PROFILE YOURSELF: An Amazing Story with Danielle Harrington, Teacher & Author.

Danielle Harrington for “Time for Storytelling.”

Danielle Harrington is a high school chemistry teacher and young adult fiction author. She got her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Biola University, and although she’s a hardcore science nerd, she’s always been a lover of the arts. Danielle grew up acting and singing and has turned her love for drama into writing. She is working on a four books young adult dystopian series called The Hollis Timewire Series.

Ana: First, thank you for taking some time off your busy schedule to answer some questions.

Danielle, how did you get your start as an author?

Danielle:

I’ve been writing since I was 5 years old, but I finally got serious with my author career in 2018. When I attended my first writing conference. It opened my eyes to the industry and I learned a ton! I got to meet agents, editors, and publishers, and I also had the opportunity to take a bunch of amazing workshops geared at storytelling, editing, and pitching. After that, I pitched my project, The Diseased Ones, for a little over a year before signing with Acorn Publishing.  

Ana: Where do you get your ideas? What and Who inspires you?

Danielle:

There were a few books that inspired me to write my dystopian debut. I loved The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling. Those stories defined my childhood, and I knew I wanted to write a book that felt as fast-paced and exciting as those books made me feel. 

Ana: What message do you want to get across?

Danielle:

The best thing I could do with my author career is provide a meaningful escape for readers. I want people to feel something.

Ana: What do you feel are the most relevant aspects of a successful story?

Danielle:

I call them the three pillars: Firstly, who is your main character? Secondly, what do they want more than anything? Thirdly, how can I (as the author) prevent them from getting what they want?

Essentially, you need to define the stakes. Why should the reader care about the main character and what they are trying to achieve? It’s all about the humanity of the situation. If you write a story with stakes readers can connect to, then you have a story that’s worth its chops. (Also, I highly recommend taking editing workshops or reading editing books – especially ones geared toward the craft of constructing a full story arc. It’s a great way to learn!) 

Ana: In your opinion, what is most challenging about writing?

Danielle:

First draft to second draft is a challenge. I typically have to rewrite every scene in the book. It’s time-consuming, but worth it! It’s mainly to fill in the details that I couldn’t do with a first pass. I tend to underwrite, which means every revision brings me to a higher word count.

The other scary (and great) thing is getting feedback. It’s so important to find a solid editor who believes in your project and is good at their job. Implementing feedback and being willing to change portions of your story is an important skill. Ultimately, it makes a manuscript better.  

Ana: How did you find your writing style? Has it changed over time?

Danielle:

It takes persistence and a willingness to learn to find your writing style. Before attending my first writing conference, I would’ve considered myself to be a great writer, but I was wrong! I didn’t know much about editing or the do’s and don’ts of crafting a manuscript. And before 2018, I’d never worked with an editor. That changed really quick. Writing, even as a solitary discipline, is a team sport. A book passes through many hands before it’s ready for the world.

Has my writing changed over time? Absolutely! I can tell how much I’ve grown with each project (even from book 1 to book 2 of my series). I learn more and improve my craft every day. 

Ana: Do you remember your first writing?

Danielle:

I do! I found this old word document with a short story on my parent’s computer. It must have been written when I was little, because it had 36-point font and no punctuation. These three unicorn friends were playing tag when a dragon kidnapped one of them. Then the other two had to rescue their friend from the dragon’s keep during an earthquake! That story was a precious find, and it proves I’ve always had writing in my blood. 

Ana: If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing?

Danielle:

If I wasn’t an author, I’d still be acting. One of the reasons I dedicated more of my time to writing is because I missed being on stage. In a book I get to play all the characters. I get to be the bully, the heroine, the bad guy, and more! It’s really fun. And I think that understanding scene dynamics as an actress really helped me craft the scenes in my story.

Ana: Think about a character that demanded total self-control in your novels. What made him or her difficult or special? How did you successfully interact with them?

Danielle:

Hollis Timewire, my protagonist, was especially difficult to write. It was challenging writing a severely brainwashed 16-year-old. She grew up in a society that demanded perfection and absolute emotional control. In addition, she was indoctrinated with propaganda, lies, and a false version of history. Then she was forced to hide underground with the Diseased Ones and they allowed her to cultivate her emotions – and on top of that, they presented her with a new version of history to consider. 

The Diseased Ones is a tale of growth that recognizes that people don’t change their entire worldview in a day. With that said, Hollis is near and dear to my heart. Sometimes she makes the wrong choice, but she’s a character you can root for despite her failings. Her story arc (over the four-book series) takes you from a scared and confused young girl to a strong woman who understands her power and takes ownership of her mistakes. 

Ana: Is there anything special you do to get into a creative mindset?

Danielle:

Sometimes I will listen to intense instrumental music if I’m writing a highly emotional scene, but I typically just sit my butt down (alone, of course) and get to work. I love the quote that says: “Some people dream of success while other people get up every morning and make it happen.” And it’s so true! The book isn’t going to write itself. I’ve learned an important skill – mostly because I have writing deadlines now. You’re not going to feel creative all the time, but the work still needs to happen. So, on the creative days, I feel inspired, and on the non-creative days, it feels like a job, but I still crank it out.   

Ana: What could you not live without?

Danielle:

My laptop and Wi-Fi. It sounds silly, but my whole life is on my laptop – my teaching stuff and my writing stuff. And I’m typically a worker bee, so I’m either lesson planning, writing, or watching Netflix. I also couldn’t live without books, because “a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.” 

Ana: Tell us about one secret passion.

Danielle:

I’m a nerd – like, hands down, goggles on, Bunsen burner flamin’ science queen with a lab coat that has too many holes. I teach Chemistry and I’m always looking for another cool demo to show in class. I also love MythBusters! It’s one of my all-time favorite shows. I’m all about learning more neat things about how this world works. 

Ana: Which of the elements -time, love or death- would be the most difficult to deal with in your writing? Why?

Danielle:

Love is tricky for me, but only because time and death aren’t. With time, I can fix any issues with a full read through. With death, killing a character isn’t difficult (emotionally it is, but logistically it isn’t – you just pick a method and then kill the character. I sound like I have no soul, but I promise you, I do!) With love, there’s a fine line between believable and cheesy/forced. I desperately hate it when two characters go from ‘we just met’ to ‘I love you’ in half a book. It’s just not the way love works. But I am a fan of all the cute and exciting moments a character experiences at the start of a new relationship. I think a love arc has to be well-paced, or it falls into the realm of me having to suspend my disbelief a little too much.

Ana: For you, who are the real heroes of life?

Danielle:

My parents have been such incredible role models to me. They’ve raised me to be strong and go after what I want in this life. They’ve always supported me in my endeavors. I’m really grateful to them and their dedication in raising me to be strong in my faith and love Jesus with all of my heart. They are my heroes, and I love them a lot.

Ana: Finally, let’s talk about your last work and your future plans. 

Danielle:

My debut, The Diseased Ones, is a young adult dystopian novel that brings together action, suspense, a touch of romance, and a dark secret with a twist you won’t suspect. I had so much fun with it! My current project is book 2 of the series, The Unseen Ones. It picks up right where The Diseased Ones leaves off. The second installment is more exciting than the first – which is a good thing! And I feel like I’m a better writer with more experience this time around. I can’t wait for it! It’s releasing near the end of 2020. 

Ana: Thank you, Danielle, for this amazing interview.

For those wishing to find out more about Danielle Harrington and her work, check out these links:

PROFILE YOURSELF: An Amazing Story with Steven Arnett, Author.

Steven Arnett for “Time for Storytelling.”

Novelist Steven Arnett writes in many different genres, including mystery, suspense, comedy, and literary. A graduate of Michigan State University, he was born in Detroit, Michigan, and lived most of his life in Michigan. He now resides in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, with his wife, Delphine, and daughter, Vivienne.

Ana: First, thank you for letting me interviewing you today. I know how busy you are.

Steven, how did you find your calling to become an author? 

Steven:

After I first started reading literature seriously during my first couple of years in college. I developed a passionate love for all types of literature and that led to want to be a writer myself. 

Ana: I read your book, The Labyrinth. It hooked me from the very start, and I remember that I was more interested in finding out the actual identity of the protagonist than the motif of his sudden death. Where did you get the idea? How did you get the reader focused on the person itself and forget that fact?

I wrote the first draft of The Labyrinth a long time ago, and I can’t remember what led me to the original idea of the story. I can tell you that the protagonist is more like me than any of the other protagonists in my stories and novels. Also, more of the scenes and characters in that novel are taken from my life than those of anything else of written.

That said, the story is far from being autobiographical, and even the scenes and characters that are taken from my life have been dressed up a lot from the actual events.  

Ana: What skill do you think is always the best policy in writing and life? 

Steven:

To believe in yourself and never give up. 

Ana: Imagine that today you met yourself when you were just a child, what would you tell yourself-child?

Steven:

To always think for yourself, not follow the crowd or the easiest path in life, and to let your dreams come true. 

Ana: Good advice! And now, what makes a great story for you? 

Steven:

Great characters and dialog and a compelling plot. 

Ana: How did you find your writing style? Has it changed over time? 

Steven:

It just developed as I began to write fiction. I didn’t consciously look for a style: It just developed on its own. Surely, though, it has been influenced by writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, whose writing styles I really admire. On the other hand, it has even been influenced by writers whose style is very different than my own, like Faulkner: I really admire the beauty of his poetic prose. I would say my style of writing hasn’t change significantly over time. 

Ana: What does it mean to be an author for you?

Steven:

It means the enjoyment of being able to express myself in writing and to be able to invent stories and characters and places from my imagination. Also, I felt great satisfaction from publishing my books and getting great feedback from readers. 

Ana: Tell us a story, an anecdote of your writing, presentation of your books…

Steven:

This isn’t such a big deal really, but last year I was featured on the front page of our local newspaper for a story in it about my writing and my books. Obviously, it’s not quite up there with winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, but it was nice for me.

Also, one of my novels, Winners and Losers, reached #1 in its category on Amazon!

Ana: Whom do you admire? And why? 

Steven:

In terms of writers, my favorites are the great American authors of the post-World War I era, including Hemingway, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald. They are the writers who inspired me the most to become a writer myself, and also, I admire them because they were at the forefront of the greatest era in the history of American literature. 

Ana: Think about a character that demanded total self-control in your novels. What made him or her difficult or special? How did you successfully interact with them? 

Steven:

Mike O’Brien from Death on Lake Michigan. It took great self-control for him to pursue the case of who murdered Rich Mallon, despite many discouragements and distractions. He needed a lot of self-control both to pursue the case and to stay emotionally detached enough to make sure he ended up with the right answer. I don’t consider myself as interacting with my characters: I think of them instead as my creations, but there’s always a wall between them and me that would prevent what I would call interaction.

Ana: What’s your favorite character and what did you learn about him or her? 

Steven:

Robert Byron from The Summer of Robert Byron. I did a lot of research about the Vietnam War for this novel because the lead character, Robert Byron, has just returned from Vietnam and the army when the story begins, and what happened to him in Vietnam is central to the story line. So, I tried hard to get a sense of what it would be like to have served in the infantry there and to come back home, shattered, afterwards. 

Ana: If you had to choose one current character of a TV show, whom would you choose and why? Have you ever attempted to emulate her or him somehow?

Steven:

Before the coronavirus put a stop to most normal activities, I didn’t really watch much TV. However, in the last two months I’ve watched quite a bit of it. My favorite show lately is Babylon Berlin. I quickly devoured all 28 episodes!

I really came to admire the lead character, Gereon Rath, and the interaction between him and Charlotte Ritter, who becomes his detective assistant and eventually his lover. The way he manages to keep his integrity despite all the corruption going on around him during the Weimar Republic era of German history hooked me. He’s definitely far from perfect, though, and that’s what makes the character interesting: Perfect heroes tend to be dull! I have never tried to emulate Gereon, though. 

Ana: Imagine you have two teleportation devices to travel through time, where will you place them and why? 

Steven:

Tough question because there are many times and places from the past I would like to visit! However, one that really intrigues me is 1920s America, when everything changed, and the modern world was created. I would also love to have lived during the time of Jesus and his apostles, just to see what he was really like and what really happened. If I can sneak a third time in, I would also love to go back to the Golden Age of ancient Greece. 

Ana: What could you not live without?

Steven:

Without question, that would be my wife, Delphine, and my daughter, Vivienne. 

Ana: Tell us about one secret passion.

Steven:

I can’t think of any: The passions I have I don’t keep a secret at all. 

Ana: Do you have any moving story that changed your mind, life, somehow, and you would like to share?

Steven:

In terms of my writing life, I had some really inspiring professors in college who passed on to me their love of literature, which has stayed with me ever since. 

Ana: What’s the most rewarding at the end of the day? Why?

Steven:

Being happy with my family and friends and continuing to stay healthy. Health is a big deal when you get to be my age (68). I know so many people my age who didn’t make it this far or who have terrible health problems. 

Ana: Finally, let’s talk about your last work and your future plans.

Steven:

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything new, but I have been running some ideas through my head about possible new novels. I really enjoy mystery novels, and they are from one of the most popular genres, so my thoughts have been leaning in that direction. If I do write another mystery novel, it would probably be set in the 1960s/1970s era that my other books are set in. That’s the era I really feel I know the best and represents my life better than any other I’ve lived in. To some extent, as you get older, you become an observer of the world, rather than a participant, as new generations come along, and to me that makes it harder to write about them convincingly. 

Ana: Thank you, Steven, for this amazing interview.

The books referred to in this interview, and the other books written by Steven Arnett are available on Amazon. To learn more of Arnett, check out his Facebook Author Page. 

PROFILE YOURSELF: An Amazing Story with William “Boone” Hedgepeth, Author.

William “Boone” Hedgepeth for “Time for Storytelling.”

Greetings to all, I am William “Boone” Hedgepeth, the author of Wild Willful Heart, an iconoclastic memoir of the supernatural, fake religions, the bipolar disorder, American Indian medicine ways, with aspects of American business and history intertwined in the unique story. 

Ana: First, thank you for taking for letting me interviewing you today. I know how busy you are.

William, how did you find your calling to become an author?

William:

I had been writing since a child and was always involved in school newspapers throughout educational life. After an astounding life changing spiritual experience at 33 years of age, in 1993, I began transferring a journal of the earthshaking event into a narrative. Along with some fascinating true stories of life that I had been piling into a shoebox since 18 years of age, I began to recognize patterns and started threaded a story together of the very unusual esoteric events surrounding my life.

William after his first vision quest in 1993, a transformed 33 year old man.

Ana: Where do you get your ideas? What and Who inspires you?

William:

I don’t have to look far for inspiration. You know, I come from a colorful family of eight generations of southern people. The stories and events of just the last two will keep me in paper for years. As a non-denominational Christian I often get ideas from the Holy Ghost.

Ana: What message do you want to get across?

William:

“If you can see to believe, then you will believe what you see”, this original quote is the short and loose theme of my book. There are so many incredible aspects of awareness of this world that few even speak of, even fewer will ever see. But there is a way to get a vision for the purposes of one’s life. Our life is not our own, we were sent here on a mission built by the Creator.

Ana: What is most challenging about what you do?

William:

I have two jobs to make one, normally each year I race to keep them going for a satisfactory income, and the upkeep on our home. As I write during the first week of an American coronavirus pandemic, like so many, I wonder for the future in the time being.

Ana: Imagine you meet today yourself when you were just a child, what would you tell yourself-child?

William:

Hey kid, everything you felt about what was coming was right on. You will do the right things for the right reasons, don’t sweat it. Be confident.

Ana: For you, what makes a great story?

William:

Originality comes first. The story should also inspire in some way and show intelligence. It has to be written and edited well. It has to move along quickly. It needs to be around 200-225 pages max. 

Ana: What do you feel are the most relevant aspects of a successful story?

William:

Originality again. Strong, detailed characters with personality. Good writing and editing. 

Ana: Tell us a story, an anecdote of your writing, presentation of your books (or whatever you would like to share).

William:

In my current work in progress, one of the stories I will offer is a real story of my wild teen years in the 1970s, the night a wealthy friend and I got pretty crazy and I could not stop him from destroying several police cars with a brand new Buick. It upended his life, his family and they moved back north. I include a telling phone call between us after 39 years at the end. It is a tale of how quickly time passes and what happens to people. I love the real stories.

Ana: What does it mean to be an author for you?

William:

I always knew that somehow I would publish a book. For me, this is a hobby, I have no illusions about the numbers of authors and the pie slice of those making a living at this. Still, I take my time to make sure I deliver a quality product to the public. Being an author is a dream fulfilled, and I did it right the first time, and whatever I do next will be benchmark as well, it is about a discipline of excellence. This is legacy. 

Ana: Who do you admire? And why?

William:

I admire the selfless individual with real voice. The truth tellers are the freemen and women.

Ana: I know you celebrate the Soul Book Awards every year. In 2019, my book, “The Nazis & Evil” came in at #2 out of 52 reads, I felt so honored and grateful! Please, could you tell the readers about these Awards?

William:

I have been an empath since a child, getting strong thoughts and impressions of virtually all things, I decided to put this to use. Yes, I do my Soul to Soul Book Awards each year to honor Indie authors I have read and reviewed on Amazon within a given year.

Understand that all books are carefully selected by intuition, but before I read each one there is a prayer to see the heart and soul of both the author and the book. I select the top 1-10 5 star rated books in December and pray over them for a winner, then a ranking, based upon overall skill, presentation, story, power and inspiration. In 2017, we had one winner for 13 books read; 2018, was 1-5 winners out of 37 books read; and 2019, was 1-10 winners with 52 books read. Your book was fabulous both informative with an examination of the nature of darkness and evil with brilliant and fresh eyes!

Ana: If you had to choose one current character of a TV show, whom would you choose and why?

William:

I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore over the past 2-3 years and I really don’t miss it. I do watch some paranormal shows for the search for answers some duly engage, and for the comedy of others. 

Ana: In the case of you have two teleportation devices to travel through time, where will you place them and why?

William:

I would want to see this time a year from now to see what has become of things across the world. The other would be placed on a mountain in 1993, to get a second scathing look at what happened to me on a vision quest.

Ana: What could you not live without?

William:

That is easy, and as we are finding out, toilet paper. And Duke’s Southern mayonnaise.

Ana: Tell us about one secret passion.

William:

If I told it wouldn’t be secret anymore. To be honest, I have no secret passion I am aware of.

Ana: Could you tell us about any life-changing moment in your life?

William:

There have been so many! I’ll go with one the first because it set a pattern for the rest of my life to this point. 1971, 11 years old playing on a tree swing in the Carolina woods I slipped upside down, foot caught in the loop, and my back slammed into a sharp tree root. Very electric pain and then numbness followed. A friend retrieved me from the swing and laid me out on the ground. My legs would not work. I was carried by this tiny friend over his back as he ran with me 3/10th of a mile to my house.

This is the first miracle. Laying in my bed I was terrified about being paralyzed and they were about to take me to the hospital. But my friend was a Christian, and asked if I believed in Jesus. I stammered a yes, but meant it. He laid his hands on my head and told me to get up. I felt my body regenerating with a warmth, and I stood right up. It was a profound moment that I shall never forget and the harbinger of all other supernatural tales found in my book, Wild Willful Heart.

A fantastic journey centered on one man’s quest to find inner peace and truth…

Ana: Finally, let’s talk about your last work and your future plans. 

William:

Unlike anything one has ever read before, Wild Willful Heart is an entertaining fast moving memoir of a relatively common southern man of the last 60 years. Faced with a normal but exciting life growing up in fabulous parts of the south, he is also challenged by physics defying supernatural events occurring in succession right up to this current day.

At 27 years, he diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and another challenging element is added to the story. This devastating revelation leads him into many medical and spiritual avenues in the chase for healing, even a series of American Indian medicine men and mystical world. The text also incorporates the heartrending search in romance for resolution to being alone. The rollercoaster styled book is filled with danger, terror, horror, miracles, and mysteries that endure. You will travel all over America and meet interesting people and places in their times. 

As stated before I am working on a second inspirational real life book of short stories, loosely related to Wild Willful Heart. The stories will be equally bombastic for astonishment and entertainment as my first. 

My third book in the series will be a prequel to my first book, the story of my flamboyant pre-Ranger Army drill instructor/entrepreneur father. It is a perfect companion to the other books due to the strange and mystical circumstances of his life, a life of temporal blessings of wealth, achievement, and incredible conflicts. 

Ana: Thank you, William , for this amazing interview.

For those wishing to find out more about William “Boone” Hedgepeth and his books, check out these links:

PROFILE YOURSELF: An Amazing Story with Celia Martin, Author.

Celia Martin for “Time for Storytelling.”

Celia loves history, always has, and she loves to tell stories. So intertwining history and stories just seems to come natural to her. Her 17th century adventure romances take place in England and colonial America. Each book is a stand alone story. Doesn’t matter what order they are read in, but major characters in one book may reappear as minor characters in another book. The three primary families are the D’Arcys, the Lotterbys, and the Haywards, but they have many friends who have their stories as well.

Celia loves multiple characters because for her, they round out a story. In real life, we know many people, are involved with many people. In her stories, her major characters are involved with many minor characters. Besides, for her, minor characters are so much fun to write. And they just appear out of nowhere. When Celia starts a book, she has no idea who some of the characters are going to be or what role they will play. Such fun! 

Ana: First, thank you for taking for letting me interviewing you today. I know how busy you are.

Celia, what do you do for a living? 

Celia:

I am a retired history teacher.

Ana: What was the trigger for choosing your job?

Celia:

I love history, and I also liked having summers off to be able to travel and work on research for my writing.

Ana: Where do you get your ideas? 

Celia:

I have always had a vivid imagination and my brother and I and neighborhood friends played many make-believe games together. When I had to give up playing make-believe, I continued to tell myself stories. Eventually, I started writing some down. I still have so many stories in my head. I never have writer’s block. I just don’t have enough time to write all the stories. Besides writing, which is great fun, a lot of time is spent on proofing, and even more time on promoting. 

Ana: What and Who inspires you? 

Celia:

If I had anyone inspiring me, it would be my mom who encouraged my reading, and my dad who was full of stories.

Ana: What message do you want to get across?

Celia:

In my books my characters are caring people. Besides just the love of history and what life was like in a different time period, as well as fun adventures and sweet love stories, I would say I try to make empathy a major theme.

Ana: What is most challenging about what you do?

Celia:

Book promoting. Because I am technologically challenged, I know I am not able to do as much promoting as I wish I knew how to do. Plus, right now, no book signings. That hurts. And I am having trouble getting people to do reviews.

Plus, I would dearly love to hear from readers, but none seem to contact me. I believe those who like history and like adventure and romance would really like my books, but I am having trouble reaching them.

Ana: Imagine you meet today yourself when you were just a child, what would you tell yourself-child?

Celia:

Try to learn to be more media-savvy.

Ana: For you, what makes a great story?

Celia:

I like history, but I like it to be accurate. 

I like romance, but I’m not particularly into erotica. Not that I don’t write some love scenes with some sex involved, but I would say they are more romantic that sexual.

I like adventure, and I think my action scenes are very vivid. I like to be able to see the action in my mind when I am reading as I do when I am writing. 

And I like mysteries, but not gory ones. Most of my villains are evil, but they are not necessarily evil just for the fun of it. I try to make them real and often with circumstances that have led them to their worst behavior.  

Ana: What do you feel are the most relevant aspects of a successful story?

Celia:

Holding the readers attention and having them care about the characters and what happens to them.

Ana: Tell us a story, an anecdote of your writing, presentation of your books (or whatever you would like to share).

Celia:

As a teacher, what I loved to get across to my students was not so much dates and battles and well-known men of history, but how people of the past lived and the problems they faced. Just ordinary people.

We took people on wagon trains west. We made farms and forts and villages. We made colonial signs for our colonial businesses explaining what the business was with a picture or something on a sign, like a boot to designate a shoemaker, because a lot of people in the past could not read.

Anyway, the kinds of fun that I wanted my students to have is the kind of fun I want my readers to have when they read my books.

Ana: How did you find your writing style? 

Celia:

I always had my stories, but what made the biggest difference for me was the terrific writing group I was with for a number of years. They taught me more than I ever learned in writing classes that I took. 

Ana: Has it changed over time?

Celia:

Yes, thanks to my writing group and what I learned from them. I learned to see, hear, taste, and smell in my character’s point of view. My readers should be able to experience what my characters are seeing, hearing, etc.

Ana: What does it mean to be an author for you?

Celia:

Having my first book, To Challenge Destiny, published was such a thrill. I carried it around with me and had to show it to everybody. Now, I have 5 published books, another due out in June, another hopefully in August, and more that I am working on. As I said, I have multiple stories in my head. Just have to get them out. Writing is so much fun.

So being an author means getting to share all my fun stories with other people.

Ana: Who do you admire? And why? 

Celia:

I admire a lot of people, but if you are asking about a specific author, I would say, Georgette Heyer. I loved her romances, her humor, her characters, and her multiple minor characters (which my books have). 

I also read her more historical works. Heyer was very knowledgeable. She knew her history, and she could read Old English. I suppose Georgette Heyer had more influence on my writing than anyone else, though I also like the way Joan Wolfe writes.

Ana: Imagine you have two teleportation devices to travel through time, where will you place them and why?

Celia:

I don’t know that I would want to leave the present. Diseases, lack of proper sanitation, poor transportation, no computers or electricity or good heating – I like to study the past and paint pictures of it with my words in my books, but I don’t want to go there. I am a cancer survivor. Wouldn’t be if I lived in the past. Nor do I want to go into the future. Right now, it is not looking too bright for the young people.

Ana: What could you not live without?

Celia:

My husband and electricity.

Ana: Tell us about one secret passion.

Celia:

That’s an easy one, I want more readers to discover my books. If they like history and they like romance and adventure, they are bound to like them.

Ana: Do you have any moving story that changed your mind, life, somehow, and you would like to share?

Celia:

The most moving story in my life is when I married my husband. We are not only lovers, we are best friends. We love being together. I feel so blessed.

Ana: Finally, let us know about your last work. What’s new?

Celia:

As I said, I have 5 published books. 17th century adventure romances with strong women heroines, lots of fun characters, and sweet love stories. 

In June, my book, Fate Takes A Hand, will be released. It will be free on ebooks for the first two weeks it is out and then like my other books, it will be 99 cents throughout the summer. The story is a fun romance, with some cute kids, a terrific dog, and a lot of fun minor characters. 

Ana: Thank you, Celia, for this amazing interview.

For those wishing to find out more about Celia Martin and her books, check out the following link:

PROFILE YOURSELF: An Amazing Story with Allan Hudson, Author.

Allan Hudson, author, for "Time for Sotorytelling."
Allan Hudson for “Time for Storytelling.”

Allan is an avid reader all my life, he always wanted to write. He was inspired by one of my favorite authors- Bryce Courtenay – who started his writing career in his mid-fifties and went on to publish over twenty best sellers. He knew then that it was never too late to start and it’s been a wonderful journey since. Writing is my passion.

Ana: First, thank you for taking for letting me interviewing you today. I know how busy you are.

Allan, where do you get your ideas? And what message do you want to get across?

Allan:

Like many authors, I believe inspiration comes from our surroundings, the people we meet, the things we do and the memories we make. I live in a small coastal village in Eastern Canada where the sunrises are spectacular, the sunsets glorious, the land is rich, the community is vibrant and the waters are moody.  You will find many references to where I live in my stories.  Often conversations with friends or acquaintances will spark a new story or an addition to a novel. For an example, while chatting with my sisters at a recent gathering, I discovered that many years ago, a cousin had a small convenience store at a public beach with many funny incidents which has acted as a catalyst for a short story I am working on.

I’ve never given much thought to any particular messages I’ve wanted to express. I love feel good stories and I think we need a lot of those in our lives. Many of my short stories contain instances of people helping people. I like older people and children in stories too.

“People helping People.”

Ana: What is most challenging about what you do?

Allan:

Finding the time to write is perhaps my biggest challenge. I still work full time so writing is secondary to life’s commitments but I write every chance I get.

I’ve always been a morning person, so on weekends, you’ll find me up early at my laptop. I like quiet and solitude when I write. I especially have two favorite spots to work from. In the warmer months, I write in my workshop where I have a space cleared specifically for writing. I can look out my window at the water and I always find it calming when I need to think about something I’m stuck on.

In the colder months, I’m at it early at the kitchen table. I plan on retiring in another year so hopefully, there will be more writing time.

Ana: For you, what makes a great story?

Allan:

I like this question and I expect we would all give different answers. I’ve read so many great novels, a lot of so-so novels. Most stories keep me interested but every once in a while, I’ll pick up a book that keeps me enthralled. I can’t wait to get back at it and I can’t stop reading when I do. 

What makes it great? Above all, strong characters, good prose, good dialogue is vital, detail is important to me, what the character is seeing, hearing, doing, etc. I like stories that take me around the world or explore different cultures.

I like characters that are a shade above average, smarter, braver, able to overcome obstacles, kind and no-nonsense. An example is my all-time favorite novel – Shibumi. The main character, Nicholas Hel, is a world-class assassin, an artful lover, courageous with an incredible past, a spelunker and a true friend. 

Ana: What do you love about writing the most?

Allan:

I enjoy taking an idea, an incident, an image or a memory and turning it into a story. 

Sitting in your favorite spot, in front of your laptop, a blank page, a flickering cursor and a few notes and you start. Building the scenes, finding the right words, creating new characters and their personas, all the creative energy that goes into building a story makes me feel good, productive. Getting to the very last sentence and a rush knowing that you’re finished the first draft – what a feeling!

In short, that whole creative journey from start to finish is what I love the most.hat whole creative journey from start to finish is what I love the most.

Ana: Tell us a story, an anecdote you would like to share.

Allan:

As I mentioned in an earlier question, I started writing later in life. After discovering that Mr. Courtenay started around the same age as I was then, I talked about writing a story, I felt like it was possible.

A theme and the main character were already formed in my mind. I just needed to sit and write. I had no clue how to start or really what to do. So, I continued to procrastinate until finally my wife looked at me with a frown and said, “Are you going to talk about it forever, or are you going to sit down and write that darn story? If not, then be quiet!”

We laughed over that a few times but it was the catalyst I needed to get on with it. I’ve never looked back and, in some sense, I guess, I owe it to her for getting me going.

Ana: After that process, what does it mean to be an author for you?

Being an author allows me the opportunity to leave something in the world after I’m gone. When I first started writing, I drew to short stories and penned a few of them. Having three grandchildren, I wanted them to have something that I made especially for them that would continue to be in their lives long after I left. I created three collections of short stories, each one a limited series and dedicated them to my grandchildren. The first copy was signed and given to them, of course.

In other words, I hope that someday, they’ll be going through their collection of memorabilia and will find a book that their “Grampy” made for them.

Ana: In the case of you have two teleportation devices to travel through time, where will you place them and why?

Allan:

I would have one in my workshop here at home. Here at home being on the east coast of Canada in a small community called Cocagne. The other machine would sit in the same spot a hundred years previous.

The Countdown starts…

I have recently finished a manuscript of historical fiction and my main character immigrates to Canada from Scotland to settle in Cocagne. During the writing of the story, I had the opportunity to research the history of my community. Then, comparing the area to today, it was a vibrant busy place, several hotels, two churches, shipbuilding, farms and fields stretching to the horizon, fishermen reaping the bounty of the Bay, a house on an island – what an amazing history. I would love to be able to go back to the turn of the century and see it for myself.

Ana: Do you have any moving story that changed your mind, life, somehow, and you would like to share?

Allan:

This is an interesting question. I think each of us have that moment in our lives where something meaningful happens and changes our ways of thinking. 

I had a close friend who was married to a lady from the US and they moved back to Canada to start a family. We worked together, became friends. We hung out together with our wives and I became the godfather to his oldest child. Later, things changed, they moved to another city two hours away and I saw little of them as the years progressed. Until one day, I was working in his city and I met my friend for a coffee and we chatted about his marriage breaking up and such.

Sad moment because they made a swell couple. After several hours, he looked at me and said, “There’s something I have to tell you”. He had a strange look in his eyes and I thought he was going to tell me he had a terminal illness. After a moment of silence, he informed me, “I’m gay.”

Up to that moment, I’d never know a gay person personally. So, I didn’t understand their struggle.

“Live and Let Live”

Personally, I think he was brave to tell me, not knowing how I would react. I’d always been of the mind “live and let live”. Digesting the news, I didn’t see a gay person on the other side of the table. I saw a good friend that happened to be gay.  So, I broke the silence that ensued by telling him that I guess I wouldn’t have to worry about him flirting with my wife. Relief flooded his face and we laughed so hard.

Ana: Finally, let’s talk about your last work and your future plans.

I have three projects on the go. My completed manuscript of an historical fiction account of a young man having to go live with his bachelor uncle due to misfortunes and difficulties in his mother’s life. Loneliness and happiness follow until catastrophe strikes. As a result, it changes the young man’s life and he decides to emigrate to Canada and start anew.

Tentativley titled – The Alexanders – Dominic, it covers ten years of his life from 1911 to 1920. It’s with my editor now. I’m hoping for publication in the Fall of 2020.

My second WIP is the third book in the ongoing Drake Alexander series. It is 75% completed. No working title as of yet.

Amazon.com

My first two novels introduce him and his antics. An ex-soldier, he and his small group of friends are vigilantes.  They have the time, the funds and the experience to hunt for some of the world’s deadliest criminals.

The third series is their hunt for two brothers that went on a bank robbing, killing spree and have never been caught. A victim’s father approaches them, pleading with them to bring the brothers to justice for killing his daughter, but the clues are twenty years old. It’s an international thriller, the hunt takes them from Bordeaux, France to Mongolia to Switzerland.

My third project is the next Jo Naylor series. In my latest release – Shattered Figurine – Josephine Naylor is a detective. She discovers crimes too close to home. At the end of the story, she needs to leave Canada. Certainly, it has been well received with many excellent reviews. In the next installment, Jo Naylor is on the run and in Thailand. Maybe she’s not a cop anymore but she still finds someone in trouble. Can she help them in a village where she doesn’t know anyone?

Ana: Thank you, Allan, for this amazing interview.

For those wishing to find out more about Allan Hudson and his books, check out these links:

Web: http://www.allanhudson.com

Twitter: @hudson_allan

FB: @southbranchscribbler

Amazon.com

PROFILE YOURSELF: An Amazing Story with Lucinda E. Clarke, Author.

Lucinda E. Clarke describes herself as being born in Dublin, dragged up in the Cotswolds and finished off in Liverpool.
She’s led an appalling life, jumping counties, often one step ahead of the creditors.
Produced by a mother with NPD, then marriage to a Walter Mitty clone, there has never been a dull moment – and she’s a bestselling author with awards and numerous medals for both her television scripts and her books.

Lucinda E. Clarke for “Time for Storytelling.”

Ana: First, I would like to thank you for taking some time off your busy schedule to answer some questions.

How did you find your calling to become an author?

Lucinda:

Firstly:- As a precocious brat, aged 4 reading Enid Blyton, I thought this looks easy, I could do this

Secondly:- Writing a report on the Sunday School activities for the local church magazine, although sadly no one else got to read it as I snaffled all of them from the back of the church and read each and every copy in the privacy of my bedroom.

There is a long gap, despite my pleading I wanted to be a writer as I was leaving school but was told to get a proper career.

Finally:- When I applied as a continuity announcer on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (a dismal failure) then invited to the drama department and the producer picked up on the content of my audition (self-written) and told me to go home and write. So, I did and won the Playwright of the Year Award – after that there was no stopping me.

Ana: Where do you get your ideas? What and Who inspires you?

Lucinda:

Ideas drop from the sky. I’ve no idea what sparks them, often in the shower, or when half asleep and I spend the next week trying to remember what they were. A word, a mannerism, a shop front, it could be anything. I’ve been an avid reader as long as I can remember, preferring my own world to the one most people inhabit. 

What other career allows you to kill with abandon, chop arms and legs off, and torture and manipulate your characters? I love Jean Plaidy, Harrison Ainsworth and Wilbur Smith. It was probably the latter’s stories that encouraged me to go and live in Africa.

Ana: What message do you want to get across?

Lucinda:

Most of my books are set in Africa and I have tied hard to portray the continent as I saw it while living there for almost 40 years. It’s not The Lion King, nor Born Free and those images of poverty and war you see on the news have an eye on viewer statistics and donations. I’ve tried to show a typical African country seen through the eyes of a new expatriate (Amie) much as I experienced it when I first stepped off the Kenyan Airways plane. 

Of course, in the series she becomes a trained spy and has plausible adventures, but I had a few hairy moments of my own too. If I have enlightened even a few minds and opinions, then I shall have succeeded a little.

A Video on Amie Series

Ana: What is most challenging about what you do?

Lucinda:

I was tossing up whether to mention the dreaded marketing or fatigue. I’m only pretending to be retired, and yet I drive myself on – my brain races but my body would prefer to crawl or curl up with a good book. 

I’ve worked hard all my life, mostly with 2 jobs and I should really relax and do the coffee morning/Zumba routine, but I’d love to get the New York Times Bestseller sticker just once. 

Since I’ve earned my living writing radio and TV scripts for decades, I know I can write, and hundreds of people have loved my books but getting the word out? I’m hopeless at that and I don’t enjoy it. The networking yes, the chatting to readers yes, but the buy my books shout out makes me cringe.

Ana: Imagine you meet today yourself when you were just a child, what would you tell yourself-child?

Lucinda’s memoir of growing up with a NPD mother.

Lucinda:

This is a bit weird to answer as I would have reassured my younger self that my upbringing was not normal and that I was on OK person – it was my mother who had the problem. She suffered from NPD but I only discovered that 6 decades later, having been terrorised and guilt-ridden about her for most of my life.

Ana: For you, what makes a great story?

Lucinda:

A great story has a character I can bond with, it must be fast moving with twists and turns and keep me guessing until the last page.

Ana: Tell us a story, an anecdote you would like to share.

Lucinda:

I’ve written 3 memoirs. The first chronicling my life through 8 counties, 2 husbands and a wealth of experiences. These include interviewing Mandela, fainting in an abattoir, meeting Prince Charles, broadcasting live with a bayonet on my shoulder, managing a rock band, running from a tear gas attack, breaking down in a game park with no defence, being abandoned with a 9 week old baby in the bush with no food, transport, communications or electricity. 

There are a few more incidents which I can’t recall right now, but there are plenty more. I morphed from a shy, low-esteemed primary school teacher to a successful businesswoman running my own video production company. Yes, I guess I made it and still miss the media life.

The true story of how Lucinda set up and ran a riding school while afraid of horses and not the slightest idea of how to care for them.

Ana: How did you find your writing style? Has it changed over time?

Lucinda:

I was never trained in journalism or took a higher degree in English, preferring History and Sociology. I learned scriptwriting by trial and error for both radio and TV and won several awards. Later, after freelancing for the SABC I produced the scripts I wrote for corporates, conference presentations, governments, banks and so on. On retirement I turned to books. This was a whole different ball game. No longer could I scribble pan across room to show… Now, I had to describe the room, how the characters were behaving and learn the ‘show not tell stuff’, although the dialogue was easy and I had been commissioned to write a couple of books by a couple of the Big Five traditional publishers in the ‘90s, it was like starting again at the bottom of the ladder.

Ana: What does it mean to be an author for you?

Lucinda:

Indulging in my passion, I get withdrawal symptoms if I don’t write. Also, the high I get from leaving behind something tangible when I’ve gone to the big writing desk in the sky, or, more probably, the other place.

Ana: If you had to choose one current character of a TV show, whom would you choose and why? In other words, have you ever attempted to emulate her or him somehow?

Lucinda:

Absolutely not. I hate this hero worship of ‘famous’ people. In the media word you work with these people and they are just very ordinary folk. Some are nice, some narcissistic, some positively revolting. It can be infuriating when they get all the accolades for pretending to be someone else, speaking the words written by THE WRITER, made to look beautiful by the makeup department and the lighting crew, told how to cry etc by the Director and their mumbled words rendered intelligent by the sound crew. Oh dear, you didn’t invite a rant did you! But it’s all true. 

I used to tell my students that if they wanted to be famous, then they should pack up now and go to the drama department and forget the film production side. Viewers seldom care about the team which put it all together, they are too busy putting the cat out, racing to the loo or putting on the kettle.

Ana: Do you have any moving story that changed your mind, life, somehow, and you would like to share?

Lucinda:

The nearest I can come to this is the number of times I thought I was going to die and surprisingly, I survived. A good example is that bayonet pricking into my neck in the broadcasting studio, or the time we were charged by an elephant and the car stalled, or the crowd that surrounded me and my daughter in her pushchair at a public hanging. I won’t bore you with more! Live each day.

Ana: So, if you hadn’t chosen to become an author, what would your alternative career have been?

Lucinda:

I trained to be a teacher, and I rather think that writing chose me, since I was at that SABC audition having been given notice at the school, and I was desperate to get another job, any job at the time. Broadcasting was the only other skill I had.

Ana: General words of wisdom you live by?

Lucinda:

Live and let live. Respect other cultures and beliefs and seek to understand others.

Travel and retain your curiosity, take an interest farther afield than your immediate environment.

Learn something new each day.

Ana: Finally, let’s talk about your last work (book, story, writing …) and your future plans. 

Lucinda:

There is that NYT sticker I’d (almost) kill for. I’m not going to write any more biographies I think I’ve used up most of my escapades. 

A Psychological Thriller

There are 5 books in the Amie in African series, and I plan one more. I’d like to do a sequel to my fairy tale satire, but, to my surprise, my Psychological Thriller, has been my most successful so I’m currently writing a follow on. 

Amie series by Lucinda E. Clarke for "Time for Storytelling."
Amie Series

Ana: Thank you, Lucinda, for this amazing interview.

For those wishing to find out more about Lucinda E. and her writing, check out these links:

Web: https://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Blog: https://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

Twitter: http://@LucindaEClarke

Pinterest: https://es.pinterest.com/lucindaeclarkea/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucinda-clarke-