Interview with Allison Floyd

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Interview with Allison Floyd

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. What made you want to become an author?

A) I was born and raised in New England and knew from a young age i wanted to be an author. As a little girl I would write stories and staple
printer paper together to make “books” that I would illustrate myself. I initially thought I wanted to be an English teacher but then I
realized while I liked analyzing and reading literature, I didn’t think I wanted to spend the rest of my life teaching the same books year
after year. I have been writing creatively my whole life but it wasn’t until I mentioned to my friend I had an idea for a novel but that I
didn’t think there was any point in finishing it that she convinced me I should absolutely go for it. I’m very grateful to her for that.

2) What was the inspiration for A Wider Universe?

A) I was inspired to write A Wider Universe during my senior year of college at Fairfield University. I was taking two classes, a British
Literature Survey, and a class called American Lit and Religion that were both really making me think about the Big Questions. One day in
class I was listening to a discussion on Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and it just clicked with the readings by Ralph Waldo Emerson I had been
doing in my other class. I became fascinated with this idea of paradise being a place where no one was legally permitted to force their
beliefs on others and I thought a great deal about how that isn’t the reality we live in today. That’s how Gene and Patrick came to exist.

3) What message or theme do you hope readers take away from your book?

A) Ideally I hope that readers will connect with or relate to the characters and their journeys of self-discovery and realize that we are
all complex and flawed. I also hope it gets them thinking about the idea of making human connections while respecting people’s differences
but still working to find common ground.

4) If you could have a conversation with any of your characters, who would it be and what would you ask them?

A) I love this question. I think I would most want to have a conversation with Jansson. He’s had a very interesting life, and as a
psychology professor, he’s well versed in human behavior yet he still has a lot of emotions and sensibilities that he doesn’t seem to
understand himself, so I would want to ask him what he thinks about the human condition and whether he feels safer seeing it as purely
academic instead of applying it to his own life.

5) What advice would you give to any aspiring authors out there?

A) If you have an idea or a sudden inspiration strikes you, put it to paper. Whether or not you think it will lead to anything or go
anywhere it’s very important to write it down and tell your story. That way it will be there if you decide it’s a project you want to
come back to. Great ideas are few and far between so don’t let it go to waste because you’re worried it won’t amount to anything.

6) What are your future plans? Any other book’s on the horizon?

A) I have written the beginning of a second novel about a young woman who was adopted who discovers she has a biological sister across the
Atlantic. I don’t know what my plans are for it yet; whether or not I want to shelve it to work on something else or whether I want it to
be my next project. I’ll have to wait and see where my inspiration takes me.

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Interview with James Gianetti

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Interview with James Gianetti

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

 

I am a graduate of Montclair State University and have a background in education. Since I was twelve, I always had an interest in it and constantly worked on improving it throughout the years. When I was young, I’d pick up books and think about how daunting it would be to put all those thoughts, ideas, and characters into countless pages. Back then it seemed impractical and somewhat unachievable, now, it’s what gets me up in the morning. My motivation and passion stems from the notion of being able to create something from nothing or to write something that isn’t out there in the world yet.

2) What inspired you to write The Town of Jasper?

 

The inspiration to write Jasper came from breaking down and evaluating other stories. I didn’t want to necessarily follow a blueprint of other novels so I asked myself, “how can I write a story that appeals to all types of observers?” So I started studying and checking out television shows that were working well at the time like “The Leftovers” and “True Detective”. The challenge was balancing the new with the traditional, meaning, how can I tell a story that competes with a night of someone’s favorite show and pay enough tribute to the traditional reader’s market? Since I wrote it on spec, one of the benefits was not being confined to telling the story in a specific way. So I broke the story down and ensured that I was touching upon elements and themes that people flock to while also making sure I was creating something authentic and my own. 

3) What was the process like creating protagonists Jack Sutherland and Richard Morrissey?

 

When you have two dominant male figures like them in a story, you have to make sure there is a conflict or relationship of some kind between them. Initially, their arcs were completely different and the story just didn’t work the way I had it. I spent a long time deconstructing their arcs and transformations and the challenge was making it compelling enough where the reader would be hooked and actually care about their journeys. I took a step back and tried analyzing the effectiveness of the story from a difference spectrum. I wanted the foundation of the story to be driven by irony, so that is when I decided to have their arcs occur in parallel, though not necessarily in the same location. The story shifts between the two of them with the unwritten opening always being “Meanwhile, Richard is doing this or “Meanwhile, Sutherland is doing that”.

 

 

 

 
4) What theme or message do you hope readers will get from your novel?

 

There are countless themes in the book both significant and diminutive. Self worth and community are at the forefront, with elements of love, trust, truthfulness, politics, disabilities, etc. I welcome readers to scrutinize over some of the themes or nod/shake their head in recognition of some of the ones that are more implicit.

5) Which do you find more fulfilling when writing: creating plot or creating characters.

 

I think it all depends on what kind of story I want to tell. With Jasper, I had this idea of a town and a unique atrocity. It isn’t necessarily “post-apocalyptic” it’s more “present-apocalyptic” and before I wrote characters, I needed to nail down and drive home on the environment, the scenario, and the landscapes of the town. Once I had the appealing and unique setting, I began to write characters that would be suited or unsuited for such an incident.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

 

I knew throughout the process of writing it that I wanted the experience for the reader to be visual. Going back to my approach to writing a novel tailored to the status quo of exploring stories, I wanted readers to visualize it in addition to reading it. Instagram has been an incredible tool that has allowed me to reach a wide array of readers and people interested in following the story and characters.  I have and continue to release teaser images of events or characters within the book along with dialogue. The reception has been very positive thus far.

7) What’s one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?

 

Do not embark on writing a novel unless you truly want to write it. Don’t write a story just for the sake of writing a story. The process can take years, so make sure you are completely certain you want to explore your story and characters.

8) What are you future plans after the release of The Town of Jasper? Any other novels or stories in the works?

 

I have written a few short stories that I will start to send out to journals. One of them is going to be showcased on “The Short Story Machine” podcast from Paul Alves. I feel like I have scratched my short story itch for now. I have been toying with some concepts and directions for another installment to Jasper, however, I am also very much open to writing an entirely new story.  

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker Review

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I received an ARC copy of this novel. All opinions are my own and my review of it is unbiased.

The next great serial killer is born in J.D. Barker’s The Fourth Monkey, a brand new thriller that focuses on the hunt for a killer in the city of Chicago. Here is the official synopsis:

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

I have to say it: this is by far the best book I’ve read thus far in 2017. There have been nothing but great reads this year, but the way this book is written and brought to life is truly awe inspiring. The story of the Four Monkey Killer, or 4MK, is one of the most brilliant character developments in a story this year. Not only are readers taken on a journey to find the killer’s last victim, but they are given a rare, disturbing yet addicting to read look into the personal mind of the killer, learning about what made this individual become a killer in the first place. Seamlessly navigating back and forth between the investigators on the case and their lives, and the personal diary of a serial killer, this novel immediately captures the readers minds in just a few pages and is relentless in its dive into the macabre world of 4MK.

Written with a voice that commands the readers attention and artfully showcases the twisted, tormented journey of all parties involved, from the investigators chasing a killer, to the victims of the killer, to the dark life of a serial killer, this is a story that brings a fresh new take to the serial killer/thriller genre. As the reader delves into this story, they will learn the twisted mission the killer had, and why the killer chose the victims that they chose. Soon the reader will ask themselves if anyone is truly “innocent” in this story, and a shocking twist will leave both the characters and the readers hanging on the edge of their seats, breathless as they eagerly wait for the answers to be revealed.

Overall, this is a must read thriller that you guys will not want to miss. With this story, author J.D. Barker cements himself as the newest voice of the thriller genre, and is definitely an author you will want to watch in the years to come. I give this book a 10/10 rating, and highly recommend you purchase your copies now. The book, The Fourth Monkey, is available for pre-order now and will be released on June 27th, 2017.
Be sure to get your copies and follow the author at his official websites listed down below! Remember to use the official hashtag, #4MK on your social media posts as well. Let’s help get this book the buzz it so heavily deserves.

As a special note, I wanted to let you guys know that I will be kicking off J.D. Barker’s blog tour for The Fourth Monkey on Friday, June 16th, 2017. I will be posting the links to both this review and my video review, as well as links to interviews with the author, some exciting news about the book, a special competition to win the book and of course the link to pre-order the book once more. Be sure to look out for this exciting blog tour in a few weeks. #4MK

J.D Barker’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/therealjdbarker/

J.D. Barker’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/jdbarker

J.D. Barker’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/jdbarker

http://jdbarker.com/aboutjd/

A Wider Universe by Allison Floyd Review

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A family struggle and a question of man’s place in the universe take center stage in author Allison Floyd’s A Wider Universe. Here is a synopsis:

Gene Shepherd, still grieving his wife’s death, alone in his home after his daughter moves in with her good-for-nothing boyfriend, has grown
accustomed to a life of solitude. When he gets a series of unexpected visits from bible-toting Patrick Frye, a young man on a personal crusade
for Jesus, Gene must confront not only the pushy young missionary, but the painful past he has been quietly suppressing.

Gene’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Chelsea Shepherd, caught in a destructive relationship, finds herself at a crossroads in her life, unsure of
her future, as well as her present. One night, after an argument turns violent, Chelsea flees from her relationship and finds solace, safety,
and an unexpected friendship with Swedish college professor Alexander Jansson. Both Gene and Chelsea must face choices and challenges that will
guide them towards their places in the world with the help of some unexpected characters and a major test of faith. A Wider Universe is a story
of family, redemption, and one man’s discovery that even the loneliest man is not truly alone.

Now I won’t lie to you guys: when I first started to read this book, I was worried it was going to be a very religious oriented outlook on the
story. For those of you who don’t know, I myself am not religious, and while I personally believe we should respect everyone’s right to
believe or not believe whatever they want, I myself do not enjoy or respond to religious based stories. However as I continued to read,
I found myself surprised and happy. I identified greatly with one of the main protagonists, Gene, as his personality felt very similar to my own.
His confrontation with Patrick and the frustration that comes with dealing with overly aggressive religious people is something I can relate to,
and so I found myself drawn into this story more and more.

This story really showcased a fresh, young voice in the literary world. Other than a few grammatical errors, the only piece of advice I would
share with the author is that at times, this story utilizes the show vs. tell story-telling device. What this means is that at times the writing
goes into too much detail, and could benefit from some editing to leave a little bit to the readers imagination. Other than this, the
story is well thought out and is a modern drama story that deserves to be told. The struggle for Chelsea is an all too common issue that young
women must face, and the loneliness that comes with loss is a theme that drives into the emotional core of the reader. Overall this is a
fantastic read, and I give this story an 8/10 rating. If you haven’t yet, please be sure to pick up your copies of A Wider Universe by Allison
Floyd today!

The Town of Jasper by James Gianetti Review

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The Town of Jasper by James Gianetti Review

A fresh take on the isolated town story, The Town of Jasper is a unique tale that follows two people, one a cop and an addict who struggles to
learn the dark secrets of the outbreak within Jasper, and the man who rose to power during the crisis in Jasper. Here is the synopsis for James
Gianetti’s The Town of Jasper:

Deadly foes and unexpected allies. A thrilling race against the clock.

Jack Sutherland, a disgraced detective battling his own addictions, must trudge through the quarantined town of Jasper. After “The Incident”
leaving half of Jasper’s population unconscious, Richard Morrisey rose to power. Morrisey, a grieving man desperate for justice, keeps the town
afloat by forging a tentative alliance with the mysterious and violent Filmore Whites. Meanwhile, a deadlier enemy lurks, known only as The
Redeemers. This cult has its own dark ideas for Jasper’s salvation.

Together, Sutherland and Morrisey battle impossible odds to save what little is left of Jasper.

The story of a small town being isolated from the world has seen a growth in popularity in recent years. From the highly acclaimed Stephen King
book Under the Dome to the popular Netflix series Between, this particular story has been used quite often. That is why it is so refreshing to
read a book with such a breath of fresh air into this particular genre. Rather than kill off half of the town’s residents or have them disappear,
readers are able to feel a more emotional connection to the characters as they are forced to watch over their loved ones, who remain unaware
of the situation developing in the town. The dark, complicated lives of both Jack and Richard are thoroughly explored in this book, and readers
will love to see the emotional roller coaster these two characters go on themselves, as well as the effect it has on the supporting characters
in this novel.

The novel itself was very well written. With very minimal grammatical errors, this story flowed beautifully, and the way the author eased back
and forth between the past and present from chapter to chapter until both finally caught up with one another was a great story telling device
that was used organically. Overall, this is a rich, dark and powerful thriller that readers need to read. The emotions running through this
novel are felt on every page, and that’s what makes this such an intriguing read. I give this book a 10/10 rating, as it kept me interested and
hanging on the edge of my seat as I read it, and I think this book showcases a true calling to writing for James Gianetti, and I hope to see more
of his work in the future. Be sure to pick up your copies of The Town of Jasper on May 9th, 2017!

Interview with Author Maria Thompson Corley

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Interview Questions for Maria Thompson Corley

1) First off, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you find yourself drawn to the world of writing?

I always liked to write. When I was young, I was much more secure expressing myself in writing than in speech. Not that I never spoke, but I was always more self-revelatory in writing. I would write my parents notes, sometimes, instead of speaking to them about things that bothered me. I wrote my first novel at 14 (no worries—I have no intention of inflicting it on anyone!). My first published novel was Choices, which I wrote on a whim. I had the rather confident attitude that I could come up with something as good as a lot of the books I was reading, so I sent my manuscript to Ballantine and received a letter back from an editor. She said her list was full, but recommended that I get in touch with someone at Kensington, since they were starting a line of books aimed at African American women. I was kind of in the right place at the right time.

 

That was in 1996! My book was published as a romance, and my follow up didn’t fit the genre, since I had a prominent gay character who was in a relationship. I didn’t want to get rid of him, deciding instead to focus on being a pianist (I have Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Juilliard, and have played since I was 4). I had married by then, and my daughter was born in 1997, followed in 1999 by my son, who is on the autism spectrum. It took me a while to get back to writing, with all of that on my plate. When my marriage broke up, I found writing very cathartic, and I can truly say that the written word has turned out to be as much a part of me as music.

I’ve even started writing a bit of poetry. One poem was published by New York Literary Magazine, having come in second in a contest, and I presented one about my son, the first one I’d written since middle school, at the National Autism Conference last summer. We’ll see where that goes. I have ambitions of writing a few more and trying to set them to music. Some of my songs and solo/choral arrangements have been performed nationally and, in one case, internationally, and one choral piece was published by Walton. That said, I can’t do everything. Can I? Either way, I feel like an emerging composer. We’ll see.

2) What inspired you to write Letting Go?

The inspiration was a who, not a what. My mother suggested that I write something a bit closer to home, shall we say. As mentioned in my acknowledgments, she isn’t a big fan of the four-letter words and occasional sex, but she is a huge supporter of everything I do. I am so blessed to have been given wonderful parents.

What’s fun about the book is that people who know me can see similarities to my life, but most of the book is fiction. Which is which? You’ll have to guess (hint: I made up the first chapter. That said, I definitely want to be present at the auditions for casting Devonte Jones).

3) What message or theme do you hope to convey to your readers when they read this book?

I hope readers will look at love, in all its manifestations, through fresh eyes. While people call my book a romance, to me, the cliché is true—the greatest love of all is between you and yourself.


4) If you could sit down for a cup of coffee with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you say to them/ask them?

Tough question! I think I’d sit down with Langston, ideally with him supplying the coffee and another treat of his choice, hopefully something he’d made himself (selfish reasons! I love good coffee and treats!). I’d ask him if he had any regrets about the way his path went, as in, if he wished he’d done some things sooner, or felt they happened at the right time.

The thing is, I think we all do the best we can with what we have, even if what we’re doing is destructive. We have to get better, internally, to do better.

5) When writing Letting Go, what was more important to you: plot development or character development?

Hopefully, both! That said, I love to get into people’s heads, and to create imaginary friends or foes) for the reader. Humans are endlessly complex, and thus (at least to me), endlessly fascinating.

6) What social media site would you say has been the most helpful developing your readership?

I’m not sure! I’d say a toss-up between Facebook and Twitter. Then again, I basically use only Facebook and Twitter, so…

7) What’s one piece of advice you would give to new authors out there?

Be an educated, ruthlessly critical author. Learn the grammar, read books and articles by respected writers, analyze the way they use words. Strive to write good sentences, so that your ideas truly come to life. Find beta readers who are honest and skilled in the craft (I know this isn’t always easy), and then listen to them. Opinion is just that, but I at least try to consider every suggestion, so that if I don’t take it, the reason isn’t my own defensiveness or insecurity. That said, I’m so used to critique, these days, I have a very thick skin.

8) What are your future plans? Any new books in the works?

I just finished a revision of the New Adult book I mentioned earlier, with the gay character. When my beta readers have weighed in, I’ll revise some more and see where that goes. After that (or while I wait for my betas), I hope to write a book from the point of view of a very famous animal. I have barely started (last summer). I know that will be shorter, but also harder because I have to stick to the historical facts. Oh yeah, and because I’m choosing to write from the point of view of an animal!

Melanie Murphy’s “Fully Functioning Human (Almost): Living In An Online, Offline World Book Announcement

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Over the years, the worlds of YouTube and the book industry have merged with the release of several popular YouTuber’s books, from Shane
Dawson and Justine Ezarik to Miranda Sings and Tyler Oakley. Ranging from fiction to memoirs, these books have revitalized an interest in reading
amongst younger audiences. One YouTuber is looking to not only continue that tradition, but to bring to light topics worth discussing, from
sexuality to body image issues and more. That YouTuber is Melanie Murphy, an Irish creator with a big following online, and her book is
“Fully Functioning Human (Almost): Living In An Online, Offline World.

Here is a little bit about the book and the author herself, Melanie Murphy.

In her first book, Irish YouTuber Melanie Murphy shares a series of experiences from the struggle that is growing up in the digital age:
cyberbullying, dumping by text, gaining (and then losing) too much weight, having acne in a world of Instagram filters, and, most of all,
finding the strength to tackle poor mental health. From self-image struggles to important life lessons about family, friendship, love and
mindset, Fully Functioning Human (Almost) is a warm, illuminating memoir full of wit and wisdom that doubles up as a life guide for millennials.
You can pre-order your copy of the book now. This is one of my highly anticipated books of 2017, so be sure to order your copies today!

Pre-Order Here –> http://amzn.to/2qmPxE4