The 2019 Interview Series Featuring David Faucheaux

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What do you think are the elements of a good story? 

My favorite genre is historic fiction. To do it well, the author must pay close attention to setting. The reader should be made to understand the culture, the time, and place. I like lots of what are called info-dumps, though I understand many readers find them to be tedious and to also distract from the plot.  Perhaps info-dumps work best in science fiction. Kim Stanley Robinson uses them frequently. A well-written author’s note at novel’s end helps as well, especially when the author tells what is true and what has been invented. A bibliography is useful for those readers wanting to learn more about the historic aspects of the novel.

You’re invited to a dinner party. Are you:

  • Off in a corner talking to one or two people
  • At home reading or writing your latest work

If I’m there at all, I’m talking to a small group, or I’m at home reading a good book.

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What common traps do aspiring writers fall into?

I suspect that most aspiring writers think it’s easy and that they are going to be the next mega-bestselling answer to Stephen King, James Patterson, or Nora Roberts. The odds of that are very unlikely. Writing is a job! Treat it like one. Master your craft. Read, read, think, and write.

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Are there any authors whose work you disliked at first and then grew to like?

As to authors I might not have liked at first, that’s hard. My relatives liked those books written by Jean Plaidy. These seemed to me like books for refined, even stuffy, English ladies, but when I tried a Jean Plaidy book about Anne Boleyn, I rather liked it. Plaidy was known for inventing the subgenre of Royals Romance. We owe her a debt for solidly launching this sub-genre. Jean Plaidy was actually a pseudonym of Eleanor Hibbert, who also wrote books under these names: Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr, Eleanor Burford, Elbur Ford, Kathleen Kellow, Ellalice Tate, and Anna Percival. She wrote over 200 books in 50 years and according to Wikipedia, had this to say about writing:

“I love my work so much that nothing would stop me writing. I never think of the money I’m making. When I finish one book I start on the next. If I take even a week’s break I just feel miserable. It’s like a drug. … If anybody says to me, ‘You look tired,’ it’s because I haven’t been able to get at my typewriter. Writing excites me. I live all my characters and never have any trouble thinking of plots or how people would have said something, because I’m them when I’m writing.” I wish she could have loaned out this imagination. I’d have been happy to rent it for a year or so. Present-day writers such as Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Tracy Borman, and Anne Easter Smith are among her heirs.


What marketing technique have you found to be the most effective? Ineffective?

I’m still new to this and have not found an effective marketing technique. I’m still looking. It’s hard to say what works. Some experts insist you have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn account, and a website. I am told that agents won’t look at you now unless you have a platform and a loyal brand following.  AuthorBuzz can put you in front of lots of book club readers. But I have not tried it; it’s expensive. A virtual book blog tour might help the writer of romance novels. I did not find it helped my nonfiction efforts.

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How effective do you think social media is for authors? How should it be used?

It’s hard for me to say. I know it has worked well for several writers. EL James got her start writing fan fiction on an erotica website. Richard Paul Evans self-published his first novel to much success. I would use it, were I successful, to update my readers on what I was working on or just letting them know a bit about what I was doing. But I find it a bit overwhelming.

Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

As of today, I have only written one book, a journal. I suspect my strength is in nonfiction. I’d have loved to write the kinds of historic fiction I enjoy reading. I would have loved to write a long, sweeping novel about a particular French empress who, in my humble opinion, is vastly underrepresented in this genre, but I just flounder when I try.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

I read many books and broke my previous record by reading 366 books in 2018. I just finished a fantasy book, Starless, by Jacqueline Carey and a young adult novel, Blended, by Sharon M. Draper. I plan to read The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding, by Jennifer Robson, which tells the story of the wedding dress of Queen Elizabeth II. I am to review it for Library Journal, which recently chose me as its Audiobook Reviewer of the Year for 2018. I have enjoyed my 12 years reviewing some 90 books for them.

If you could interview a famous author, who would it be and what three questions would you ask him/her?

I would interview these two authors: Gary Jennings and James Clavell.

I’d ask them these questions:

What made you want to become a writer of historic fiction?

Was there a book you wanted to write but were unable to?

Do either of you speak a foreign language? Your novels are set in the most exotic places, and knowing the language connected thereto would be a help in penetrating the culture.

And if they were up to it:

4)  What character do you think would make a fabulous historic novel? And what setting would be the most exotic and interesting to you?

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I enjoy reading, dining out, and simply getting out to walk.  I think of myself as a reader who has writing ability, not a writer who must read to keep abreast of what’s out there in book land.

Find David’s Book:

35381000My 2017 book was Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile. It can be found at  The cover is there on the site. An abridged version of Across Two Novembers should be out by March. I do not yet have the cover photo for that version.

Connect with David:

I can be emailed at

About David:

I may very well be a member of the last generation of blind people who mainly attended a residential school. Some of us were, however, actually mainstreamed during high school for part of the academic day. That probably sounds strange: going to a residential school and being taken to a nearby public high school for several subjects each day. It was unusual to a point, but I do think it helped those of us who participated to better prepare for attending college and being in the so-called sighted world. I was glad to have had the chance to take Spanish I at the public high school, as our residential school did not offer it.  I was also pleased to participate in the Literary Rally for American history, placing first in state. These opportunities simply did not exist at the residential school. I do regret, however, the insistence of the administration of the residential blind school on sending mainstreamed students to three separate high schools in as many years. I never got a chance to put down roots at any. I am not the best at learning new places, and this was stressful, as I knew I would always be accountable to the blind school’s staff.

I can’t say much about college, as it was rather a lonely time for me. I originally wanted to major in Spanish, because I thought being a translator or interpreter would be interesting. After several semesters, I realized that whatever the mysterious language gene was, I might not have it. Rather than lose my Spanish credits, I switched to English with a linguistics option and minored in Spanish. I had been told that a major/minor combination was a good strategy. I recall feeling anxious throughout my college time. I worried I would not always be able to keep a full-time course load or would not do well in my courses. These worries mostly proved unfounded, as many worries are, though I did have a bad experience in a linguistics class. I look back on it and realize that I had no clue what to major in or how to pick a career. I would have benefited from an internship program of some kind midway through college to gain experience and even talking to a concerned mentor.

After graduation, I attended a training center to learn skills that would be helpful in my life. I have mostly lost touch with the people I met there. It was an exhausting time for me because the training was intense. I do feel thinking back on it that the state Voc/Rehab agency should have conducted exit interviews of clients attending this and other training centers. There seems to be little accountability or efforts to find out which centers truly have best-practices.

Then it was on to get a guide dog and to work as a medical transcriptionist. I ended up having to leave the medical transcription field because I was not able to maintain the extremely fast speed and achieve the high output of reports. It was then that I found a halftime braille teaching job which, I did for several years, until stress caused by an indifferent management made it necessary for me to leave.

I found myself back in college. This time it was to obtain a Master’s in Library and Information Science.  This was during the late 1990s, when the Internet and World Wide Web had suddenly become hugely popular. I thought I had picked a happening career. I enjoyed my coursework and met several people in my classes, two of whom I still email. My guide dog, Nader, died midway through library school, and friends helped me get to class because I was having problems with one of the long routes. I thought about getting a second guide dog, but I knew that if I left school, I might not return. I experienced difficulties in finding a job, but did do some consulting for several online library projects. I then learned that I have fibromyalgia and have found it hard to work since. I maintained an audio blog from 2004 to 2009, but then gave it up. I also attempted to study scoping, but had major problems with software incompatibilities. Scoping is a kind of legal editing. The scopist prepares what the court reporter transcribes.

I have recently been working with an editor, Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services, to prepare the abridgment of my first book for publication.  I also want to explore podcasting.

I’m rather glad we can’t see the future. This is not the future I had envisioned, and I hope I can get a handle on the fibromyalgia and figure out some way to have a part-time job. Friends from library school are at the point in their careers where thoughts of retirement are not amiss. I realized that won’t be a phase I’ll end up experiencing. I try to keep on keeping on and to find the positive in daily events and even to maintain a gratitude journal.

The 2019 Interview Series Featuring Ann Chiapetta

header - ann chiapettaThis edition of my author interview series features Anna Chiapetta. It’s always interesting to see what questions each author selects for their interview. It definitely gives us insight into what makes them tick.

Now, without further delay, please enjoy this interview with Ann Chiapetta.

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What is the first book that made you cry?

Wow, this one has a two-part answer: “Are You My Mother?” By Dr. Sues and as I got older, I read “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls.  Needless to say, animals get to me.

What common traps to aspiring writers fall into?

bear trap

I can only speak for my experience. I fell into thinking friends and family would support me, be my sounding board. Wrong. After my friends and family made it fairly obvious providing more than trivial comments about my work, I made the decision to find critique groups to help me become a better writer. It was the best decision I made early on and would not be where I am today without the honest and often uncomfortable yet productive feedback (for me) from other writers.

Another trap is not understanding the effort it takes to rise above rejection. It sucks and it is part of being an artist. I found developing a mental strategy to lend strength when the subjectivity of others hurts most takes time and practice and sometimes a cheering squad.

Describe your writing space.

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My writing space is a converted dining area that used to be my son’s bedroom. It is 8 x 9 feet, has windows, and   I wish it was not half designated as a storage area. I love it, though; my desk, dogs, and books fit with a little room to spare. Others dare not enter or risk my wrath.

What writing advice have you found to be the most useful? (Book, blog, etc.)

I don’t have one moment of advice that rings like an epiphany, but I do recall snippets from other writers over the years. Author Michael Crighton said to be a better writer, write. Stephen King states, “I write to find out what I think,”.  One poetry instructor said to say as much as possible with as little as possible.  Each of these statements are just the top most in terms of advice and clarity I’ve gained over the   years.  Making each word count is what I wish to achieve when writing poetry and nonfiction. I subscribe to writing blogs and email lists to keep on top of calls for submissions and the craft and to stay connected with other writers.

What tools do you use to write? (Computer, notebook, software, etc.)

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench

The tools I use are a Windows laptop, external Bluetooth keyboard, and assistive technology because I am blind.  Since I cannot navigate visually, the mouse stays on the shelf and I navigate with keyboard commands and speech output.  My manuscripts are formatted in Word and I don’t use any proprietary writing software. I use spreadsheets to keep track of submissions, expenses and income. I try to keep it as simple as possible and back-up my work with Carbonite and Drop Box.

How effective do you think social media is for authors? How should it be used?

Labels with social media icons. Concept.

I think social media is useful but only if one is immersed within the social media bubble. For example, I find Face Book to be useful. It pays but one must also invest time and money for boosting posts. If I don’t post weekly to all the pages and groups, sales drop. Keeping on top of a Twitter feed is similar. It is a constant pull on my writing time and this is what I find the most frustrating as an independent author. If only I could afford to pay a person to promote my books

Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

I write poetry, both free and formed verse. I also write essays and nonfiction. My new book, “Words of Life: Poems and Essays” will be out in March 2019.  I write short stories and I am working on a collection which will hopefully be done for 2020.  I am working on a romance/suspense cross-over novel and a creative nonfiction novel based on my life growing up in the early 1970s.   I write short articles and find them challenging and satisfying. I’ve also done some content writing for websites and also find it fun especially when collaborating with others.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

38746485I just finished “Becoming” by Michele Obama. I also read “The Cycle of Arawn” by Edward W. Robertson.  I read different genres and don’t limit myself and I find it helps me with creativity and thinking outside the creative box.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like to travel, shop, and cook. I am involved in civic-minded groups like the Lions Club and the American Council of the Blind of New York. I volunteer for my guide dog organization/school Guiding Eyes for the Blind. I work full-time as a trauma counselor for veterans and families.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write whenever I get the chance. Being a mental health counselor, one writes progress notes. Being involved in leadership roles in organizations one writes email and other letters. The act of writing is not an issue, I get to practice all the time. The time to write a poem that has been percolating in my head for a while is the most difficult to do, though; it requires solitude and concentration.   The same goes for the other works-in-progress.  I write in blocks of time during the weekend or at night after work. I sometimes will put-off the urge until I can honor the Muse without the outside chance I will be interrupted.  My husband is understanding about my writing life and gives me the space and time to pursue it. My kids are older and have their own lives now, so only my dogs tend to poke at me to remind me it’s dinner time or time to go for a walk.

Find Ann’s Books:

My books, UPWELLING: POEMS (2016 and FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST (2017) can be purchased from all eBook’s sellers at

My author’s website is and my blog URL is

My nonfiction book is also available in alternative formats from and as an audio book from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

About Ann:

Ann Chiappetta M.S. is an author   and poet.  Her writing has been featured in many small press publications and collegiate journals. Ann’s nonfiction essays have been printed in Dialogue magazine. And her poems are often featured in Magnets and Ladders. Her poetry is also included in Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow.  Her first collection, UPWELLING: POEMS and FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST, released in 2016 and 2017, are available in both e book and print formats from

Ann’s blog: Ann’s personal website:

The 2019 Author Interview Series Featuring Richard Dee

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This installment of my 2019 author interview series features author Richard Dee. Richard selected 10 questions from my list and his responses will tell us a little bit about him.

Please enjoy:

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  • What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I get up and write at 0530 most mornings. It’s a hangover from when I was working, early starts have always (unfortunately) featured in my life. If I get into the flow, I can have a good number of words down by breakfast. I might do a bit more in the evening; the rest of the day, I’ll do a little editing or light marketing, check my social media, update my website and generally relax. My wife and I might go out for lunch, or a picnic on Dartmoor/the coast if the weather is good. If I can, I like to get 2-3000 words a day down on new projects. Once you get into the routine, it’s easy.


  • What is your most interesting writing quirk?

Having more than one project on the go at a time. The idea is that if I run into a block on one story, I can switch to another. I currently have about six or seven half finished novels or short stories in progress. Many of my novels spring from short stories, after I read them back, I can often see how they could be expanded.

  • What do you think are the elements of a good story?

Location, plot and believability. I usually start with an idea for a plot, then I devise a location and a few characters that maximize its potential. Next comes loads of research to make sure that everything hangs together and sounds plausible. I used to think you couldn’t research the future, of course that’s true but it all has to start from where we are now, and that must be right. There’s nothing worse than having a good story spoiled because there is a credibility gap in the setting or the technology. I spend a lot of time on science websites and in reading news reports about the latest ideas.

  • Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two? Why?

I’d like to think that we are all one family, there are more than enough readers to go around. You have to remember that not everyone will like what you, or anyone else, writes. The Independent author community is full of people who have helped me tremendously, given me advice and encouragement without hesitation and I’m grateful to all of them. They have never seemed like anything more than friends. In an effort to do my part, I host a weekly spot on my website for other authors, to help them get more exposure, I know that you, and a lot of others do that as well. If we all help each other, there will be no limit to what we can achieve.

  • What writing advice have you found to be the most useful? (Book, blog, etc.)

Write. Just get the words down. Until it’s on paper (or screen), it isn’t a story, it’s an idea. You can always edit it, you can’t edit a blank page. And while we’re on the subject, should you choose to self-publish, make sure that your work is professionally edited, formatted and has the best cover you can afford. Make it indistinguishable from a traditionally published book. Then have the confidence in it to tell everyone about it. The best feeling is when someone you’ve never met sends you a message to say that they loved it. It’s even better when they ask you what happened next.

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench

  • What tools do you use to write? (Computer, notebook, software, etc.)

I use ordinary word-processing software on my computer and my phone. I bought a plug-in keyboard for my phone after having a great idea and typing it with my thumb on my phone’s touchscreen. Never again!!

  • Do you outline? Are you a ‘pantser’? What techniques do you use to get started on a story?

Pantser all the way. My ideas come to me like watching a film in my head, I merely write down what I see on the screen. I can pause, view in slow motion and rewind to make sure I get all the action and detail. But, and this is the most frustrating part, I can never fast-forward. I only see the end of the novel when I get there. It’s as much a surprise to me as it will be to the reader (I hope)

  • Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

I write Sci-fi, Steampunk and Cozy Crime, although the crime stories, featuring my reluctant amateur detective Andorra Pett all take place in a sci-fi setting. The science is never more important than the fiction, rather it’s another character, in the same way as I try to make the setting as important as any dialogue. Within that, my themes are mainly the triumph of the individual over faceless bureaucracy; corruption; love, loss and redemption and all that sort of thing. I have dabbled with Historical fiction and short stories set in the present but Sci-fi is my greatest passion. For my latest novel, Life and Other Dreams, I’ve combined the present and the future in a way that should get you guessing about the relationship between dreams and reality.

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  • If you could interview a famous author, who would it be and what three questions would you ask him/her?

I’d like to interview Arthur C. Clarke, one of the masters of Sci-fi. I’d like his opinion on the way that science has caught up with the ideas that he and his contemporaries of the forties and fifties had. I wonder if he realized that his dreams would be reality in so many ways.  Also, I’d like his advice on writing about Alien and artificial intelligence, as it’s something I don’t feel able to tackle. Finally, I want to know how he came up with so many brilliantly quotable phrases (check them out if you never have).

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Walk along the cliffs near my home and let the ideas swirl around. I also bake pretty good sourdough bread and love cooking all the incredible produce we have in Devon. Having three daughters and several grandchildren also keeps me busy.

About Richard:

I’m Richard Dee and I’m from Brixham in Devon. I was never a writer, at least not for ages. I made up stories in my head, based on dreams and events in my life, but I never did much with them. Life, a wife, three daughters and now three grandchildren have kept me busy.

I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and finally as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything I could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective. When I’m not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.

My first novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of The Rocks of Aserol, a Steampunk adventure, and Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space, the first of a series featuring the character.

Sequels to most of them have either followed or are in production. I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I’m currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects. I run my own website and review fiction for several web-based book review sites.

Find Richards Books:

My books are on sale at Amazon and all other major retailers, or directly from my website, here are a few of the more useful links:

Connect with Richard:

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My website is Head over there to see what I get up to, you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors. Click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free short story.

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor  and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi I can also be contacted at

The 2019 Author Interview Series Featuring Susan Royal

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This edition of my author interview series features Susan Royal. Susan has selected 10 questions from my list of 20 to reveal to us a bit about her writing, motivation and inspiration.

Please enjoy learning more about Susan.


  • What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I tend to do a lot of writing in afternoon and early evening. After everything else is done. If I get stuck, I’ll walk away from the computer and nine times out of ten the solution comes to me.

  • What do you think are the elements of a good story?

It stays with you until long after you’ve finished reading the book.


  • What is the first book that made you cry?

Black Beauty (First book I ever read from beginning to end. I was probably seven years old.)

  • What writing advice have you found to be the most useful? (Book, blog, etc.)

I was complaining about my story to a friend in a critique group, and he gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. “It’s your story. You wrote it. There’s nothing there you can’t fix.”

what am i supposed to do text write on paper

  • What comes first in your writing, the plot or the characters?

I need to know who my characters are before I can figure out what they would do in any given situation.

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Blank paper waiting for idea with mans hand and pen

  • Describe your writing space.

I have small computer armoire in my bedroom. My book covers on the wall to help me remember how far I’ve come. Window to my left so I can see the birds at the feeder. TV to my right. If it’s not turned on, I’m listening to music. A cup of coffee or glass of iced tea and maybe something to snack on. When I’m on a writing roll, I may eat a meal off the metal stool sitting next to me.

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench. 3d

  • What tools do you use to write? (Computer, notebook, software, etc.)

I keep a small spiral notebook with me to jot down notes whenever I get an inspiration, but I use a desktop computer. Not a laptop. They don’t work for me. My fingers hit everything but the return and I type so hard I wear the letters off the keys.

  • Do you outline? Are you a ‘pantser’? What techniques do you use to get started on a story?

I’m a pantser who does some plotting. More and more these days, depending on the story.

  • Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

My first book was time travel. My second was a fantasy. The last book I wrote was a fairy tale. The one I’m working on now is a paranormal. They all have adventure and romance.


  • What book(s) are you currently reading?

Hidden Legacy by Ilona Andrews

About Susan:

A native of Texas, Susan raised her kids in a 100-year-old farmhouse in the piney woods, and shared it with a music-loving ghost who harmonized with her son when he sang and played guitar.

She comes from a family rich with characters, both past and present. Her grandmother shared stories about farm life in Oklahoma Territory and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century. She learned about the depression from her father and what it was like to be a teenager during WWII from her mother.

Susan loves taking her readers through all kinds of adventures. She’s written two books in her It’s About Time series, Not Long Ago and From Now On, and is working on book three. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy Romance/Adventure, and Xander’s Tangled Web is a YA Romantic Fantasy. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N.

Want to know more? Check back from time to time for updates and a peek inside this writer’s mind to see what she’s up to. You never know what new world she’s going to visit next.

Find Susan’s Books:

All books available at MuseItUp, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads

xanders tangled web-smallXander’s Tangled Web (fantasy, mystery)


In My Own Shadow (fantasy, adventure, romance)

Book trailer

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Not Long Ago (time travel, adventure, romance)

Book trailer

Connect with Susan:



The 2019 Author Interview Series Featuring Tracy Kauffman

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I’m happy to feature author Tracy Kauffman in this edition of the 2019 Author Interview Series. It’s interesting to see which questions authors select from my list to reveal a bit about themselves and their work to those of you that read their interviews.

Please enjoy meeting Tracy Kauffman.


  • What do you think are the elements of a good story?

I believe descriptive words  relay the story so it makes the reader feel they are there instead of being told the details of the story.

  • Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two? Why?

I believe other authors are allies because they can help each other in so many ways.  Authors know how to get their work done, published, marketed etc…. It’s always good to keep your author coworkers as friends and allies.


  • What marketing technique have you found to be the most effective? Ineffective?

Getting reviews is probably the most effective.  That way others can see what your book and writing is like.   Really any marketing technique is worthwhile so I don’t think anything is ineffective.

  • What writing advice have you found to be the most useful? (Book, blog, etc.)

More descriptions!  Ex. color of hair, eyes, smell in the air, noise in the background, etc…

what am i supposed to do text write on paper

  • What comes first in your writing, the plot or the characters?

The plot, then I write in the characters.  You can always change your characters after your basic idea or concept has been established.

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench

  • What tools do you use to write? (Computer, notebook, software, etc.)

Computer because I believe I can type faster than write with pen and paper.  I can save it strait to a file and send it easy to someone , and corrections are so much easier to edit, etc…

  • Do you outline? Are you a ‘pantser’? What techniques do you use to get started on a story?

I usually have a basic concept of what I’m going to write about, then brainstorm a little on what type of elements will be added to make the story better, then I began writing.  I write on a computer so I can scroll forward and backward to edit details or add details or make sure than I put the correct name to someone, etc…

  • Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

I’ve written in lots of different genres such as historical fiction, but focusing now on Young Adult and kids.


  • What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m reading romance at the moment: The Christmas Key by Lori Wilde.

jane austen

  • If you could interview a famous author, who would it be and what three questions would you ask him/her?

Jane Austen, because I love her writing.  If you could write something in today’s world, what would it be?  Did you realize that one day you would be so famous? What was your main reason for writing?

About Tracy:

Tracy Kauffman is a young adult and kids book author from Alabama.  She published her first book: Southern Adventures with Tate Publishing which gave her the courage to continue her writing.  She writes to inspire, edify and encourage others to fulfill their dreams.  Other works include: Richard the Lionheart, Southern Attraction, Gwendolyn’s Wish, My Boyfriend the Squire and Captain Honeybear.

Find Tracy’s Books:

captainhoneybearcoverCaptain Honey Bear-


Southern Attraction-

Connect with Tracy:

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Facebook author page:

Twitter page:

Amazon Author page:

The 2019 Author Interview Series Featuring Ann Barnes

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I’m pleased to feature author Ann Barnes in this edition of the 2019 Author Interview Series. Let’s take a look at the 10 questions she has selected to give us insight into what motivates and inspires her as an author.

my profile

  • What do you think are the elements of a good story?

Personally, I think a good story has to have well rounded characters, a plot that moves it forward and the author must hook me in from the first paragraph. If the author throws in a scene that has nothing to do with the story, he or she can pull me out of it quickly.


  • What is the first book that made you cry?

I can’t remember the very first book that made me cry, but Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury was one of the more recent books that touched me deeply. The most recent was Writers Block: A Novel by Hank Garner.

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  • What common traps do aspiring writers fall into?

One of the biggest traps that aspiring writers fall into is being their own worst critic. By this I mean the battle with self-doubt. Not knowing what to write about is another, although many people say that you should write about anything that comes to mind. However, I found that for me, that doesn’t always work. Another thing that I hear or read a lot is that people claim not to have enough time during the day to write. Although this can be a reality for some, it can also serve as an excuse not to put your butt in the chair and start writing.

  • Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or are there some combination of the two? Why?

I believe that Indie authors are my allies, because I personally have gotten help and support from authors who are dear friends of mine, no matter whether we live in the same state or country, or not. Many traditionally published authors however, act as competitors. Although there is one Traditionally published author who has answered questions for me, I have commented on something that one of my favorite authors has written or asked her a question on Facebook and have gotten no response.

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  • Are there any authors whose work you disliked at first and then grew to like?

There is one author who’s work grew on me. Hope Callaghan writes Christian cozy mysteries. When I started reading Garden Girls and Cruise ship mysteries twelve book box set, the first book or two seemed to drag along, but the more I read, the more I liked her work.

  • Are there any authors whose work you admired at first that you then grew to dislike?

I can think of three authors right off the bat. The first is James Patterson. I liked his thrillers at first, because he pulled me into the story and kept me engaged until the end. However, the more I read, the more I disliked his work, because you could tell when his work was ghost written. The book either didn’t pull me in or it was too predictable. Dean Koontz is another one. Although his books are more of a horrific nature, I liked the suspense element at first, but when I tried to read one of his novels in the past few years, the content began to turn my stomach and broke my heart for the protagonist. Thrillers that gross me out, are the ones that turn me off. Stephen King is the third one on my list. I read some of his books several years ago, but the more I read, the weirder they got, with a few exceptions. The Green Mile and On Writing are the two that stand out for me as his best work.

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  • What comes first in your writing, the plot or the characters?

That depends on the story idea I’m working on at the time. Sometimes it’s the Characters I see first, then at other times I can see the plot unfolding in my head like a movie. However, there are those times a character will show up in a dream to give me insight into the plot, so it can be six in one hand, half a dozen in the other

  • Do you outline? Are you a ‘pantser’? What techniques do you use to get started on a story?

I’m not an outliner per se, except for the one nonfiction book I’m currently working on, but I will brainstorm plot ideas before I start a story. As for being a pantser, I do a bit of that initially, but I am also what’s called an onioner. What I mean is that I will go back into a story and add layers to each scene, before moving onto the next one. Although, I have done this after pantsing a few scenes into the story.

  • Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

I don’t like to stick to one genre. Mostly what I write is Christian fiction and suspense. However, I do like to throw a little sweet romance into the mix whenever possible

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like reading, listening to music and podcasts, and crocheting. I also love spending time with my family.

About Ann:

Ann Harrison-Barnes is the author of four books: A Journey of Faith, A Stepping Stones Mystery, Stories Outside the Box, Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure, an Electric Eclectic Book, and Inner Vision, an Electric Eclectic Book. She has also been published in several anthologies. Aside from her work as a Christian fiction author, Ann is a professional writer. She also crochets bookmarks and book covers to promote her books.

Find Ann’s Books:

Stories Outside the Box:


Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure: An Electric Eclectic Book

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Inner Vision: An Electric Eclectic book

innervisioneecover Book

A Journey of Faith: A Stepping Stones Mystery

a journey of faith ebook



Connect with Ann:

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People can reach me via my website at the following link:

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You can also email me directly at the following address


The 2019 Author Interview Series Featuring Tim Cagle

header - tim cagleIt’s time for another installment of my 2019 Author Interview Series. This week, I’m happy to welcome Tim Cagle. Let’s take a look at the 10 questions that Tim chose to reveal a bit about himself.

Please enjoy getting to know him.


  • What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? 

I am a semi-retired medical malpractice attorney so my schedule is much lighter than it was as I have not been in a courtroom for a while.  I write constantly and continue to evaluate ideas.  I’ve been lucky because I’ve never experienced writers’ block.  Maybe that’s because I suffer from lawyer’s disease and probably like to listen to myself talk so I have no need to become blocked.

I’m also an ex-law professor and frequently get contacted by ex-students who are now lawyers to opine on cases or answer questions about admissibility of evidence.  I still get ideas for books by reviewing potential legal cases.


  • What is your most interesting writing quirk?

I have two major quirks.  First, I still keep a flashlight, pen & legal pad next to bed so I won’t wake up my wife when an idea won’t let me sleep.  I’m trying to upgrade from pen and legal pad to using my I-pad but old habits die hard.

Also, I love to eavesdrop on conversations in public places to see exactly how people interact in certain situations.  Then, I try to turn that dialogue from the way people actually speak, to the way most people wish they could speak in a pre-designated situation, because most of us like to relive situations where we wish we could have said something in a different way.

  • What do you think are the elements of a good story?

I believe the key is character development.  The characters need to stand out and the reader needs to care about what happens to the characters they admire while hoping the characters they detest get their just due.

bear trap

  • What common traps do aspiring writers fall into?

I believe the biggest trap is trying to be and/or write like someone else. John Grisham and Scott Turow are both lawyers but I do not want to write or analyze like they do.  Our experiences seem to be vastly different and while they are great writers, I want my own distinctive style even though our legal backgrounds serve as a common denominator.

I also believe that many writers fail to do the proper research in areas unfamiliar to them.  By proper research, I mean that in addition to understanding how the mechanics of a particular undertaking work, a writer needs to know how a character would likely react to such a particular situation, and especially how a character would react if that situation did not progress as planned.  That might give a reader the insight he/she is looking for in a story.

  • Do you view fellow authors as competitors, allies or is there some combination of the two? Why?

I think of fellow authors as inspiration.  The best compliment I can give someone is to say after I read a passage, “I wish I would have written that!”

  • What writing advice have you found to be the most useful? (Book, blog, etc.)

There are two pieces of advice I find particularly useful.  First, tell the story to engage the reader.  I hate it when someone says a book they just read really picked up after the first 95 pages.  To me, that’s a complete waste of 94 pages.

Second, show don’t tell what the characters, see, touch, taste, hear and feel to get the reader involved and feeling like they are immersed in the scene.  That’s also a way to develop the character arc we hear so much about.

With regard to the worst writing advice I ever got, it was to listen to and put my faith into agents and editors.  I have been represented by agents without getting a publishing deal.  When I finally went out on my own, I had two books traditionally published almost immediately.  Please do not misunderstand, agents and editors certainly have important roles and can be a great asset.  Unfortunately, like lawyers and doctors, too many of them think they are infallible and give specious advice about areas in which they have no training or experience.

I once pitched the story of two ex-football players who became law partners and had an agent huffily declare: “no football player was smart enough to go to law school, let alone two”.  I told him I would instantly notify ex-Miami Dolphin Nick Buoniconti, attorney and former CEO at U.S. Tobacco, and ex-Minnesota Viking Alan Page, a Supreme Court Justice in Minnesota.

Also, I once had an editor tell me my scene involving a lawyer and potential client was not realistic.  I told her my decades of trying cases, thousands of depositions, and numerous time-crawling-by-waiting-for-a-jury to deliver their verdict said she was vastly misinformed as well as completely off base.

Again, please do not misunderstand.  I certainly do not know everything and am willing to take advice from anyone.  All I ask is that the advisor show me precisely why my way is deficient and substantiate how they arrived at their solution.

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  • What comes first in your writing, the plot or the characters?

Characters are first.  I believe that the only reason a reader cares what happens to the characters is because they stand out.  Every character is someone who reminds the reader of a person they have probably known.  That lets the reader become involved with how the characters will react   to outside forces.

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  • How effective do you think social media is for authors? How should it be used?

I believe social media is over-emphasized for book promotion.  I believe quality reviews are the best way to spread the word about a book.  Social media can be a place to experiment because it is cost-effective.  I use social media to promote my books by determining what kind of advertising gets the most results. Again, I believe it is vital to engage the reader.

I use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and to a lesser extent, Linked In.  I also think it is important  to find a niche and fill it.  For example, with regard to my book about country music, I often present puns about country songs by historical figures in the hope that the reader can identify.  I love parody country songs, like my favorite from Rodney Crowell and Vince Gill, ‘It’s Hard to Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long’, or the blockbuster from Shel Silverstein, ‘Lord, Ain’t It Hard When It Ain’t’.

Those offerings helped me create some of the song titles in my book, like ‘Your Love Was Priceless, My Lawyer Was Seven Hundred An Hour’ or ‘The Kindness of Strangers Led Me To A Week On Penicillin’.

  • Do you write in only a single genre? If so, what genre? If not, what genres?

I was fortunate to have two books traditionally published last year.  One is a romantic comedy:   “Whispers From The Silence”  Amazon:  the story of two songwriters who fall in love in Nashville.

The other is a medical/legal thriller:  “Unexpected Enemy”  Amazon:  the story of a woman who gets a mysterious stranger’s sperm at an infertility clinic.

One of the biggest reasons I wrote my first book about country music is that it is loosely based on the time I shut down my law practice and went to Nashville to write songs.  Unfortunately, my big break never broke and I learned I would always be a songwriter trapped in a lawyer’s body.  The other reason is that I was told it is unusual for a guy to write romance.

My second book is a product of my career representing victims with catastrophic injuries in medical malpractice, defective products or wrongful death cases.  That story is dedicated to all of those clients I was unable to help because the law or the facts were against us.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Music is still my main hobby. I am an ex-professional musician but have not played in public for years.  Lately, I teach guitar to my neighbor’s teenage daughters.  Naturally, there is a musical, as well as age, gap as they refer to my music as “Civil War Campfire Songs”.

I love to watch their reaction when I slip in Springsteen, Chuck Berry, John Fogerty, Sam Cooke, Temptations, Willie Nelson or Eagles songs.

Still, despite the age difference, it gives me the opportunity to show them how music changes while often staying the same.  For example, they love country singer Taylor Swift and her hit “Stay, Stay, Stay” is one of their favorites. I put together a cover of that song while alternating the lyrics from Maurice Williams and his hit song from the 1960’s “Stay”.  It was a great way to confirm my theory that music is a universal language, and it keeps being recycled through the years.

Maybe that’s the biggest reason I love country music.  Today’s country is an extension of 1950’s and 60’s rock and roll.  For example, listen to Garth Brooks’ mega-hit, “Ain’t Goin’ Down Till The Sun Comes Up” and try not to think of Chuck Berry or Don Felder and Joe Walsh of the Eagles playing lead guitar.

Music is the reason why I want my favorite song lyric from legend Leonard Cohen on my tombstone:  “Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free.

About Tim:

Tim Cagle is a practicing trial attorney in the fields of Medical Malpractice, Products Liability, and Wrongful Death/Personal Injury law. He has also served as co-counsel to other trial lawyers by conducting the cross examination of adverse expert witnesses during trials.

In addition, he was a law professor and taught courses in Torts, Evidence, Medical Malpractice and Negotiations. He is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, State of Missouri, before the Federal District Court in Boston, and has been admitted pro hac vice for the trial of cases in the State of New Hampshire, the State of Rhode Island, and before the Federal District Court in the State of New Jersey.

He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Kansas State College and a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts.

His memberships have included the American Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar, Academy of Trial Attorneys, Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, Nashville Songwriters Association, American Legion, Boston Pacemaker Club and Sigma Chi Alumni Association. He served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army, was assigned to Military Intelligence and was honorably discharged.

After playing college football, he served as an assistant high school football coach.  He has written over three hundred and fifty songs, played professionally in groups and as a single performer and spent time in Nashville as a songwriter.  He is also the author of Whispers From The Silence, a novel based on his experiences writing songs and his career as a singer/songwriter.  It was released in June, 2017.  His second novel, Unexpected Enemy (Ultimate Revenge), a medical/legal thriller and the story of a woman who receives a mysterious stranger’s sperm at an infertility clinic, was released in December, 2017.

His biggest regret in life is that he did not spend more time concentrating on guitar riffs, lyrical hooks and finger-popping melodies, and less time learning about when to blitz if the guards pull on third and long, blistering cross-examination techniques and expert witness fee schedules.

Find Tim’s Books:

img_0044Whispers From The Silence  Amazon:  the story of two songwriters who fall in love in Nashville…

screen shot 2017-09-18 at 5.33.50 pm (4)Unexpected Enemy  Amazon:  the story of a woman who gets a mysterious stranger’s sperm at an infertility clinic…

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