Tag Archives: YA

Author Interview – Henry Herz

Author Henry Herz writes fantasy and science fiction for children, so they will grow up to be interesting adults. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Henry HerzI write fantasy and science fiction for children, sometimes aided by my young sons. I am a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). In addition to writing books, I review children’s books for the San Francisco Book Review and the San Diego Book Review. I also enjoy moderating KidLit or speculative fiction literature panels at conventions like WonderCon and San Diego Comic-Con. I created KidLit Creature Week, an annual online gallery of monsters, creatures, and other imaginary beasts from children’s books and I was the co-developer of Six Degrees of Sauron, a web-based version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but applied to The Lord of the Rings.

When and why did you begin writing?

About five years ago, I drafted a fantasy early chapter book, NIMPENTOAD, to interest my sons in reading fantasy. My initial intention was simply to share it within the family. Little did I know that this would lead to a collaboration and co-authorship of a book. So while I’ve enjoyed reading fantasy and science fiction my entire life (beginning with WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE), my interest in writing for kids began relatively recently.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a writer with the traditional publication of my picture book, MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES. But really, the moment you start to write a story, whether it ends up being published or not, you are a writer.

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

My second traditionally published picture book is WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY. As the name suggests, it is a medieval fantasy rendering of the cyclical tale popularized by Laura Numeroff’s WHEN YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE. IMP will be published by Pelican in the spring of 2016.

What inspired you to write this book?

While I do write original fiction, I also enjoy taking fun stories and transporting them into the world of fantasy. My mission is to get kids loving to read fantasy and science fiction, so that when they’re older, they’ll graduate to reading Tolkien, Rowling, and others.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m a firm believer in nouns, verbs, and punctuation. Seriously though, I don’t believe I do. Tense, point of view, and voice vary with how I want the reader experience the story. Certainly humor is present in all my writing, with a dose of (shhh) learning.

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

Well, given I wanted to clue readers in that this was a fantasy cyclical tale, I substituted a mythological creature for a mundane one. Voila!

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

When you give an imp a penny, hilarity ensues. I also like to share a bit of mythology with young readers. In this case, that imps are small, relatively harmless creatures that cause mischief.

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

Ha! One could easily substitute “kid” for “imp”.

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

That’s an interesting question. Usually it is phrased, “which author’s writing do you like best?” For most influence, I’d say Maurice Sendak and J.R.R. Tolkien for hooking me on the idea of creating alternate worlds that would be fun to visit. When readers want to climb into my books’ illustrations and go exploring, I’ve done my job.

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

I think of mentor as someone who helps you one-on-one. So, in that sense I have not had a mentor. But, I love the humor in Jon Klassen’s books, the voice in the books by Kevin Hearne and Naomi Novik, the poetry of Jane Yolen, the worldbuilding of J.R.R. Tolkien, and the sweetness of Arnold Lobel’s FROG AND TOAD.

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

The amazing Abigail Larson did the artwork for MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES, WHEN YOU GIVE AND IMP A PENNY, and a dark fantasy anthology I edited, BEYOND THE PALE, featuring award-winning and bestselling authors Peter S. Beagle, Heather Brewer, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, and Jane Yolen!

I “discovered” Abigail’s artwork on the DeviantArt website, and convinced her to illustrate MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES. Almost always the publisher selects the artist, but in the case of my two picture books, I pitched Abigail’s art with my manuscript. That is not normal, but neither am I.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to: 1. read (because an author is the product of all the books he or she reads), 2. write and get critiqued (because it is only through writing, getting feedback, and revising that one can hone their craft), 3. persevere (because publishing is a slow business, and it takes a long time to get an agent or editor to say “yes”), and 4. develop a thick skin (because you will get a lot of rejection, but you shouldn’t take it personally).

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

As writers, we appreciate your support in the form of buying, reading, and reviewing our books on Amazon and Goodreads. A ton of work goes into creating a good story, so it is very gratifying when we know we’ve brought a little joy into others’ lives.

When You Give an Imp a Penny Book CoverHenry Herz
San Diego, CA

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Author Interview: Lauren Lynn

Lauren Lynne is a young adult author of action adventure, contemporary fantasy stories and an educator of children and adults. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Lauren LynneMy name is Lynne, Lauren Lynne and yep, I’m a James Bond fan. Seeing as how I’m not nearly as cool as the British secret agent, I write adventure stories. When I began writing it was intended for young adults but luckily for me my stories draw a much wider audience. I’m more than a published author. I’m also a certified teacher in Oregon and I work with students from kindergarten to adults. This last year I even started doing some technical editing but my passions will always be engaging readers in vibrant stories. I do more than just teach, write and edit. I love hanging out with my boys, our looney golden retriever and our array of cats. I’ve come to believe that “sucker” is tattooed on my forehead since we have four furry fosters at our house right now. So, when I’m not scooping cat boxes, I may be reading or taking scenic pictures.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing for fun in elementary school. As I’ve gotten older I can write a wider variety of things but as a kid growing up it was all fiction. I hated everything else.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I started a novel in college but I never did anything with it. I hope to revisit it, finish it and publish it. I was playing Dungeons and Dragons with my college buddies at the time so guess what the basis of that story is. I was definitely a writer by 2011 when I began in earnest on my journey to publication.

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

My current work is to finish the fifth and final book in my Secret Watchers series. I have very mixed feelings as my time with Owen comes to an end. He has been a part of my life since 2011 and it will be hard to let him go. With the exception of the first book in the series I have not worked on only one book at a time so I am also working on a dystopian young adult novel and a children’s Christmas book.

What inspired you to write this book?

To talk about what inspired me to write Destiny, the last book in the Secret Watchers series, I have to go back to Visions, the first in the series. My life was in turmoil and I had the strong desire to make some changes. In real life there are some things we cannot change, so I invented a pretend world where I could decide what would happen. If I could not be the master of my own destiny for the moment, then I would control someone else’s.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I understand that it is unusual, but I very much like to put the reader right in the protagonist’s head. This style has its difficulties in that you can only show the reader what the protagonist literally sees, hears and experiences, but I feel that readers gain a closer connection.

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

The final book in this series is Destiny. All the other titles had to do with how we experience our world (Visions, Whispers, Insights, and Perceptions). Visions are Owen’s special ability and now in this final book it is his Destiny that he must face.

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

I’m a teacher. My first goal was to reach out to male reluctant readers. Through the years I have also witnessed a change in our students and so my second goal became to encourage them to be the best that they could be and to try to always do the right thing even if it’s hard.

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

The experiences in the book are from all around me. I am constantly writing down the way that someone says something to asking if I can use their story to weave into my own. When Owen split open his chin; it was inspired by my neighbor who had just done the same thing. The way Owen looks at the world is a little bit me but mostly my boys and our favorite characters from literature. When I write for Owen’s mom; it is exactly how I would talk to my boys.

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

For me it is less about the author and more about the work. It is the characters they build that really speak to me. I read cozy mysteries and all kinds of young adult novels. One of my favorite series is Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling but I’m also a fan of Rick Riordan, Anthony Horowitz, Suzanne Collins, Cassandra Clare and Cleo Coyle. This eclectic collection has characters that move me and I can connect with.

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

I would choose Rowling. I admire how she raised herself up from humble beginnings and seems to listen to her audience. She seems to be a likable person and I believe that is just as important as creating a good product.

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

I am published by BookBaby. I gave the design team a brief description of book one, color ideas and told them how much I liked a clock face they had used on another book. I also sent along a picture I had taken at Heceta Head, Oregon. Their first try was amazing and all I did was suggest a color change. Since then we have kept my picture from Hecta Head and the clock face because Owen’s watch is vital to the plot line. In the last three books we added outdoor pictures I took of local high school students. So who designed them? We did.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up and keep writing. Whatever we choose to do regularly, we get better at. Don’t expect to be a best seller in the first week your book comes out or even in the first year; that is something that only happens to a lucky few. Stay positive; our day in the sun will come. I’ve read several places that the best way to make money is to keep producing more works, so get going, I know you have something to say!

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

Big hugs friends and follow your dreams. If there is a story in you, get out there and share it!

Book Cover VisionsLauren Lynne
Milwaukie, Oregon

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Author Interview: LRW Lee

I am pleased to introduce LRW Lee, a young adult fantasy author to the mix here on No Wasted Ink. Linda writes highly imaginative stories that appeal to young people or the young at heart.

Author LRW LeeHi, my name is LRW Lee and I’m a MG/YA author. I love having fun and laughing. The Sound of Music is my favorite musical. I hate scary movies. But, I love piano and strings music, sunsets in Hawaii and a good cup of decaf, French press coffee (yes, decaf!). I also love Ansel Adams prints, as well as all manner of kinetic art.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing professionally in 2011 after selling the company I founded and grew over twelve years. My mentor worked with my thinking about how to best run a company and many of the principles he taught me, both business and personal, transformed my life. I found that as I adopted much of his philosophy, my life became more meaningful and peaceful. This thinking is what I infuse throughout my writing in hopes that those who read my work can catch a glimpse of a more satisfying way of living.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I started writing professionally in 2011.

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

In this, the second of a seven book series, our hero, Andy Smithson, is back in the land of Oomaldee to retrieve the second ingredient for the recipe to break a 500-year-old curse that clouds the land. Before he sets out on his adventure though, the king and his wizard are taken ill when the Stone of Athanasia, the object that gives the king unending life, is stolen. Andy must choose between his loyalties to the king who he has grown to deeply love, and obediently retrieving the second ingredient.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always loved tales with castles and sword fights and mythical creatures. This book includes the beloved merman, Glaucin, the fun-loving pixie, Spark, the evil King Abaddon, a seven-headed, firing-breathing dragon, and creatures I invented, vulture-men who are part human, part vulture and the Bellicose. As well, it has stone statues that come to life – All the ingredients for a fascinating adventure.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I write with a style that is character/plot-driven. I guess you could say I love to write in layers, which is the style my books require. I have an allegorical layer, a narrative of characters in the afterlife, characters in our present world and folks in another world. I love to see how all of the characters interact with and react to each other, driving the plot. As well, I love to laugh and I can’t help but sprinkle humor throughout my stories. Book one had a lot of afterlife related humor (you go to the Terminal when you die, “soul music” was playing and more) as well as just laugh out loud fun with cow farts and the like. I have a ball and I hope it’s contagious. I’ll let my readers discover the humor I added to book 2.

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

The seven-book series is an allegory about overcoming. As such, the title of each book reveals the steps to recovery from adversity. The first book’s title is Blast of the Dragon’s Fury. That title speaks to the fury one feels when deeply hurt from betrayal. The title for the second book is Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning and it’s a play on words. Venom can refer to a poison or it can refer to malice. The second step one goes through in recovering from betrayal is feeling malice toward the one who hurt you.

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

There are several lessons I hope my readers gain from spending time with me.

1) What does it mean to take a stand for something?
2) What must one be willing to endure when standing on principle?
3) How does one choose between what you hold dear and obedience, if they conflict?
4) How to overcome frustration

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

Some of the experiences and lessons are based on my son, but many of the specific happenings I invented.

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

I name CS Lewis as the first author to significantly influence my life. I remember reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as a child and his style of writing fascinated me. He wrote on multiple levels, including an allegorical level with deeper meaning. After reading that book, I knew I wanted to write an allegorical children’s book one day.

JK Rowling has also significantly influenced how I think about writing. I have studied how she constructed the Harry Potter series and learned much from character development to plot evolution to series creation from her. She inspires me.

I also count Brandon Mull among authors that have influenced my life. I love his imagination and skill at inventing characters and situations that put them through tests that reveal their character.

Morgan Rice is also an author I respect. I love how prolific she is as well as her mastery of crafting conflict. I read her Sorcerer’s Ring series and, particularly at the beginning, I was drawn into the treachery and cruelty and power of the villain. Her craft of conflict is amazing.

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

While this may sound cliché and I have never met her, I would consider J. K. Rowling my mentor in writing. Some purest criticize her for poor sentence structure and other faux pas but you can’t argue with her commercial success. She wrote books that grabbed our attention and kept it as she invented a magical world full of danger and intrigue.

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

D. Robert Pease. Dale is part of a group of indie authors, Emblazoners, that I hooked up with early on after publishing my first book. I knew him and had seen his work and knew he would do a great job with my books.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Believe in what you’re doing and stick to it. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. And, if there is a reason you are passionate about writing, only you can hold that narrative and see it through.

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

First, thank you so much for your support. It is you that I write for and it is gratifying when I hear feedback from you as I have over the first year since publishing the first book in the series. Secondly, I hope you thoroughly enjoy the adventure and tales of this series, but with that, I hope that having spent a few hours with me, will help you learn from the uncommon life principles I shared in the books, helping you live a more peaceful journey through life.

I am very excited to announce that the free serialized podcast of book 1, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is now available on the iTunes store.

Venom of the Serpent's Cunning Book CoverLRW Lee
Austin, TX

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Author Interview: Paul Ramey

Visiting old cemeteries can lead you to discover many interesting facts of the past. Paul Ramey takes his fascination with graveyard history a few steps further which resulted in the research for his YA mystery novel. I’m pleased to have him here at No Wasted Ink.

Paul Ramey - AuthorMy name is Paul Ramey, and I am a writer, graphic artist, musician, and unrepentant cemetery buff. I’m a Kentucky native. I’ve also spent a few years in Providence, RI. In 2006 I moved to sunny Jacksonville, Florida, where my feet have (for the most part) been much, much warmer. Not long afterward I met my beautiful wife, Tina, and two years ago we welcomed our first child, Sofia Alafaire.

I am 45 years old, a lifelong health nut, a huge fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury, and consider Old Rasputin to be the very finest of Imperial Stout beers.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began creating little comic magazines that I’d write, draw and staple together when I was eight years old. The creation of these zines continued and evolved all the way through college, and I credit them for being my first training ground in both writing and art, as well as marketing.

My first formal awareness that I could actually write well came about through a high school humanities teacher, who always called my style “Rameyesque.” I didn’t actually know what that meant, but it stroked my ego enough for me to eventually get a B.A. in journalism. I also had a wonderful, well-known creative writing professor during my college years (Gurney Norman of Divine Right’s Trip fame), who was especially motivating and illuminating as to possible future writing paths.

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

Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire revolves around an eccentric teenager and local amateur tour guide named Edgar Wilde. Edgar is seldom NOT seen in Victorian garb (he’s mocked at school for wearing Victorian-era apparel there, including top hat), and needless to say, he doesn’t quite fit in with his peers. In contrast, he connects easily with many of the adults around town, whom he finds closer to being his intellectual equal.

In an effort to make his amateur cemetery tours more enticing, he often researches old files at the town library looking for interesting facts. As the novel begins, Edgar has stumbled onto a strange mystery about a local public figure from hundreds of years ago. This leads quickly to hints of a centuries-old secret; a forgotten history that some in the town would rather stay hidden. The story is chock-full of cemetery clues, rumors of witches, and a legendary lost book of spells, as well as a number of memorable, enjoyable characters.

As a genre, Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire fits in well at the older end of the young-adult category, but I believe adults will also find it to be a very entertaining mystery.

What inspired you to write this book?

I have a passion for old cemeteries – the history, the iconography. To me, they’re really beautiful outside museums. So I wanted to write a novel that communicated this fascination, and to educate the reader a bit concerning cemetery history, symbolism and even various materials used to make the markers. Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire goes to great lengths to weave these aspects into the plot.

In an interesting twist, the book was also inspired by my new daughter, Sofia. I’d been working on a number of other creative projects, almost all of which were completely sidelined when the new baby arrived. The music and art both required huge amounts of solid time – 3 or 4 hours at a sitting – which was just impossible. But with writing I found that it was easy to step away often when parental duties required, and then return when I had another 10 or 15 minutes. In fact, the stepping away and returning every so often became an important part of the process, as it gave me a constant fresh perspective.

So the book project quickly became my creative passion, and a book now exists where almost certainly none would have had my daughter never shown up. I may never have even tried to write a novel if I’d continued to focus on all those other shelved projects. So, thank you, Sofia! Understandably, this book is dedicated to her.

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

From the beginning I’d considered this novel as the possible first of a series. I was very inspired by the “Harry Potter and the…” format, and wanted to create a similar structure of continuity that people would recognize instantly. The “Lost Grimoire” refers to the core mystery of the book, which is a legendary lost book of spells.

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

It is loosely based on a few places I’ve lived, and some people I’ve encountered, but no particular person or place. In fact, the location – St. Edmund Island, Massachusetts – is a place I invented. So don’t go looking for it!

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

Steve Berry and Dan Brown have both had a huge impact on me in terms of structuring a mystery and using existing historical facts in thrilling new ways. The art of connecting the dots is a craft I hope I can use to make the Edgar Wilde books especially enjoyable. Stephen King, as well, for his exceptional wordcraft.

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

I am actually the graphic designer as well as the author. As it happens, I’m a graphic designer by trade, so I have a real advantage in visualizing and creating the promotional elements of my stories. As it happened, I came up with the design for the cover quite early on in the writing process, and it helped greatly in visualizing the path of the story. I often work this way; it helps to have a mock-up of your final product so that you have something relatively solid to aim for. People make fun of me sometimes for creating mockups of my “end product” before doing the actual hard work of the beginning and middle, but that’s how I roll. I need to see ahead to visualize the now. As I worked on Edgar Wilde I’d keep the book mockup on the table next to me, and whenever I was stuck I’d let my eyes stray over the cover for inspiration. It really helped!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My one bit of advice I’ve been saying to everyone lately, is simply to show up for it. You have no idea when the brilliant turn of phrase or plot twist will show up. For six months I met my manuscript every single night, and let my typing fingers listen for whatever might be there. There were many, many nights when nothing good showed up, or stuff that was crap. But in the meantime, the real stuff – the meat of the final draft – was also arriving. It’s like panning for gold. Eventually (hopefully!) you get a whole story, but you have to actually be there to meet it. You have to have faith in your story AND the respect and discipline to give it the attention it deserves. And that’s entirely up to you.

Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire Book CoverPaul Ramey
Jacksonville, Florida

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Writer/performer/producer of the two-CD goth/rock opera album, Veil & Subdue, and writer/illustrator of Zen Salvador, a limited-edition book of zen-styled dog wisdom featuring a number of ink-brush illustrations.

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Cover Art: Paul Ramey




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Author Interview: Bobbi A. Chukran

I first met Bobbi A. Chukran over fifteen years ago as a fellow member of an online think tank for artisans learning to market themselves on the internet. This was back before there was a facebook, a myspace or even before the world wide web was generally established. (Okay. Now I’m feeling old!) We all worked in different mediums from writing, to painting, to making handmade jewelry. I credit this group for making me a successful artist and launching my art business. I’ve watched Bobbi grow as an artist down through the years: as a gardener, a painter, an author and everything in between. I was proud for her when her first play won an award and went on to be performed by students in various high schools here in America. Now it is my honor and pleasure to introduce Bobbi and her newly launched book here on No Wasted Ink.

author bobbie a chukranMy name is Bobbi A. Chukran, although I recently published a mystery novel under the name B.A. Neal. I thought using a pseudonym would make it easier for me to branch out into different genres. I’m the author of LONE STAR DEATH, a new historical mystery novel, an award-winning playwright and an author of previous non-fiction books and magazine articles. Right now I’m focusing on the novel and short story writing.

When and why did you begin writing?

I always enjoyed writing in school, and was encouraged by my teachers to do more of it. I remember finding an old copy of The Writer magazine when I was in middle school, and entering a poetry-writing contest. I wrote a lot of poetry back then, most of which was dreck. I didn’t win the award, but it was the first time I came to the realization that writing was something that people got paid for and did as a job.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when a high school teacher told me I was good and that I should pursue it. I wrote for the school newspaper and wrote little stories at home, but also considered myself an artist. My first article was published in a craft magazine back in 1976. I guess that’s when I first thought about doing more writing. I wrote non-fiction for years under the name Bobbi A. McRae, then decided to try my hand at fiction.

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

It’s a historical mystery, set in 1880s central Texas. It features a feisty, headstrong young woman, Samantha Slater, who is 19 years old. She comes to town for a job as a typewriter operator, but ends up in the middle of a murder mystery that she can’t resist investigating. In the process, she gets into a lot of danger of her own, and learns a lot about herself.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had almost finished several romantic suspense novels and a contemporary mystery when the Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman show came on TV. I was fascinated by the costumes, characters, small town, and decided to start a whole new book set during that time period, except in Texas. I researched it for a year, learned about a lot of the real people and events going on at that time, and eventually came up with a few characters. I had always been a fan of westerns, and it seems that there was always one on TV in our house, so I guess it’s no surprise how the book turned out.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I tend to write a lot of dialogue, since I also write plays. I start with a few characters talking to each other and before long, they take off. I do preliminary planning, a rough plot, but it always changes.

Can you tell us more about the plays you write?

In addition to writing short stories, I also write the plays for young people. They seem more like “me” than anything else I write. They are silly, use puns and plays-on-words and feature quirky characters. They are inspired by classic tales, but with a twist. My goal is to turn those into books for young readers. Unfortunately, writing plays is a long, hard road because in order to get anywhere, you must first have a production. Only then can you seek publication (unless you publish it yourself). Once it’s published, it’s liable to get more productions through schools, churches, etc.

December 2011 I published one of my plays, THE JOURNAL OF MINA HARKER, a comedy spoof of the classic DRACULA story, as an e-script for the Kindle. Getting people to read plays is a hard sell, but I’m glad I did it because it got my feet wet with publishing e-books.

How did you come up with the title of your novel?

I started out with LONE STAR STATE OF DEATH, because the titles of many of the mysteries at the time were based on puns. When I extensively revised the book and republished it in May 2012, I shortened the title to LONE STAR DEATH.

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

First of all, I just want it to be a fun reading experience, a little escape from everyday life. Secondly, a theme emerged that I didn’t plan–that our family is not necessarily those we’re related to by blood.

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

Not really–it’s mostly fantasy.

What authors have most influenced your life?

With mysteries, it’s hard to say. I read a lot of Barbara Michaels’ books when I first started and I love the way she combined everyday stuff with fantasy stuff. Her newer books are much different. I love the sparse style of Robert B. Parker. I read a lot of books, all over the genres. Right now I’m obsessed with reading older short story collections, because I’m convinced I’m a better short story/novella writer than a long novel person. My next books will be novelizations of my fantasy/comedy plays. I’m excited about them, because they are a more cohesive collection than my other writing.

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

Not really. I’ve taken some good workshops from good authors, but basically am self-taught.

Who designed the cover of your book?

I did. I used the photo that was on the cover of the previous edition and redesigned it for this one. I bought rights to all the artwork, so it was easy to do. It helps that I have years and years of experience as a graphics designer, printshop experience, desktop publishing experience and an art degree. Those were my “real jobs” for many years. The Kindle cover and the printed cover are a bit different. I used the same photo on both, but the overall design is different.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

It takes a long time to get anywhere with writing. Don’t wait. Sit down and write. I’m developing a new product I call BUTT GLUE. You apply it, then sit down. Just kidding, but it is something we all need. Take a lot of notes, start with a short story or flash fiction story first. Those will boost your confidence. Don’t be afraid to write strange things. It took me years before I would “let myself loose” with my writing, and I’m still learning. If you like fantasy or science fiction, then write that! Don’t try to write a mystery just because you think they’ll sell. Your heart won’t be in it otherwise.

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

Just, have fun with the book–don’t judge it too harshly because it’s just a story!

Lone Star Death Book CoverBobbi A. Chukran
Taylor, Texas
LONE STAR DEATH
Limestone Ledge Publishing
Cover artist: Bobbi A. Chukran
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