Interview with Leonard Bassed, Author of The Witch Port Video Game

Writer-actor-singer Leonard Bassed was born in the town of Middleburg, Mpumalanga and raised in Johannesburg.  He started taking vocal lessons at age eight and studied drama throughout his high school years.  A mentor encouraged him to pursue an acting career.  Leonard went on to complete acting classes in both South Africa and later Los Angeles.  Currently, when not writing or singing, Leonard continues to study acting techniques with the renowned Margie Haber Studio in Hollywood. In his free time, he enjoys travel, reading and movie going.  His latest book is The Witch Port Video Game.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://leonardbassed.com/

Facebook page for author: https://www.facebook.com/leobassed/

Twitter page for author: https://twitter.com/LeonardBassed

 

 

Where did you grow up?

While I was born in the town of Middleburg Mpumalanga, I grew up in the city of Johannesburg in the Gauteng province of South Africa.

When did you begin writing? 

I started out drawing first, and the second we learnt our A, B, Cs my budding literary career began although my writing back then was plagued with bad spelling and grammatical faux pas, but it was my start [he jokes]. 

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

I’m a huge proponent of found time, it’s literally something I have to steal to do. Writing is something I have to pull myself away from. If left to my own devices I’d be holed up in my room for days on end.

What is this book about? 

The Witch Port Video Game follows the lives of three ordinary high school friends that study at a prestigious performing arts school. The three friends Martin Robinson, Mackenzie Hollister and Francesca Dubois derive supernatural powers after they play a mobile phone video game which a girl named Bianca Morris introduces to them on one of their jaunts into the City. Bianca follows them back home where she enrolls in their school joined by the mysterious MacQuoid brothers Logan and Crayton, this sparks a deadly battle for power in the fictional town of Cradle Creek and ultimately alters the course of their lives forever. 

What inspired you to write it?

I got the idea to write my book, The Witch Port Video Game, in June of 2014 after a trip I made to Los Angeles, California in the USA. While in the States I studied at The Acting Corps and met people from all around the world. I was inspired by their accents and so the pilot script was born, but upon its completion I’d grown to attached to the characters and world I had conjured which resulted in the novel, the first in the series. 

Who is your favorite character from the book?

I definitely love all my characters, to choose one would be sacrilege. I personally relate the most to Martin but find myself rooting for the baddies at times, they are just so intriguing and without them well we wouldn’t have a story, they bring the conflict. 

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

The road to getting published was without a doubt a bumpy one to say the least. I chose to self-publish my book The Witch Port Video Game and the whole process was a rather steep learning curve. To say nothing about the stigma attached to indie-publishing people tend to be reluctant to read your work if you don’t go through the traditional route, my saving grace in regard to my book is its commercial appeal and the fact that its geared toward a younger demographic who are typically more open to e-books and indie-publishing.

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

Absolutely, in hindsight there are definitely things I would have done differently, but in life you don’t know what you don’t know, that’s why they say “experience is the best teacher.”

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

Readers are encouraged to visit my website at www.leonardbassed.com, all updates will be posted there as well as the purchase links. 

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

I’m currently in the middle of a virtual book tour press campaign and yes there is a book trailer coming soon. The link to it will be posted on my website and social media platforms, so stay tuned.

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

The best investment I made in promoting my book was getting a great PR team on board. I enlisted The Barrett Company a PR firm based in Los Angeles to help market my book.

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

I can’t over emphasis the importance of having your work edited professionally. Whether you choose to self-publish or go the traditional route it shouldn’t make a difference, editing is not a luxury it’s a must. You will thank me for this advice later trust me.

What is up next for you? 

Well, as I mentioned before I’m currently in the middle of a virtual book tour press campaign and I’m already hard at work on the sequel, Witch Port Igniting The Coven which I look forward to sharing with you all.

Is there anything you would like to add?

In closing I’d like to thank you for this interview, I really had fun answering these questions. I invite everyone that enjoys magical realism to grab a copy of this book, Witch Port Igniting The Coven coming soon…

 

Interview with Chelsea Walker Flagg, Author of Tinsey Clover

Chelsea Walker Flagg is an award-winning, best-selling author of adult and children’s books alike. She’s very passionate about encouraging kids to write, and even helps them publish their own books. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and three practically perfect daughters. She also lives at https://chelseaflagg.com. You can follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chelseaflagg, Instagram at https://twitter.com/chelseaflagg and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/chelseawalkerflagg.

When did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Back in second grade, I’d bring in little stories I’d written (mostly about cats) to my classroom and beg my teacher to let me read them to the class. Things didn’t stop there. I wrote my first novel in middle school, although I sadly never published it. My life continued along and I fell into the trap of people telling me writing was a worthless occupation. I bounced around from job to job, and always found myself gravitating toward the writing piece of any project. Finally, I took the leap and allowed myself to really call myself a writer. I haven’t looked back once.

What is this book about?

TINSEY CLOVER is the story of a little elfin girl in the Icelandic Bungaborg Forest. She feels frustrated because her corner of the forest isn’t allowed to leave or interact with anyone else. Using her great math skills, some quirky magic, and some unlikely new friends, Tinsey goes on an adventure to learn that sometimes things aren’t quite what they seem.

What inspired you to write it?

Kids listen, you know? Whether we think they do or not, they hear about the exclusion and segregation in our world these days. I just thought a story about a spunky little girl rising above stuff like that to make a difference in her own life would be a breath of fresh air. An inspiration that all kids can be a little light, no matter how small they are.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

I feel a very special place in my heart for Tinsey, because I think she is me in a lot of ways. Most of my young readers have really loved Sky, the bunny rabbit who’s way too fluffy for his own good, though.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

You can find TINSEY CLOVER online at Amazon. It’s also available on Barnes and Noble, and a few Colorado bookstores right now. (More to come!)

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

KEEP WRITING! It’s the same advice I try to give every single kid I encounter. There have always been plenty of people along the way who discourage writers or convince them it’s not a worthwhile activity. Those people are lying to you. If you’re passionate about writing, keep writing. You will find so much power, self-awareness, and joy when you put your words down on paper. And no, it’s never going to be perfect. And yes, some people won’t care for your style or your stories, but that doesn’t matter. Write. Anyway. I can’t emphasis that enough.

What is up next for you?

I’m excited to get pen to paper on a TINSEY CLOVER sequel! I’m equally excited to announce my intention to set up a service to help young writers publish their own books! Follow me for more information on that soon.

Interview and Giveaway with Christine Grabowski, Author of Dickensen Academy

Dickensen Academy is Christine’s debut YA novel. After graduating from the University of Washington, she earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine can often be found running, skiing, or hiking. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.

Website: www.christinegrabowski.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/christinegrabowskiauthor

Twitter @christinegrabo

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

My name is Christine Grabowski. I live outside of Seattle with my family which consists of my husband, a teen and tween reader, and two wheaten terrier puppies. When I’m not reading, writing or ubering my kids around, I can often be found in the gym or hiking the trails behind my neighborhood.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

Four years ago after finishing a YA book with a very interesting premise, I decided I wanted to attempt my own book. This wasn’t the first time I had been inspired to write after finishing a novel, but I happened to be out of town and had some kid-free time to actually do something about it. And my husband said, “If anyone can write a book, it’s you, you read enough,” which motivated me to continue. When I returned, my library was having an introductory writing class in preparation for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I learned a few basics. Once I began to write, I couldn’t stop.

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

Watching my children learn to read inspired me to want to write books that created a love of reading in a child or teen. Young adult books are some of my favorite to read because the characters are made to be relatable to the reader, and their plots are often based on a unique premise.

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

I believe a higher percentage of teen readers read with an open mind compared to adult readers and entertainment is often their number one goal. For example, in my experience tween and teen readers are more willing to suspend their disbelief if an author can create a world that comes alive and is of interest to them. Some adults (definitely not all) are always looking for reasons why a plot point can’t happen in real life and fail to just simply enjoy the story.

On the flip side, if a book doesn’t hold a teen’s interest, they will trade it for a video. Therefore, writing needs to be concise and move at a fast pace. In general, it is not the audience who wants an info dump of all your research or a sunset described poetically over the course of three pages.

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

Dickensen Academy is a young YA contemporary fantasy that bridges the gap between MG and YA. It is about a fourteen-year-old girl, Autumn, who is invited to a fine arts boarding school in the secluded mountains of the Pacific Northwest. However, she soon realizes the faculty is secretly teaching dream telepathy.

Although the premise is considered a paranormal or a fantasy, the focus of the book is as much about Autumn’s relationships with her friends and family and her struggles in school and for independence—something many teens can relate to.

What inspired you to write it?

While I was brainstorming ideas for a story, I began to go through my dreams each morning hoping I’d dream up a fantastic idea like Stephenie Meyer did with Twilight. Although I never dreamed an amazing dream, I did start to question why I remembered some dreams but forgot others. That idea led me to the premise for Dickensen Academy.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Currently the book is only available to purchase online. The paperback is listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The eBook is also on iTunes, Google Play, Kobo, and The Wild Rose Press. However, the book is being added to more and more libraries every day.

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dickensen-academy-map-success/dp/B07G71747S

Barnes & Noble  

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dickensen-academy-christine-grabowski/1129315140?ean=9781509221233

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dickensen-academy/id1419915501?mt=11

Google Play

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christine_Grabowski_Dickensen_Academy?id=3LpsDwAAQBAJ

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dickensen-academy

The Wild Rose Press

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6044-dickensen-academy.html

What is up next for you?

I set aside a Sleep Beauty fairy tale reimagining to write the sequel for Dickensen Academy. Although I wrote it as a standalone, the reviewers really want to see Autumn’s adventures continue as she moves through high school.

Do you have anything else to add?

I’ve had several parents, teachers, and librarians suggest Dickensen Academy as an ideal book for tweens and young teens because it has the appeal of a YA coming of age story, but it doesn’t have the mature content that is in some YA novels.

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

Curious to know more, check out this excerpt!

Clues to the secret existed from day one, yet they appeared to belong to separate puzzles. Most students either missed these signs or chose to ignore them. We were busy acclimating—as the faculty called it—to a new environment. Some outsiders might call what they did to us those initial weeks a form of brainwashing or fostering a cult-like mentality.

But not me.

I agreed with Principal Locke. We weren’t ready. We needed time to separate from our families and become a cohesive group. And some of us, myself included, even needed a little nudge to accept the invitation. If someone had told us the truth on Day One why they’d brought us to Dickensen Academy, we would have never believed it. We’d think they were crazy. Or worse, we’d turn around and run back home. But if we left, we would have missed out on something extraordinary. Something worth the wait.

GIVEAWAY

Christine Grabowski will be awarding $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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

Interview with Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Author of Amos Faces His Bully

Thought I would have a little fun interviewing myself today. It’s not often I have a chance to do that. Probably better off that way. People will think I am crazy. 🙂

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com/ and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/

 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | BLOG

 

 

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

I’m a wife and mother of three: two teenage girls and a son who is married. In addition to being a published children’s author I am a licensed REALTOR® in Massachusetts, a blogger and a book reviewer. I tend to be a glutton for punishment, so I overcommit myself on a regular basis. At least I’m never bored.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I’ve been writing since I was teenager, but it wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom that I began making writing a career choice.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

The children’s market chose me. I was trying to finish a Christian fiction story for adults one year for NaNoWriMo. It simply wouldn’t come together and, when I shared the story idea with my pastor, he asked if it was a children’s book. That made me rethink what I was doing and I began writing it as a children’s picture book. That was my first book. I’ve published three other books since then.

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

A good story is required for any market. You just have to be careful not to talk down to your readers and to make sure the young people in your stories sound and act their age, not yours. 

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

It’s fun to interact with young people at author events. They seem so excited about your ideas.

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

Amos Faces His Bully is about a boy in Bethlehem who is bullied because he’s small. When he hears about his friend David’s battle with Goliath, he wonders if the same God who helped David face his bully can help him.

What inspired you to write it?

I was bullied as a kid and one of my daughters has been bullied. I wanted her to realize God is there to help her deal with any challenges that come her way. Putting your faith in God can give you tremendous peace.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Amos Faces His Bully is available at:

Guardian Angel | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Indiebound.org

What is up next for you?

I polished up a cute and funny picture book idea that I want to pitch to agents and I’m over halfway done with a middle grade historical that is long overdue to be finished.

Do you have anything else to add?

I hope you’ll let me know if you have enjoyed one of my stories.

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

 

Interview with Danica-Lea Larcombe, Author of Snickety Dickety Doo

 

Danica-Lea Larcombe has a B.Sc (Environmental Health), a Grad.Dip in Education and has taken courses in Journalism, Travel Writing, and Photography. She is currently undertaking a thesis in Biodiversity and Human Health, and lives with her Japanese Spitz Bella.   

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

How did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I was on holiday on my own in Broome, Western Australia.  I had left an old life overseas and I was excited about starting a brand new chapter.  Sitting at a café overlooking the beach one day I suddenly got inspired to write. I had invented astrological planet characters years before (again while on holiday), drawn them and not done anything with them.  I decided to turn them into transportable bubbles and combine them with my extensive travel experiences in over 20 countries.  A secret box, a secret password Snickety Dickety Doo, and three children make up the rest of the story outline.

How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I have always had an active imagination, and I do think you need this as well as the ability to not worry about what other people might think of your ideas.  You also need to dedicate regular time to write so that the ideas are kept fresh in your mind, so much so that you are dreaming of your characters.

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published through Blurb.com as I really wanted to get my book series out to the world and I had previously successfully self-published two travel narratives.

What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I am currently working on a PhD thesis on Biodiversity and Human Health, which will be completed in 2019, and then I would love to continue the Snickety Dickety Doo series.

What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

Occasionally a piece of modern technology is thrown in to help the children.

Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

I would like to open children’s eyes to different places in the world, their culture, languages and also to the adventures they can have exploring new places.  In addition children learn about the astrological planets, and about getting along with their siblings.

Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

The Snickety Dickety Doo series are books that incorporate imagination, sibling relations and adventurous world social learning experiences.

About the Book:

Title: SNICKETY DICKETY DOO
Author: Danica-Lea Larcombe
Publisher: Blurb
Pages: 90
Genre: Children’s Fiction

BOOK BLURB:

George, Fiona and Marni find a tin of bubbles, not just any ordinary bubbles but planets. The planets shrink the children and take them to faraway lands. The children have many exciting adventures and try not to let their secret be discovered.  They learn about different cultures, currencies and languages, and are inspired at school.

In Series Two, George, Marni and Fiona continue their adventures around the world in the planet bubbles. They narrowly escape being killed by some monks in Turkey, find a little companion in Paris and visit royalty in Monaco.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble