Interview With Author Christen Stovall

Christen Stovall is no stranger to hard work and the soul-searching struggle of profound loss. Shortly after marrying, Christen’s soul mate and husband ended his own life.

To cope with this devastating loss, Christen turned to writing as a way of making sense of it all. This mourning process conceived her trilogy The Song of Souls Trilogy.

Christen lives Kansas in the home she and her late husband shared. 

Now that I’ve introduced you to Christen let’s get to know her a little better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Christen, and welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?
I can’t really say it was one defining moment. I can’t remember a time
when I didn’t engage in some form of storytelling. I’ve always daydreamed, or imagined detailed stories in my head.

More than one teacher told my parents I was “a good student, but she’s constantly daydreaming.” It wasn’t until I was in my mid-teens that the idea of actually writing a story occurred to me.

It became something of an addiction after that though it was still years before I considered writing a book.

Is writing your full-time profession?
Yes. I do some odd jobs on the side, but writing is my career and absolute focus.

How long have you been writing?
I was sixteen the first time I wrote out one of my stories. I’ve always been a storyteller though.

Photo courtesy of: Christen Stovall

How many books have you written?
I have published the first two books of the Song of Souls: Soulbound and Soulfire. The third book, Boundless, is going through the editing process now. It’s scheduled for release in August of this year.

Which genres do you write?
High fantasy, with some romance mixed in, but that’s secondary. I will probably branch out occasionally but fantasy is my passion. 

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?
Finding new ways to tell the kind of stories I enjoy. I want to give my work a timeless quality and enjoy mixing classic fairytale and folklore aspects.

The difficulty with that is that it’s become super trendy to brand those kinds of things as “tropey.” I try to give them a twist, but there will always be critics.

Photo courtesy of: Christen Stovall

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
That’s not a simple answer. Each character I come up with is inspired in a different way.

My experiences inspired in the Song of Souls Trilogy heroine, Aislynn, and her Soulmate, Rorin, and the struggles as a young widow. They were inspired by my own experiences, but are not meant to represent myself, or my late husband.

It’s more a representation of the complexity of grief, and of moving forward after loss. Other characters have been inspired by friends, and some are inspired by a piece of music, or even a single look on an actor’s face in a movie or TV show.

Inspiration is literally everywhere if you keep your eyes and ears open to it.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
When a reader contacted me and told me how much my books, and my own story had impacted her. Her husband was killed in an accident a few months prior to discovering my books.

We exchanged messages for some time, but have lost touch since. Knowing it helped her in some way makes everything worthwhile.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Write all the time, even if it’s just for fun. Also, and this one is crucial, hire a PROFESSIONAL editor. Do not ask a friend, get someone who will rip your work apart and force you to grow and improve.

No matter how good your story is, or how proficient your writing, you need an unbiased pair of eyes. Get an editor, park the ego, and listen to what your editor tells you.

They aren’t there to fawn over you and tell you how great you are. An editor is there to tell you what you’re doing wrong and how to be better.

Photo courtesy of: Goran Horvat; courtesy of: Pixabay
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text 741741 for free, confidential support via text message.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
I would actually. I want people to know about my personal story because it has so much impact on my writing. When I was twenty-eight, after a year and a half of marriage, my husband ended his life. I was devastated.

In the blink of an eye it shattered all my hopes and dreams beyond measure. We didn’t have children, our life together was only beginning. Suicide doesn’t bring an end to a person’s pain, it only puts that pain on the people they loved. It’s a tragic and terrible reality to face.

But I persevered and found my strength and my smile again.  I also found my voice, and the inspiration for the Song of Souls Trilogy was born. Writing these books has helped me work through and share my story in a way that felt safe and comfortable.

They’ve given a legacy to my time with my husband and meaning to all the pain of losing him. I will write other books, but these will always have special meaning.

What message are you sharing in your books?
That no matter what happens in your life, there’s always hope. You can overcome anything if you believe in yourself and hold to that. Live your life from a place of love, for the people around you, and for yourself.

Photo courtesy of: Christen Stovall

What are your favorite books/authors?
Tolkien’s work is a definite favorite of mine, and a big impact on my writing. Juliet Marrillier is probably my favorite author though. Her Sevenwaters Series is AMAZING! If you’ve never read her work, you should start today.

I recommend the aforementioned Sevenwaters Series, (it’s my favorite). The first book is Daughter of the Forest. It’s a brilliant retelling of the fairytale The Six Swans. I’m not usually a fan of retold stories, but this one is amazing.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
As far as movies go, name a fantasy film and it’s probably on my list. A few worth mentioning specifically are Lord of the Rings (obviously), The Princess Bride, Willow, Stardust, The Wizard of Oz.

My favorite TV series include The Tudors, Outlander, Game of Thrones, Versailles, Legend of the Seeker, most of the Star Trek Series, Once Upon a Time (though the later seasons were a bit redundant), and The Last Kingdom.

I recently started watching Bodyguard as well. It’s not my usual taste, but well done.

When you‘re not writing where can we find you?
Well, Facebook, Twitter (though I’m not great about tweeting, lol), Instagram, Goodreads, and possibly Realm of the Mist Entertainment.

I used to co-host an online radio show there but stepped back to finish my trilogy. I have since been approached to return, but we’re looking at whether it can be worked out with my schedule.

Guilty pleasure admission, I love the online game Star Wars: The Old Republic and have been known to sneak around as an Imperial agent by the name of Inari-zun in a galaxy far, far away, lol.

A movie producer wants to turn your book into a movie and you get to make a cameo. What would you do in the movie?
Totally a thing I’ve imagined, lol. Presumably, it would be made into three movies since I have a book trilogy. I think in the first one I’d like to be one of the Soulbound.

In the second, I think it would be fun to be a random baddie that one of my heroes takes out. I’m not sure about the third book, something that has a bit more meaning, I suppose.

Agent 12-25 from Chris Kringle’s Cops

An elf named 12-25 approaches you. He’s sneezing, wheezing, coughing and there’s a strange tattoo of a snoring dog on his cheek. What do you do?
Offer him a tissue and a lozenge, and ask if he can help me get into Rivendell, lol.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
I do!
Book page – https://www.facebook.com/SoulboundSongofSoulsTrilogy/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/christenstovall

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/christenstovall/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14246037.Christen_Stovall

I’m currently looking into creating a new website.

Where can we find your books?
Amazon, Barnes and Noble (upon request), a limited number of bookstores in Kansas, and through me personally for residents of the United States.

Thank you, Christen, for spending time with us and sharing your story. It is wonderful to hear how you turned your greatest struggle into a creative strength. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Photo courtesy of: Christen Stovall

Interview With Author Ashley Munoz

Ashley Munoz is a mother, a wife, a blogger and has recently become a published author. Her first novel debuted in September 2018.

Ashley believes in going after your dreams and all the hard work that goes along with it. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, fantasy novels, and almost anything that is swoon worthy.

Ashley lives in Oregon with her husband and four children.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Ashley let’s get to know her a little better.

Photo courtesy of: Ashley Munoz

Hello, Ashley, and welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?

—Honestly, I’ve always enjoyed writing. I blogged a ton before I actually launched into publishing. But it was reading that made me want to take the leap. That saying, “write the story you want to read…” got stuck in my head and I just wrote until I owned that story.

Is writing your full-time profession?

—-Yes, that and staying home with my two-year-old.

Photo courtesy of: Ashley Munoz

How long have you been writing?

—- Blogging for nearly five years, but I debuted as a published author in September of 2018.

How many books have you written?

—I just finished my second full length novel.

Which genres do you write? 

–Right now, contemporary romance but I have started a YA Fantasy book.

Photo courtesy of: Ashley Munoz

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?

— Contemporary Romance is fun to write but I find it difficult to challenge myself to turn the story into something that hasn’t been done before. Use different words and phrases that haven’t been seen in other romance books. Part of this is not filling my books with sex scenes. I have nothing against authors who do, there’s certainly a market for that, but for my own work; I have to push for more. With the YA Fantasy- I find it difficult to world build.

What are you working on now?

—I’m currently co writing a romantic comedy with my best friend who’s also a full time author.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

—No place in particular- they just show up in my head and talk.

Photo courtesy of: Ashley Munoz

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 

— Getting messages from people about how much my work has touched them or how much they loved my book.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

— Grow thick skin and invite only the critique from people who’ve walked this road into your life. Other people’s voices and opinions will only weigh you down. Don’t give up, don’t compare your first draft to someone’s completed one.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

– I have four children. I wrote my debut book from the Google docs app on my cell phone while I nursed my infant son. I turned every sleepless night into a work in progress. Every carpool pick up was turned into a new chapter that was written. It’s not easy to grab your dreams, just start somewhere.

What message are you sharing in your books?

— I focus a lot on overcoming emotional adversity in my heroine’s. They have to dig deep to overcome demons that have tried to hold them back. My stories are about victory and strength; standing again after being knocked down.

What are your favorite books/authors?

-—Anything Mariana Zapata has written. I also love LJ Shen, Devney Perry, Penny Reid, Dannika Dark, Ilona Andrews, and Sarah J Maas. Favorite Books: Wait For It– Mariana Zapata- Under Locke by Mariana Zapata. Court of Thornes and Roses by Sarah J Maas. Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid. Vicious by Lj Shen. Tattered by Devney Perry. The Seven Series by Dannika Dark. The Kate Daniel Series by Ilona Andrews.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

— Movies: Green Street Hooligans, The Boondock Saints, Knockaround Guys, The God Father, Alice and Wonderland (Tim Burton’s Version) Maleficent– Tv Shows: Parks N Rec, Outlander, The Office, Gilmore Girls.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

— Doing something with my family- Hiking, cuddling under blankets while we watch a Redbox movie, the park, or in the backyard.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Yes- www.ashleymunozbooks.comhttps://www.facebook.com/ashleymunozauthorpage/

Where can we find your books?           

Currently my books are exclusively on Amazon.

Thank you, Ashley, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Photo courtesy of: Ashley Munoz

Interview With Top Female Author Melanie S. Pronia

Melanie S. Pronia has many things to be proud of in her life. Besides being an award-winning author, her oldest son is in the United States Marines and her youngest is interested in a career in Forensic Science.

An adventurer at heart, Melanie loves her life and doesn’t want to waste a minute. She enjoys traveling, trying new foods, visiting cemeteries, and brewing her own wine and beer. Salute! 

Melanie lives in Florida with her husband and fellow novelist, John Maycumber.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Melanie, and welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

Photo courtesy of: Melanie S. Pronia

A BIG Congratulations on winning The Author’s Show 2018 Top Female Authors.

Thank you.

Can you tell us about your writing journey and how you came to win the award for The Author’s Show?

I started writing a lot of poetry when I was 14, then wrote my first novel when I was 17.

Photo courtesy of: Melanie S. Pronia

What inspired you to be a writer? 

My third grade teacher, Mrs. Harrison, was an aspiring writing and shared her stories with our class. I loved her and them.

Is writing your full-time profession?

Oh, how I wish, but no, not yet.

How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a pencil.

Photo courtesy of: Melanie S. Pronia

How many books have you written?

I have six published books.

Which genres do you write?       

Paranormal, Psychological Drama, Horror, Non-fiction and True Crime.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?

I like for my writing to be honest and accurate.

Photo courtesy of: Melanie S. Pronia

What are you working on now?

I am writing the sequel to, Descent, which is the novel that won the Top Female Authors Contest. I am also working on a non-fiction called, At Death’s Door and a fiction series titled, Witch Way.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

Many places, a creepy looking man on a street corner, my friends with some layers added and removed and people I am not entirely fond of as antagonists. I also get a lot of inspiration from my dreams.

Photo courtesy of: Melanie S. Pronia

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 

Winning the Grand Prize in the Top Female Authors contest!

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Write, write and write some more. Cut down on TV time and try to write something at least four times a week.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I do extensive research for my books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Photo courtesy of: Melanie S. Pronia

What message are you sharing in your books?

That there is no normal.

What are your favorite books?

The Earth Children Series by Jean M. Auel, and Cat Magic by Whitley Strieber.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

For movies, I prefer intelligent thrillers and coming of age stories. For TV shows, The Handmaid’s Tale, Six Feet Under, and Dexter.

Photo courtesy of: Melanie S. Pronia

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

I love to be outside exploring Nature or historic sights. I enjoy antiquing, thrift shops, and socializing with friends.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Yes, my website is: www.melaniespronia.com    My Facebook author page is:  https://www.facebook.com/Melanie-S-Pronia-205981556118039/

And I am currently offering the first book in my Witch Way series for free at:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/259865331243786/

Where can we find your books?

All of them are available at Amazon.com.

Thank you, Melanie, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Interview With Author Derek Keeling

Derek Keeling is a man of many words. So many in fact, that he started writing as a teenager and hasn’t stopped. He turned this love of words into an award-winning journalistic career. His writing has also been featured in numerous books, magazines, blogs, websites and more.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Derek let’s get to know him a littler better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Derek, and welcome. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?

It actually began years ago, when I was a young teen. I had to take summer school for a class to receive my Certificate of Initial Mastery. For some reason, I had failed the English test and had the option of either taking summer school or being held back. During that class I learned how to craft a story and created a short story called, Matchbox Zombies.

 The teacher thought it was such great writing that she had me stand up in front of the entire class and read it, of which I was the only one to do so. The class was enthralled by my story. That single seed of writing is what has bloomed my passion for it to this day. For note, I did end up passing and receiving my Certificate of Initial Mastery.

Is writing your full-time profession?

I am thankful to have been able to have writing as my full-time profession for quite some time. I am currently the content writer and social media coordinator for a prominent senior living company.

Before that I was the editor for a newspaper in South Dakota. Even further back I wrote for a magazine and an online music review website. It’s been quite the blessing to have been able to take my love of writing and make it into a career.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing in a serious capacity for 18 years, since I was 14 years old. There have been stints where I focused on music and other things, but I would always write. Even if it was just in a journal or song lyrics.

Can you tell us about your experiences as a journalist?

Being a journalist was a really great experience. I began as the featured writer and photographer, but soon after was promoted to editor-in-chief.

I worked for a weekly newspaper, so it was a little more laid back than your typical daily newspaper. I am thankful for a really great run as editor. I won an award for best featured article in South Dakota in 2015. All in all, it was a great experience.

How has being a journalist influenced your work?

Being a journalist has a weird way of pointing out your shortcomings as a writer. It really helped me hone my craft and brought out my innate ability to research. That has really helped in my writing a lot.

How many books have you written?

Technically, I have written a total of three books. The first one I ever wrote was a very short collection of poems and photographs. It is however, unavailable anymore.

The second book, or what I refer to as my first book, or novel rather, is a book I wrote and published in 2010-2011 called The Umbras. You can find it on Amazon.

My current novel, and that of which I am most proud, will be officially available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and select book stores on March 2, 2019.

It’s called, Nomad’s Island. This book was written between 2016 and 2018 and is my most accomplished work to date. I have never been more proud of an inanimate object.

Which genre do you write?

This may sound a bit pretentious, but I don’t like to constrict my writing down to a single genre. However, I have come up with a term that seems to be sufficient with readers and does tend to lend itself quite well to my style. I am a “twist-writer”.

Meaning, my books attempt to have a very intense twist within them that catches the reader off-guard. The Umbras had a twist that people still comment about to this day. Nomad’s Island has a couple of really big twists that may just blow reader’s minds.

 I like to have the freedom to dabble with mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, action, adventure, romance, or whatever else hits my inspiration. I honestly am not sure I could ever tie myself down into a single category. I like to write the story that I would want to read and that inspires me.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genre?

 Because I do not limit myself to a single genre, I find nothing challenging about it. I mean, there are lots of challenges in their own right, but I have never been wanting to write a story but couldn’t because I am only a romance author. I think that kind of categorization could really limit an author’s ability to tell a great story.

What are you working on now?

At the current moment I am in the process of getting ready to write a two, maybe three part book series. There’s always a lot of planning involved, so it’ll be a while before the pen hits the paper, so to speak.

I have been working heavily on marketing and promoting my upcoming novel, Nomad’s Island. That is a lot of work itself. Thankfully, with my background, marketing is easier than it would be without it.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

That’s a great question. I would have to say my family, friends, and the ether. Sometimes I just create a character and they tend to develop a personality of their own, sometimes they are reflected from people close to me.

In the case of Nomad’s Island, the main character is named Damon. He is actually mimicked after a younger version of myself. I wanted to do what Damon wanted to do years ago, which is travel to an island and live off the land.

Unfortunately, my experience failed within a week. His, while also failed, lasted for a considerably longer time. However, Damon’s experience on Nomad’s Island was not really all that pleasant.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? Hearing or reading about people talking about my book. Seeing the shear excitement people get. I was surprised by how many people can’t wait to read Nomad’s Island. That is such a cool feeling. As with any author, I hope it lives up to the hype.

What advice would you give to authors or journalists just starting out?

They’ll hear it all the time, but it’s honestly the best advice: keep writing. The more you write and practice your skills, the better you’ll get.

Write for fun, write for free, write professionally, and learn everything you can about writing. I’m still learning and I’ve been doing this for many years.

When writing a novel, stick with it. As long as you’re moving forward, you’ll get to the end eventually. Edits, drafts, and other things will all happen soon enough. Just get your story on paper.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

First off, thank you! When you read my story it helps to fulfill a dream of mine and I am deeply thankful. I love writing and I am always trying to improve my abilities and broaden the worlds which I create.

I welcome feedback from anyone that reads my stories. As of recent, I have been inspired by a new person, my daughter, Daphne. She is almost two years old and is full of life and spunk.

It’s amazing what a tiny little human will do to you. Between my wife and my daughter, I am rich in love and life. They are my inspirations to keep moving forward with my writing.

What message are you sharing in your books?  

With Nomad’s Island I am trying to convey the message of adventure and the power of the human mind and its will to survive. There are tons of stories of human survival that baffle me.

With Nomad’s Island, I tried to add in another angle, however. Another human stalking the lone survivor from the jungle’s edge. I find it best summed up with this saying: what was lost, has been found.

What are your favorite books/authors?

I’ve always been a fan of adventure books. Nomad’s Island has some roots in old pirate books and their ilk. Specifically, The Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall has been a favorite of mine for many years.

A kid’s classic, A Ghost in the Noonday Sun by Sid Fleischman is a short, amazing book that has such a cool storyline. I’ve also enjoyed more recent novels, like Into the Wild and The Final Frontiersman.

Both amazing stories of survival and adventure. Being a journalist, I also found a weird home with Gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson. His writing is so fluid, natural, and raw.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

There are also a lot of shows that I enjoy. A decent amount of research was done for Nomad’s Island by watching Survivorman.

I’m really into older TV shows, like Cheers, Frasier, Newsradio, and Married With Children. However, I do enjoy a lot off cooking shows, like the Great British Baking Show, Chopped, Good Eats, etc.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

Probably sleeping. Ha! No, but considering I write from 8-5 p.m. and then write on my free time, too, chances are I’d be sleeping. But, I also like to enjoy relaxing at the beach, eating at a restaurant, or enjoying a latte at a local coffeehouse.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

I do have a website, however it’s not quite done yet, and as you can see I haven’t even purchased the domain yet: https://keelingderek.wixsite.com/derekkeeling

My Facebook page is the best place to see what’s going on with me and stay updated. http://www.facebook.com/keelingderek

I’m also pretty active on my Instagram page: http://www.instagram.com/derekkeelingauthor

Where can we find your books? You can find both Nomad’s Island and The Umbras at my Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/derekkeeling

You’ll also be able to find Nomad’s Island at Barnes & Noble and other select bookstores.

Thank you for your support. I truly appreciate it.

You’re welcome, Derek, thank you for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lost of luck!

Interview With Author/Teacher Jenny S. Burke

Jenny S. Burke enjoys the wild side of life but only if she can experience it through nature. As a former marine biologist, she has an ocean of experience to fish from for her adventure stories.

A multi-award winner, Jenny’s novel, Dragon Lightning, was featured on TV twice. She has also published five marine research papers, been nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award and done a host of radio and blog interviews.

Jenny has earned degrees in Math, Science, Marine Science and Education. 

Now that I’ve introduced you to Jenny let’s get to know her a little better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Jenny, and welcome. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Ellwyn, thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of your blog!

Why did you become a marine biologist?

I grew up land-locked. When I was eight, I saw a short movie on the sea and decided to become a marine biologist.

I took math and science courses, improved my writing, became a certified diver, and more, always working toward my goal.

I love the sea! This love became a unique undersea world in my Dragon Dreamer books.

Where did you work?

I’ve worked in several Florida cities, including the Florida Keys.

What did you do there?

I worked off of boats, studying life on the coral reefs and also in the dark abyss.

Photo courtesy of:Taken;courtesy of:Pixabay

Do you have a favorite animal? If so, which one is it and why?

Of sea life, the octopus is my favorite. Octopuses are at least as smart and clever as humans.

They’re fast-thinking and have amazing abilities; some types can shape-shift in the blink of an eye to perfectly camouflage or to mimic another type of sea life.

An octopus who was grabbed by a shark put her arms in his gills so he couldn’t breathe. He let her go.

How has your experience as a marine biologist influenced your writing?

My experiences at sea and fascination with the natural world are part of my Dragon Dreamer Series.

My characters experience the sea storm that nearly killed me, and the three terrifying waterspouts that surrounded my boat. They enjoy the glowing sea life and watch the sun melt into the sea.

From The Dragon Dreamer: “Black clouds rolled silently overhead, devouring stars in the darkening night sky. A sudden barrage of lightning crackled above. Startled by the noise, Arak spun in the air. Again the lightning flashed! In the blinding light he clearly saw the monstrous black claw of the storm. His body shook as powerful waves of thunder rolled through him. His heart beat with the new rhythm.

The young dragon veered left, toward the weaker side of a storm. But this storm was huge. There was no escape.”

What inspired you to become a writer?

My marvelous third grade teacher started a poetry club, and I joined. She published anthologies with our poems.

I continued to write poems for years, for fun; I love playing with words. But I never planned to write a novel until one grew in my mind.

Which genres do you write?

I write science fantasy adventure and I’m working on a children’s book. I also have an educational Crystal Series that uses the angles of natural crystals, and a coloring book with the fantasy snowflakes my dragons grow in the winter clouds.

What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?

I take longer than I’d like to write a proper novel that satisfies me.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing stand-alone books 3 and 4 of the Dragon Dreamer Series. I’m drawing more fantasy flakes as illustrations and for a second coloring book.

How many books have you written?

There are two crystal books (Crystal Geometry and Crystal Colors) with cartoons and science/math/art educational activities.

The first novels of my science fantasy series are The Dragon Dreamer and Dragon Lightning.

There are hand-drawn mandalas in Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book. This coloring book includes information on natural snowflake growth and math-science-art connections.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

I love meeting readers and writers in person and online. A good review is satisfying. A few times, readers have added my books to lists on Goodreads. Knowing someone enjoys your work helps justify all the effort.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Just start writing! As you write, study what you like in your favorite books and apply this. Learn the basics of a novel. Get feedback from readers and writers. Start a website and join Goodreads.

What message are you sharing in your books?

The Dragon Dreamer books are first a science fantasy adventure story written to entertain.

Beyond this, there are messages about the priceless gift of friendship, the benefits of combining different abilities, using your wits to solve problems, persevering despite mounting problems, and environmental connections. 

When you not writing where can we find you?

I love wild spaces on land or sea.

What are your favorite books/authors?

Too many to list them all! I love the evolving poems in The Lord of the Rings, the beautiful message in The Velveteen Rabbit (I still cry when he becomes Real), Dune, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and many more. I also love many books by Indie authors.

What are your favorite TV shows/movies?

I love the many Star Trek Series, Dr. Who (especially Doctor #10), Psych, The Big Bang Theory, and JAG.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I love to paint, draw, and make jewelry. I painted the covers for my books.

Do you have a website/Facebook page?

Yes!

WEBSITE: www.jennysburke.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Jenny-S-Burke-721518861218158/  

BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-s-burke-49b143b6-fbae-4b3a-a5c0-7571b588de62  

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/TheDragonDreamr

Where can we find your books!

“THE DRAGON DREAMER” by J.S. Burke

Amazon: http://authl.it/B00K9DHTU2?d

e-books:  https://www.books2read.com/u/bOw          

“DRAGON LIGHTNING” by J.S. Burke

Amazon: http://authl.it/B01MA1ZOJ6?d

e-books: https://www.books2read.com/u/mdKD0O

“FANTASY SNOWFLAKES COLORING BOOK” by J.S. Burke

Amazon: https://www.relinks.me/0996042555

Thank you, Jenny, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck.

Ellwyn, thank you so much for having me here!

Interview With Author/Sports Journalist John Coon

John Coon lives for adventure whether it be through writing or hiking through his favorite mountainside. John is a sports journalist who has turned his pen to fiction novels. His first novel, Pandora Reborn, debuted in 2018.

A native of Utah, John finds peace in nature and believes “life without creativity and imagination is hollow.”

Now that I’ve introduced you to John let’s get to know him a little better.

Hello, John, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve loved creating stories ever since I was a kid. I always had an active imagination. When I was in elementary school, for example, I daydreamed about being an actor starring in my own movies.

I had movie titles figured out and knew what each movie was about.  Some characters and fictional worlds I’ve created as an adult author can trace their roots back to this early time in my life.

Is writing your full-time profession?

Only if you include journalism into the mix. Reporting on pro sports and college sports remains my day job at the moment.

Fiction writing is a part-time pursuit for now. I hope to change that in the not-too-distant future.

How long have you been writing?

My first novel was published in June 2018, but I’ve been writing for three decades. I started writing my earliest stories when I was 12 years old. My parents owned an old manual typewriter and had set it up on a table in the back of the kitchen.

An older sister of mine wrote some short stories, and I decided one day I could write stories too. I grabbed some orange typing paper and started typing up stories on the typewriter.

Those early stories were about a litter of mischievous kittens based on some pet cats our family owned at the time. I eventually wrote nine connected stories about the kittens by the time I got into high school. Since that time, I have continued to write fiction and poetry.

Can you tell us about your experiences as a sports reporter?

When someone finds out I work as a sports reporter, their reaction is something like: “That must be so exciting getting paid to watch sports! You have a dream job.”

It surprises them when I reply it’s like any other job. Some days you enjoy it. Other days you can’t stand it. I’ve had tons of fun experiences in my 15 years of writing about sports.

I’ve ridden in a race car at 160 miles per hour. I’ve been able to witness athletes set world records. I’ve covered March Madness (the NCAA men’s basketball tournament) on several occasions.

I’ve also endured more stressful deadlines and sleepless nights than I care to remember. It can take a toll. Covering sports such as football or basketball creates a demanding day-to-day schedule, especially with social media basically demanding fresh content around the clock.

How has being a sports reporter influenced your work?

Being a reporter has helped me strengthen my observation skills. I see how people act, talk, and react in a wide variety of situations. I see how different personalities mesh with one another.

It has proven useful in crafting characters and dialogue that feel drawn from the real world. One of my primary goals in creating stories is to build a world populated with characters and settings that feel authentic. What I’ve observed and learned as a reporter helps me to better achieve such a goal.

How many books have you written?

I’ve published one novel so far and I’m currently working on my second one. Pandora Reborn, my debut novel, was released in June 2018.

Which genres do you write?

I write in multiple genres because I have ideas for stories and characters I want to develop that fit into different genres. Sometimes, I blend multiple genres within the same story. 

Pandora Reborn is primarily a young adult horror story that also blends elements from fantasy, mystery, and thriller genres. My upcoming novel will primarily be a science fiction thriller, but could also include a few horror elements because of the characters and the setting.

Honestly, it’s fun to not limit yourself to a single genre as a writer. It allows more flexibility and creativity in telling the story you want told.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?

For me, the one challenge in every story is making sure it feels authentic. I want to make these fictional worlds feel real, even when fantastic elements are involved.

Every fictional world is the real world to the characters who live in it. For that reason, I want their actions, reactions, and interactions to feel true to life.

Nothing bothers me more in genre fiction than plot armor. Forcing characters to say and do things simply because the plot tells them that’s what they’re supposed to do. It makes for uninteresting stories.

Drama and suspense build organically when characters feel like real people. You become emotionally invested in their journey and their fate ultimately matters to you.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing my second novel, the aforementioned science fiction thriller. I plan to publish it later this spring.

The story will follow four college students who are confronted with the results of alien genetic experimentation after being trapped in an isolated Texas town during a spring break road trip. It’s a re-imagining of a short story I wrote in college.

I expanded the narrative and added some characters and subplots to help flesh it out to novel length. Beyond that story, I have other science fiction novels in the works and a pair of sequels to Pandora Reborn in development.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

My characters are a melting pot of various personalities I’ve encountered and interacted with throughout my life. Like I mentioned earlier, I always pay attention to how other people act, interact, and react in situations, so my characters feel like real people.

Still, I don’t intentionally base any character on a single individual for obvious reasons. Many people would not react favorably to encountering a fictionalized version of themselves within a story.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 

Honestly, it has been a thrill to see so many people enjoy Pandora Reborn. I’ve received more favorable reviews and positive feedback than I ever anticipated. I love seeing other people embrace characters and stories that kicked around in my head for years.  It has given me tons of confidence while working on my second novel.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Find your own voice. I often see advice to new authors that tells them to mimic what popular authors are doing or tells them to figure out which genre sells and dive in head first. That’s terrible advice, in my opinion.

The best thing you can do as an author is be true to yourself. Tell a story you want to tell. Then take plenty of time to craft it so that it is told in the best way possible. You will find an audience eventually and they will appreciate something that is authentic and well-written.

What readers don’t appreciate are slapdash by-the-numbers stories that are transparently designed to make a quick buck.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I’m the type of person who tries to make the world around me a better place. Life is so much better when we all choose to be good people.

We can bring happiness into our lives and other people’s lives by being kind, honest, and caring. I strive to live each day with this philosophy guiding me.

What message are you sharing in your books?

It really depends on the book. I don’t set out to impose a specific message on a novel. It just evolves organically as the story unfolds.

With Pandora Reborn, for example, a key message that emerges is the danger of being isolated. You look at all the major characters and they are all isolated to one degree or another when the story begins.

Ron Olson illustrates this perfectly. He is in a new town cut off from his old friends and his dad. Ron wants nothing to do with Deer Falls. As the story progresses, he learns in a real way that he can’t live isolated.

He is forced to find allies when a terrifying ancient witch begins wreaking havoc. It also forces Ron to repair his relationship with his mother to ensure her survival. The overall message, in a way, is that life’s battles are not meant to be fought alone and cannot be won alone.

What are your favorite books/authors?

Growing up, my favorite authors were Jack London, C.S. Lewis, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allan Poe. I love the way they could build a world and make each character feel so real and alive — even in the most extreme or fantastic circumstances.

As an adult, I have also enjoyed fiction from authors like Michael Crichton, Stephen King, John Grisham, and Phillip K. Dick. My all-time favorite books are The Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve read every book in that series cover to cover multiple times.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

I have always loved Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s the perfect adventure movie with so many fun, iconic moments and memorable characters.

The original Star Wars trilogy ranks among my all-time favorites as well. My brother and I watched Star Wars so much as kids, we had memorized the dialogue from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi word-for-word at one point.

The Simpsons is my no. 1 favorite TV show. Anyone who is around me long enough will hear me start dropping random quotes from episodes of The Simpsons into conversations. Sometimes, on Twitter, I’ll tweet out a quote of the day when I’m catching a first-run episode or a rerun.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

If I’m not in front of my laptop, I’m most likely on a mountain conquering a new hiking trail or off finding something fun or interesting to capture in a photograph.

I grew up in a rural part of Utah, so I love the outdoors. I feel at peace when I can get away from the noise and lights of the city.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

My main author website can be found at johncoon.net. I have a blog up there where I share my experiences, offer useful writing tips, and spotlight books I’ve enjoyed from other indie authors.

Readers can also connect with me in the following places:

Facebook (www.facebook.com/jcoon)

Instagram (www.instagram.com/jcoon312)

Twitter (www.twitter.com/johncoonsports)

Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/author/show/18159853.John_Coon)

Amazon (www.amazon.com/author/johncoon)

Where can we find your books?

Pandora Reborn is available to purchase as an ebook or a paperback at most major online booksellers around the world.

Amazon –

ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DVRVG31

paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732487111

Barnes and Noble –

ebook: https://bit.ly/2KbaaNn

paperback: https://bit.ly/2R9WxhJ

Kobo –

ebook: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/pandora-reborn

Google Books –

ebook: https://bit.ly/2TxIofB

Apple Books –

ebook:  https://apple.co/2SqhgSo

Wal-Mart –

ebook: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pandora-Reborn-eBook/973880190

paperback: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pandora-Reborn/528186889

BAM! (Books-a-Million) –

paperback: https://tinyurl.com/y9fp4au4

Indiebound –

paperback: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781732487116

Thank you, John, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!