Author Interview with Aella Black


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


Aella: I’ve been to Concord, Massachusetts, home of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Alcott house is worth going to see! My dream literary pilgrimage is to England to do a Jane Austen tour, as well as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien in Oxford.


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?


Aella: I feel fortunate to have already lived on four continents, and I often “write what I know.” But I’d love to live in Scotland and perhaps use the Isle of Skye for the setting for a novel.


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?


Aella: I’d take my dog for a walk. Getting out in nature is a necessity for me.


Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

Aella: Both when necessary, but primarily a Pantser.


Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?


Aella: Writing while pedaling on my desk bike. Not sure if that’s a quirk, but it’s unusual.


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

Aella: Honestly, my mood changes from week to week. Romance is a favorite, but I also love fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and historical fiction. And all of those with at least a romance sub-plot.


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


Aella: Both. I always like to bring “something new to the table,” but I also understand the value of writing to market and the popularity of tropes.


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


Aella: Write, even when you think you don’t have time. Make time. You have so many stories to be told, and sometimes the window to tell those stories closes and won’t reopen. Tell them now.


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


Aella: ProWritingAid (editing software) and Vellum (formatting software)


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


Aella: A dog, maybe? Niko (my dearly departed German shepherd) and Travis Barker (my current senior rescue) have been the best writing buds anyone could ask for, so they deserve mascot status.


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


Aella: 4 published books (a trilogy & a novella), and 1 finished Vella (3 incomplete)


Day: What does literary success look like to you?


Aella: New York Times best-seller list. Seeing my books in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. I’m not there (yet).


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


Aella: Social Media, newsletter promos, and paid advertising


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

Aella: I generally research as I go. Often it’s setting or job particulars.


Day: How many hours a day do you write?


Aella: Not nearly enough. I have a full-time job, so 1-2 hours maximum.


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

Aella: No, but great idea!


Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?


Aella: The novella I wrote called “Midnight Mayhem” takes place during a terrorist attack in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Because that’s very much the reality we live in and could happen anywhere at any time, it was difficult to write.


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


Aella: I write best first thing in the morning, with a good cup of coffee (and preferably a
tasty pastry).


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

Aella: Strong, interesting characters.


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


Aella: Yes, my writing sprint partner is Rhonda Hopkins, who has a fantastic YA paranormal cozy mystery series called the “Witches of Whispering Pines.” She and I will be co-writing a YA series, “The Gemini Prophecy” next year!


Aella’s Top 3 Vellas are:


Break Every Chain

High school senior Maverick Mason has what every guy his age wants: the girl, the grades, the god-like status. Amira Abbasi is the same age and lives in the same town, but her reality couldn’t be more different. In fact, no one outside her household knows she exists. A chance encounter may change that–will it make a difference if her fate has already been sealed?

Christmas Cruise on the Danube (Under a pen name-Selah Beckham)

Single and orphaned at thirty, Evie Broussard is afraid the holidays will never be the same. And they won’t–but that doesn’t mean she can’t start new traditions. A last-minute trip to see Christmas markets in Europe might be just what she needs. Only Evie finds things aren’t quite what she expected. Then again, nothing could have prepared her for Keller Kendrix and his crew.


Point Break (Under a pen name-Selah Beckham)

Kaden James is one surf competition from going pro when disaster strikes. Then his fiance throws salt in the open wound. With a battered body and broken heart, he may have given up, but his friends haven’t given up on him. Dakota Eriksen is just what the doctor ordered–quite literally. She has a strict hands-off policy with her PT patients, except when hands are required to do her job. Since Kaden wants nothing to do with her–or her hands–it should be easy to steer clear. Or is it?


Aella’s Top 3 Books are: (all available free with Kindle Unlimited):

Lock Down

My superpower? I can’t die. You can imagine how much it hurts when they test that out…

Phoebe Atkinson has always felt different, but in the typical angsty way most teenagers do. She had no idea just how different until that fateful day she died—and then came back to life.

It appears that sort of thing is frowned upon because Phoebe awakens to find herself locked up in Leavenworth, a notorious prison that now holds teens with supernatural abilities.

Behind bars, some are welcoming and others are… not. One group in particular seems determined to make the lives of Phoebe and her new friends as miserable as possible.

Although Phoebe’s life before being imprisoned was far from perfect, she wants it back. And she will… if they don’t find a way to kill her first.

Regardless, she’s no longer going to stand by and be the rule-follower she’s always been.

Look where that got her.


Power Up

Out of the frying pan into the fire…


Break Out

Everyone has their breaking point…


You can find Aella at: Facebook, Instagram, Website, and Tictoc.

Author Interview with K. Thomas

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

K: I really haven’t. Most of my favorite authors are still living, and I feel invasive enough just following them on social media. I don’t know that I’d do much more than visit a gravesite when they passed. 


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?

K: Any major metropolis would be fun. New York, Seoul, Paris—anything where you have a lot of movement but could find quiet, local treasures.


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?

K: Right, so every time I try to force myself to write. I reread my prior books or stories. Putting yourself back into the characters as a reader, with no pressure for word count, really helps make you think of things you want to happen. 


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

K: Mostly a Pantser. I high-level know where things are going, but how I get there is anyone’s guess. 


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

K: Probably how I write everything out of order. Whatever scene comes to me gets put down, then I connect the ones I want to keep and fill in the gaps. 


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

K: Paranormal Romance is usually my go-to. When I read, it’s usually to relax and decompress, so I want a happy ending. Paranormal and fantasy romance means you get the happily-ever-after and the plot conflict is (usually) outside of the romantic relationship, which I find less stressful. 


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

K: The quick answer is that I like tropes, so it’s probably the latter. The tricky thing about giving readers “what they want,” though, is remembering just because someone reads your book, it does not make them your target reader. So, it’s best to just write what you want to happen and don’t worry about what everyone will think.


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

K: Don’t stop writing.


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

K: $35 on a snarky teacup about killing people off in books. Just kidding. Editing. There is something armor-like in knowing you used editing software and three other people checked your work when someone finds the inevitable errors. It makes you feel less alone in your imperfection (plus, it’s just one error and not a hundred!).


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

K: Is a teacup eligible?


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

K: I’ve finished the first two books in my Time to Wake trilogy. The third is in process. I just started my Vella story, and since you have to write in order, it’s been a challenge to finish!


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

K: Every time I think, “This is it. I’ve made it!” something new happens. For me, being in a library, a book box, having people love my writing, and ask when they’ll have something new is success. Being in the top 1% of millionaire best-selling authors is not a success, it’s a miracle, so I’m happy! It’s all about the baby steps.


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

K: For my genres (paranormal romance and urban fantasy), I find sneak peeks, and tidbits from the books work best. Let people read a little, and then they want to know more.


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

K: So much research. There is a two-word phrase in my second book I spent three months researching the Etruscan language to use. It’s a problem.


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

K: I’m a binge-writer, so I don’t write every day. When I do write, I sit down and finish 5-10k words at a time.


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

K: Yes. Many, many secrets. The books are practically 80k words of inside jokes.


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

K: A character near death. I’ve had a couple, and I think I cried during both for different reasons.


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

 K: Late at night. I don’t really have a choice. It’s when my brain cooperates.


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

 K: Selfishly, I’m going to say strong characters since that’s what I focus on writing and like to read.


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

K: R. Raeta! She writes my favorite book boyfriends.


K. Thomas’ Kindle Vella is:

Changeling Exchange

What if the Fae controlled the world’s currency, and humanity’s fate was in the hands of a magic addict, a car thief, and the one creature that just wants to be human? An heir on the run. A heist gone awry. And a childhood romance that will be their salvation or start a war.


Her books are:

Time to Wake

Time to Wake is the award-winning first book in the Time to Wake Series.

Senlis is your typical artist. Empath, hater of mornings, and the bearer of a strange name passed down from her grandmother. With a penchant for caffeine and a pet ghost, she’s just trying to live her best life.

Did she mention she also happens to devour souls? No? Well, it’s a bit of a conversation killer… no pun intended.

When new neighbors move in across the street, Senlis strikes up an unexpected friendship with the equally quirky Katie. The two get mixed up in a party circuit that leaves a string of missing girls– and a trail back to Senlis’ less than human origins. At the center of it all is Hunter: a guy not smart enough to keep his distance. He’s arrogant, frustrating, and terribly distracting… Just, please don’t tell anyone she admitted that last part.

Is Hunter involved in the mysterious murders? Or is he just in the wrong place at the right time?

As she tries to figure out Hunter’s motives, Senlis ends up learning what it means to be a Nephilim, and how her past is playing a role in the murders. “Time to Wake” is the first book of a new-adult paranormal romance series brimming with suspense and quirky laughs!

Not Right Now

Book two of the Time to Wake series unravels the deep history between the characters while taking readers further into the lore and world of the Nephilim, with our favorite snarky caffeine-addict leading the way.


You can find K. Thomas on Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, her Website, and Tictoc.


Author Interview With Valerie Claussen

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

Valerie: I’ve never gone on any but would like to someday. My travel focus is visiting ancestry sites and bucket list places.

  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?

Valerie: I would choose Ireland. That’s actually something I hope to do one day but for a few months.

  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?

Valerie: Getting up and moving around helps, taking a relaxing shower or browsing images on the subject helps a lot. 

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

Valerie: I’m a bit of both. I write out all my ideas (brainstorm), make a brief outline, and dive into writing.

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

Valerie: I think my biggest quirk is that I always need to be writing two polar opposite stories at once. If I start a sweet fantasy, I’ll also work on something dark and dramatic.

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

Valerie: Fantasy is my favorite genre because it encompasses so many types of stories and can take place in both the real world (urban fantasy) or a completely new universe.

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

Valerie: I enjoy hearing readers’ feedback, but I’ll always write what I think best suits my original stories. Sometimes that works out and gives them exactly what they want, sometimes, it’s a pleasant surprise.

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

Valerie: I would tell her to not be afraid to share her work. I waited far too long to allow my first novel to be published.

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

Valerie: Probably writing software was the best money I’ve spent on anything directly related to writing.

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

Valerie: That’s an interesting question. I’d probably say a free-spirited dolphin that likes to travel between different oceans, as I like to write in different genres.

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

Valerie: I believe I have around eighteen at the moment.

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

Valerie: It means my stories have made a positive effect on my readers, whether by inspiration or pure entertainment.

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

Valerie: That’s something I’m still learning. Social media has helped find the most readers. I’m currently looking into having someone manage my Facebook page so I can spend more time on writing and less on self-promotion.

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

Valerie: That entirely depends on the book. I can spend a few days or a few hours before starting to write, but I’ve also done research after a story is in progress. The internet is a wonderful thing to be able to use anytime I need to fact-check.

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

Valerie: That also depends. I can write anywhere from a couple of hours to eight.

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

      Valerie: I love placing secrets and little Easter eggs in my stories. It tickles me when a reader finds me on social media and messages me about them.

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

Valerie: I can’t share the detail because it’s a heavy spoiler, but in my fantasy novel, Sustain, there’s a scene where the protagonist has to do something extremely painful and self-sacrificing for the greater good. I needed a tissue box beside me to write it, even though I knew what was happening.

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

Valerie: I’m content with writing any time of the day, but I seem to power through more late at night. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a night owl.

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

Valerie: My primary focus has always been the characters. When they’re the top priority, everything else falls into place.

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

Valerie: Melody Moss is an outstanding dark fiction writer who is getting her feet wet but has great potential. https://www.amazon.com/Melody-Moss/e/B0B99BLNSD

Valerie’s top three Kindle Vella stories are:

The Experiment 

 What would you do for a quarter of a million dollars? A group of eight surrender control of their lives to participate in a social experiment with rising stakes and unforeseen challenges. Their only significant decisions are the doors they unlock to an unknown space. Join Cora as she embarks on a fun, sweet, and romantic adventure of a lifetime with rising tension, frustration, limited privacy, and desire.

Outside the Lamp 

At seventeen years old, what Avalie wants most in the world is to be with Albert. However, his father has other plans for him. To keep them apart, he imprisons the genie in a lamp. By chance, the magical object eventually finds a kindhearted human named Elijah. Together, they begin a quest in a modern world to help Avalie find Albert, let her people know of Albert’s father’s treachery, and search for someone to be Elijah’s forever love.

Lakeside 

A young woman returns to a small, remote lakeside town to spend the summer before her senior year with her estranged father. She encounters a menacing doppelganger, sparking memories, and the dark secrets of her forgotten past begin to unravel. She realizes that sometimes it’s better to forget.

Valerie’s top three novels currently are:

Sustain 

A time long past—humans were defenseless and kept at the mercy of powerful beings who controlled their world through natural magic. Sustain is a fantastical tale that follows the lives of the most influential Kastelian family of that age.

Cole, the eldest of three handsome sons, was a strong, arrogant man born into privilege, power and hatred. Raised by his merciless father—a self-proclaimed king—Cole and his brothers were key players in his father’s plan to annihilate their adversaries.

The family’s loyalty is tested when Cole brings a mysterious stranger named Arna into their lives. With this new addition to their world—danger follows her—as secrets unfurl around them.

Can Cole learn to distinguish between good and evil, despite his upbringing? Will he defend or destroy the ones he cares about the most?

At its core, Sustain is a story of growth, courage, sacrifice and extraordinary love.

Heirdom 

Alice always believed her life was ordinary. She’s devoted, a good girl who has always done what was right. Until the day she inherited a mysterious family heirloom from a father she never knew. An heirloom that is the key to unleashing the unfathomable magical properties hidden within Alice’s blood. Powers she knew nothing about and can scarcely comprehend. With the appearance of two strangers claiming to be warlocks, the unravelling of years-old secrets and misrepresented bloodlines begins.
Luke will stop at nothing to gain the right to rule, even if it means manipulating Alice and her newfound powers for his own gain. The only thing stopping him from achieving his throne is the one thing with which his powers cannot seem to help. He must learn to love.
Dimitri would do anything for Alice. He owes a debt to her family that can never be repaid, but falling for Alice was not how he planned to repay it.
Can Alice come to terms with who she has become? Will she learn who to trust before it is too late?
Heirdom is a fantastical tale steeped in magic and action. At its core, it is a story of discovering love, the value of friendship, and the sacrifices people make for those they care about.

“It feels like he’s always in my head, whether he’s speaking to me or not, just sitting in the shadows of my mind, silently watching me.”

“There were so many layers to him. I wondered if the ones that stirred madness would someday consume those that sought to be good.”

The Curse of Allston Manor 

Lillian longs to see the world. Instead of soaking in incredible sights, learning different cultures, and eating delicious food, she gets shunted off every summer while her parents travel without her. When someone she thought she could trust kindles a rumor about Lillian, it spreads like wildfire through her small Arizona town. Lillian suddenly finds herself a pariah. Now more than ever, she wishes to escape. When the abnormally perfect William and Olivia move into the beautiful Victorian manor they inherit from their uncle, Lillian finds herself inexplicably drawn to them. The twins are reclusive, never seeming to leave their home despite the business and millions left to them by will. But shy, William is growing restless, and overbearing Olivia is pushing everyone to their limits with her antics. Still, they are the rare few who don’t treat Lillian as an outcast. Lillian wonders, however, if there could be an ulterior motive to their benevolence. The twins seem to want something from her, but Lillian can’t figure out what. “The Curse of Allston Manor” is rife with betrayal, sacrifice, and love. Unexplained happenings, pranks that cross the line, and stolen dreams cause chaos to escalate to a boiling point. This book will grab you from the first page and leave you desperate to find out what happens next.

For more of Valerie’s work, check out her Amazon Author page! Follow her on Twitter @valerieclaussen!

Coming August 1st …..

A New Kindle Vella Story!

In an alternate reality where Atlantis never sank, the people of the underground are under the thumb of Atlantean rule, left with the steam-powered crystal tech of a bygone era.

Sparks, a young elite female, is fighting this reign with everything she is. Now that her older cousin, Gage, has joined the elite Atlantean guard called the Nasaru can Sparks keep her secret from him—the person closest to her, who has been like her brother?

Will the underground forever be stuck in the steam-powered past?

This is great writing advice for those of you seeking self-publishing. iWriterly Video: How to Plan a Successful Book Launch | Ft. Jenna Moreci and Sacha Black — iWriterly

If you have a book coming out soon, you might be wondering how you can plan a book launch that engages your readers and sells books. Or perhaps you have launched books in the past and want to have a more successful launch for your next book. In this video, Meg LaTorre of iWriterly is […]

via iWriterly Video: How to Plan a Successful Book Launch | Ft. Jenna Moreci and Sacha Black — iWriterly