Friday, September 30, 2016

Introducting Mulit Talented Author Steve Soderquist

Greetings to all, Today we're talking to Author Steve Soderquist on his writing, what are his plans and what's next in his writing.

What brought you to write this book? 

Farm House was inspired by an actual house in Croswell, Michigan where I was staying while finishing up the novella, ‘One for the Road.’ The matriarch of the house had a then nineteen-year-old daughter and she seemed to have opened her home to many a wayward young adult. As the home itself was so out of the way from civilization and surrounded by fields of farmers’ corn, I wondered how long it would take anyone to notice if one of those kids just went batshit crazy and started killing every other person? Hence, a book was born!
Why spend months/years of your life writing this book?

Every book written, once it gets to the stage of commitment is like one of your kids. You will have it for the rest of your life and will forever want to correct something about it. When a book grows from a concept, to a thought, to an idea, then to being written down and worked on, then the vigorous re-writes and edits, it becomes a part of the writer. I certainly have favorite parts to all my books, but no one book stands above the rest. I enjoyed writing Farm House as much as I did the short children’s story…just in a different way.

What are you trying to achieve with this book?

Fear…plain and simple. Isolation and not being able to run for help, having nowhere to run to for help, is a terrifying concept. It’s easy to say, “Oh, I would run down the road as fast as I could!” But when the chips are down…when the lights are out and it’s dark out and the road has no signs and the next house is twenty miles away, and you can feel the killers breath on your neck; the strength runs out of you like water through a sieve.
What got left out in the final draft? 

I originally had a whole chapter dedicated to Karen Foster (the mother) and her childhood and an experience she had that led her to be as gracious as she was to these seemingly misfit teens, but it really didn’t add to the story. As Stephen King so aptly puts it: “Sometimes you gotta kill your darlings to move the story along.”

Were there alternate endings you considered?
If so, what were they??

Without giving away spoilers, there were originally going to be less victims, but it didn’t fit with the mood of the story as a whole. Suffice to say, this story is about three people when it starts, and is about three people when it ends. ;-)

What's next for you? What are you working on now?

With respect to my duties as co-owner of Foundations, LLC with Laura Ranger, I am currently finishing edits on a novel I previously released called ‘SEEDS’ and a YA novel long in coming called ‘Jessica.’ However, there are only so many hours in the day and as all writers know, getting in ‘the zone’ is at times easier said than done. 

What made you want to start writing?

My love of reading! Even as a child I had a voracious appetite for books…any books. Without knowing it, I loved challenges. I read ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ at ten even though I didn’t understand half of it. I re-read it so much eventually it started to sink in. The genre mattered to me not at all. V.C. Andrews, Anthony Burgess, James Clavell, J.R.R. Tolkien…if it was in English, I was down with it.

What things have you read that have especially helped your writing?

I’m a firm believer that you will learn as much from badly written books as you will from great ones. When it comes to craft, everything is illuminating. Styles of writing differ greatly but when it comes to mechanics, I cannot stress how important good, solid English 101 is. There may be such a thing as a natural story-teller, but there is no such thing as a natural story-writer. Learning all the little doo-dads of composition, grammar, punctuation, Parts of Speech…all these are learned through study and practice. Writing an enthralling, engrossing, (pick your adverb) book and making it seem, well, seamless, is likened to a paint-by-numbers painting. The goal is the same. Don’t let the numbers show when you’re done.

What's the hardest thing about writing for you? *

The middle is my personal danger area. It comes down to feeling lost, bored, frustrated, confused, or a combination of any and all. When the characters are just standing around twiddling their thumbs and waiting for me to come up with something, I can feel the weight of their stares…lol. Once I get over this hump and its game-on time again, the rest falls into place nicely.

What do you wish you knew before you started? 

It’s hard to say what I wish I knew, as I count all experience as good in relation to where I’ve now come. Without the bumps and bruises, I wouldn’t have toughened up, and certainly if the lessons learned were just fed to me wouldn’t have close to the impact as they have been, metaphorically beaten over my head. When I look back on the months, and even years, spent learning what I have, it would no doubt seem daunting if looked at in anything but hindsight. I regret nothing.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I love the challenge of writing different genre’s. I think most writers do! The best books I’ve read and experienced have been a collage of many genre’s with perhaps one or two as the main theme. Reviewers have tried to pigeon-hole me, calling me a ‘horror writer’ and that’s a myth I quickly dispel. I am a writer who wrote a horror novel. I also wrote science fiction, young adult, children’s, thriller and suspense, and paranormal novels…and that’s only to date.

Where did your love of reading & writing come from?

Curiously, I am not sure. My house growing up was hardly what could be called a library of reading material. If there was a book around, chances are it was mine. I seemed to gravitate naturally to the written word. I loved the story-telling. I respected the art. So much so, I did not even conceive of trying myself until I was seventeen.

How long have you been writing?

Let’s see. ‘Professionally’ (what I consider when I got paid for publication) almost seven years now. Off and on, about 39 years. When I say professionally, I can honestly say that’s when I took it seriously and learned how to write, not just sat down and typed something down. Ironically, I never fared well in school and English was a study of boredom for me. When I began to learn how important it was to craft language when writing a story down, I admit it completely fascinated me. I made it a life goal to learn as much as I can and share what I’ve learned in an entertaining and non-cluttered way. I like to show folks how to get from A to B without trying to sound either like dry wood or like an English calculator. I enjoy teaching as much as anything else and my writing seminars are something I completely enjoy doing.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Diving into the deep, disturbing psyche of my main antagonist. Hey…I’m a lover, not a fighter. Some of the shit she did and thought chilled me to the bone. It’s not in my nature to think like she does but the very fact it disturbed me that much only told me I was being honest as a writer, and giving the book it’s proper due. If I pull back, I cheat not only the character and myself, but also the reader…and that I refuse to do.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The absolute courage displayed by ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances. This book ultimately–despite its horrors–is a love story of the most sacrificial kind. There is no love greater than someone who is willing to lay their life down for you.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't so?

That it is just another jump-scare horror book. It’s been my experience that while movies can certainly fall under a cookie-cutter label when it comes to regurgitating the same ol’, same ol’, books have a way of taking on a life of their own…especially horror novels. I can say the book is unique because quite simply, I wrote it. I listened to nothing but my own head and heart and therefore, so did all the characters. They are as unique as a fingerprint and just as complicated.

What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know? 

It’s not all scary! There are times you will feel compassion, or feel sad, or find yourself laughing out loud. You will cheer for the hero’s and feel triumph when they win as easily as you may cry when they lose. It’s a story of the heart, not just ‘Boo!’

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

One of the greatest compliments I get is the fact my lead is female. Both of them! There may be lots of slasher stories out there, but how many are girls, eh?

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it. 

Q: Why pick on a girl to be the psycho killer?
A: Because I grew up with four step-sisters and know exactly how insane teenage girls can be, so don’t think I’m fooled for a second.

What does your "writing cave" look like? 

My writing cave is in my mind. Over the years I’ve been in a room all by my lonesome, shared an office space with someone, and have been right out in the middle of the melee and mayhem. When I am in the zone, I am in the zone. Bombs could go off around me and it wouldn’t disturb me.

Do you use music as inspiration? Can you tell us about what type of music inspires you?

Generally, for writing I prefer no music, however when it comes to editing almost anything goes. My tastes in music are as eclectic as my choice of genre’s. Anything from Iron Maiden to Taylor Swift to Def Leppard to Toby Mac to Toby Keith is okay in my book.

Must have beverage & snack while writing?

Water and Neccos! Any hard candy, really. I used to be a smoker (37 years) so there is still a connection mentally when it comes to taking a break and having a smoke, so it helps. ;-)

Here is where you can find him: 

Email address:

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Please Welcome Contemporary Author Jolyse Barnett

    Today I'll be interviewing with Author Jolyse Barnett about her writing, books and what's new. She's amazing and she lives in New York, by the vineyards and the beaches. I'm so jealous. I would love to see a vineyard, and New York.
    1.  How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always expressed myself more eloquently in the written word than the spoken.

      2.  Tell me about your journey as an author… where did it start?
It started in the fifth grade when my teacher needed to keep me occupied while she worked with reading groups. I would read poetry magazines, copy and memorize the poems, then write my own inspired by those I’d memorized. I began keeping a diary after that, which I kept up for years…until I married and life became too busy. Years later, I decided to pursue romance writing seriously upon my daughter’s insistence that I follow my lifelong dream of becoming a published author. Six years ago I joined a local chapter of Romance Writers of America here on Long Island, wrote five pages of my first book over and over until my critique group wanted more, then finished the book within a year. That book’s first chapter won an award, but I’ve yet to pursue publication with it. (Maybe I will one day. LOL.) I wrote three-quarters of the second book in that series, but didn’t finish it, frustrated in general with my lack of originality. I spent the next year focused on building my imagination and learning the craft and industry. Toward the end of that year I came up with the premise for my Mystic Escapes Series.

Since then, I’ve written six more romances, four of which have been published. My debut was a contemporary romance novella, Christmas Light. The second was His Kiss (retitled as The Rebel’s Redemption). Text Me, Maybe released on August 8th, and I’m excited that One More Sunset—first published last autumn by a now-defunct publisher—has found its home with Foundations LLC and will release on October 3rd.

 3.     Are you a “plotter” or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

I’m what you might call a hybrid. When I first began writing seriously six years ago, I created a personal writing template, which includes the story’s working title, the setting, character details, a logline, tagline, and brief synopsis. Once that handy form is all filled out, I sit down and let my imagination take care of the details as I alternate between brainstorming and drafting. However, on my most recent two WIPs, I’ve begun to be far more detailed, and am making sure I’ve nailed down all the major beats and have woven in the subplots and romance arc BEFORE drafting. So far, this is making the drafting part go much more quickly. 

       4. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere! J 
      5.  What has been the greatest challenge in being a writer and becoming published? What lessons would you share with new writers?

The greatest challenge has been deciding which genre fits me best. I love so many types of books that I’ve struggled with settling into just one genre. Also, I’ve learned I’ve had to say no to projects that I knew didn’t fit me so that I could focus on projects that I feel strongly about. As far as advice, I’ll suggest that aspiring writers relax and be true to themselves, writing and reading a lot, and focus on their own creative journeys rather than comparing themselves to other authors.

      6.  What you working on at the moment?

I tend to be a multi-tasker when it comes to writing. Currently, I’m drafting a small town contemporary romance, a flirty urban-set romance, and am in the edits process for the next book in the Mystic Escapes series called One More Touch. I’m also percolating ideas for One More Chance, the third story in the series which will be set between Long Island and Bermuda.

      7.  What should readers expect from your books?
Generally speaking, I write complex, emotional storylines but with a dose of humor and a guaranteed happily-ever-after.

      8. What’s on your bookshelf? Do you have favorite authors?
Pretty much all subgenres of romance. I don’t generally read horror or psychological thrillers (real life is scary enough for me), although my curiosity has been piqued by the movie trailers for The Girl on a Train. I might just have to get up the nerve and read that book and see the film. (I’m a sucker for fast-paced mysteries.)

      9.   And of your own books, which is your favorite?
I love them all in different ways, but the one I’ve reread most just so happens to be One More Sunset. Perhaps that’s because I adore Key West so much and all those details allow me to relive wonderful couple getaway memories via Abby’s adventure.

     10.  If you could write in any other genre than your own, what would it be?

I’d write middle grade fantasy or mysteries.

Thank you for a great interview and answering all the questions. Here is how you can reach Jolyse Barnett.

Guest Details:

Author Name:  Jolyse Barnett

Author Website/Blog:

Author Profile Page on Amazon:

Author Profile on Smashwords:  NONE


Book Titles:

Christmas Light

The Rebel’s Redemption (formerly His Kiss)

Text Me, Maybe

One More Sunset
Amazon Print:
B&N Print:

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