Author Interview with Tricia Schneider

Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

Tricia: I don’t have to go far. I live minutes away from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, perhaps best known in the literary world as the home of John O’Hara, author of Appointment in Samarra and Butterfield. He based his popular book, Gibbsville, on his hometown of Pottsville and the residents there.


Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Tricia: I have written books that take place in London, England, but I’ve never set foot there. Although, I’ve done a ton of research, I would love nothing more than to visit the place. Spending a year in London, or anywhere in the United Kingdom, would be a dream come true!
 


Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?


Tricia: This happens more often than I care for, to be honest. I have several methods to work through this. The best for me is taking a walk, going for a drive (although with gas prices these days – not so much lately), or taking a long shower. These work wonders for my creativity. I can usually work through any blocks or plot problems that come my way.
 


Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?


Tricia: I call myself a Planster. A combination of the two work best for me. When I create a story, I write everything I know about it, from characters, setting, plot, you name it. I’ll create an outline with the information I have. Typically, there are big gaping holes where I don’t know what happens. Those get filled in as I write. Most times, I have to go back and fix things as I learn more about the characters and the story. But writing this way gives me a semblance of structure and a vague guide, but still leaves a lot of surprises and what happens next questions that I love to see answered.


Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?


Tricia: I’m not sure I have any unusual writing quirks. Sometimes, I think I’m rather boring. But I will share my experience with my writing space this last summer. I spent days cleaning out my small walk-in closet to convert half of it into an office space where I might escape from my noisy family to get my writing done. It’s beautiful with a small desk, pretty lights and a comfy chair. I was so happy when I finished, imagining my days hidden away, typing my stories. Yeah, it didn’t work out like that. My office isn’t soundproof, so the noises from the household still distract me. Plus, my 7-year-old doesn’t understand the concept of mommy-needs-to-work, so there’s plenty of distraction from him playing with his toys in my office while I’m trying to write. While I haven’t abandoned it completely, I’ve gone back to writing on my bed with my laptop or the sofa in the living room, wearing headphones to block the noise around me.


Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?


Tricia: I’m an avid reader, and I’ll read anything, but romance is by far my favorite. Any kind of romance. Historical, paranormal, contemporary, it doesn’t matter. I crave that happily-ever-after story. This world is filled with so many uncertainties. I need to know the characters I read about will find their happy-ever-afters since none are guaranteed in real life.


Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?


Tricia: Probably a combination of the two. I want to write a story that will resonate with readers, but I like to put a fresh, unique spin on my stories. Romance is filled with tropes such as enemies to lovers, arranged marriages, or second-chance love. I like to play with these tropes and see what new twists I can create with them.


Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


Tricia: Stop doubting yourself. Just go for it. You can do it!


Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


Tricia: The best money I ever spent was on the few writer’s conferences I went to when I was younger and learning about the publishing industry. I met so many people, authors, and aspiring writers, and I learned a great deal from them. Attending those conferences in my early days really impacted me in a wonderful way and led me on the journey I’m currently on.


Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?


Tricia: I’m not sure I would pick it for myself, but I think a spider picked me. The year I first became published, I kept encountering yellow garden spiders. These spiders are also known as writing spiders. Yes, I had to look it up. When I saw the name, I felt like someone was trying to send me a message. They are orb weavers, which means they create beautiful, intricate webs. I found several in my garden and front porch that year. Also, I found one crawling on my leg while I was driving my son home from preschool one day. No, I didn’t freak out, but it’s a good thing I like spiders! �� I think the spirits were definitely trying to get my attention.


Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?


Tricia: I’ve been published with The Wild Rose Press and some other indie publishers. I have several paranormal, historical, sci-fi, and fantasy romances published with varying lengths and heat levels. Novels to short stories. Steamy to sweet. Kindle Vella is my newest venture. Right now, I have one Vella published called Into the Dark. But I’m working on more to schedule for next year.


Day: What does literary success look like to you?


Tricia: I already feel successful. For me, I have many milestones on the way to a top goal. I’ve accomplished some such as getting a book written (yes, that counts as a success!), getting published, and making it onto the USA Today Bestseller’s list. My ultimate goal is to make enough income with my writing to pay my bills. That’s always been my dream.


Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

Tricia: I’ve been doing this for a while, but I still feel like I’m learning as I go. There are so many methods, and what works for one author may not work for another. I’ve had good luck with my newsletter subscribers and word of mouth.


Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Tricia: It depends on the book. I’ve spent hours reading nonfiction books and searching online articles for my historical romances. I try my best to be as accurate as possible with historical detail. With my paranormal romances, I’ve researched books about mythological and magical creatures. If I can, I like to travel to the locations for the settings of my stories. It’s wonderful to walk the same streets as my characters.
 


Day: How many hours a day do you write?


Tricia: I’m a single mom with four children between the ages of 16 and 7. My writing hours vary greatly. Over the years, I’ve learned to be flexible. Sometimes, I get an hour, and other days I might have five hours. I don’t have a set schedule. My best time for writing in the summer was early in the morning every day while my kids were asleep. Now that they’re back in school, I write more during the weekdays.


Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?


Tricia: Yes. I love Easter eggs! Most of my stories are interconnected in small ways, whether it’s a setting or a character. Just something minor that ties them together. Another little secret in my writing is the names I use for my characters. I grew up in the ’80s watching re-runs of the 1960s TV drama, Dark Shadows. My mother got me hooked on that show, and it influenced my life in a huge way during my formative years. My passion for the supernatural stems from storylines involving vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts, curses, time travel, and more. To pay homage to my favorite show, I borrow names of the characters and the actors who played them and use at least one in each of my books, first or last name. It’s not something obvious, but it’s a secret that I think only Dark Shadows fans might catch if they were looking closely.


Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?


Tricia: Anything involving the death of a loved one. My mother died from leukemia when I was 11. It’s difficult to write about loss as it brings strong memories. I discovered quite accidentally that nearly all the heroines in my stories have suffered the loss of their mother. It might not always pertain to the plot in a huge way, but I didn’t even realize I wrote them like that until someone close to me pointed it out.


Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?
 
Tricia: My favorite time to write is whenever I’m alone in my house or when my kids are asleep. That’s the only time it’s quiet and peaceful, so I can lose myself in my story. Having four children, there’s rarely a moment when there’s not noise or chaos. Also, my house has become a haven for some of the neighborhood kids, so I typically have more than just my children in my home. At least two or three others call my house a second home and spend a lot of time with us. So much that they’ve become like part of my family. When I say it’s beyond noisy at my house, I’m not exaggerating!


Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

Tricia: All three would be best! Usually, when I’m developing my stories, I start with the characters. I spend a lot of time learning who they are and what makes them tick. I think readers really connect with strong characters who will share their journey and take them through the epic settings and mind-blowing plot twists.


Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?


Tricia: My bestie author buddy is the amazing Ash Krafton. She’s a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author who writes speculative fiction. I’ve known her since my Waldenbooks days while I worked at the local mall. She’s not only a brilliant writer but a fantastic friend! You must check out her Demimonde series. And, I admit, I might have a teeny bit of a crush on the exorcist mage, Simon Alliant, from The Demon Whisperer series. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve re-read those books multiple times!


Thank you so much for the interview! This was fun!


If you’re interested in learning more about Tricia’s work,

Check out her Kindle Vella:

Into the Dark

Trapped in a dimension where magic feeds from the living, Allison must trust a stranger to help her survive in this terrifying reality. Brian has lost all hope of escape. Finding Allison has given him new purpose to keep going, but for how long? As they search for a way out of this nightmarish world, will they sacrifice their newfound feelings for each other for a chance to return home? Or will they remain trapped in a world where the dead walk among the living?

To see her USA Today bestselling books, check out Tricia’s website or her blog.

And in between deadlines, she’s usually hanging out at one of these social media sites:
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Bookbub
Instagram

Author Interview with Gage Greenwood

  1. Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

    Gage: I haven’t been on any, but I live in New England, so I have been around some literary hotspots by happenstance. I’m less interested in who wrote where and more interested in visiting places where wild things happened. Okay, Edgar Allen Poe wrote at this bar, but tell me more about the ghosts people see in the hallways.

    2)  Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

    Gage: Most of my books take place in a fictional version of the town I live in, but for the sake of exploration, I would go to Ireland. I could see that conjuring a lot of fun folk horror stories.

    3) Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

    Gage: I’d probably do some cleaning or some working out. Put my headphones in and listen to an audiobook. It’s often listening to the words of another author that breaks me out of a writer’s block, that and being physically active, and by that, I just mean moving around a little.

    4) Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

    Gage: Definitely a pantser, but I do usually have an idea where it’s all going to end. It’s just I have no idea how it’s going to get there.

    5) Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

    Gage: I am always snacking while I write, which is both unhealthy and bad for my computer keys, which tend to get covered in snack crumbs.

    6) Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

    Gage: Horror. I read every genre imaginable, and I love something about all of them, but horror treads into the questions that most unnerve me, the kinds of things I don’t want to think about outside of when I’m reading. Almost always, horror is about life, death, and coming to
    terms with a world out of our control. Those are big, horrifying topics, and I find comfort in fearing them with a talented writer who wants to explore them in their own way. Outside of horror, I try to
    make sure my TBR pile is filled with different voices, cultures, races, religions, sexes, and creeds. It’s important for me to explore outside of my own worldview.

    7) Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

    Gage: Original, to my own detriment. I wish I could write to market, but I’m weird, and I don’t know how to un-weird myself. I suppose I could train myself to write to market, but I would get bored, and writing would lose some of its luster for me. I need to write from the gut.

    8) Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

    Gage: Don’t be so afraid. Challenge yourself. Take risks. Yes, you can bring your story there. You can bring it wherever the heck you want.

    9) Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

    Gage: Easily on my editor and cover artist. My editor, Mary Danner, is a one-of-a-kind, truly gifted editor who also understands my voice. She knows how to make my work shine while maintaining the integrity of how I like to write. Meanwhile, my cover artist, Luke Spooner, is much like me. His work crosses genres and mixes whimsy with darkness. It’s beautiful and fits my style so well.

    10) Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

    Gage: Probably a lemur. My writing looks harmless, friendly even, but it can bite and scratch.

    11) Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

    Gage: I have four Vellas, three of which are ongoing, and one is complete. Meanwhile, my debut novel came out in June, which was the first season of my most popular Vella, Winter’s Myths. Season two is complete on Vella, and going into book form in late October/early November. I am hoping to have four or five books published in 2023.

    12) Day: What does literary success look like to you?

    Gage: A television show based off my books starring Kevin Bacon, a popular line of toys based on characters from my books. Fans dressing up in cosplay from my work. People getting tattoos of quotes I wrote. An army of minions. A legion of warriors working for me. World domination. Or, honestly, just knowing my book makes some people happy.

    13) Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

    Gage: I’m a constant self-promoter. I like to do that because, for me, it’s not just about pitching my book. I enjoy finding my audience and getting to know them. I constantly tell my friends and readers this isn’t my journey, it’s ours. We’re in this together, and my successes are yours as well. Word of mouth has been huge for me. Booktokers and bookstagramers, as well as people spreading the word in book groups on Facebook. I’ve done some paid ads, but they haven’t worked for me because I need to learn the systems better. I plan to do just that, but for now, while I am learning, word of mouth is driving my sales.

    14) Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

    Gage: Depends on what I need. For Winter’s Myths, I needed to learn about prepping and living underground. I spent months reading up on survival skills and how one would live underground off nothing but their own skills.

    15) Day: How many hours a day do you write?

    Gage: My life is pretty scattered, and I have more projects than just writing to work on, so some days I write for 8 hours, and others I don’t write at all. On average, I would say three or four hours.

    16) Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

    Gage: Yes. And I also connect just about everything I write to something else I write, so those are fun easter eggs for people following my career. There are also a ton of little pop culture references or homages to artists and writers I dig.

    17) Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

    Gage: There was a scene in one story where a character I grew to love had to get attacked. She had a brutal battle, and I hated every second of it. I wanted to protect her. I also wrote a short story for my newsletter subscribers where I went deep into my past with addiction, and some of that was very raw and hard to write.

    18) Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

    Gage: Mornings when the house is quiet. I used to love to write about 2 or 3 in the morning, when everyone was asleep, but my life and routine has changed, and now the morning is when I have the most peace and quiet.

    19) Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters
    B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

    Gage: Why not all three? Characters always come first for me, so I will choose A. Plots are fun but hollow without strong characters going through them. Settings add an extra layer of character, but without the friends you want to follow through the scenes, the setting would feel pretty empty.

    20) Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

    Gage: Nikolai Wisekal. The man is writing some pure comedy gold with wonderful fantasy and sci-fi backdrops. How he’s not famous yet is beyond me. On top of that, he’s just a really great person.

Gage’s Top Three Vellas are:

Winter’s Myth

After a disease ravages his underground community, Winter escapes with his two daughters to the upper world, a place called Earth. Winter fears what he will find on Earth, but he is surprised to find the planet has largely been abandoned. As he and his daughters struggle to survive, and come face to face with deadly foes, Winter tells his children stories and legends as a way to make sense of their new surroundings. In Winter’s world, we are the mythology. We are the legends. We are the threat.

A Glass World

Marybeth’s panic attacks are getting worse. Brian’s daughter disappeared while on a camping trip. Tragedy unfolded for Judith while on a walk with her family. These strangers find their way to a secret world made entirely of glass, and with this discovery, they unlock uncanny powers within themselves. But they aren’t the only ones with vast power, and not everyone is happy with this group’s newfound abilities. The Dead Things are coming, and they hunger for the residents of Glass World.

Bunker Dogs

Don’t fear what you’re hiding from. Fear what you’re hiding with. When the Timurs ask Cassie to babysit, she couldn’t be happier. Their twelve-year-old son keeps to himself and plays video games all night, leaving Cassie to study in the peace and quiet of the Timur’s humongous open-floor house. But the world is about to descend into madness, and as Cassie tries to hide from it, she discovers the Timur house has secrets. Some secrets are best kept buried. Some secrets have teeth.

Gage’s books are:

Winter’s Myths

After a disease ravages his underground community, Winter escapes with his daughters to the dangerous surface of Earth. Believing the planet is largely abandoned, he struggles to make sense of this strange new world while trying to keep his family alive… But the surface is not all complicated artifacts and relics of a deserted universe. Winter is certain something—or someone—is hunting them.

He weaves wild tales to entertain and teach his daughters, turning celebrities into demigods and Abe Lincoln into an ice giant. As the journey grows darker and more dangerous, his mythologies keep not only his children from confusion and despair, but him as well.

With tensions rising and danger at every corner, will Winter keep his family alive long enough to finish his tales?

Winter’s Myths is a multi-season serial currently publishing on Amazon’s Kindle Vella. This book covers the first season. Each season will be available in book form upon completion.

Grackles on the Feeder: A Short Horror Story

WARNING: While these are not topics I typically write about, this story does contain scenes of animal cruelty and sexual assault.

In a small town in New England, against the backdrop of an abandoned amusement park, horrors will unfold.
Shelly will soon learn not everyone is who they seem. Not even Shelly herself.

Through Flickering Lights, a Silhouette: A Short Horror Story

Mira must travel through a thickening winter storm in search of her adopted brother, but the night is quickly approaching, and in the night, the monsters come.

For more of Gage Greenwood check out his links: Twitter, Amazon author page, YouTube, FaceBook, Instagram, and his Newsletter!

Author Interview with Jennifer Lush

  1. Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

Jennifer: There have been so many! I’ll do my top three. In Salem, MA, I visited the Nathaniel Hawthorne house and the house which inspired “The House of the Seven Gables.” Faulkner House Books in New Orleans is run out of a home where he once lived. It’s the smallest bookstore I’ve ever seen! I’ve also visited the area where the Outsiders was filmed in Tulsa, OK. It’s a must for any fan. Yes, that’s a movie location, but it was based on a book.

  1. Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Jennifer: My initial reaction is to say Iceland because I long to visit there, but I would choose England. It’s not too exotic, but if I’m going to be there for a full year, I want comfort not adventure.

  1. Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

Jennifer: I always write in Several stories at a time. If I’m not feeling one, there’s usually another causing my fingers to fly across the keyboard. Otherwise, I just type anything, just a couple random sentences. It will get my mind working to clean it up, make it fit the story, and that typically helps.

  1. Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

Jennifer: Both! But I lean toward pantser. I have a general idea going into the story and maybe a few notes, but it unfolds as I write. Take Fogpoint Harbor for example. I had the house on the coast in mind and what happens at the house. I also knew a relative would move there and take over. The rest of it came to me as I worked on it.

  1. Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

Jennifer: I have to have silence to write. There are so many authors with a playlist, or they choose music to fit the tone of the scene they’re working on. It distracts me.

  1. Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

Jennifer: I love horror and suspense. I want to be terrified and unable to stop turning pages because I have to know what happens at the same time.

  1. Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Jennifer: Original. I don’t write to market or follow tropes. I have more story ideas than I will live long enough to write. I write the stories consuming me and hope they find popularity.

  1. Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Jennifer: You’re better at this than you believe you are.

  1. Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Jennifer: I’d have to say it was the bundle of ISBN’s from Bowker. IngramSpark doesn’t issue free ones, and I’m very glad I bought my own to be able to publish on that platform.

  1. Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Jennifer: A squirrel. Imagine a very busy road. There’s a squirrel on one side of it and a mountain sized pile of nuts on the other. The squirrel is darting around, zig zagging, back and forth, here and there, trying to make it through the traffic to get to the nuts. That’s me. That’s my writing style.

  1. Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

Jennifer: Under this name, I have three published books and four Vellas. The first seasons of Ravenwood and The Below will be published this fall.

  1. Day: What does literary success look like to you?

Jennifer: This is a fluid construct. It was the first time I saw my name in print. The first royalty I received. The first five star review from a stranger. Becoming a five figure author was another success milestone. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I’ll be comfortable saying, “I’m a success.” I do enjoy the milestones along the way.

  1. Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

Jennifer: I wish I knew! I use social media and word of mouth the most. I’ve recently tried FB ads for one of my Vellas. I need to take out more and try some Amazon ads as well.

  1. Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Jennifer: I don’t research before I begin. I jump in the deep end. Some things I look up online like who was king at this time. Other things, I might ask friends. My ex-husband was a cop at one time, so he gets any questions falling into the law category. 

  1. Day: How many hours a day do you write?

Jennifer: That depends on my work schedule. I write anywhere from 0-2 hours on days I work. If it’s my day off and I have no errands to run, I could spend 12-14 hours writing.

  1. Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Jennifer: I usually include small bits of foreshadowing. If it will be discovered a character is a werewolf, he might bark or growl his words for example. I’d like to leave Easter eggs, but it’s not my strong suit.

  1. Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

Jennifer: That was chapter sixteen in the book Air: The Elementals. As difficult as it was to write, I’ve received amazing feedback from people telling me how much it hurt to read and how much they sobbed.

  1. Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

Jennifer: A couple hours after I wake up, whatever time that might be. It’s when my mind is freshest, and I have the most energy.

  1. Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

Jennifer: All three are important. I like to have characters who make the reader feel something. Love them or hate them. Either way, they’ve connected.

  1. Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

Jennifer: Yes! My friend Jinapher Hoffman is a fantasy writer, and her first book “For Mist & Tar” was recently released.

Jennifer’s top three Kindle Vellas:

Fogpoint Harbor: The Inheritance

Kat was surprised to learn of her great-aunt’s death twenty years after she had been led to believe Aunt Dot had passed away. As the soul inheritor of the estate, there was a catch. She had to live in her aunt’s house for one year to collect. The mysteries surrounding her aunt didn’t end with why she had been lied to about her death. Recruited by the police to solve a town’s murder, Kat relies on an unlikely source to solve the crime: the ghosts residing in her aunt’s Victorian home.

Ravenwood: Volume One

Along Route 116 where the state road weaved its way through the backwoods of Massachusetts was the lane leading to Ravenwood. It was easy to miss. The only travelers in that area were either lost or looking for the old Europeanesque inn. The only people who traveled west of Ravenwood were the people who had grown up there. They knew the woods, feared the creatures who dwelled there, but they respected them. They had made friends with the woods for it were the trees who wouldn’t let you leave.

The Below

All manner of supernatural and mythical beasts dwell in The Below. Their refuge underground has kept them safe for centuries. Phillipe had always known he would never go to The Above. He was the last of his kind, and he hadn’t always followed the rules. He accepted this as his fate until he learned the truth about his parents. Their murder and the lies that covered it up sparked an outrage. There was only one way justice would be carried out, and that was by Phillipe’s own hands.

Jennifer also wrote a YA Elemental series:

Air: The Elementals Book One

Lilah is not at all pleased about her family’s move to the Midwest regardless of the circumstances behind why they were summoned. It’s unfair she has to trade in her days in the sun on the beach for the lackluster cornfields and bare trees filled autumn. Especially since it is centuries old rules and traditions dictating her family’s code. That is until she meets Jackson. The timing of events couldn’t be more wrong. Secrets are revealed and psychic powers unleashed as she comes into her own while navigating the diminishing fine line between family honor and independence. Will she be able to help the other Elements fight the unknown force hunting them down while forging her own identity? Air is the first book in The Elementals series revealing the truth behind myths and legends dating back millennia. Time is running out for the four to bring about the Return and restore Balance to the earth.

Earth: The Elementals Book Two

Everleigh is torn between her grandma’s old fashioned ways and wanting to unite the Elementals in the fight to save their people.

Fire: The Elementals Book Three

Judd is torn between two identities. The private life he leads has to remain a secret. It’s the only way to save his son. The life he’s known by is a past filled with carnage and intimidation. His people are being hunted, and he has to figure out a way to save them without putting his family at risk.

Check out more of Jennifer’s work on her Amazon Author Page, Twitter, and Linktree.