How celebrating a birthday inspired Wendy Webb’s journey through time in Daughters of the Lake

Fun Fact:

I don’t sleep very well, so often I’ll find myself awake in the middle of the night. Many of my spookiest chapters have been written a quiet room in the dark while the rest of the world is asleep. – Wendy Webb

SR: What’s your new book/work in progress about?

Daughters of the LakeWW: Daughters of the Lake is the story of two women who reach out to each other across time. Kate begins to have recurring dreams about another woman’s life. She thinks little of it until that woman’s perfectly preserved body washes up on the beach in front of her home. Readers hear about both women’s lives; Kate’s in the present day as she tries to solve the mystery of the woman’s identity; and our drowned woman, Addie, who lived and died 100 years ago.

It is the most magical, romantic and dreamy book I’ve written.

SR: Was there a specific issue or incident that really motivated you to write this particular story? What was the prompt?

WW: I set the story in my fictional version of Bayfield, Wisconsin after I rented out one of the town’s most magnificent inns, Le Chateau Boutin, for my birthday. I started thinking about what kinds of otherworldly things could happen in a Victorian house like that, and I was off and running. The inn in the book, Harrison’s House, is based on Le Chateau.

SR: How do you think your protagonist would respond if aliens landed in the center of town on page 57?

WW: Kate would start researching their backstory and history. Nick, Kate’s love interest, would make sure the town is protected, and Simon, Kate’s cousin, would open up the inn he runs, and make them feel at home.

SR:  Your protagonist has to flee the country. Where are they headed to and why that location?

WW: Kate would be headed to the Canadian side of Lake Superior, where strange and otherworldly things began to happen to her family that echo into the present day. Since she’s fleeing, she may need protection and she’d know the lake would keep her safe.

SR:  What conspiracy theory is your protagonist most likely to believe in? Roswell? JFK? Princess Diana? What about you? Any conspiracy theories that you think might have some truth to them?

WW: Princess Diana. Kate was betrayed by the love of her life and has trouble trusting because of it.

SR: Is there something you hope the reader carries away with them after they’re done reading? An insight or philosophy that you wanted to come through in your work?

WW: One of the favorite characters I’ve written is Jess, the love interest, then husband, of Addie, the woman who ends up murdered. He is a complex, deeply flawed man with good intentions at his core and a profound love for Addie. I’d hope readers take away that nobody’s perfect, there are no absolutes and love can conquer anything.

SR: Carpool karaoke. What would be your protagonist’s song? Yours?

WW: Addie’s: My Heart Will Go On

Kate’s: I Will Survive

Mine: I Will Always Love You

SR: What’s the first book you remember reading that had a huge impact on you? How did that story affect you? How do you think it shaped your desire to be a writer?

WW: My grandma read Little Women to me when I was a child. Since Jo March was a dark-haired, creative girl who loved to play in the woods, and so was I, I figured the story was about me. Jo March was me somehow. Since she was a writer who later became an author, I just completely accepted the notion that that’s what I was, too.

SR:  What’s the best thing about writing?

WW: The magic of discovering the plot at the keyboard. I don’t outline my books. I start with a location and a general idea and just go from there.

SR:  What’s the worst thing about writing?

WW: No down side. It is the way I express myself to the world.

SR: What detail in your writing do you obsess over the most? Character names? Locations? Description? Dialogue? Research?

WW: Dialogue and description are very easy and natural for me. Locations start the whole story rolling so that’s the first step. But character names? Man, I agonize over those. For The Vanishing, I was grappling with names of one of the characters, and a friend of mine sent me a link to: Demonic Baby Names. I died laughing, thinking: wow that says a lot about my novels. But then I looked at it and found the perfect name? Amaris.

SR: Do you relate more to Sherlock Holmes or Professor Moriarty? Why?

WW: Oh, Sherlock Holmes for sure. But I do love me a good evil genius.

SR: What’s your personal life motto?

WW: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

SR:  Is there something you’ve experienced that’s affected your view of life? Tell us about it and how it changed you.

WW: My mother died almost three years ago after a long illness I helped her through. Losing the person who loved you first, and loved you more than anyone else will ever love you, the person you want to call first with good or bad news, the person whose advice you always seek first, the person who can always make you laugh under even the worst of circumstances, watching that person literally disappear and you are powerless to stop it, changes you in profound ways you can never predict.

SR: What movie or TV world do you wish you could live in? Why?

WW: The new Sabrina or Harry Potter. Anything magical intrigues me.

SR: Everyone needs an outlet to help them recharge. What hobbies do you have outside of writing?

WW: I love the New York Times Crossword puzzle, reading, walking in the woods, and anything on the water. Kayaking, boating, puttering around in a pontoon on a lazy summer day, or just sitting on the shores of Lake Superior. I love travel, too, especially going around the country meeting my readers.

SR: You strike it rich. What charity are you going to create or support?

WW: Anything that helps animals, research into diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, and public education.

SR: What factors influence you when you’re choosing a book to read?

WW: Yup, I’ll say it: The cover draws me in first. Then it’s the book jacket copy and the author.

SR: Do you have any special events coming up? Where can people catch up with you in person or on a podcast?

WW: I have a ton of events coming up. My website is getting updated right now so please check back for the latest and greatest. http://www.wendykwebb.com.

 

WendyWebb_authorheadshot

 

 

Wendy Webb is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of five novels of gothic suspense: Daughters of the Lake, The End of Temperance Dare, The Vanishing, The Fate of Mercy Alban and The Tale of Halcyon Crane. She lives in Minneapolis.

Advertisements

CJ Lyons explores our ability to deny reality in The Color of Lies

SR: Practice pitching: tell us what your new book is about in 50 words or less.

ColorofLiesCJ: Ella has always trusted in her unique ability to see people’s true emotions via their auras to help her navigate life. But the new boy in town makes her question everything she’s always believed to be true: her ability, her identity, her life… and the real reason behind her parents’ deaths.

SR: Where did your idea for this book come from?

CJ: For The Color of Lies, my first inspiration was the idea of a girl who saw everyone else’s truth… but was blind to her own.

I loved that conflict, the paradox of what we see and believe versus what is real. And how we deny reality, sacrifice it to our dreams by what we choose to believe… It happens every day in the real world. Just look at the epidemic of fake news posing as reality.

What if someone’s entire life was colored by what they wanted to believe instead of what was real? Answering that question led to The Color of Lies.

SR: Was there a specific issue that really motivated you to write this particular story?

CJ: As a physician, I’ve long been fascinated by unique medical oddities such as synesthesia. It’s not a disease, but rather the way the brain processes information is mistranslated into other senses. You may see letters as colors or smell words you read.

People with synesthesia experience the world differently, which is not only fascinating, it makes for an intriguing character—especially since we all base our idea of reality on what we see, hear, feel. For people with synesthesia, their reality is already very different than people who don’t have synesthesia, so if we upset that reliance on what is seen, felt, or heard, how do we know what’s real and what isn’t?

Start playing with people’s perception of reality, of their basic, essential truth, and you open up a world of possibilities for a story.

SR: What’s one thing that you and your protagonist have in common?

CJ: I myself have what may be a mild form of synesthesia (or maybe it’s just a symptom of my overactive imagination!). I can taste recipes for food I’ve never eaten before just by reading them.

SR: What’s the first book you remember reading that had a huge impact on you? How did that story affect you? How do you think it shaped your desire to be a writer?

CJ: Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. I love the poetry of his language and the relationships between his characters—it was the first book that showed me there was more to story telling than just plot and action. I still re-read it almost every year around Halloween.

SR: What do you think the hardest emotion to elicit from a reader is? Why?

CJ: Passion. It’s pretty easy to evoke fear, panic, anger, even lust/love. But true passion, not romance but rather a deep caring about another person’s well being and world view, that takes a deep, gut-wrenching, heart-pounding connection between the reader and the story’s characters.

SR: What was your journey to publication like? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome?

CJ: My story took an interesting twist before I actually had my first book published. I had two contracts from a major NYC publisher, had already quit my job as a physician and moved a thousand miles away from home, when I get a message on my answering machine on a Friday night from my editor: the publisher has cancelled my debut thriller.

It was cancelled by the publisher because of cover art, something I had no control over, no input on. I had been telling them for months that the cover art didn’t work, and it wasn’t until the vendors, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, Walmart saw the actual cover art which wasn’t revealed to them until right before the book was due to be released, and they canceled their preorders. And their preorders were significant for a debut author because they had an advanced reader’s copy of the actual book, which they loved.

They told my publisher, ‘Change this cover or we’re gonna pull our orders.’ And my publisher said, ‘Well, we have an award-winning art department, we stand by them.’ And, of course, the lowly, debut novelist that has absolutely no power in the traditional publishing system gets caught in the middle. So my career should have ended before it started.

But I didn’t give up. While I was fighting for my rights back to those first two books, a publisher at Penguin called me up and asked me to create a medical thriller series specifically for Penguin. And that became my actual first traditionally published books, the Angel of Mercy series.

And here’s the funny thing that shows you that karma is a bitch. The book I wrote during that awful time before I got the contract with Penguin was Blind Faith.

And that book went on to debut at number two on the New York Times bestseller list, it stayed on the New York Times list for six or seven weeks, and won the Thriller Award, won an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. It went on to just do really wonderful things despite the fact that it was self-published.

So, what seemed like the end of my career with that first publisher cancelling my doomed-debut, actually turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.

SR:  Is there something you’ve experienced that’s affected your view of life? Tell us about it and how it changed you.

CJ: Everything changed for me when I was a pediatric intern at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. As interns we worked and lived a life out of sync with the “normal” world. We were just kids but entrusted with life and death decisions–decisions that impacted children and their families, that had the power to change their worlds.

But then one of us was killed. Murdered in a horrific fashion.

The stuff of nightmares. But this wasn’t fiction. It was real.

As always, I turned to writing to help me fight through my shock and grief. I put aside the science fiction and fantasy novels I’d written in college and med school and wrote my first piece of crime fiction, which eventually was published as Borrowed Time.

SR: You strike it rich. What charity are you going to create or support?

CJ: I actually have already established a charitable foundation, my Buy a Book, Make a Difference charity. Together my readers and I have raised over $80,000 for charities along with 82 forensic science scholarships for police departments.

I give a grant to a charity with each new book. For The Color of Lies, the grant will be awarded to the American Heart Association. Previous recipients have included Doctors Without Borders, St. Judes, Reach Out And Read, Feeding America, and Reading is Fundamental, among others.

You can learn more at: https://cjlyons.net/buy-a-book-make-a-difference/

Plus, check out what’s on CJ’s TBR pile!

 

CJheadshotsquarelores copyNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.  

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Her novels have twice won the International Thriller Writers’ prestigious Thriller Award, the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Readers’ Choice Award, the RT Seal of Excellence, and the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net 

Online Issue 18: Happy Thanksgiving

TSP OI18 cover

It isn’t the turkey or the stuffing or the pumpkin pie that will make your Thanksgiving truly great. It’s the books you can buy on Black Friday, and we’ve got you covered with tons of recommendations! First, Jenn Stroud Rossmann talks about what engineers read, then Susanna Beard shares what she has lined up and Rusty Barnes talks about what’s overloading his Kindle. Barbara Winkes also drops in to talk about the books she’s reading and ones she hopes to get to soon (such as Vox, which sounds fascinating). Who’s reading Gary Philips? Who has Max Ellendale’s latest on their nightstand? Who is anxious for Nicole Chung’s memoir? Check out those TBR piles to find out.

In my latest review I look at Jenn Stroud Rossmann’s The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh. Lots of great insights about family, life and identity here, with appeal for teens and adults alike.

Need to escape all the family togetherness? Rusty Barnes talks about his latest novel, The Last Danger, and cross-border crime. (What could be a better gift for the wall supporter on your shopping list?)

And in case your family Thanksgiving is nothing but political squabbles and family drama, Susanna Beard has cuteness on tap with her two trusty author assistants, Cookie and Tipsy. Pictures here.

***

Miss our latest issues? Issue 17 contents  – featuring Tom Leins, Paul Brazill, Kelli Owen, JL Abrama, JJ Hensley, Terrence McCauley, Barbara Winkes and more – can be found here.

***

We’ll be back next week with CJ Lyons, Ovidia Yu, Wendy Webb and more.

Plus, December 1 I’ll kick off my Advent Calendar, covering a book, movie, TV series or something else I enjoyed from this past year and recommend.

(Not a ‘best of’ list, because I haven’t consumed everything so I couldn’t possibly say what’s best. And not a ‘best of stuff by my friends’ list either. Most or all come from people I have never met.)

From Rural Pennsylvania to Cross-Border Crime: Rusty Barnes talks about The Last Danger

Fun Fact:

“I can sing the hell out of  ‘A Horse with No Name’ at karaoke.” – Rusty Barnes

thelastdangercoverSR: Practice pitching: tell us what your new book is about in 50 words or less.

RB: The Last Danger continues the exploits of Matt Rider, protagonist of Ridgerunner, in his continuing battle against the renegade Pittman family, which leads to him running drugs and money back and forth across the Canadian border. It doesn’t go well.

SR: Where did your idea for this book come from?

RB: I wrote the three novels that became the Killer from the Hills series in quick succession in 2014-15, with the intent of doing a series chronicling the journey of a law-abiding man who quickly becomes broken and lawless: an antihero. I’d just recently joined a couple groups celebrating the books of my youth: men’s paperbacks of the 70s and 80s, in particular mob-related fiction, crime fiction, and westerns, and I wanted to write an homage to those books I loved so much growing up and which largely formed the pleasure reading of my adulthood. I went from reading pulp in my teens to reading mostly literary fiction then back to pulp again in my mid-late 40s, and my writing habits followed suit, and thus Matt Rider was born.

SR: What’s one thing that you and your protagonist have in common?

RB: We both grew up in rural northcentral Pennsylvania, the foothills of Appalachia, which formed the basis of commonality in our personalities: a natural distrust, maybe even resentment, of authority and a strong connection to family. There the resemblance pretty much ends.

SR:  Cage match between you and your protagonist. It’s a fight to the death. Which one of you will be left standing, and why?

RB: It depends. I’m a pretty big boy, so if I can get him down on the ground I’ll have a fighting chance.Otherwise, Matt kicks my ass six ways from Sunday, as he’s in shape and packing and I’m neither.

SR: What’s the first book you remember reading that had a huge impact on you? How did that story affect you? How do you think it shaped your desire to be a writer?

RB: Beginning in the mid-to-late 70s, my family was involved in competition muzzleloader shooting and period reenactment, so I read a great deal, fiction and non-fiction, about the American frontier and the popularized version of the ‘winning’ of the west, with a special interest in events happening pre-1840. The first book of those I remember reading was Sackett’s Land by Louis L’Amour, part of a long-running series which featured, chronologically, the first Sackett to come to America, Barnabas. This roughly paralleled the Barnes family coming to America from England, and in my mind’s eye, the Sacketts became Barneses and suddenly I had a deep and abiding love of genealogy, history and living history, putting my family members–we were large and contained multitudes–in place of the Sackett heroes, and starring in adventures I played out with action figures and with my cousins and friends. I wrote, mostly Poe-influenced poems and little stories, then, but I decided to become a writer, whatever that meant, in 1989, and I’ve done little else since but pursue that goal.

SR: What was your journey to publication like? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome?

RB: It took me a year to find a publisher, and 280 Steps accepted all three Killer from the Hills novels, then went kaput after publishing only the first, Ridgerunner. I was floundering, looking for something to do with the books. In the meantime, I wrote and sent another novel out, Knuckledragger, which Ron Earl Phillips at Shotgun Honey agreed to publish, and when 280 Steps went under suddenly, Ron offered to take the Killer series on and republished Ridgerunner, which I’m forever grateful for. The third book in the series will come out eventually, I hope, but in radically different form than I originally wrote it, as is necessary given the way this one turned out after revisions. The book took a darker turn, let’s say.

SR: Tell us something about you that isn’t common knowledge.

RB: I am the size of an NFL lineman without the musculature.

SR: Everyone needs an outlet to help them recharge. What hobbies do you have outside of writing?

RB: Outside of writing, I fuel myself by editing other people at my journal Tough, writing poems in between fiction projects, and playing popular songs on the ukulele, as well as spending time with my amazing wife and family.

SR: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

RB: Read everything in sight. There will come a time when you won’t read as much, and you’ll regret every second you didn’t spend seeing what else was out there to emulate, learn from and aspire to.

Check out Rusty’s TBR pile!

rustybeach

Rusty Barnes is a 2018 Derringer Award finalist and author of the story collections Breaking it Down and Mostly Redneck, as well as four novels, Reckoning, Ridgerunner, Knuckledragger, and The Last Danger, His fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies. He founded and edits the crime journal Tough.

 

Online Issue 17: “Living My Best Life”

candle-2038736_1920

This issue begins and ends with mourning. We mark the passing of long-time reviewer and crime fiction enthusiast, Theodore Feit, with his final review.

We’re also reeling with the fresh pain from the news that Evie Swierczynski has passed away after her fight with leukemia. Many years ago, I was hired to travel to Philadelphia and interview Duane Swierczynski for a magazine feature. I got to meet his children and Meredith. I’m lucky enough to say I’ve known Duane for many years, and yet I do not know him and his family well … and yet Duane’s posts over the past several months have made many of us feel as though Evie was a part of our family, because he captured her spirit and shared her with us all.

All I really know today is that their grief is unfathomable. In the days and weeks ahead I’ll be thinking of Duane, Meredith and Parker as they begin the unfathomable journey forward without Evie.

One thing Duane mentioned months ago was that Evie always said, “Living my best life.” For her, it was a statement of sarcasm in response to misfortunes. (DS FB June 7)

May we all cherish the moments we have and truly live our best lives.

Scroll down a bit and you’ll see a list of ways to pay tribute to a loved one’s memory.

Sticking with the Music Theme

Paul D. Brazill’s Supernatural Noir is out in stores now, and he’s sharing his new work’s playlist with us.

Author Interviews

Kelli Owen talks being a Nerdy Klutz, how that impacts her zombie apocalypse plan, and what a vampire story has to do with prejudice.

Brian Lindenmuth chats with Terrence McCauley about writing westerns.

Robert White talks about Thomas Harris, David Lindsey and Martin Cruz Smith, his protagonist’s biggest fear, and how real life events inspired Northtown Eclipse.

When The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale Collide: Barbara Winkes talks about her Dystopian tale, Cypher.

Reviews:

Sandra Ruttan takes a look at In The Galway Silence, the latest Jack Taylor novel by Ken Bruen.

Brian also has a horror review column up, just in time for Halloween.

And, in sad news, the review of The Line by Martin Limon marks Theodore Feit’s final review. Our condolences to Gloria on Ted’s unexpected passing last month. He was a long-standing reviewer who was committed to sharing his love of books, and will be missed.

Actors Wanted

Tom Leins picks the Actors who Could play Joe Rey, the Gunrunner, Slattery and Wila.

To Be Read Features

Wondering what some of your favorite author are reading these days and hoping to crack open soon?

What Do John Verdon, Annette Dashofy, Gwen Floria, Eric Beetner and Kyle Mills Have in Common? JJ Hensley talks recent reads and more.

J.L. Abramo talks about global events that impact his current reading, works by Erik Larson and Bryan Burroughs and his hopes for new Tim O’Brien novels.

Screenshot_20181003-101416_Chrome

 

 

When The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale Collide: Barbara Winkes talks about her Dystopian tale, Cypher

Cyphercover1 (2)SR: What’s your new book about?

BW: Cypher is a dystopian novel in which some citizens have signed many of their rights to the “City” government. They give up their names, and become numbers instead, which puts them at the mercy of the Identity Agency. Ami went into the program after being pressured by people close to her, and her fate worsens from there. Katlena, who is an inspector with the Identity Agency, still believes in the system, and she thinks that if she rises through the ranks, she can help change it to the better. Both of them have secrets they guard closely. Mutual attraction might put them at risk, and it’s unclear whether they can trust each other—or who the enemy really is.

SR: Was there a specific issue or incident that really motivated you to write this particular story? What was the prompt?

BW: Part of it was that The Hunger Games, many years after I’d read The Handmaid’s Tale, got me back into reading dystopian fiction. I always add suspense and romance to my books, not matter the main genre. Finally, I looked back on my own experience of being unemployed for a while, and the toll it took at times. It’s not hard to feel like a number—even though my life, of course, was far from Ami’s.

SR: How do you think your protagonist would respond if aliens landed in the center of town on page 57?

BW: Both Ami and Katlena have seen strange things in their lives, but I’m sure that would freak them out on a deeper level. Page 57, it’s the morning after, and Katlena wakes from a nightmare. That would be an interesting time to add aliens…

SR:  Your protagonist has to flee the country. Where are they headed to and why that location?

BW: Mexico perhaps. If I believe HGTV, they could get affordable housing close to the beach, and I think they’d be able to go there with the funds they have.

SR:  What conspiracy theory is your protagonist most likely to believe in? Roswell? JFK? Princess Diana? What about you? Any conspiracy theories that you think might have some truth to them?

BW: These days, I’m extra careful, because there’s so much of it out there and online, sometimes you have to remind yourself that there is still an objective reality. I try to check myself and not fall for something that’s too easy or too good to be true.

SR:  Is your protagonist more likely to go insane or end up in prison?

BW: Since they are working to change the system, and their opponents aren’t happy about it, prison is a likely prospect if they don’t succeed.

SR: What’s your protagonist’s greatest fear? Why?

BW: In the beginning, the greatest fear for both of them would be related to their individual stories—how events could affect their life plans. Later on, it’s the fear of losing each other.

SR: Is there something you hope the reader carries away with them after they’re done reading? An insight or philosophy that you wanted to come through in your work?

BW: All of my works have women coming together to work toward a common goal, if it’s cops hunting a serial killer or characters of a different background hoping to change society to the better (in the case of Cypher, undo some of the cruel reality that is part of their world). I even did it with vampires and witches in RISE. It’s important to me to convey that vision, even if it doesn’t always happen in the real world. I’d like to think that most women and men would prefer equality, but I focus on women(-loving women) protagonists in my books.

SR:  Cage match between you and your protagonist. It’s a fight to the death. Which one of you will be left standing, and why.

BW: I’d like to think we’d both turn on the villain that organized the match—though I’d have to admit that the majority of my characters would be better equipped to fight said villain.

SR: What’s the first book you remember reading that had a huge impact on you? How did that story affect you? How do you think it shaped your desire to be a writer?

BW: I think every book I loved, or left me with a strong emotional reaction, has shaped that desire. It’s a rush to experience those reactions while writing and creating a world out of nothing, and it’s even more of a rush when readers “buy it”—pun intended. When a reader tells me they couldn’t put the book down, it makes me completely giddy—because I know how that feels.

SR:  What’s the best thing about writing?

BW: Writing.

SR:  What’s the worst thing about writing?

BW: Not writing (for whatever reason).

SR: Are you drawn to things that are really popular or wary of them? Do you find it helps you to market your work if you’re familiar with what’s currently selling or do you ignore all of that and focus on what you’re interested in?

BW: Sometimes I take a look, sometimes I don’t—it’s often a spur of the moment decision. Sometimes I’m far behind the trend and quickly have to finish the books, because the movie is coming out in a couple of weeks…As for marketing, not all mainstream trends apply to lesbian fiction (where all genres co-exist under that one roof). For example, romance is always the biggest seller here and there. However, when a friend mentioned domestic suspense on social media—often a female protagonist finding out her husband might or might not have some dark secrets—I realized I hadn’t come across any stories of the kind in F/F fiction. Of course, equal marriage written into law isn’t that old, so we have a lot of catching up to do on HEAs first.

SR: What movie or TV world do you wish you could live in? Why?

BW: Ocean’s Eight. How much fun would that be?

SR: You strike it rich. What charity are you going to create or support?

BW: I would love to give a ton of money to organizations that care for women who have experienced violence, be it random, in the home or in a war zone. I think you need to build a good, free society from the ground up, and that includes the eradication of child “marriage,” expanding choice and so many other things. LGBT organizations. Invest in science and also conveying to the public why it matters…how much money are we talking again? I’d also love to go beyond and be able to produce media, increase the representation of lesbian characters in all genres. I have many ideas.

SR: What factors influence you when you’re choosing a book to read?

BW: The blurb, most of all. If the characters sound compelling and I want to know more about them, I’ll want to check out the book.

SR: Where can people catch up with you?

BW: Come talk to me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/barbarawinkes) or Facebook  (www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraWinkes), or follow me on BookBub (www.bookbub.com/profile/barbara-winkes) to stay up to date with new releases and sales.

 

Barbara Winkes has visited us to talk about Secrets, done Secrets casting call, chatted about The Amnesia Project and talked about The Amnesia Project’s soundtrack.

Barbara Winkes writes suspense and romance with lesbian characters at the center. She has always loved stories in which women persevere and lift each other up. Expect high drama and happy endings.

Discover a variety of genres, serial and standalone. Women loving women always take the lead.

Robert White talks about Thomas Harris, David Lindsey and Martin Cruz Smith, his protagonist’s biggest fear and how real life events inspired Northtown Eclipse

Fun Fact: Robb tells us, “I sent the manuscript of a crime novel entitled Siblings to a New York City agent who had expressed interest in a separate manuscript. She never responded back, so I assumed she wasn’t interested. Three years later, I retitled it and sent it to an indie press in the U.K. soliciting novels. That publisher sent me three royalty checks in the following year that totaled more money than my other 9 books squared. Since then, it’s been reprinted under another British press and is still chugging along with over 100 ratings on Goodreads compared to 15, my next biggest number.”

Amazon Northtown CoverSR: Was there a specific issue or incident that really motivated you to write this particular story? What was the prompt?

RW: It’ll sound ghoulish, but I was watching the Cleveland news one winter night when a report of a plane being lost over Lake Erie came on; 5 people from two families died in the crash. I used a similar incident of a plane crash into the lake and involved my protagonist, a fledgling private eye, not very sure of himself, acquiring facts about the crash that lead him to conclude the engine was sabotaged.

SR: What conspiracy theory is your protagonist most likely to believe in? Roswell? JFK? Princess Diana? What about you? Any conspiracy theories that you think might have some truth to them?

RW: My protagonist didn’t snap to his own terrible childhood accident being no accident, so he’d be unlikely to believe in those conspiracies.  I, on the other, hand grew up feasting on those godawful alien invasion film and thus am very inclined toward the belief that aliens exist and our government, as well as others, have been too slow to reveal what they know.

SR:  Is your protagonist more likely to go insane or end up in prison?

RW: Definitely prison. And it’ll involve protecting a woman somehow.

SR: What’s your protagonist’s greatest fear? Why?

RW: Fire. He was badly scarred in childhood when a plastic tent burned with him unable to get out.

SR: Is there something you hope the reader carries away with them after they’re done reading? An insight or philosophy that you wanted to come through in your work?

RW: Philosophy is too big a word for my writing but hobby seems too insignificant for an “obsession.”  I’ll always settle for a Damn, I enjoyed that story from a reader. Even better if the reader enjoyed the style.

SR:  If hell was watching one movie over and over and over again, or listening to one song over and over again, what would the movie or song be for you?

RW: Personally speaking, I’m a fiend for watching movies over and over. If I told you how many times I’ve watched Body Heat, you’d pray for my commitment into the nearest mental facility. I’m currently addicted to lousy Korean horror movies full of ghosts and doppelgangers, so watching a bad film ad nauseam in hell won’t be as bad as flames that burn but never consume—as the old, crazy nuns used to tell us in my catechism class. I might make an exception for any Will Smith movie.

SR: What’s the first book you remember reading that had a huge impact on you? How did that story affect you? How do you think it shaped your desire to be a writer?

RW: I, Jan Cremer, a self-described memoir by an author who went from one half-assed adventure to another much like the French film Going Places with Gerard Depardieu, which I’d seen when my hair was black and he was about 150 pounds lighter. That Cremer book never made me want to be a writer, but I had such pleasure from it that it must have planted a seed. But it wasn’t until I read William Styron’s Confessions of Nat Turner in college that I knew someday I wanted to write.  It just took a longer time than I expected (30 years).

SR:  What’s the best thing about writing?

RW: Disappearing into the writing. Losing yourself so completely that whole hours pass where you are not conscious of anything but the work taking shape in front of you. Narcotic.

SR: Are you drawn to things that are really popular or wary of them? Do you find it helps you to market your work if you’re familiar with what’s currently selling or do you ignore all of that and focus on what you’re interested in?

RW: I’ll admit I’ve been tempted by some of the more popular aspects of horror/thriller writing, but I can’t adjust gears as well as I thought. I gave up on Carrie after 50 pages because the characters were so unlikeable and the prose style so pedestrian, although The Shining was a fine read even if the conclusion made little sense. The stomach-churning horror of the Saw franchise films seems mindlessly juvenile, not to mention insanely improbable.  I have moments but nothing ever pans out. It has to come down to psychological horror for me even in mysteries.

SR: Everyone needs an outlet to help them recharge. What hobbies do you have outside of writing?

RW: Does lawn mowing count?  Lying in a hammock? I might well be the dullest man in Northeastern Ohio.

SR: You strike it rich. What charity are you going to create or support?

RW: Easy. The ASPCA and my local APL.  Animals don’t deserve the shitty treatment human beings inflict on them.

SR: What factors influence you when you’re choosing a book to read?

RW: Three items:  Is the work by Thomas Harris, David Lindsey, or Martin Cruz Smith? If not, I don’t waste my time.

 

RTW Photo ThumbnailRobb T. White was born, raised, and still lives in Northeastern Ohio. He has published three novels in the Thomas Haftmann series, a pair of noir novels, a serial-killer novel, and 3 collections of short stories. Special Collections, a digital novel, won the New Rivers eBook competition in 2014. Many of his crime stories have appeared in magazines like Yellow Mama, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Switchblade, and Near to the Knuckle.

Screenshot_20181003-101416_Chrome