A Conversation with Author Mary Anne Yarde @maryanneyarde

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Mary Anne Yarde, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Mary Anne, please introduce yourself:

image002Hello everyone, and thank you, Pam, for inviting me on to your fabulous blog! My name is Mary Anne Yarde, and I hail from a village just outside of Bath, England. I grew up surrounded by the rolling Mendip Hills in Somerset.

I have been writing for around 14 years. But I didn’t really take my writing very seriously until four years ago. I published my debut novel, The Du lac Chronicles, in 2016.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I was the child that always had a book in her hand, and that has not changed. As a teenager, I devoured books by Austen, Hardy and Dickens. Now, I like to read a broad genre of books. But my preferred choice would always be historical fiction, although I don’t mind a good thriller or romance now and then!

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I am self-published. I love the freedom and the control that this gives me.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write historical fiction set in Dark Age Britain. My writing is heavily influenced by the folklore of that time as well. I thoroughly enjoy writing about this era.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

I grew up with the classical writers, and then I discovered Catherine Cookson. I don’t think there is one author whom I can say really influenced my writing. Perhaps it is a combination of them all.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I grew up surrounded by the rolling Mendip Hills in Somerset — the famous town of Glastonbury was a mere 15 minutes from my childhood home. Glastonbury is a little bit unique iunnamedn the sense that it screams Arthurian Legend. Even the road sign that welcomes you into Glastonbury says…

“Welcome to Glastonbury. The Ancient Isle of Avalon.”

How could I grow up in such a place and not be influenced by the stories of King Arthur?

I loved the stories of King Arthur and his Knights as a child, but I always felt let down by the ending. For those not familiar, there is a big battle at a place called Camlann. Arthur is fatally wounded. He is taken to Avalon. His famous sword is thrown back into the lake. Arthur dies. His Knights, if they are not already dead, become hermits. The end.

What an abrupt and unsatisfactory ending to such a wonderful story. I did not buy that ending. So my series came about not only because of my love for everything Arthurian, but also because I wanted to write an alternative ending. I wanted to explore what happened after Arthur’s death.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

I find the beginning the most difficult. Staring at that blank screen can be pretty intimidating. The only way to overcome it is to write something. Anything. After that, I find the process a great deal easier!

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

My favourite time of day to write is in the afternoons.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

I love the creative journey that each book takes me on. For me, it is little like being Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit — I know where I have to get to, I am just not sure as to what kind of adventures I shall encounter along the way. What a great way to earn a living. I go on an adventure every day, and I don’t have to leave the house! The flipside… I enjoy the promoting side of being a writer, but it does take up a considerable amount of time. Unfortunately, it goes hand in hand with publishing.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I think social media is essential for all authors, no matter how they are published. It is a great way to connect with readers. I have certainly met some really lovely people, especially in the author community, through social media. My preferred forum is Twitter, and you can usually find me on there.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I also tutor history and music. So if you took away the writing, I would still be a tutor.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

I have just released The Du Lac Prophecy (Book 4 of The Du Lac Chronicles), and I am now starting work on Book 5 which is taking me to Jerusalem in the late 5th Century. I am really enjoying researching the history of this fascinating city.

The Du Lac Prophecy: (Book 4 of The Du Lac Chronicles)

KINDLE The Du Lac Prophecy 7 August 2018 finalTwo Prophesies. Two Noble Households. One Throne.

Distrust and greed threaten to destroy the House of du Lac. Mordred Pendragon strengthens his hold on Brittany and the surrounding kingdoms while Alan, Mordred’s cousin, embarks on a desperate quest to find Arthur’s lost knights. Without the knights and the relics they hold in trust, they cannot defeat Arthur’s only son – but finding the knights is only half of the battle. Convincing them to fight on the side of the Du Lac’s, their sworn enemy, will not be easy.

If Alden, King of Cerniw, cannot bring unity there will be no need for Arthur’s knights. With Budic threatening to invade Alden’s Kingdom, Merton putting love before duty, and Garren disappearing to goodness knows where, what hope does Alden have? If Alden cannot get his House in order, Mordred will destroy them all.

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

If you would like to know more about Mary Anne and her books please check out her social media links below:

Website/Blog: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryanneyarde

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15018472.Mary_Anne_Yarde

 

 

 

A Conversation with Author Amanda J Evans

 

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Amanda J Evans

Today in the Library I am delighted to host fellow Irish author, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Amanda J Evans, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Amanda, please introduce yourself:

I am an author, freelance writer, and poet. I live in Co. Meath, Ireland, with my husband and two children. I am known locally by my married name, Donnelly, but I write under my maiden name. I had work published in several magazines and journals in 2016. I am also the author of Surviving Suicide: A Memoir from Those Death Left Behind, published in 2012. When I’m not writing for work clients, I am usually reading the latest novels from some of the amazing indie authors out there, or sharing snippets from my latest manuscripts with my husband and children. I have just published my first fiction book titled Finding Forever and I am almost finished my second which will be published in the summer of 2017.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I always read as a child and I continue to do so today. I like to read in a large number of genres, but if I’m honest, romance tends to feature in them all, be it paranormal, fantasy, or suspense. I do like to try new genres every so often though and find that they can be very interesting. Once genre I haven’t tried yet is horror. It frightens me just to think about it.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I am self-published.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write romance because I love it, especially a happy ever after. I’m a big romantic at heart so it features very much in  my writing. I write contemporary romance, paranormal, fantasy, and suspense.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

That’s a tough question, and I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head. As a child I devoured Roald Dahl and I loved Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as well as Anne of Green Gables. Anything I could get my hands on I read. In teen years I read Judy Blume and moved on to Mills and Boon and second chance romance novels. I also read a lot of Terry Pratchet and Terry Brooks. I don’t think any writer in particular has been a big influence though, I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. I wrote my first book aged 8 and that was my ambition. Tragedy struck during my teens and writing took a back seat, albeit writing poetry. It is only in the past couple of years that I have found the confidence to put pen to paper again and follow my dreams.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I don’t feel that it has, but I do enjoy writing fairy tales for children and my story The Curse of Johnny Murphy, written for a local storytelling even last year, was based on Leprechauns. I also entered the Imbas Mythology competition with a story about the Banshee. So I guess you could say being Irish has been part of my stories.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

The most difficult is the editing and marketing. I love the writing part and find that once I pick up my pen, it just flows. Editing on the other hand is a chore and I’m so glad that there are editors to help with this. Marketing the finished product is challenging. I do find it difficult when I’m writing a story and lots of other story ideas start to pop into my head. It’s hard to do everything, so I focus on one at a time and I’m very strict about this.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I write in the morning while my children are getting ready for school. I usually have 30 minutes and during this time I write my morning pages and then grab my notebook to continue writing my novel. I usually get 3 to 5 pages done. I have the same routine during the weekend but tend to get more written because I’m not tied to school time. This routine works really well for me. Before this I would tell myself I’d write when I got all my work done, but that never happened. I set myself a challenge to write a page a day before I start work and it has been amazing. Since August last year, I’ve finished a novel and I’m almost 90% on my second.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing for me is actually doing what I love. I love putting words on paper and watching them fill the page. I love listening to my characters and telling their stories. I love the surprises that come with that too. I never plan and I never know what is going to happen next. I let the characters tell me their stories. I tried planning but it didn’t work out. My main character ended up being a male instead of female and characters I had planned as being secondary turned into leading roles. I gave up after that and I just write what comes.

The worst part of being an author is trying to get your name out there and learn all the marketing techniques.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

Social media is definitely essential for marketing and at times it can feel like a chore, but at the moment I am enjoying it. I prefer to use Facebook, but I have found that Instagram is very popular. I have accounts with all the top ones, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, but finding the time to devote to each can be very difficult.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

Even if I wasn’t an author, I would still be writing in some form or another. I write SEO website content for a large company in Canada and I love to blog. I really couldn’t imagine not writing something, even lists. I worked for the Health Board for 10 years before resigning and even during that time I scribbled something down. Writing is a part of me and I can’t not do it. I’ve tried but after two weeks I feel like I’m going mad. My mood is extremely irritable. Once I write something, even two sentences, it’s like calm washes over me.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

Oh God, that really is a tough one. It would have to be something with a happy ending, something that would calm and soothe the soul, take me away from it all. The genre would probably be fantasy, something filled with magic and delight. I remember reading The Never Ending Story when I was younger and that was amazing. Maybe I’d read that again, out loud to my children.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

I’ve just published my first book, Finding Forever, a romantic suspense novella. I’m also finishing my second book, a paranormal romance titled Save Her Soul which I am hoping to have published in the summer of 2017.

Finding Forever

When love refuses to give up

finding-forerver-ebook-final
http://www.bookgoodies.com/a/B01MY9IPZG

I look at his face, the face of the man who holds my heart, my forever, only his heart has stopped beating.

A woman desperately searching for her forever….

Liz Parker thought she’d found her forever the moment she said “I do”, but fate had other ideas. Waking up with a tattered wedding dress and her dead husband in her arms was not the way she planned her honeymoon. Distraught, she promised she would follow him. Death wasn’t taking forever away from her. Of course, she hadn’t planned on being rescued by pirates either, or the fact that Charles’ body would be left to rot on the beach.

Two lives collide…

When Liz meets John, he becomes her only hope, her chance to bring Charles’ body home, but there’s something more. Why does he look at her with such pity? Why does he agree to help her when no one else will? Why won’t anyone believe that Charles exists? Is Liz going mad?

51umfp86lzlSurviving Suicide – A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind  Buy Link for Amazon Worldwide

If you would like to know more about Amanda and her work please check out her social media links below:

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Google+  Linkedin  Instagram


 

A Conversation with Author Fiona Cooke Hogan

Today I am pleased to introduce my guest, fellow Irish multi-genre author­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­, Fiona Cooke Hogan, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Fiona, please introduce yourself.

img_20170103_215340_009Hello, I’m delighted to be here. I’m a writer, poet and blogger living in Abbeyleix, a quaint little town in the midlands of Ireland. I have been writing since a child and self-published my first collection of short stories in October 2015.   Continue reading “A Conversation with Author Fiona Cooke Hogan”

A Conversation with Author Catherine Kullmann

Today in the Library I am delighted to host Irish historical fiction author Catherine Kullmann, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Catherine and congratulations on the publication this week of your book, The Murmur of Masks.

Hello and thank you for inviting me to the Library. I was born and brought up in Dublin. Following my marriage I moved to Germany where I lived for over twenty-five years. My husband and I returned to Ireland in 1999 and celebratCatherine Kullmann 4 MBed our ruby wedding in 2013. We have three adult sons and two grandchildren. I have worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. I took early retirement some years ago and was finally able to follow my life-long dream of writing fiction

Did you read much as a child?

As a child I always had my nose in a book. I had tickets for the public library and the children’s section of the RDS library and visited both several times a week. The librarian of the public library allowed me join the adult library early as I had read everything in the children’s library.

Are you an avid reader now?

Yes. I have to read every day. I buy a lot of new books, but also love second-hand bookshops, book fairs and charity shops as you never know what you might find.

Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I generally read fiction for pleasure and non-fiction for research. I love historical fiction and detective stories set in all periods, but also read nineteenth and twentieth century fiction, contemporary fiction, paranormal and fantasy.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Self-published.

Which genre do you write in and why?

According to traditional publishers, my books fall between two stools—historical romance and historical fiction. I describe them as ‘historical fiction for the heart and for the head’. They are set during the extended Regency period, an era that has always fascinated me. It started with Jane Austen, I suppose, but as I came to know more about the period, I realised it was the one which shaped both the United Kingdom which came into being with the Act of Union in 1800 and modern Europe through the Napoleonic wars and their aftermath. Although a time of revolution, reform and transition, it was still a rigid, patriarchal, class-ridden society. I enjoy the challenge of creating characters who behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to a modern reader.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

I would have to start with my English teachers and the essays I wrote every week, then my professional training in drafting accurately and, as far as possible, elegantly. Novelists who influenced me include Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Georgette Heyer to whom all ‘regency writers’ owe so much, and Dorothy Sayers. In Gaudy Night, when her heroine is faced with writing a very tricky letter, she has her ask herself, “Why can’t I write a straightforward piece of English on a set subject?” This question makes her identify the real reason for her difficulties. Once she realises what the problem is, she is able to deal with it.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

Yes. In many ways the Ireland I grew up in was more similar to Regency society than to modern twenty-first century society. Attitudes to sex and sexuality were very different. Contraception was illegal, as was divorce. Pre-marital sex was frowned upon and it was almost unheard of for an unmarried mother to keep her baby. It was not usual for married women to work outside the home and many employers, including the civil service, refused to continue a woman’s employment once she married.

At the time I moved to Germany, air-travel and international phone calls were very expensive and there was, of course, neither  internet, Skype, Facebook, texting nor anything of that sort, so I know what it is like to be isolated in a new environment and dependent on letters to maintain relationships and friendships.

Some people have asked me why I don’t set my books in Ireland but it would be impossible to do that and ignore the political and social situation in Ireland at that time. That would result in a different, bleaker book that I don’t want to write.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

Because my books are pure fiction, I do not start with a real storyline or characters. It is usually something quite small that triggers a book—a ‘what if?’ or ’what then?’ In the case of The Murmur of Masks, it was a small throwaway line in another book Perception & Illusion which, although it was written first, will not be published until next year. The most difficult thing is fleshing out that little idea. First I create the characters and then work on an outline of the plot, although that will change considerably as I write the first draft.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I prefer the mornings but write in the afternoon as well.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best is when a book takes flight, when your characters suddenly determine the route of their journey. The worst is when they stubbornly refuse to budge.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

As you know, I came very late to social media and regard it more as a chore than an essential part of my life. To my surprise, I find I enjoy Facebook, especially the interaction with other writers. I also blog about historical facts and trivia relating to the extended Regency

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

That is a hard one. I am retired and have no wish to return to the day job. I think I would have to find something else creative to do, but am not sure what.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

I wouldn’t read; I would listen to Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Handel’s Messiah

Please tell us about your latest published work.

Portrait of Lady Morgan (Sydney Owenson) (1776-1859), Writer, c.1818, Artist: RenÈ ThÈodore Berthon. A lady in an empire line dress seated on a chair beside a writing desk. Pen in hand. A vase of flowers.

My debut novel, The Murmur of Masks, is now available on Amazon as an e-book and paperback. It is a story of loss, love and second chances set against a background of the Napoleonic wars, culminating in the Battle of Waterloo. It is available worldwide on Amazon.

If you would like to know more about Catherine and her work please check out the social media links below:

Blog   Website: Facebook  

or you can send messages to my Page at

m.me/catherinekullmannauthor.

 

 

A Conversation with Author Dianne Ascroft

Today in the Library I am delighted to host author ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Dianne Ascroft, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Dianne, please introduce yourself:

Dianne Ascroft headshotHi everyone. I’m an urban Canadian writer. I moved to Britain more than a quarter of a century ago and gradually downsized until I’m now settled on a farm in rural Northern Ireland with my husband and an assortment of strong willed animals.

I write historical and contemporary fiction, often with an Irish connection. My current series The Yankee Years is a collection of Short Reads and novels set in World War II Northern Ireland. After the Allied troops arrived in this outlying part of Great Britain, life there would never be the same again. The series weaves tales of the people and the era. My previous writing includes a short story collection, Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves and an historical novel, Hitler and Mars Bars. Online I lurk at www.dianneascroft.com. Continue reading “A Conversation with Author Dianne Ascroft”

Creating Characters Your Readers Will Love

It’s all very well to have a great story but it’s your characters who are going to tell it for you.

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Georgette Heyer – One of my Writing Heroes

Besides an overdose of historical detail (which can come across as patronising), a common irritant for me as a reader are characters that are so wishy-washy that you want to slap them … very hard. I have a dread of mousey heroines or nice heroes. One of my favourite authors is Georgette Heyer. But I find that the Heyer novels I read over and over are the ones with at least one strong protagonist, and more often than not, two, and they are usually at loggerheads for most of the novel. Continue reading “Creating Characters Your Readers Will Love”

How to Market your Self-Published Book

I’m joking; if I knew I’d be a millionaire. If anyone tells you they have the magic formula – back away very slowly. I do believe that there is one little pieMagic Wandce of magic involved, but I’m not going to reveal what it is until the very end.

This world of promotion and marketing is all very new to me. This time last year I wasn’t even sure I was going to publish. However, encouraged by my wonderful editor, Hiliary Johnson and friends and family, I finally took the plunge last July and set my book baby free in the big bad world. Frankly, that was the easy bit; what came next is like something out of a nightmare. There I was clutching my book baby and no clue how to get it noticed. I ran around like a headless chicken trying this method and that. Some succeeded and others failed. What follows is a History of the Trials and Tribulations of an Indie Author in the Virtual World’! Continue reading “How to Market your Self-Published Book”