Author Steven James hosts special guest Mark Greaney on the Story Blender Podcast

Mixeur rouge

 

 

 

Author Steven James hosts special guest Mark Greaney on the Story Blender Podcast

 

Original air date Jan. 22, 2018 Length 50 min. Audio Link

 

 

Mark Greaney

 

Mark Greaney is the #1 NYT bestselling author of TOM CLANCY TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE. He has written or cowritten seven Tom Clancy novels, and is also the bestselling author of the Gray Man series, including GUNMETAL GRAY, BACK BLAST, DEAD EYE, BALLISTIC, ON TARGET, and THE GRAY MAN.

Mark lives in Memphis, Tennessee

 

The Gray Man is back in another nonstop international thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novel

 

Agent in Place Audiobook

 

Learn more at MARKGREANEYBOOKS.COM

 

 

 

Girl on headphones

 

Exclusive Interview with Author & Filmmaker Vivian Schilling

Quietus

 

 

 

 

MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK

QUIETUS
Vivian Schilling

 

*What traits or characteristics define you as a storyteller?

 
I am an existential thinker with a robust curiosity about life. Because of this, the material I create often varies greatly.

I can almost always see life from another person’s perspective, no matter how upsetting or different it may be from my own. If I open my mind to truly acknowledge that person’s circumstances, I can usually see their justification for their views, even when they are in direct conflict with my own. I think this ability has helped me tremendously when it comes to bringing my characters to life, especially my antagonists.

I am a strong believer in research and strive to build my writing, no matter how fantastical, on a solid foundation of accuracy. In Quietus, I create an entire mythology surrounding death, but it is drawn and pieced together by linking numerous sources, including ancient scriptures and apocrypha, Egyptian mythology and art from the Reformation. I feel the more support I can provide for as many of the story elements as possible, the more credibility it adds to the purely fictional ones.

 

 

 

Storytelling image typewriter

 

 

 

*Which medium resonates with you more, film or books?

 
As a creator and connoisseur of film and books with a deep love of both, it would be painful to lose either from my life. But if I had to make a choice, books would win the battle on both
accounts.

Filmmaking can be a tremendous amount of fun. But writing is introspective, going deeper and further and leaving a more profound impact on my creative spirit.

As a filmgoer, I enjoy movies immensely. I love that I can sit in a theatre and completely escape for a couple of hours. I love the community experience of a film, especially in L.A., where the
film business is such a part of the culture. I love the dialogue that takes place with my friends immediately following a film, usually about the production, but also about the underlying themes and philosophical and cultural aspects of it. Film has often been the centerpiece of some of the most interesting and enlightening conversations I’ve ever had.

Reading books, on the other hand, is a very personal experience, a deeply gratifying one. I enjoy attending book clubs as a guest author, but I make a terrible book club member. Unlike film, I usually don’t feel the need to discuss the book in great detail. I would rather think about and savor it on my own.

I can completely forget a film after a week, but I rarely forget books. Another telling factor is that I don’t collect movies, but my place is packed with books.

 

 

 

Creativity

 

 

 

*According to your experience as a writer define what the imagination is. 

 
What a beautiful question. Imagination goes to the very core and health of my spirit. With this said, I feel imagination and spirit are one in the same. If I open up my mind and allow my spirit to roam freely, I create. Sometimes these creations are dark and sometimes light. Most often, they embody both. When I am feeling caged in by the mundane demands of life, my imagination retreats and it is far more difficult for me to create.

 

 

 

Imagination Quietus

 

 

 

*How has writing affected your creativity as opposed to working in the film industry?

 
Writing has always been there for me. From the time I was a young girl, scratching out plays to perform or writing in a journal, writing has been my door to the world. I can write about anything I want. I can explore any thought I have and take it as far as I choose. Through writing, I am constantly discovering who I am and where I am headed. Its lack of limitations is very empowering to my creative spirit.

Film has its own positive attributes to offer, in an almost opposite way. It teaches restraint and discipline, as well as versatility. It is a collaborative process so you have to be able to adapt and to be open to the ideas of others and to give them space to create alongside you. It also can be very limiting if the project is restricted by budget, time or resources.

 

 

Creativity painting Quietus

 

 

 

*How long did it take to write Quietus?

 

The concept of Quietus was with me for many years before I wrote the novel. I had explored it in two other works, including a screenplay entitled Dark Angel that circulated Hollywood for some time. At one point, the film was set to start shooting in Canada, but the money fell through. That’s when I decided to turn it into a novel where I could embark on a more serious exploration into the concept. Once I finally began the novel it took me seven years. During that time I often found myself split off to do film or other writing projects. If it weren’t for my cabin escape in Big Bear, it would have taken a lot longer to complete.

 

 

 

Pen writing Quietus

 

 

 

*From Los Angeles to the Ozark mountains. Do you need complete solitude to write?

 

Most often times, yes, especially if I am deep into a novel. My most productive time as a writer is in seclusion, surrounded by nature. Even if I work long days and nights for weeks without a
break, I always leave feeling rested and light.

 

 

 

Ozark Mountains

 

 

 

 

*Did the cabin there have anything to do with the cabin in Quietus? 

 

I had already written Quietus before I had a cabin in the Ozarks. But I did stay thirteen months alone in a different cabin in Big Bear, California while writing the novel. It had a large loft that I turned into a writing den. That one completely inspired the layout of the one in the novel, along with some other moments and scenes later in the book.

 

 

 

Cabin Quietus

 
*Quietus has a very elegant writing style. What’s your editing process like?

 

What a nice thing to say. Thank you. I find my most inspiring times to write are first thing in the morning or late at night when I simply let my mind roam and fingers dictate. I return to these pages the next day and start tightening the scene structure. I usually go back to the same scene several times until I can read it aloud and like what I hear. I always edit as I go, which I know is not how most writers prefer to write. But my mind works linearly when it comes to prose. I have to hear the flow from the beginning.

 

 

 

Beauty writing

 

 

 

 

*Does your book employ a certain theme?

 

Quietus is a psychological thriller that follows a woman’s survival after a terrifying plane crash. It explores a myriad of cultural, philosophical and spiritual beliefs that question the very meaning of death and asks whether modern medicine is tampering with its balance.
*What are you working on next? Can you give us a bit of a teaser?

 

At this point in my journey as a writer, I am heavily drawn to Celtic culture and mythology. My story is set in the past and is close to the earth. I’m having an incredible time with my location research—opening my spirit and letting my imagination go where it takes me. It’s been a lot of fun!

 

 

 

 

Schilling headshot

 

 

VIVIAN SCHILLING is the award-winning author of the novels QUIETUS and SACRED PREY, as well as a screenwriter, producer and director of independent films. She recently completed work as co-writer and producer of the documentary “Bonobos: Back to the Wild” and is currently at work on her third novel.

 

 

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An Ode to the Career of Narrator Dick Hill

Broadcasting.

 

 

 

*What experiences led you to become a narrator?

I was working onstage in a regional theater.  A colleague, a Brit, had been recording occasional classics (perhaps that should be “occasionally recording classics”.  As is it seems a bit unclear, like visiting a furniture store or brothel in search of an occasional piece.)  The audio publisher, Brilliance, was just moving from public domain work to newly published books.  They were looking for an American voice to record some sort of WWII combat novel, and he suggested I grab something in that genre and send them a demo.  I did that, on a crappy cassette recorder, recording in a closet.  I got the gig, and never looked back.  Much as I enjoyed conventional acting, I found this work much more appealing.  One of the chief attributes in my reckoning was that I got to play all the parts.  I always felt, completely unjustifiably, that’s what I should have been doing anyway.  (I am ruefully and somewhat embarrassingly chuckling as I write this)  Another great advantage was that the pay was better.

 

 

 

Narration image shadow.jpeg

 

 

 

*How long have you been narrating?

Thirty some years?  Not really sure.

 

*Was it hard to retire after being so successful?

Not in the least.  I’d had a long career, been lucky enough to garner some awards, and made a decent living.  We live a fairly modest lifestyle, so I think we’ll be okay without the income.  Although there was great fun and reward in meeting the various challenges, doing the best job possible serving some great, even brilliant works, or facing the task of elevating some not so great, I was ready to move on to the different challenges of becoming an artist.  In that pursuit I know I will never rise to the level of competence, or garner the awards and recognition I achieved behind the mike, that’s okay.  The exhilaration I find painting, the freedom to tackle anything I want in any style I want, is fulfilling.  No chance I’ll ever become complacent, little chance I’ll ever rise above the level of enthusiastic amateur, but that’s okay.  And luckily I don’t need to make money at it, though there’s a special rush the few times someone wants to buy a piece.  I am quite excited at the prospect of  dismantling my recording booth and claiming the extra space to make my studio/office a bit larger.   

 

 

 

mixing paint

 

 

 

*What are some things you’ll miss the most? 

The people.  Authors, directors and other narrators I’ve come to know, many wonderful folks at the various publishers I’ve worked for.  Most of those relationships are online for the past dozen or more years because I built my own home studio where I work with my wife Susie Breck (an award winning narrator and director in her own right) and simply upload the work to the east or west coast and points in between.  I’ll maintain those.

 

 

*Name some things you’ll miss the least. 

The occasional clunkers.  Although I jealously guarded right of refusal on works I found objectionable (the biography of Sheriff Joe Arpaio?  Not a feckin’ chance boy-o) or revealed themselves as being inferior or not to my taste, some so-so or worse stuff gets through.  Having worked with so many truly gifted authors and accomplished pros we are acutely aware of those who fall too short of that level.  And poorly edited work.  Even the best writers may sometimes have some little problematic thing, typos, a misstated fact etc.  The top notch pros were happy to hear from us if we came across something, and quite willing to fix it if the determined we had something that needed fixing, and weren’t just full of shit.  Proud to say that didn’t happen often.  However a surprising number of works come through with not just typos, spelling errors, but terribly clumsy downright crappy groaners and plotting and pacing sins that jumped off the page.  We’d sometimes wonder who the hell, if anybody, edited the work.  

 

 

 

 

Grief, man covering fsce and crying

 

 

 

*Did you have any favorite characters?

Indeed.  Jack Reacher certainly is a favorite, by dint of long association the great skill Lee Child has in creating this dependably interesting and satisfying anti-hero.  Lee’s rhythms lend themselves to audio.  Stephen White’s Dr. Alan Gregory series featured a supporting character that may have been an all time favorite in Detective Sam Purdy.  I’ve done over a thousand books and found great characters to voice in many of them.  I did Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct books, thirty or so, the first ensemble police procedurals, that featured a score of characters who showed up regularly, and who we really got to know and cultivate.  Voicing some of the classics, Dickens, some of the Russians, gave me the opportunity to do some of the all time greats of literature.  And Twain, particularly Huck and Jim.  I recorded that, my favorite work in the world, three times for different publishers.  I think some are still available.  That work was not only great, it was and is important.  Never told the publishers, but I’d have done that one for free.  

 

 

 

The Midnight line auido image

 

 

 

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?

So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness.

The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.

 

 

*What was it like working with so many great authors? 

Great.  Great authors tend to be great professionals and generous open minded people eager to collaborate when needed, willing to recognize that a narrator can bring something of value to the table, and to trust us at what we do.  Some authors try to direct with precise suggestions about how the work should be handled.  Those are usually hacks.

 

 

*What’s next for you?

Painting.  Every day painting.  I fall asleep thinking about it, wake up, brew coffee, and get into it.  Not always putting paint on the canvas, but staring at the pieces I have going, noting fuckups, determining what to do next, lamenting the limitations of skill and understanding, marveling at the work of others so available online, speaking with artist friends and learning from them, cursing the tremor I’ve had for decades.  Sometimes doing something I’m actually pleased with.  It’s an all engrossing, exhilarating, marvelous pursuit.  I also greatly enjoy working in the kitchen, not a gourmet cook, but a pretty decent one who delights in having good knives and cookware, a decent stove, and ready access to an incredible variety of wonderful mostly organic foods.

 

 

Paint splash

 

 

 

 

Oil painting of  eiffel tower, france, art work

 

 

 

Dick Hill has had the pleasure of working with authors such as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Arthur C. Clarke, Tim Tigner, Greg Iles, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Randy White, Bill Walsh, Dean Koontz, W.E.B. Griffin, Nora Roberts, Andrew Peterson, Randy Wayne White, Terry Brooks, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anne McCaffrey, Mark Twain, Bob Knight, J.A. Konrath, Rad Bradbury, Catherine Coulter, David Ignatius, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ed Mcbain, Stephen Coonts, David Ellis, Jack Higgins, Russell Blake, Stephen White, Nelson Demille, and many more!

 

He has narrated everything from the Bible, history, sports, mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, comedy, religion to Plato.  When I first approached Dick for an interview after his retirement I had no idea how decorated he actually was. Legendary actually. His body of work is truly amazing and will be a voice not soon forgotten.

 

 

 

 

Hall of Fame Words Marble Columns Famous Celebrity Legendary Ind

 

 

 

 

Interview with Author Caroline England

Interview Microphone Cord Wire Word Radio Podcast Discussion

 

 

 

Caroline England author image

 

 

Born Yorkshire lass, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline became a partner in a Solicitors’ practice and started writing when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. In addition to the publication of her short story collection, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses by ACHUKAbooks, Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. Her debut novel, Beneath the Skin, was published by Avon HarperCollins on 5 October 2017. My Husband’s Lies will be published by Avon HarperCollins on 3 May 2018

 

 

How are things in the UK? Greetings from Ohio!
Greetings from Manchester! Things are great, thank you, though you know that us Brits have to talk about the weather! We’ve had late snow and a lot of rain so far this year. Spring is trying to push through, but it’s still pretty soggy. Still, I can hear the evening birds singing as I type.

 

*What attributes best characterize your writing style?
The more I write, the more my conversational style of writing kicks in. I think this comes from writing in a close third person point of view. I hope this helps readers to become intimate with my characters and be able to get under their skin.

 

*Describe how you came to name your book Beneath the Skin and how it relates to the story.
This follows on nicely from your previous question! I felt Beneath the Skin was a perfect title on various levels and I was so pleased that the publishers didn’t want to change it. Firstly – for the reason I just mentioned – I wanted to explore what was going on inside the character’s heads – their motivations, their weaknesses, their fears and desires. The veneer of each character was different to how they actually were. For example (without giving spoilers!) Antonia was apparently ‘perfect’ but she felt damaged inside; David’s bonhomie hid a childhood tragedy; Sophie’s nonchalance concealed her real fear of losing her man; Sami’s arrogance and conceit masked the fat spoilt child he once was; Mike’s Irish blarney hid the black dog of depression; Alice’s impatience disguised her loss of identity as a individual rather than just a mum. Other title-related themes were self harming by cutting skin, beauty only being skin deep and the colour of skin/racial identity.

 

*What’s your process like for writing books?
I mull for a while and have some vague ideas of characters and where I’d like the story to ultimately go. Then I start to write, get beneath the skin (there we go again!) of the characters and let them take me on a journey to the end of the story!

 

 

 

Process Definition Magnified Showing Result From Actions Or Functions

 

 

 

*Do you have a fascination with secrets?
Clearly I must have. All my novels have them! However…Everybody has a secret. Yes, you do! A study revealed that the average person keeps thirteen secrets, five of which he or she has never shared with anyone. Go on, count them! They can range from those little things many people do that don’t really feel illegal, such as nicking a five pence plastic bag without paying, or exaggerating expenses at work, to major crimes such as hit and run incidents or even murder. Then there are affairs, betrayals and hidden relationships, with devastating consequences, to easy small lies to cover up mundane events such as covertly looking for another job or concealing the early weeks of a pregnancy. Or perhaps a person’s secret is simple unhappiness. Don’t we all do it sometimes? Put on our bright facade for the Facebook posts and photos to hide the occasional dissatisfaction with our lives?

Then there’s those family secrets which only come out when great Auntie Ethel has too much sherry at Christmas. You know, when you spurt out your bucks fizz in surprise – your Grandad was a bigamist; your dad and mum married when she was five months pregnant with your older sister, your cousin’s on the game…

 

*In your new book, My Husband’s Lies, who are Nick & Lisa?

 

Known as the A Team at school, Nick, Dan, Will and Jen have been close friends for years. Although Nick has an older brother, he found it difficult to break free from his parents until he met Lisa, a no-nonsense nurse. The story opens at Nick and Lisa’s wedding, a happy day which is thrown into chaos when a guest is spotted on the reception hotel window ledge, ready to jump.

 

 

 

 

Order Vs Chaos Puzzle Piece Fill Hole 3d Illustration

 

 

 

*How do you create characters? Are they based off of real people?

 

I’m a bit like Frankenstein, I build my characters from scraps of people I know, people I read about and listen to, things I watch on the TV or read in newspapers, mixed with a huge dollop of imagination. They’re certainly not based on one real person, so if anyone out there thinks a character is them – no they are not!

 

*What’s the core dilemma in this book?

 

Making choices! Seminal events occur at Nick and Lisa’s wedding which causes their lives to dramatically change and secrets unravel. By the end of the story Jen, Nick, Will and Dan have to make touch choices. Though they are now in their early thirties, I see this as a coming of age drama in many ways – finally growing up.

 

*The title My Husband’s Lies says a lot. Can you say a bit more about this?

 

The title is generic – it doesn’t apply to one character! It’s a ‘domestic noir’ story, a compelling tale of friendship and love, secrets, betrayal and lies with an LGBT element. When the A Team gather for Nick’s and Lisa’s wedding, their ordinary lives are thrown into chaos. As the unstoppable chain of events ensues, untruths, family secrets, illicit love and perfidy are unravelled, pushing their relationships with their partners to the limit.

 

*Do you think you’ll ever write a legal thriller?

 

I have! I have written two books called Time is of the Essence and Truth is a Complete Defence which I would love to see published! The sardonic protagonist is lawyer called Natalie Bach who returns to her old law firm after a five year absence and a broken heart. Practising her self-styled feminism, she faces personal and legal conundrums. With the help of her old law college pal Gavin Savage, she eventually unravels complex cases and crimes!

 

 

Caroline England author image

 

 

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Beneath the Skin

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

My Husband's Lies

 

 

Release date May 17, 2018 Pre-order now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Special Talk with Bestselling Author Steven James

Whispers and secrets

 

 

I had opportunity to ask a few questions from one of my favorite authors and storytellers, Steven James. If you haven’t heard of Steve yet; he’s the critically acclaimed author of the Patrick Bowers Files, the Blur Trilogy, the Jevin Banks series, as well as books on the writing craft.

Steven James also teams up with another Bestselling author, Robert Dugoni, who both are instructors at the Novel Writing Intensive Retreat.

 

Other notables…

  • Steven hosts a great podcast called the “The Story Blender” where he interviews leading storytellers in film, print, and web.
  • His book Story Trumps Structure won a storytelling award.
  • Has twice served as Master Craftfest instructor at ThrillerFest a premier training event for suspense writers.
  • International Thriller Award Finalist, Retailers Choice Award Finalist, Suspense Magazine Book of the Year, Best Crime Thriller Christy Award, and multiple Christy Awards.

 

So if you haven’t been on the bandwagon yet, hop on in!

 

 

Three  pug chihuahua mix - chug-  puppies  in a red wagon

 

 

 

From your recent interviews on the Storyblender which things have stood out to you? Or what have you learned?

A couple of moments pop to mind. When I was interviewing Sandra Brown, she mentioned asking herself the question “What do I know that readers don’t?” and, I believe, in her book she tries only to reveal this on the last page. I thought that was a great question to ask. When I spoke with Hollywood producer Steve La Rue, I asked him who was the main character in the X Files, one of the shows that he championed. He told me that it was Scully because she’s the one who’s transformed throughout the series. This is something that I had believed myself and it was informative to have him confirm it. It’s hard to choose, as our guests have been wonderful, and the interviews are always informative, not just to listeners but also to me.

 

 

 

e-Learning Concept. Computer Keyboard

 

 

In Every Wicked Man, do you have any thoughts on how the next case affects Patrick Bowers?
 
Every Wicked Man is really a story that ties together the prequel series with the chess series, completing the narrative circle. Although Patrick certainly has his work cut out for him tackling the case in this book, it’s a much more intimate look at his relationship with Christie, his wife, and Tessa, his stepdaughter, as he steps into the role of being a father-figure for her.
According to your experience as a storyteller and reader how would you define the imagination?
What an interesting question. I’m not sure how to define the imagination, but I certainly try to appeal to it through the stories that I tell and write. I feel like one of the best ways to do so is through sharing instances where people can identify with either the emotion of an experience or the truth that the story conveys. Very often, humor comes in pointing out truth that people haven’t noticed yet. Sometimes this can be done through exaggeration, but when an audience or when readers identify with something, nod their heads and say “yes, that’s true” or “yes, I’ve experienced that,” then you’ve made the connection to their beliefs and their imaginations.
Are  you pumped for the upcoming ITW online Thriller school?
I’m always excited to share insights that I’ve learned over the last twenty years of being a writer, but this event holds a special place for me because it is targeted at those who write suspense or thrillers just as I do. Another great opportunity that your tribe might be interested in is the Character Conference I’m teaching in October in Atlanta with a couple of other mystery/suspense writers (www.characterconference.com). For anyone who signs up through this interview, if they use the code ALUMNI, they can receive a $25 discount on the registration cost. 

Q&A with Mystery Author Daniella Bernett

Time for Q and A Questions Answers Ask Information Clock 3d Word

 

 

 

Daniella Bernett is a member of the Mystery Writers of America NY Chapter. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy and From Beyond The Grave are the first three books in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural and construction management firm. Daniella is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure.

 

 

 

Daniella Bernett Author Photo

 

 

 

Q&A with Mystery Author Daniella Bernett 

 

*What was it about creative writing that sparked an interest in you?

It began with my love affair with the written word and a deep appreciation of books. The idea that I could allow my imagination to roam freely and string words together like a strand of pearls to tell my own tale was (and still is) absolutely enchanting.

 

 

*Was there anyone early in life that shaped your love of reading?

My parents. Since my sister and I were mere toddlers, they were always reading to us and exposing us to books. I cannot thank my parents enough for giving us such a gift. I cannot imagine a day without a book. Reading nourishes my soul. It also has allowed me to develop a broad vocabulary and made my mind curious about many things. Books make the reader think.

 

 

 

Read Concept Wooden Letterpress Type

 

 

 

*What do you appreciate about Agatha Christie?

There are so many things I appreciate about the grande dame of mystery. She was truly a genius at her craft. What I love the most is how Christie wove an intriguing puzzle that appeals to the reader’s intellect and the desire to know why the crime was committed. Then, it becomes a game of cat-and- mouse, a race almost, to collect all the clues and disregard the red herrings to unmask the murderer before the sleuth. It’s delightful. Jealousy, love, greed are the primary motives for murder. Christie took these motives threw them into a pot, swirled them about, and in each book conceived a new way to explore these emotions. Her stories endure to this day because of her astute insight into human nature.

 

 

*Has she affected how you write today?

Agatha Christie has influenced my writing because I, too, enjoy conjuring up a tale with twists and turns to keep my readers breathless and slightly off guard. It’s a bit naughty, I know, but I like to lead them in one direction and then suddenly pivot down another alley that they may never have even contemplated. I like to leave my readers wanting more.

 

 

*If you had to write a short poem to Agatha Christie what would it say?

This is really not fair. No one can do her justice. But here is my humble attempt.

 

With stealth and cunning,
Her nimble narrative
Draws the unsuspecting reader
Into a silken web of deception and murder.
Don’t be led astray
By red herrings and half-truths,
The solution to the mystery lies
Just beyond the gauzy curtain of misdirection,                                       Where she awaits you with a wry smile.

 

 

 

Poetry book MTW 2018

 

 

 

*What was it like writing your first book?

 
When everything finally clicked and I sat down to write LEAD ME INTO DANGER, Book 1 in my Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series, it was like I had been floating just below the waterline and I finally broke the surface. I had been going over the story in my head for so long, it was time for Emmeline and Gregory to come to life (at least on paper).

 

 

*How does writing affect you personally?

Writing is like breathing. I simply must do it. It can be frustrating at times when the words refuse to come and doubts bring my story spluttering to a halt. However, those instances are to be expected. Nothing can take away the sheer joy and sense of accomplishment in the creative process.

 

 

 

Writing image with pen and pad MTW 2018

 

 

 

*Imagine you’re at a fireside chat with some friends. Someone asks, who is Emmeline Kirby? And who is Gregory Longdon?

 
Emmeline Kirby is a British journalist, who is driven by her desire to uncover the truth and see that justice is served. She’s fiercely loyal to those she cares about, but like all of us she has her faults. Emmeline has a short temper and she’s impatient. Her stubborn streak makes her a good
journalist. It’s also her Achilles heel because she sometimes becomes reckless and finds herself in dangerous situations.

Ah, Gregory Longdon. He’s the flip side of the coin. He’s a handsome and dashing British jewel thief. An enigma. His past is riddled with secrets. And yet, he has a code of honor. Like Emmeline, murder is a line that can never be crossed.

Emmeline and Gregory are former lovers who haven’t seen one another in two years, but she literally runs into him again in LEAD ME INTO DANGER and things take off from there. Murder, suspense and a good dose of romantic tension.

 

 

 

Lead me into Danger

 

 

Deadly Legacy

 

 

From beyond the grave

 

 

 

 

*If you could pick anyone to investigate a heinous crime who would you pick? Name your top three. 

 
• Viscount Devlin, Sebastian St. Cyr (C.S. Harris’s dark, captivating mystery series about Regency England)

 
• Gabriel Allon (Daniel Silva’s spy series about a Mossad agent who is an art restorer)

 
• Cyrus Barker (Will Thomas’s Barker & Llewelyn mystery series set in Victorian London)

 

 

 

Daniella Bernett Author Photo

 

 

 

Daniella Bernett is a member of the Mystery Writers of America NY Chapter. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy and From Beyond The Grave are the first three books in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural and construction management firm. Daniella is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure.

 

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Gabriela Pereira Interviews Jane Friedman – The Business of Writing

podcast

 

 

Episode 194: The Business of Writing — Interview with Jane Friedman

This podcast originally appears on DiyMFA.com April 11, 2018 Length: 39 min.

 

 

Gabby P

 

Gabriela Pereira is the Instigator of DIYMFA.com, the do-it-yourself alternative to a Masters degree in writing. While undercover as an MFA student, she invented a slew of writing tools of her own and developed a new, more effective way for writers to learn their craft. She dubbed it DIY MFA and now her mission is to share it with the world. Teaching at conferences and online, Gabriela has helped hundreds of writers get the MFA experience without going to school. She also hosts DIY MFA Radio, where she recreates the MFA speaker series in podcast form.

 

DIY MFA

 

 

******

 

 

Jane Friedman

 

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, and the former publisher of Writer’s Digest. In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses and the University of Virginia, she maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com.

Jane has delivered keynotes on the future of authorship at the San Francisco Writers Conference, The Muse & The Marketplace, and HippoCamp, among many other conferences. She speaks regularly at industry events such as BookExpo America and Digital Book World, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund.

 

 

The Business of being a Writer Jane Friedman

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

If you are a writer looking for the business education you feel you never received, I hope this book provides the missing piece. While I try to be encouraging, and want you to feel capable and well informed, I don’t sugarcoat the hard realities of the business. When you decide to pursue a writing career, you’ll experience frustration, again and again, and not just in the form of rejection letters. But it helps to know what’s coming and that your experience is normal. Writers who are properly educated about the industry typically feel less bitterness and resentment toward editors, agents, and other professionals. They are less likely to see themselves as victimized and less likely to be taken advantage of. It’s the writers who lack education on how the business works who are more vulnerable to finding themselves in bad situations.

 

Jane Friedman

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Mystery Novelist Margot Kinberg Discusses her new book Downfall

Downfall Margot Kinberg

 

 

They Said It Was a Tragedy. They Said It Was an Accident. They Lied.

 

Second Chance is a Philadelphia alternative school designed for at-risk students. They live on campus, they take classes, and everyone hopes they’ll stay out of prison. And then one of them dies. When Curtis Templeton falls from a piece of scaffolding near the school, it’s called a tragic accident. A damned shame. A terrible loss. And everyone moves on.

 
Two years later, former police detective-turned-professor Joel Williams and two of his colleagues do a study of Second Chance for a research paper. When they find out about Curtis’ death, they start asking questions. And no-one wants to answer them.

The search for the truth takes Williams and his research partners behind the scenes of for-profit alternative education – and straight into the path of someone who thought everything would stay buried.

In the meantime, changes are coming to Tilton University. The School of Social Sciences is going to be the new home of a center for research on juvenile offenders. But not everyone is happy about it. YouthPromises, the company that’s underwriting the center, is a for-profit alternative program that has a stake in the outcome of any research the center does. What will that mean for the faculty? Williams finds himself caught in the controversy over the center, just as he’s finding out the truth about Second Chance

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Today's Guest Talk Show Microphone Discussion Interview Program

 

 

 

 

MYSTERY NOVELIST MARGOT KINBERG

 

 

*Is it easier writing about protagonist Joel Williams as the series progresses?

It actually is. As the years have gone by, I’ve gotten to know him better, if I can put it like that. So, it’s easier to see him as a complete person.

 

 

*How did you develop the plot for Downfall?

When I write my crime fiction, I always start with the victim. So, in this case, I began with fifteen-year- old Curtis Templeton. Once I imagined what he might be like, I thought about the sort of school/program he’d attend, and about his background. That gave me the context. And that led to the people in his life, and to the reason he’s killed.

 

 

*What are alternative schools like Second Chance?

Alternative schools are intended for students who can’t benefit from ‘regular’ public schools or private schools (like religious schools). For example, students who are pregnant or who are raising young children might need a school program that allows them to parent as well as attend classes. Students who have certain medical problems may also need an alternative program that allows them to meet their medical needs. And students with certain behavioral problems (this is where Curtis Templeton fits in) may benefit more from an alternative program with closer supervision and a different learning environment.

 

 

 

School

 

 

 

*What does ‘at risk’ kids mean and how do they qualify as such?

The thing about the term ‘at risk’ is that its definition varies depending on (for the US) the state and sometimes the school district. In a very general sense, an at-risk student is a student who is in danger of either failing out of school or of being expelled. Both situations make a student far more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system, so the idea of the ‘at risk’ label is to help these students before they end up in prison. It doesn’t always work, sadly, but that’s the idea. A student who’s got several suspensions from school might be considered ‘at-risk.’ So might a student who struggles academically. For instance, students who are a certain number of grade levels behind their peers in reading might be considered ‘at-risk,’ depending on other factors in their lives.

 

 

*What were the most challenging aspects about writing this book?

The thing about writing crime novels is that, in most of them, people die. That’s a devastating loss for friends, loved ones, and co-workers who grieve for them. To portray that grief in what I hope is an authentic way isn’t easy. Everyone grieves differently, and there’s nothing to say that one way of coping with loss is ‘better,’ or ‘more normal’ than another way. So, one challenge is allowing for different people to express grief
differently. Another challenge is to do so without either getting melodramatic, or not doing justice to the real-life suffering of those who lose people.

 

 

 

Challenges road.jpeg

 

 

 

 

*What are the most rewarding?

One of the best parts about writing this novel was seeing the characters come to life, so to speak, and letting them tell their stories. When the characters start to seem real (or close to it), the story gets more interesting. And that makes it more of a pleasure to write.

I also richly enjoyed exploring Philadelphia as I wrote. It’s a large city with a lot to it, so even though I consider Philadelphia my home town, there’s still a lot I don’t know about it. It was rewarding to learn a few things. And I did enjoy the chance to immerse myself in the city. I often get homesick, and writing the book was a good tonic.

 

 

 

Reward Rises From Risk

 

 

 

 

*Who are the members of Joel’s research team?

The other members of the research team are Dr. Jered Carr and Dr. Ben Peterson. Carr’s a former parole officer who’s gone into academia. He’s got experience working with juvenile offenders and their families, so his skills will help in getting a broad picture of Second Chance. Peterson has a background in data analysis and an interest in computer crime, so his research skills are invaluable. He’s also got a brother in prison, so he has a personal interest in whether for-profit programs are helpful.

 

 

 

laptop computer

 

 

 

*Tell us about the changes coming to Tilton University and the Social Sciences department. 

Any academic can tell you that when a foundation or corporation is willing to invest several million, a university sits up and pays attention. In this case, a for-profit company called YouthPromises is planning to donate three million (US) dollars to Tilton to fund a center for research into juvenile offenders. On the one hand, this is very good news for the School of Social Sciences. Members of the Departments of Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice (that’s Joel Williams’ department) will have all sorts of opportunities. Trust me, universities everywhere love it when they get funding for research. Among other things, it means that faculty can pursue their interests, and that students interested the field can get the support and facilities they need.

 
On the other hand, YouthPromises is a for-profit company. What might this mean for the sort of research that goes on at the new center? Some people are afraid that there might be an undue amount of pressure on the faculty to research certain topics, and to support certain findings. And what might that mean for academic freedom and integrity of research findings? It’s not an easy set of questions.

 

 

*Tell us about Youthpromises and the role it plays in the book. 

YouthPromises is a company that owns several alternative programs. This company has just agreed to donate three million (US) dollars to fund a research center at Tilton. And that means both lots of opportunities, and some very difficult controversial questions.

 

While YouthPromises employees and facilities don’t appear in the book, the fact that it wants to fund a research center means that the School of Social Sciences will be paying a lot more attention to alternative programs for young people who are at risk of ending up in prison.

 

 

 

Companies Youth promise

 

 

 

*Tell us some fun facts you discovered that aren’t in the book. 

That’s what I love about researching for a book. I always learn a lot. One thing I learned is the sometimes-complicated picture of which police authority has jurisdiction in certain places. In US National Parks, it’s the National Park Service, which is a federal authority. Park rangers may be assisted by local police in nearby towns or townships, or by state police, depending on the situation. And it works better for everyone if these different groups share information and cooperate. But, when a murder occurs in a US National Park, as one does in Downfall, the US National Park Service steps in. Thanks, by the way, to Valley Forge National Park for helping me with this part of the novel.

 
I also learned some interesting things about different sorts of row homes. For those of you not familiar with row homes, they’re a very common sort of architecture in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and some other cities. They tend to be longer than they are wide, and you may see several blocks of connected row homes. Here is a link to an interesting article from Philadelphia Magazine about Philadelphia row homes. There are
some helpful photographs, for those who haven’t seen this style of home before.

Thanks again, Benjamin, for hosting me!

 

 

 

 

Margot Kinberg headshot

 

 

 

Margot Kinberg is a mystery author and Associate Professor. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kinberg graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then moved to Philadelphia, which Kinberg still considers home.

Kinberg had always been fascinated by crime fiction and mystery novels. In fact, she became an “addict” while still in her teens. So in 2007, she began her fiction writing career with her debut novel, Publish or Perish. In that novel, Kinberg put her experience in the world of higher education to use in creating a murder mystery that takes place at fictional Tilton University. This story introduces Joel Williams, a former police detective-turned-professor, who teaches in Tilton University’s Department of Criminal Justice. In this first outing, Williams helps solve the murder of a graduate student. The second in Kinberg’s Joel Williams series is B-Very Flat, in which Williams helps to solve the murder of a young violin virtuosa who dies suddenly on the night of an important musical competition

Kinberg, who now lives with her family in Southern California, is currently at work on her third Joel Williams novel.

 

 

 

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Interview with Author & Filmmaker Vivian Schilling

Quietus

 

 

 

 

MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK

QUIETUS
Vivian Schilling

 

 

*What traits or characteristics define you as a storyteller?

 
I am an existential thinker with a robust curiosity about life. Because of this, the material I create often varies greatly.

I can almost always see life from another person’s perspective, no matter how upsetting or different it may be from my own. If I open my mind to truly acknowledge that person’s circumstances, I can usually see their justification for their views, even when they are in direct conflict with my own. I think this ability has helped me tremendously when it comes to bringing my characters to life, especially my antagonists.

I am a strong believer in research and strive to build my writing, no matter how fantastical, on a solid foundation of accuracy. In Quietus, I create an entire mythology surrounding death, but it is drawn and pieced together by linking numerous sources, including ancient scriptures and apocrypha, Egyptian mythology and art from the Reformation. I feel the more support I can provide for as many of the story elements as possible, the more credibility it adds to the purely fictional ones.

 

 

 

Storytelling image typewriter

 

 

 

*Which medium resonates with you more, film or books?

 
As a creator and connoisseur of film and books with a deep love of both, it would be painful to lose either from my life. But if I had to make a choice, books would win the battle on both
accounts.

Filmmaking can be a tremendous amount of fun. But writing is introspective, going deeper and further and leaving a more profound impact on my creative spirit.

As a filmgoer, I enjoy movies immensely. I love that I can sit in a theatre and completely escape for a couple of hours. I love the community experience of a film, especially in L.A., where the
film business is such a part of the culture. I love the dialogue that takes place with my friends immediately following a film, usually about the production, but also about the underlying themes and philosophical and cultural aspects of it. Film has often been the centerpiece of some of the most interesting and enlightening conversations I’ve ever had.

Reading books, on the other hand, is a very personal experience, a deeply gratifying one. I enjoy attending book clubs as a guest author, but I make a terrible book club member. Unlike film, I usually don’t feel the need to discuss the book in great detail. I would rather think about and savor it on my own.

I can completely forget a film after a week, but I rarely forget books. Another telling factor is that I don’t collect movies, but my place is packed with books.

 

 

 

Creativity

 

 

 

*According to your experience as a writer define what the imagination is. 

 
What a beautiful question. Imagination goes to the very core and health of my spirit. With this said, I feel imagination and spirit are one in the same. If I open up my mind and allow my spirit to roam freely, I create. Sometimes these creations are dark and sometimes light. Most often, they embody both. When I am feeling caged in by the mundane demands of life, my imagination retreats and it is far more difficult for me to create.

 

 

 

Imagination Quietus

 

 

 

*How has writing affected your creativity as opposed to working in the film industry?

 
Writing has always been there for me. From the time I was a young girl, scratching out plays to perform or writing in a journal, writing has been my door to the world. I can write about anything I want. I can explore any thought I have and take it as far as I choose. Through writing, I am constantly discovering who I am and where I am headed. Its lack of limitations is very empowering to my creative spirit.

Film has its own positive attributes to offer, in an almost opposite way. It teaches restraint and discipline, as well as versatility. It is a collaborative process so you have to be able to adapt and to be open to the ideas of others and to give them space to create alongside you. It also can be very limiting if the project is restricted by budget, time or resources.

 

 

Creativity painting Quietus

 

 

 

*How long did it take to write Quietus?

The concept of Quietus was with me for many years before I wrote the novel. I had explored it in two other works, including a screenplay entitled Dark Angel that circulated Hollywood for some time. At one point, the film was set to start shooting in Canada, but the money fell through. That’s when I decided to turn it into a novel where I could embark on a more serious exploration into the concept. Once I finally began the novel it took me seven years. During that time I often found myself split off to do film or other writing projects. If it weren’t for my cabin escape in Big Bear, it would have taken a lot longer to complete.

 

 

 

Pen writing Quietus

 

 

 

*From Los Angeles to the Ozark mountains. Do you need complete solitude to write?

Most often times, yes, especially if I am deep into a novel. My most productive time as a writer is in seclusion, surrounded by nature. Even if I work long days and nights for weeks without a
break, I always leave feeling rested and light.

 

 

 

Ozark Mountains

 

 

 

 

*Did the cabin there have anything to do with the cabin in Quietus? 

I had already written Quietus before I had a cabin in the Ozarks. But I did stay thirteen months alone in a different cabin in Big Bear, California while writing the novel. It had a large loft that I turned into a writing den. That one completely inspired the layout of the one in the novel, along with some other moments and scenes later in the book.

 

 

 

Cabin Quietus

 

 
*Quietus has a very elegant writing style. What’s your editing process like?

What a nice thing to say. Thank you. I find my most inspiring times to write are first thing in the morning or late at night when I simply let my mind roam and fingers dictate. I return to these pages the next day and start tightening the scene structure. I usually go back to the same scene several times until I can read it aloud and like what I hear. I always edit as I go, which I know is not how most writers prefer to write. But my mind works linearly when it comes to prose. I have to hear the flow from the beginning.

 

 

 

Beauty writing

 

 

 

 

*Does your book employ a certain theme?

Quietus is a psychological thriller that follows a woman’s survival after a terrifying plane crash. It explores a myriad of cultural, philosophical and spiritual beliefs that question the very meaning of death and asks whether modern medicine is tampering with its balance.

 
*What are you working on next? Can you give us a bit of a teaser?

At this point in my journey as a writer, I am heavily drawn to Celtic culture and mythology. My story is set in the past and is close to the earth. I’m having an incredible time with my location research—opening my spirit and letting my imagination go where it takes me. It’s been a lot of fun!

 

 

 

 

Schilling headshot

 

 

VIVIAN SCHILLING is the award-winning author of the novels QUIETUS and SACRED PREY, as well as a screenwriter, producer and director of independent films. She recently completed work as co-writer and producer of the documentary “Bonobos: Back to the Wild” and is currently at work on her third novel.

 

 

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Author Interview with Sam Boush of the Cyber War series

Sam boush

 

 

Please welcome Sam Boush author of All Systems Down

 

All Systems Down

 

 

 

Describe the process you went through to write this particular kind of book.

In short, I read a lot of books and talked to a lot of experts. I’m not an information security wonk, myself, so I leaned a lot on the thoughts and works of others. I joined a lot of groups, interviewed experts, and ultimately tried to write a fun, compelling, and accurate book. It’s a work of fiction. But that’s not to say it couldn’t happen.

 

 

Question mark pic MTW

 

 

How do you feel about the security of our infrastructure?

No one with any expertise in this area thinks our infrastructure is safe. People at power companies have told me how vulnerable their systems are. People at nuclear plants have told me how hackers have targeted their operations. It’s not just the online or software spaces that are vulnerable, though. Firmware and computer chip manufacturing aren’t even safe, especially when those chips are manufactured in East Asia.

 

 

Infrastructure MTW

 

 

Isn’t Ipv6 supposed to be inherently more secure?

That’s my understanding. But there isn’t a system that’s safe from hacking. If it’s connected to the Internet (and sometimes even if it isn’t) it can be hacked.

 

 

Name some surprising things you found in your research.

So many things. Did you know the Iranian government accessed the control systems of a dam north of Manhattan? Or that the Russians recently used cyber war to destroy 30 Ukrainian Howitzers? Or that last year hackers from a group called Dragonfly 2.0 accessed American power grid operations so deeply they could have induced blackouts at will?

 

 

Cyber crime MTW

 

 

How would we prepare for something like a blackout?

A short blackout is simple enough. You need light (candles/flashlights), heat (firewood/blankets), and a way to cook food. Water still runs in a blackout, since water towers are filled using generators.

A long blackout is a different story. And a long blackout where generators aren’t working and emergency services are shut down… well, that’s not something I could prepare for.

 

 

 

Blackout image MTW

 

 

 

Are you a prepper by any chance?

I’m not. Sadly, if disaster of any kind struck, I’d be out of food and water within the week. I don’t think many of my readers are preppers either, though I’ve had loads of people write in that they’re creating a cyber war emergency kit after reading the book.

Really, we should all be more prepared for emergencies than we are, no matter what kind. Here in the Pacific Northwest, a major earthquake is a reasonable concern. If my city were leveled by something like
that I’d be wishing I had a month’s worth of canned food!

 

 

Prepper image MTW

 

 

 

Who is Pak Han-Yong and what motivates him?

Pak Han-Yong is a junior lieutenant in the North Korean army. Specifically, he’s a member of Unit 101, a hacking unit focused on asymmetric warfare. There are many complicated characters in All Systems Down, but he’s fairly straightforward. A nationalist, he’s devoted to crushing the American imperialist infrastructure as a way to punish the nation that has kept his own country from achieving its rightful glory.

 

 

 

Hacker image MTW

 

 

 

What if you were Brendan Chogan? How would you survive?

This is the question that a lot of readers ask themselves: How would I survive if I were thrust, unprepared, into a global collapse of this scale? What would I do differently from the protagonist? Would I fortify my home, or leave?

If I were Brendan, I don’t know what I’d do. Maybe that’s part of the fun.

 

 

Survival image MTW

 

 

What are your favorite type of books to read?

I read a lot of non-fiction. But when I read fiction it’s sci-fi thrillers like Jurassic Park or technothrillers like The Hunt for Red October. But I read across genres, too. Right now I’m reading Stephen King’s Pet Semetary and David Benioff’s City of Thieves. I just finished Ken Follett’s Whiteout yesterday evening.

 

 

 

Books image MTW

 

 

Name a few things you struggle with as a writer.

What don’t I struggle with? I have trouble finding time to write. It’s difficult to manage publicity, book signings, marketing and outreach with the ticking clock of my next book deadline. Not to mention the obligation and joy of family time, taking my kids to school, spending time with my greater family, my friends, and my wife.

 

 

Do you follow a method for writing or are you more intuitive?

My method is to write flawed characters, end every chapter on a cliffhanger, have every scene advance both plot and character, and never write anything boring. And I usually have a broad idea of plot, even going into the first draft.

 

 

What are you working on next?

Book two of The Cyber War series is coming along nicely. It picks up right where book one left off.

 

 

 

Sam boush

 

 

Sam Boush is a novelist and award-winning journalist. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, journalist, and owner of a mid-sized marketing agency. Though he’s lived in France and Spain, his heart belongs to Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, Tehra, two wonderful children, and a messy cat that keeps them from owning anything nice. He is a member of the Center for Internet Security, International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, and Cloud Security Alliance.

 

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All Systems Down

 

 

 

Don’t miss Mystery Thriller Week beginning April 12-22nd 2018! 

 

MTW Thin Banner April 2018