Author Interview: Douglas Quinn #childrensauthor

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Amazing how time flies… this interview was meant to be posted last week, but things (life) just got in the way. So here it is. Stitch would like you to meet children’s author Douglas Quinn:
Douglas Quinn with Gracie -- Editing The Midnigh Skulker

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I really didn’t just decide to become an author. It evolved out of a family history/genealogy project my dad and I worked on. We had so much interesting information and family stories to share, my dad and I decided to organize it all into something we could publish and share with others who were researching the same family. I love family stories. Once finished with the first two family history books, I began thinking about writing fiction. Naturally, my first novel idea came from another family story, an “almost” happening involving my children and a trip to Spain.
As for an impact on my life, it has become all consuming. I live to write.

Awesome reason to live.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
As I mentioned, the idea for my first novel, a suspense/thriller titled The Catalan Gambit, came from an “almost” happening. Students, my boy and girl twins included, from the school system had signed up for a chaperoned trip to Spain. At that time, airplane hijackings had become a popular sport for terrorists. Because of this, the trip was cancelled. I began to think, what would happen if they’d gone on the trip and their plane was hijacked. As a father, what would I, what could I do to save them? My “tag” line was “How far would a father go to save his children.” I followed up with two more books in what I called The Ellis Family Saga.
I enjoy mysteries, so for my Webb Sawyer Mysteries, I set these stories in the Outer Banks and Albemarle Sound areas of northeast North Carolina (USA) where I live. As they say, “write what you know,” and I love and know this area and its people quite well.
For my Ancestry Series, I went back to the research done on my ancestors and, using the facts and stories my dad and I had collected to create a historical fiction/adventure-based novel of the original emigrant ancestor’s life. I just completed book two of the series based on his son. Books three and four are in the queue.
When my two youngest grandsons asked me, why don’t you write children’s books (with them as the heroes, of course), I indulged them. It was easy to write in “their voice” as I used to have lunch in the school cafeteria with them and their friends once a week, where I opened discussions, listened and observed.. Now I have three different series going.
My newest series, Little Books for Little Readers (written, illustrated and marketed for ages 4-6), are based on experience with our four-legged kids, our cats and dogs.

Dogs make the best characters. As an interesting note Beagles and Labradors seem to make great friends!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it.
Boy! Not sure where to start, because I work on several book projects at a time, one for each of my genres. I’ll give a brief answer for each one of them.
I am currently writing my fourth Webb Sawyer Mystery. Each of the titles for this series have birds in the titles: Blue Heron Marsh, Pelican Point, Swan’s Landing and the latest, Egret’s Cove. In Egret’s Cove, my protagonist, Webb Sawyer, drives from his home at Blue Heron Marsh in Nags Head on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to go fishing with his long-time grade-school friend who lives on Ocracoke Island. When he arrives she is nowhere to be found. Evidence indicates she’s been kidnapped. But how? And why? And where is she? And is she all right? There is no ransom note and Webb is frantic to find his friend before it’s too late.
I just finished the second book of my Ancestry Series, Samuel The Pioneer. Samuel is the son of Cornelius The Orphan. As I mentioned before, these historical fiction/adventure novels are based on my own ancestors.
I have two more Children’s Chapter Book Series (for ages 8-12) that are completed and are in the editing process. One, The Adventures of Quinn Higgins: Boy Detective—The Case of the Gray Ghost’s Belt Buckle is the sixth Quinn Higgins book. The other one, The Adventures of Summer McPhee of Ocracoke Island—The Pink Lady is the third Summer McPhee book. I am also am over halfway finished (it will probably be completed when this interview runs) the third book in my Purple Dragon Fantasy Series, Charles and Hero—The Dreadmen. As I mentioned, I wrote these at the request of grandchildren, but now my readers motivate me to continue on with them.
And, finally, I’ve completed my second Little Book for Little Readers titled Solstice the Determined Beagle—Long Way Home. This book is now with my illustrator, who is doing pen-and-ink drawings for the text chapters. This story comes from the time Solstice (now deceased) got lost in a storm ten miles from home and, over ten days, found her way back home.

Wonderful a to do list that looks like mine… too many things to do!

What are your future aspirations as an author?<
When people ask me what I do for fun, I tell them I write. “Writing seems like hard work,” they say. The hard work is the editing process. The writing, for me, is not only fun, but fulfilling. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to tell stories and share them with others. This, and a dedication to my characters, will keep me writing until, one day, I keel over, my fingers still on the keyboard. If I have the premonition, maybe I will quickly type in (to be continued by the next person).

Ha that’s a good idea. You are right editing is the hard part – see my other blog for some tips:http://ghostnapped.wordpress.com/

What do you do to improve yourself as a writer?
I read, I research, I do crossword puzzles, I listen, I observe, I talk to people, ask questions, discuss ideas, but most of all I write, write, write, write . . . .

Where can people contact you?
My website is http://www.obxwriter.webs.com, where you can find a listing of all of my books, novels and children’s book, included. Please feel free to join up and/or contact me through the site with your questions, comments, what you thought about my books, etc. I answer all queries.

Tell us a little about your next work/s in progress.
I always have several projects in progress. Readers, even other writers, ask me how is that possible. How can I concentrate on more than one book at a time. My answer is, I really don’t know. I think I’ve been gifted with the ability to compartmentalize information, work on it, store it, bring up something else, moving from one project to another without confusion. Holy-moley, I sound like a computer.
Right now I’m only writing two books, Egret’s Cove: a Webb Sawyer Mystery and Charles and Hero–The Dreadmen. I’m also reading and researching for four other books. So many stories to tell, never enough time.

We wish the best of luck with all your projects.

Do you read the reviews of your work and how do they affect your writing?
I always read the reviews of my work. Fortunately, the vase majority of them have been very positive. Reviewers bring their own likes, dislikes and prejudices to their assessment. One reviewer loves the detail and the descriptions of the settings and characters, another one says there is too much detail. Another reviewer feels the need to point out a misplaced a comma on page 212. Another one may claim there were inconsistencies with the capitalization of the word “mother,” even though they were incorrect and didn’t understand the rules. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Readers don’t really care about niggling and nitpicking. They want to know if the reviewer believes that story, the setting and the characters will grab them. Here’s my thought: If you get an unfavorable review, or the review has aspects that you dislike or don’t agree with, let it go. I’d rather have a review that I wasn’t pleased with than be ignored.

I always figure if they took the time to review your work there is something worth while!

Stitch Says has had the privilege of reading four of Douglas’ books and will be posting reviews over the coming week or two (that thing called life may get in the way!). So watch out for them. Thanks for joining us Douglas and remember keep reading, keep writing!

The Best of 2013 #amreading

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Stitch Says only started this year and already I have met some wonderful authors and read some fantastic books. I can’t wait to continue this blog in the new year. While there have been far more books and authors here than I ever imagined I thought I’d wrap up the year with some of the books and I interviews I loved the most:

SockKids - Blog Tour Button - FINAL

Stitch met the Sock Kids in a really fun Character interview:

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One of the best books I read was:
Young Knights - Book Cover

We met another really cool dog!
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Read some heart-felt rescue stories

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And travelled into the realms of Science Fiction:
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They were just a few great moments here on Stitch Says. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took time to contribute and join us for some fun. It is after all about authors helping authors. I am looking forward to seeing what Stitch and Chewie bring to this blog in the new year!

Stitch is already for a fun party night!
Stud Muffin Stitch

Watch this space in 2014, email me at Ashley@ahowland.org to be involved and remember always keep reading, keep writing!

Author Interview: Wendy Leighton-Porter #author

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The Shadow of Atlantis Blog Tour Button

About the Book

Title: The Shadow of Atlantis (Shadows From the Past, Book 1)

Author: Wendy Leighton-Porter

Year Published: 2012

Publisher: Mauve Square Publishing

Pages: 196

Recommended Age: 8+

Summary (Amazon):

Let’s meet Wendy Leighton – Porter the author of Shadow of Atlantis:

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When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
When I gave up my teaching career after almost 20 years, I suddenly found that I had the time for something I’d always wanted to do, and that was to write a book. My husband, Simon, is also an author and he really encouraged me to get started. I knew from the outset that I wanted to write for children, but I had no idea just how much I would love it. Now I can’t imagine not writing. Even when I’m not sitting in front of my computer, I’m thinking and planning (I often get my best ideas when I’m in the bath and should really keep a notebook there to jot them down – it would probably get a bit soggy though!). I try to spend at least a couple of hours each day on my actual writing. And also, when the opportunity arises, I really enjoy going into schools as a visiting author to talk to the pupils; their participation and enthusiasm always make it such a rewarding experience.

Writing is addictive – love that you have such great support from home!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
When I decided that I’d like to write stories for children, I knew right from the start that I wanted to create a whole series of adventures and I’ve already planned where and how the series will finish. The Shadow of Atlantis is the first step in a journey through time, made by my characters in the quest to find their missing parents who are lost somewhere in the past. I chose a list of myths, historical events and periods in time which I thought would make interesting stop-off points for my young time-travellers. Atlantis seemed like a great place to begin as everyone is fascinated by the legend of that mysterious ancient city.

The first journey was pretty exciting, must read the next one!

What are your future aspirations as an author?
I shall continue to work on my Shadows from the Past books for the foreseeable future. The series will ultimately comprise 16 adventures and as I’m only on number 8 I think that will keep me busy for a while. I know that I’ll feel somewhat bereft when I finally get to the end of the journey; I’m becoming rather fond of my central characters and will be lost without them. But I plan to carry on writing for the Middle Grade age group and already have the grain of an idea for a ghost story.

Always hard to actually complete a series, the characters are a big part of your life!

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
They always say “Write about what you know”, don’t they? Well, I don’t actually have experience of time-travel, although I wish I did! However, as a former teacher of Classical Studies, I have a real passion for anything to do with the ancient world, myths and legends, and indeed history in general. I hope that my books are exciting adventures, but I’d like to think I’m also helping my young readers to discover that history can be fun and that they might learn a few things from my stories, perhaps without even realising it – once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess!
My books also feature a rather unusual character – a very large Tonkinese cat called Max, who has the ability to speak, thanks to a magic charm he wears on his collar. I don’t have too far to look when I’m writing Max’s scenes, as he’s based on my very own large Tonkinese cat, Bertie. The only difference is that Bertie can’t speak … or maybe he could, if I could just find him a magic charm to wear!

Stitch wants to meet Bertie!

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
Read, read, and read some more! I’m a real bookworm and always have several books on the go, both fiction and non-fiction. When I’m reading a novel, I tend to be quite critical, looking at the way the story is written; the style, the use of language, even the punctuation, and I’m quick to admire things that are done well. I also make a big effort to read lots of books within my own genre of Middle Grade fiction – it’s important to keep up with what else is being published and to take inspiration from my fellow writers who are producing quality work … and there is a huge amount of really good stuff around at the moment – the future of children’s fiction is looking rosy!

Writing for children is getting better and better!

What are the names of your books?
The Shadow of Atlantis
The Shadow of the Minotaur
The Shadow of the Trojan Horse
The Shadow of the Pyramid
The Shadow of the Volcano
The Shadow of Camelot
The Shadow of the Norman Arrow (to be published in November 2013)

Tell us a little bit about your next WIP
I’m currently working on the eighth book in my Shadows from the Past Series. It will be entitled The Shadow of the Two Princes and tells the story of the notorious English king, Richard the Third, who is believed to have killed his two nephews in the Tower of London, in order to usurp the throne in 1483. I was very excited by the recent discovery by archaeologists of the long-lost skeleton of King Richard, buried under a car park in Leicester. Looking at his bones, the archaeologists realised that Richard had suffered from a severe spinal deformity, something which had long been speculated but never proved. I’m really looking forward to writing this one, but it might turn out to be quite a scary adventure when my time-travelling heroes must risk their own lives to rescue the princes!

Where can people contact you?
There is a contact page on my Author’s Website – http://www.wendy-leighton-porter.com and people can also leave me messages on my Facebook Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wendy-Leighton-Porter-Writer/495026190556289?ref=hl

My books are available from Amazon.com, both in Kindle format and in paperback versions:
http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Atlantis-Shadows-Past-ebook/dp/B007X2BGVK
http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Atlantis-Wendy-Leighton-Porter/dp/1909411019

Thanks Wendy for joining Stitch Says – remember to hop over and join in the fun on the blog tour. Stitch Says will be posting a review of The Shadows of Atlantis very soon. In the mean time – keep reading, keep writing!

Happy Birthday STITCH #labslife

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Author Ashley Howland

I can’t believe my boof head puppy Stitch is three tomorrow! He’s such a good boy and has coped really well with the recent loss of his best mate Obi. I am very proud of how he is settling. Next week will be a new adventure as it’s back to school so there will be some time by himself. Still he also gets to go back to work so he will look forward to that. He’s a softy that’s for sure. The reason I called this blog Stitch Says is simply because he is my reading buddy. He snuggles up to me on the bed and snores while I read. He keeps me warm. Stitch likes it when I read a great book simply because he gets to stay on the bed for longer!

Stitch

Thanks to all the wonderful authors I have met through this blog its lots of fun and I am looking forward to meeting more. Please email me at ashley@ahowland.org if you would like an interview and review. I am also now putting Stitch Says on my pinterest page. You can join me at: http://pinterest.com/ashleyhowland42/

Some really fantastic interviews and reviews on their way shortly. Until then keep reading, keep writing!

Author Interview: Flemming Bermann #amreading

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Today we get to meet Flemming Bermann, who has written two fantastic non fiction books for children. Let’see what he has to say:
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When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
The natural world has always been a major part of my life, and the growing body of scientific evidence suggesting that global warming is real and coming to a planet near you in the future, if humanity don’t start to live in a more sustainable way was a message I wanted to pass onto my daughter. Having completed a final draft of ‘Global Warming for young mind’ and seeing how much my daughter and family and friends learnt from it, I was encouraged to send it off to a publisher, who was happy to help publish it. The rest is history, as they say.
My second book “Evolution for Young Minds” was also written with my daughter in mind. So important for children to take an interest in and appreciate the beauty and complexity of the world around them, and evolution symbolises this more than any other natural process.

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
The Amazon Kindle platform and the rise of the eBook fascinate me. To better understand this new media, I will be publishing a puzzle book on Kindle in June this year.
The whole experience has been a real fascinating journey. From learning the more technical aspects of how to put a Kindle book together to purchasing my own ISBN numbers, and realising that I did not have to hundreds of dollars having someone else help me do the work.

What are your future aspirations as an author?
The world is not always what we first perceive it to be, and as we grow up we start to recalibrate our own views. For example, the way two people can observe the same event and come away with completely different opinions fascinate me.
Over the last three years I have been working on and off on a teenage novel, which centres around such observations, and my biggest aspiration right now is to complete it and get it published.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
My daughter has been a major influence, and so has the natural world. Nothing that you can purchase for money can in my view compete with the free spectacle of the natural world. And helping someone else discover and appreciate the world around them is such a great thing to be able to do.

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
The short answer is: ‘Not enough!’ through I read a lot and always try to study how really successful authors construct their sentences, build their characters and create the atmosphere of their books. It is a real skill, and the only way to really improve is to write a little every day, which I try to do.

Thanks Flemming, it is so hard to take the time and improve yourself. Writing every day is a great way to do this.
Stitch Says will post the review of Flemming’s two non fiction books soon, watch this space! Until then keep reading, keep writing!

Author Interview: Shirley Coughlin #amreading

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Today on Stitch Says we get to meet Shirley Coughlin, the author of Toby and the Pirates, The Girl in the Mirror and Beyond the Flood. Let’s see what she has to say:
Photo - The Guardian

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?Several years ago I was going through a bad time and I started to write some poetry for my grandchildren. It helped me so much I began writing stories for them as well. I have always been an avid reader so it was a natural next step.

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
My latest work, ‘The Girl in the Mirror’ was something I had going around in my mind for a while. I have a vivid imagination and it doesn’t take much to get my brain working. I actually began with the title and went from there, the story more or less wrote itself. At the moment I am working on a YA adult novel set in the middle of 18th century Cornwall, just after the Jacobite Rebellion. A fast-moving story of smugglers, an escaped prisoner from the Battle of Culloden and a fourteen year boy who finds himself caught up with it all as he tries to save the escapee from being recaptured.
Scan - The Girl in the Mirror
What are your future aspirations as an author?
To be the best that I can and for others to enjoys what I write.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
Many things inspire me, especially my grandchildren. I am always thinking of stories they will enjoy.

What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
I read lots of books, which to me is no hardship, and just write. The more I write, the more my writing improves. The same as anything really, if you wants to improve, then the more you do it, the better you become.

Thanks Shirley for joining me on Stitch Says. It’s always great to hear from authors. I will be posting a review of Toby and the Pirates very soon. Until then you can check out Shirley’s books at: http://sbpra.com/shirleycoughlin/

Remember keep reading, keep writing!

Author Interview with T.G Sampson #authors

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Today we get to meet T.G Sampson – author of Reilly After the Storm.

BookBack

When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I believe that it is not so much a decision as it was a calling. Anyone can write a book, but not everyone can be an author. The reasons you write have to come from a passion about the subject and writing has to flow from somewhere inside you. This is something that calls to you.
I have always written short stories, essays and such, but never really thought about writing a complete book. Not until Reilly came into our life as a Katrina rescue dog. I was so taken with her character that I just had to write down what I observed about her. One thing led to another and I had outlines for at least 5 books. Now that has turned into six with all the draft work complete.
The biggest impact, I think, was getting through the process of actually producing the book. From the start, I was sometimes overwhelmed with the process to the point that I had actually thought about giving up the calling and just writing a children’s book with pretty pictures, small words and big type. I am glad I didn’t though. Now all my friends and family think it’s great they know an actual author, that in itself was worth it.

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
Where do I begin? I guess it started the day that Reilly ran into the room when we went to visit her for the first time.
We had just lost our big galoot Brownie to heart failure. He had been our light and joy and we missed him dearly. He was a Great Dane Lab mix that we procured as a puppy from SICSA (our local shelter). His whole family had been abandoned in a barn and left to die. Fortunately a neighbour alerted the animal control and all were rescued. We were only supposed to foster him for three weeks, but he ended up staying for 13 years. Two weeks after he went home, we got a call from a friend that said there was a female 9 month old Katrina rescue up for adoption. When we arrived and sat down they let her in and the first thing Reilly did was to run up to me, place her front paws on my lap and kiss me on the cheek. I said to my wife “I’ve made my decision what’s yours?”. The next thing you know Reilly was in the front seat of the van ready to go home. she is still there after 6 years and my wife sits in the back.
It was during the next two years after we got her that I started to wonder what she went through after the hurricane. I notice her strange behaviour right away, she walked around puddles, did not go out in the rain, and loved all men, and herded squirrels. That was the motivation to write about this wonderful Border Collie mix with the joker smile.
Since I did not know her full story (only that they thought she had been in that mess for about a month after Katrina before they found her) I decided to make her the main character and write a fictional story around that. And, since I am a big Lassie fan, I thought that I would write an old-fashioned adventure story with good old-fashioned bad guys and a heroine that could handle herself (believe me I have seen what she can do)

What are your future aspirations as an author?
First to finish writing the next book in the series, Reilly Lost In The Wildwood, then the other four. I am almost done with chapter 8 of Wildwood, so I consider that to be a good thing.
Most likely then, Lord willing, I would like to write a Sci-Fi novel that actually has no brain eating monsters in it. I had already started that before Reilly After The Storm, so I have a few chapters written already. It is called the Lords of Terribrith.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
I have always been a bit of a sci-fi person, but also I grew up watching adventures like Lassie. Some of my best days were spent dreaming of going on adventures with Lassie and getting rescued from the bad guys. I also love a good mystery. Growing up in England, I loved all the shows like Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, etc. I pulled from those experiences for the fictional parts of the book and from my observations of Reilly’s character for the main heroine.
I guess that travelling the world when I was younger helped me to understand the international aspect of life. I got to see different cultures and aspects of life that were different from my own. I pulled from those memories for most of the scene setting.
One aspect of my life that I found very useful was my ability to do research on a subject. Today that is made much easier with the internet and Wikipedia.

What do you do to improve yourself as a writer?
Reading what others have done. Listening to my Editor the first time. Brush up on my punctuation and spelling. read through my last book.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my story Ashley. It is much appreciated. if anyone wants to see the whole story they can go to http://www.tgsampson.com/ and find out all about me.

Thanks T.G for joining us on Stitch Says – love hearing from another author who has written about their dog. Dog books are the best. I will post a review of Reilly soon, so watch this space!

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