George Calleja

Here’s an update to George Calleja’s interview:

LATEST NEWS FROM GEORGE CALLEJA (CHRISTIAN AUTHOR) My aim is to make available this book in every corner of the world. If you are interested to help me with this mission, kindly visit our Thunderclap page to donate a Tweet or Facebook status update to help share the Good News through this Christian Book ‘Spiritual Reflection. If you are interested kindly go to the below link, and afterwards click on one of the buttons to support me and share the message further. Thanks for your kind support and help which is much appreciated. God Bless you….. George Calleja (Christian Author)

Thanks, George! Happy to help out.

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Author Cindy Lynch

Today I’m speaking with Cindy Lynch.  Thank you Cindy. Can you tell us what made you decide to become a writer?

When I was young, I used to journal and write poetry, many times journaling about my family.  I always thought their quirky antics would make for an interesting read.  I’d say I was 14 when I truly decided to become a writer.

Wow, that was young.  How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

I created my own publishing company called My Three Sons Publishing, LLC.  Having said that, it didn’t take long to get my first book published.  I wrote it in 2014 and published in 2015.

That was a lot sooner than my first book.  Would you do anything differently the next time?

I don’t think I would change a thing about how I’m going about being an author.  I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way that have helped me pursue my dream.

That’s wonderful.  What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Don’t procrastinate.  Just sit down and start typing, writing, journaling, anything to get your ideas down.  The hardest part is just sitting down and starting.

You’re right.  You have to force yourself the first time, but each time gets easier.  Cindy, what or who inspires or influences your writing?

I’m influenced by great writers like Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, and James Patterson, just to name a few.

That’s a few good ones.  What are your latest releases, Cindy, and where can we find them?

My first book entitled “Bye For Now” is the first book in the “Bye For Now” trilogy.  Book 2 is entitled “Even Willows Weep” and Book 3 that will be released this summer, is called “The Lightning Tree.”  All books can be found on my website, Amazon, Kindle, as well as a few local book stores.

That’s awesome.  Were you traditionally published or self-published and how did that go?

I am self-published and it went really well.  I used to help with print on demand.  An author friend, Stacy Dymalski, has a book out entitled:  “The Memoir Midwife:  Nine Steps to Self-Publishing Your Book.  This was my bible during the publishing process.  It really helped me get organized the first go around.  I highly recommend it.

It sounds intriguing.  How long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time or part-time?

I’ve been writing since 2014 part-time and I love it.

So what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

I swim, bike, run, and drive my kids to all their sporting events.

Where do you reside?

Chesterfield, Missouri

Cindy, do you have any appearances/book signings scheduled this year?

As far as appearances, I’ve spoken at many book clubs, which I enjoy a great deal.  I have one coming up this month.

That sounds interesting.  Do you write under any other names besides your given name?

I played around with many names to write under but it felt funny to me, so I just went with the name my parents gave me.

Me too.  Thank you for spending time with me Cindy.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to get the word out about independent authors.  I greatly appreciate you taking time to share my titles.

Glad to do it Cindy.  You can find Cindy at: or on Twitter @mykidsayswhat, or on Instagram at cindylynch2530.  You can email cindy at: or at

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Emmanuel Obi Interview

Today I’m speaking with Emmanuel Obi.  Hello Emmanuel.  What made you decide to become a writer?

Actually, I don’t think I decided to be a writer.  I think it is something that I gravitated to from a young age.  For some people it was music or instruments, others it might have been sports.  For me it was writing and art.

I know what you mean.  How long did it take you to get published the first time and how did it happen?

Well, I’m self-published, so not that long at all.  I tried submitting my short stories to magazines and so on and it drove me crazy.  I hate waiting.  Especially, if the reply is a no. So I looked into online publishing and have not looked back since.

I know about waiting.  I once heard back from a publisher ten years after I had submitted my manuscript.  It had changed so many times over the ten-year period.  Would you do anything differently the next time?

Not really, in terms of self-publishing.  However, I wish I had been more patient with writing and kept doing it and publishing online instead of taking a five year hiatus.

Sometimes you need the time to experience life to be a better writer.  What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Make writing a priority.  It can be stressful, there is a ton of stuff you have to do.  But if all you can do is an hour a night, then that hour is better than nothing.

So true.  What or who influences your writing, Emmanuel?

Anything or anyone can inspire me.  People I see on the street, a newspaper article, an episode of Daredevil or Game of Thrones.  It doesn’t matter.  I draw inspiration from everything.

What are your latest releases and when or where can we find them?

You can go to my website,, there I will have links to all my latest works.  You can subscribe and receive free stories every month or discounts.  I have actually begun two monthly short story series. One is about two police detectives (currently, their police station is under siege by unknown attackers) and the other is a horror series (currently, it is centered around people disappearing because of an app very similar to Uber). However, my latest novel was released in October.  It is the latest collection of short stories about a private investigator, Bruce Howard.  It is available in paperback and e-book.  It is my second favorite thing that I have ever written.

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I like police procedurals. How long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time or part-time?

Am I a professional?  I don’t know if I would call myself that just yet.  However, I write part-time.  It’s really just a hobby for me.  Something that I love to do and share.

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So what do you do for fun other than writing?

Film making, drawing, painting, basketball, go to the gym.  I try to express myself creatively whenever possible (and yes, you can be creative while playing basketball)

Where do you reside, Emmanuel?

I have lived in Zurich, Switzerland for the last nine years but I was born and raised in Auburn, Alabama (War Eagle).  How did I end up in Europe?  That is a book by itself.

Do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled?

I recently met with a fellow indie writer and our goal is to have an event for indie writers at a bar or cafe.  Kind of a mass book signing where all the authors bring copies of their books and sign them for people that come.

What an awesome idea!  Can I borrow it?  I can think of a new bar that could use the business and a lot of romance authors I know could join me.  You can find Emmanuel at his website:, or on Facebook at:  or follow him on Twitter at:  @efaceless or email him at:

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Thank you for this wonderful interview.  Thank you, the reader, for reading it and hopefully you will subscribe and fall in love with my work (or at least fall in like).

Thank you Emmanuel.  I enjoyed it.

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Interview with BG Brainard

Hello BG, it’s good to have you here today.  Can you tell us what made you decide to become a writer?

I loved to read from a young child, was a storyteller to my younger brother and sister in grade school, and won my first essay competition hosted by the Women’s Temperance Union about the perils of drinking in the eighth grade.

That’s cool.  How long did it take you to get published the first time and how did it happen?

It took 12 years to get my first novel about the biblical Hadassah, “Esther’s Song:  A Novel,” published from when I started writing it.  I finished the first draft in a year and edited it and rewrote it for another 2 years, but no one was interested in publishing it.  Then the Lord gave me a vision during my evening devotions.  I saw myself holding a yellow helium balloon and felt the Lord telling me to let it go.  I watched the balloon rise into the cerulean sky, knowing the book was on its way under God’s guidance.  Then I was holding a red balloon facing a path in the distance.  I knew it was time to start the next book about the biblical prophet, Daniel.  I attended writers’ conferences, joined a writers’ group, and honed my writing skills.  I rewrote the first book several more times.  Then 11 years later, I attended a session with former literary agent, David Sanford, called “No-Fear Book Publishing Strategies That Work!”  He challenged attendees to set a goal of being published in a year.  With David Sanford’s encouragement, sage advice, and endless support, “Esther’s Song:  A Novel” was published on April 30, 2013–twelve years and a month after receiving the vision of the yellow balloon.

Wow, so you have a book anniversary coming up.

Yes, and the novel about the life and times of the prophet Daniel, “Babylon:  Center of the World” was published less than a year later on March 27th, 2014.

An anniversary just passed!  Congratulations!  Would you do anything differently the next time?

No, just keep writing.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Attend writer’s conferences, join a writer’s group, read widely, hone your writing skills and never give up.  

Great advice! So who or what inspires or influences your writing?

My inspiration to keep writing, besides the sheer joy of writing biblical fiction, is God’s promise of hope coming to pass in my life.  I know with absolute certainty that God does cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)

I believe that too.  What are your latest releases and where can we find them?

My first three books in the “Grace in Exile Trilogy” include “Esther’s Song:  A Novel” about the biblical Esther, the second, “Babylon:  Center of the World” about the prophet Daniel, and “Jerusalem Bound!” about the Jewish exiles return to Israel from Babylonian captivity.  You can see the reviews and learn more at:

Were you traditionally published or self-published and how did that go?

Self-published with the encouragement of two literary agents.  It has been a wonderful ride.  “Esther’s Song” made #1 two days on Amazon in historical books and 1 day for Jewish literature.  It was just featured in Book Bub and did very well.

Tell me, BG, how long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time or part-time?

I do technical writing in my professional career and write historical novels about the ancient Near East whenever I can.

And what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

I like to read, travel, and have coffee with my friends.

Where do you reside, BG?

Salem, Oregon.

I bet it’s beautiful there.  Do you have any appearances or book signings this year?

Well, I did a book signing at the Salem Public Library’s Authorama at the Central Library where 40 authors from throughout the Williamette Valley participated in displaying and selling their works.

That sounds like an interesting venue.  You can find BG Brainard at:  or on Smashwords Author Page: and on Amazon’s Author Page:  and on BG’s website at: and you can email BG at:

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Sci-Fi Adventure Romance Readers Wanted

I just finished edits (for now) of my second book, “Revenge,” a sci-fi adventure romance.  It’s book two in “The Vaedra Chronicles.”  I’m looking for reviewers for this book as well as reviewers for book one, “The Abduction.”  If you would like to read and review either or both books, you can comment on this post or email me at: and put ‘Book Review’ in the subject header.  I will send you a PDF or eBook file.  When you’ve posted the review on Amazon or Goodreads for “The Abduction,” I will mail you a signed copy of the book.  For book two, I would ask you to hold the review until the book is available (hopefully by the end of this month).  After that, I will send you “Revenge.”  If you would like to get any of my future books FREE, sign up for my Readers Group and then Ester’s Launch Team at:

Thanks in advance!


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Kevin Chapman Interview

Thank you Kevin, for taking time with me today.  I’m always curious as to how someone decided to become a writer.  What’s your story?

I’ve always been a writer — it’s more a question of what made me decided to publish.  I write for a living as a lawyer and have always written stories just for my own amusement.  I don’t consider myself to be a writer first.  I’m still a lawyer and until I retire, I’m a writer on the side.  I think of it like being a musician; I still have a day job.

I know what you mean.  I tried retiring, but to keep my publishing business going, I’ve had to re-enter the job market to cover expenses.  So, how long did it take you to get published the first time and how did it happen?

My first novel, “Identity Crisis:  A Rick LaBlonde, P.I. Novel,” was self-published in 2003, although I had written most of it in 1998 and 1999.  My wife posted the money to publish the book as our twentieth anniversary present to me.  Since then, I have written a few screenplays (none purchased or produced) and a bunch of short stories (one which won a small writing contest and was published in a trade magazine), but nothing that was published in any meaningful sense.  

I’ve written a couple of screenplays myself and that takes a different mindset altogether.  It’s hard to switch back to novels after that.

My latest novel is also self-published via Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, which is so much easier than the independent publishing house model from 2003 (XLibris).  I have been working on this novel for about ten years.  In 2013, I decided to force myself to “finish” it by announcing on my author blog on that I would be publishing the new book, one chapter per week, every week during the year.

Wow, how did that go?

This forced me to edit and rewrite things that needed to be fixed and finally write the ending.  I posted the final chapter in December of 2013, then let the book sit for almost two years before picking it up again and deciding to re-edit and then publish on Kindle after I discovered how easy it is now to self-publish.

Yes, you started early in 2003 and things changed so quickly after that.  Would you do anything differently the next time?

I’m hoping that the next book will be written with more continuity and in a shorter period of time.  Writing something over a course of ten years leads to lots of stops and starts and trying to remember who the characters are and what happened in prior scenes, which in turn leads to inconsistencies and re-writes later.  I really want to make more of a concerted effort to follow one story through to conclusion before becoming distracted by the next new idea.

I know exactly what you mean.  My first published book took me 25 years from start to finish and I wrote several others in between.  When I made my concerted effort to publish it, I found so many redundancies and the same things you came across.  So what advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

First, don’t write the whole story.  The whole story includes a ton of background and back-story that you know as the author, and which the characters may allude to, but it’s not necessary to tell the whole back-story.

Good point!

Second, edit, edit, and then edit some more.  I find that I am always seeing errors, inconsistencies, and issues each time I carefully read the same chapter or full book.  Have other people read and edit and give feedback and comments.  The more set of eyes you can get on a manuscript before you declare it to be “final,” the better.  Having obvious mistakes in the text can be a big turn-off for many readers.

I also find that letting time pass before doing edits gives you more perspective and lets you see obvious mistakes that you miss when you re-read something over and over.  So tell me,  Kevin, who or what inspires or influences your writing?

One of my favorite writers is Robert Heinlein, and I aspire to write stories that are as interesting and multi-layered as his.  I want my stories to include important issues and I want characters to be meaningful to my readers.  I am also a huge Star Trek fan and I love the story lines developed by the writers of all the different Star Trek series that include politics, culture, religion, and interpersonal relationships.  I want my writing to be entertaining, but also to initiate thought and discussion about issues.

I like Heinlein as well and I enjoyed the newest Star Trek movies.  So tell me, Kevin, what are your newest releases and where can we find them?

My new novel, “A legacy of One,” is available now on Kindle and as a paperback at:

Readers can follow the novel’s Facebook page at: and can view the book’s page on at:



Tell us more about your experience with self-publishing the first time.

It’s amazing to see how much easier it is to self-publish now as opposed to thirteen years ago when I self-published my first novel.  Back then, you had to go through a semi-traditional publishing house that would print your books for you.  There was a minimum order size and significant up-front costs.  Even if they would do print-on-demand for orders, the logistics and costs of getting your own book published was a barrier to entry for most independent writers.  Now, Kindle Direct Publishing makes it so easy to get something up on Kindle, and I used the Amazon CreateSpace publishers to print a paperback version.  This was not free (like Kindle), but was much less costly than my first book.  My only regret is that CreateSpace won’t do a hard cover version.

Now that it’s easier to get books published, I’m finding it’s harder to get them into book stores.  A lot of book stores (large and small) order their books from a distributor and won’t work with authors or small publishers unless they have distribution.  Basically, this puts a “middleman” in the mix and cuts into the profits of both the bookstores and authors.  So, how long have you been writing, Kevin?

As a lawyer, I “write” professionally all the time, but I’m not a professional author.  I will have spurts when I will write 20 hours a week, and then weeks when I will do almost no writing.  I’m looking forward to the day when I can write full-time, but while I have a day job, that’s not happening.

What do you do for fun when your aren’t writing?

I am an avid tournament poker player, which is a great outlet for my competitive juices and a terrific intellectual challenge.  I often meet people at the poker table who end up becoming characters in my stories.  I’m also a huge baseball fan (New York Mets) and spend a lot of time in the summer going to games and watching on TV.  Baseball’s pace of play allows for writing in between pitches!

That’s something I never thought of.  Golf is like that, too.  And where do you reside or spend your time writing?

West Windsor, New Jersey.

Awesome!  Do you have any appearances or book signings coming up?

Not yet.  The new novel was just published and I’m working on getting some appearances and signings in the local Central NJ area in the next few months.  One other point to mention is that “A Legacy of One” started out as a story about a character roughly patterned after myself — a freshman at Columbia College fresh off the bus from a small town on the west coast whose adventures in college and in New York would be the main vehicle for telling the story.  He would have a freshman roommate who is from a rich and politically powerful family, and the contrasts between him and his roommate would provide fodder for a story about cultural differences, class struggles, friendship, politics, and how college changes how you view yourself and the world.  As the writing happened, the story became more and more about the roommate (Jonathan Prescott III), and that’s the focus of the final novel.  But, much of the story is still told via flashbacks to the college years of Jonathan, his freshman roommate (Frank), their friend and budding journalist (Janice), and Jonathan’s eventual wife (Gwen).  So, much of the story is set in and around Columbia University in the late 80’s and early 90s.  Part of the target audience for the book is anyone who had attended Columbia, and particularly alumni from that era.

So the book cover is a photo of Low Library, the center and most recognizable landmark of Columbia University.  For anyone wondering why a political drama about a Senator who is potential candidate for President has a cover that is not a Washington, DC landmark, that’s the answer.



Thanks Kevin.  I’ve enjoyed this interview today.

Thanks for offering me this opportunity, Ester.

You can find Kevin at: and he’s happy to respond to emails at:

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Margaret Southall

Hello everyone!

Today I’m speaking with Margaret Southall.  Can you tell us what made you decide to become a writer, Margaret?

Mmmm.  That’s not an easy one to answer.  Having lots of books, newspapers and magazines available in my home when I was a kid must have helped.  But I don’t recall making any conscious decision to become a writer.  I just started telling and writing stories at a very young age.  First, I made up stories to tell my sister when we were quite young.  We had this long-running serial – I told her a different episode each night when we had gone to bed – about a colony of rabbits (Think Watership Down meets Coronation Street).  When I was seven, I wrote and illustrated my version of Snow White on paper sheets folded to form a book. 

How clever.

I wrote a play about Robin Hood on a writing pad. Unfortunately, the pad ran out before I finished this gem.

I bet that was a good one.

Aged 10, I wrote a story for the annual of the final class of my elementary school, a book written, illustrated and hand bound by the students.  And when, in my early teens, I looked through the windows of the local paper’s printing plant and saw its press putting words on paper, I was hooked on the notion of seeing my words on a printed page.

I know that feeling.  How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

As I said, my first publishing venture was when I was ten.  Then I had to wait until I went into journalism (it seemed the most natural thing in the world for someone who wanted to be a writer) to be published on a regular basis as a reporter.  For most of my working life, I worked on newspapers both large and small, and other media outlets, on both sides of the Atlantic as a reporter, news editor and editor.  But, as they say, ‘life happens while you’re making plans,’ so it wasn’t until the second part of my life that I started doing something I had always wanted to do:  write fiction.

And both are so different in format and scale.

I entered the Toronto Star annual short story contest and came in fifth out of 3,000 entries, winning both a prize and publication of my story. 

That’s awesome!

So I knew I could write fiction. In addition to my book, “A Jacketing Concern,” I also have a children’s story with a Canadian setting, and a TV animation script, the latter the product of a scriptwriting course, both of which I will be ‘putting out there,’ hoping someone will show an interest in either one or both of them.

I wish you luck with that.  Would you do anything differently the next time?

I would have started writing fiction a lot earlier.  I would have taken more time than I did in finding a publisher for my current book.  I did try for quite a while to get an agent, but was unsuccessful.  Perhaps I didn’t try hard enough.

I heard from other published authors that it was harder to get an agent than to find a publisher, so you did the right thing.  What advice would you give an aspiring author?

‘Hang in there, and don’t give up.’  Start off in a small way, perhaps try entering a short story contest or creative fiction contest.  Join a writer’s organization, attend conferences, and Network, Network, Network.

I agree with you there.

You learn so much from other writers, particularly about the business aspects of writing.

Yes, you do.

And read, read, read.  It’s amazing how much you absorb about good writing without realizing it.  By all means, learn from the works of other writers, but don’t try to emulate their style.  Don’t be afraid to be yourself and develop your own voice.

Developing your own voice takes time.

I admit there were times when I was sorely tempted to throw in the towel several times, but I didn’t because I knew writing was something I could do, something I had to do.  I had honed my journalistic writing as a reporter, but writing fiction is not the same thing and I feared I wouldn’t be able to make the change.

What or who inspires or influences your writing?

I am not consciously aware of any one individual inspiring me, but a lot of my ideas are derived from just what I see happening around me.  As a reporter, I was always being told by editors, ‘What’s the story here?’ Or ‘Is there a story here?’  I think that I now do unconsciously — and it helps a great deal.  Writing is a solitary activity, but you need to stay plugged in to life.  That’s where the stimulation and the ideas come from.

So, what are your latest releases and where can we find them?

My upcoming debut novel, “A Jacketing Concern,” should be out fairly soon.  It’s set in England in 1811.  The story begins with a climbing boy – a seven year-old sweep’s apprentice – accidentally falling down a chimney and interrupting a sexual encounter between a bored aristocrat and a courtesan.  To save the courtesan’s reputation, the aristocrat takes the boy home, an act that leads to lots of trouble.

Were you traditionally published or self-published and how did that go?

I am being published in the traditional way.  It has not been going as well as I had hoped because there have been several hold-ups in the publication date.  The publishers are a relatively new company based in the U.S. and U.K., so my book will have international exposure.  However, I am largely responsible for its promotion.  Hopefully, “A Jacketing Concern” should be in the bookshops this year.  Please keep an eye out for it.

Sure.  How long have you been writing professionally, Margaret?

I guess, since I have written gazillions of words as a reporter, I started writing in my late teens, so I’ve been at it, on and off for over 40 years.  I consider myself a full-time writer.  However, now that I have a book due for publication, I find a lot of that time is taken up with the business side of writing and promotion.

I know what you mean.  And you still have to write in between all that.  So, what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

I love to travel when I have the chance.  I draw and paint and have even done a little sculpting.  I love live theatre and, surprisingly, in my middle years have become a bit of a fitness buff.  And of course, I have been an avid bookworm since I learned to read.

That sounds interesting.  So where do you live?

Although I was born in the U.K., I have lived in Canada since 1967.  I now live in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

Thank you so much Margaret.  I enjoyed our little talk.  I wish you luck with your new book, “A Jacketing Concern.”  You can find Margaret on and on Goodreads.  She has excerpts from her book on her website at:, as well as on Goodreads and the Historical Novels Excerpt site on Facebook.  You can email Margaret at

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Author Sheila Cronin

Hello everyone,

Today I’m speaking with author, Sheila Cronin.  Hello Sheila.  What made you decide to become a writer?

It wasn’t a decision.  It came naturally.

How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

When I was nine, a poem I wrote was published in the church bulletin.

How exciting for you!

My first short story was published in 2002.  I had joined an online group called  The moderator, Gary Kesslor, suggested we publish an anthology of short stories and he volunteered to be the editor.  I was thrilled when my story, “Airport Romance” was accepted.  I published my first novel, “The Gift Counselor,” in 2014 via

You’ve been busy.  Would you do anything differently the next time?  If so, what would it be?

With regard to the novel’s sequel, in progress, it’s likely , but not certain, I will use Createspace again.  I still hope to obtain a literary agent.


What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Take a course if your spelling or grammar needs tweaking.  That said, a good writing group offers encouragement during the long, lonely process.  A beta reader or two is most beneficial – not too many opinions, just one or two that you trust.  Websites such as absolute provide excellent resources for both writing and publishing.  Finally, make time to read books while you write your own.

Great advice!  Thank you.  What (or who) inspires or influences your writing?

Frank Capra inspired me as a story teller.  So did stories I heard in childhood and fairytales.  My parents read or made up stories at bedtime when I was young.  My mother was a non-fiction writer who showed me what it takes to be a serious writer.

I think seeing a parent read or write while you are young also inspires us without realizing it at the time.  Tell us about your latest releases, Sheila.

Besides “The Gift Counselor,” a 2014 novel, I have “Heart Shaped:  A Collection of Short Romances” a 2015 release.



Were you traditionally published or self-published and how did that go?

After years of resistance, I self-published my novel.  I was represented briefly, but when that ended, I finally chose Createspace following in depth research and discussion with other authors.  The process went fairly smoothly.  I was especially fortunate to obtain an excellent book cover through them.

I’ve heard other authors refer to Createspace.  Tell me, Sheila, how long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time and work part-time.

What do you do for fun when you are not writing?

I draw portraits, compose songs on the piano, read, swim, enjoy movies and libraries.

You are a multi-talented person!  Where do you call home, Sheila?

I live in Chicago, Illinois.

And do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled this year?

Several book clubs pending in the Chicago area.  I want to thank readers for supporting independent authors!

Thank you Sheila!  You can find Sheila at: or email Sheila at:

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Debbie Baldwin Interview

Hello everyone!  Today I am speaking with Debbie Baldwin.  Hi Deborah.  Thank you for being here.  Can you tell us what made you decide to become a writer?

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a very little girl.  I penned my first story about a pig when I was around five years old.

That’s interesting and so young.

My father was a radiologist and he would bring home to me the recycled orange colored papers that divided the x-ray films.  I LOVED them and wrote many a story on them.  I didn’t take my writing seriously until about five years ago, however.

How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

I published my book independently.  I am a self-starter.  I didn’t want to wait around for a publisher who may or may not look at my book.  My story is somewhat unique in subject and although it is a good story, I knew it wasn’t mainstream.

Mainstream.  That’s the catch, isn’t it?  Would you do anything differently the next time?

Next time, I’d like to pay someone to edit for me.  Several qualified people edited it for me but I think it would be useful and more beneficial to have someone who’s an editing professional focus upon it.

Yes, and finding the right one is hard.  What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read, read, read.  There are many free resources now that will help you with your writing.  Keep your first draft to yourself.  If you expect your family to support your aspirations, you need to disengage from that hope.  Look for unbiased people to read your manuscript when you are ready.  Everyone’s opinion should be heard, but not acted upon.  Trust your instinct.  It won’t fail you if you are truly honest with yourself.  Lastly, a man whose opinion I wholeheartedly trust told me that if I wait until my book is perfect, I’ll never publish it.  He reminded me that software is updated all the time, because if a company waits until it is completely perfect, they will never get the product out there.  Finish the project.  Just that action puts you way ahead of most people who only talk about their dreams, but never even take one step toward them.

That’s good advice.  Thank you.  What or who influences your writing?

Because of my background in theatre, in particular, acting and directing, I appreciate stories with solid characterization.  In my thirty-nine years of directing, I have guided thousands of actors to create characters.  I am also a newly retired teacher having taught drama classes to students of all ages for as many years as directing.  Consequently, I am a good judge of one’s character.  I like many authors, but in particular, most recently, I have enjoyed Fredrick Backman’s books.  He weaves an unusual story with interesting characters.  My favorite novel is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” because again, it is an unusual story.  Jodi Picoult comes to mind because she writes about modern day issues from an unusual slant.

What are your latest releases?

Bumbling Bea is my debut novel.

Tell me, Debbie, how long have you been writing professionally?  And do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time.  I keep up a blog, in  I am about to publish an audio CD of drama class lesson plans.  There will be a series of them beginning with a storytelling unit.  They will be helpful to any teacher.

Oh, yes!  Making lesson plans is hard enough.  So, what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing, Debbie?

I love to see a good movie and try to see one each week.  I read quite a bit, enjoy the outdoors and traveling with my husband.

And where do you reside?

We moved to Lawrence, Kansas about three months ago to retire near our family and FIRST grandchild.

I know exactly what you mean.  Do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled?

My book signings are very sporadic, as are book talks, but I do announce them on the various social  sites.  I am willing to travel to surrounding states for book talks.

That’s great!  Thank you so much for spending time with me.  Debbie’s website is: and her blog is:  You can “friend her” on Facebook at  Or follow her on Twitter at BumblingBea@dhcbaldwin

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Author Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Today I’m speaking with author Zachary Paul Chopchinski.  How are you Zach and what made you decide to become a writer?

As long as I can remember, it has been a dream of mine to be a writer.  There wasn’t a specific moment exactly that defined this dream for me.

Did it take long to get published the first time?  How did it happen?

The first time I was published, I self published.  I wrote my first novel, “The Curious Tale of Gabrielle” for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so it took me roughly a month to write it.  I really rushed through the publication process because I was so excited to get my first book out.  I think I spent all of a month or two getting it edited and published.

That was fast!  Would you do anything differently the next time?

Research!  I really didn’t spend enough time learning about the publishing process.  If I could go back, I would really do more research into formatting, cover design, editing and general publishing.  Because of my hasty decisions on publishing, I have four editions of my first book out and I am only now, almost two years later, happy with the edition that is currently being sold.

I have heard a similar story from other authors.  I think the hardest part is getting the books into “brick and mortar” stores.  Based on what you’ve learned and experienced, what advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Never give up.  I know it sounds corny, but it’s true.  It’s going to look daunting and people are going to critique your work (which is going to bring up a whole lot of emotions you didn’t even know you had), but know that these are all bricks in the foundation that is you as a writer.

Very well said, Zach.  What or who inspires you as a writer?

My wife.  She is the driving force behind everything that I am as a writer.  Not only did she encourage me to do NaNoWriMo, but she created my first website, content edits my books, does all my formatting, helps with marketing and sets up interviews for me.

That is awesome!  There are authors I know who are looking for virtual assistants that don’t even do half of what your wife does.  Can you tell us about your latest releases?

“Curiosity and The Hounds of Arawn” was released in August of 2016.  It’s the second book in the Gabrielle Series.  You can find it on my website (free personalization with purchase) as well as Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Nobel.  The universal link to all locations is  Book 3 in the series will hopefully be out in February or early March of 2017.

Were you traditionally published at all?

Self Published.  The reason that I am self published is because I wanted to be in control of what I make.  I am very happy with my decisions to self publish and although I am still learning a lot about the process, I believe this is the best option for me.  I also own my own publishing company, Putrescent Oak Press, which licensed in Florida this year.

Good for you.  That can be a hard decision to make.  How long have you been writing professionally and do you write full-time or part-time?

I have been writing professionally for about two years now.  It is every bit of a full time job but I do have a day job so I get my writing in when I can.

I know that’s hard.  I tried writing full-time without a day job but I had too many distractions, especially worrying about income and how to pay the bills.  So what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

Hang out with my wife, watch movies, play video games, all the fun stuff kids are doing these days.

Where do you reside, Zach?

Orlando, Florida.

My kind of place!  Do you have any appearances or book signing scheduled this year?

Yes, I will be appearing at Utopia Con in Nashville, TN (June 22-25) and Ozarks in Springfield, MO (October 19-22).  I am also in the process of setting up some appearances locally at several middle schools in the area.

That sounds like fun.  You never know what kids will ask you.  Do you write under any other name besides your given name?

Presently, I only write under my name but I do have some projects going that will be done under a pen name.

Thank you Zach!  Zachary is a bow tie wearing, formal vest rocking, pocket watch using, sarcastic monster of a writer.  He spends his days working, writing, procrastinating and sweating off extremities he swore he would need in life ’cause it’s HOT in Florida.

Zach has multiple college degrees in the field of criminology and criminal justice…because he wanted to catch ALL the bad guys.  Now, coupled with being an author of young adult fiction, he spends his days yelling at people for breaking regulatory laws.

The Gabrielle series is a young adult fantasy with a paranormal-historical-time-traveling twist (try saying that five times fast)  Zach’s book links:

“The Curious Tale of Gabrielle”  Amazon:


Universal link to all locations:

“Curiosity and The Hounds of Arawn”  Amazon:


Universal link to all locations:

Connect with Zach on social media:






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