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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Kevin A. Muñoz, author of The Post


Please welcome Kevin A. Muñoz to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Post was published on January 15, 2019 by Diversion Books.



Interview with Kevin A. Muñoz, author of The Post




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Kevin:  The first fiction piece I remember writing and completing and actually making an effort at doing well was something I did in elementary school. We were supposed to write short stories - two hundred words or so, because we were kids - once a week, I think it was. Well, I couldn’t do that. So over the course of three months I ended up writing a twelve-part, twenty-four hundred word serialized Gothic short story about an old man living in a French castle suffering from loneliness and hallucinations. It did not go over well.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Kevin:  I’m not sure how to describe my process. What I usually do is come up with a general idea, then a beginning and an ending. After that I go through my huge film soundtrack collection and put together a soundtrack of my novel, using that as inspiration to find the story beats and the spine of the plot. After that, I start writing, aiming for those beats in the soundtrack. I think I do it this way because I really hate writing outlines, but I also don’t like just winging it.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kevin:  The most challenging thing would probably be keeping my momentum up. I am a terrible procrastinator. I’ll start work on a new project, or a rewrite, and sail full steam ahead for a long while and then sort of sputter to a stop. After that, I get what I call “writer’s blah” and just can’t be bothered to keep writing. I’m not blocked, I have the ideas, I’m just... over it. Then I have to find my motivation again.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Kevin:  Music is the biggest day to day influence on my writing. I can’t write without it. But more broadly, I think it would have to be my weird collection of life experiences. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and known all sorts of people and places. I try to paint with that eclectic palette as much as I can.



TQDescribe The Post using only 5 words.

Kevin:  The best quick synopsis I’ve seen is one I didn’t come up with: dystopian mystery thriller with zombies. I used to jokingly call the book my zombie detective novel, but that’s not really accurate, since there are no zombie detectives in it.



TQTell us something about The Post that is not found in the book description.

Kevin:  There is a revelation about halfway through the book that, I hope, will raise questions for readers about the kinds of assumptions they make when reading. To say much more than that would give it away, so I’ll leave it at that!



TQWhat inspired you to write The Post?

Kevin:  Most of my prior writing has been science fiction or fantasy. I’d never really taken a stab at the horror genre, or anything next door to it. The Post came about because I wanted to challenge myself and write a story that ignores some of the conventions and boundaries that usually go along with the genre.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Post?

Kevin:  I mainly did research in two areas. First was in virology, at least enough to let me achieve verisimilitude in how I portray the virus that leads to the apocalypse. There are outlandish elements to make the story work, but I tried to put in as much real biology as I could. The second was a bit more mundane, and involved writing with Google Maps open in a separate window. I made a concerted effort to ground the story in the real geography of Georgia, down to the silliest of details, like the angles of certain street corners in Athens.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Post.

Kevin:  The idea for the cover came from the publisher and I immediately loved it. They wanted to give the feel of a thriller, of emptiness and solitude and anxiety, and the artist did a fantastic job. There is a scene in the novel that matches up fairly well with the cover but it’s really more about a feeling, a sense of dread, that makes it the right cover for the book.



TQIn The Post who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Kevin:  The easiest character to write was Marilyn Trainor. She serves as the moral center, the conscience, of the whole story. The hardest was Chief Edison. A main character and narrator who has to be emotionally closed off takes a lot of delicate balancing to get right. Too much emotion and you get the character all wrong. Too little and no one wants to keep reading.



TQDoes The Post touch on any social issues?

Kevin:  It does touch on social issues, but to say much more than that would spoil some of the mystery!



TQWhich question about The Post do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Kevin:  I only wish people would ask this question because the answer behind it amuses me. It’s not an important question at all. Where did the title come from? The title is an inside joke. I wanted to write a post-apocalyptic novel. So I initially titled it, “The Post-Apocalyptic Novel,” until I got inspiration for the real one. Once I developed the themes of the story, I realized I could just shorten that title and it would be a perfect fit. Hence, “The Post.”



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Post.

Kevin:  This is the easiest question to answer, because for me there is one line that is far and away my favorite. It comes at the end of chapter two: “Reading with bloodshot eyes in the dark of a cloud-covered night, it’s hard to remember that I can’t save everyone. And just as hard to forget.”



TQWhat's next?

Kevin:  The very next thing is a sequel to The Post. I’ve plotted out the story as a trilogy, and I’m in the middle of editing my early drafts of the second book. And after that I have a long line of projects to work on. I’ve got ideas to last me for years!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Kevin:  Thank you for the great questions!





The Post
Diversion Books, January 15, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 254 pages

Interview with Kevin A. Muñoz, author of The Post
Zone One meets Station Eleven in this chilling, post-apocalyptic debut, perfect for fans of The Walking Dead and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Ten years after the world’s oil went sour and a pandemic killed most of the population, Sam Edison is the chief of police of The Little Five, a walled-in community near Atlanta, Georgia. Those who survived share the world with what are known as hollow-heads: creatures who are no longer fully human.

A man and a pregnant teenager arrive at the gate and are welcomed into the town. They begin to settle in when suddenly both are murdered by an unknown assailant. In the course of investigation, Chief Edison discovers that the girl was fleeing a life of sexual slavery, and that some members of the Atlanta community were complicit in the human trafficking network that had ensnared her.

In retaliation for Edison’s discoveries, agents of the network abduct the stepdaughter of the town’s mayor. Sam Edison and three companions track the kidnappers to Athens, Georgia, where they discover that the entire city is engaged in human trafficking. By the time Edison has recovered the kidnapped girl, the other three rescuers have been killed, leaving Edison alone to bring the mayor’s stepdaughter home. Further complicating their return is Sam’s realization that a prominent member of the community is in truth the ringleader of the slave-trading network. Against such great odds, will Sam ever make it to Little Five alive?





About Kevin

Interview with Kevin A. Muñoz, author of The Post
Kevin A. Muñoz earned his Ph.D. in New Testament studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He has been a game designer, language instructor, and adjunct professor, and now is following the path of his father as a published novelist.






Website  ~ Twitter @drmunoz

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Interview with Joe Ollinger, author of 10,000 Bones


Please welcome Joe Ollinger to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. 10,000 Bones is published on February 5, 2019 by Diversion Books.



Interview with Joe Ollinger, author of 10,000 Bones




The QwilleryWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece that you remember writing?

Joe Ollinger:  Hmm… The earliest I can remember is a story I wrote in second or third grade as part of a class assignment. I overdid it and wrote this long story about an alien invasion that ended with Earth being destroyed and the protagonist waking up on a space station.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

JO:  I’m mostly a plotter, but sometimes when I get stuck with my outlines, I like to start writing scenes before the outline is 100% done.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

JO:  The hardest thing for me, and the thing I worry about the most, is figuring out will connect with people. It might be the most fundamental thing about storytelling, the goal of relating to others. I’m constantly asking myself, “Is this something people will find interesting?” It’s the scariest part, never knowing the answer to that.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

JO:  My literary influences are too many to list without being unfair to a lot of authors. My favorites were always the sci-fi greats: Asimov, Clarke, Dick, Heinlein, Niven. In more general terms, I love telling stories, solving problems, and losing myself in other worlds and experiences. Writing allows me to immerse myself in all three of those things. Fiction is fantasy, in that in good fiction, life makes sense. (Of course there are some exceptions, such as Franz Kafka’s books.) Good fiction is built on cause and effect, if not a traditional sense of justice. Life is not like that. Our world often doesn’t make sense, and that’s frightening. Reading and writing fiction is an escape from that. But it’s not just an escape – it gives us a way to look at our lives within a framework of causation and goals and struggle. It reinforces a rational worldview. So for me writing is either a compulsive exercise to maintain sanity, or it’s an egotistical attempt to impose my own framework of meaning upon the reader. Or both.



TQDescribe 10,000 Bones using only 5 words.

JO:  Calcium is money. Get bones.



TQTell us something about 10,000 Bones that is not found in the book description.

JO:  After introducing the world and the basic premise, there’s not much room for the emotional elements of the story. Taryn’s investigation forces to confront her conflicted relationship with her world. There’s also a bit of a will-they-or-won’t-they romance subplot.



TQWhat inspired you to write 10,000 Bones?

JO:  The first inkling was a desire to write something about the nature of money, and the spark that made it seem like a promising idea was connecting the currency to the human body in a visceral, physically tangible way.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for 10,000 Bones?

JO:  I had to start with basic stuff. How much calcium is in a human body? What is the most efficient way to administer calcium to the human body? What are the symptoms of a calcium deficiency? How do you extract calcium from organic tissue and what kind of costs are associated with that? Then there was some math and price setting. How many human bodies does a Collections Agent track down in a year? How much calcium is she collecting from other sources? What is a reasonable percentage for the Commerce Board to pay her, and how does that add up to a yearly pay that makes sense in this economy? How much does she have to save to be able to afford an interstellar ticket? Needless to say, I had to do some math. I also went down some rabbit holes, like the Big Mac index and the effects of economic sanctions on countries like Iran and North Korea.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for 10,000 Bones.

JO:  I won’t say that the image depicted on the cover definitively does not happen in the story, but I don’t think the goal was to depict any specific scene. I think it does a good job of conveying the kind of world the reader is getting into: alien, desolate, but also urban and futuristic. The bones in the foreground subtly hint at the book’s subject matter. And I like the retro, minimalistic look my publisher Diversion Books went with. It’s got a kind of Sergio Leone ruggedness ad evokes some 1970s-style grit.



TQIn 10,000 Bones who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

JO:  Each character was a unique challenge. Taryn was fairly easy, because I really wanted her internal, emotional struggles to relate directly to the story and the world. That narrowed things down a little and helped shape her backstory. She was the starting point. The hardest may have been Brady Kearns. I won’t spoil too much, but I wanted to hint at him being a love interest for Taryn and also hint that he may not be everything he says he is, so writing him involved walking some fine lines.



TQDoes 10,000 Bones touch on any social issues?

JO:  The questions the book raises about currency as a source of power – an end and a means to an end – are no big secret. Readers will draw different answers and will have different takes on those issues, so I don’t want to stamp my own opinion on anything outside of what’s in the text.



TQWhich question about 10,000 Bones do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

JO:  Hmm... Mostly I just hope people read the book. While I have no definite plans for a sequel at this point, I’ll be thrilled if people read 10,000 Bones and want to know more.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from 10,000 Bones.

JO:  It’s a little bit spoilery, but I did get in a dig at my own day job:
               “You don’t blow up a lawyer’s office for fun.”
               “How many lawyers have you met?”



TQWhat's next?

JO10,000 Bones was part of a two-book deal with Diversion. The second book will be a contemporary thriller with a speculative twist. We’re still somewhat early in the process for that, and the publication date is yet to be announced, but I’m excited about it.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

JO:  Thank you so much for having me and for featuring 10,000 Bones!





10,000 Bones
Diversion Books, February 5, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 240 pages

Interview with Joe Ollinger, author of 10,000 Bones
Fast-paced and thought-provoking, Joe Ollinger has written a debut science fiction novel that reads like a thriller and will be loved by fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and Richard Morgan.

On the planet Brink, calcium is cash. The element’s scarcity led the world’s government to declare it the official currency. In the decades since, the governments of other colonized worlds have suppressed shipments of calcium in order to maintain favorable exchange rates, while Brink’s Commerce Board has struggled to negotiate importation quotas to keep the population alive and growing.

Taryn Dare is a Collections Agent, a specialized detective tasked with finding black market calcium and recovering it, so that the Commerce Board can recycle it and distribute it as currency. Taryn is fueled by one goal: to save up enough currency units for a one-way ticket to a better world. But when a job recovering a human corpse uncovers a deadly conspiracy in the system, Taryn is drawn into an investigation that may threaten her life, and the very fabric of her society.





About Joe

Interview with Joe Ollinger, author of 10,000 Bones
Joe Ollinger grew up in a small swamp town in Florida. After graduating from the University of Southern California, he worked for several years as a reader and story analyst for an Academy Award Winning Filmmaker. Currently residing in Los Angeles, he works as an attorney when he's not writing.





Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @joeollinger  ~  Instagram

Interview with April Daniels and Review of Dreadnought


Please welcome April Daniels to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge interviews! Dreadnought was published on January 24th by Diversion Books.



Interview with April Daniels and Review of Dreadnought




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

April:  Hi! Happy to be here. I started writing fanfic in high school and it sort of blossomed from there.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

April:  Oh Goddess, this is a tricky one. I’ve done both, but I’m not sure I’d say I’m a hybrid. It sort of depends on the project. When I plot ahead of time, my writing is more propulsive and tighter, but when I pants I think I end up with some more creative decisions than I would make otherwise.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

April:  Right now? Just getting the damn words down. It’s very common for an author to get seriously blocked after signing her first contract, and that has happened to me. I’ve been blocked for more than a year and I can’t wait for Dreadnought to get published so I can move past this.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

April:  I have always had a very hard time answering these sort of questions because everything I read and see goes into the stew. It bubbles away for months or years, and then when I sit down to write, it comes out in the writing. I don’t sit down to write with an influence in mind, I just write how it makes sense for the story to work.



TQDescribe Dreadnought in 140 characters or less.

April:  Trans girl superhero gets cool clothes and then beats up robots to save the world.



TQTell us something about Dreadnought that is not found in the book description.

April:  It’s mainly about child abuse. The big thing people know about this book is that it stars a transgender superhero, but the gender stuff is not the thematic focus of the book. Danielle knows who she is and is comfortable with that. The gender stuff is only ever a problem for her because abusive people in her life make it a problem for her.



TQWhat inspired you to write Dreadnought? What appeals to you about writing about a superhero?

April:  I wanted to write the book I wish I’d had when I was 15.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Dreadnought?

April:  None whatsoever. Wait, no, that’s not true. I looked up what kind of nuclear reactors were on theoretical drawing boards.



TQPlease tell us about Dreadnought's cover.

April:  It was made by a staff artist at Diversion books. If you look carefully it’s got the colors of the trans flag represented on the skyline.



TQIn Dreadnought who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

April:  Calamity, hands down, was the easiest to write. This is mainly because she was the most fun to write.

The hardest to write was Graywytch. She went through three or four revisions. Initially she spoke almost entirely in real-life TERF quotes, but that came off as cartoonish—nobody would believe anyone was really that evil! I had to tone her down again and again until I got the balance right.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Dreadnought?

April:  When you write about a transgender protagonist, you are forced to write about social issues no matter what. People will make it political, even if you don’t want it to be. So I leaned into that. The first draft was a little preachy, and I toned it down. I think it’s got a good balance now.



TQWhich question about Dreadnought do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

April:

Q: Can we give you a giant pile of money to adapt this into a feature length film?

A: Sure!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Dreadnought.

April:  There’s an entire chapter that I refer to as Post Structuralism For Kidz, but I think that would be too long to quote here. I guess I’ll quote the section that made me fall in love with writing Calamity’s dialog. In this scene she’s just found a newly-transformed Danielle over Dreadnought’s dead body in the aftermath of a fiery explosion.

            Calamity is silent for a long time. “Well, Danny.” She reaches up and taps a curly wire leading to an earbud taped into her ear. “The cops say they’ll be here in a few moments, so we’d best be leaving.”
            “Why?”
            “If the police find you here, they’ll want you to testify against a supervillain.” Calamity shrugs. “I’ll not claim expertise on how things work from where you’re from, but in my experience of the world, that is a poor choice of behavior. Might be you decide to keep your mouth shut. Might be Utopia doesn’t take the chance. Best be leaving.”
            When she puts it that way, I’m throwing all my crap into my bag and running next to her as she sprints for the parking garage’s rear.



TQWhat's next?

April:  The sequel to Dreadnought is called Sovereign and I’m currently doing revisions for it. Right now we’ve scheduled it to come out in July.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

April:  Thanks for having me!





Dreadnought
Nemesis 1
Diversion Books, January 24, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 280 pages

Interview with April Daniels and Review of Dreadnought
An action-packed series-starter perfect for fans of The Heroine Complex and Not Your Sidekick.

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.

She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.



Tracey's Review

Dreadnought, New Port City's most powerful superhero, has been mortally wounded during an unexpected battle with another metahuman. He lands near Daniel Tozer, a fifteen year old high school student, in a secluded area in back of the mall. Despite the danger, Danny attempts to help by dragging him to safety. The dying superhero urges Danny to flee but the teen refuses. As Dreadnought feels his life force extinguishing, he bestows his powers on Danny. The results are unexpected. Dreadnought's powers are transferred but somehow they transform the teen from Daniel to Danielle. Danny, a trans woman, has always felt trapped in her own skin, so although she is saddened by Dreadnought's passing, she can't help but rejoice at the gift that he's given her. But there is the issue of her new superpowers. Danny wants to find a way to repay the superhero for all that he has done for her. Should she accept the mantle of Dreadnought with the responsibilities and sacrifices that come with it? And how on earth will she explain all this to her parents?

Dreadnought is a YA with definite adult crossover appeal. The story is told through a first person narrative, and although I had some trouble getting accustomed to Danny's adolescent voice, by the third chapter I was hooked. Author April Daniels has written an inspiring tale that blends the perils involved in learning to use brand new superpowers with the emotional journey of a transgender teen.

This story is special because Danny is a superhero with whom readers can empathize. She has lived her young life in fear: fear of her verbally abusive father, fear of being thought of as a freak, fear of not being strong, or brave, or smart enough, and fear of never being allowed to be herself. The joy she feels about her physical transformation is short-lived as the negative reaction of her parents, friends, and doctor rings with a brutal truthfulness that is painful to witness. Yet, happily, Danny perseveres and her strength of character allows readers to see her as a fully realized human.

There is a second part to the story that is equally engaging. Dreadnought is also about a teen's decision to embrace or reject the obligations and consequences of becoming a superhero. Danny's first venture into flexing her super muscles to help people really stands out. Her attempt at rescuing a commercial airliner on the verge of crashing is particularly exhilarating. Another highlight for me is Danny's friendship with Calamity and the dangers that their youthful exuberance land them in. Calamity's acceptance and support are a welcome departure from the many narrow-minded characters that populate Danny's world.

Dreadnought is an ambitious book that balances terrific metahuman battles with a myriad of topics including domestic abuse, bullying, government corruption, racism, sexism, and intolerance. April Daniels has written a insightful novel that is thoughtful without being preachy. Due to the complex, and often stressful, emotional conflicts, I would recommend this book to ages 13 and up. I think Danny's story can serve as a stepping stone to great discussions and conversations. In my opinion, Danny's heart-wrenchingly bittersweet attempt to make the people she cares about understand and accept that she is a transgender lesbian is written beautifully and needs to be shared. In the end, Dreadnought had me cheering while bringing tears to my eyes. Absolutely brilliant.





About April

Interview with April Daniels and Review of Dreadnought
April Daniels graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in literature. She completed her first manuscript by scribbling a few sentences at a time between calls while working in the customer support department for a well-known video game console.

She has a number of hobbies, most of which are boring and predictable. As nostalgia for the 1990s comes into its full bloom, she has become ever more convinced that she was born two or three years too late and missed all the good stuff the first time around.



Website  ~  Twitter @1aprildaniels  ~  Facebook  ~  Tumblr

2017 Debut Author Challenge Update - Dreadnought by April Daniels


2017 Debut Author Challenge Update - Dreadnought by April Daniels


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2017 Debut Author Challenge.



April Daniels

Dreadnought
Nemesis 1
Diversion Books, January 24, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 280 pages

2017 Debut Author Challenge Update - Dreadnought by April Daniels
An action-packed series-starter perfect for fans of The Heroine Complex and Not Your Sidekick.

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.

She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

Interview with Anise Eden


Please welcome Anise Eden to The Qwillery. All the Wounds in Shadow, the 2nd Healing Edge novel, is published on August 23rd by Diversion Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Anise a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Anise Eden




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Anise:  According to my parents, I began telling stories when I was two years old, including “some real whoppers.” I started writing my stories down in elementary school, and kept that up until adulthood arrived and demanded all of my creative energy. Several years later, I had to take some time off to recover from an illness. It was a new experience for me, having nothing to do and nowhere to go. Into that void, the urge to write pressed itself with great urgency, as though it had been waiting patiently in the background and finally sensed its opportunity. That’s when I began to write The Healing Edge series.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Anise:  I’d say I’m a hybrid with strong pantser leanings. My characters come to me first. Then I develop the plot in broad brushstrokes. As I write, the characters and I work together to fill in the details. In the drafting stage, the plot can take some pretty dramatic twists and turns, but the overall arcs of the story and character development tend to remain unchanged.

The most challenging thing about writing for me is coming up for air. When I’m writing, I’m completely immersed in the story and the characters, and it’s difficult to completely disconnect from that world. Some part of my mind is always occupied with my work in progress; it’s like a musical soundtrack playing, or a computer program running in the background. Fortunately, my family and loved ones are very understanding, and they take my distractibility chronic preoccupation in stride.



TQDescribe All the Wounds in Shadow in 140 characters or less.

Anise:  A gifted empath and her boss, a Marine veteran, try to shelve their attraction while solving a murder & confronting their deepest wounds.



TQTell us something about All the Wounds in Shadow that is not found in the book description.

Anise:  One of the main themes is how true love can overcome all obstacles—even death.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Healing Edge series?

Anise:  I’ve always been interested in how people experience paranormal phenomena in their daily lives. As a big Patricia Arquette fan, I was binge watching old seasons of the TV show Medium when I began to wonder about the origins of abilities such as telepathy and communicating with the dead. What is the purpose of these gifts, and how and when did they first arise? I decided to invent my own science fiction-style theory, which became the Bronze Age spiritual origins theory introduced in All the Broken Places (The Healing Edge, #1). Then characters began to form in my mind and speak to me, and the story took off from there.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for the series?

Anise:  Some of my research was done before I even had the idea for the series. For example, I’ve had experience with acupuncture and Reiki. But I had a lot to learn about many other subjects, such as modern day archaeology, the National Institutes of Health, and the medical aspects of being in a coma. To research those topics, I sought out authoritative and reputable sources online. To get a better feel for life in the Marine Corps, I checked out military websites and read Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital by Heidi Squier Kraft. I’m also blessed with family and friends who are experts in a variety of fields, and who generously allow me to pick their brains.



TQIn All the Wounds in Shadow, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Anise:  The easiest character to write was the Brazilian neuroscientist, Braz. He has a distinctive personality and a strong voice that spoke to me very clearly. The most difficult character to write was probably Captain Abbott. While he also has a strong voice, as a military leader, his way of thinking is quite different from mine, so I had to really focus and draw upon my research to get inside of his head.



TQWhich question about All the Wounds in Shadow or The Healing Edge series do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Anise:  Why did you choose to make your heroine, Cate, an empath?

I believe that the ability to be empathic is a key component to healing the wounds in ourselves, in one another, and in our larger communities. However, people with the capacity for great empathy often find that their gift is undervalued, and they are even criticized at times for being “oversensitive” or “bleeding hearts.” In The Healing Edge series, Cate not only shows how precious and useful empathy can be, but also demonstrates that individuals with this gift have unique self-care needs that must be respected in order for them to thrive and use their empathic traits most effectively.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from All the Wounds in Shadow.

Anise:

Without that information, we couldn’t deal with his killer—not to mention the mysterious dark armies Eve had seen in her vision.

*****

“But we can’t do this!” I cried out. “It’s going to be like the geese all over again!”



TQWhat's next?

Anise:  Right now I’m putting the finishing touches on the third book in The Healing Edge Series. It’s called All the Light There Is, and it is coming out in early 2017. This third book ties together the loose threads from the first two books in exciting and unexpected ways, and the relationship between Cate and Ben finally reaches a tipping point. I can’t wait to share it with readers!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Anise:  Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure!





All the Wounds in Shadow
The Healing Edge 2
Diversion Books, August 23, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 248 pages

Interview with Anise Eden
For fans of Karen Robards and Shiloh Walker, Anise Eden brings us the mesmerizing sequel to her paranormal romantic suspense novel All the Broken Places.

"Peopled with engaging characters and filled with intrigue, this book will delight readers of paranormal romance. This series occupies a special place at the top of my favorites list and I can't wait to see what Ms. Eden brings us next."—Rosanna Leo, author of the Gemini Island Shifters series

Cate's enemies aren't just surrounding her—they're inside her head.

Therapist Cate Duncan has just accepted a job with the MacGregor Group, a unique collective of alternative healers. She’s excited by the prospect of honing her empathic healing techniques among others like herself—aura readers, telepaths, crystal healers, and more. The fact that Cate just started dating Ben, her magnetic new boss, is an added bonus.

Before Cate can settle into her new routine, the poisoning of a prominent neuroscientist draws the entire MacGregor Group into both a federal investigation and an even more insidious threat. Protected by Ben’s former Marine Corps unit, Cate and her colleagues must use their alternative healing methods to solve the crime as their patient clings to life. The responsibility of discovering crucial information falls to Cate and her parapsychological powers.

But for Cate, unraveling the mystery means reopening wounds that had just begun to heal—and in the environment of the Marine Corps unit, differences between Cate and Ben become clearer, straining their budding romance. When a new crisis looms, Cate must trust in her colleagues’ gifts and the strength of Ben’s love, finding the courage to confront her deepest and most terrifying demons—or her own life will be at risk. 




Previously

All the Broken Places
The Healing Edge 1
Diversion Books, February 16, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 262 pages

Interview with Anise Eden
All of Cate’s problems are in her head. That may be her greatest strength.

Cate Duncan is a promising young therapist, dedicated to her work. But after her mother’s suicide, she is seized by a paralyzing depression. To save her job, Cate agrees to enter a program with Dr. Angeline MacGregor, run by her stern son, Ben, and housed in a repurposed church. Cate doesn’t quite understand what the program entails, but she soon learns that the skills she will develop there may not only help her learn how to cope with her own problems, but will also lead her to a much greater purpose.

The MacGregor Group is a collection of alternative healers whose unconventional approaches include crystals, aura reading, and psychics. They know that their life’s work invites skepticism, and welcome the chance to prove naysayers wrong. But they need the unique abilities that Cate can bring, and as she slides ever closer to her own abyss, they will do everything in their power to protect Cate from those who wish her harm—including herself.

A powerful novel of suspense and a wildly inventive start to this paranormal romance series, ALL THE BROKEN PLACES engages readers with its striking blend of the supernatural and the psychological.





About Anise

Interview with Anise Eden
Author and plant love Anise Eden spends most of her time tucked away in her writing nook imagining things that aren't there. On those rare occasions when she emerges from seclusion, Anise may be spotted in coffee shops, staring at her laptop screen and silently moving her lips as she reviews bits of dialogue. Although Anise claims that she's the one in charge, the characters in her head do sometimes make her laugh out loud at inappropriate moments. Visit her online at www.aniseeden.com.

Guest Blog by Kerry Schafer and Review of Dead Before Dying


Please welcome Kerry Schafer to The Qwillery. Dead Before Dying was published on February 9th by Diversion Books.


Guest Blog by Kerry Schafer and Review of Dead Before Dying




       I am over-the-top excited to be back here at the Qwillery. It's been an interesting three years and as I look back at my wide-eyed newbie self, standing at the threshold of a brand new publishing career, I'm a little bemused by how much things have changed since then.
       I believed – oh how I believed – that the whole world lay open before me. Finally, after years of writing and editing and re-writing, after all of the querying and rejection, hope and despair, I'd made it! Between was out on bookstore shelves and all was right with the world. I imagined a long line of succeeding books, all sold with no effort, probably to Penguin. After all, they'd already bought two books and everything I wrote was only going to get better so why wouldn't they want to pick those up as well?
       Ah, grasshopper. So young. So trusting and full of hope.
       Okay, maybe not exactly young. But otherwise I was as starry-eyed as a fool in love. Publishing is a business first and foremost. It is not a romance, and certainly not a marriage. Penguin looked at my previous sales numbers, did some sort of math, and declined their option to contract the third book of my trilogy.
       I went through a dry spell that felt, at the time, like a catastrophic drought, on a par with the dust bowl of the fifties. It felt like going back to square one, with no writing contract and nothing ready to market. In retrospect, my bout of self pity and despair was mercifully brief. Publishing is a business. Writing is something else. Contract or no contract, I'm always going to be writing.
       So I wrote and published the Dream Wars e-novellas through The Knight Agency's distribution arm. I finished the third book of the Between trilogy, The Nothing, and published it independently, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.
       Indie publishing is creatively satisfying, but I've come to believe that a hybrid writing career is a smart thing for an author to do, and I wanted some more writing contracts before thinking about another Indie book. So I went to work and rewrote an old manuscript about an idea I loved – a paranormal mystery thriller set in a retirement home. Dead Before Dying sold to Diversion Books, and was released on February 9. I have to admit that I love this book and it's lead, Maureen Keslyn. She's older for a paranormal heroine, (nearly sixty) fiercely independent, highly skilled, and doesn't give a rat's ass what anybody thinks about her.
       My agent, Deidre, loved Maureen and the voice I used in Dead Before Dying. She asked me to step out of my usual mode and try women's fiction. The result of that experiment is Closer Home, acquired by Lake Union Press and coming out on March 22nd under the pen name Kerry Anne King.
       It's been a busy three years, both on and off the page. I've learned a lot, but I'm pretty sure when I look back on the launch of Dead Before Dying three years from now I'll be shaking my head and contemplating everything I thought I knew, but didn't.





Dead Before Dying
Shadow Valley Manor 1
Diversion Books, February 9, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 236 pages

Guest Blog by Kerry Schafer and Review of Dead Before Dying
Twisting and eerie, sharp and unforgettable, DEAD BEFORE DYING brings a heroine worthy of Sue Grafton to a terror worthy of Dean Koontz.

In this supernatural thriller, shot through with biting wit, Maureen Keslyn checks herself in to Shadow Valley Manor to recuperate and rehabilitate from her last job. There, she runs afoul of the stern director and makes friends with some of the other residents, mostly older, all harboring either a secret or a grudge. With secrets of her own, like why she has her own Federal Agent checking up on her, and how she injured herself in the first place, Maureen fits right in, even as she sticks out like a thorn.

But Shadow Valley isn’t just for rest—Maureen is working undercover, seeking to find and eradicate whatever forces are picking off the residents (and staff) at a grisly clip. With her resources dwindling one death at a time, and unnatural forces seething to rise up once more, Maureen’s experience fighting the supernatural will be her only hope to destroy a clever and powerful evil—and her only chance at surviving it. She'll need people as paranoid as she is—from the sheriff, to the undertaker's daughter, to a cook whose knife skills in the kitchen could prove deadly out of it—if she is going to bring rest to the weary, and peace to the dead…



Qwill's Thoughts

I've always been a fan of Kerry Schafer's writing, especially her Between series (Between, Wakeworld, and The Nothing) but she has ramped it up quite a few notches with her supernatural thriller, Dead Before Dying. Dead Before Dying features a middle-aged protagonist - Maureen Keslyn. She's an older FBI agent who is seriously wounded during last assignment. She limps, has aches, and has recently nearly died. She also is gruff, sarcastic and has a mostly bad attitude. She's in no physical condition to take on a new assignment when she's called in to help with unsettling events at Shadow Valley Manor, a former home for unwed mothers and now retirement home.

I really did not like Maureen at first but quickly warmed to her intelligence, boldness, dark humor, and tenacity. Telling Maureen not to do something seems to elicit the opposite response. She also has huge trust issues which seem to be completely justified. In her line of work trusting the wrong person often ends in death. Schafer provides plenty of background about Maureen through a series of well-placed flashbacks.

While Maureen is not interested in staying at Shadow Valley Manor initially people start dying and she digs in determined to find out what is going on. Along the way she encounters number of people she deeply distrusts - the local sheriff (Jake), the Manor's cook (Matt), and the daughter of the town undertaker (Sophronia). Each of these characters is well-developed, intriguing, and has something to hide. The residents of the home are interesting in their own ways and often a bit unusual.

The supernatural in Dead Before Dying is extremely well done, creepy and frightening. The backstory to what is actually happening is chilling. There are some fabulous action scenes, a bit of gore, some unique supernaturals, and unexpected twists and turns. 

Dead Before Dying is tautly written, exciting and compulsively readable. Maureen Keslyn is a fabulous protagonist and I'm looking forward to Keslyn's next story (which is hinted at in the end of Dead Before Dying). If you are a fan of supernatural thrillers or mysteries Dead Before Dying is a must read!





About Kerry

Guest Blog by Kerry Schafer and Review of Dead Before Dying
Kerry Schafer writes fantasy with its teeth sunk into reality, mystery that delves into the paranormal, and women’s fiction that embraces the dark and twisty realms of humanity. The first two books of her Between trilogy (Between and Wakeworld) were published through Ace Books/Penguin. Due to the ever-shifting landscape of publishing, the concluding book of the trilogy - The Nothing - was released as an Indie book, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. The first book in Kerry's Paranormal Mystery series, Dead Before Dying, will be released by Diversion Books on Feb 9, 2016. She also writes Women's Fiction as Kerry Anne King.



WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter @KerrySchafer


Interview with Kevin A. Muñoz, author of The PostInterview with Joe Ollinger, author of 10,000 BonesInterview with April Daniels and Review of Dreadnought2017 Debut Author Challenge Update - Dreadnought by April DanielsInterview with Anise EdenReview: A Little Knowledge by Emma NewmanInterview with M.G. Buehrlen, author of the Alex Wayfare seriesGuest Blog by Kerry Schafer and Review of Dead Before Dying

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