Author Interview… Jonathan Janz, author of “Wolf Land” + Giveaway

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“One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites.” –Brian Keene, best-selling author

 

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Thank you so much for hosting me today! I’m a husband, dad, teacher, and writer. My wife and three kids are extraordinary, and I love both of my professions. That might be a dull answer, but it’s the truth.

 

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

 

I took my first crack at writing after I got into a near-fatal car crash during my senior year in high school. The book was horrid. I took my second shot at it when I was twenty-six. That book was less awful, but it still wasn’t good. About seven years ago, I got serious about writing, and though I finished the book (it was called STARLIGHT), no one wanted to publish it. That’s because even though it was better than anything I’d written at that point, it still wasn’t good. So I rewrote it seven more times. In the mean time, I wrote another book called THE SORROWS, which sold in 2011. Then, the one first one sold, as well, this time under the name HOUSE OF SKIN. Since then, things have been growing steadily.

 

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

 

THE SORROWS was a Gothic horror novel that showed both the influence of Peter Straub and Richard Laymon. Though that’s a strange combination, I think it worked really well for the book. The novel is about a pair of horror movie music composers who travel to a haunted island in the Pacific to find inspiration for the horror film they’re scoring. Readers seemed to dig it at any rate, so I wrote a sequel called CASTLE OF SORROWS of which I’m also very proud.

I also have another pseudo-series called SAVAGE SPECIES. That book is one of my most popular ones; it’s a brutal survival thriller along the lines of the film THE DESCENT. Since people enjoyed it so much, I wrote a prequel of sorts called CHILDREN OF THE DARK that’ll be published in early 2016 by Sinister Grin Press.

 

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

 

This will undoubtedly sound cheesy, but I’d say that horror chose me. I grew up between an old graveyard and a deep, dark woods, and I spent my childhood terrified of the spirits and monsters that I was convinced resided in those shadowy realms. I write in other genres, but horror will always be my favorite.

 

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

 

In my most recent novel WOLF LAND, I loved writing the werewolf transformation scenes because they were uniquely compatible with my “approach.” Essentially, I love to subside into the background and allow my characters to seize control of the story, which means the books kind of write themselves. What more natural a scene to write then, than a transformation scene in which an irresistible impulse grabs hold of a character and changes him/her into something else? As liberating as most of my writing feels, those transformation scenes flowed so rapidly out of my fingertips that I could scarcely keep up with the words. There’s one scene in particular in the bathroom of a drive-in movie theatre that exploded onto the keyboard as violently as the blood exploded onto the cinderblock walls of the bathroom. WOLF LAND was a total blast to write.

 

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

 

Tons of both. I forget who said this, but someone once called a writer “a person on whom nothing is lost.” I like to think I’m that way, watching the world closely, storing away details, and then allowing them to gush forth onto the page. At the same time, there are things I write that have no connection to anything I’ve ever done, seen, or heard. So yeah…both.

 

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

 

Stephen King’s THE TOMMYKNOCKERS made of me a reader and a writer back when I was an adolescent, so that one will always have a special place in my heart. A recent book that influenced me was Gillian Flynn’s DARK PLACES. I loved how bold she was and how willing she was to follow her characters into their most depraved thoughts and behaviors. She has a great deal of guts, and I deeply admire that.

 

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

 

Not yet, though I’ve heard enough about it to know how real it is for some writers. Personally, my only problem is having so many ideas and so little time to write them that I get frustrated at having to place wonderful projects on the backburner.

 

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

 

Stephen King. I would kill to meet Stephen King. Okay, maybe not kill, but I’d at least maim. I’ve met many of my writing heroes, but King is the one who showed me the way and is the single most important influence on my writing life. He can have no idea how much influence he’s had on the world, nor could I ever repay the debt I owe him. But I’d still love to meet him.

 

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

 

I have three coming out in 2016 (and maybe more). The first will be CHILDREN OF THE DARK in March. I’m really jazzed about that one because it’s my first “coming of age” book, and one that I think blends tenderness and savagery really interestingly. The second is EXORCIST FALLS, which is a novel-length sequel to an extremely successful novella called EXORCIST ROAD. The third will be an updated, improved version of a novella called WITCHING HOUR THEATRE, which was the first thing I ever got published.

 

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

 

Not really, because I’m thankful for the way it has all happened. If I did go back and change anything it would be spending less time on query letters and worrying about breaking arbitrary writing rules, and spending more time on studying books the way I do now. Reading and examining a story by one of my favorite writers teaches me far more than any other method I’ve tried.

 

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

 

Yes. While talent matters, and while there are a great many factors involved in writing, nothing is as important as persistence. I met F. Paul Wilson this summer, and one thing he said really resonated with me. He had a great quote about it, but rather than butchering it, I’ll just paraphrase him: “Everybody wants to succeed, but most writers don’t have the discipline to actually do it and stick to it.” I think that’s the biggest divider; there are tens of thousands—maybe even millions—of people with the talent to write. But the vast majority of those will never succeed because they simply don’t have the discipline, the humility, and the stomach to do it. If I could give any advice, I’d say to disabuse yourself of the notion that you’re owed anything by editors, agents, or readers and that you have to work your tail off consistently for a long time to earn your success. That might not be sexy advice, but I believe it’s true, and knowing that, you can buckle down and do the work. For me, it’s a reassuring thought because I love working for what I get. It makes success that much more rewarding.

 

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

 

Jonathan: I am truly grateful for your support, and it means the world to me that you take the time to read my books. I work tirelessly to craft the best stories I can, but that effort wouldn’t matter without readers. So thank you. I deeply appreciate you!

Wolf Land tour graphic

Purchase Links

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Land-Jonathan-Janz/dp/1619231166

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wolf-land-jonathan-janz/1122266491

Samhain

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5624/wolf-land

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Giveaway!!!

Enter to win ONE (1) print copy signed by Jonathan Janz of WOLF LAND! Click the link to enter. There are several things you can do to get multiple entries each day. Forward any questions to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI2/?

wolf land

Click on the book to see my review!

We Are Monsters by Brian Kirk + Giveaway

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The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a new, fresh and exciting story ready for you to devour!  Brian Kirk’s writing is amazing to say the least.  In “We Are Monsters”, something dark has been released into the halls of the Sugar Hill mental asylum……although they do not have sharp teeth or claws, what you will unravel as you read will have you mind blown.

An extremely paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side has just been admitted to Sugar Hill.  Dr. Eli Alpert is smitten as he has been working on a cure of schizophrenia and a drug that returns patients to their former selves.  Or so they think….the drug is unapproved and the Dr.’s test subjects are living just inside his reach.

Due to some unforeseen side effects of the drug, the monsters inside the patients start seeping out in a dark, inky goo of inner demons.  Leaving Sugar Hill an extremely dangerous place.

This is a very original tale that will keep you enthralled though out the entire book.  A thought provoking and somewhat horrifying novel delivered to us by author Brian Kirk, served on a sterile medial platter for us to enjoy!  Great work, I look forward to reading more from this author!

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Praise for We Are Monsters

“Keep an eye on Brian Kirk. His ambitious debut, We Are Monsters, is a high-voltage thrill, like watching Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor and Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners on split screens. ” — Jonathan Moore, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Redheads

We Are Monsters is fantastic — a frightening and intense thriller and one hell of a debut novel. I was blown away. Brian Kirk is exactly what readers need — a talented new voice with original, awe-inspiring ideas that can push the genre forward.”
-Brian Keene, best-selling author of Ghoul and The Rising

“Brian Kirk’s debut We Are Monsters is a smart, elaborate novel that weaves together the best and worst of us. Complex, terrifying, and still humane, this book moved me to both horror and compassion, and that’s a difficult thing indeed. Easily the best book I’ve read this year.” (Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy.)

“A tightly woven tale from an author who has a heart, and that makes me excited to see what else Kirk has in store for us. The whole story will have you examining the human race as never before.” (Ginger Nuts of Horror)

“Brian Kirk’s debut novel We Are Monsters is a sure bet. A hippy-trippy jaunt that goes deep into the baser things we keep bottled up… and what happens when they’re freed. Highly recommended!” (John F.D. Taff, Bram Stoker nominated author of The End In All Beginnings.)

“A disturbing, gets-under-your-skin debut novel. I expect to read much more from Kirk in the future.” (Robert Ford, author of The Compound and Samson and Denial.)

“Cleverly told. Psychologically complex.” (Scarlet’s Web)
“A gorgeous display of conceivable terror that resonates long after reading.” (Ranked as one of the Top Ten Horror Novels of 2015 by Best-Horror-Movies.net)

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Purchase Links

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Monsters-Brian-Kirk/dp/1619229803/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/we-are-monsters-brian-kirk/1121694935?ean=9781619229808

Samhain

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5494/we-are-monsters

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Giveaway!!!

Click the rafflecopter link below and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card from Brian Kirk! You can perform several tasks for entering each day here or at each stop that posts the giveaway link. Best of luck!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI1/?

We Are Monsters tour graphic (1)

 

 

Author Interview…Glenn Rolfe, author of “Blood & Rain” + Giveaway!

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I ‘m a father of 3, loving husband, and a horror writer with a rock-n-roll heart. When I’m not busy giving readers the creeps, I like to make people laugh. I have a hard time being serious and this makes my wife all the more amazing for putting up with me.

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Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Glenn: I started writing in May of 2011. I finished that story (which was the original draft of Blood and Rain) in late August of that year. It was an amazing feeling. It feels good each time you get to write THE END.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

Glenn: Blood and Rain is about a small town Maine sheriff, Joe Fischer, who runs into a bunch of wild killings at the hands of a beast. He quickly realizes that it’s a monster and is successful in putting an end to it—or so he thought! Seven years later, more killings done in the same grisly manner happen under a full moon. Sheriff Fischer’s worst nightmare is happening. He’s held secrets from those who trust him most, now he must decide what is best for the town and his teenage daughter.

One Night can–and will–change it all

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Glenn: I’ve always enjoyed spooky stories over anything else. When I was a kid, my favorites were the Bunnicula stories.  As an adult, I fell for the Leisure Book Horror line and Rice and King. When I started writing, that’s what I wanted to do.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Glenn: I really enjoyed the werewolf attacks. Maybe that makes me strange, but I made sure to go for it.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Glenn: I’ve thrown in names and pieces of all sorts of places and people I’m familiar with. As a writer, that just happens. There’s probably a little bit of me in each of these characters.
Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Glenn: Reading King is always a lesson in how good storytelling should be done. He makes everything seem interesting. That part also tends to kill new writers who try to copy it. Not everyone can write interesting backgrounds and side treks.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Glenn: Not yet. I have too many crazy thoughts.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Glenn: That’s a funny one. I interact quite often online with two of them, but I’d love to chill out and hang with Ronald Malfi and Brian Moreland.

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Glenn: The next project is a novella called, Things We Fear. It is supposed to be out in March of 2016.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Glenn: No. I like where I am and that wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t walk the path I chose.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Glenn: Take your story one line at a time. Have faith that the story will tell you where it wants to go (and who it wants to kill). Take your time between drafts. Let the story percolate a bit. Know that not everyone is going to love your story, so make sure that YOU do. I’d avoid self-publishing unless you already have an audience. Once you land with a publisher, don’t be afraid to try to land more work with a different publisher. It’s never safe to have all of your eggs in one basket.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Glenn: Thanks for reading my work. Thanks for telling your friends. And thanks for being honest with me when something doesn’t work for you. I appreciate your time and your voice.

Stay tuned for much more of my madness!

bood and rain

Click on the book cover to read my review!

Blood and Rain tour logo

Purchase Links

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Rain-Glenn-Rolfe/dp/1619229854/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443335652&sr=8-1&keywords=blood+and+rain

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-and-rain-glenn-rolfe/1122198363?ean=9781619229853#productInfoTabs

Samhain

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5587/blood-and-rain

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Giveaway!!!

For a chance to win a print copy of Glenn Rolfe’s short story collection, Slush, or a chance to win your choice of any of his titles in e-book format, go to the link below for the Rafflecopter sign-up. Good luck! The print copy is only good for those in the United States. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/231aa30b22/?

Blood And Rain by Glenn Rolfe + *GIVEAWAY*

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The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.

Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen. Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend? One night can-and will-change everything.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was, from beginning to end, epic!  The classic werewolf character is thrown into modern day, among a small town with a dark secret.  The town is relatively safe, minus a few stories of the missing and the dead.  Stories that the kids in town think are fictional, but there are others who know better.  I loved the mystery of the whole story line.  It was nice to have a werewolf, being true to it’s monstrous form, with basically no feelings of remorse or anything but killing for that matter.  With history repeating itself in this small town, the sheriff is determined this is the last time and he is going to make sure this monster will never be heard of again.  This was good, bloody and horrifying…all in the best ways a werewolf book should be baked with!  I look forward to reading more from Glenn, his writing was fantastic!  Highly recommended for any horror, suspense or thriller lovers!

Find Glenn Rolfe at: http://glennrolfe.com/ as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Blood and Rain tour logo

Purchase Links

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Rain-Glenn-Rolfe/dp/1619229854/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443335652&sr=8-1&keywords=blood+and+rain

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-and-rain-glenn-rolfe/1122198363?ean=9781619229853#productInfoTabs

Samhain

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5587/blood-and-rain

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Giveaway!!!

For a chance to win a print copy of Glenn Rolfe’s short story collection, Slush, or a chance to win your choice of any of his titles in e-book format, go to the link below for the Rafflecopter sign-up. Good luck! The print copy is only good for those in the United States. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/231aa30b22/?

*Featured Author of the Month…Ronald Malfi* Interview & GIVEAWAY!

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Praise for Ronald Malfi and his novels

“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”
—FearNet

“Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books

“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon

“Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly

“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”—Suspense Magazine

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Ronald is a 38, a native New Yorker who transplanted to Maryland when he was just a kid, married to a psychologist (read into that what you will), and the father of two young girls.  His newly released book “Little Girls” is amazing and you should check it out!!

(Click on the book to read my review!)

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(Click on the book to read my review!)

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Ronald:  I started writing, at least with some sort of discipline, when I was around 10 years old or so. I had an old manual typewriter and would hammer out scores of short stories, for which I would draw covers and staple the “books” together so I could pass them out to friends and family to read. My first published book was released in 2000, a year after I graduated college—it was a desperate attempt to stave off having to get a real job after graduation—but I had written several novel manuscripts much earlier than that. I was probably in my early teens—maybe 13 or so—when I finished my first novel-length manuscript. I still have all of these stories packed away in steamer trunks in my basement.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your newest book, “Little Girls.”

Ronald:   Little Girls is about Laurie Genarro’s return to her childhood home after the apparent suicide of her mentally unstable and distant father. Along for the ride are her husband Ted and daughter Susan. While staying in the house, Laurie begins to uncover secrets about her family’s past while Susan befriends a peculiar little girl living next door—a girl who is the spitting image and, as Laurie comes to believe, the possible reincarnation of a terrible little girls who had lived (and died) next door when Laurie was a child.

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Ronald:   I’m not sure any writer actively “chooses” their genre. I’ve always been attracted to dark things, even when I was younger and afraid of those very same things that also piqued my curiosity. I’ve written some more “mainstream” fiction in the past, but even these stories tend to have a darkness about them.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Ronald:  Very interesting question!  There’s a section late in the novel where Laurie ruminates on the fears she had when she first learned she was pregnant with her daughter Susan.  There’s a passage where I relate those fears, and describe how she began to see young children in the wake of those fears—children as horrid, disgusting, tiny people, so strange and unappealing that they’re depicted almost like aliens or monsters.  For some reason, I love that passage.  I think I managed to touch on some of the things childless people might think about other people’s children—the rudeness of them, the brazen effrontery, the grubbiness of their little hands and dirty clothes. It was a lot of fun to write.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Ronald:   There’s always a little bit of real life that seeps in—the occasional anecdote or character trait, something like that. But for the most part, the characters are wholly fictional creations, and the stories that they populate come from that place where all stories come from—which is to say that, perhaps subconsciously, there are parts of real life tucked away beneath the veneer of fiction. But I rarely use real life experiences in my fiction.

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Ronald:  Oh, there are so many. I’m still influenced by authors and books, almost every time I read a new author or a particularly wonderful book. Early on, Stephen King was a huge influence, of course. Later, I grew to love the works of Peter Straub. And while I still adore Ernest Hemingway’s fiction, there was a period of time, right after college and a few years thereafter, that I was obsessed with his work and reread his novels until the pages of the books fell out. “The Sun Also Rises” still stands as my favorite novel.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Ronald:  You know, I used to joke that I was too unimportant to suffer writer’s block. I think maybe that was a glib answer at the time. I’ve gone through periods of stagnancy, questioning what I’m writing, if it’s good enough, if it fits what my current editor is looking for, that sort of thing. But at the end of the day, I somehow manage to get over that hump and get back to the stories.  And once I start writing, I’ll go off and knock out maybe 20 or so pages at a time.  When I’m really cooking, I can finish a whole novel in about two months.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Ronald:  I guess it would be something to meet Stephen King, more for bragging rights than anything else.  I’ve met Peter Straub, albeit very briefly, a few years back in New York, but I would certainly welcome the opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brain about his books.  His writing is very layered and seems to allude to hidden truths between the lines, and I’d love for him to wink conspiratorially at me and let me in on all the little secrets that make his books so brilliant.

Sierra: Will you have any new books coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Ronald:  Next year will see the release of a novel called The Night Parade. It’s about a father and daughter on the run from the government and police during the final stage of a disease epidemic that has wiped out much of the population.  While it’s arguably an end-of-the-world novel—something I thought I’d never write—it’s much more intimate in its scope and is really about the relationship between the father and his daughter. I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Ronald:  I think my drive for having a book published superseded my ability at the time. My first novel was a thing uncooked, and should have remained in the steamer trunk with the other early attempts. However, it was published and was instrumental in starting my career, as it helped me gain a small audience and ultimately led to my second book deal with a better publisher. Thankfully, that first novel is long out of print, though I’ve been alerted to a few copies for sale out there on the secondary and tertiary markets for exorbitant and ridiculous prices. Save your money, folks.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Ronald:  The advice is always the same—if you want to write, you must read.  Read everything, and read a lot. And when you’re not reading, you should be writing, of course.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Ronald:   I’ve just been overwhelmed by the positive responses from my readers and with the wonderful emails I receive from fans.  The horror community is a wonderful brotherhood (and sisterhood) of supportive peers and dedicated fans. It’s great to be a part of it.  And thanks for your time, too, Sierra. Much appreciated!

Little Girls tour logo

Links to Purchase

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Girls-Ronald-Malfi/dp/1617736066

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-girls-ronald-malfi/1120137979?ean=9781617736063

Or pick up or ask to order at your local independent bookstore or anywhere e-formats are sold!

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Sign up to win one of two paperback copies of Little Girls by Ronald Malfi by clicking the link to the Rafflecopter link below. Be sure to follow the specifics you can do each day to gain more entries.

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Author Interview with Michael Pang, author of “In the Eyes of Madness” – *BOOK GIVEAWAY*

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Michael is 31 years old and is married with two kids. He was born in Hong Kong and moved to the US when he was about 3 years old.  Michael grew up in Central Florida and went off to Atlanta for college. He graduated from Georgia Tech back in 2005 and worked for an energy company as a project engineer up through 2013.  In 2014 he started working for an IT company as a project manager.

“I am a person that gets bored extremely quickly, so I like to dabble in a lot of different things.  I have many passions in life that keep me from being idle.  Writing and reading, of course, being two of my passions, have taken up much of my time.  Other passions that indulge upon are Cooking, Eating, Singing, and teaching.”

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Michael: I’ve always been very addicted to reading urban fantasy novels.  After a long day at work, it feels great to be able to dive into a book where I can be drawn into a world that parallels my own, but filled with magic and wonder.  If I had a good book in front of me, I used to be able to stay up all night reading (gone are those day though; I have kids now and I try to get as much sleep as I can get).

Although, I’ve always wanted to pursue writing, I didn’t really attempt writing a book until one night when I had a very strange dream about 4 years ago.  My wife and I had our first baby. Months of sleepless nights went by and we both looked like zombies. Then, one night a very strange dream (more like a nightmare) came to me about a teenager working in a mental asylum. The patients there were all gaunt and ghastly with very abrupt demeanor changes. Some of the things the patients were doing were fairly odd and supernatural (like levitating, retrieving objects via telekinesis, and speaking with multi-vocal projections). And I remember wandering to myself, are these people all just insane or demon possessed. Then the teenager went into a room and called the patient residing in the room, “mom.”  She turned around abruptly, and the expression on her face was terrifying as she pounced on him. I woke up immediately. As shaken from the dream as I was, I couldn’t help wanting to find out what happened to the teenager.  I tried to go back to sleep in hopes of getting the dream to continue.  But it didn’t work.  The next morning, I told my wife about the strange dream and how I had hoped that it had continued when I went back to sleep.  So my wife told me that it sounded like it would make an excellent novel and that I should write my own ending.  And I did.

It took me about two and a half years to finish the story.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

Michael: .It is a Young Adult Paranormal Urban Fantasy that is book 1 of a book series called Declan Peters Chronicles.  The story is about a 17 year old boy who had an traumatic experience when he was seven.  His mother went insane and tried to drown him.  Now that he’s graduated from high school, he starts working for the institution here is mother is being cared for.  Strange things start happening around him, and he afraid that he might have inherited his mother’s mental illness.  The story surrounds all the different discoveries that he makes about himself during this time.  Are there really supernatural things happening around him, or has he truly inherited his mother’s condition.  You’ll have to read the book to find out.

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Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Michael:  Since the whole story came about from a nightmare I had, I’d have to say that I didn’t choose it; it chose me.  I hope I didn’t sound too much like a mystic there.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Michael: My favorite part in the book (without giving too much away as a spoiler) is the scene where Declan comes to a realization about his own state of mind and what he can really do.  That feeling of being free from all the baggage that he had been carrying for 10 years, made me leap a little bit as I was writing it.  I’m sure that there is always something about yourself that you are self conscious of or you don’t like (whether it is something that has happened in your past or something about yourself physically).  And sometimes, you can get obsessed about it so much that it consumes you. But learning to like yourself for who you are and how you got there is probably one of the most freeing experiences of your life.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Michael: The story is mostly imaginary, being that it originated from a dream.  However, there are a lot of moments throughout the story that has very intense emotions, that are reflections of the emotions that I’ve had in different parts of my life.
Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Michael: I’m a big paranormal fiction fan. A few of my favorite writers are Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan. Jim Butcher has definitely influenced some of the ways I write my fight scenes in the book as his books are always so packed with supernatural action.  And Simon R. Green always has such witty characters that are very unique.  And Cassandra Clare and Rick Riordan simply have a way of creating a world that draws you in.  These are all amazing writers and I really hope that one day I can attain their level of excellence.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Michael:  I’m not sure if it really counts, but I honestly cannot sit and write for more than two hours at a time.  My brain feel like a bowl of pudding after that.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Michael: Jim Butcher!  The Dresden Files is my absolute favorite book series of all time.  I’ve probably re-read the entire series at least 4 times.  The world that he built in his book series is so intricate that every time I re-read it I realize that I had missed something important the previous times.

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Michael:  Not quite in the near future.  I’m still in the beginning stages of writing book 2 of the Declan Peter’s Chronicles.  And concurrently, I’m working on a spin-off book series that goes back to the genesis times, starting with the first Nephilim.   And yes, there will be crossover characters.  You have to read it to find out how.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel for getting it published that you would change?

Michael: No, I like the story as it is.  However, I’d like to believe that my writing has improved since then, and just rewrite the whole thing!  Haha!  But I feel like, I’m always going to feel that way as I continue down my writing journey.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Michael: As my wife was reading some of my first drafts, I kept hearing sighs and grunts.  And I ask her what was her deal, and she told me “Don’t just flat out tell the readers what is going on all the time, you have flirt with them.”

You don’t’ want to be so cryptic where you readers are confused about what’s going on in the story, but also don’t just give it all away!  Tease them! Make them work for it! 😉

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Michael:  I’d just like to thank all the readers for their support.  I know that some of the topics touched upon in the novel can be quite taboo in certain arenas.  But, I feel that it’s what makes for an intriguing tale!  I hope you enjoyed the first book enough to continue with the series because it’s really about go deeper into the madness!

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