Interview with Adriana Arrington, author of Bleed Through

Today we’re chatting with Adriana Arrington about her novel, Bleed Through, out this month!

What’s your book about?

Liam Murphy battles his schizophrenia while developing a paranormal ability to witness past events, which reveals a murder and places him in the crosshairs of the killer.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“Three icy fingertips stroked the small of his back. Liam stiffened. Ragged fingernails sliced through bubbling blisters as they trailed toward his skull. Dread prickled up his spine along with the fingertips, his already frayed nerves set further aflame by their touch. “I’ve missed you,” Three Fingers said, his voice raspy and deep.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

My novel explores reality and our perception of it.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

That the longer I edit, the more curse words I sprinkle in my work.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication? 

I began writing Bleed Through in September 2014. I signed a contract with Curiosity Quills in February 2016, and it’s releasing in March 2017.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

My favorite part of writing is drafting the characters, because once you fully understand your character’s motivations and desires, you understand your story.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

My grandmother. She was a vibrant woman who loved life, and her positive energy charged the atmosphere of every room she entered. She was also a woman of secrets, treasuring them and storing them away where only she knew they existed. The last of her generation in our family, I can’t fathom that these secrets simply vanished when she passed. Perhaps, somehow, they’re strong enough to linger here on Earth. And if they do stay with us…would it be possible to catch a glimpse of one somehow?

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

Usually while on I’m on a walk or exercising

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

My sister and I married identical twins. Yes. Really.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Don’t give up.

What’s next?

A young adult psychological thriller about a seventeen-year-old girl whose plan to rescue her younger sister from her video-game addiction goes terribly awry.

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Adriana Arrington – BLEED THROUGH

With his schizophrenia under control, life is looking up for twenty-five-year-old Liam Murphy. Independence looms on his horizon, and he’s under the care of a psychologist who understands him. Then he witnesses a murder at the yacht club. He worries it’s a hallucination and sign of regression, but soon becomes convinced that his meds have given him the paranormal ability to see past events, and that the murder actually happened.

Attempting to make sense of his new talent, Liam finds an unlikely confidant in Mai Nguyen, a fellow college student and eternal optimist. Though she helps him navigate the unsettling memories threatening to engulf him, the emotional toll of learning terrible secrets he can’t prove pushes Liam to the brink of lucidity.

Desperate to wrest back control of his life, Liam tosses his pills. He spirals into a relapse and captures the killer’s attention as he bumbles through investigating the crime. Hunted by a possibly imaginary murderer, and haunted by self-doubt, Liam must distinguish between hallucinations and reality. If he doesn’t, he risks losing either his hard-won sanity or his life.

Available March 14, 2017 from Curiosity Quills.

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Interview with Lindsey Frydman, author of THE HEARTBEAT HYPOTHESIS

Lindsey Frydman talks with us today about her debut THE HEARTBEAT HYPOTHESIS.

Please describe what the book is about.

THE HEARTBEAT HYPOTHESIS is about Audra, a girl who’s decided to honor her heart donor’s memory by recreating her done-it list—an anti-bucket list in the form of a photographic journal. She convinces Jake, the sexy photographer (and her donor’s brother) to help chronicle her newfound experiences. But while he might be willing to help with the list, he wants nothing to do with uncovering the painful truth behind his sister’s death.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

I couldn’t tell if I’d flirted with my heart donor’s brother…or made a complete ass of myself.

Or both.

*

“I do want to kiss you, Audra. But if I do, it may become a habit…and I can’t seem to get rid of habits.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

THE HEARTBEAT HYPOTHESIS is about love and loss, grief and forgiveness. From the moment I started writing it, it meant something to me, and I can only hope others will find some meaning in it, too.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

That I have to write what speaks to me. It’s true what they say about not writing for trends or anything like that. Write for you.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

I drafted this story in about two months. I was querying it after about six months—definitely the fastest I’ve ever written and edited a novel. I queried agents for a year and a half, then found Entangled and an editor that loved my story, so the entire process took a little over two years.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

Drafting characters is definitely my favorite part of writing. I love combining a set of attributes, a goal, a personality, and a past to create a fictional person. That’s when they become real for me. 😉

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

It came from a news story: a twenty-one-year old nursing student died in a drunk driving accident. Then, when a fifty-something-year-old woman received her heart, she decided to complete the young girl’s bucket list so that her heart could do all of those things even if she couldn’t. <3

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

Usually when I’m driving, listening to music, with no appropriate way to write things down! Or in the shower. That’s a good thinking spot for me.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I perform in burlesque shows—because I enjoy giving my introversion a worthy adversary. 😉

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

You will never please everybody.

What’s next?

I’m editing a YA romantic magical realism set to release in early 2018 from Entangled Publishing. It’s a story in which a girl who is cursed with seeing the end to all her romantic relationships meets a boy who makes her question everything.

 

“Now that Audra Madison has a second chance at life, she’s got a plan: Go to college. Get a tattoo. Date. You know, live. To honor her donor’s memory, she’s recreating Emily’s Done-it List—a photographic journal of all the things she experienced before her death. And she’s convinced Emily’s brother, Jake, a photographer with mysterious, brooding gray eyes, to help chronicle her newfound experiences. As they delve into each other’s pasts—and secrets—the closer they become.

 

Then he finally admits why he won’t talk about his sister. He doesn’t believe the bullshit story about how she died. Unraveling the mystery could bring Jake the peace he needs, but he wants nothing to do with uncovering the painful truth. When Audra starts pushing his trust, it’s clear she’s overestimated her detective skills and underestimated her knowledge of Jake.

 

She’s guarded and feels like she can’t trust anyone, including herself.

And he’s struggling with the fact that his beloved sister’s heart beats inside her.”

Interview with Heather McCorkle, author of Honor Before Heart

Today we’re chatting with Heather McCorkle about her book Honor Before Heart  — the first in a series!

Please describe what the story is about.

When Corporal Sean MacBranian awakens after being injured in battle, he is sure the luck o’ the Irish has run out on him. Or that he’s died and gone to Heaven. There can be no other explanation for the blonde-haired, blue-eyed angel standing before him. But his “angel” is a truehearted lass named Ashlinn, and she wears a nurse’s uniform. Her tender ministrations have brought him back from the brink of death—and have given him a new reason for living.

Ashlinn knows their parting is inevitable; her handsome hero must return to the 69th infantry of the Union army, and there are no guarantees of his safe return. With most of her family already destroyed by the war ravaging America, she is sure she cannot survive another loss. Yet she feels powerless against the draw of Sean’s strong and steady heart. Neither time nor distance nor the danger of battle seems to lessen their bond. But when their secret letters are intercepted, the devoted nurse’s love will face the ultimate test . . .

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

Those eyes she had wondered about were copper with sunbursts of darker brown coming out from the pupil. They fixed upon her, their pain and beauty ensnaring her so that she couldn’t move let alone look away.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

That I’m deeply interested in Irish American history.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

One year.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why? 

I love the editing process. It’s where everything comes together and the diamond is pressed from the coal.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

A Dropkick Murphy’s song about the 69th infantry.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

Either in the shower or on a motorcycle ride (I’m not the one driving. That would be dangerous because I ‘see’ my ideas).

What would you like people to know about your book? 
Perhaps that I chose to center it around the all Irish (at the time) 69th brigade out of New York due to a desire to bring to light the important role the Irish played in the civil war.  

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I practiced tae-kwon-do for fifteen years.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

She who doesn’t give up, makes it. Keep writing.

What’s next? 

A sequel! This is the first in the Widows of the 69th series. And, readers will see a paranormal romance series from me soon as well.

 

Interview with Steven Peters, Author of 59 Glass Bridges


Today we’re chatting with Steven Peters, author of the speculative fiction novel, 59 Glass Bridges, debuting on April 1!

Please describe what your story is about.

59 Glass Bridges follows a man’s attempts to escape a maze with all the logical sense of an M.C. Escher painting. As he wanders, he remembers his childhood, especially the beloved grandmother who raised him. But the maze isn’t kind to would-be travelers and he soon learns that he’s not the only one stalking these halls.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“It’s all right to be afraid,” my grandmother told me. “It’s smart to be afraid. Because, you see, I forgot to tell you that there is one real monster in any maze. Only one creature that can find its way around. I forgot to warn you about the minotaur.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

59 Glass Bridges is a story about loss and grief. It’s a story about self-discovery. It’s a story about faith and finding strength in unexpected places. And it’s also a story about a maze which may or may not house a monster.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I’m an odd duck when it comes to grief. I cried at my grandparent’s funeral, of course, but I didn’t realize how much it impacted me until I realized 59 Glass Bridges was mostly about grief.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

I set pen to paper on the manuscript that would one day become 59 Glass Bridges 5 years ago. This project began as my Master’s thesis at the University of Calgary.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

To me, writing is always an exploration of character. Characters invent their own stories as they wander through the world. Sometimes where they wind up even surprises me.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

59 Glass Bridges is a chimera. It was born from pieces of texts I love, like Dante’s Inferno, the city I grew up in (Calgary, Alberta has fifty-nine +15 skyway bridges), and my own memory.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

My inspiration strikes hottest when I’m reading work I love. In the case of 59 Glass Bridges, my inspiration came from two unexpected sources—Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

My passion for writing extends to role playing games. Every week, I act as Dungeon Master to an intrepid group of adventurers.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

“Just keep writing,” probably. I’ve heard this from my mentor, Suzette Mayr, my editor, Kit Dobson, and my partner, Emily Chin. Without her encouragement, there’s no way I ever would have finished this book.

What’s next?

After 59 Glass Bridges is published and Warner Bros. buys the movie rights and I buy a vacation home in the Virgin Islands? I don’t know… I guess I’ll start working on the next book.

How would you describe the setting of your novel?

In truth, 59 Glass Bridges’ maze is its central character. It is shaped by the protagonist’s memories and often works to stymie his forward momentum. From turgid rivers to endless hallways to forests of thorns, the world within my novel is alive—and often sinister.

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Steven Peters – 59 GLASS BRIDGES

I don’t remember how I got here. These halls are unfamiliar. These clothes certainly aren’t mine. And why does every turn seem to land me right back where I started? Am I lost?

I do remember my Grandmother. I remember her fingers buried in soil in the garden, her paintings on the stoop, and the truly terrible moonshine she brewed on the front porch. I suppose that’s not important now.

What’s important is that I find a way out. Stay calm. The sound of someone following—that’s my imagination. Of course, there is no monster in this maze.

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Interview with Emily Cavanagh, Author of The Bloom Girls

We’re talking today with Emily Cavanagh, Author of The Bloom Girls, a women’s fiction novel releasing on March 14!

Please describe what the story is about.

When the news of their father’s death reaches them, sisters Cal, Violet, and Suzy Bloom have to set aside their own personal crises, and their differences. Arriving in Maine, the Bloom sisters can’t help but revisit the past, confronting the allegations against their father that shattered their family nearly twenty years earlier. As they try to reconcile different versions of their childhood and search for common ground, they’re forced to look at their father’s life—and their own lives—with new eyes, or risk losing all they hold dear.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“When Suzy Bloom first heard about her father’s death, she was making a cheese soufflé. In the stainless-steel test kitchen of the FoodArt offices, Suzy cracked egg after egg, straining the whites into one bowl and the sunny-yellow yolks into another.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

It’s a story about how a scandal impacts a family and what happens when members of the family each understand the events differently.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I learned how much I enjoy writing from the perspective of characters I find a little unlikeable. Violet isn’t necessarily someone I’d be friends with, but she was a really fun character to write.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

The novel took about a year and half to write. I finished it sometime around the spring of 2015 and signed with my agent, Marlene Stringer, in November 2015. I signed a two-book contract with Lake Union in June of 2016.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

My favorite part is writing the first draft of a novel. During that stage, I still don’t know who the characters are or where the plot will go. Each time I sit down to write, I’m surprised by what happens.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

During graduate school I wrote a collection of short stories about the three sisters who narrate THE BLOOM GIRLS. The characters stuck with me and over ten years later, I wanted to write a novel that takes place years after a family is dismantled. Cal, Violet, and Suzy Bloom seemed like the best characters to tell the story.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

On the weekends I go for walks with my dog, and I tend to do my writing thinking during this time. On the rare occasions when I find myself on a long drive by myself, I’ll think about my work in progress. Because I do my best thinking through writing, I’ll often write my way through a problematic section in a novel, sort of “talking out loud” as I type.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I wrote three novels and tried to get them all published before writing THE BLOOM GIRLS and signing with my agent. The journey to publication can be a long one.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Send out query letters. Keep writing. Don’t be afraid of rejection.

What’s next?

I’m working on two books right now—one that’s a thriller that takes place on a fictional island very similar to Martha’s Vineyard (where I live) and another about four college friends who come together for a disastrous long weekend twenty years after graduation.

Which character do you relate to most?

There’s a little of me in each of the sisters. Cal’s life circumstances are the most like my own. Like Cal I’m the oldest of three, I have two young daughters, and I’ve struggled to balance work and family life. Cal is definitely more type-A than I am, but on my worst days, we’re probably pretty similar. Suzy is a people pleaser, which I can relate to. She doesn’t like confrontation and works hard to keep the peace. Violet and I aren’t alike in terms of personality, but we’re both writers and in relationships with men who are immigrants, though Luka is from the Czech Republic and my husband is from Ireland. Hopefully my own siblings don’t get as irritated with me as Suzy and Cal do with Violet!

From LIBRARY JOURNAL: “Cavanagh hits all the right notes with her characters. They are complicated and messy, one and all, which makes this an emotional and satisfying read. Those drawn to Anne Tyler and Elizabeth Berg will love this one.”—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

thebloomgirls

Emily Cavanagh – THE BLOOM GIRLS

A tender, heartfelt story of three sisters, their late father’s painful past, and the power of forgiveness.

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Interview with Laura Heffernan, Author of America’s Next Reality Star

Today, Laura Heffernan, talks about her wonderful novel, America’s Next Reality Star, which debuted on March 7.

What’s your book about?

After Jen loses her job, her boyfriend, and her home, she is cast on a reality show where she hopes to win the cash prize but finds she also wants to win the heart of fellow contestant Justin.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“Looking good boosted my confidence. Confidence would make people want to vote for me. I needed votes to win. And I was going to win.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR is a light, fun book about trying new things and living life to the fullest. Sometimes what you want isn’t what you really need.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I learned that I could write a book, that I could edit it, and that I’d find people who wanted to read it. To someone struggling with self-doubt, that’s huge.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

I started drafting AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR in October 2013, and it’s being published March 2017. The sequels, thankfully, will be out in less than 3.5 years!

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

I love just sitting down to draft without a plan and seeing where the plot goes. My characters never fail to surprise me.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

In 2012, two of my friends appeared on reality shows. I learned a lot about the process of casting and what goes on behind the scenes, and it seemed like so much fun, I wanted to create my own show.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

At the gym, usually, or taking walks. I think best when my body is moving but my mind isn’t engaged.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I’ve been doing pole fitness for three and a half years. I can do sit-ups while hanging up-side down by my ankles.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

No matter what obstacles you’re facing, you’re not alone. Everyone has ups and downs, and seeming “overnight” successes struggle for years before it happens.

What’s next?

SWEET REALITY is coming out in a few months, followed by the currently-untitled third book in the series. I can’t wait to share these stories with the world.

thenextrealitystar

Laura Heffernan – AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR

Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.

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Interview with Kari Lemor, Author of Wild Card Undercover

Today, we’re talking with Kari Lemor, author of Wild Card Undercover, which debuted on March 7. This novel is the first in her ‘Love on the Line’ romantic suspense series.

Please describe what the story is about.

An undercover FBI agent enlists the help of a cocktail waitress to get evidence on her boss. They pretend to be lovers to keep her safe but the hot kisses and caresses may be more dangerous than the case.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

He threw her a crooked smile. “All part of the undercover assignment, sweetie.”

She groaned. “Do I have to call you some stupid, sappy nickname, too?”

What do you want people to know about your book?  

In a workshop by Deb Dixon we had to break down our plot. Mine was: “A girl leaves home to find something better and gets stuck in a much worse place. She gets help from a powerful man but he wants something from her first. She realizes home wasn’t so bad after all.”  I realized I had rewritten The Wizard of OZ!!

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel? 

That I really need to do more plotting before I start writing.  This book was majorly revised quite a few times before it was accepted for publication.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication? 

I started writing the story in Dec. 2012. I finished what I thought was my final draft in the spring of 2013. It got sent to a few places and rejected several times, luckily with feedback.  I revised and submitted a few more times and finally heard in Jan. of 2015 that Kensington had moved my story up the ladder. In April 2015, I heard it had gone to acquisitions and in May I got the “call”.  BUT, they wanted a series. So I wrote up a proposal for two more books in the series and waited some more.  It wasn’t until Jan 2016 that I got my contract for three books from Kensington Lyrical and was told my book would be in the Underground line (for Mystery/Thriller/Suspense)

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?  

I love brainstorming characters and ideas with my amazing Critique Partner. She has great thoughts and always makes me think about why my characters are doing something. And I absolutely love sitting at the computer and letting my characters just take control. So often they show me sides of themselves that I never knew about.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from? 

I had a dream of the first scene. When I woke up I was curious as to why this situation was happening so I started creating a reason for the characters to have done what they did. The story just flowed from there.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress? 

I think about my current book all the time. Of course, most of the really great ideas come to me when I’m either driving or just about to fall asleep. I actually keep a small notepad next to my bed with a pencil. And I’ve learned how to write in the dark so I don’t wake up hubby.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?  

I used to hate writing. I didn’t even start writing until maybe ten years ago and then only for fun. But I’d always had stories floating around in my head while trying to go to sleep. Recently some friends encouraged me to put them down on paper.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten? 

Best piece of writing advice: Make sure to vary your scenes. Even if you are writing suspense, you can’t have every scene be intense and dramatic. The reader needs time to calm down and reboot.  Plus, if every scene is all about danger, it gets stale and the next dramatic scene won’t have as great an impact. Same with too many sex scenes. After a while they all blend together.  Make each one important and meaningful.

What’s next? 

WILD CARD UNDERCOVER is the first in a series.  The second book, RUNNING TARGET is being released on July 4, 2017 and is already available for pre-order on all major sites. Book three, FATAL EVIDENCE, will be out in December of 2017.
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 Kari Lemor – WILD CARD UNDERCOVER

All that glitters in Miami is not gold . . .

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Interview with Renee Rutledge, Author of The Hour of Daydreams

 

 

Renee Rutledge chats with us today about her literary novel, The Hour of Daydreams, debuting on March 14 , 2017!

What’s your book about?

The novel is an imagined history of two characters in a Filipino folktale. It follows the secrets they keep from one another, and the impact this has on their marriage and how their story is passed on to their only daughter.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“They recalled simultaneously how that part of the river was believed to be haunted–the superstition had been deeply ingrained in the region for decades–so powerful that no one ever dared wander there. Except for them. Perhaps they were just apparitions, clinging to one another, playing at life.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

There is no one way to read this book. Everyone has their own interpretation, and that’s something I wholeheartedly invite. The reader’s interpretation of the story may be vastly different from my own, and that’s okay, even wonderful.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I learned that the small things my dad talked about when I was little, even if we only spent one minute of one day of my entire childhood talking about them, made a big impact on me. Some of these things include the duwende, Philippine mythology, the act of saying “Excuse me, sir, just passing through,” to an anthill where a supernatural being may be living. I soaked all of this in because I was fascinated and thirsty for knowledge about my roots and culture.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

7 years. It took a year to finish the first draft, and each subsequent draft (4 total) took another year. In between, I took a year-long break to market the book to potential agents.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

I loved the process of getting to know my characters. This did not happen right away, but gradually, until I reached a point when I knew what they were doing or thinking, and I came to love them, flaws and all.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

This inspiration for this book came from a Filipino folktale about a star maiden and a man who steals her wings, whom she later ends up marrying. That story was a beginning, an opening, one that left me with many questions—did she want to marry him? Was she happy? It was up to me to come up with the answers.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

There is no one time. As a working mom, I write when I can, often in the middle of the night or in the earliest hours of the morning. When I am lucky enough to come across an uninterrupted hour that I can spend writing, that is the hour I do my best thinking, oftentimes, because it has to be.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but as a “small-town” girl. They say Alameda is a place that people leave but always come back to. I decided to settle here with my husband from the get-go. My daughters attend/attended the same elementary school I did. It is grounding and sets a strong foundation, but leaves me with a need to seek adventure often. We are always traveling, taking day trips, spending time in new and different places. I think keeping that lens of a child within—the one that is always curious and seeing things new—is important, especially as a writer.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

I’ve gotten so much good advice, but the best piece of writing advice I’ve gotten while working on this book was from my thesis advisor at the time—Yiyun Li. I had challenged myself with the task of creating two opposing storylines and making them both work. Which storyline do you believe? Yiyun asked me. Once I knew that, the entire process changed.

What’s next?

I’m currently working on a collection of stories about Filipino immigrants, inspired by family interviews.

The Hour of Daydreams isn’t just a wonderful book—it’s a lyrical and poetic journey, one that’s simultaneously magical, surprising, and mesmerizing. It’s a love story, fable, fairy tale, and contemporary novel woven together with seamless thread, reminiscent of Isabel Allende. A brilliant start to a beautiful literary career.” — Erin Entrada Kelly, author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls

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Interview with Layla Reyne, Author of Single Malt

Layla Reyne talks with us about her Romanic Suspense Series that begins with the recent launch of Single Malt.

Please describe what your book is about.

Aidan Talley, a recently widowed FBI field agent, is newly partnered with handsome, younger Cyber agent, Jameson Walker, to investigate a series of hacks at a biocontainment facility. They must race against the clock to stop the hacks and a deadly terrorist attack. Along the way, they learn all isn’t what it seems—with the case, their partnership, and the deaths of Aidan’s late husband and his former partner.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

Jamie glanced down at the sparkling clovers in his hand, then back up at his partner, whose autumn eyes hid nothing now. Fear, resolve, desire, and something more Jamie didn’t want to put a word to for all the complications those four letters could bring.

What do you want people to know about your book?

I love suspense with a heavy dose of unresolved sexual tension that leads to romance. Translation: Prepare for plot-heavy romance, with action and things that go boom, kissing and sexy times, and some cliffhangers too. That’s the structure I learned, the one I love, so fair warning!

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

Iced coffee and cronuts are the keys to late night writing and editing success.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

Single Malt drafting kicked into high gear in November 2015, while I queried a different manuscript. I got my wonderful agent with that manuscript, sent her Single Malt in April 2016, and we quickly moved it to the front-burner, pitching and selling it in short order. And now Single Malt is published in February 2017, Cask Strength (AIW2) is done and will be published in May 2017, and we’re editing Barrel Proof (AIW3) for release later this summer.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

Plotting and dialogue. I’m a total plotter; I have to get the story structure down first. And I do that with dialogue, writing it first for the opening scene, closing scene, sex scene(s), dark moment and climax. Then I go back and fill in the rest.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

Decades of romance-laced cop shows (The X-Files, Castle, etc.) + a decade living in the hyper-tech rat-race that is Silicon Valley.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

In the car. It’s my one regret about working from home now. I love not commuting, but I miss my best story planning time.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I love fast cars, as is evidenced in my stories, and vintage muscle cars are my weakness. Too bad I didn’t appreciate them in my youth, passing up a 1964½ cherry red Mustang convertible when I was a preteen and didn’t know any better. Top five life regret.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Do at least one round of edits backward—from the last chapter to the first. That way your eyes and brain aren’t tired when you’re polishing those crucial last chapters.

What’s next?

All three books in the Agents Irish and Whiskey series – Single Malt, Cask Strength, and Barrel Proof – will be released this year. I’m also developing ideas for AIW spin-offs and writing a male/male contemporary sports romance.

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Interview with Jenni Walsh, Author of Becoming Bonnie

Today, we’re talking to Jenni Walsh. Her first novel, Becoming Bonnie, debuts on May 9!

Please describe what your book about.

Becoming Bonnie tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the Roaring Twenties.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

I rattle the phone into its holder. This thought and that thought bump into each other, colliding, fighting, ‘til a single thought remains: Forgive me Father, for I’m ‘bout to sin.

What do you want people to know about your book?

Let me switch it up a little and answer that I want people to feel like they’ve stepped into a sweetly scandalous Carrie Underwood song.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I can muster productivity on severe lack of sleep. My second child arrived smack dab in the middle of my 3-month revision period.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

How about this… I’ll throw some real numbers at ya. I broke ground on Becoming Bonnie, writing the first chapter, in March of 2014. I began querying Jan 1, 2015. I got my first agent offer on January 9 (my birthday!), but accepted a different offer on January 16, 2015. I went on sub in February and my publication offer came in August of 2015 (after an R&R). My book will be releasing in May of 2017. So… when it’s all said and done, my journey to publication (not counting previous books I’ve written and shelved) will have taken 39 months (if I did the math correctly. I’m not a numbers gal).

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

Dialogue. Hands down. I love when I’m washing my hair, folding laundry… trying to sleep… and my characters start having this pithy back and forth convo in my head. I feverishly stop what I’m doing and try to get it down on paper.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

I (somehow) saw the Bonnie and Clyde film when I was a little girl. The violence didn’t stick with me, but their loyalty toward one another did. It made me wonder who they were besides outlaws.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

Naturally it comes when I’m not at a computer and I have to find a quick way to capture my idea. But in general, I work at night when the rest of my house is asleep and I don’t have kids tugging on me.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I had very little interest in history until after I got married. My husband is a huge history buff.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Work a little each day. Even if it’s only getting a paragraph down on paper, it’s progress.

What’s next?

Becoming Bonnie is a book for the mamas, but I’m also working on books for kiddos. In 2018 I’ll be beginning a middle grade series, Brave Like Me, with Scholastic that features real women, who at a young age, accomplished daring feats of perseverance and bravery.

Is Becoming Bonnie a standalone novel?

It can be. But, their story also continues into Being Bonnie, which will be hitting shelves the summer of 2018. I’m really excited to be working on this sequel to bring some of the darker elements of Bonnie and Clyde’s infamy to life.

“A compelling account of a nation and a life in disarray—readers will feel for Bonnelyn as she finds herself scrabbling for survival in a world turned upside down.” – Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author

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