30 September 2016

Reader Request Interview & Book Release Info


The following author interview contains questions chosen by my readers as part of some release week fun. That's right, Johanna's new novel STRONGER THAN BLOOD, is out now! Details at the end of the interview. 

What is the inspiration behind your books? MEGAN BARAGNO
I have many, many stories in my head. Usually they arrive in fragments. I’ll either have a couple of key plot points, or a character who just won’t leave me alone until I commit to writing their story. I’ve always been a character driven author. Sometimes, this means I don’t have a definite plan of how things are going to unfold. Once the characters are made real, I’ll have an idea for a beginning, maybe a few important events or situations, then the characters find their own way there. I often stop mid scene and stare at the computer in wonderment, astonished by the direction the story has taken. I have learned (the hard way) to listen to my characters. They always seem to know where they’re going. The rare times I’ve had to delete scenes, has happened when I’ve tried to go against the grain, and force them into a story arc they don’t care for.

What inspired you to write this story? ALEIDA ALI GIAMMARELLA
Stronger than Blood has been different than any story I’ve told so far. The two most difficult things for me, when writing a novel, are the title and the blurb. With Stronger than Blood, those were chosen and written right after I’d decided which characters would feature in the book. Tobias, Will, and Rion were characters I’d created previously, but they’d never made it to publication. They were all from three completely different worlds, and originally intended to be kept separate. I decided I wanted to write a story involving Rion, but I didn’t want it to be a stereotypical “angels verses demons” piece. So I roped in two of the most unlikely characters I could find in my repertoire, and threw them all in the ring together. The story came to me easily, because these characters were not new. They were already well established in my mind. It doesn’t mean the journey hasn’t come with challenges, of course, but the characters were very real to me from day one. With my other book series, some characters took two or three books to develop.

How many books will be in this series? JANICE THOMAS
As with anything I write, the plan I had at the start went out the window very early on. I had planned to write one book, a fairly standard length novel. I’ve ended up with a reasonably long novel, which will be the first in a trilogy. The second and third book titles have already been chosen. Book two will be called “Redemption and Sacrifice”. Book three will be called “Saving Forever”.

What kind of music fuelled your creativity for this book? TRACEY STEINBACH
No matter what I write, I always have a separate playlist for any character who has a voice. Until I have that playlist, the words do not flow easily, as music is the key to making my writing work. (The only thing more important than the music is coffee, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Stronger than Blood really pushed my boundaries, because the musical influences were not always ones I was familiar with. Will in particular, prefers music much heavier than I’d usually listen to. Tobias and Will have introduced me to a few bands I’d never heard of, which has been refreshing. Choosing the playlists can be fun, though time consuming. I have to browse YouTube, and iTunes, trying to find songs and bands that awaken each character. Sometimes my close friends are able to offer helpful suggestions.

I know each of your characters have a different set of music for their jams – I’d like to know what Tobias listened to? MEGAN BARAGNO
Tobias’ playlist – Royal Blood, Blacklistt, The Pretty Reckless, Like a Storm, Blackberry Wednesday, I Am Giant, Ashes Remain, The Last Internationale, Jeff Gutt, Our Lady Peace, Imagine Dragons.
Rion’s playlist – Boyce Avenue, Joe Moore, The Fray, Karise Eden, The Killers, Manic St Preachers, Stan Walker, Maroon5, David Guetta, Hozier, Jason Mraz.
Will’s playlist – Breaking Benjamin, Avenged Sevenfold, Black River Drive, Disturbed, Papa Roach, Plan Three, Villainy, Apocalyptica, Linkin Park, Red, Seether, Radiohead, .

How do you deal with writer’s block when it happens? CAROLYN TARBOX KELLY
Fortunately I don’t experience this often. Usually, it occurs for me when I’m not listening to the characters. If I try to push them in a direction they’re not happy with, the words don’t come. A similar thing happens if I work on the wrong book. I often have more than one project on the go, and I’ve learned to listen to whichever voices are shouting the loudest. The only other thing which has caused writer’s block for me before, was listening to the wrong character’s playlist. It took me the longest time to figure out why I was struggling.

What’s been the most challenging aspect of your writing journey? AMBER LIDDELL
I’m lucky as an author. I never need to outline on paper. I don’t plot my books chapter by chapter before I write. I have a random assortment of characters and ideas in my head, and somehow it all ends up on the page in a way that makes sense for the reader. None of my struggles have anything to do with the story itself. I’m a busy wife/mother, and my family will always come first. My health can also be challenging, but writing is a wonderful escape from that. In all honesty, my biggest obstacle right now, is getting my name out there. Being an independent author from little old New Zealand is hard. Especially when the majority of my audience live outside my own country. I’ve never let this hold me back. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, and I’ve come further than I dreamed possible. I’m grateful for every single reader I have and I know if I continue to work hard, it will be worth it.

What made you wake up one day and decide to write? RAQUAL HUMPHRIES
I don’t think there was ever a day I woke up and ‘chose’ this. It’s been ingrained in my very bones from the day I was born. As soon as I was old enough to walk and talk, I was inventing stories and using my imagination. I could read before I started school, because the stories were so important to me. When I was five, a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said “a writer and an artist”. I am still both those things! As a child, I used to drive my family crazy with all the imagination play, notebooks full of stories, and crazy accents I would randomly use in every day conversation.

Have you tried to write a character who just didn’t turn out the way you originally envisioned? NICOLE NIXON
This happens to me a lot! Most of the time it’s all for the best. For example, when I first began writing Tobias, he was supposed to be a jerk, and unliked by many. He ended up becoming much easier to relate to, and the flaws he possesses are forgivable from a reader’s perspective. In my other book series, Therian Secrets, the characters I expected to be favorites were quickly overshadowed by others the readers preferred. Timothy O’Brien from Stronger than Blood was supposed to have a very small role, but ended up with a lot more page time than I’d envisaged. Derek Turner got less page time than I planned. A writer can create (or awaken) a character, but they often can’t anticipate what will happen as they grow and develop.

Who is the most active in your mind, the one you are always thinking about?  NICOLE NIXON
This changes on a daily basis. Many things in day to day life can bring various characters to the front of the brain. The characters most often in my thoughts when I’m not writing, are Will Jones from Stronger than Blood, or Danny Archer and Rufus Ramanui from Therian Secrets.  However, in saying that, all it takes is a song on the radio – to awaken any of them.

Which character most resembles your personality? MELISSA PERRY
There is no one individual character which has my exact personality. In a way, every character I write has a piece of my heart. Some more than others. The Stronger than Blood characters are special, in that they represent the parts of myself others don’t often get to see. They carry my fears and insecurities, and sometimes my regrets. They hold more of my emotions than any others. If we are talking strictly about personality, the closest character I’ve written would be Jodie Fletcher from the Therian Secrets series. I believe (with a few tweaks) she is close to the person I’d be if her world was actually real.

Are any of your characters based on real people in your life? NICOLE NIXON
I do have a couple of characters which I’ve named after people, (with permission) and others where I’ve borrowed a particular personality trait from a real person. I borrowed some of my husband’s traits for “Doug” from Therian Secrets. However, I am always very careful to add new and different elements, to keep things original.

How do you deal with the mass whining and one-upping in your head, when your characters want page time? REBEL HAIL
Some days, the character voices in my head drive me crazy. (In ways none but another author would probably understand). If this happens when I’m away from home, or too busy to sit down and write, it can be hard. When I do have time to let them out to play, I have learned to listen to whomever is screaming the loudest.

How do you deal with a character you don’t actually like? You’ve made the character, but don’t actually like who he or she is? RAQUAL HUMPHRIES
Well, to be honest, I really really do not like Delron Lancaster from Therian Secrets. He would be the character I hate the most. Leviathan out of Stronger than Blood is a bad guy, but one you expect to be bad. Delron Lancaster isn’t like that. He is in a position where he should be a good guy, and yet he is still a jerk. I deal with this by letting Karma step into the plot every now and then. It’s extremely satisfying. Delron might annoy me, but he definitely adds to the story, so I believe it is worth it.

What’s your favorite brand of coffee? Important questions must be answered! GENEVIEVE FOREMAN
When I go to a café, I prefer to go to Theobroma or Mozaik, because I like the flavor of their coffee. I know Theobroma makes their own blend, so it doesn’t taste the same anywhere else. When at home I’m limited and it’s frustrating! If I’m lazy, I’ll drink freeze dried coffee made with the kettle, but if I need decent coffee, I use Avalanche in my espresso maker. My coffee of  choice is a vanilla latte.

How many sleepless nights have you had while working out plot lines, and do you write them down when you suddenly have a breakthrough? CAROLYN TARBOX KELLY
I think I’ve lost count! This is another situation, where I’ve learned not to try to swim against the current. I have been known to get up at three in the morning to scrawl notes on a scrap of paper. Sometimes I’ve even written out a whole scene before going back to bed. On one occasion where I tried to ignore the explosion of ideas in my mind at some ungodly hour, I ended up dreaming about the characters. It’s not always easy to explain to your husband the next morning why you were calling out the names of strange men in the middle of the night!

What’s your favorite color? TRACEY STEINBACH
My favorite color is blue. I like soft shades of blue best, but any blue will do! My second favorite color is purple. My favorite bands are Muse and Imagine Dragons. My favorite type of food is Italian. My favorite flavors are vanilla and caramel. I’m allergic to chocolate and seafood. Obviously, I’m addicted to coffee. Next to coffee, cheese is my biggest food obsession. We have recently started making our own cheese here at home, from our own goats’ milk.



A demon a vampire and an angel... 
Three supernatural beings who should never have been allies, develop a bond which brings them closer than brothers. Though everything they stand for runs in direct conflict with each other, somehow they defeat the odds. What will happen if their unity is put to the test? When a mortal female becomes irreversibly tied to each in turn, will their bond be strong enough to withstand the challenges they face? Is the safety and survival of this one woman going to tear them apart, or is what they have stronger than the blood which separates them? When Heaven, Hell and the In-between come together, nothing is certain. 


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