focused. I’d also walk on my treadmill or go swimming at my gym. I found that combination of both of these, actively getting into their heads, and also letting them leave mine helped to find the most concrete ways to help the story continue.

AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first novel published? About how long did it take?

Scott Caseley: Getting used to the words ‘not interested’, ‘not for our brand’, and just keeping the momentum to feel that somewhere, some way, the book will get published, was difficult at times. It can be very deflating and crushing to get rejection letters over and over again. But, I’m glad that I stuck it out and was signed by MuseItUp, just over a year after I finished writing all those drafts with my editor.

AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Scott Caseley: My favorite character when I was writing it was definitely Trey Goodsby, because he could meet different people depending on ‘which Trey’ he felt like being with them. He had this complexity about him, and it gave me a lot of different ideas and places to take the character. Now, rereading the story, I really like Bill Edwards, Madeline’s father. I feel that he has the most hidden depth to him. When first meeting him, he can be perceived in one light, but then the end stripped all that you saw from him in the beginning, and he became something much more.

AW: Who is your least favorite character and what makes them less appealing to you?

Scott Caseley: The bully characters, I thought that they could have had more to do in the book, and in fact, I toyed with having them show up numerous times, but in the end, it just seemed necessary to have them be one-note villains.

AW: If you could change only one thing about your novel, what would it be?

Scott Caseley: I would have developed the character of Mrs. Goodsby more. I felt that she really got shortchanged in the story and there was so much that she could have said and done especially in the earlier chapters.

AW: Give us an interesting or fun fact about your book/series.

Scott Caseley: The sledding scene was inspired by and written during an actual snowstorm. It was one of those days where the snow came out of nowhere, and I couldn’t go to the gym.  My other great passion is exercise so I felt trapped and frustrated by the weather. So, I decided to write Sean as really elated about having a snow day, and the freedom of sledding to be a sharp contrast to my own emotions. After I wrote the first go at it, it made my day feel much more enjoyable.

AW: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike? Did they inspire you?

Scott Caseley: I’d like to think it has elements similar to The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, showing the different social classes in society, “The Body”, the novella by Stephen King about the tests and trueness of friendship, and last but certainly not least Bridge to Terabithia by Katharine Paterson showing the platonic bond between a young boy and girl in small town America. I revisited all three of these stories before putting pen to paper so to speak. I would say that they did inspire me, because I do see parallels to the characters of each in my protagonists and antagonists. However, the films of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe also inspired me.

AW: What made you decide to become an author?

Scott Caseley: I have always enjoyed the art of storytelling, since about the age of four when I used to use a tape recorder to craft tales of my imaginary friends. From there, in second grade our class was assigned creative writing as a part of the curriculum. I got to write short stories then, and loved the process. Later, I wrote and co-wrote screenplays that would become feature films and a documentary short. I’ve always just loved the process of authoring a story, be it for the ears, the eyes, but especially the emotions of an audience.

AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?

Scott Caseley: I was told that as a man I should never think I can write compelling or realistic female characters. It has always stuck with me.

AW: What is the best compliment?

Scott Caseley: When a reader tells me that they identified with a particular moment in a character’s journey and that after seeing it in my novel through different eyes, it helped them to heal.

AW: Do you have another job or are you a full-time author?

Scott Caseley: Currently, I am enrolled in a professional certificate program in copyediting. When completed, using these skills, I’d like to work for a publishing company or freelance to help many different industries put out the best possible written material they can to help them reach their goals. At the same time, I have a number of personal writing goals that I’d like to see through, and possibly go back to school for my Master’s in either Creative Writing or Writing/Publishing.

AW: What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a new novel or project that you are working on?

Scott Caseley: There is a second novel in the works, a departure from Isosceles, in that it isn’t a Young Adult novel nor is it a sequel. It is an ensemble piece that I’m writing in the polyphony style inspired by the works of Jennifer Egan, Robert Altman, etc. I’m also working on finishing up a 100-word piece of flash fiction for MuseItUp. And lastly, I’m writing a short story that I’m hoping to enter into a contest in a few months.

AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Scott Caseley: Do not be discouraged if you send out queries to agents and/or publishers and you receive a lot of rejection letters, personal or impersonal, chances are you’ll get some or many. It happens to all of us. Being a part of this writing world, and becoming published requires patience, confidence, and perseverance. With the market the way that it is currently, it’s very niche-based, so send your stuff to mainstream presses and agents, but also find those that will cater to your book specifically.

AW: How to you market your book?

Scott Caseley: I have taken part in many different blog stops courtesy of my fellow MuseItUp authors and a Virtual Tour with the World Of Ink (WOI) where I have participated in interviews like this one, or written short stories in character, or satirical pieces to show how certain elements like how writing in the perspective of Sean McIntyre came to be. Also through WOI, I was a guest on an internet radio show, and I also co-hosted along with another author a semi-annual book club show with acclaimed radio host Jordan Rich on WBZ in Boston.

AW: Do you have a Facebook author page or Twitter that we can give out to our readers so they can follow you?

Scott Caseley: Yes, I sure do, and it would be wonderful to have your readers follow me. My Twitter page is @scottrcaseley, and my author page on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/ScottRCaseleyWriter.

Author Spotlight: Anne Booth

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Authors Welcome had the opportunity to chat with author Anne Booth about her book Girl with a White Dog, and learn more about her as an author. Girl with a White Dog is about a modern 13-year-old girl called Jessie, who lives in a small English village and whose grandmother adopts a white Alsatian puppy. With Snowy’s arrival a mystery starts to unfold, and as Jessie learns about fairy tales and Nazi Germany at school, past and present begin to slot together and she uncovers something long-buried, troubling and somehow linked to another girl and another white dog…

AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Anne Booth: My intended audience is children who are learning about Nazi Germany and reading books like The Diary of Anne Frank. It targets children aged from 9-14. I would like them to read it alongside all the wonderful books that are already out there, in order to add one more perspective on the Holocaust and to become aware of current temptations to racism and fear of ‘the other’ in our modern day, recession-hit countries. I wanted to explore what it was like to be a Nazi child and to believe in the stories told by the media, and to show that children and adults today can also be subtly brainwashed and seduced by a kind of fairytale which tells them that they are superior and somehow more deserving of a happy ending than other people.

AW: How did you come up with the title for your book/series?

Anne  Booth: Originally I was going to call my book ‘The Hidden Hours,’  but my agent, the wonderful Anne Clark, of http://www.anneclarkliteraryagency.co.uk came up with the title ‘Girl with a White Dog’, and I am so glad that she did.

AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?

Anne  Booth: I so happy with the cover! The illustrator Serena Rocca worked with the designer Philippa Johnson and my editors Liz Bankes and Non Pratt to come up with an intriguing cover which combined a modern day girl with a fairytale type feeling. As fairytales are so important in the story and Jessie and Snowy go walking in woods together it really feels true to the book. Once the design was decided on I was shown it for my approval, and the only input I gave was to ask Serena to make the figure of Snowy slightly smaller, as he is a very young dog. I think it is really beautiful and I couldn’t be happier!

AW: How long did it take to complete your novel?

Anne Booth: It took years, partly because of all the background research and also because it was so hard to decide on how to approach the story and what to leave out. I read many, many history books about growing up in Nazi Germany and Nazi policy. I read fairytales and books about fairytales and about the Nazis’ use of fairytales and folklore in schools. I read books about what children learned in schools in Nazi Germany, especially the book Education in Nazi Germany by Lisa Pine. I read about dogs and the Nazis’ attitude towards animals – particularly Boria Sax’s book Animals in the Third Reich and went to an exhibition at the Weiner library in London  http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk on Nazi children’s books and toys. I read books about the treatment of the disabled by the Nazis, and watched films and documentaries. I also went to Munich and Dachau for the weekend.

The other thing I felt it was very important to do was to read lots and lots of other children’s books by wonderful authors like Michael Morpurgo or Maurice Gleitzman. There are many amazing books on the period  out there by wonderful authors.  I also read children’s books in translation, and books that Nazi children would have read. In Dachau bookshop I also came across the fascinating Young Adult American book The Wave by Todd Strasser, which, written in 1981 based on a  real-life experiment in 1969 by a school teacher, looks at how High School children many years after the Second World War can be seduced into Nazi-like attitudes. I felt that my story, apart from it being for a slightly younger age group, was more about the subtle, creeping way we can get into the dangerous habit of seeing ourselves as ‘goodies’ and others as ‘baddies’. My book is about how we need to recognize the lessons from history so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past and create a society where Evil can flourish unnoticed until it is too late.

Originally I wrote the novel entirely set in Nazi Germany, but it didn’t quite work. I loved writing it but I was worried about  the difficulty of showing what it was like to be a Nazi child who loved Hitler without seeming to promote Nazism, and I knew I wanted to write about the implication of the Holocaust on today, so I changed it completely to a modern day story with a mystery in the past. It is odd, because having written the earlier version I feel I know a whole other story and set of characters that nobody else does, and yet they were so important for how I wrote the book set in the present day. I may try to come back to them in the future, but even if I don’t I feel the process was vital to getting to Girl with a White Dog.

AW: Did you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what did you do to get out of the funk?

Anne Booth: Reading history books or fiction, going to exhibitions or watching films can all help with stimulating ideas and writing. I have two dogs, and thinking about my writing whilst walking in the countryside can unblock lots. Getting feedback from other writers – even constructive rejections from publishers or agents – can all help with writer’s block and suggest new ways of approaching things. My family have been wonderful – my husband and teenage children have listened to plot problems and suggested solutions- and once I had an agent I found that Anne was great when I was losing confidence. My editors Non Pratt and Liz Bankes were also great at encouragement during revision of the book once it was taken on and I was writing new material. Sometimes just having a complete break – painting or making things or going on holiday can really give time to untangle knotty problems. Lastly, I am a religious person, and I also find that daily prayer and mediation is vital to help me keep on track as to why I write and what I believe in.

AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first novel published? About how long did it take?

Anne Booth: I have always loved reading books and wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t have the self belief to allow myself the time to do it. I went on my first writer’s course about 20 years ago – a week long holiday – but although it inspired me I did not follow on. In 1993-95 I studied part time in the evenings for an MA in Children’s Literature, which I absolutely loved. Ten years later, 2003-2205, married and with four young children, I enrolled on an part time, evening M.A. course in Creative Writing. During and immediately after that course I wrote an adult novel which had an agent for a time but unfortunately was never picked up. The course did however really boost my confidence, and in the meantime I was continuing to read children’s books with my children and for my own enjoyment. So this is a long way of saying that it really has taken me decades to get to this point. In fact, as I wrote my first book (a little biblical story about Jesus and Jairus’s daughter) at the age of 5 – you could say it has taken me 44 years to get published!

AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Anne Booth: I love lots of characters from the book. I love Jessie and I love Snowy, but I am also very fond of Kate, Jessie’s best friend. I feel very proud as a writer that her personality is more important than her disability — I forget it myself, which is how it should be.

AW: Who is your least favorite character and what makes them less appealing to you?

Anne Booth: My least favorite characters are the gang Jessie’s cousin gets involved with – Liam, Danny and Nicola. I think it will be obvious why! I do try to show that they are children, influenced by attitudes around them, and don’t appear out of nowhere – people like Hitler and his modern contemporaries are always ready to exploit periods of economic hardship and find those with contempt for others and tendencies to violence.

AW: If you could change only one thing about your novel, what would it be?

Anne Booth: I have changed so many things in the novel in the long process of writing and re-writing it, and have had such wonderful editing from my agent and from my publishers, that I honestly wouldn’t change anything now. Originally I tried to cover too many aspects of life in Nazi Germany and there are story lines that were edited out that I do miss, but the advice to cut them out was wise, and maybe I will be able to pick them up again in future novels. I had more about the wonderful Sophie Scholl and The White Rose Movement and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, for example, but at least I did manage to mention them in my afterword!

AW: Give us an interesting or fun fact about your book/series.

Anne Booth: The book Amazing Dogs by Jan Bondeson was the source of one idea that is mentioned passing in my book – that there was a college for dogs in Nazi Germany!

AW: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike? Did they inspire you?

Anne Booth: This is such a hard question, as it feels arrogant to compare my books with others I admire! I am only getting used to being an author myself! I think I might leave that to others to say.

AW: What made you decide to become an author?

Anne Booth: I love writing stories. I think about stories all the time, and read every day, and I can’t think of anything I would rather do than pass on those magical experiences to others. I also feel stories are being told all the time, all around us, in our press and general media, and some times these stories are cruel. I want to use any gifts I have to counteract cruel stories and add to the sum of good, stories out there which make the world a better, happier, more loving place, because I believe Love, Goodness and Truth are realities which should be honored.

AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?

Anne Booth: I felt very sad when my adult novel wasn’t taken up, but I think that the comments that it didn’t quite work were true – I had over-edited it and so a lot of life had gone out of the story. This has taught me that good editing is vital but that trying to please everybody and losing your voice in the process is not good.

AW: What is the best compliment?

Anne Booth: I think people crying at the story is a great compliment. Non Pratt, my editor at the time, and a writer in her own right, said it was ‘a story to change hearts and minds’ and I think that is such a wonderful thing to have said about your book.

AW: Do you have another job or are you a full-time author?

Anne Booth: Although I have had a lot of part time jobs since becoming a Mum nearly 18 years ago, for the last four years I have been a carer for my very elderly parents who have moved to a house opposite us – particularly my mother who is not well – as well as writing and looking after my four children with my teacher husband.

AW: What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a new novel or project that you are working on?

Anne Booth: I hope you will see lots from me in the future! I have just finished  my second middle grade novel, which my agent is submitting at the moment. I have a lovely Christmas book for 5-8 year olds  – ‘Lucy’s Secret Reindeer’ coming out with Oxford University Press in September. I also have two picture books illustrated by the amazing Rosalind Beardshaw coming out in the future with the wonderful Nosy Crow publishers. I am very lucky and have a great agent and publishers!

AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Anne Booth: I’d say to read, read and read, and write the type of books you love to read yourself. Don’t choose to write a particular type of book because you think it will make money, but having written a book you love and believe in, be prepared to edit and re-write and listen to the advice of agents and publishers – they want your book to succeed as much as you do and know both what makes a book work and what else is in the market. For example, I had a great idea for a WW1 story for my second book, but I think I was wisely advised against writing it just now, as there are so many wonderful books already coming out about that subject. It was hard to hear as I loved my idea so much, but I can see that the book I have just finished is more unusual and won’t be competing against such amazing competition or replicating the same material.  I am definitely very grateful to have an agent – and if you can get one you trust and admire then I definitely recommend it rather than doing it all yourself. Anne deals with contacts and contracts and money and I can just concentrate about writing! I have also noticed how much my books have improved thank to the editors – it hasn’t always been easy to  accept that I need to change things – but I can really see how my writing is improving thanks to the process.

Lastly – use Twitter! It is through Twitter I found out about Anne Clark and about Nosy Crow, and I have now made contacts with so many lovely authors and illustrators through it and have had so many supportive chats and advice online. I come across so many ideas for stories through reading about other people’s lives and news items and links on twitter – I found out about the Nazi College for dogs through a link on twitter to a review of Amazing Dogs by Jan Bondeson, for example. I have also been recommended so many fantastic children’s books to read – it’s like an online college for children’s writers

AW: How to you market your book?

Anne Booth: The marketing of Girl with a White Dog is in the capable hands of Bounce Marketing, and through them I have been asked to speak at upcoming Festivals. They have also sent my book out to be reviewed and taken it to conferences, so I feel they have done their utmost to get it ‘out there’. For my part I follow up leads on Twitter, for example, or agree to author interviews when approached, and hope to do lots of school workshops.

AW: How can our readers find you?

Anne Booth: I mainly use twitter @Bridgeanne and I have a blog where I post bridgeanneartandwriting.wordpress.com. Readers can purchase the book through Amazon.com

Author Spotlight: Doug E. Jones

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Authors Welcome is excited to spotlight author Doug E. Jones. His debut novel is titled Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! He graduated from UCLA with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. Doug works full-time as a writer and devotes much of his time to promoting his book.

We had a chance to speak to Doug about his book and characters, as well as his journey as an author.

AW: Tell us a little bit about your book.

DJ:  My novel Nowhere To Goa: Bhang Lassis, Rickshaws, and Holy Cows! is a travel adventure/coming of age novel that takes off when Scott, a studious sophomore at Northwestern University, flies halfway around the world to bring home his troublesome twin brother who has just been released from jail in India after a run-in with the law; something to do with a bhang lassi, a rickshaw, and a holy cow!

AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

DJ: The story is told through the eyes of a 19-year-old boy but what he discovers when he hits the road is universal: Love, Compassion, Religion, and Danger. And if you love to travel and discover new and interesting places, then this book is a perfect fit.

AW: How did you come up with the title for your book/series?

DJ: I’ve had the title since traveling in India years ago. Goa is a tropical state south of Bombay on the western coast. It’s where a lot of travelers flock to at Christmas. The title was something I wrote down in my journal. I just didn’t have the story yet.

AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?
DJ: The story centers around twin brothers who are complete opposites so I knew I wanted a sun/moon (almost yin yang) feel to the cover and hired a graphic artist on the internet through Elance. I drew a very rough sketch which the artist then brought to life with a lot of back and forth.

AW: How long did it take to complete your novel?

DJ: It took two years, writing just about every day. It’s 135,000 words. One year to write, one year to edit. Luckily, I never got writer’s block on this project. I knew where I wanted my character to go and roughly how I wanted his story to end, but if you let your character’s decisions come organically and plausibly with some sense of truth, then you shouldn’t get stuck.

AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first novel published?

DJ: At first I tried the traditional New York route through the internet. You can go to the websites for literary agencies and publishers and find out their submission guidelines. However, when you submit without a connection, it can be really difficult to even get a response. That said, the landscape is changing more and more every day, and I think self-publishing will be the next big wave.

AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

DJ: It would be easy to choose the protagonist, the boy who tells the story, but I really like a British woman he meets named Sam. She’s strong, beautiful, a seasoned traveler, and someone who prepares the boy for the rough road ahead.

AW: What authors inspired you?

DJ: Before starting this book, I read an interview with movie director Quentin Tarantino in which he was asked what kind of movies does he like to write. And his response was that he wrote movies that he wanted to watch. So that’s what I did. I wrote a story that I would like to read. As for other authors, I love John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, and Tom Robbins.

AW: What made you decide to become an author?

DJ: I didn’t have a choice. I’ve always felt compelled to write. I was the guy writing on napkins and up and down my arm.

AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?

DJ: I used to write for the TV show Charmed, and I hated to get re-written. I understood that the series needed an unifying voice and tone but to have someone delete your words, even if it’s for the greater good, is really painful.

AW: What is the best compliment?

DJ: My favorite comment was: “I loved your book. I’m going to buy copies for all my friends.”

AW: What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a new novel or project that you are working on?

DJ: I have a finished screenplay that I want to convert into a novel. It’s centered around a true story from the 1970s, a time period that I hold a particular passion for.

AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

DJ: If you have literary contacts, use them. But if you don’t and want complete control of your work then it’s real simple nowadays to self-publish.

AW: How do you market your book?

DJ: I have a Facebook page devoted solely to the book. You can pay to “boost” your posts and place adds for your book in the news feed. I also have a website with pictures and video of India where you can read chapter 1 of the novel and which, of course, links to the page where you can purchase the book (paperback or eBook) on Amazon. And I use Twitter (and hashtags) to find people with similar interests to those being lived in the story.

Readers can find Doug’s website at http://www.nowheretogoa.com/Home_Page.html. He also has a Facebook page dedicated to my book, and you can follow him on Twitter at @Freshguy88. Readers can check out the first chapter of Nowhere to Goa on the website at http://www.nowheretogoa.com/Chapter_1.html.

If you would like to be interviewed on Authors Welcome, please contact us at AuthorsWelcome @ gmail.com.

Author Spotlight: Judy Snider

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Today Authors Welcome is delving into children’s book publishing with our spotlight on new author Judy Snider. Judy was raised in Michigan, lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband Gil and her cats Lucy and Bailey. She also has two grown sons, Jon and Nick.

A retired social worker, Judy had the joyful job of working at Cape Henry Collegiate School for eight years. She occasionally does school visits in her city, as she loves reading her book to kids! Goldy’s Baby Socks is Judy’s first children’s book that she has published and it is due out soon. We had the opportunity to sit and chat with Judy about her upcoming books and how she got started as an author.

AW: Tell us a little bit about your book.

Judy: My children’s picture book is Goldy’s Baby Socks. It is the story of a family who adopts a cat and all the fun that follows.

AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Judy: The intended audience is children age 4-7. So far the feedback has been very good. Kids love the book, and find it funny, yet sweet. It is also about a cat, so the younger kids love to make cat sounds.

AW: How did you come up with the title for your book/series?

Judy: I had a cat called Goldy who always brought us socks as presents. I decided to call the book Goldy’s Baby Socks since it was almost as if she was carrying a baby kitten in her mouth. Her picture is on the book’s website so kids can see what she looked like and make the connection.

AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?

Judy: For this book Thomas McAteer did the cover design and illustrations. He was an illustrator who I found through Xlibris. It was a fascinating experience working with an illustrator while we lived in different cities. I gave him the story and a brief idea of how I would love to see some of the scenes be, and he created the illustrations and cover. He would send them to me for my thoughts and approval. I think the cover of the book is one of the most important parts of a children’s book. It needs to catch a child’s eye to pique their interest as to what’s inside.

AW: How long did it take to complete your picture book?

Judy: It took about 2 months off and on to write it, and then of course to edit, edit , edit. It was published in about 6 months as a print on demand with Xlibris. I wrote another picture book, I Love You, Be Careful with my sister and it was illustrated by Cady Driver. This book targets adults and that took about 6 months as well.

AW: Did you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what did you do to get out of the funk?

Judy: Yes, I did experience writer’s block and chocolate always seemed to help and listening to music. I just wrote my first mystery novella for adults, called, “No Where to Run,” which is currently in the editorial process.  I am working on a second one, and for those I really need music and chocolate. I also just leave the computer and walk outside, and allow thoughts to just come to me.

AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first book published? 

Judy: I have written picture books since third grade. I took a writing course with The Institute of Children’s Literature years ago and submitted my picture book to some traditional publishers, and one said we are going out of business, but publish this one with someone. I read to children at a library in a school, and they loved the manuscript for Goldy’s Baby Socks, and kept asking when I would get it published. I decided to go with a Print On Demand publisher , found an illustrator, and then had so much fun reading the books to children and marketing the book. It really is up to the author to market their book, so they need to like it themselves I feel.  My goal was to read my book to children and see them laugh…and they did…the fun part of being published.

AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Judy: Lucy is definitely my favorite character. She is smart, funny, and is kind to animals. I wanted to make Lucy from a multi-cultural family and make her the kind of girl that many children could relate to. In general, I tend to like strong female characters who also caring and keep going thru tough times.

AW: Give us an interesting or fun fact about your book/series.

Judy: Goldy really did bring socks to us every night. It was just her special thing. In I Love You, Be Careful, my sister and I would laugh at how often we said , “Be careful,” to our children, and they would probably be thinking, Oh, Mom.

AW: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?

Judy: I love so many books, but love beautiful illustrations and books that touch the heart. Each holiday we would find books that were kind and wonderful. I love Mary Hoffman’s book, An Angel Just Like Me.

AW: What made you decide to become an author?

Judy: I have written books since third grade. Being in my 60s now, I have written poetry, many children’s manuscripts, and also song lyrics. I have always loved to read, and most of the time writing is a joy for me. I am loving writing novellas now, and that is my new chapter in my writing career. When my kids were little I took a writing course by mail, joined a writer’s group, and continued reading. I have always loved books  and loved Nancy Drew Mysteries. I can’t draw , so finding good illustrators was so important to me as well as my sister for our book.

AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?

Judy: I was told that I preach too much in some of my manuscripts, and that I’m trying to hard to teach a lesson. Thank goodness for editors, as I need help with spelling, and sentence structure.

AW: What is the best compliment?

Judy: The books are funny and heartwarming and I Love You, Be Careful makes a sweet gift for new moms and brides. Most parents can relate to it.

AW: Do you have another job or are you a full-time author?

Judy: I am a retired social worker, retired from working at a school, but I volunteer a lot. I also help my husband who wrote a medical/political thriller set in New York City and Ukraine banter ideas about his second book he is writing.

AW: What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a new novel or project that you are working on?

Judy: I will always write, but hope to finish my second book, am trying to get my second Goldy book picked up by a publisher, collaborating with another author on a script she did , and writing and collaborating on more songs.

AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Judy: Edit, Edit….don’t give up- really don’t give up…you can write a book….children’s or novel….write every day if only for 10 minutes.

AW: How do you market your book?

Judy: I promote myself in Alumni magazines and local newspaper articles. I have also joined groups with subject matter similar to my book (Cat Writer’s Association).  I have also worked Marsha Casper Cook and Virginia Grenier, who  do great book tours. They also made a book video for me, and let me do interviews on Blog Talk Radio, etc.

Readers can find me on my websites  www.goldysbabysocks.com and www.iloveyoubecareful.com.  There are pictures and videos, and you can learn more about the book.

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