Category Archives: Author Interviews

Author Interview: Louise White

I asked Louise how she might describe herself and she replied: I watch and learn things from everyday life and swirl them around in my head. I think that most authors feel this way about writing and life in general. Please welcome Louise White to No Wasted Ink.

Author Louise WhiteHello Wendy, my name is Louise White, I was born and raised on the west coast of Scotland where it’s fairly cold for most of the year but also very beautiful. I am part of a large, very close family. Rather dysfunctional at times, it just makes for a more interesting life. I’ve learned a lot of skills through the years, in particular during my nursing years and whilst working as a police constable. I put a great deal of what I’ve learned into my writing.

When and why did you begin writing?

When I reduced my regular working hours in 2011, I had a little extra time on my hands so I started writing The Calling without thinking too much about it. Before that, my writing activities consisted mainly of shopping lists, compiling reports, record keeping and suchlike.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s a difficult one. I should probably say, when I held my first book in my hand but that’s not really true. I only published my first book in November last year, and maybe it’s not sunk in yet, but I’ve never defined myself by any of the skills that I’ve gained. I have friends and neighbours who refer to me as ‘The nurse’ or ‘The police officer’. Lately, I suppose some will refer to me as, ‘The fantasy writer’.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The ‘Gateway’ series is about a girl who is drawn into a system which coexists with Earth, unbeknown to most humans. From other realms, there are demons/ Otherworlders, the worst of which traffic in rather gullible or greedy humans. After her first horrific encounter with a Gateway to another realm, Carolyn is changed and becomes the mythical ‘destroyer’. The magically gifted organisation of the Protectorate recruit her, and together they police the gateways more effectively than before.

In opposition to the Protectorate, the government based Agency seeks to exploit the Gateways’ existence-often using methods on a par with the demons.
In Chasing the Demon, Carolyn and her demon friend Mario are stranded on another realm behind a locked gateway. Carolyn’s team are struggling to retrieve their destroyer.

The book is written from several characters POV and delves more deeply into the workings of the realms and the lives of the characters which The Calling has introduced. There are challenges and surprises to be had from the outset and along the way. There’s lots of action and adventure with the tension mounting throughout the story as the magical journey through the realms continues.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve never really grown up. As a child I was always in trouble for ‘daydreaming’. As an adult, the only difference is that I can hide it better. I look at situations before me and ‘what if?’ them. When I found the time to start writing, I hadn’t even thought about writing fantasy, I had a vague notion of something with a supernatural twist, but my imagination got away from me and the ‘Gateway’ series is the result.

Do you have a specific writing style?

For the ‘Gateway’ series I write in the third person from a specific character’s POV. That seems to work best for me. At first it was strange, but now I love the challenge of getting into the heads of ‘evil’ characters like the Agency’s Levy, and High mage, Sean, who is a mysterious and enigmatic magic user.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Carolyn was ‘Called’ to service through the gateways, so it was the natural choice for the first book. Chasing the Demon is appropriate for book 2 in a number of ways, not least for the fact that Carolyn is in fact other than human, and the team is chasing through the realms to get her back.

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

No. I want readers to simply enjoy the escapism that the story should give them. Should they choose to take anything further from it, then I’ll be very happy with that also. I am amazed already at how the difference in readers’ age and interests reflects on what they take out of The Calling.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Of course! Each character consists of traits and characteristics that I’ve observed, witnessed or experienced and filed for use.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

For my school Highers, we covered William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, and it both horrified and inspired, which to me is the best possible combination for reading material. I’m also very partial to all sorts of poetry, favourites being The Lady of Shalott and The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Highwayman by Alfred Noye and Ayrshire’s own Robert Burns’ Tam o’ Shanter.
The inspiration is to be found in the power of beautifully strung-together words. I like the emotional impact of words and phrases which may evoke joy, melancholy, awe, or they may highlight virtues of strength, courage and wisdom.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Clarissa Yeo came to my attention as a very capable cover designer, I liked her bold exciting style.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

For brand new writers- Like me a few months ago! – I would probably stress that they shouldn’t put too much pressure on themselves. Goals are nice to have, but it’s best to keep them flexible and try to just to have fun with writing. Sometimes it is great just to share your stories verbally with anyone who will listen.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I feel honoured when a reader simply adds me to their ‘to read’ list, never mind how it is their reviews that continue to inspire me to work ever harder in the creation of my books. With busy lives and valuable time, my heartfelt thanks go to every reader who took a chance on a new author and purchased and/ or reviewed my book.

Chasing the Demon Book CoverLouise G. White
Ayrshire, Scotland

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Author Interview: K. M. Alexander

It is always a pleasure to introduce an author from my home state. K. M. Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native and novelist from Seattle, Washington. I hope you enjoy his story here on No Wasted Ink.

Author KM AlexanderMy name is K. M. Alexander. I’m a Pacific Northwest native and novelist living and working in Seattle, Washington with my wife and our two dogs. I’m an avid hiker and love all the mountains I can explore around here. I am a wannabe cyclist who doesn’t ride as often as he should, and I’m a bit of a beer snob (IPAs over all else.) I also work a lot.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved reading and I had stories in my head that I wanted told. Writing ended up being the best way for me to tell those tales. I started writing about five or six years ago. I finished a few manuscripts, half-finished a few others, tabled all of them, and started more. I think that’s the way of things. It wasn’t until I had a few stories under my belt that I came across one that was good and I ran with it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I started writing. I didn’t consider myself a novelist until I published my first book. In my mind if you’re engaged in the act of writing you’re a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Yeah! “The Stars Were Right” is a Lovecraftian influenced urban fantasy about a blue-collar guy who gets accused of a crime he didn’t commit. He is forced to go on the run and try to clear his name while avoiding the police and the people who are framing him. It all takes place in Lovat, a massive multi-level megapolis that has some big-city noir influences and some odd inhabitants. It’s a fun and strange world and, so far, it’s been really well received.

What inspired you to write this book?

It was a story that I wanted to read. No one was writing it, so I did. I’ve always loved H.P. Lovecraft’s stuff, but wanted to move from the realm of Lovecraftian horror and write something that’s more approachable.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t set out to write a specific style. My focus is to tell a good story. I want to let readers get lost in a world for a bit. I want them forget everything else around them and let them live in another place for a time. I guess my style would be: fun and approachable. I try to avoid getting bogged down by anything else.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The title comes from a line from “Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft: “When the stars were right, They could plunge from world to world through the sky; but when the stars were wrong, They could not live.” It just fit. Plus there’s a bit of a hint of the series’ overarching plot in the title as well.

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

I like to remain coy when it comes to the subject of messages. As the author, if I say anything it taints the reader’s thoughts going in so I like to leave that up to reader. It should be said, however, that I love hearing what messages readers pick up on. For me that engagement between reader and author is one of the most exciting parts about writing.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Nope. Thank goodness. :)

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

H. P. Lovecraft was obviously a big influence on me and The Stars Were Right. There’s something very cerebral about his work that resonates with me. Neil Gaiman has always been a huge influence on me, I love the way he sets tone and the creativity behind his plots. China Miéville is also a favorite, in particular his world building skills, and the strange characters he creates. His worlds are engaging and complex but also grounded and lived in, that’s a tough balance. I also love Mark Twain. It’s amazing how approachable and funny he remains over 100 years after he passed away. Finally, Cormac McCarthy, the man is a genius when it comes to prose and tone.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Not really. I have been working alone at this for a long time. Started finding a few writing groups after I moved to Seattle but I’ve never had that mentor relationship with another writer. At least not yet.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Why I designed it! I have an extensive background in graphic and user experience design and I knew what I wanted when I finished the book. The 1866 etching that serves as the background is “The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones” by Gustave Doré though edited. The lettering was done by Jon Contino, a friend of mine. I’m no illustrator and I can’t letter to save my life. Jon is incredibly talented at both and his lettering really solidified the tone I was wanting to set with the cover for “The Stars Were Right.” Jon also returned to help me on the cover for the sequel as well. I haven’t told him how many of these I have planned.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I considered responding with all the things everyone always says. Stuff like: never stop writing, finish what you write, let people read it, don’t get discouraged, keep at it, etc. Really though, advice will only get you so far. Everyone works differently. I think it’s important for writers to find their own path for their writing. What works for one person won’t always work for someone else. It’s not easy but finding your own stride is important for personal success. The best way to find that path is to write and be honest with how your approach is working for you and be willing to keep trying different things until you find that sweet spot.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I love you all. You’re amazing. It’s terrifying to work on something so long and then finally release it into the wild. Your encouragement and excitement in posts, tweets, and emails is what keeps me doing this. I have a lot more stories I want to tell. I’m not done yet. Thanks for joining me on this crazy adventure.

The Stars Were Right Book CoverK. M. Alexander
Seattle, Washington

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Cover Artist: K. M. Alexander (design), Jon Contino (lettering)

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Author Interview: Diane M. Robinson

Diane may be a self-proclaimed delusional fantasy writer, but she takes the craft of writing well seriously. Her goal is to leave something original and fun in the minds of her readers. I think she has hit that goal out of the ballpark with this interview. I’m pleased to welcome Diane to No Wasted Ink.

Author Diane M. RobinsonHello Wendy and readers of No Wasted Ink. My name is Diane Mae Robinson; I am a children’s fantasy/adventure chapter book author who lives in an out-of-the way magical forest in central Alberta, Canada. Yep, magical forest: gnomes, elves, dragons, castles, all of it. People who know me say I am somewhat delusional—ummm, aren’t all fantasy writers?

Besides being a writer I have other jobs, which pay for the upkeep of the magical forest: dental office manager, art teacher, and writing instructor. In this magical forest, I live in a small castle-type house, which my husband and I designed and built by ourselves several years ago. The forest is also home to my five horses and four dogs. Through the years living here, I have worked on building many wonderful medieval-type flower gardens and stone pathways, filled with sculptures of magical creatures that I have made. These gardens surrounded by the forest is where I get my inspiration for writing fantasy.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing around the age of eight–well after I had learned to read and, by then, had read every children’s book in the small town library—when I decided to make up plays and perform them for the neighborhood kids. The only other volunteer in my plays was my younger sister, which was good and bad—the themes of the plays were medieval; my sister would not act the part of the prince unless she was allowed to wear her cowboy duds. So, as I was the princess being rescued by my handsome prince (aka cowboy), the plays were performed to a live audience of five until a particular day when chaos struck. My prince had a simple task—jump from the roof of the house and rescue me where I was tied to a tree by the evil villain. The prince (aka cowboy) jumped, broke her arm, my mom heard the racket, I was untied by mom, sister went to hospital, sister got home from hospital, I asked her: “Why didn’t you just use your cape?” Mom banned me from ever making up plays again. When sister forgave me, I wrote more plays that she agreed to be the prince (aka cowboy) in. So, what else to do but bring my merry band of play watchers deeper into the forest and out of prying eyes.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have considered myself a writer ever since I started writing plays at age eight: I write, I create, I am a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I am currently working on book three of my fantasy/adventure series, Sir Princess Petra’s Mission–The Pen Pieyu Adventures. Book one, Sir Princess Petra,—The Pen Pieyu Adventures, was published in 2012 and has since won three major book awards. Book two, Sir Princess Petra’s Talent—The Pen Pieyu Adventures, was released in Sept. 2013. I am also working on a grammar book for elementary grades; this book has a medieval theme and the characters from my series are in this book also.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always preferred fantasy stories and movies over all other genres. So, once the characters of this series started invading my head several years ago, they became so real to me that I had no choice but to write about their adventures. Often, I just feel like the writer while they tell me what is going to happen.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I am definitely a character-driven writer over a plot-driven writer. Plot is very important in children’s books, but if kids can feel and see the adventures through my characters. to me, all is won. I have an out-of-the box sense of humor and this comes out in my characters and their situations.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The characters woke me up in the middle of the night, dictated their names, told me the places, declared their situations, and yes, even forced me on the titles of the books. Does this ever happen to other writers? Just curious.

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

The main character of this series, Sir Princess Petra, is a princess whose greatest accomplishment is becoming a knight. She accomplishes this through kindness, understanding, and acceptance of others; all to the dismay of her father, the king, who thinks knights have to be big and mean and nasty.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

All my characters and situations in the stories are purely fictional—made up in my delusional (or so I’m told) mind.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis for years. His stories influence me by the way the reader can totally get lost in his fantasy world. Lemony Snicket influences me with his sharp wit and humor, and the bizarre situations of his stories. Both of these writers inspire me to write engaging stories for children that leave a mark, have good values, and are fun to read.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I think anybody that writes a great story is a mentor because they instill in us, other writers, the need to write well.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The cover designer and illustrator, Samantha Kickingbird, was selected by the publisher as she works there. I had no choice in the matter and didn’t see the first illustrations until well into the set-up stages of the books. I couldn’t have asked for a better illustrator for this series.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

As I tell my writing students: If you love to write, learn to write well. Don’t be in a hurry to publish. Re-write and edit, and then do it again and again until you have nearly created perfection before submitting your manuscript to publishers. My first book was rejected 27 times over a 9 year period before I finally received a traditional publishing contract. And my 2nd book was well on it’s way to receiving numerous 5 star reviews before I acquired a literary agent. It takes patience, perseverance, and the art of writing well before you have a book that you can be proud of.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Write from your heart, with passion and imagination, and you will breath life into your stories.

Sir Princess Petra's Talent Book CoverDiane Mae Robinson
From a magical forest, near St. Paul, Alberta, Canada

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Cover Artist: Samantha Kickingbird
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Author Interview: Matthew Pallamary

I asked Matt to give a short description of himself and he replied: “Author, Editor, Shamanic Explorer.” No Wasted Ink is honored to feature this writing instructor and author for your consideration.

Author Matthew PallamaryMy name is Matt Pallamary, a perspiring writer who has been teaching a Phantastic Fiction Workshop for the past 25 years at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, The Southern California Writer’s Conference and many others.

When and why did you begin writing?

As far as dramatic writing and storytelling goes, I had a good friend killed on his motorcycle around 1982 or 1983, which prompted me to write a novel about a guy who gets killed on his motorcycle and wakes up outside his body caught up with dark forces in the spirit world.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have always loved words and language. I won first place in the school spelling Bee in the 6th grade and went on to a citywide spelling Bee. English was my favorite subject in high school and my writing caught the attention of my college creative writing teachers.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

DreamLand was written with legendary DJ Ken Reeth, who left the planet on May 9th 2005.

Fueled by breakthroughs in technology and neuroscience, the terminally ill, while in an induced slumber, in a pain-free, medically supervised environment, can literally dream their lives away in pre-programmed situations of their choosing, controlled by a super computer.

The well-meaning creators of computer generated dreaming plan to conquer the stigma of death by making its wonders available to all, so people can die in vivid, pre-programmed dream surroundings, reliving blissful moments from their past. All goes according to plan until the dream of DreamLand is shattered by the profit-seeking backer of the project.

What inspired you to write this book?

Ken and I were in writing workshops together and we became friends and fans of each other’s writing. He kept coming up with these short dream sequences that were vignettes more than stories and was wondering what to do with them. We got to talking and the next thing you know we were writing a book together.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is specifically my own that I consciously developed. As I tell my writing students. The brain is the canvas and the words are the strokes of the brush from a giant palette, and it must be dynamic, moving, and full of energy, making every word count. The act of reading is an act of co-creation between the writer and the reader. It is the writer’s job to paint the significant details of their story that the reader can hook into and fill in the blanks that come from their own subjective experiences and interpretations.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

It is the world where the story takes place.

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

Technology may seem to perform certain tasks flawlessly, but human motives and their skewed cross-purposes can bring dire consequences.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

In a nutshell, I realized that my life was stranger than anything I could make up, so I wrote about it and the response has been gratifying. I have done extensive dream work and dream studies, so I know this territory well.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I was blessed to have Ray Bradbury as a mentor. Ray kicked off the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference for 35 years and through Sid Stebel I got to know Ray and learned much from him. Ray was not one to give out blurbs, but he blurbed my first book, a short story collection titled The Small Dark Room of the Soul saying “Bravo! More!”

My recent long overdue follow up to The Small Dark Room of the Soul, titled A Short Walk to the Other Side is dedicated to him. Ray always said, “Write for the love of it!” His opening speeches at the SBWC were epic!

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I am proud to say that I designed the cover of my book and I had a lot of fun doing it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

As a wise writer once told me: Writing = Ass in chair.

Believe in yourself and what you have to say and do it because you love it. Writing workshops and conferences are awesome proving grounds and wonderfully supportive environments to thrive in.

Dreamland Book CoverKen Reeth & Matthew J. Pallamary
San Diego, CA

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Cover Artist: Matthew J. Pallamary

Publisher: Mystic Ink Publishing

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Author Interview: Cheryllynn Dyess

When I asked CeeCee how she might describe herself, she answered: “Never forget where you have been, so you can remember where you may not want to go again.” Experiencing the unique insights and thoughts of the author is one of the reasons we read. I am glad to introduce this southern fantasy author to you here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Cheryllynn DyessI am Cheryllynn Dyess. I am a forty-two year old woman born and raised in the southeastern part of the United States, mainly Georgia and Florida. I was raised loving the outdoors and being crafty. I enjoy fishing, crafting, reading, and football. I graduated from the University of Phoenix with my BA in Healthcare Administration/Health Information Systems. I have about twenty years of healthcare experience from reception to health aide to dental assisting in oral surgery to management. I have always had a drive to take care of others.

I am a mother of four and two grand-babies. I have three fur babies. Two Chihuahua’s and one Chihuahua and one mini Australian Shepherd mix. Currently, writing is one of two occupations I have. Avon is the other. Yes, I am the Avon Lady! I have been in Avon for two years and it has been very successful for me. The earnings from Avon have paid for all the publishing and marketing costs of my books as well as many household bills. Actually, I started Avon to pay for my writing expenses and the business has grown immensely.

When and why did you begin writing?

In the mid to late 1980s, I began scribbling away thoughts and pieces of crumbs to whole dishes that are now poems. I began writing for no reason other than I felt the drive to do so. My hand met the pen and the pen met the paper, creating many pieces of work that are still on the original paper from decades ago.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Two years ago I began writing as a serious notion to be a writer, but only when I saw my first book published in my hands did I acknowledge that I was an actual writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My most recently published book is Kyluna, Jein’s Journey Series Book 3. In Kyluna, Jein has been accepted as the type of woman she wants to be and now is allowing herself to accept her destiny. Accepting love and fate has always been a struggle for Jein, since meeting Rohm she has had little choice but to accept and enjoy what life has meant for her. She finally finds a land worthy of her people and is visited by…well, now you will have to read the book to learn that part.

What inspired you to write this book?

I am not sure that inspiration drove me to write this series to be honest. It’s hard to explain, I was told I should write a book because I had talent. So one day I said, “Okay I will.” I sat at the computer and Jein’s Journey started to unfold. In many ways Jein is a reflection of myself, so in that case I am my own inspiration.

Do you have a specific writing style?

When I write I typically grab an idea and start writing, editing and rewriting. I do not plan much although I do research when needed.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Jein’s Journey was a given title when I knew it would be more than one book about Jein. Jein’s Journey is not only about where she goes to look for a home for her people but also about her journey with life.

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

The underlying message in my novel is to accept who you are and to always be true to yourself no matter what. Too many times people change who they are to fit others desires and needs and this is not how we should be at any time.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The events are not comparable to any in my life or any others that I am aware of, but as for experience, yes. The general feeling of being an individual different than what others deemed acceptable, always struggling with being true to oneself, is in reference to me. I grew up in a home where I could not be myself and when I did, I was chided greatly for not being what I was expected to be.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Writing influences most comes from Edgar Allen Poe, others include more recents like J.K.Rowling, T.M. Nielsen, Jennifer Malone Wright and N.K.Jemisin.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Kristy Charbonneau did the cover design on all my books, not just this one. I was refered to her from a fellow author and was greatly impressed with her work from my first self-published book and had to have her to repeat her magic for me.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Advice for writers, well I would say first if you chose to write know that your work does not end at the ending page of the story. Whether you are self-published or published through an agent the work does not end with the hit of the submit button. Martketing, marketing and marketing are forever a job. I would advise that a writer take time to read about several paths that are available for editing services, cover designs, formatting professionals, publishing venues and most of all marketing. There is a lot of work to write a book but if you do not do the proper amount of work to get it in the hands of readers it was all for not.

My second huge piece of advice is to remember that you will not please all readers. If you have a style of writing and a genre you prefer then stay true to yourself and your writing.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

To all my readers and to any readers, really, remember that the author you are reading the work of has poured their souls out for the world to see openly so do them a kind favor and leave a review of that book you just read. Let us authors know how you like the work or follow us on one of our social media networks. We love to hear feedback and to have interaction with our readers. As always, I would love to say thank you to my readers for taking the time to consider my work, purchasing it and reading it.

kyluna book coverCheryllynn Dyess
Central Texas

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Cover Artist: Kristy Charbonneau

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