Interviews

Welcome to my newest feature! Everyone loves to visit book stores and browse the aisles with a hot cup of coffee in their hands. It's such a cozy atmostphere that makes you feel right at home. That's exactly what this page is about.  This is a place where you can learn more about the authors and their books right from the comfort of your own home.

Chatting with S.J. Francis

July 20, 2017

 

Hi folks! Today, I’m sipping a hot cup of Tim Horton’s coffee on a rainy day and chatting with S.J. Francis, author of Shattered Lies.


Time seems to slow down as you read Shattered Lies, you could almost feel the intense Mississippi heat and southern charm. Her words flow effortlessly across the page, pulling you deeper into gripping tale that is full of hidden secrets. The pages come to life, revealing the dark truth about the past. This book is beautifully written featuring eloquent words. You could literally feel the rich history seeping through. 

 

Is this your debut novel S.J.? 

Yes, Jenn it is. Not the first one I’ve ever written, but the first one I actively sought for publication.

 

The overall story is quite emotional and deeply invested in the family’s dark secret that threaten to tear apart Kate’s life. Interestingly, this reminded me of the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. What inspired you to write this novel?

Easy to answer. Life. The world around me. This family spoke to me. I had no choice. I had to write this story. No more so than when I moved to Mississippi. That is when the story really evolved. After considering several states where to set Shattered Lies over the years, Mississippi was the place to set it. There was no other place. I saw the book come alive.

 

How long did it take to write this story?

The idea came to me in July of 1999.Then it went into hibernation until I moved to Mississippi, and then, it just came to life. If memory serves me correctly, it took just two months to write including editing.

 

Will you be writing a sequel?

Thank you for asking. Yes, I’m proud to say that a sequel is already in the works. I already have a draft on my computer waiting to be brought to life.

 

A portion of sales, 10% of it will be donated to the Polycystic Kidney Foundation (www.pkdcure.org) - why is this important to you?

Poly Cystic Kidney disease is an insidious disease that affects both child and adults. It takes too many lives. Babies are born and doomed with it. I also found out that it runs in my family, which makes it a cause close to home.

 

 

You are also devoted to helping animals and being an active voice for them, what prompted your interest in this aspect?

That’s a very good question and I have no idea. I’m an animal lover as far back as I can remember. I’ve always had pets. You name it and I probably had it. I remember when I was four my father brought home a large paper towel box. Inside the box was a small solid black puppy and I fell in love instantly with her. She was my best friend. I don’t remember never having a pet. As far as I’m concerned, animals are the only pure innocence that exists in our life. They don’t have a voice, but we do. Even as a child, I always spoke up for and about animals. I’m one for the animals. I even created a blog just for them to bring awareness about animals, rescues and more:  http:onefortheanimals.blogspot.com

 

Since animals are a big part of your life, are there any charities that you recommend?

On my: that’s a loaded question. There are many charities I support and can recommend.  All of the charities I support help animals in one way or another. I support ASPCA, The Humane Society of the US, and Animal Legal Defense Fund because they are large and can make an impact.  I also support and can recommend smaller lesser known ones because they matter to me, too:  Petfinder, Soi Dog Foundation, Alley Cat Allies, Beagle Freedom Project, Farm Sanctuary, Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue, Rescue Tails Animal Sanctuary, Mission K9 Rescue, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, and Vest N PDP, which raises funds to supply bullet proof vests to K9s. I also support a smaller newer charity in Yazoo County, MS called Southern Tails Animal Rescue, which I just learned about just over a year ago. This small charity run by one woman takes in abandoned animals in Yazoo County where Shattered Lies takes place, and where unfortunately, many people don’t like to spay or neuter their animals. Instead, they abandon them, discarding them like trash near dumpsters and such. Animals aren’t trash and shouldn’t be treated as such.

 

Your main character, Kate, is a vet, do you have any personal experiences in this field that helped contribute to the story? 

I once wanted to be a veterinarian. I even studied in high school to become one and took classes in college. All the math and science pushed me away. The character picked her profession, but I can’t say I didn’t influence her with it. It just seemed the obvious profession for Kate Thayer.

 

Shattered Lies takes place in Mississippi, did you grow up there?

Nope. Not at all. Actually, I grew up far away from Mississippi in New York City. I lived and traveled to many places, but Mississippi was the only place that Shattered Lies came to life. I like to say that I was born a Yankee, but I’ve always had the heart and soul of a Rebel.

 

This novel does feature some racism which is not an easy subject to talk about, what made you decide to include it in the story?

Art is imitation of life. Art is life. Life is art. Books are about life. Shattered Lies is a reflection of life around us. Racism wasn’t meant to be the subject of the book. It evolved from the story. It was a story that needed to be told and no more time than the present and the Thayer and Johnson families told it.

 

Many writers will often incorporate true experiences into their writing, were you able to do this?

I could say that I did, but no. Shattered Lies is purely fictional, though I won’t say that composites of real people and places weren’t used.

 

Your writing is visually rich, did your background as an executive producer for television help with this? 

Evidently so, but I’ve always been an imaginative person. Whether it was television or writing, I let my imagination soar.

 

You have an extensive list of skills from being a licensed pilot, military veteran, as well as being a University professor. I would love to know what subject you taught. 

Actually, I still teach: English, Media Communications, and Law, though a year ago I was promoted to head the English Department at my University. I still lecture, though now most of my time is in meetings.

 

Are there any particular scenes or chapters that are truly special to you?

Um…I have to think on this one. So many scenes and chapters in Shattered Lies touched me. Truly special? I think I have to say the one in which Kate and her Uncle Sam are on the train and she tells him about her grandfather Jackson and his treatment of her when she was a young girl. That was heartbreaking.

 

Did you have a particular field of interest in the military? 

Search and Rescue. I was a rescue swimmer.

 

One of the characters in the story is a military veteran who served in Afghanistan who sustained an injury to his leg, is this a reflection of your life?  

No again. Purely fiction, though after writing about this character, I soon discovered a real person somewhat like him, but no it wasn’t a reflection of my life, though it is a reflection of all the Veterans ever injured in Afghanistan and Iraq and more. Veterans are often overlooked and I wanted show they are all around us.

 

The focus of your story involves working on a farm, did you grow up in this kind of environment? 

Oh no. Not me. There aren’t many farms in New York City, but I did get to spend a summer on one in Upstate New York. In Mississippi now, I’m surrounded by farms.

 

Writing a story is never easy and often involves research, were there any topics that required you to learn more about? 

I’m a versatile person and have done many things; been to many places; seen many things, but yes, I still had to do research. Lots of research for Shattered Lies, but not one special topic, no. I believe no one ever stops learning and in writing it is very true.

 

Have you written other stories?

Yes, I have over three hundred published stories, articles and interviews since I sold my first short story over three decades ago. I’ve also written scripts for television.

 

How would you describe your personality? 

The eternal optimist yet, a realist at the same time. If life closes a door, be careful when you open the window, but do open it.

 

Do you have any advice for new authors? 

Never quit. Keep writing. As long as you write something, you are a writer. The greatest failure is the fear of trying anything new because you fear failure. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained. The belated novelist Jackie Collins gave me the best advice ever, “Keep your writing passion at the fore!” Never let anything distract you from writing.


 

 

Interview with Jessie

July 14, 2017

Author Jennifer Gibson, interviews her main character, Jessie from her book series. 



Author - Hi Jessie! I’m so glad you could join us today!


Jessie - Thank you! It’s nice to be here, especially on a such a beautiful summer day. It has been a very cold and rainy season lately, so this is a real treat.


A - What are your plans for this summer?


J - I’m helping out at the dojo, teaching karate to the students. We are starting a new summer camp program this year, where we are having more classes...


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Carolyn Arnold's adventures

May 10, 2016

Joining us today is an International best-selling author, Carolyn Arnold. She has written a diverse collection of thirty books!

You possess an amazing talent and dare I say, determination, for writing so many books! How did you get interested in becoming an author?

My passion for writing was sparked when I was a teenager. I would vent my emotions into poems and then it became romance novellas. I even took it upon myself to write into Harlequin for their submission guid...


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Creating Heroes with Marc Sumerak

April 4, 2016



Please give a warm welcome to Marc Sumerak, an Eisner and Harvey Award nominated writer!
 
He has written over 500 publications and continues to produce outstanding stories.

You have a successful career as a comic book writer, is this what you envisioned doing when you were growing up?

 
I was always a storyteller as a kid, and I loved reading comics and creating my own stories. Once I realized that making comics was an actual profession, I did everything in my power to make sure I was on the righ...
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Sipping wine with Tonya

March 2, 2016



Please welcome the lovely and talented Tonya Royston, author of the Sunset Trilogy. Her second novel in the series, Silence at Midnight, was just released by Black Opal Books. Congratulations on this success!


You had originally planned to self-publish this series, what compelled you to have it published by Black Opal Books?


I never expected to get a contract from a traditional publisher. I submitted my story to Black Opal Books so that I could say I at least tried. When they gave me a three-bo...
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A candid chat with Gael Hannan

July 30, 2015


I’m thrilled to introduce Gael Hannan, a new author who also happens to be Hard of Hearing, just like me. I’m so glad that you could join us today!

Growing up with a progressive Sensorineural loss without the use of assistive devices such as hearing aids must have been a particularly difficult experience for you. How on earth did you manage to get through school?


My hearing loss was mild when I was a child, steadily progressing—perhaps ‘regressing’ would be a better word—to its cu...
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Chatting with John Hegenberger

July 28, 2015


Today we are chatting with John Hegenberger, a versatile writer who switches from gritty noir to science fiction to down on his luck private detective with ease.  His latest project and upcoming release is the Stan Wade series.

You have an impressive list of published short stories and novels! Not only are you a talented author, you were also in the Navy and a marketing executive for numerous corporations. What made you switch to the field of writing?


Actually, I’ve always been a writer first...
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Say hello to Ronnie Allen!

July 20, 2015


Today we are chatting with author Ronnie Allen who just released a psychological thriller entitled Gemini. 


How does it feel to finally have it out in the world for everyone to read? 

First I'd like to thank you so much Jen for affording me the opportunity to be on your blog. It's wonderful to be exposed to a new audience.

It has been an amazing experience for me. I keep my book on my desk and when I'm working at the computer I stare at it, and wow it's me, it's mine. It's still surreal. It'...


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Please welcome Tierney James

March 9, 2015


Please give a warm welcome to my fellow author, Tierney James who stopped by for a quick chat about her upcoming release, “The Rescued Heart”.

You have written four books, two of them in the children’s category, "Zombie Meatloaf" and "There’s a Superhero in the Library" What inspired you to write these two stories?

Thanks for having me. I don’t usually write children’s books but "There’s a Superhero in the Library" came as a result of my friend being diagnosed with breast cancer s...
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Multi-talented Erika Szabo

March 2, 2015




Thank so much for joining our conversation with Erika Szabo today who is a multi-talented woman!


Erika, you obviously have a remarkable passion and penchant for writing, how many books have you written so far?


So far my epic fantasy series, The Ancestor’s Secrets, and a true story of orphaned fox pups growing up in our backyard are published. I have a few Alternative Healing books as well, which I offer for free on my website.


It’s evident that you love animals, especially through your Rea...

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