Tag Archives: writer

Author Interview: Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Author Madeleine Holly-Rosing has a husband that likes to call her mono-polar manic. Whether he is right or not, this is one author who can turn out a rousing thriller of supernatural steampunk fun. Please welcome Madeleine to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Madeleine Holly-Rosing and I’m the writer of the steampunk supernatural series, Boston Metaphysical Society. It began as a six-issue graphic novel mini-series, but it has expanded to two graphic novel sequels (and another one coming), an anthology of short stories and novellas, and a novel.

I have an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA where I won the Sloan Fellowship among other awards. I’ve had a few scripts optioned and done some work-for-hire, but nothing produced yet. However, while I was there, I wrote the TV pilot for Boston Metaphysical Society which I then adapted into a graphic novel after I graduated. I also wrote a PSA which was co-produced by Women In Film. (The PSA won a Gold Aurora and a Bronze Telly.) And I’ve run six successful Kickstarter campaigns for Boston Metaphysical Society and wrote the book, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator.

I recently retired as a Fitness Instructor for LA Fitness after 18 years, and I’m working on rebuilding my right shoulder after having it replaced. With a titanium shoulder joint, you could say I’m steampunk from the inside out! I also love to bake, especially if chocolate is involved, and I like to garden. And I love dogs. My current favorite authors are Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries) and Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone).

When and why did you begin writing?

I think I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to write. However, when I was in my early twenties I decided to stop writing until I got more life experience under my belt. And that’s exactly what I did. About ten years later I started writing again. It definitely made my writing better.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when I optioned my first screenplay. It was great to have someone pay me for my work.

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

You bet. Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets is a prequel to the original six issue mini-series graphic novel. An alternate-history steampunk supernatural thriller, it dives into the lives of Elizabeth Weldsmore Hunter, her ex-Pinkerton husband, and her father as they deal with political intrigue and her growing psychic abilities.

The book also won a silver medal in the Feathered Quill Books Awards in the scifi/fantasy category as well being chosen as the overall top pick for Adult, YA, and Children’s categories.

The original six-issue graphic novel mini-series is about an ex-Pinkerton detective, a spirit photographer, and a genius scientist who battle supernatural forces in late 1800s Boston. Bell, Edison, Tesla, and Houdini are also involved in the storyline.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write Elizabeth Weldsmore Hunter’s story. We only learn a bit about her in the graphic novel, so I wanted to give old fans (and new ones) a chance to get to know her.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I go pretty deep into world-building, but make sure everything is character-driven.

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

That was fun. I knew the core theme of the book was about secrets, but a friend and I brainstormed it together through Facebook messaging.

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

A couple actually:

  1. Women have been saving the world forever and no one knows it.
  2. Secrets can kill.

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

Hahahaha. No. Since it’s set in the late 1800s and has paranormal elements, I can safely say it’s not based on someone I know or events in my life. However, I do use historical figures in the graphic novels and reference a few in the novel.

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

Lois McMaster Bujold. Her characters rock and her sentences are beautiful.

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

I’ve been fortunate to have had mentors for my comic book writing, but not really any for prose. However, I do have awesome beta readers that keep me honest.

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

The amazing cover art was done by Luisa Preissler and the title graphics were done by Anke Koopman. I saw a painting Luisa had done on Facebook for a steampunk novella which I loved so I tracked her down. My original thought was to have three characters on the cover, but that was outside of my budget, so I settled on having her depict Elizabeth Weldsmore Hunter, one of the main characters. Turns out that was the best decision.

The cover won a silver medal in the Authorsdb.com cover contest.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Finish what you write. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And find good beta readers.

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

Welcome to the word of Boston Metaphysical Society. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Madeleine Holly-Rosing
Los Angeles, CA

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Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets

Luisa Priessler – https://www.luisapreissler.de/

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Author Interview: Nick Brown

Author Nick Brown is a full-time author who straddles being writing supernatural thrillers and historical fiction. He claims that both genres show how humanity can never escape its past. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Nick Brown and since 2010 I’ve been a full-time author. I have seven published novels and am currently writing the biography of a major British artist. Prior to this, I was an archaeologist and the Principal of one of the UK’s most successful Further Education Colleges. I studied at Leeds and then Manchester University but never wanted to work in education, my dad was a teacher. Unexpectedly, due to quite hard experience in my late twenties of dealing with the aftermath of two racial murders and race riots in Greater Manchester I was asked to open a multiracial college in Oldham, a racially segregated town. I’m very proud of the achievement but it left its scars which can be traced in my books. I was made an ‘Officer of the British Empire’ by the Queen and found talking to her in front of an audience at Buckingham Palace more frightening than any physical danger I’ve faced. I’m a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and live with my wife and sons in a reputedly haunted house in Cheshire where my Skendleby series is set.
I’ve always wanted to write and decided that once the college was well established and I’d paid my dues to society for my education I would give writing a go. It was a good experience for me to fail at first; I couldn’t get an agent or a publisher, no one was interested in what I was writing. Then I was given some quite brutal, constructive criticism by a friend of mine who is a successful author. I heeded the advice, for which I’m very grateful, and took the time to learn the craft. I self-published my first book, ‘Luck Bringer’, in 2013.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began to consider myself as a writer about four books in. I was offered a publishing contract out of the blue and was then approached by a film company to make a movie of Skendleby, the first in my ‘Ancient Gramarye’ series. The film is in the pre-production stage and I co-wrote the script with my youngest son, Gaius, who works in film. This was an interesting experience, to say the least. Being bossed about by your youngest offspring can be a chastening experience.

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

My current book is ‘The Dead Have Gathered’. It is the final instalment in the ‘Ancient Gramarye’ series. It deals with a series of inexplicable worldwide disappearances and the search for the cause of these. Like the rest of the series, it is a supernatural thriller but also with overtones of current politics and a looming ecological Armageddon. I think it’s fast-paced and gritty but sprinkled with mordant humour and provides an unexpected answer to the questions the rest of the series posed. It is a dark book which reflects the troubled times we live in and I guess could be read as a metaphor of the mess we seem to have got ourselves into. I can’t imagine how they’ll film this book if the Skendleby film is successful.

What inspired you to write this book?

I thought I’d finished the series with ‘Green Man Resurrection’ but I had a cataclysmic dream about a new character in that book, the shady U.S. secret service spook, Choatmann, and an unworldly mutating tree. I couldn’t get the dream out of my head so started to write ‘The Dead have Gathered’. I wrote it against a backdrop of the political chaos Brexit has plunged the UK into and the emerging story of climate change. I think it is the most frightening thing I’ve written and a fitting conclusion to the series.

My writing style varies depending on the book. The ‘Luck Bringer’ series, set during the Greco- Persian Wars of the 5th century BC, is based on my academic background and, although visceral, has quite a literary style. It attempts, in an exciting way, to fill in the gaps left by the historians. The ‘Ancient Gramarye’ series is very different and although based on archaeological evidence, is more gritty and written in a modern idiom. I think a writer’s style should be led by the nature of the characters being written about. If the characters don’t ring true the book fails, in this sense, the characters write the books.

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

Deciding a title for this final book in the series was more difficult than any other. My first idea, to call it Choatmann after one of the main characters I rejected as uncommercial and it took almost as long to choose an appropriate title as it did to write the book.

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

Yes, there are a couple of messages which I’ve tried to develop across the five books that constitute the ‘Ancient Gramarye’ series. The series is an exploration of fear and how ordinary people cope with it and the idea was to begin with a simple ghost story in Skendleby and mutate it into something much stranger in the other books. The series has a core cast of ordinary women and men whose, relationships, faith and loyalties are increasingly tested and as such is an examination of the strange ways in which we find the courage to deal with what faces us and the consequences that all our actions have and what we have done to the planet.

The second theme explores the nature of what it is that generates the horror we fear: are there ghosts? Are they merely a consequence of quantum physics that we have yet to understand? Do we generate evil ourselves?

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

Some of the experiences in the books are based on events in my own life but I was unaware of this as I wrote them. I think the best example is an episode of rage that Mandrocles, the young hero of the Luck Bringer books, directs at his lover the, the flute girl, Lyra. The episode takes place months after a traumatic episode in his own life which he thinks he has forgotten. After I finished writing the episode I sat back thinking ‘where did that come from’. Days later it hit me; ‘That’s how I felt months after some of the experiences with violence in Greater Manchester. I think the writing had sprung from my subconscious. Examples of some supernatural events in the Skendleby books stem from experiences in my own house, however, I don’t speculate on these; they happened but I’m unsure of what the cause might have been. I think to an extent it’s difficult for any serious writer to exclude at least trace elements of the autobiographical from their writing.

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

I’ve always been influenced by writers since my earliest childhood memories, particularly those that capture the feel of a place. The foremost of these is Alan Garner who, although not prolific, has written with great intensity about Alderley Edge and its grip on the psyche. In ‘The Dead Have Gathered, I revisit his wizard, shamanic figures. I think that the most intensely felt emotional scene in world literature is Hector’s death and the events leading up to it in the Iliad and that has certainly also been an influence. In terms of psychological depth and human embarrassment, I think ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens is the most acute. I know Dickens included a lot of padding to his narratives and a great deal of slapstick humour but at the heart of Great Expectations there lies an all too familiar bleakness. I have read avidly and collected books since childhood.

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

My mentor as a writer would be the war hero/ poet Aeschylus. He fought at Marathon and probably Salamis and brings that harrowing perspective to his plays. Unlike the ancient Greek historians, he writes major parts for women and allows them to carry the action. Sadly only seven full plays and a handful of fragments have survived but every word carries integrity. I’ve included Aeschylus as one of the principal characters in the Luck Bringer books in an attempt to try and get a picture of the man. He would make a testing but fascinating mentor.

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

For my first six book covers I’ve had the same illustrator, Samuel de Cecatty, I like his work and the covers are original and have been entered for awards. However for ‘The Dead have Gathered ‘, I have a new illustrator; Marcus Brown who is a graphic artist and also my son. He came up with a vision for the cover which portrays the cataclysmic events in the book through the dramatic juxtaposition of the key elements defining the series.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I always offer the same advice to writers; ‘write because you love it not for money and fame because both are ilusive and illusory.’ Writing ought to be a creative joy. My other advice would be learn what you can from criticism but don’t be put off, persevere and you will get better and develop integrity to your style.

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

To my readers, I’d like to say ‘Thank you’.

Nick Brown
Manchester, United kingdom

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The Dead Have Gathered

Illustrator: Marcus Brown
Publisher: New Generation Publishing
http://www.newgeneration-publishing.com

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AMAZON UK

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! Each week I offer up a top ten list of articles that I find interesting as an indy author. There are links to general writing tips, help with your author career path, and sometimes articles that simply tickled my fancy. I hope you enjoy reading them. Let me know your favorites in the comments.

How to Establish a Long-Term Writing Career: Insight From Two Literary Agents

How to Write While Not Writing

Building an Author Platform: What It Is, Why You Need One, and How to Get Started

WHEN CHARACTERS MEET TECHNOLOGY

Get More Done By Giving Yourself Less Time

In It to WIN It: How Committed Are You to Being a Successful Author?

Choosing Naval Tactics for Your Pre-Gunpowder World

Habitable Planets: Exoplanet Research for Worldbuilding

How To Become A Creative Writer & Figure Out What You Should Write

Writers, Remember: The Wand Chooses The Wizard

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to No Wasted Ink’s writing links. Each Monday I make a top ten list of writerly articles that I found useful during my personal surfing of the internet. Most are general writing tips, but sometimes I go a little afield in topics of interest to me. I hope you enjoy them!

Good Story Endings: Happy or Sad, or Something Else?

How to Get Out of the Writing Doldrums

How to Write a Page Turner: Master the 7 Rules of the Cliffhanger

Do I need to start my book with a prologue?

Writing About Your Life Without Ruining Your Relationships

Fly Me to the Moon: Fantasy versus Reality

How to Tell if Your Story Has Too Much Plot, Not Enough Character

Ten Ways to Support Other Authors

Evolution of a Cover: ISABELLA MOON

Deep POV: What IS It & Why Do Readers LOVE It So Much?

What Do You Know by Peter J Foote

The laziest answer given to the aspiring writers during Q&A’s or interviews when asked for advice is: “Write what you know”, but what does that mean?

It’s the trite answer given when vision is lacking or the author is keen for the day to finish. BUT there is a pearl of wisdom in there and I believe we should examine it together, so buckle up.

Though before we start I should caution you, nothing you read in this article will be earth-shattering or groundbreaking. Others have trod this path before, and will again, but I believe my unique perspective adds something to the question.

That’s right, I said unique, in that each of us has our unique memories and encounters that molded us into who we are now. My childhood on an apple farm, studying archaeology, or that unfortunate zipper “incident” when I was six may turn up in a story, I’m referring to something richer.

My story begins in the fall of 2015. I was at a crossroads, but we’ll chat about that later. Until that point, my writing comprised a handful of short stories I penned in the 90s that will never suffer the light of day and countless roleplaying adventures that went unplayed. At that point in my life, the writing was an outlet that struck at random.

So what changed? I had.

I ended a seven-year toxic relationship, it was something I knew was wrong when it began. Since we weren’t harming anyone (no marriage or kids, just played house on weekends), I allowed it to continue because I didn’t believe I deserved better. When I became brave enough to end it, I struggled to talk about my feelings, so I tried my hand at putting my emotions and journey into the written word. “The Silence between Moons”, a tale of a lone ranger and a She-wolf that could take human form was the result, and it became my first sale.

That’s what I knew, the sense of dismissal, the heartache, the feeling that I wasted my best years on a relationship that had no future. Weaving a fantasy tale around my hurt allowed me to feel like a hero, when before I felt like a villain since I had caused hurt and disappointment. Distancing myself from my feeling as I wrote the story wasn’t easy, nor should it have been, but that “over the shoulder” position I allowed myself, helped heal me more than I expected.

I hope your decisions have been better in life, each of us carries around mistakes, hopes, and joys, that emotional “baggage” that makes us the unique beings that we are. Beings that have a story to share with an audience, that connects us to others and that sense of connection is one of the greatest gifts that we can share with our readers.

Having a sale under my belt broke down my walls. Here was a way for me to express myself in a way that had a meaningful impact upon me, it gave me a strength to share myself with others. I hadn’t realized that my words, what I knew, could find a home in tales of wonder and adventure, and bring readers along for the ride.

That first story was clunky and not my best work, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. It led me along a path to tell new stories, explore myself, meet new people that I won’t have met otherwise. After it followed tales which explored how Might doesn’t always make Right, with my story “A Troll by any other name”, how a handful of jelly beans can forge a friendship in my award-winning story “Sea Monkeys”, along with dozens of others. What I know has evolved and changed me, I expect you’re the same. You can surprise yourself when you look through old stories, or journals and ask yourself “Who was I then, what did that version of me know?” That question makes excellent story fodder and can provide wonderful insight for character motivation.

I’m a short story author, and I have the utmost respect for those who tackle novel-length projects and series. We can use writing what you know in 100 words drabbles right up to 100K+ works and everything in between. The stories in which I have shown what I know, be it betrayal, forgotten loves, or soul-crushing shame, has far out-sold those in which I have told the message, and this is where your personal experiences can help you.

So I challenge you, to look within yourself and ask “what you know”, and how you can use it in your writing. One word of warning though, this can be a difficult exercise, it’s upsetting when exploring uncomfortable memories, so I want you to prepare yourself and practice self-care. Not every story you write needs to be a deep, soul-wrenching essay that frays yourself open, but I want you to be true to what you know. You’re an ever-evolving bundle of joys, sorrows, and decisions that get remade every day, and I look forward to reading what you know.


Peter J FootePeter J. Foote is a bestselling speculative fiction writer from Nova Scotia. Born and raised on an apple farm, he studied archaeology in university, and always had a passion for the “what if”, and an appreciation of nature. Outside of writing, he runs a used bookstore specializing in fantasy & sci-fi, cosplays with his fiance, is an active Freemason, and alternates between red wine and coffee as the mood demands.

Having the distinction of appearing in each of the “From the Rock” anthologies published by Engen books (Sci-fi from the Rock, Fantasy from the Rock, Chillers from the Rock, Dystopia from the Rock, and Flights from the Rock), Peter is also the celebrated winner of the “Awkward Author” contest sponsored by Chuck Wendig, autographed proof has pride of place in his writing nook, which you can see on here.

Peter considers himself a genre writer, with Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror being his preferred method of storytelling. He has recently taken to writing drabbles for Black Hare Press, finding the challenge to write a complete story in 100 words a great way to improve his writing skills.

His short stories can be found in both print and in ebook form, with his story “Sea Monkeys” winning the inaugural “Engen Books/Kit Sora, Flash Fiction/Flash Photography” contest in March of 2018. As the founder of the group “Genre Writers of Atlantic Canada”, Peter believes that the writing community is stronger when it works together. GWOAC has grown from a handful of members to over 300 regional authors of all skill and ability, which focus on networking and support to build a stronger genre writing presents in Atlantic Canada.