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8 With An Author -- Barbara Townsend

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1)

You've had a chance to learn a bit more about some of your favorite people. Now we offer the opportunity for you to get to know one of our newest additions. Writers AMuse Me is thrilled to welcome into the fold...



BARBARA TOWNSEND



1. What made you write Blood Atonement? Did research lead you to the story, or did the story cause you to do the research?

After I retired from the Air Force, I attended the University of Wyoming. While there, I scored an internship at the Toppan Rare Books Library where I completed a research project about women in 1800s Mormon polygamy. To fully understand polygamy, my research led me deeper into the religion's history.

After the project was complete—and I had won the American Heritage Center's student research competition—I thought about continuing the research and writing a non-fiction book. That desire ended when my first fiction-writing class hooked me on mystery writing. Combining my stash of research about a little-known segment of American history with my desire to write a mystery led to Blood Atonement.

2. Where do you like to write? If you could write anywhere, where would that be?

I like to write wherever the mood strikes. I can focus wherever I happen to be: in my quiet home office, a noisy coffee shop, or during a brew fest. Yes, during a brew fest I plopped on the ground and wrote flash fiction. For me the place to write is where the urge strikes, but most often in my office.

3. In hindsight, many of us find that our writing was impacted by our schooling. What was your favorite assignment in high school English, your least favorite, and the one that affected you most?

I don't recall much of high school other than being involved with sports. After high school, I had written articles or reports for the military. What turned the page—so to speak—for my writing was my first fiction writing class at university. Upper division English assignments and workshops for fiction and personal essays changed the world for me. Figuring out how to write a mystery and make all the pieces fit tapped my "how does this work" mentality. The personal essays made me focus on recalling the snippets in my life and make me focus on why those moments in life are important.

4. If your writing career was a novel, what would the title be?

Following No Leader

5. Books can be like comfort food. Which one book is the one you go back to the most?

Any book from the series All Creatures Great and Small. James Herriot's writings are light reading, yet vivid and compelling.

6. You’re stuck on a deserted island with only three books and one other author. Name the books and the author then tell us why.

The three books I'd pick are: any one of the Little House (Laura Ingalls Wilder) books, All Creatures Great and Small, and The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. The poor soul I'd drag with me is Benjamin Franklin.

The Little House books are my childhood comfort favorites. All Creatures Great and Small and the rest of the series make me cry with sadness and happiness. It reveals another era, peoples with varying motivations, and animals. The Great Influenza ... is a university textbook that is so riveting I had to keep it. The book is a fascinating revelation of American—and world—history and highlights how fear led to an international catastrophe.

Franklin is my idol: insightful, profound, questioning, and a rapscallion. Life with him would never be boring. He's so intelligent he'd figure out a way to get us off the island.

7. What genre do you really want to try your hand at, but haven’t yet? Which genre could you not write?

Romance novels intrigue me. I appreciate science fiction and fantasy, but I have no desire to develop a storyline.

8. What comes after Blood Atonement for your writing career?

Blood Atonement is actually my second novel. My first novel is Clear and Convincing Evidence, an unpublished contemporary mystery set on the University of Wyoming campus. The protagonist is Jennifer, a journalism student whose investigation into a prank exposes a student's murder and its cover-up. The novel is complete, but soon after I finished it, the university received huge funding for major building projects. Many of the buildings in the novel will no longer exist. I want to adapt the novel for a fictional campus. I hope to publish CACE and continue it as a series.

Barbara Townsend is the author of Blood Atonement: A Pioneer Trail Mystery, which will be released in print, digital and Kindle format in 2013. Congratulations, Barbara. 

 



Watch for new authors and questions in the new year. We would like to wish everyone a very safe, wonderful Christmas and a 2013 full of words, stories and muse-like inspiration.

8 With An Author -- Honey Boudreaux

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Time to slip softly into the weekend, for a gentle look, a sweet look, a sane look (maybe ;) ) at our own

HONEY BOUDREAUX



1. Do you have music on when you write, or do you prefer quiet?

Are ya kiddin?? I don’t think I know the meaning of quiet!! The ‘sounds of silence’ tend to put me a little on edge. I’m surrounded every afternoon by 170 boisterous teens either playing musical instruments or dancing to the music from their I-Pods. If I don’t hear music, I’m hearing the grand-bugs running amok around the yard. When I sit down to write, I have to have background noise. It’s just not the same when things are quiet. The TV has to be turned on; either on a music channel or just on in general. Most of the time, I have no choice—the girls always have their music on blasting in their room! Fo’ Shizzle!

2. What are your favorite characters to write?

Most of the time dreams provide my ideas but, characters that hold secrets are my fave! Sometimes dark sinister secrets, sometimes secrets with elements of surprise seem to be the choices made by the voices. Teens, adults; everyone has a secret side---dig deep enough and discover there’s a story that will emerge! What’s your dark secret???

3. Is there a genre you haven’t tried, but would like to? What genre could you not write?

I would love to try Horror one day only I don’t think I could ever pull off a good horror novel. I’m giving my best Sci-Fi attempt in my current WIP—meh, we’ll see how that goes. Don’t think I could ever write Romance; love to read it, just drawn more to the YA genre. That’s what comes with having teens!

4. The ideal holiday would be where? Would you then use that in a story?

Ya know, there are lot of places I would love to go for an ideal holiday. Now, if you mean holiday as in vacation then throw me on a cruise line and ship me to Greece! Can I pick a century too? Greek mythology has always peaked my curiosity and ya never know what voices will pop from this head—so yeah, the thoughts are popping already for a story!

5. You’re stuck on a deserted island with only three books and one other author. Name the books and the author then tell us why.

Wow! This is an easy one---King’s books! Hmmm, which ones? Well, if I was stuck on a deserted island I would have to conclude that I came by this fate because I fled there after escaping a diseased planet---so I wouldn’t want to be reminded of that by reading The Stand. If I wanted to sleep at night I definitely couldn’t bring Pet Semetary and no way—IT!! On second thought, maybe I should bring Shakespeare—Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, King Lear. But I would definitely bring King to pick his brain!

6. If your writing career was a novel, what would the title be?

Do We Really Want To Go There? No, really—that would be the title!

7. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Does that desire impact your writing still?

I always thought I would be a teacher; even contemplated going back to school after having my girls. Worked for a daycare center at one point then did some tutoring for our local elementary school for a few years. I’m just a sucker for kids! I think that connection has kept me current with today’s teens... so yeah... it totally affects my genre choice and style of writing. Guess I figured if I couldn’t teach them, they would teach me. Writing for YA is a challenge and I hope I’ve achieved my goal; in their eyes. Tru Dat!

8. If you could co-write a book with any author, who would you choose and what genre would it be?

Since I was a wee fairy, I’ve always been partial to magical fantasy. If you would have asked me this question several years ago, I would have answered J. R. R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings). Today, I would have to say J. K. Rowling. I can only imagine where the voices would take me in her world! It would definitely be YA and I would even consider using a second pen name or more like pen initials. H. M. Boudreaux. I can see it now... LMAO! :D



Honey Boudreaux is the author of the Young Adult novel Fool Me Once, but we know she has more to come, so watch for them. Fool Me Once is available in print, digital and Kindle formats. You can find it right here on the website or at most on-line book stores.


   

 

8 With An Author -- Michael Frissore

Posted on December 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Remember, we tried to warn you, but where this guy is concerned, it's no holds barred. (I think that's a wrestling term ;) )



MICHAEL FRISSORE



1. Where is the best place for you to go to people-watch?

In a tall tree with a pair of binoculars just outside the window you’re peeping through. Not too close. Pick a tree close enough to see, but far enough that you won’t get caught.

If you’re not the adventurous type, the mall is a really good place to go, especially for a parent. A mall play area or a park is great. You're people-watching skills can also double as pedophile-detecting powers. I also like any kind of event: a fair, a carnival, or if you can get to a demolition derby, run, don’t walk. That is some fantastic people watching.

2. Do you base your characters on real people?

There are some that have the pleasure of being born from actual people. For example, ”Seven Stages" started out that way – based on friends of mine, maybe a little of myself - and then went into all sorts of bizarre areas and there ended up being no trace of reality whatsoever. There are a couple of stories in Puppets Shows - and these are the ones that are my personal favorites - in which, in my head, there’s a character who is W.C. Fields or Groucho Marx. Way to make myself sound 100 years old! I won’t say which stories. We can make a game of it. Read Puppet Shows and guess which character is Fields and what character is Groucho. The winner gets absolutely nothing.

3. You write about a superhero in your book. Who is your hero?

We all know who people say the true heroes are: firefighters, policemen, soldiers, the 2004 Boston Red Sox, The Green Hornet, The Blue Blazer, Hiro the Japanese train from Thomas & Friends. But there's one group of heroes who don't get any kind of recognition, certainly not from the movie studios today. I don't know who producers think Mariah Carey, the Foo Fighters and Bonnie Tyler were referring to when they sang about heroes, but to me it was these guys, the protectors of the city of Good Haven. I'm talking about the Mighty Heroes.

I'm talking about Strong Man, with his southern accent and jet-propelled punch; Rope Man, the dock worker who always gets tangled in himself; Tornado Man, the meteorologist with the wheezy voice; Cuckoo Man, my personal favorite, the bird shop owner who changes in a cuckoo clock in lieu of some silly phone booth; and Diaper Man, the ginger infant who will knock super villains out cold with his baby bottle. These guys, and I pay homage to them in Puppet Shows, are my heroes, and have been since I was a wee lad.

4. In hindsight, many of us find that our writing was impacted by our schooling. What was your favorite assignment in high school English, your least favorite, and the one that affected you most?

My favorite assignment, or the one I can remember anyway, was in eighth or ninth grade a teacher asked us to write an essay making fun of something (Which today sounds ridiculous. You don't make fun of something! That's bullying!). I wrote about The National Enquirer. The teacher read it in class and some kids laughed, but this one girl accused me of stealing the jokes from Reader's Digest. I denied it, of course, mainly because I wouldn't admit to stealing, but also because I had actually stolen the jokes from "Weird Al" Yankovic and watermelon-smashing comedian Gallagher. So she was dead wrong. What kind of hack steals from Reader's Digest?

That’s how my writing career began was stealing. I remember writing something for another class that was about cannibalism, the idea of which I stole completely from Monty Python's "Undertaker's sketch." My story was two guys discussing eating one of their deceased mothers: a complete replica of the Python sketch. I had no shame back then.

My least favorite one was we had to do movie reviews, which I hate the idea of writing even today. We had to write two of them, and I couldn't have picked two more forgettable films. One was Mad House, the John Larroquette/Kirstie Alley comedy. The other was Body Slam, a wrestling movie starring Dirk Benedict and Tanya Roberts, along with Roddy Piper and Captain Lou Albano. I was always putting wrestling references into things I wrote in high school. It's really no different today. I'm actually amazed at how low Puppet Shows is on wrestling references. Readers should thank me for that. My poetry books are chock full of them.

5. You’re stuck on a deserted island with only three books and one other author. Name the books and the author then tell us why.

They would have to be substantial books that would keep me busy for a long time and perhaps make me want to go drown myself in the ocean. I always think people sound pompous when they bring up James Joyce, but the first two books would be Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake. Ulysses I read years ago and always said I'd read it again and haven't, and I've told myself for years I would read Finnegan's Wake and haven't. So, with any luck, I’ll end up on an island with Evangeline Lily and a smoke monster and get to read those.

The third book would have to be the Bible, the author of which, of course, is a bunch of dinosaurs and cavemen. I'm sorry, atheists who want to set fire to hotel rooms for having a Bible in the drawer, but that's what I'd choose because it's the Bible. I might instead choose something by Dave Eggers or David Foster Wallace just so that I know I'll be happy with my decision to throw myself into the mouth of a giant squid. But I'm told that Joyce and God are good island reading.

6. If your writing career was a novel, what would the title be?

Harry Potter and the References Nobody Gets

7. Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

No, never. No one does that. That's why the word "Don't" comes before the saying. You don't judge a book by its cover. Only assholes do that. Come to think of it, I’m sure I have. I mean, it's why book have covers. But who am I? A designer? What do I care what the cover of a book looks like? I'm colorblind and I usually end up scribbling genitalia and pentagrams all over the cover of all my books anyway. But I have. I remember seeing the cover of A Clockwork Orange and being all, “Wow, cool cover! This book must be awesome!” And it was.

8. If you could co-write a book with any author, who would you choose and what genre would it be?

With the recent popularity of that 50 Shades nonsense, I would love to write some erotica with Ann Coulter. Oh, we would tear up the Best Sellers List!


Michael Frissore is the author of Puppet Shows, a collection of Monty Pythonesque short stories that will keep you giggling all day. His books are available in print, digital and Kindle format. You can find them and some links to purchase them on our website, or on most on-line bookstores.


  

8 With An Author -- David Smith

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

We're starting off today with small, perhaps scary, look inside the thinking of the one, and definitely the only... 


David Smith

 

1. References to music seem to make their way into your writing. Do you have music on when you write, or do you prefer quiet?

No music. Pretty much quiet but normal quite, not screaming at the top of my lungs ‘if I do not have some quiet around here How do you expect me to create’ quiet.

2. What are your favorite characters to write? Do you draw from people you have met?

Crazy folks coupled with crazy folks – yes, I do; mostly the negative

3. Shakespeare fan – yes or no, and why?

No. I have enough trouble reading so-called modern English. I am a huge fan of the operas that follow his writing.

4. You’re stuck on a deserted island with only three books and one other author. Name the books and the author then tell us why.

East of Eden. It is one of the great books. Slaughterhouse Five, same reason. I do not have a third book that I would with to have on a desert island.

5. If your writing career was a novel, what would the title be?

Beats The Hell Out Of Me (BTHOOM!)

6. Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

Sure, Lots of times, however I soon realized that a book, or a person, with a great cover is only the beginning. Where’s the meat?

7. Books can be like comfort food. Which one book is the one you go back to the most?

East of Eden

8. If you could co-write a book with any author, who would you choose and what genre would it be?

Vonnegut, Bukowski – the genre would be Man Men At Work Here! Is that a genre? If it is not, it should be. Come to think of it, it might be!!

Dave Smith, as well as being an editor, is the author of Torture In The Garden of Eden, Saskatchewan, They Ate Peaches, Outskirts of Insanity, and two collections of poetry: Cocktails with Burty and As I Wander Through The Book Of Life. He has a new novella coming out in February 2013, Mad Cop's Diary, picking up on Dillinger Flakewaiter's story from where it left off in Torture. His books are available in print, digital and Kindle formats on most online bookstores as well as right here on the Writers AMuse Me Site.

        

 

8 With An Author -- Tony Walkden

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

We started our week with non-fiction, and we will end it that way as well, with our in-house naturalist


TONY WALKDEN

1. Do you have music on when you write, or do you prefer quiet?

50/50. Sometimes I have music on, sometimes I have the tv on, and sometimes I work in the quiet. It depends on the time of day.

2. Who is your hero?

Steve Irwin. He knew how to work with nature, he knew how to reach out to people, and he understood about compromise and cooperation in everything. He loved animals.

3. People might not realize when they read your book that it was written by someone who is autistic. How long did it take to write it and, since writing is one of the most difficult things for you to do, how did you manage?

The book took me between three and four years to write. I had to compile the information, and keep checking it to make sure it was current because the status of some animals changed in that amount of time. I started working on this as an exercise to help with writing. Reading and understanding words is not a problem for me, but somewhere between my brain, my hand, and the piece of paper, it just stops working. Writing anything by hand is very difficult still for me. In order to work on the book, though, I took notes, wrote them down, then dictated from my notes to have the information typed up. Being autistic has challenges, but it also has some blessings. For me, while writing is next to impossible, I have a very good memory and often a different perspective of things; I sort of think 'outside the box'. 

4. Shakespeare fan – yes or no, and why?

Depending on how it’s done. I loved the way Wayne and Shuster did Shakespeare.

5. The ideal holiday would be where? Would you then use that in your writing?

This is a hard question to answer. It’s hard to choose. Because I like to take pictures of animals, and to see them, it would have to be someplace with lots of them. Australia, Africa, Brazil, Costa Rica, Madagascar… there are a lot of places that have many interesting, unique animals that I could see. Europe I would be less likely to visit, just because there is no wildlife there – just a lot of old buildings. Some of the zoos there would be nice to see, though.

6. When you wrote about the animals in your book, were there any that were more special, and why?

This is another tough one. There are definitely a few that stand out in my mind, some that were special before and are more so now that I have taken the time to learn about them. Wolves, the big cats, the small cats… you get what I mean. I have a special place in my heart for reptiles, because they need someone to love them. Every one of them needs someone to love it. The Andean cat and the Darwin fox stand out in my mind. The Baiji is also special, because we were too late to save it. It seems to be the one that makes this book so important.


7. This book was about endangered animals. There are a lot of them. Would you do another book about them, or are there other groups of animals and issues regarding wildlife that you would like to write about first?

I would like to do another one about endangered animals, but I would also like to do one about extinct animals. I think it’s important because we need to be reminded of what has been lost, and that it could happen to any of these other animals. Once they are gone, we have no way to get them back, and the balance of nature is slightly thrown off again.

8. What one question about your writing do you hate to be asked?

‘Can you sign the book?’ I suck at handwriting.

Tony Walkden is the author of With a Dying Breath, a book about endangered wildlife, why these animals are endangered, what, if anything, is being done to help them, and what we can do to help protect the animals on the planet. His book is available in print, digital and Kindle format. It has received an endorsement from Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus, Columbus Zoo, and has been acknowledged by Biologist David Suzuki and Naturalist Nigel Marven. ALL of Tony's royalties from the sale of this book are donated to the International Union for Conservancy and Nature (IUCN) who monitor species populations globally, directing funding to where it is needed. Purchases of print books through this website can apply the discount code N3JXF46Q to receive $7.00 off the cover price.

 


8 With An Author -- Heather Gregson

Posted on December 6, 2012 at 3:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Today, we want to share a little inside peek at our own



HEATHER GREGSON

1. What are your favorite characters to write?

I like writing kids. They are open to more experiences than adults and are more willing to believe the impossible.

2. Is there a genre you haven’t tried, but would like to? What genre could you not write?

I’ve given Western and Horror a small go each. I have the stories mapped out in my head for both and just have to apply myself. I’m not sure I can do really creepy horror though, it squicks me out.

It’s ironic that I can’t write sci-fi or fantasy. I’m a huge Transformers fan as well as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. While I enjoy the stories, I just have no desire to write them and can’t even begin to try and imagine a storyline.

3. Shakespeare fan – yes or no, and why?

It depends on the story. I find some of his work very enjoyable and other pieces too heavy.

4. In hindsight, many of us find that our writing was impacted by our schooling. What was your favorite assignment in high school English, your least favorite, and the one that affected you most?

My favourite assignments were creative writing. I loved making up stories even when I was young. Two were my least favourite, book reports and newspaper. Book reports have always bothered me because it pigeon holes the reader into one perspective. If the reader doesn’t interpret the meaning of the story the way the lesson plan dictates they’re wrong. How can a book mean the same thing to every reader and once that reader has been told “No, you’re wrong, it can only mean this” the story has been taken away from that person. Each person has the right to take their own meaning from every story they read. I didn’t like newspaper because we were grilled on what each paragraph in an article was called and its purpose, etc etc. What affected me most was the lack of being taught grammar. I still struggle with that to this day.

5. You’re stuck on a deserted island with only three books and one other author. Name the books and the author then tell us why.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Outlander, and Dragonfly in Amber. The author I would want to be stranded with gave me pause. I took a few days thinking about this, and the author I would want to be stranded with is Bettie Turner. She hasn’t been published yet. For me it is more important to be stranded with someone I like and can laugh with than someone whose work I admire. There is no guarantee that I would get along with an author I whose work I admire and it would stink to be stuck on an island with someone I couldn’t laugh with. Who knows, by the time we’re stranded Bettie may very well be a hugely successful author.

6. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Does that desire impact your writing still?

I wanted to be a marine biologist. It really doesn’t impact my writing.

7. Books can be like comfort food. Which one book is the one you go back to the most?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I love that book. It is my favourite of the series, and I just lose myself in the vivid detail and multitude of layers in the story.

8. If you could co-write a book with any author, who would you choose and what genre would it be?

I would have loved to have written with Maurice Sendak. His books have a fantastic realism through their fantasy.


Heather Gregson is the author of A Dog of War, the story of a small dog in WWII Poland, and her struggle to find her family that has been taken away by Nazis. A very difficult topic to write about in any circumstance, Heather offers a wonderful, warm, but heartbreaking experience for anyone from Middle Grade on up. This is a story for the ages. You can buy Heather's book in print, digital and Kindle formats from our website or from most online book dealers.