Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Mark Morrison, TwoSpells

Mark & Sarah
Mark Morrison and his daughter, Sarah, the inspiration for the character of the same name in TwoSpells!

Yesterday, I reviewed the fantasy adventure TwoSpells, by Mark Morrison, a fun blend of the Narnia series and stories like “A Wrinkle in Time.” Below, Mark shares how he got the idea for this whole new world, where his imagination comes from and check below for a little bit about his next book!

Where did the idea for TwoSpells come from? 
One of my daughters-in-law is a librarian. I love her like my own daughter and not just because my son does but because she’s a wonderful person in a million ways. I wanted to create a story in honor of her. The story wasn’t titled yet and  originally started out as a children’s fantasy about a living library that was waging an internal war between the written word and the new electronic technologies of eBooks that were pushing traditional books aside. That idea lasted for maybe a day or two before it morphed dramatically into what it is today. I’m not sure how or why it evolved so rapidly but it did.
Was it difficult to create an entire new “world,” with its own backstory and system?
Not really because I grew up in a family of modest means with seven brothers and sisters. We always had enough to eat but not a whole lot extra frills. My father used to say he was an uneducated genius and I really do believe he was. He invented a game for us all to entertain ourselves as a family that didn’t cost a dime. It was called, UH!

The family would gather in the living room and one of us was elected to start. That person would start creating a totally fictitious story out of thin air. Then they’d pause mid-sentence and let the next player take over from there. This continued around the room until someone hesitated or said “uh”. That player was out and the game continued until only one person was left. The stories we created were most often incredibly strange because each of us was attempting to make the next in line chuckle and fumble by saying, ‘uh!’. It was an awesome game of improvisation, so I credit my love of storytelling to that silly game my father claims to have invented.

Why did you choose to have two main characters instead of one?

I think for two reasons. One; my oldest son, my mentor and personal tutor, said it would be wise and that’s that’s good enough for me because he’s much smarter than I am. And two; a famous song I heard as a child says, ‘one is the loneliest number next to two.’ That same son agreed.

The book has some serious/scary moments followed by some really funny, lighthearted scenes. How did you strike that balance?
It’s a simply reflection of my own life so it came naturally. I work as a grief and family counselor and am surprised at how resilient families can be after a loved one has passed. I guess humor is a coping mechanism for a lot of folks. I handle adversity the very same way by trying to let it roll off me and move on usually by trying to find some humor in the issue. Another great saying my father had was “i, ‘it’s not a problem if money can solve it, otherwise it’s just an issue.'” I’ve found that most bad things start out as appearing to be problems but are really just issues.

Why did you choose to end on a bit of a cliffhanger?
For only one reason, I love them myself. I can’t be the only one who loves a good cliffhanger. I can guess that’s why so many writers use them too.

What do you like about writing for young adults?
Because I believe I probably maxed out in my maturity somewhere within that bracket, so it makes me completely comfortable with that writing level or below. Birds of a feather right.

What can we expect from the sequel?
That would be sequels because I’ve rough fleshed out outlines for four more of the series already, each very unique from the others. The beauty of the sequels is I don’t need to reenact all the backstory as in the first. It’s pure story-line from this point. I’ve got approximately 25% of the second TwoSpells completed and it is spectacular, at least in my mind that is.

Mark was also kind enough to share the cover of his next book with me – and it’s also gorgeous, done by the same artist who designed the cover of TwoSpells.

Corky 4

About the Book

A young pig named Corky witnesses his mothers abduction, leaving he and his father alone and frightened, both now forced to fend for themselves.

His father enrolled him an obedience school for dogs where he doesn’t fit in because of his very unique physical differences.

He must overcome adversity and discrimination at every turn which he manages to defeat valiantly. He eventually becomes overwhelmed and runs away from home, only to face a wild series of twisted mishaps, strange characters, brazen heroes and wicked villains.

His remarkable adventure will ultimately mold him into the most interesting pig in the world.

Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Justin W.M. Roberts

34122259I’m thrilled to be able to talk with another author about work and their craft. Justin W.M. Roberts, author of the action-packed “The Policewoman,” took some time to share his thoughts on his characters and his experiences as a writer.

– Where did the idea for this novel come from?

Drug trafficking is a problem faced by every country. It’s big business and it’s a matter of time drug cartels will try to take over a country.


– This novel not only had action, but a lot of emotion too – laughter, romance, etc. How did you balance that in your writing?

Well, the life a real police officer is not one action sequence to the next. In fact, 99% of it is boring. This book is art imitating the life of a police officer, albeit an extraordinary life.

– Why did you choose a female protagonist? 

Good question! This book is more of a military action thriller than a crime fiction novel. Since there aren’t any female officers in the UK’s Special Air Service, I need the main protagonist to be a female so there can be a romance element in the book.

– What authors do you enjoy reading in your spare time?

I enjoy reading Tom Clancy, JK Rowling, Andy McNab, and Chris Ryan

– What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Just write! Send your work to a lot of people so they can send their feedback.

– What are you working on next?

The Policewoman is book one of a series. I’m currently writing the sequel.

About the Author

Justin W.M. Roberts was born in London, son of a British Army General, and grew up in Hong Kong, Germany, and England. After graduating from Hull university with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Psychology, he continued traveling and living Europe, Africa, and Asia.

He currently lives in Indonesia where he is an analyst of political affairs and an active promoter of secular humanism.

Authors of military thrillers are welcome to PM him (on Goodreads) for book reviews.

Posted in Uncategorized

Author Q&A: Derik Cavignano, “Colony of the Lost”


What happens when you rebuild on the same site as a colony of settlers who just vanished into thin air? Could what threatened them come back around?

This idea is what Derik Cavignano explores in “Colony of the Lost,” a thriller that has a band of misfits coming together to defeat a threat to their modern-day town, which may have roots in Pilgrim times.

From the back of the book:

Nestled in the heart of the Berkshires lies Glenwood, Massachusetts–the perfect picture of suburbia. But when the children of this affluent town begin vanishing one by one, baffling local and federal authorities alike, Glenwood becomes anything but a utopia.

Built upon the ruins of a lost colony, Glenwood is home to a long-forgotten secret, and when three strangers are lured into the midnight woods by the phantom of a Puritan boy, they discover the truth of the town’s dark past and must face a vision of its bloody future.

Together, this unlikely trio–Jay, an alcoholic school teacher, Tim, a wise-cracking new kid in town, and Sarah, a nine-year-old with a host of imaginary friends–must somehow find a way to rescue the town from an ancient demon and its legion of human slaves. But in order for them to succeed, Jay must first conquer his own inner demons.

Below, Cavignano discusses his taut thriller and how it came about – as well as gives advice to fellow writers:

“Colony of the Lost” combines several different horror elements into one spooky tale; How would you describe your book to readers?

Colony of the Lost is about a trio of unlikely heroes who join forces to battle a terrifying evil threatening their town. It’s part ghost story, part creature feature, and even contains a bit of sci-fi and fantasy. It’s a character-driven story that pits good versus evil and celebrates the power of the human spirit.

Continue reading “Author Q&A: Derik Cavignano, “Colony of the Lost””

Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Caytlyn Brooke

32762607Earlier this week, I shared my review of Dark Flowers, a spooky YA thriller that kept this adult highly entertained. It follows two girls as they fight for their freedom during a high-stakes adventure in the Louisiana swamps.

From the back of the book:

Life at St. Agatha’s School for Girls is anything but a fairytale. With ratty blankets and a torturous device called the box, it’s not hard to understand Eliza’s desperation to escape. When the timing is right, Eliza manages to run away with her best friend Millie, heading through the Louisiana swamps to the town on the other side.

But the swamps may be even more dangerous than the orphanage. Silver and black fairies invite the girls to experience a world where they can have it all, but Eliza doesn’t trust the sparkling beauty. When Millie suddenly becomes violent and attacks another girl, Eliza knows something awful is about to happen.

She will do anything to protect Millie but once Eliza remembers her own terrible secret, it is impossible to forget. The fairies’ songs call to Eliza and its getting harder and harder to pretend it’s all in her head.

Below, Brooke talks about the inspiration for the fairy-based tale, what she’s working on now and what gives her the creeps!

At the bottom of the post is a bonus question for those who have finished the book which – WARNING – contains spoilers.

Where did you get the inspiration for this book? It has some fairytale elements, but it is quite scary in some parts!

Growing up, I was always obsessed with fantasy and discovering hidden worlds. My sister and I loved exploring our backyard for tiny fairy feet or glitter on the leaves. The movie, “A Fairytale: A True Story” had a lot to do with that. We would make elaborate fairy houses and leave them little chocolates (of which my brothers repeatedly ate) but we had so much fun waiting to see them. Then, one day a few years ago, her and I were playing in my backyard and I somehow managed to get pollen all over my arm. I looked down and said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if this just absorbed into my skin?” and poof! The idea for Dark Flowers was born! We immediately raced inside and I started to sketch out the characters and the plot. My sister even gave me the name for Millie! I wanted to capture the hope that children harbor when they truly believe in something and are desperate to find it.

As for the scarier parts, I am a huge fan of the darker side of any story. Happy endings are nice, but when you add in twists and creepy moments, I feel it is more impactful. Readers are going to remember and think about a chilling image as they lie in bed and I love creating those moments that linger in the mind no matter how brightly the sun shines.  Continue reading “Author Q&A: Caytlyn Brooke”

Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Elias Zanbaka

29740508Sydney-based author Eias Zanbaka has published his first short story, “Environmentally Friendly,” an action-packed thriller, which, according to its description, “centres around a highly unstable army veteran who is hell-bent on waging his own personal war against Mother Nature. He is the number one target being hunted by the LAPD as he rampages through the city in an attempt to provoke such a powerful and overwhelming force as Mother Nature into a highly personal battle.”

Fans of high-action thrill rides will love this fun read, which draws the reader in immediately.

“Environmentally Friendly” is available on Amazon, Smashwords and Zanbaka is on Goodreads. Below, Zanbaka talks about his story, influences and his writing process.

The story really starts off right in the middle of the action. How did you decide to have readers dive right in like that?

As soon as the entire story had laid itself out in front of me, I knew I had to start it in a place that would make the reader feel as if a hand had just suddenly dropped them without warning, plunging them straight into the action and chaos from the get go. It was more of a gut feeling than anything else. It just felt right to me. If I’ve done my job right, then hopefully I’d have also evoked an immediate response to [the character Sgt.] Schaefer by putting the reader right into his shoes, making them feel as if they were ones ablaze and frantically trying to douse themselves. I wanted the story to then take off like a bullet from there. A part of it was me trying to see if I could write something that was fast and always moving, never sitting still for a second right until it crossed the finish line.

You’ve created some really interesting characters; will you be expanding this story in the future to include more background on their stories?

I’m really glad you found them interesting. Both Sgt. Schaefer and Sgt. Major Bushell were a lot of fun to write! I wasn’t expecting the unique relationship that ended up developing between the two as the story went on despite them being total strangers to one another.

To be quite honest, I had no idea what I had until I’d finished the short story and put it out there. To me, it was an interesting little story that I thought others might enjoy. After a few months, I began getting a lot of emails from people asking if I’d be planning on expanding it further – either into a full novel or a series. I hadn’t really thought about it but I knew there was some potential there, particularly in some of the things that are presented in the latter half of the story. It wasn’t until a month ago where I began to give it some thought, which then turned into a lot of thought and from there I’d managed to come up with a very detailed outline of what a continuation would be although I’m not sure when or if I’d turn it into an actual novel as I have other stories/ideas I’m working on.

Continue reading “Author Q&A: Elias Zanbaka”