Author Fair at Wilbraham Public Library – April 29

 

I’m excited to say that I will be joining several local authors at the Wilbraham Public Library on Saturday, April 29 from 10 am to 12 pm at our annual Author Fair. Eight authors will present a little about their works, and participants will have time for a “Meet and Greet” period, visiting the authors’ tables, asking questions, and purchasing signed copies of their books. Featured authors for 2017 include: Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Rosalie Rymarski, Chrysler Szarlan, Garry Brown, Dr. Andrew Lam, Marty Damon, Chris Collins, and Ellie Dias. Refreshments will be served.

The Author Fair will take place in the Brooks Room of the Wilbraham Public Library, 25 Crane Park, Drive, Wilbraham, MA . If you need more information, please contact Mary Bell at 413-596-6141 or mbell@wilbrahamlibrary.org.

Hope to see you there!

Advertisements

Interview with Annette Oppenlander, Author of Escape from the Past

AuthorPhoto_EscapeFromThePastTheKidAnnette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults and anyone who loves stories set in the past. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.

“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”

Website/blog: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com
Thank you for joining us today, Annette. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Solingen, Germany, a city known for its cutlery and sharp kitchen knives. After completing a business degree at the University of Cologne I moved to the U.S. for a one-year work assignment. Instead, I met my future husband at a Super Bowl party and got married a year later. That was in 1987. I’ve been living in different parts of the U.S. ever since.

I’ve been married for 28 years and have fraternal twins (24) and a son (27). My roommate is an old mutt, Mocha, a pooch we adopted from the Humane Society 11 years ago.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

Becoming a writer/author was a process that took several years. In the beginning–the late 90s–I wrote children’s stories for early readers. I didn’t know anything about writing for children, the market nor the submission process, so this went nowhere. In 2002 I interviewed my parents about their lives during WW2 in Germany which led to a number of short stories. I didn’t really imagine writing a novel, let alone several, I merely wanted to preserve the memories for my family.

But I became aware how much I enjoy the writing process. How I felt while I did it. I worked for a PR agency and did lots of business related writing. I’d go home at night and write some more, spent my weekends writing fiction. I grew more and more invested, took classes, read books on craft, attended conferences and joined a critique group. In 2009 I attended a short story class at Indiana University and that’s when the light bulb turned on fully. I’ve known ever since that writing is my passion and I must do it even if publication is light years away. I finished the first manuscript in 2010. The first book was published in 2015.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

Maybe I never quite grew up. I have vivid memories of my teenage years and I raised three kids through the rough and tumble teen years. It’s an age so full of wonder and turmoil, but also of tough times. I think it’s one of the most interesting periods in a human’s life.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I love the quirkiness, the surprise moves my characters make. Sometimes, Max, my main character just throws me for a loop. He’s unpredictable and rash, but he also has a good heart and means to do well. It just doesn’t always work out that way. At the same time I love taking my readers on an exciting journey. I want them to ‘feel’ the action, be there with the characters, bring history alive.

The challenge is getting into the heads of the teen characters and understanding that their approach to things is quite different from adult logic.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

In “The Kid,” book two in the “Escape from the Past” trilogy, time-traveling gamer, Max, intends to return to his friends in medieval Germany, but mistakenly lands in the Wild West of 1881 New Mexico.

Struggling to get his bearings and coming to terms with Dr. Stuler’s evil computer game misleading him, Max runs into Billy the Kid. To his amazement Billy isn’t at all the ruthless killer history made him out to be. Trouble brews when a dying Warm Springs Apache gives Max a huge gold nugget to help his sister, Ela, escape from Fort Sumner. Shopping for supplies Max attracts the attention of ruthless bandits. Before Max can ask the Kid’s help, he and Ela are forced to embark on a journey to find his imaginary goldmine. This is book 2 in the Escape from the Past trilogy.EscapeFromThePastTheKid

What inspired you to write it?

Growing up in Germany, I’ve always been fascinated with the Wild West. I remember watching westerns with my father and reading books about pioneers, American Indians and the gold rush. After I moved to the U.S. I continued reading historical fiction set in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds.

I chose Billy the Kid because I see him as a tragic character who encountered a string of bad luck and was basically set up to fail. He isn’t much older than Max and can easily see how any young man could’ve had Billy’s fate. The second important character is Chief Nana, A Warm Springs Apache warrior, who in the summer of 1881 rode a 3,000 mile vengeance war against the U.S. Army. He was never caught nor were his fifteen or so warriors. The amazing thing about him was his age. He was around eighty years old then and had a bad leg.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

“Escape from the Past: The Kid” is available at any bookstore and online. Here are a few links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Past-Kid-book-2/dp/178535213X/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/escape-from-the-past-annette-oppenlander/1122768791

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781785352133

What is up next for you?

I just finished the third book in the trilogy, “Escape from the Past: At Witches’ End” which takes Max back to the Middle Ages. The manuscript is currently in editing at the publisher. My current writing project is a story about two teens growing up during WW2 in Germany. It’s a love story based on my family, but it is ultimately a story of forgiveness.

Do you have anything else to add?

I always love hearing from readers and invite you to leave a comment or note here on the blog or on my website, Goodreads or Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/annetteoppenlanderauthor/

Thank you very much for having me!

 

Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

EscapeFromThePastTheKid_Banner copy

Interview with Ingrid Koivukangas, Author of Hunters of the Dream (International Giveaway)

 

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HuntersOfTheDreamIngrid Koivukangas, BFA, MFA, is an award winning environmental artist, writer, designer, Reiki Master and educator.

As an artist Ingrid works intuitively at sites creating new works in response to sites and their energies and histories both natural and human. Her work encompasses many media including site specific ephemeral, large scale public works, writing, video, photography, sound, web, sculpture, painting, drawing and printmaking.

Ingrid’s artworks have been exhibited in Canada, the USA, Europe and Asia. She’s been featured as an artist in residence on CBC-TV; has had numerous gallery exhibitions; has many site specific ephemeral works left in situ and large scale permanent public art projects.

Ingrid’s artworks have been included in many publications and books including: Art in Action: Nature, Creativity and Our Collective Future, published by the Natural World Museum and the United Nations Environmental Programme and Art + Science Now: How scientific research and technological innovation are becoming key to 21st-century aesthetics by Stephen Wilson, Professor of Conceptual and Information Arts at San Francisco State University. One of her favourite publications to be included in is Scholastic Book’s Now See This! Art That Influences.

Ingrid has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with Distinction, from the University of British Columbia Okanagan and a Master of Fine Arts, Environmental Sculpture, from the University of Calgary. You can view her work at: http://www.ingridkoivukangas.com

Ingrid lives on Salt Spring Island with her husband Robin, two dogs, Lucy and Scout, and a fierce cat named Hunter.

***

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13548228.Ingrid_Koivukangas
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IKoivukangas
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HuntersTheDream
Website: www.IngridKoivukangas.com

Thank you for joining us today, Ingrid, Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I wear, and have worn, many creative hats. I sometimes joke around and say that I’m a creative ad agency for the Earth, Nature and Spirit. As a designer I worked intuitively, taking people’s ideas and products, and turning them into tangible marketing pieces that delivered messages in a way that spoke to other people’s hearts and imaginations. As an environmental artist I work intuitively with dreams, Spirit and site energies to create work that connects the viewer to a specific natural site. In this magical space I walk between worlds – entering a world of wonder where I communicate with the Earth, the Spirit world, and the Animal, Insect and Plant worlds. As a writer I continue working with deep intuition, wonder and awe. Hunters of the Dream weaves together the way that I work as a designer and artist, with the magic of writing – calling forth characters and stories to reconnect readers to their innate memories of ancient mysteries and our deep connections to all beings, both seen and unseen.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I was bitten by the reading bug first. From the time I was a young child, I loved books–there was nothing I wanted to do more than read. I devoured books. I drove my sister, Anne (we shared a room) crazy because I stayed up, under my covers with a flashlight, reading until the sun came up. Stories allowed me to enter a world of magic and imagination. The more I read, the more I wanted to create and write stories that would allow others to also enter a world of their imagination. I wrote my first story at seven, novella at 12 and that was it, I was hooked.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

I remember the impact reading books had on me when I was a young reader. With the kind of work I do as an artist I wanted to share the magic that I encounter when I’m working at sites and with Nature, through storytelling blended with fiction. I also wanted to write about, and begin a dialogue formed in the imagination, around the challenges we are facing in the world today, especially for youth. MediaKit_BookCover_HuntersOfTheDream

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I love that young adult readers are still open to new ideas and magic. They are still forming their views of the world around them. It’s an exciting and pivotal time. I think the biggest challenge is writing for a group that can range in age from as young as ten up to eighteen–or older. What one understands of the world at ten is not one understands at eighteen+. So, the challenge was how to write a story that didn’t leave behind the younger YA readers or become boring for older readers.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Hunters of the Dream, is about a young woman, Aurora, who thinks she’s just a normal teenager about to have another boring summer. Then, for her seventeenth birthday, Nana Brin gives her a long-silent Oracle that has been passed down through their family for generations. The mysterious Oracle soon awakens in response to the creeping Darkness that is escaping and destroying all worlds. Aurora must quickly find the courage to come to terms with her calling as the Huntress of the Dream.

As she is initiated into a world of deep magic, energy healing, and alternate universes she finds her fellow hunters and allies. They include, Ash and Wolf, who have been sent to protect her; Beaumont Sebring, a seasoned time traveler; Vaadin, an ancient Shaman with amnesia; Ronan Havelock, the shapeshifting Selkie who doesn’t understand that he is no longer human; Eirwen, the mischievous Nature Fairy; and Nana Brin, Aurora’s grandmother, who isn’t exactly who she appears to be.

What inspired you to write it?

I wanted to share some of the experiences I’ve had, and messages I’ve received, while working with Spirit and Nature, through storytelling.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

It’s available on Amazon (KDP Select until March 8), Kobo (ebooks as of March 9/16) and Chapters/Indigo. It is also available from all bookstores and retailers who order through the Ingrams Catalogue. NOTE: Hunters of the Dream will be available at Amazon from February 22 to March 20 for only $0.99.

What is up next for you?

I’m currently working on Book Two: Darkness Approaching, the second book in the Hunters of the Dream Trilogy.

I’m also creating a membership site for readers who would like to continue their journey into the world of . Membership is free to Hunters of the Dream readers, and grants them access to complimentary art and writing projects. Paid modules will also be available for a nominal fee. The paid modules will be especially appealing to youth, parents and home schoolers who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of our sacred connections to the natural and Spirit world through a variety of teachings and videos.  http://bit.ly/EnterAWorldofWonder

Do you have anything else to add?

Thank you for hosting me.

I’d like to invite your readers to signup for a free online Eco Heart Oracle reading: bit.ly/FreeEcoHeartOracleReading The Eco Heart Oracle, guides the characters of Hunters of the Dream through the story. Although the 48-card Oracle is central to the book, a user of the Oracle does not need to be a reader of the book to access the Oracle for messages from the natural world.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Ingrid We wish you much success. 

Ingrid Koivukangas will be awarding an Eco Heart Oracle Deck valued at $28 US, (the Eco Heart Oracle is an integral part of the Hunters of the Dream trilogy) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (International Giveaway).

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

VBT_HuntersOfTheDream_Banner copy

Interview with Author Joseph Bruchac, Author of Brothers of the Buffalo (Giveaway)

buffalo authorJoseph Bruchac is an internationally acclaimed Native American storyteller and writer who has authored more than 70 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults and children. His writings have appeared in more than 500 publications, including National Geographic, Parabola, and Smithsonian. He is the author of the novels Dawn Land and Long River and is the coauthor of the Keepers of the Earth series. He lives in Greenfield Center, New York.

Visit the author online at http://josephbruchac.com/ or https://twitter.com/JosephBruchac

Your new YA novel, Brothers of the Buffalo, is a historical fiction tale of the Red River War. What captivated you about this particular moment in American history?

Although the so-called “Indian Wars” would not conclude until two decades later when the last of the Chiricahua Apaches surrendered, the Red River War marks the beginning of the end insofar as armed resistance to the United States government goes. It was the last major coalition of different tribes put together to resist militarily–like King Phillip, Pontiac and Tecumseh did in previous centuries. The fact that it was largely done to attempt to save the American bison (and the way of life of the Plains nations) from being destroyed makes it even more memorable. Another part of this story, which has long fascinated me, is that on the United States side a very large role was played by the 10th Cavalry, made up entirely of African American soldiers (with the exception of their white officers), some of them former slaves and veterans of the American Civil War. However, what I think drew me the most to this war is that it led, quite directly, to the creation of the American Indian Boarding Schools that would deeply impact the lives of virtually all Native American communities, an impact still being felt to this day. Lieutenant Richard Henry Pratt, an officer of the 10th and the man placed in charge of the Native American POWs sent to Florida after the Red River War would experiment with “civilizing” those men and go on to found the Carlisle Indian School which had the stated objective of “killing the Indian and saving the man,” nothing less than cultural genocide.

Brothers of the Buffalo is written about two drastically different young men, Wolf and Wash. What inspired you to write from both perspectives and did you find it challenging? Did you have a favorite character?

I chose to approach the story from those different perspectives because I felt that the complexity of this story deserved more than one POV. One of the oldest sayings in a number of Native American communities is that we have two ears on either side of our head so that we can hear more than one side of every story. I believed that a reader would understand the story better by having more than one voice to hear and that it would provide more depth to the history being told. What you see often depends on where you stand. I was given a great deal of help in writing this story from any number of directions–people in the Cheyenne community, for example, such as my friend for more than 4 decades Lance Henson. I also was fortunate enough to have been part of the American Civil Rights movement in the 60s, to have lived in Ghana, West Africa as a teacher for three years, to have had the privilege of teaching African American and African literature and to count more people than I can easily count in Africa and the African diaspora as close, dear friends. All that experience did not make it easy to inhabit such different characters, but it did make it easier. I’d also been researching and writing about parts of this story or events before and after that tie into it–such as the Civil War and the Carlisle Indian school–for decades before I began to work on this manuscript.

Insofar as a favorite character goes, I guess I feel so strongly about both my main narrators that it is impossible to say that one of them was my favorite. But beyond those two young men, I think the person I found most interesting and most fascinating in this story–is Richard Henry Pratt–even though I disagree DEEPLY with the conclusions he drew about how to deal with the “Indian Problem.”

Brothers of the Buffalo is infused with both first-person letters from Wash and songs and proverbs from Native American culture. Could you tell us what you hope readers will take away from both?buffalo

My idea in including the songs and proverbs was to offer greater depth and more insight into both characters and the cultures to which they belong. In Wash’s case it is both African and African American. When I lived in West Africa I was often told that every human being is not just part of a family he or she IS their family. And I have also often been told by Native American elders that community, oral tradition, and family make us who we are. The use of letters is a great way to both tell a story and provide insight into the persons writing those letters, both in what they say and what they do not say as it is projected against the larger canvas of the overall story. In addition, I think those stories from the backgrounds of both my main characters are great stories, worth reading on their own, proof of the sophistication and intellectual complexity of cultures (African, Native, African American) that were usually portrayed as innocent, uncultured, uncivilized and ignorant in the 19th century when this story takes place–and, sadly, still sometimes pictured that way in the 20th and even 21st centuries.

What motivates you to write for young adults?

I began as a poet, writing for adults, with my first book in 1971. I still write and publish poetry, but when my two sons were born in the 70s I began to write down the stories I told them, largely traditional tales that were lessons stories–enjoyable to hear, but filled with meaning. I was delighted, not just by the way my books were received, but by the effect I saw them having on young people. I then began writing for middle grade and YA readers and had a similar experience. I believe that some of the best writing being done today is being done for young adult readers. You honestly do not have to hold anything back when writing for them. They are sophisticated enough to understand and appreciate complexity, but also very much in need of good literature. (At this point I could break into a long tribute to reading and what it does for us, young and old, but I shall restrain myself.) I still write for all audiences, from the very young to the adult reader. But, more and more, I am finding the deepest satisfaction in creating books for YA audiences.

What are you hoping readers will take away from Brothers of the Buffalo as a whole?

One of my hopes is that they will better understand a period of history that is often neglected and see that history through very different eyes–the eyes of a young Cheyenne fighting for his family and culture, the eyes of a young African American soldier who is just as deeply committed to family and freedom as is his Native counterpart. In the end (an end of the story that is not at all fantastic but reflective of documented history) the two of them physically arrive at the same place–seeing each other not as enemies, but as equally human. I hope my readers may arrive at a similar place, perhaps with a broader perspective on some of the issues faced by my two heroes–issues of race, class, Native American and human rights still being played out today.

For more information, visit the book’s page at Fulcrum Publishing website.

Purchase the book at  Indie BoundAmazonBarnes and NobleBooks-A-Million.

 

ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A FREE COPY OF BROTHERS OF THE BUFFALO!

Click on the link below for details:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Interview with Sherry Alexander, Author of Search for the Red Ghost

author pixSherry Alexander is a woman of many passions—mother, blogger, child advocate, author, and friend, but she is quick to say that grandmother is the most rewarding. “Watching your child’s child move into the world with their wide-eyed innocence is inspiring. I love it, and it is what led me to writing for kids.”

Admittedly obsessed with American and Native American history, Sherry Alexander comes by it honestly. Her ancestors were 1800 pioneers who travelled West in hopes of making a new life, and she was fascinated by the stories of their lives on the frontier. “As a kid, I wanted to be a pioneer, so reading books was the last thing on my mind. Instead, I lead my siblings and cousins on great adventures into the forests of Scappoose, Oregon, hunted and fished with my brother, and dreamed of forging new trails to an unknown land.”

Sherry is also not one to take a dare lightly. She started writing on a dare, and her first book, published in 1987, was the result of that dare. Recently retired, Sherry now spends her days writing children’s articles and books. Her articles have appeared in Guardian Angel Kids, The Pink Chameleon, and Red Squirrel Magazine. Her books include The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West, Oliver’s Hunger Dragon, and Search for the Red Ghost (released in January by MuseitUp Publishing). When she’s not writing she is homeschooling her 11 year old granddaughter—a job she says is the best part about being a grandmother, sharing her new found love of books with her family and friends, and enjoying life with her husband on their ten forested acres in Southwest Washington and the occasional pack of wild coyotes.

Find Sherry online at:

http://www.rightsherry.blogspot.com/

http://www.sherryalexanderwrites.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sherryalexanderbooks/

Twitter @hungerdragon

Thank you for joining us today, Sherry. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I love writing. When my kids were young in the 1980s, parenting was my passion. I wrote hundreds of parenting articles, and had my first book, The Home Day Care Handbook, published. I dreamed of making freelance writing a career, but finances demanded a regular paycheck. I went back to school, got my Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, and went to work for 9-1-1. I thought my dream was gone forever. Then the grandkids started arriving and with them came a newfound love for children’s books. In 2012, I retired from 9-1-1. I wanted to write, but I had convinced myself that it was a hopeless dream. On a whim, I took a course in writing for children from the Institute of Children’s Literature. That course taught me two things important things about myself—I actually could write and it was up to me to make my dream come true. So . . . this is me making my dream come true some thirty years later. 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I was always a storyteller, and believe me I told some whoppers. But, unlike other authors who wrote hundreds of stories before they were ten, my love of writing happened in high school. An English teacher asked me to join the newspaper staff as a photographer when I was a freshman. I found that every picture I took had a story attached. It took a while to work up my courage, but near the end of the year, I asked if I could submit a story or two. She said yes, and I was hooked. 

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

My sixteen-year-old granddaughter is a lover of books. She devours them. However, when she was in fourth grade, she decided reading was boring and writing was out of the question. One day, I was encouraging her to start reading again, and she challenged me. “I’ll read if you read,” she said. So, I accepted. She read a book, then I read it, and then we would discuss it. That summer, we read a book every week. We continued our challenge until two years ago. That’s when she started reading a book in a day and writing her own novels. When I retired, I found that I had read so many children, tween, and young adult books with her that all I could think about was writing books for children and tweens. 

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

I think you have to understand your audience whether it is kids or adults. With a younger audience, though, you not only have to tap into the child inside you but you need to introduce him or her to kids today. Once you’ve done that, it is easier to write from a younger person’s perspective.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

My favorite part is putting myself in their shoes. I get to be young again, and enjoy running, being part of nature, feeling free, learning to use my skills to survive, and that it is alright to make mistakes. 

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?search cover

Search for the Red Ghost is an action/adventure tween novel set in 1883 Arizona. An unknown animal kills a woman pulling water from the creek next to her ranch. Her thirteen-year-old son, Jake, discovers plate-size hoof tracks and strands of red hair where she died, and demands that his father hunt the animal down. Jake’s father, an army scout, refuses, so when his father is ordered back to Fort Apache to help track renegade Apache, Jake takes matters into his own hands

Feeling abandoned and betrayed by his father, Jake’s desire for revenge takes him on a dangerous journey into an inhospitable desert that not only tests his courage but his desire to survive. Wolves, snakes, grizzlies, renegade Apache, and the ever-present threat of death are waiting for him. The question is, “Will Jake find his Red Ghost? Or, will he succumb to the inherent dangers?”

What inspired you to write it?

When I was researching my non-fiction book, The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West, I came across the Legend of the Red Ghost. It was about one of the camels the government brought over from the Middle East in 1857 to serve as transportation in the southwest. After the Civil War, several camels were turned loose into the desert. The legend stated that one of the camels trampled a woman to death at a creek near her ranch. The only thing left behind was several strands of red hair and plate-size tracks. I started wondering what my brother or I would do if we were faced with the same circumstance in the same time-period. I knew right then and there that I had to write Jake’s story. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

It’s available at all ebook retailers including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and MuseitUp Publishing.

What is up next for you?

I am presently working on two new tween novels. One set in 1856 tentatively called, Little Owl Woman, and one in present day, tentatively called, Firestarter. Both are action/adventure. 

Do you have anything else to add?

Just thank you for hosting me. It was fun. I think I’m living proof that you’re never too old to make your dreams come true. Please visit my blog or my website.

I write a blog for and about kids where I cover topics that specifically relate to kids and the issues they face. I just finished a series on sadness and depression. It’s at http://www.rightsherry.blogspot.com/.

I also have a website at  http://www.sherryalexanderwrites.com/. My books are highlighted and my blog details my writing journey, but I also include a weekly writer’s inspiration photograph. 

Thank you for spending time with us today, Sherry. We wish you much success.

 

Interview with John Calicchia, Author of Mirror World

John Calicchia

John Calicchia writes stories of fantasy, action and adventure. In the fall of 2015 his book Mirror World was released! It’s a story of two powerful young sisters and their epic battle against evil. But, this book has something in it most do not: hidden secrets. It’s a teen and young adult fiction book with a self-help book hidden inside. You see… after publishing in psychology books and journals for decades Dr. C. felt his writing was not helping the young people he loves to work with. So, he took famous psychology studies and put it in the characters and plots in Mirror World to help with real life issues. As you become part of the story you can learn about psychology or you can just enjoy the tale!

John Calicchia Ph.D. is a professor of psychology who also works with children and young adults as a licensed psychologist. He lives near Boston with his lovely wife and two amazing daughters. You can usually find him in the pool swimming with his two big dogs.

For More Information

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Rhode Island, the Ocean State.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first story in sixth grade, and the class loved it and laughed so hard, I was asked to be the first one to read my stories for the rest of the year – motivation for an aspiring writer?

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Usually mornings are best, but when I am in the flow it can go on all day long. The rest of the time I’m writing this story in my head endlessly.

What is this book about?

What would you do if you saw the future apocalypse of the world in a mirror? Would you try to save the world and those you love, or die trying?
Welcome to my life, this is the vision of the future I’ve been cursed to see.
– Cailyssa Larkin

Cailyssa hates mirrors because someone evil is staring back at her from the other side.  One day, she gazes into a mirror and sees a dark future that only she can change. With the future of her own world hanging in the balance, Cailyssa bravely enters the portal to the Mirror World. Here, the Dark Lord controls all the mirrors and bends reflections so all creatures see evil within themselves. With her sister Terry, her mysterious best friend Daemon, and a host of weird and wonderful creatures, Cailyssa embarks on an epic quest to overcome the evil forces trying to destroy her world. She can only defeat the Dark Lord by finding her true self and discovering the family secret that has led her to Mirror World.

What inspired you to write it?

I was always disappointed in science fiction and fantasy books because of a lack of strong female lead characters. Before Katniss Everdean and Tris Prior, few books or movies ever featured a strong female in the lead role.  I love the fact that my book is told from the first-person perspective and has two exceptionally strong female lead characters, who of course also have their vulnerabilities. I also have two wonderful daughters that are exceptionally inspiring as I watch them continue on their way to developing into strong, young, and capable women.Mirror World

Who is your favorite character from the book?

It depends on what day you ask me, but for today it’s Terry. She’s Cailyssa’s sister and a ton of crazy fun, with wings like an angel and 12 inch razor-sharp blades that come out of her knuckles she takes on any evil foe! But like all superheroes,  she has hidden weaknesses.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Both.  I was able to dictate the whole book using Dragon Naturally Speaking so the first draft went remarkably quickly.  The revision process and the multiple levels of editing took a long time!

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Use as many beta readers as possible, and get ARC’s out earlier.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Follow me and you can also get a free copy of the users guide to help you understand the psychology behind the book by joining my website www.johncalicchia.com

twitter: @jacalicchia

youtube: https://youtu.be/8ezO9nWm9UY

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Time will tell.  I’m hoping it’s the current book tour!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write what you love and you will love what you write ( and some other people will too)

What is up next for you?

The Users Guide for Mirror World is almost finished.  It has the secrets to where the psychology  studies are hidden in the book. You can get more information at my website or my blog.

There will be two more books in the Mirror World series. The next book Angelus starts literally in Hell with a dark angel being tortured for failing to destroy Cailyssa Larkin. Cailyssa has returned from Mirror World and is trying to finish her senior year in high school, when she discovers the war of the Angels she became involved in has followed her home. The Angels in this book are not what you think of in pictures or the Bible.  Angels have been living among us and walking the earth for thousands of years – you probably even know a couple – hopefully they’re not the evil ones.

Here’s a biblical quote that starts off the book:

His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And Lucifer stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

After the Mirror World Series I have plans for a psychological thriller PSYOPS which is a dystopian world in which the government and the military control dreams through neuroscience and psychology.

I better get writing!!!!!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I hope my book is a somewhat unique stamp. First of all I hope it’s a fun and exciting story that entertains you. But I know as a  professor that the psychology studies hidden in the plot are very helpful for people’s lives. So I really hope it’s a wonderful tale, that has a free self-help book hidden in the narrative. Please get a copy of the users guide at my website after you read it and you’ll know what I’m talking about. In the meantime, read the book and keep guessing about the psychology behind it!

Warm Regards,

John

For More Information

  • Mirror World is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Mirror World banner

Interview with J. L. Clark, Author of The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links

J.L. ClarkDr. Jennifer Yen Clark, or J.L. Clark, began her writing career in the fourth grade, when her teacher took the detective story she wrote and turned it into a short printed book as a gift to her. The encouragement of her teacher, as well as her love for reading and telling stories, kept her writing about the worlds that existed in her imagination. In her young adult years, J.L. began writing short stories, poetry, and fan-fiction starring strong and intelligent girls and women. J.L. was recently inspired to write The Avalon Relics after being introduced to several young adult series that depicted weak heroines and unhealthy relationships. Recalling her own young adult reading experience and the dearth of relatable heroines, she set out to create a series of books that would not only engage and entertain, but offer a refreshing and empowering take on fictional heroines.

J.L. Clark resides in Houston, Texas with her family. She splits her time between academia and private practice, specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Health Medical School, and a clinical assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Outside of work, she is continually contributing to her body of work, posting short stories and fan-fiction on social media outlets for enjoyment.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy, The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links.

For More Information

Where did you grow up?

I moved a lot as a child.  I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and lived there with my family and extended relatives until I was just shy of eight.  I then immigrated to the United States with my parents, and lived briefly in Chicago, Richardson, and finally, Plano, Texas.

When did you begin writing? 

I started writing in the fourth grade, after a wonderful teacher of mine began encouraging me to express my imagination through words.  After I had gifted her a short mystery story to show my appreciation, she came back with a printed copy for me to keep, and read it to the class.  

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I have a full time job as a doctor, so I do pretty much write at night, or on the weekends when I have downtime.  Sometimes if the story is begging to be told, I will sneak in some sentences between patients!

What is this book about? 

This book follows the life of Sophia Bennett, a young woman who discovers on her eighteenth birthday that there is a hidden world inhabited by half-fairy, half-human beings called faeids.  She is quickly drawn into an ancient battle between good and evil through a series of shocking events, and ends up joining forces with a group of faeids trying to save their realm from the Dark Ones.  Along the way, Sophia discovers that everything she thought she knew about her life was wrong, and must come to terms with who she really is. 

What inspired you to write it?Lilith Links 2 

I love to read, and when the surge in YA books began several years ago, I read them just like everyone else.  Although the stories were very entertaining, it bothered me that there were so many lead female characters that were one-dimensional, flat, and helpless.  For those that started out the story with a perfect life, they make poor decisions that jeopardize themselves.  For those who start out struggling, they found their happy ending only after getting involved with someone.  Very few of these characters were realistic, like the teenagers that I see every day at work, and rarely did any of them grow without the help of someone else.  I really wanted to write a story that resonated with my readers, with characters that were fundamentally flawed but real, and take them on a journey that would allow them to come into their own and become empowered and confident.  I especially wanted to make sure that I had strong female leads who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, but at the same time fall on their face and have to pick themselves back up.  Strength comes from being able to recognize what you’ve done wrong and learning from it, and I want my readers to know that it’s okay to make a mistake without being a bad person. 

Who is your favorite character from the book? 

I would have to say Sophia, because she is the girl I would have loved to have been when I was a teenager.  She might not start out as the person she wants to be, but she overcomes challenges and learns from her mistakes as she grows into her own. 

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I self-published these two books, but I am now working with an agent to get them into the hands of traditional publishers.  It’s definitely been quite a learning experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  If nothing else, I can say that I scratched off a bucket list item and have books to show for it!

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I think the only thing I would consider changing is to possibly split Lailan Crown into two books.  It is already quite long as is, but I feel like I left out so much rich backstory behind the characters that you meet along the way.  Maybe one day in the future, I’ll rework it and give my readers a peek into their lives.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

The first two books in The Avalon Relics series, Lilith Links and Lailan Crown, are available in print or eBook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (online store only).  You can also get the eBooks from Google Play. 

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

We will be working on that soon!  If you want to know about it first, make sure you connect with me via a social media outlet!

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

I have to say that investing in my agent has been the best decision in promoting my book.  It is a tough situation to be a self-published author, and having someone who knows the ropes and can make the connections really helps.  Having an agent who genuinely believes in you and your work gives you a powerful ally who will advocate for you.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I get asked a lot about how to start writing your own book.  I find that it’s really helpful to start with a character.  Imagine what you want that character to be like: their appearance, their personality, and their quirks.  Once you have that character in mind, think about where they came from, what their family is like, who are their friends, and what is going on in their lives.  Once you start thinking about those things, a story may unfold in front of your eyes and take you to down the path to your book!

What is up next for you?

I have a lot going on!  I am about to start work on book three, entitled Amulet of Morgana, which will pick up where Lailan Crown left off.  I am so excited for my readers to see the final product, which I promise will be just as exciting, if not more, than the last two books.  I also am collaborating with a local gaming company here in Houston to author a series of origin storybooks for their newest tabletop game, Fairytale Games: Battle Royale.  I will be providing all the backstories for their characters, as well as providing the dialogue and storyboarding for the mobile RPG they will be developing from the same game.  As a sneak peek, I am also toying with a dystopian science fiction YA series idea that has been banging around in my head recently.  So much to do, so little time, and I can’t wait for all of you to be part of it!

 

Lilith Links banner