Under the guidance of two rough Maine woodsmen, a frail but strong-willed New Yorker becomes a worthy outdoorsman, an experience which significantly shaped the world view of the man poised to become the 26th President of the United States thirteen years later. Explore Theodore Roosevelt’s youth through the fictionalise account of the true story in ‘The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’.
Have you ever wondered what experiences makes great a man great? Journey through some of the early experiences in Theodore Roosevelt’s life with Robert Louis DeMayo as he introduces to accounts of his early life in ‘The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’. Robert, it’s great to catch up with you again, what have you been doing since we last caught up?
My last novel, The Sirens of Oak Creek, has now won three national awards. It’s due to be launched in November.
What a wonderful lead-up to your November launch! Since November is a little while away I’m glad to see that you’ve dropped into ItsWriteNow.com to chat about your book The Making of Theodore Roosevelt. What’s this book all about?
Six months after young Theodore Roosevelt’s father died he went to northern Maine where he met William Sewall. Over the coming year, Sewall educated Theodore Roosevelt on the rough woods of Maine and the men that worked there. On their jaunts they discovered that his asthma wasn’t bothered by the intense cold, and he began working out and getting stronger. Roosevelt said later that this experience changed his life. He also met the love of his life, Alice Lee, and romanced her between trips to Maine.
Ahh, a chance to learn about the early life of Theodore Roosevelt. What inspired you to write about his this period in his life?
When I was twelve my father took me to northern Maine where he bought a piece of land from a man named Bill Sewall. Sewall’s grandfather had been Theodore Roosevelt’s guide, and while we stood looking over the lot he told us about some of their adventures. As I grew I became interested in the story, and got to know several members of the Sewall family who told me their versions of the history. Over the years I’ve met quite a few people who are descended from William Sewall and the woodsmen who knew young TR. I’ve also explored the same woods as he did, and learned what I could about the old logging days.
Wow, those connections to both the land and people from history are awesome. How did you go about fashioning the characters, fictional and real, that we’ll meet in the book from what you learned?
From the Mainers I know, and the writings left behind by William Sewall and Theodore Roosevelt.
What did you learn once you started digging into this writings and background of these people?
I never knew anything about Roosevelt’s first wife. I know now that she was the love of his life, but after her death in childbirth (which is not covered in this book) he never mentioned her name in public again. In fact, he quit politics and went west because he couldn’t escape her specter which loomed heavily in the eyes of their surviving daughter.
As you look back on all of the threads of history that you pull together in this book, is there one central idea that you hope readers really connect with and take away?
Roosevelt didn’t start as the powerhouse we all know. When he went to Maine at twenty he was weak, asthmatic and depressed, and seriously questioned whether his health would ever allow him to accomplish anything in this lifetime.
The picture of a weak and asthmatic Roosevelt really doesn’t match the picture that most of us have of this man. What feedback has readers shared about meeting this early Roosevelt in the book?
Very positive. The book is dedicated to Cleo Sewall who was my friend. Every year or so I do reading at the local high schools and the Patten Lumberman’s Museum.
Has there been tough criticism that you’ve taken in the development stages to allow the responses from readers to be so positive?
Yes from my editor, who’s been with me for six novels now. She is brilliant and ruthless, sometimes in the same red sentence.
But what a sentence it will once you’ve edited it with her red suggestions. Looking back, where did you learn to write?
On the road, filling out journals. I left home at twenty and completed ten, six-month trips abroad in the next ten years. During this time I filled out thirty journals, and wrote travel articles for two newspapers.
How has that journaling background helped you approach writing?
I write historical fiction, travel fiction and mysteries. Usually I think about a novel for at least a year before sitting down to write.
Thinking about projects for that long before you start writing shows that you’re not only a great writer, but a great thinker. As much as I’d like to plunder your mind for snippets from what you’re working on now, I’m going to encourage readers to keep their eye out for the release of ‘The Sirens of Oak Creek in November’ and of course, picking up a copy of ‘The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’ now. Robert, thanks for sharing a little more of your author journey with us today, and I hope to hear more from you soon!
In a realm parallel to our own, where magic lives, immortals rule the land, and a soul-deep love can bind two hearts together forever, a powerful evil is slowly growing in the shadows. With both the human and immortal realms in danger, can light overcome the encroaching darkness?
Magic, power and immortals join together in a realm of light and dark. Are you prepared? To guide us through the first steps into the world, Paige Addams, author of ‘Tales of Ejoma’ has kindly dropped into ItsWriteNow.com to chat about her journey of fantasy writing. Paige, where did the idea for this book come from?
It actually started out based on the world I was building around a particular character I’ve been wanting to write about for decades. The more world building I did – creating the language, getting the political and social structure down, and deciding where the big conflict was going to begin and who needed to be involved – I realized I needed to tell other stories first.
Who is this character, if not one of the heroes in Tales of Ejoma? Well, you may have to wait a few books to know for sure, but you might just get a hint somewhere in this first book… ;)
Oh, I love a good character mystery. I’m very tempted to ask lots of questions for more hints, but I have a feeling we might just uncover the secret, so instead, can you share how you went about building the characters we’ll meet?
During world building for the series, actually. The way I have the shima realm, Ejoma, and the human realm, Thavos, set up is that they are made up of opposing energies and share the same space with each other. Separated by a magical barrier, if they ever touch, both realms would be destroyed.
The three short stories in Tales of Ejoma are meant to introduce readers to the world, magic, aspects (what shimana would consider races), and the growing threat to both realms. I gave my main characters professions that lent themselves to that.
Are any of the elements of these characters drawn from your own life?
Only my love of everything paranormal romance and my desire for escapism. :)
What did you learn about writing a book by taking your ideas, your love of paranormal romance and desire for escapism and putting it all together?
I need to manage my time better! I am an expert level procrastinator, and I can totally justify to myself why I need to play video games or watch Netflix instead of battling my way through writer’s block.
Also, I abuse commas. I either forget they exist or run amuck and sprinkle them around like confetti. My poor, long-suffering editor is amazing, by the way. :)
*Laughs* So many people out there abuse commas, I think they’re just easy targets in the grammar world! Aside from your predilection to comma abuse, where did you learn to write?
From reading mainly, and seeing movies that inspired me. I loved getting lost in the worlds I would read about, and pretty soon wanted to create my own.
Lol, I started out in elementary school, folding a handful of white paper in half and stapling them at the fold to make a book. When the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie came out, I was a huge fan. So I would fill my books with drawings of a family of vampire slayers. Technically, that was my first series (which will never see the light of day). ;)
Never say never. With a little rework it may turn into quite the tale! What do you think about as you write?
What I call my plot tree. I try to keep in mind my end game for the Dual Realms series, and what all the characters need to be doing to prepare for that. Each story will have different main characters – many of which will have been secondary characters earlier in the series somewhere – but they all play an important role.
In fact, books two, three, and four all take place in roughly the same time frame after the events of book one.
How has your voice as an author changed as you’ve kept writing and using the plot tree to keep track of your end destinations?
Lol, I abuse commas less. I also learned that I have a bad habit of passive writing that I need to work on. I hope with each book that I learn new things and my writing improves. :)
What criticism and compliments have you received on your comma-refined work?
The toughest criticism I received was given by my editor, Debra Hartman and her team at The Pro Book Editor, which is why I always want to work with her for every book. She told me one of my characters was flat. Not good for a main character, lol. But she was totally right. I was so focused on telling the story that I skimped on that particular character. It may sting, but it’s invaluable having someone to give my writing some tough love during editing.
The best compliment was when someone asked me about one of those characters at the end of the book that has a standalone chapter. They wanted to see if that particular character’s story was next. That really meant a lot to me because I want readers to get drawn into the world and characters, and look forward to the next adventure with me.
What can you tell us about the next adventure?
I’m currently working on plotting for book three in the Dual Realms series, still untitled at the moment. It’s tricky, because I have to pay close attention to the timeline of events in book two, The Blood Curse, and plan ahead for what will happen in book four.
While you won’t meet the hero of book three in Tales of Ejoma, you can meet him as a secondary character in The Blood Curse when it comes out on August 31st. :)
Hopefully if we’re lucky we might even see him on a book cover for The Blood Curse! But before we see that cover, let’s enjoy the cover of ‘Tales of Ejoma’. Who created it for you?
Glendon Haddix with Streetlight Graphics! He’s amazing! :D
Lol, I am hopeless with technology and programs. I manage not to blow anything up, but making my own cover is far beyond me. I am very thankful to have been directed to him by my editor.
*Laughs* It’s great to know when to get the professionals in, and I think you’ve done the right thing but getting Glendon to do this cover. It’s awesome! Paige, after this enthusiastic chat today, I’m keen to return to your work of magic and mystery so I’m going to leave you here today to pick up my own copy of ‘Tales of Ejoma’ and meander through the pages again. Thanks so much for chatting, and come and tell us about the next instalment soon!
Tom has spent most of his life locked behind the cruel walls of Weatherly Orphanage, but when he learns that his parents might be alive, Tom knows he must do what he can to find them. He can’t leave Weatherly without his best friend Sarah, so armed with a single clue to his past, the word BRITFIELD, the two make a daring escape by commandeering a hot air balloon. Now they’re on the run from a famous Scotland Yard detective and what looks like half the police officers in England. Tom and Sarah’s journey takes them from Oxford to Windsor Castle, through London, and finally to Canterbury. Along the way, they discover that Tom may be the true heir to the British throne, but even with the help of two brilliant professors, it looks like Tom and Sarah will be captured and sent back to the orphanage before they have a chance to solve Tom’s royal mystery.
Is Tom really a member of the royal family? Will he and his best friend Sarah be able to prove the royal connection before Scotland Yard catches them? Follow Tom & Sarah’s daring escape with author C.R. Stewart and I as we chat about the novel ‘Britfield and the Lost Crown’ in today’s author interview. C.R., I can’t say I’ve read many books where the lead characters are running away from Scotland Yard in a hot air balloon. Tell us more about how the idea for this book came to you, and how you brought it to life.
I am excited that you are interested in Britfield & the Lost Crown. Part of a seven book series, Britfield was conceived as an idea over 10 years ago while sitting in a boring seminar in New England. It started as a sketch I did of a hot air balloon with a young boy and girl trapped inside. From this simple drawing sprang the entire concept and story for Britfield. I also liked the idea of adventure, exploration and freedom—seeing an extraordinary country for the first time: moving from place to place, enjoying spectacular scenery and exciting events, learning new things, meeting people, making friends and having hope for a better future. I like that not everything is what it seems. Not everyone is who you think they are: the simple often can become great, the great often turn out to be simple. Everyone has a unique story and this is Tom and Sarah’s story.
I don’t think we’d be chatting here today if you’d personally been chased by Scotland Yard, but are there other aspects of the book that have been drawn from your life?
Many, I could relate to most characters on one level or another: the sense of impossible odds, oppressive circumstances, overcoming fears, the help from others, and the bond of real friendship.
How did you go about crafting characters who display these bonds of real friendship?
One of the best techniques to use in developing a character is to relate the character to someone you know or have encountered. Often, a new character you develop can be a compilation on many attributes of real people, not just one. I based Professor Hainsworth on two professors I have had while attending Brown University, hard exterior but a kind heart. The deeper one goes with creating a character, the more believable they will be—they tend to write themselves, if you have done your work correctly.
What do you think about as you’re writing? How do the characters ‘write themselves’?
I am very visual, so I like to visualize the scene I am writing. I usually see it as a movie unfolding as I write—the setting, the tone, the mood, the surroundings, and the characters.
What did you learn by allowing the story to unfold in front of you?
Dedication, commitment and hard work. Britfield & the Lost Crown took 4 years and 2,500 hours to write. If you do something, either do it well or not at all — often that takes a tremendous amount of time and discipline.
Writing well is a huge effort, and I love that you’ve put your all into the project. As you look back on it today, what central message do you hope you shared well?
The importance of family.
Do you feel this message, and the subject matter at large is relevant to readers today, or will its importance become stronger in the future?
Britfield & the Lost Crown is a timeless classic that I hope is around for generations — its story, its principles and its characters are timeless.
Are there readers who probably shouldn’t read the classic you’ve created?
Our youngest reader was seven years old; our oldest reader was 93 years old. Britfield is for everyone: it’s an exciting adventure that takes you across England, incorporates history, geography, art, literature, and culture. The book is fun, funny, exciting and offers something for everyone.
How did you prepare to become a writer that offers something for everyone?
I have always been creative. I loved reading as a child, movies and storytelling, so all these areas had a huge influence on my life. Some of my favorite books growing up were The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary; James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl; and the Hardy Boys series. As I grew older, I enjoyed Charles Dickens and his ability to take a Shakespearean cast of characters and seamlessly weave them through his stories (Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations). I was heavily influenced by C. S. Lewis, his amazing depth and creativity as an author. Jane Austen captured the aristocracy, the intrigue, the forced etiquette and the psychological games and hypocrisies of the upper classes. The Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, wrote mysterious, romantic gothic novels that are powerful, moving and deep, such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Thomas Hardy took simple characters living in a rural setting and created complex, multilayered stories. And Daphne du Maurier, such as her epic novel Rebecca. I have visited most of the places these stories took place or were based on.
With all that said, it really started for me in 6th grade. What a wonderful teacher and an amazing class. Our assignment was to write a book. Can you imagine an assignment like that, where do you start? I think there was a limit of 30 pages. I was 12 and loved the James Bond movies, so I wrote James Bond Eat Your Heart Out. I was a secret government agent working for the British government and had an assignment to track down a notorious villain. My partner was Jaclyn Smith (that should date me). We traveled all around Europe tracking down the villain and were involved in high-speed chases and plenty of combat. I had so much fun writing this and the experience never left me. I still have this book, wrapped in a leather binder with embossed lettering. This was when I knew I wanted to be a writer, it just took a long time to get there.
What path did you follow from that 6th grade tale to where you are today? Where did you learn how to write?
I received a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature and European History from Brown University; did post- graduate work at Harvard University; earned an MBA from Boston College; and am pursuing a Master of Science in Advanced Management and a PhD in Strategy at Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University. My areas of expertise are screen writing, film and media production, global strategy, and international marketing.
Wow, with that much time in universities you’ve obviously had a lot of time to built your skills in the written craft. During this journey have you also used writers groups to gain a different perspective of your work?
I have not joined any writing groups but do recommend them for people that like to read other’s works, share feedback and receive feedback. I have a great editor for Britfield and usually around draft III, I take the manuscript to schools and run pilot programs for my target audience. They have three weeks to read the manuscript, fill out a survey once they are done, then I come in to the library for a day and do roundtables with 4-5 students at a time. I am no longer the teacher but rather the pupil: I sit, ask questions and take notes. These students are my feedback, they are my critics of what they liked and did not like, what works and what does not work.
What kind of feedback pops up at these roundtables? What does the toughest criticism and most rewarding feedback look like?
Toughest, which is usually ignored, is from someone who did not like the book but does not understand literature, is not really a reader or has anything to reference as an example. It’s like the film critic who knows nothing about writing a script or making a movie but will try to destroy someone’s hard work in five minutes or twenty lines.
The best is when a child reads Britfield & the Lost Crown, a 384 page books, in five hours—that’s stunning. Many have said it is the best book they ever read; others have said it does not remind them of anything else they have read, which is truly an amazing compliment.
It truly is. Now that you’ve published, have the responses from readers been similar to what you saw in those roundtables?
We have received extraordinary feedback, scoring a 9.03 out of a scale of 10. Most everyone, so far, loves the story, loves the characters, loves the adventure—they simply cannot wait for Book II. We have had non-readers, people who simply never read, love Britfield. We have presented to thousands of children, schools and even adults, who support the book, promote Britfield and have provided incredible feedback.
Has your voice as an author changed with the feedback from your own rewrites over time, editors and the roundtables?
Absolutely, I am always improving and growing as a writer. I am always trying to expand my abilities, vocabulary, different ways of writing a scheme or paragraph. Every time I edit my Book, right now I am finishing/polishing Britfield & the Rise of the Lion, Book II, I become a better writer. I try to focus on the story and always move the narrative without too much description or details, not to be repetitive and always ask, “Does that need to be in the story, does it move the narrative along or is it just extra details that undermines the flow.”
It’s clear that you’ve spent a great deal of time questioning your writing to make it the best it can be. Have you also turned your attitude of continuous improvement to the branding of your book?
The goal of Devonfield Publishing is to offer a boutique/concierge publishing service to an elect number of authors per year and change the face of the publishing industry as we presently know it. So, yes, we are currently creating the Britfield brand.
*Laughs* I’m glad to see that you’ve decided to take on publishing the same way you’ve decided to take on the challenge of writing. All in, or not at all. One of the most visible aspects of a brand is the book’s cover. Who designed the cover for you?
The very talented Stephen Silver at Silvertoons.com
Stephen’s done a great job, and with solid plans to publish at least one more book in the series I think he’s set you up with a great visual starting point. Since the goal of Devonfield Publishing is to change the publishing industry, there has to be more books on the horizon. What writing projects are you currently working on?
I finished Britfield & the Rise of the Lion, Book II (540 pages) last July. It was my final edit, and I already had it professionally edited. I had also piloted it with schools for feedback (my demographic). However, I wanted to take one more pass and see how it reads and flows, so on July 4th, I returned for one final edit—it’s been great. I have caught a few sections that needed a little bit more work, changed a few words, and tightened other scenes. I will be starting on Britfield & the Return of the Prince, Book III in the fall.
Book III! That’s so exciting and I wish you the best of luck building the third instalment! C.R., thanks so much for sharing a taste of the exciting world that awaits readers in ‘Britfield and the Lost Crown’, and I hope to hear more about both this book and the upcoming series soon!
Four friends cast a love spell and wake on a foreign world. Love might stand a chance, if they deal to a psychotic sorceress out for their blood.
Will love be enough to protect the four friends on their journey though the world that is alien to them? Meet these four friends and learn about their adventure in ‘The Arrival’, as author Nicole MacDonald, joins me to chat. Love, adventure, a scary sorceress, Nicole your book has it all, so what inspired you to build all of these elements together into this tale?
Watching a thunderstorm over the Wellington, NZ, harbour. BOOM! Brain got hit with the first fight scene and that was it. I couldn’t stop.
What a way to begin a story! How did the characters who appear in that first fight scene and beyond come to life after that thunderstorm?
Friends/co-workers/characters from favourite shows/books, and of course a decent dose of myself.
I’m sure that ‘decent dose of yourself’ also included some events from your life. What personal experiences of yours made their way into the book’s pages?
Meeting my soulmate at 18. Was NEVER my intent. I intended to be single for life, breaking hearts for fun. I meant to write this as a “if I got to be single” and yet he still bloody showed up in the book. Freaking true love; great for ruining singleton plans.
*Laughs* Can’t even get a book of singleton to yourself! Maybe you’ll manage to have a little singleton jaunt in another book! What did you learn about as you wrote this book?
To be true to yourself about your characters, and not to tame them due to worries about what others might think.
What was the most important untamed message you wanted the story and characters to share with readers?
Women are strong and entirely capable of saving themselves, and crying doesn’t make them weaker, only stronger. Genuine love means a relationship that allows you to be your truest self.
Do you feel that the topics like love, events and situations in this tale are of our time, or will be more important in the future?
Perhaps. I think strong minded women leading a story will always have a place. And yes, it could be considered “of this time”.
Are there people who shouldn’t read the book?
People who don’t like women who kickass (literally…).
What steps did you take to prepare yourself to write kickass women?
Reading is what prepares you. Overthinking it will make your brain explode.
Over thinking is dangerous. Have you tried joining a writing group to connect and get tips from other authors about how they write without over thinking and making their own heads explode?
I have been involved with a few groups, but I find many people have preconceived “rules” regarding how/when/why etc they write, and that is very constricting to me. Writing is something I do solely for myself, but I love that there is an audience out there for almost anyone- even me!
As you write for yourself, I’m guessing that you’re probably not thinking about your readers as you write. What are you thinking about?
My characters. I’m wanting to be as true and honest to their physical and emotional journey as possible.
How did you learn to write like this?
From daydreaming lots. And then being brave enough to start writing. And then being batty enough to share it. The rest is history. (Seriously, if you want to write, just start. The hardest part is starting.)
How has your writing changed or improved as you first started, and then kept writing?
I no longer fear people disliking my work. Which is a great freedom. It allows me to write without fretting at the idea of a plot point that people will HATE. Freedom is key to creativity.
How have readers responded to the freedom and creativity of your writing?
People don’t really know what to expect, yet frequently discover a fun tale with themes that remind them both of fairytales/traditional epic fantasy, and modern urban fantasy like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I had a friend once tell me I wasn’t a real writer. Now, I laugh such nonsense off, then however, it seriously hurt. Which was what they were aiming for, so bravo to them. The best compliment is when a reader takes the time to contact you, to tell you they enjoyed the world you created. That’s utterly fantastic and always makes me smile.
There are always one or two stick-in-the-mud people who just can’t see the awesome worlds writers create, so I’m glad to hear that the readers who really matter can’t stop smiling from reading your fantastic words. Has this positive feedback from readers enticed you to create your own author brand?
I have created one, but most the time I find it fairly tiring. With an intensive fulltime role, my author brand is really my Instagram now. But even that is more me than my books.
It might be small, but it’s a good place to start building interest for your work. Another way, which I can see you’ve really invested in, is the use of a great book cover. Where did you get your artwork designed?
I have a fantastic artist, Jenn Depaola, who creates the artwork. Then a good friend, Tim Brown (check out The Unhappy Medium if you like quirky British urban fantasy) helped me get the background/fontwork etc right. These two people are invaluable!
They’ve done a great job getting your story to come to life! And after putting so much effort into your work, both the readers and myself would love to know if there’s another story coming from your pen soon? Are you writing anything now?
Yes, a trilogy that follows my first science fiction novel: Prometheus, A New Dawn.
Three times the fun! Nicole, I can’t wait to hear more about it soon and I hope readers enjoy reading and re-reading ‘The Arrival’ as they wait for the new trilogy to hit the shelves.
Haunted by terrifying nightmares and a mysterious prophecy, a young man embarks on a 3,000-mile trek through the African bush.
This is a ghost story–it’s about that rumble in your stomach when adrenaline surges. It’s that feeling you get when you stand in the dark and hear an animal growling from only feet away, or sense there’s someone else in a gloomy room.
Although this fictional story has characters that are Maasai, it’s not about their culture as much as a web that several Maasai and a Seer get drawn into, along with several travelers. Start reading, and you’ll never look at Africa the same again.
Have you ever considered a 3,000-mile trek across the African bush? Transform your ideas about the Maasai and Africa as you get lost in the story of ‘The Light Behind Blue Circles’ with author Robert Louis DeMayo and I in today’s author interview. Robert, I have feeling that’s there’s a great story behind this book, so can you tell us how your life led you to write this book?
In my twenties I completed four overland journeys in Africa, crossing over 10,000 miles mostly on dirt roads. I’m not a character in this story, but I waited for years to use some of the experiences in a novel, and saw this story as my chance. From Victoria Falls at night during a lunar rainbow to the great African savannah stampeding with wildebeest to the evocative Serengeti with Mt. Kilimanjaro rising with the dawn, The Light Behind Blue Circles captures some of Africa’s most iconic scenery.
You must have a wealth of stories to share from four overland journeys of Africa. How did your experiences from this time influence this book?
I based out of Nairobi for a short time, and got to know some traditional dancers. Often we would sit around trading tales, and I noticed they loved ghost stories. When I set out to write a novel about an overland journey, a ghost story slowly took it over–I’m sure because of the influence of my Nairobi friends.
Will readers meet characters based on your Nairobi friends in this book?
Yes, most were based on people I met when completing four six-months trips to East and southern Africa.
What were the most important ideas that you wanted to share through this book?
I wanted to convey that rumble in my stomach that I felt when I traveled through Africa. I wanted the reader to feel the fear and excitement that seemed to live within me, be it when climbing a mountain (8-pitch climb up Mt. Kenya, first time in a climbing harness), being chased by a bull elephant on foot, or sneaking up and touching a kudu at night.
Do you feel that these experiences of fear, excitement and more are still relevant to readers today?
It takes place in the early 90s, so there are a lot of situations where a cell phone may have helped, but there were none.
How did you end up being a writer from those overland journeys in Africa?
I went to school for bio-medical engineering, with the intension of working in my father’s business in New England. Unfortunately, when I began working in hospitals I found I didn’t like it (at all) and quit and hit the road.
I had no money, and within a month of landing in Europe I ran out of money. I found odd jobs, and kept traveling. That first time I left home I was gone 18 months and crossed 40 countries. The entire time I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my life, and only near the end did I realize that I was writing in my journals at least 6 hours a day. When I returned I became a journalist, writing for the Telegraph for almost 15 years. I’ve just recently published my 6th novel, and collectively have won 7 national awards.
So you learned to write as you travelled?
Yes, on the road.
What kind of responses have you received readers of this book?
It’s a ghost story, so there’s almost always going to be something violent in the beginning. Once past that, the story picks up as the main character slowly travels from South Africa to Kenya. When that happens, just about everyone that read it told me they couldn’t put it down.
How have you built the skills to write something that people can’t put down?
For ten years I’ve worked with a top-notch editor. She’s ruthless at times, but very astute. She is female, a professional journalist, and very different from me so it’s perfect.
I hope that you’ve allowed her to be ruthless with some new work. Can we look forward to seeing a new book from your pen soon?
I’ve just published a historical mystery called The Sirens of Oak Creek. The novel is comprised of four connected books that all take place in Oak Creek canyon (by Sedona) in four different times. It is told through the eyes of eight different women. This story has already won three national awards.
Congratulations on the awards, with such positive recognition already I’m going to have to check it out. Robert, thank you for sharing a taste of Africa with readers and myself today, and I hope to hear more about your mysterious tales soon.
Ranging from self-image to finances to women in society to food, there are few subjects not discussed in the book, “About Black Women, My Grandmother Told Me: Worthy Advice for Future Generations”. Intended for African American women, this book shares wisdom from a grandmother to both her children, grandchildren and beyond.
Looking for a touch of wisdom? Share the advice from Narcisse Nguema’s grandmother, recounted by Narcisse in his book ‘About Black Women, My Grandmother Told Me’. Narcisse, what inspired you to document the words of your grandmother in a book?
Bear through the beginning and pay attention. The author explaining the ties between his parents, and grandparents, as well as the presence of the Fang population, sets the tone for a lot of cultural information that follows. I was also super pleased to have Kindle’s insight handy as it had me looking up many words, thank you, Mr. Nguema, for expanding my vocabulary!
Aside from the particulars mentioned above, the book reads through as a touching remembrance to a woman who seems to have had the answers for everything but was humble enough to share her knowledge through stories rather than scolding. There are many insights that might surprise, or ‘trigger’ some readers. Basically, if you’re sensitive about “PC” talk, know that those sensitivities will cause you to miss out on a ton of obviously useful wisdom. I loved what was said in the section titled “A Young Woman Who Enjoys the Hip Life.”
Honestly, I have nothing but fantastic things to say about this book. It’s a collection of lessons on morals, with insight into real-world application. It guides the reader to embrace moderation rather than to avoid things, which are harmful and only accept things, which are good. It’s practical and presented in a respectful way.
Can you tell us about the life experiences that you used when you wrote this book?
Going back to my statement in the Foreword, you could have read this: ‘I had a reflective moral shock. It lasted between my late tenths and my early twenties. I realize, through years of societies observation, that most women, more than men, love the easiness; most of the institutions reward vicious people over virtuous ones, that they chase when sincere people stick on the truth; the abnormal has become praised and encouraged, hidden by a long tradition of social hypocrisy and religion enthusiasm. This manifesto is a pointer of conclusions made from the observation of the society under fragments of grandma’s alerts, upon man and woman I have gathered most of the ideas and quotes she was emphasizing throughout our childhood…’
What was the most important advice from your grandmother than you wanted to share in your book?
The advice in this book ranges from self-image to finances to women in society to food. There are few subjects not discussed in this book. However, as I mentioned earlier, the target audience for this book is for African American women, so some of the areas of this book do not apply to others.
What did you learn from pulling all of these wide-ranging topics neatly into a single book?
Aside from the particulars mentioned above, the book reads through as a touching remembrance to a woman who seems to have had the answers for everything but was humble enough to share her knowledge through stories rather than scolding.
Do you think that the subject matter of your book will have a bigger impact in the future or is it very much of our time?
Absolutely. The morals to keep by the siblings are as constant as the society itself.
Do you feel there are people in society who might not benefit from this book, and therefore shouldn’t read it?
Any age, anybody who needs to be reminded what is doable to improve the family and society conducts.
Do you think about these readers as you write? Or do you think about something else as you’re tapping away on your keyboard?
I empty my mind, while bringing an idea. I wake up multiple times between the sleep and the awakeness to empty what my thought has found about my project I am writing and to not miss any slice of original thought.
Where did you learn how to turn these original thoughts into a crafted written piece?
Writing came over time at an early age. I wanted to express myself and the only way I found was to tell the narrative without fear was to write it in my loneliness.
How has your writing and voice changed as you’ve kept writing?
I postponed my first write because I felt my juvenile voice too raw even in French. I learned how to get around the corners, staying raw and keeping the funny juvenile voice while aiming to improve society.
Have you started to think about how you can build an author brand around your unique voice?
Anybody can write a book or articles, but in my experience, on really become a writer one He or she faces his or her mistakes, once the writer learns how to correct himself and developed from that a distinguishable style. From that moment, the writer writ bar a taste.
Another thing to do is being receptive to critics, but listening to the most to the inner voice, your own stories teller. There is what you’ve learned in school and how you implement and adapt it in society as an original voice. Then maybe you become a brand.
What advice have you received from the critics while working on this book?
To not publish this book was rough to hear.
Despite that advice you’ve still published a book that has been very well received. Is this the last book that you intend to publish, or can you tell us a little bit about new writing projects you’re working on?
A French novel I should have published 10 years ago, and some law Book and articles. I am shared between law, literary imagination and the care of women readjustment. About Black Women, might not be my last book referring to their tribute as the core of the society.
Good luck with your upcoming French novel. Narcisse, I wish you the best of luck getting it finished, and I hope that readers love it as much as they love this book.
Secrets come to light in this supernatural mystery, sending one teen on a journey that will change his life – forever.
What will the life of this teen be like once he has uncovered the depths of this supernatural mystery? Brandon Rohrbaugh, author of ‘Mermaid Cliff’ has kindly joined me today to introduce us to the journey this thrilling book takes. Brandon, to kick us off, can you set the scene by sharing the origins of how this book came to life?
I wanted to create a unique story that hasn’t been done before, so I started writing weird twists in my mind and this is what came of it.
Before you started writing, did you take any steps to prepare?
I am not much of a book reader, nor do I have any formal education on writing. I have a love for movies and weird occurrences, so I figured I’d just write a story straight from the weird parts of my mind and see what happens.
Do you have any informal education on how to write? How did you learn to write a book?
Good question, I’m still learning to be honest. I don’t have any formal writing degrees or anything like that. I guess I kind’ve just learned as I went. It was tough at the beginning but very rewarding.
Have you thought about joining a writing group at any stage to help you work through those tougher sides of writing?
I have not, but I would like to get more involved in things like that.
As you haven’t been trained to write, I’d love to know what you think about during your writing sessions. What do like to keep at the top of your mind?
I black out everything in the real world and put myself in the shoes of my main character. That allows me to assist with the first person point of view.
How did your main character come to life?
I started with a name that popped in my head and then wrote their background based on how they related to the plot and small town.
What message do you hope readers take from the combination of your main character and the small town he lives in?
Everyone is destined for something.
What did you personally learn from crafting the story to share this message of destiny?
That creating a unique, unusual story is very fun.
Unique and unusual tales are great fun! Do you feel these unique and unusual details make this tale very much of today?
Yes, this is something that could be happening now without us even knowing it.
Do you think that there are people who may not appreciate the unique and unusual twists in this tale, and perhaps shouldn’t read it?
I wrote this book wanting everyone, young or old to read it. The Mermaid Cliff Series is unique in that it fits into a lot of categories. Whether you like reading young adult supernatural thrillers or adult horror mysteries, you’ll enjoy these books.
What’s the feedback been like from readers so far?
Nothing but great things. People were shocked at the unconventional approach I took on some of the characters outcomes, but most recognized that as being new and smart. I think one guy actually called the ending brutal but brilliant.
The best compliment I ever received was probably just a culmination of strangers leaving positive reviews on the book. I love seeing what people think of this series.
It’s great to hear that readers have been so receptive to your work. On the flipside, has there been much tough criticism that you’ve had to work through?
Early on, people told me that my editing was terrible. And that in turn was an amazing tip. After receiving that comment, I hired a professional editor and have never received a complaint again.
How has your writing progressed since you started writing and after you picked up an editor?
Over the two years of writing, and re-writing, this trilogy, I have found it easier to just let the words flow instead of thinking about what I should type.
Has your confidence to get in the flow extended to the creation of your own author brand?
I have given it some thought. I believe social media now adays is a huge way to stay in contact with your fans. It is very rewarding hearing from anyone who has read my book.
I can see you’ve given branding some thought as you’ve got a great cover designed. Who worked on this for you?
I have used MIBL Art for all three-book covers in this trilogy and would recommend them to anyone who wants quality covers on a budget.
Will this be your last writing project? Are you working on something new readers can look forward to?
I am outlining a new series.
Yay, that’s exciting for readers! Brandon thanks for sharing a taste of your mysterious tale with us today, and we hope to hear more about your new series soon!
Most people think they have die and go to Heaven before they can receive all the benefits that Heaven has to offer. But this is far from the truth. Jesus once said that in order to participate in Heavenly living now you must become like a little child. You can experience all the wonders of Heaven now but you must become more childlike in your faith before that can happen. Discover 15 characteristics little children have that will transform your life and cause all the miraculous things of Heaven to occupy your home and everyone around you.
Looking to get a little closer to Heaven without going all of the way? Author Daniel Green, has returned it ItsWriteNow.com to share some tips from his book ‘Enjoy Heavenly Living Now: Become Childlike’ about how we can all live a little more heavenly today. Daniel, it’s great to see back, what’s been going on with your writing journey since we last sat down to chat?
I have been diligently working on getting my second book published.
And here we are today talking about that second book, so it’s clear that your diligence has paid off! For readers who haven’t read our last interview, can you share a little about the success you’ve seen with your first book?
The first book I promoted: Supernatural Wave of God’s Presence was listed on Amazon as #1 Free book in several categories for 3 days in a row in July. It was the #5 Free book listing of all Christian books on Amazon for those same days. All in all I gave away over 2,200 books in July. It was a great experience and I hope to do the same or better with this book.
Thank you for sharing the numbers of your success. Sometimes the journey to successful self-published or indie authorship can feel very overwhelming and intimidating, and so I like to readers to know a little about what could happen with their own writing careers if they keep at it. How did you approach extending your writing career into a second book? Where did this book start?
Jesus once said that we could do what He did and even greater things. So why do so many Christians not experience miracles every day in their life as Jesus did? One of the major reasons why they cannot do the miracles of Jesus is they believe they have to mature and behave as an adult before God. Yet in comparison to the unsearchable infinite wisdom of God, we are all like little children. If we learn to become more childlike in our relationship with God, then all of Heaven’s resource will be at our disposal.
How did you keep reminding yourself about the ways that little children live and love?
From little children of course. We spend so much time trying to grown up that most have forgotten how to be more childlike. When it comes to our relationship with God, He wants us to be His little child not an older adult. And boy does God love to dote on all His little children.
It sounds like you’ve really spent a lot of time with little kids!
Yes, I raised two sons and I also was a foster parent to twenty-four children. In addition, every year I went to a Christian camp where there were plenty of little children having fun being themselves. Most of my observations of childlike faith and behaviour came from these real-life experiences.
Do you find it useful to focus on all of those experiences as you sit down to write?
Yes, I always write from my experience especially my journey in following the Heavenly Father. Everything I write about is from my personal real relationship with God. It’s almost like talking with Him face-to-face every day. I want to share with others how they can experience this same kind of intimacy with God.
How did you prepare to write this book?
Life experience. I had two very successful accounting firms and also was a minister as well. However, about ten years ago I decided I wanted to follow my passion to write. So I left my very successful profession and became a writer. Now everyday I have fun doing what I love and I have not worked since then. You know little children don’t have to work either but have lots of fun every day.
What message do you hope the readers take from your experiences and the wisdom of children?
Become more like a little child in your relationship with God following Him around everywhere, just like a little child would do with their parents, and I can guarantee that you will start to experience more of Heaven’s wonders surrounding you and your home.
In preparation for this interview, I’ve spent a little time reflecting on the brand that you’re building with this second book. Tell us a little about what you’re trying to do across your work?
Anakainoo International is my brand that I have been working on. The word “anakainoo” comes from the Greek word “to make new.” If you can change the flawed beliefs and thoughts you have then you will be able to receive all the resource Heaven has to offer. I am in the transformation business of causing people to think differently about their core beliefs where Heaven’s wonders follow them as they follow God everywhere.
I think your newest book cover reflects that desire to help people find their core beliefs very well. Who designed the cover for you?
This time I used a professional service from Book Cover Zone. Darin Yardimli was the designer and I would highly recommend him. He has been in the book cover design business for a long time and has reasonable rates for most authors.
Your brand Anakainoo International is fairly new and it doesn’t quite feel like your story and goal to transform the lives of others will be finished with just two books. What can you tell us about what’s coming up next?
I can’t tell you all the details now. You will have to wait till sometime next year. But one thing I can tell you is this up coming book will dramatically change everything about your relationship with God. You can have the same kind of relationship with God here on earth, as you will in Heaven.
Next year will be here before we know it, and it’s great to hear that readers and myself all have another book to look forward to. Daniel, I’d best let you get back to it so you can keep on track that early next year release date. Thanks for sharing your success, and I wish the best for further success with your writing and transformational journeys.
There are so many unwanted dogs in the world. Abused. Discarded. One family has a heart to help them. But what would Beth and her husband do when faced with such life-changing decisions? Standing on the edge of a slippery slope, would they save themselves, or fall head first into rescue? Would they walk away, or take the path of leashed resistance?
Which path did Beth and her husband choose? Did they choose a world with the addition of a chicken coop of orphan puppies to their already canine-filled household, or were the dogs they already had enough? Where did the love of dogs take them? Meet Beth, the dedicated rescue carer who gives us a glimpse into the joys of her daily life from ‘The Path of Leashed Resistance: The Buddy System’. Beth, what thoughts inspired you to write your experiences down and turn it into a book?
This book came straight from the depths of my soul…
Ah, so your soul had something to say. What did your soul want to share with readers?
That dogs are terribly fantastic and horribly amazing!
*Laughs* Very true. I mentioned it a little earlier, but just to clarify for readers, this book is based on your life right?
Every experience in this book is from my life. And ohhh what a life it’s been…
Tell us a little about how those puppies came into your life?
Well, all of them were rescued. But most of them came to us from a chicken coop…
Puppies from the chicken coop. You can tell it’s going to be the start of a great tale! How did you prepare to turn these events into a story and yourself into a writer?
I rescued a litter of frozen puppies and gave up my life. It was all the preparation I needed…
*Laughs* So, no extensive writing experience before this? Have you tried joining a writing group? Or taking a course?
I haven’t. I would love to! But I haven’t had time. I took some courses in college, but I write like I speak. I think that’s why I find myself editing a lot…
Writing the way you speak is a great way to build your voice as an author. Have you felt that much of your editing time has gone to crafting your voice as an author?
I think I’ve come to a place where I write what actually happens. I don’t say heck if I said hell and I don’t act like I’m winning mother of the year. I’m more like mother of dragons, and I want people to know it’s ok to feel that way sometimes.
Do you feel that the ideas you share in this book, like being the mother of dragons, are important messages that are relevant for readers today? Or do you think they will become stronger in the future?
I think selflessness is timeless, but man is it needed these days!
What did you learn by sharing the importance of selflessness, (and of course the love of dogs)?
I learned that remembering is good. That no matter how hard life is in the moment, you look back and feel grateful you did what you did to help others. It makes sense in hindsight.
Did you keep thinking of how it all turned out as you remembered and wrote everything down?
I’m always thinking about the dogs. Today, ten years ago. They all have a place with me. They never leave.
*Laughs* Spoken like a true dog lady! It’s great that they still have a place with you, even today. Are there people who might not appreciate this love, and perhaps should give this book a miss?
I wouldn’t want my young kids reading this. It’s like seeing Bambi when you’re a kid. Some of us are fine, and some of us remember his mother’s voice 40 years later… Most of the stories in my book are happy, fun, and light-hearted. But, there’s grief in love as well. I’ve lost some of my friends, and it might be hard for kids to take in.
What kind of responses have you received from people who have read this book?
I’ve had some really great responses! Most of my “people” are animal people and that helps, but the reviews from readers I don’t know have been good as well. I think everyone loves a good book.
Everyone really does love a good book. Has there been some tough criticism come out of the feedback you’ve had? And what’s been the best compliment that’s stuck with you?
The toughest criticism comes from me. I’m always re-reading and overthinking the book. “Do I cuss too much. Am I funny enough?” Things like that. It’s hard to put yourself out there. My best compliment came from a reader. She said she had 18 rescue cats at one time and the “look” people give you, she gets it. You have no idea what it means when people say they get it…
Has your ability to form connections with readers like that helped you think about how you’ll brand yourself as an author?
I don’t think about an author brand. I think about vet bills and the next chewy order. I think of myself as an author, but not someone who’s trying to sell themselves. I’m trying to sell kindness. I’m trying to convince people to help the dog that’s put in front of them. Maybe that’s a mistake and I’ll never make the bestseller’s list. I suppose as long as I make the best human’s list, I’m good…
You’re definitely a contender for that best humans list. Now I just have to ask, where did you get the cover designed? It’s great!
I designed the book cover, I suppose, if you can call it “designed”. It’s a picture of Buddy, Cole, and Digger curled up in a chair together. It’s epitomizes the buddy system!
Don’t sell yourself short, taking the time to match that snap with your story is definitely a good design choice. Especially when you’re distracted by those not-so baby dragons themselves. Now those little doggie dragons have grown up. Is this the last book where readers can be delighted by their antics?
I’m working on the second book in the series, “Friends of Cole.” I hope to have it finished by spring. (God willing and we don’t find another chicken coop full of puppies…)
*Laughs* I hope that’s no more puppy surprises either! Beth, I can’t wait to see more of your doggie adventures in ‘Friends of Cole’, and until then I hope your days continue to be filled with many more canine adventures!
Warren William Luce is a new voice challenging current perspectives about issues that plague the people of America and the world, providing different, sometimes controversial, yet logical and sound answers to those problems. When we summon the will and courage to carry them out, our life will be better, our children’s future brighter and the world a kinder place.
Are you looking for a new point of view on the current issues in America? Take a different look on America and the world, and reach different answers as we chat with the author of ‘Common Sense and Reasonable Answers’, Warren William Luce. Warren, what inspired you to share your views with the world through this book?
Having lived for 95 years, traveled and lived much of the world and seen the hatred, cruelty, indifference and suffering that abounds, this book is my attempt to do something about it.
Would you say that most of the book is drawn from your own experiences and life?
Yes, I have a long life of experiences, including serving my country during three wars starting with WWII, garnering knowledge of our world and human nature.
What ideas did you want to share from these experiences?
We are magnificent beings, created in God’s image with his qualities of love, caring and forgiveness. We need to use them toward better stewardship of our beautiful and bountiful earth, less excessive striving for materialism and to listen to what God has to say to us, like “love our neighbor as our self and treat others as we would like them to treat us.”
Lousy stewardship of our beautiful and bountiful earth by its inhabitants, excessive striving for materialism and the failure to listen to what God has to say to us.
Looking back, what do you felt that you learned from putting these strong opinions down on paper?
Convincing myself that what I was writing is right.
What did you focus on as you were writing to help guide yourself and ensure that you really were writing the right ideas?
My mind is focused on using words effectively so as to best convey what I have to say.
Did you find exercising that level of focus exhausting, or energising?
Both. When an idea grabs me, I am eager to research and write about it. But writing can be exhausting, although a milder term like tiring would be better. So it’s then time to take a break, rest, perhaps sleep and refresh.
How has your voice as an author changed as you’ve followed this pattern of writing, resting & refreshing, before once again rewriting?
An all around improvement of vocabulary and ability to express myself.
What kind of responses have you received from people who have read this book and taken the time to consider and reflect on your expressions?
High praise for the work as indicated in reviews. “OMG, where do I begin, this book is amazing. This book can bless the whole world. This book should be read by everyone in the world. I couldn’t put this book down. This book is full of wisdom. This book will change the we look at our world and our fellow human beings.”
That’s fantastic feedback! With such positive feedback you must have at least considered writing another book. Are you working on a new writing project that readers can look forward to? What can you tell us about it?
A book about how religion has caused harm and grief to humankind. I explore the two great religions of Islam and Christianity, acknowledging the good they have done but exposing their faults as well.
There’s certainly a lot to explore around those topics – you’ll be busy writing for a while. Since you have so much more to write, let’s take a little time off to relax with a couple of quick quirky questions. The first one we’ll try today is, if money doesn’t grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
Branches promote growth and value to both trees and banks.
Good answer, one I haven’t heard before. Can you cry underwater?
Sure, but I prefer to laugh. You can’t LOL though. You have to keep your mouth shut and laugh with your eyes.
*Laughs* Laughing with your eyes underwater, I’d like to see that! If space is a vacuum, who changes the bags?
No need to change bags. The bags’ capacity is unlimited. They are called “black holes”.
Why is a square meal served on round plates?
Probably for a number of reasons, like round plates store easier in the cupboard and dishwasher. Or maybe it’s that we just don’t know. It’s one of the great mysteries of the world.
I agree, it’s probably best leave that question to the mysteries of time. What’s your favourite word?
Love, like in kind, caring and forgiving love.
From love to the love of creatures. If you invented a new monster or creepy creature what would it look like and what would you call it?
Like a giant pink rabbit and I would call it Pooka.
It sounds kinda cute, but maybe he’s hiding big fangs under that pink fluff! On the topic of fangs, what happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?
He better get his rabies shot.
You would think he’d be all up to date with his shots living in a bat cave, but you can never be too careful. Are you left or right handed?
Right handed but my left isn’t useless.
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
I buy only lemon juice made with real lemons. But to answer, artificial flavor is cheaper and either the dishwasher liquid makers are not being truthful or they use one lemon per the 100 gallon mixing vat.
I like the imagery of the liquid dishwasher makers tossing in a random lemon into the vat, that surely has to be how it’s done! As much fun as we’ve had here today, it’s time that I let you return to the challenge of exploring religion in your next book. Before you go, can you leave us with a taste of ‘Common Sense and Reasonable Answers’? Perhaps, your favorite line will do.
“Of the utmost importance is that we perceive love as the true panacea; Love that is caring kind, compassionate and forgiving. The kind of love that is the way to heaven, both is this lifetime and the one to come.
Now that’s a great line. Warren, thanks so much for sharing insights into your view of the world, and I hope that readers take your ideas to heart and put them into action as well.