Interview with Meghan March

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Foto: Amy Daws

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a passionate reader and an audiobook fanatic. When I’m not writing or editing, I love to sneak away and spend some quality time daydreaming on beach somewhere. Before I became a full-time author, I was a corporate lawyer for eight years. I’m currently based in Austin, Texas, but plan on seeing more of the world before I pick a permeant home-base.

Why did you choose to write erotic novels and not, for example crime novels?

I’ve been a reader my whole life, and the books that always drew me in were the ones with a love story and a happily ever after. I picked up my first mass market paperback novel in my small town library when I was twelve and didn’t stop until I’d read them all. When I was 13 years old, I had to write a list of life goals for a class and one of mine was to write a romance novel.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing erotica? … and what is most fun?

I think writing erotica and erotic romance are two different things, and I would say my books fall closer to the erotic romance side of the spectrum because the story isn’t just sex, sex, and more sex. The story is about the characters and how they come together and relate, some of which happens through sex, obviously. That can be challenging because as an author, I have to let my characters react how they will and follow their lead. The most fun part for me is keeping it fresh and new, but it seems once I know the characters and their flaws and foibles, everything else falls together.

Who is your favourite author and which is your favourite book?

That question is pretty much impossible to answer, especially because it’s so fluid. I will say that I will drop everything (even in the middle of a deadline) to read certain author’s books. Kresley Cole has three fabulous series that I adore, I’m addicted to Kristen Ashley’s alpha males, and Lisa Kleypas is my absolute must-read for historical romance.

What is your best advice to someone who would like to write a novel?

Get to know your characters. Spend time with them in your head, or even just free writing from their points of view. Figure out what kind of story you want to tell, and then sit down and start. And if you have no idea how to start to write a book, read books on writing craft. That’s exactly what I did.

Thank you Meghan!

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Interview with Meghan March

Interview with Nicholas Sansbury Smith

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Photo: Private

Tell us shortly about yourself.
I’m a USA Today bestselling author of mostly science fiction and thrillers. I’ve been writing full time for about four years now and have released fourteen novels and multiple short stories. I’m also an athlete and have completed two Ironman triathlons. If I’m not writing, I’m probably with my family or exercising. I also love to travel and look forward to another Europe trip in 2018.

Can you tell us more about your latest series ”Trackers”?
Trackers is a story I came up with while working for Homeland Security and Emergency Management in the disaster mitigation field. I became aware of countless threats (manmade and natural) to our country and became convinced, as many are, that one of the greatest threats is an EMP attack from North Korea. Such an attack could take down our grid and devastate our way of life. The story follows a police chief and his allies in the small town of Estes Park Colorado, and the Secretary of Defense in Washington D.C., as she tries to save as many lives as possible by setting up survival centers and bringing in generators, food, supplies, and troops. Unlike most of my other books, Trackers is not science fiction. This is a story that could actually happen, which, in my opinion, makes it even more terrifying.

You write post-apocalyptic fiction, why do you mostly write in this genre? What is it that excites you about it?
I grew up reading and loving this genre because it scared that hell out of me. Why? Because I think most of us live in bubbles and safe places where we don’t have to think about the end of the world. When I reached my twenties I realized this is just an illusion, and the threat of nuclear war, a virus, a CME, and countless other threats exist all around us. Our way of life could be wiped away in a heartbeat. Therefore I decided to write in the genre for two reasons. One for entertainment, and two as a warning that if we’re not careful our species could be wiped out.

Do you have any role models when it comes to writing? If yes, who?
I have too many to name so I’ll just go with the first one that always comes to mind. Joe Haldeman, the author of The Forever War. To say that book changed my life is an understatement. I’ve read it multiple times and dragged my dog-eared copy all over the country and world. I firmly believe there are only a handful of books out there that can change the life of a reader, and The Forever War is definitely one of them.

Where do you write your stories? Do you have any specific writing rituals?
I write a lot at coffee shops because I have to be around other people when writing for some reason. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because in my time working for the government I was always around co-workers. Part of it also has to do with the distractions at home. I force myself to leave the house because when I do, I get stuff done. Like right now, I’m sitting at a coffee shop answering this question, hah.
My rituals are pretty simple. I edit in the morning and write in the afternoon or at night. I realized early into this career that I write better at those hours. If I’m stuck on a scene I go for a run, bike ride, or a swim. Anything to get my heart rate up. They say running is a writer’s sport, and I can see why. There’s something about exercising that helps me clear my mind and adrenaline really gets the creative juices flowing.

Thank you Nicholas!

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Interview with Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Interview with Sophie Kinsella

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Photo: John Swannell

Sophie Kinsella International Q&A
Jan 2017

Did you base Katie’s tricky experiences when moving to London on anything or anyone’s experiences? The commuting scene came directly from personal experience. When I was in my first couple of jobs, in my 20s, I had mammoth commutes, from south London to Holborn. More recently, I used to live in Wimbledon, and whenever I had to take the train at rush hour, both platform and trains were always crammed. It really is warfare, like Katie says!

Her flat was inspired partially by the famous sale of a ‘broom cupboard’ in Knightsbridge. More recently I read a piece in the Evening Standard, about the pressure on London property. I got very interested in this, and looked online. Some rooms for rent were really tiny and Katie’s hammock came from me thinking, ‘Well, where would you keep your clothes’?

Her exhilaration at being in London also comes from real life. I remember starting work in London and thinking ‘Wow, I’m part of it’. I worked at one time for the FT Group, and it gave me such a buzz, walking over Waterloo Bridge, holding my FT and feeling like I was part of a huge, important city life.

Social media is a big theme in the book. Do you feel any pressure to keep up with social media trends? Social media has become an integral part of my life and I’m not sure how! I’m not one to post my children every five seconds, but when I’m out and about, I am always thinking, ‘Ooh, shall I Instagram that’? I try not to get too hung up on it, though, and in fact, writing this book gave me perspective!

Did you research the glamping element of the book? Of course! I went glamping especially. I’m a total sucker for all that kind of thing – yurts, bunting, fires, wellies and flower garlands and feeling all rustic and down to earth, but with a nice hot shower available. I am definitely a glamper rather than a camper!

Demeter is a multi-layered character and the reader’s opinion of her evolves throughout the book. When you started writing, did you plan for this shift in perspective or were you surprised by how her character changed over the course of the novel? I always knew there were hidden depths to Demeter. One of the joys of writing the book was portraying her through Katie’s eyes and gradually seeing Katie awaken to the real Demeter, underneath the glossy image. I think that’s how relationships work in real life, too. We see someone who appears successful and glamorous and confident, and can make the mistake of taking them at face value. Especially in a workplace situation, where everyone has to play their role. But if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that everyone has issues and problems; everyone has their ‘stuff’. No-one has it all perfect.
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Have you got any tips for looking and feeling great on a Katie Brenner budget? I think Katie does really well by going to markets. I have a market near me in London and there are some amazing bargains. Katie buys a lot of clothes in black and that’s sensible. Have your black basics, and then find pops of colour with scarves or necklaces. Charity shops are a total joy.

As for beauty, my latest all-purpose discovery is coconut oil. You can use it on your skin and your hair and a little goes a long way.

Have you had ever any nightmare bosses? I have been lucky in my bosses, but I have heard plenty of horror stories from friends! I think Demeter is probably in a league of her own, though…

Who came first in your head, Katie or Demeter? The two popped in together. From the start, it was the dynamic between the pair of them that interested me. I knew I wanted to write about two women, one older and glamorous who ‘had it all’ and one who was struggling. The characters unfolded from there.

Where will Katie, Demeter and the rest of the cast of characters be in 5 years’ time? Demeter will mellow, become a little more ‘mindful’, and start mentoring young girls to get into the industry. Katie will soar ahead in her career. She has such talent and drive. Alex will come up with five new ground-breaking ideas. He will have occasional urges to run away, around the world, but Katie will steady him. Mick and Biddy will flourish. Mick will learn the tube map! Flora, annoyingly, will return from her travels, begin an organic beauty company based on some essential oil she discovered on her trip and do really well at it. Alan will still have a garage full of whey powder and chicken stock. Steve Logan will invite Katie to the christening of his first child and make a pass at her.

Interview with Sophie Kinsella