Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

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The Girl Who Could See Blog Tour – Stop #6!

June 4, 2017

Do you see this gorgeousness?

Would you believe me if I told you the inside of this book is even more gorgeous than the outside? 😉

A few months ago I became online friends with Kara Swanson, a sweet and inspiring young woman who grew up as a child of missionaries in Papua New Guinea. She asked if I was interested in beta reading her novella, The Girl Who Could See. At the time, being pretty busy, I was going to decline by default (I almost never beta read these days), but then she sent me the premise…

All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.

Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

….Yeah, there’s no way I was gonna say no to that. 😉

And the story did not disappoint! I read it basically in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down! So intense, heart-rending, and inspiring. It has earned a place among my favorite books. 🙂

Interview with Kara Swanson

Today I am excited to share an interview with Kara as part of the blog tour celebrating the release of The Girl Who Could See!

So glad to have you on the blog, Kara! In what ways do you relate to your main character, Fern – and to Tristan, her so-called imaginary friend?

Great question!

Haha I relate to Fern in a lot of ways. We both can’t drive because of debilitating health issues. For her, she has “psychosis.” I’m fighting Lyme Disease (a sickness you get from a tick bite. Among many other symptoms, I have a lot of memory/processing issues. So driving is very hard). We’re both fiercely determined – grab onto something and won’t let go. We both are a bit sarcastic. We both have younger people in our charge that we’d die for (my siblings–especially my 10 year old sister, Kylie. For Fern, her niece Elinore). We both see the world in a different way, and live trapped between two worlds. (Though for me, it’s because I grew up outside the U.S., not seeing a parallel world. 😛 )

Tristan – I get what it’s like to be alone. To sometimes feel invisible. We both have a very outgoing personality/snarky wit. And I like to think, given the chance, I’d have his courage. <3 

I’d love to hear more about your life as a missionary kid. What are some ways growing up in Papua New Guinea influences your writing and the themes you like to write about?

Oh, there’s so many ways my childhood overseas impacted my writing. A few of the big ones, though…I had a very vivid imagination. We didn’t have internet or cable TV. No roads or stores. So I would keep myself entertained with make-believe friends and adventures. Climbing trees, hiking to unique jungle vistas, shooting with a bow and arrow, raising exotic pets, etc. And reading – I read a lot! Anything I could get my hands on. Fantasy was my favorite – especially Narnia. I could relate with kids dropped into a unique world. I loved the whimsical elements.

So, after a while of telling myself and my siblings and some of our friends stories about unique words and exotic creatures, I started writing them down. It just sort of took off from there! 🙂

Can you tell us a little about your next project? Where are you going from here?

I have about six novels in the works. Some of in really good shape, some are in the rewriting stage, others are just starting to be put on paper. I can get a solid draft done in a few months, though, so they’ll all meet the world here soon!

Now that TGWCS is officially into the world, I’m working on a novel called Skyridge. First book in a trilogy about a girl whose father is a fallen angel. She’s kind of an antihero, born with a dark heritage and destiny to destroy the world – but not sure if that’s truly what she wants. It’s her journey to trading freedom in the darkness for bondage in the light. Of changing sides in this war she was born into and escaping to the very beings she’s been taught to hate: the angels.

What’s one of the things you hope readers will take away from reading The Girl Who Could See?

To have a blind faith that sees beyond the now. The circumstances that weigh us down. The darkness that may threaten to drown us. A faith that trusts in something so much bigger – so much more – than what we can see around us. To find hope in the most dismal place, and to fight for a love that won’t let go. To embrace the impossible. 🙂

Thank you so much Bethany for having me on your blog! I so enjoyed this little interview <3 

Thank you so much for being here, Kara!! 😀

Blog Tour Scavenger Hunt Clue

Kara is giving away 5 signed paperbacks of the book to those who find all the clues from the blog tour! Here is the clue for my post:

Check out these other stops on the blog tour to collect all the clues! Next stop HERE!

Connect with Kara

As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre. At seventeen, she released a fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.

Buy the Girl Who Could See HERE on Amazon!

Find Kara online at karaswanson.com

Facebook: Kara Swanson, Author

Twitter: @kara_author

Instagram: @karaswanson_author

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Interview at E.B. Dawson’s Blog

May 16, 2017

The lovely E.B. Dawson interviewed me this week, and it’s up on her blog today! We talked about my short story, Threadbare, and tips for authors and indie publishers. 🙂 Check it out HERE.

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Sunshine Blogger Challenge – 11 Questions Answered!

July 19, 2016

I was tagged for this fun challenge by Gracie Mae DeLunac!  The idea is that you answer the 11 questions the previous blogger asked, and then “tag” 11 other bloggers and write them eleven new questions to answer.

I know not everyone enjoys (or likes to pass along) these challenges, so I won’t tag anybody specific here. But if you take a fancy to my questions at the end, consider yourself tagged! 😀 Answer the questions on your blog, then link back here in the comments so I can see your answers. 🙂

Here are Gracie’s questions, answered by me!

1. What is your favorite movie/tv show quote? What is it from? Why is it your favorite?

That’s a tough question!!  There are so many good movie quotes.  I think these few tie for my favorite…

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I love this quote from the captain deeply, because it reminds me of a much deeper and more beautiful truth: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” – Jesus, Matthew 25:40

And my second favorite:

Every human soul has significance.  None of us are unimportant.

And my other favorite:

This one I love because it reminds us that what goes on inside our heads is immensely powerful.  It shapes us!  (This is especially true for writers.  And for reading.)  Just because something is imaginary doesn’t mean it won’t impact us in a real way, perhaps for the rest of our lives.

2. What do you like to think about most when plotting (characters, plotline, plot twists, villainous acts, etc.)?

I think about characters, plot twists, and intense moments the most.  The parts I’m most looking forward to writing, and the characters’ motivations, and what drives them toward each point of the story.

3. What is your preference of “apocalyptic” groups: zombies, aliens, or mutants?

Mutants all the way!!…if we’re talking X-men type mutants, that is.

4.  What kind of food do you eat to feel decent enough to write?

I’m a little confused by this question, as I don’t really consider food a part of my writing prep at all, and I usually feel decent enough to write as long as I’m not having a bad day or something.  For writing snacks, that totally depends on the day. Sometimes I just want a glass of water. Sometimes I want a big plate of healthy snacks like string cheese, applesauce, wheat crackers, carrots and hummus.  Sometimes I want a mug brownie with a dollop of ice cream. 😀  And no, the brownie and ice cream probably don’t help me feel decent, but my mouth is fond of it…… 😉

5. Do you bring your own personal views (especially political and religious) into your tales?

I think it’s impossible not to do this!  What we write flows out of our hearts; no matter how hard we try, our beliefs will show up in our writing in some way.  Some of my stories portray my faith more overtly, with openly Christian characters and religious themes.  In others, it shows up more quietly and symbolically.  My current WIP probably has the least religious content of any I’ve written…I’ve been kind of surprised at that!

6. Would you say you “commune” better with nature when gardening [hands on], lounging outside [kinda near], or viewing it from inside your place [far away]?

Can I say moving outside? 😀 I’m weird about nature.  I am more of an indoors person.  And definitely not hands on so much!  But I don’t find outside a very relaxing place to be.  I consider it an active place to be, for the most part – I’d much rather be walking, hiking, dancing, biking, etc. than lounging!  I think I subconsciously feel like if I stay still too long, the bugs will get on me more easily… Hahahaha.

7. What is the strangest/rudest thing you have ever heard your written characters say?

Well, my villain in my current WIP used a swear word in the latest chapter…..this is totally a first for me and I’m not sure what I think of this. O.o  I’ve never had a character who swore before! But this is definitely what he would say….so it fits him as a character 100%.  I haven’t decided yet whether to censor him. 😉

8. Paper or plastic or re-usable?

I love my re-usable bags, made by the owner of this Etsy store, Jiggety Pig! If I don’t have those with me, I prefer plastic, because…….well, to be honest, they make good sacks to tie stinky diapers in when you’re on the go. 😉  And I’m never sure what to do with a paper bag after I’m done with it. Throw it away?? They’re so sturdy and “nice” compared to plastic bags that it feels like a waste to just toss it!

Some of Jiggety Pig’s bags, because I know the maker, and the bags are awesome:

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9. What movie/book/show would you say has made the most impression on you? When? Why/how?

There are so many…  I’m going to go with my gut on this one and say Lord of the Rings. *happy sigh*  I was obsessed with LotR throughout most of my teens.  I lived and breathed Middle-Earth everything.  And while I was a little bit unbalanced in my obsessions at the time, 😉 I still deeply love Tolkien’s world, because there is so much love, beauty, and truth in it.  The beauty of sacrifice, the love of friendship and loyalty, and the truth of light versus darkness and nobility and courage in the face of certain death.

10. What is your favorite color?

Now that’s an easy question.  Purple!!!

As a teen I painted my side of my bedroom in my favorite shade of lavender.  I miss having that beautiful purple writing corner… Someday, someday, I hope to have a purple writing nook again. 😀

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11. If you were able to publish one of your tales and go somewhere to showcase it (author tour, opening night for the movie, etc.), where would you go?  Why?

I confess I haven’t thought about this much!  I have considered a bunch of plans for future release parties for my main story-love, The Kraesinia Trilogy…foods I would serve, excerpts to read, costumes to potentially make, gifts I’d give away.  It really depends on the book, I suppose!  Going off my current WIP, Disillusioning, it would be awesome to do a semi-local author tour in some nearby states…sign books in Barnes & Noble and meet readers face-to-face. That would be fun. 🙂

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Thanks for the fun questions, Gracie! 🙂

Here are my 11 questions to anyone who’d like to pass this challenge onward…

1. If you could have any magical/supernatural ability, what would you choose?

2. What’s one of your happiest childhood memories?

3. What is your favorite writing spot / workspace like? Why do you like to work there best?

4. What ministry or calling is closest to your heart?  What’s something you dream of doing for that cause someday?

5. Chocolatey desserts or fruity desserts??

6. What was your favorite book as a small child?

7. What’s something you used to be afraid of but aren’t scared of (or not as scared!) anymore?

8. What’s your favorite kind of outfit to wear?

9. What Bible verse has God used most powerfully in your life recently?  How?

10. How do you feel about rollercoasters? Love ’em, hate ’em?

11. Do you like sad endings or movies/books that make you cry?  Why or why not?

Let me know if you decide to take on the challenge and send me a link to your post! I’d love to learn more about you. 🙂

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EDIT: Author Yaasha Moriah answered my questions, and she had some beautiful answers! Check out her post here: http://www.yaashamoriah.com/home/sunshine-blogger-challenge-11-questions-answered

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Interview with Janeen Ippolito!

June 9, 2016

13268253_599837810190997_6827419851295399460_oToday I’m thrilled to share an interview with Janeen Ippolito!

Janeen is the founder of Uncommon Universes Press and a speculative fiction and non-fiction author – and I am also blessed to call her one of my dearest friends. 🙂

Tomorrow there is going to be an EPIC Facebook party to officially celebrate the launch of Uncommon Universes, as well as the release of Janeen’s world-building books, World-Building from the Inside Out and its accompanying workbook.

These books are fantastic resources for speculative fiction authors, and I am super excited for the party, especially the prizes they are planning to give away: art prints, ebooks, print books, jewelry, custom art, full manuscript reviews…the list goes on.  I’m so there! 😀

(Click the image below, or this text HERE, to check out the party page.)

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As part of the celebration for this release and the party, I’m interviewing Janeen here today.

So here we go! 🙂

Hi, Janeen!

Tell us a little bit about what you’re writing right now.

I’m currently finishing up a novella with the working title of Blood Mercy: Houses of the Dead. It’s first in a series of urban fantasy novellas based on the premise that vampirism is the rebellious actions of humans with an incurable form of anemia called the blood curse. These vampires, who choose to drink blood in order to scare and control other humans, are opposed by the Blood Kind, individuals with the blood curse who choose to take transfusions and oppose the vampire threat. Houses of the Dead focuses on Melrose Durante, the leader of the Blood Kind, who must unlock the mind of a tormented vampire to stop a city from destruction. The catch is the vampire is his estranged wife!

I’m also fleshing out the next book in my nonfiction helps series, Character-Building From the Inside Out. Another working title, because it sounds more like a self-help book, but I’m really excited to share the resources!

What’s been your writing journey? What’s influenced you and brought you to where you are presently?

I like to say I’ve been writing since before I could put pen to paper. I’m an avid observer of people, and I’ve always enjoyed imagining possibilities and making up stories. I’ve had great writing teachers, four years of obsessive play-by-post roleplaying online (basically group story-telling in various fandoms), and then more classes in college and at conferences. Writing is breathing and I can’t imagine not doing it, whether it is typing a blog post, a short story, a Tweet, or a chapter in a novel. I truly love communicating with readers through this medium, and I’m honored that people keep tuning in!

Major influences were actually a mixture of speculative fiction, historical fiction, and humor writers. I read avidly in each category growing up. Actually, in college I had to check my research papers and essays for too MUCH voice! Although I’m solidly a speculative fiction writer, my love of world-building comes in part from my love of history and cultures. As for the humor, it’s part of all my stories in some form or another!

When you get an idea for a new story, how does it tend to manifest and how do you go about exploring it and fleshing it out?

My ideas often come in collaboration with Julia Busko, an artist and close friend of mine. Our brains naturally ping-pong ideas off each other, and then she’ll draw concepts and I’ll write them out. We usually get ideas in scenes. We’ll think of some characters in a particular place or moment, dealing with a particular issue. Then we’ll tease out the world-building and potential plot lines. We also get a fair amount of inspiration from dreams and songs. Basically, anything can be inspiring! The idea part is easy. It’s nailing down the main story line and plot points that takes more work. We use Google Docs a lot and have learned to follow the story overall. Follow the story and the world-building will follow.

What are some of your favorite fictional worlds?

Middle Earth is one. I have to say, while Tolkien’s actual story-telling sometimes makes me a little impatient, I’m still in love with his fantasy world and the thought he put into it–especially elves! I’m also a huge fan of the fairy tale worlds Gail Carson Levine built in Ella Enchanted. Basic and effortlessly integrated into the plot. Last, the planet of Sphinx in David Weber’s Honor Harrington space opera series. He created this really interesting, biologically-sound world with one of the coolest creatures ever: six-legged telepathic treecats who have their own society and are addicted to celery. I’m allergic to cats, but I’ve always had a faint hope that I’m not allergic to treecats!

I know you’re a big Marvel fan, so I thought I’d ask…why Marvel over DC? 😀

Because abbreviations are lame.

Naaah, not true. Especially since a favorite character of mine is Professor X. I grew up with DC and Marvel superheroes, but Marvel has the X-Men and they are my favorite superheroes because they are ordinary people who have to work together. I always found it hard to relate to an alien from Krypton or an angsty guy in a batsuit, but a teenager who went to a mall and then got powers that made her combust a soda machine? That I could understand. If I suddenly got superpowers in a mall, I’m pretty sure I’d have to run out of there really quickly for everyone’s safety! Plus, Marvel seems to have more humor. Maybe it’s just the comics I choose to read, but between Ant-Man and the Fantastic Four, there are all of these jokes and every day moments. I enjoy that a lot.

What are your biggest goals as an author? What do you hope readers will take away from your work?

Sell more titles than J. K. Rowling, pay off my student loans in one day, and retire in Fiji because I can’t get enough of the epic square water bottles.

More realistically, I want to glorify God by writing and publishing excellent stories. That’s pretty much it. Another goal is turning a profit, both for myself and the authors I promote. A profit doesn’t just mean that we get paid for loads of work; it also means that readers are reading and enjoying the books, which is another major goal. 

I hope my stories make readers see that even in the worst times, there’s always a reason to laugh. Life is full of hard times and sacrifices and even annoying chronic issues that never go away, but it doesn’t have to defeat you.

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Bethany here, again!

I’m so glad to have an opportunity to promote my friend, her great books, and their new press – I’m really excited to see the things God will do through Uncommon Universes and Janeen’s work!

Don’t forget to visit the World-Building Launch Party, and I hope you’ll join in for the fun and prizes! 🙂


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Some more information about Janeen Ippolito:

Janeen Ippolito is an English teacher by day, a sword-fighter by night and a writer by heart. She’s also the founder of Uncommon Universes Press and the author of World-Building From the Inside Out. She has a B.A. in Cross-Cultural Studies, Writing, and ESL and has a passion for using humor and cultures in speculative fiction. In her spare time she makes brownie batter, reads, and watches speculative television shows. One of her goals in life is to eat a fried tarantula.

Author Website: http://www.janeenippolito.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitowriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheQuietPen

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Interview at The Writing Train!

May 4, 2016

I got interviewed this week! 😀

The other day I connected with Benjamin Thomas of The Writing Train, through Twitter.  He asked if I would be his first interviewee for a blog series with authors who have abandoned a WIP or are working on an unfinished WIP.  (If that description fits you, get in touch with him about the interview series!  He has contact info at the bottom of his interview post.)

It was a really fun set of questions – thank you, Benjamin!  I’m honored to have been interviewed, and I hope this series is an encouragement to other authors on their writing journeys. 🙂

You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

Inspiration: I’ve been writing since I was very small – I really don’t remember NOT being a writer!  I’m inspired by my own life and the many stories I’ve imbibed over the years, as well as the vivid visuals from my own imagination.  As a child I wrote my stories down on paper, before transitioning to using the family computer.  I’ve pretty much always had “irons in the fire,” and have gone from one story to the next over the years (not always finishing the first one before I move on!).

To read the rest of the interview, click here!