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.

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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 Book Extras

“Dead Letters” book signing!

Today, Claire Dolan-Leach, author of the suspense-filled “Dead Letters,” did a book signing in my area! I was super excited to meet her after enjoying her novel.

She was really sweet in person and excited to share her first novel. I’m really looking forward to her future works, as this young author shows so much potential.

Read my review here!

Here’s a link to a Nylon Magazine article with more about the book and Dolan-Leach.


I usually get timid at these events, since I’m trying not to fangirl too much, I forget everything I want to say!

Dead Letters is available now!