Blakely’s Friday Interview with the Authors of Eight ‘Til Christmas

Please give a warm welcome to Mikule WalshDori KlaprothMica RossiLaura RangerTyler LazarSimon Parker, Tony Levy & Jack Phillips, authors of Eight ‘Til Christmas. Check out their book below and then their collective interview. Enjoy!

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Click on the cover to buy the book

A Christmas collection to cure your woes, unbreak your heart and curl your toes. Eight Tales you’ll find of love, of light, of Christmas dark and Christmas bright. The seasons spirit you will find may melt your heart or twist your mind, but be it romance or dark and wild, to buy this book will feed a child. Eight inspirational, international authors have gathered together to share their talent, donating their time and their individual Christmas themed stories for your entertainment. Not one of them will receive a single penny for this as they have all agreed to donate their collective royalties to FEED THE CHILDREN, the amazing international charity caring for children around the world. Your purchase will not only give you eight fantastic stories to make your Christmas but will help feed the children of the world.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re currently working on or promoting
I’m Mikule Walsh, I’m 20 years old, and grew up in the Small town of Norwalk Ohio. Right now I’m working on getting my writing career up and going starting from the bottom and working my way up.

I’m Dori Klaproth; I am a published eclectic method writer. I write historical articles for newspapers, as well as the author of the dystopian series Perfidy. And the paranormal fantasy series Sioria Cailleach. I live in North Western N.Y.

My name is Mica Rossi. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. So far, I have two completed novels and too many short stories to count already written. One of them is published in an anthology produced by the RWA chapter I belong to. I’m currently working on revisions to a manuscript entitled Once in a Blue Moon. It’s a paranormal romance and will be out in May or June of 2014.

I’m Laura Ranger. I’ve been telling stories my whole life. All of life becomes a story for me. 20 years ago I sat down and actually wrote one of them down that I had been telling my daughter for years. It wasn’t until recently that I got serious about submitting it for publication. Since then I have begun two other novels.

My name is Tyler Lazar, I am 19 years old, and I live in upstate New York. I am currently working on my second novel, for The Creatures of Grimmsburg series. I am also working on promoting my first book.

I’m Simon Parker, I write horror/dark fantasy and I tend to focus more on the psychology of terror rather than the gore (although there is a fair splattering of that too!) I’m currently working on my novel ‘The Elohim Experiment” and promoting my short story collection ‘Tales of the Mysterious and Macabre’

My name is Tony Levy; I am a 62 year-old Tottenham born family man and former prison officer. After spending 25 years in the UK’s prison service, and having become increasingly disillusioned with stifling modern prison service politics and practices, in 2008 I took my pension pot and ran, moving to Spain to spend my early retirement in the sun. My wife and I, however, have now moved back to the UK temporarily due to the current economic climate, but plan to return to Spain in the near future.

Who or what inspires you?
Mikule: I find inspiration in just about anything, everything has a story to tell and I like trying to figure its story out. I also find a lot of my inspiration from music, the story behind them is what helps me keep going when I’m writing.

Dori: My tenth grade teacher was the greatest push for writing. She encouraged me daily. And still does.

Jack: My Brother Joaquin who is the gentlest soul I know and also the most fearsome warrior I know. He is a master in several disciplines of martial arts and highly skilled at the art of Samurai swordsmanship. He is a genius, he’s also simple and straightforward. He looks at the world with the eyes of a baby. Untainted and not in the least bit cynical. He is pure of thought, he is teacher, guru, healer, master and best friend and the most inspirational person I know.

Do you have an agent and/or publisher or are you self-published? If self-published, do you use a professional editor? If traditionally published, who is your publisher?
Mica: The anthology mentioned before was self-published by the writing group, but I’m newly under contract (Yaaayyyy!) to Melange Books out of Minneapolis.

Tony: For my first book A Turnkey or Not? an autobiography of my 25 year career serving in Her Majesty’s Prison Service in the UK. I used a publisher but having found out so much about self-publishing if I ever do finish my next book I might well go down this route.

What project are you currently working on?
Simon: I’m currently working on more projects than I have time to describe, but aside from my novel, my favourite current projects are i) Winds of Change- an anthology put together for RoM relief, a charity set up in May this year to provide relief for the victims of the Oklahoma storms. And ii) My personal favourite project is the screenplay I am writing which I will begin filming in 2014 with a miniscule budget and a group of media/drama students; VERY excited about that.

Jack: A novel called A Strange Encounter at Little Hubery, all about seven strangers stranded overnight in a haunted railway station. Things happen to them in the station that makes them re-evaluate their lives, their actions and themselves and the ones who do make it home, do so greatly affected and greatly changed.

Is being an author your dream job? If so, how long have you been chasing the dream? If not, what would be your dream job?
Mikule: For a long time I have thought about becoming an Author. For a few years I did not chase that dream, due to thinking I did not have what it took. I finally (a month ago) started perusing it as a career, getting good feedback from people.

Tyler: When I was younger, it was not. My dream job, when I was younger was becoming a teacher, and now that I wrote my first book, it is my dream job and I’ve been chasing it for about four years now.

What has been your best moment as a writer?
Mica: I’ve had two really. One was getting my very first paycheck for an article I wrote that was published in a nationally franchised women’s magazine. The second was getting that signed publishing contract in the mail. I still have the envelope it came in.

Simon: There have been many amazing moments, but the two that stand out most for me are the look of pride on my mother’s face when she found out her son was a published author just a couple of months before she passed on. She had spent her working life as a librarian and had instilled my love of books practically from birth! The other was the feeling I got when I had my first short story published in a horror magazine; self-pubbing is one thing, but having my work accepted by a professional for publication in their magazine rocked my world!

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Mikule: When I am not writing away, I am listening to music, or watching TV along with some other hobbies of mine, getting ideas, or plots for my story(s).

Mica: The same things as sane people. Buy groceries, get my hair cut, clean house. Once in a while I get to a movie, but not very often, which actually is good, because I’m a total popcorn glutton.

How much time a day do you spend on social media?
Dori: A lot; marketing is very important.

Tony: Much too much lately.

Do you read your reviews and if so, how do you cope with a bad one?
Mikule: Yes I read reviews! In my opinion all reviews are good (even bad ones) although some reviews may hurt, the criticism is good, it helps with writing, and I find really bad reviews as a challenge to wrong them with their thoughts on my writing.

Tony: I read all my reviews (has not been that many) and do not mind the bad ones after all at least it proves somebody actually took the time to read my book. That is a great compliment to me.

Has a dream ever inspired any of your stories?
Mikule: Absolutely, one of my short stories was an entire dream that I had. I keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand at night in case I were to wake up in the middle of the night to quickly jot down what I had dreamed or for in the morning to write it all down so I do not lose any situations, actions that had occurred during them.

Dori: Sioria Caillleach started as a dream, many years ago.

Do you outline your stories or just go with the flow?
Mica: I’m a total plotter; to the point where I sometimes have the ending before I have the beginning. It irritates my writing partner to no end, because he’s a total pantser. Leads to some interesting arguments.

Laura: I never outline my stories. I follow the storyline as my characters unfold it to me. I never have any idea where they will take me. I have considered where to take a story ahead of time but once I sit down with them to lay it out they have taken me in a different direction, so I have stopped wasting my time and I just sit with them and write it out.

What does your writing space look like?
Tyler: My writing space is a mess! I have papers EVERYWHERE, they’re either ideas for upcoming series or stories or the story I’m currently working on. I am working cleaning up my working space, so I don’t have to go crazy every day because something goes missing or I accidentally misplace something.

Simon: I am totally surrounded by a huge collection of books, ancient and modern and the only wall space is adorned with a leather apron, a Jason mask, an Anubis head mask and various other horror art. On my desk I have a life-size resin skull and a lament configuration to keep me company.

What do you do to stay sane as a writer?
Laura: Sanity is over-rated.

Tyler: I try to take breaks, when I write, I find I get frustrated sometimes, when the story isn’t flowing the I want it to, I’ll take about an hour or two to myself, to recollect my thoughts, and get back on tract.

Do you have any writing rituals or interesting writing quirks?
Mica: I do my best writing in the early morning hours when it’s so quiet, you can hear the stars twinkle.

Simon: My only ritual is that my first draft is always written by hand in one of my enormous collection of notebooks. It is then read and reread, with notes being scratched into margins or above lines. Then and only then is it transferred to my laptop and proofread/edited.

What book are you currently reading?
Dori: I am reading the Witches Hammer for research

Mika: I’m reading The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road, the three books in the Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. I’m having to borrow the books from the library because I loaned out my set and then decided I wanted to reread them after I’d shipped the books off.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career?
Tyler: The challenges I faced as a writer are not being able to have enough time to write, when I like, also I worry about what will readers think of my book.

Tony: Getting my book published which I never thought would happen.

Is there a message in your book(s) that you want readers to grasp?
Laura: If there is any message in my books it is to get lost and let your imagination run wild.

Simon: There is much more to life than meets the eye and the true horror is all around you. Life is about choices and you can choose to NOT be afraid of it, to NOT let it win.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Dori: Yes, as a method writer. I am my characters.

Laura: I see a part of me in every one of my characters; some, obviously more so than others, but there is definitely a bit of me in each one.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Tyler: I have to say I enjoyed writing about my male character Crispin, it was a challenge for me to write from a males point of view, me being a girl and all, I didn’t understand how a guy would think. So it was really interesting writing from a guy’s point. I feel as though with Crispin, when I’m writing about him, he has emotions, but there hidden from everyone, and they slowly start to show, as the book progresses.

Tony: To be honest I actually enjoyed writing about myself.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Mikule: A Messed Up World
Dori: One Hot Mess
Mica: Soaring on Tattered Wings
Laura: Life Is What You Make It
Tyler: One Extraordinary Life
Simon: Metrocalypse-Life Through the Dark Spectrum
Tony: The Idiot Had a Life

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