Monday, October 31, 2011

Interview with fantasy author Ella Stradling about her novel "Revealing Rexa"...


As a huge fantasy fan, I’m especially pleased to welcome other worlds inventor and author Ella Stradling to our forum today. She’s here to talk with us about a unique fantasy vision and the first book in her Secrets of the Revealers series Revealing Rexa.

Tim Greaton: Ella, before we get into the discussion of writing and your book, we’d love to learn more about where you live and a little bit about your personal history?

Ella Stradling: Hi, Tim, and thank you for this opportunity to talk with you and the readers here on the forum. I was born and raised on the east coast of New South Wales, Australia. I grew up in a tiny three-bedroom house with my parents, four siblings and two Shetland sheepdogs. Every school holiday, we would pack up the family tent and head out on a road trip, so I managed to see most of the east coast as a child. We experienced all kinds of adventures, from breaking the ice on the dogs’ water in the morning when we camped in Canberra in mid-winter to spending a week exploring the coast from Sydney to Brisbane, camping in little rest areas in a collection of tiny two-man tents. After finishing high school I worked in a lingerie factory for two years. I graduated university with a Bachelor of Arts (honours) in Classical Civilization in 1994 and eventually settled into a ten-year career as proof reader, designer and copy editor in a local print company, until motherhood became my full time job. I live with my partner of eleven years and we have three beautiful children aged ten, five and two.

Tim Greaton: As a fantasy writer, I know that you have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours developing the world your characters inhabit. How do you find time for that and all of life’s other responsibilities?

Ella Stradling: I’m embarrassed to say this, Tim, but my world has been around for over twenty years. The first draft and most of the world building were created back in the mid-1990s when I was in my early twenties. I used to attend a youth theatre company. My young friends would sit and brainstorm with me between stage calls and they were my first beta readers. Once life took over, it became a lot harder to find the time, and the manuscript sat on a shelf in my study for over ten years. Now that I have rediscovered my love of writing, I’m often frustrated by the constant distractions of family life: there are times when I might not get to press that silver button on the computer for a week or more. My eldest attends recreational gymnastics classes one hour per week, so I bring my laptop and write while I wait. Some weeks it’s the only writing I get to do. I also take the laptop into the loungeroom and tap away while the kids play around me.
Tim Greaton: I’ve heard that all great works are built on the shoulders of our predecessors. What books or authors have inspired you and why?
Ella Stradling: There are so many. I have a library that fills three walls of my study (the computers are on the fourth). I read Tolkien at age twelve. I loved David Eddings and Raymond E Feist. I own all of Anne McCaffrey’s work (yes I mean all, she takes up eight feet of shelf space in my library). But there is one author who takes my breath away and I snatch up every book as soon as I find it. Her name is Sheri S. Tepper, famous for her “True Game” series aimed at young adults and a collection of stand-alone adult sci-fi novels. She is a master of speculative fiction and her worlds are incredible works of art. She is able to build a complete society and then add a twist that blows your mind. I only wish I possessed the sheer power of intellect that shines through in her books.
Tim Greaton: Most writers are usually also verbal storytellers. Could you tell us a favorite story you discuss when you’re hanging out with friends and family?

Ella Stradling: My Grandfather (Poppa) was a great storyteller. When missionaries knocked, he would often invite them in and surprise them by quoting the Bible in Hebrew. He was also full of stories from our family history. Most of those stories have stayed with me all these years. I love telling people that my family supplied forty of the ships that William the Conqueror used to invade England. I also love discussing the ancient castles that my ancestors once owned all along the Welsh Marches. One day, I hope to visit them so I can add personal experience to some of those tales.

Tim Greaton: It sounds like you come from a fascinating lineage. What’s your favorite detail about your family tree?

Ella Stradling: I am most intrigued by one long-ago family member who killed the king and ruled England for three years in the fourteenth century. I hope to use that story in one of my future projects, a series of historical novellas.

Tim Greaton: Who has been your biggest fan and motivator, and do you think of her/him when you’re writing your stories?

Ella Stradling: I would be lying if I did not say my biggest fan is my mum. Even all those years ago when this story was first growing in my teenage mind, she was supportive and always eager to read my work. She still does but is never shy about calling me out when something in a story doesn’t work or needs clarification. She is also a great sounding board and resource when I can’t get a scene to work. It was my mum that pointed out the importance of cause and effect. She taught me that when my characters do something amazing, I need to consider how it impacts them and their world and how they will go about regaining equilibrium afterward.

Tim Greaton: Fantasy is a notoriously difficult genre to write, because it requires you not only to develop a story but also a whole new world, creatures and even rules of magic. What about this story or genre made you willing to tackle that much work?

Ella Stradling: I don’t consider it work, Tim. Fantasy is fun! You have complete license to do whatever you want and nobody can tell you you’re wrong. There are no historical facts to get right, apart from your own world history. You have total freedom to develop your characters and your world any way you want. As long as your continuity holds and your people and plots are believable, you have free reign. It’s pure imagination! That said, I think it’s important to pay attention to logic. Even a story of complete imagination still has to make sense. The biggest lesson I have learned is that my readers cannot see what is in my head, so I can’t assume that they will always understand what I’m talking about.

Tim Greaton: But don’t you worry about what some authors refer to as info-dump?

Ella Stradling: For me, it’s about building background and backstory organically without lecturing the reader. I’ve learned that you can build backstories without slowing down the current story. In short, I try not to indulge in purple prose. That’s the tricky part.

Tim Greaton: And for those readers who don’t understand the term “purple prose”?

Ella Stradling: Purple prose usually means extravagant, ornate or flowery language…but an expanded definition might be bloated or swollen description or information. For instance, I might say “Jane wore the dress her mother had sewn for her,” but I would probably not try to add that “her mother had been sewing dressings for thirty-five years and had once sewn a leather dress with red fringes for the Princess of Never No Mind, who also happened to be the niece of so and so….” To say her mother had sewn the dress is a brief organic detail that doesn’t require all the rest. Too much information and backstory can really weigh a story down.

Tim Greaton: I have the inside scoop about Miyam from Revealing Rexa, but could you tell our readers a little about your protagonist and what makes her such a memorable character?

Ella Stradling: Miyam is a young woman with a troubled past. Once she was a novice in the College of the Art, the home of the revealers, a society of elite psychic detectives who use stealth and highly refined psychic power to sniff out information for their clients. She was removed from the college against her will when her mother was killed and had to build a new life with a father she hardly knew in the outside world. Miyam narrates the story of Princess Nettayna and Prince Atwin as she joins them on their quest to find the king’s amulet and save the life of the Queen. But beneath that adventure is Miyam’s personal journey to find herself. Along the way she regains her strength, falls in love and eventually is given the chance to return to the life she loved and lost. She is a very human character with no illusions and nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Miyam is a character I hope readers will relate with. For me, her story resonates with a gentle message of hope.

Tim Greaton: There is a strong moral theme that runs through your novel. Could you tell us how that theme impacts your characters?

Ella Stradling: You know, I really never thought about it like that, but you are right. My four main characters all struggle with a future not of their choosing. The lesson for each of them is to discover their true path and embrace it wholeheartedly. In the case of my narrator, there is an additional message: to never give up on your dream. In a way, I relate most to her because I gave up on my writing dreams for a long time; it takes a lot of courage to keep at it even when all odds seem against you. There is a darker moral, too, a running theme throughout the entire series. It involves the non-human race, the kalkar, who we first perceive as creatures of nightmares, but they slowly emerge as a thinking, feeling, sentient race with a rich history and society of their own. Now that you have me thinking about it, I think there is a strong message of tolerance and respect for others within the story, a realization that we are all the same on the inside.

Tim Greaton: Of all the creatures and magical items in your world, which one would you want to appear in your living room or on your front yard tomorrow?

Ella Stradling: Let me think. There are two unusual creatures, one sentient non-human enemy and several magical items which are actually technological anomalies from a sci-fi past, of which my characters (and readers) are unaware. I would not want a kalkar to appear in my front yard for fear it would burn my baby fruit trees. I would love to meet Gliss, the winged unicorn from the story, but she would only appear if I were a virgin princess!

Tim Greaton: I’m not going to go there, Ella.

*She gives me a mischievous grin*

Tim Greaton: So which character or creature—that would be willing to visit you—would you invite to our world?

I think tree spirit Leshma would be the most fun. My narrator describes him as a “dwarf-like gnomy creature” who constantly “sniggles” at everyone. He managed to keep the lost King’s amulet on a shelf of trinkets above his bed for 800 years. I’d like him to help me retrieve all my lost treasures.

Tim Greaton: I haven’t heard much from you over the past few months. Could you tell us the title and a little about the book that has kept you from socializing with your usually irresistible friends?

*My turn to grin*

Ella Stradling: I just finished the very book we have been discussing. Revealing Rexa is a fantasy adventure with a touch of romance. The first half of the manuscript made it to the top 50 (top 1%) of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2011. Now longer, this 80,000-word novel is for anyone from late teens and up. It’s a unique fantasy in that there are no Tolkeinesc fantasy creatures, just one non-human race of my own invention (we’ve talked about the kalkar already) who stand sizzling and smoking while they absorb solar energy in the daylight and move only at night, burning everything in their path. While the human queen lies dying, with the only way to save her life being to reunite the ancient souls of King Rexa and his queen, both of whom are embedded in a pair of amulets, the enemy strives to prevent the return of the king’s amulet because of their racial memory of a long-ago defeat at the hands of those two spirits. My narrator and her lover, a talented revealer, lead the search for the missing amulet but that quest is secondary to the growth the four main characters undergo as they accept and move toward their predestined paths: the princess must surrender her innocence to grow into her new role; the prince is called to rekindle a lost power; the revealer, hardened by grief and self-doubt, must learn to open his heart; and Miyam must reconcile her past and rediscover her lost destiny. Together they all find friendship, love and purpose along the way.

Tim Greaton: Do you plan a sequel or is your book part of a series?

Ella Stradling: Yes there is a sequel. The second half of that original contest manuscript is titled Awakening Sand and is currently in final development. I’m hoping it will be ready for e-book release before Christmas, which would mean the paperback would be in stores by early next year. A direct continuation of the Revealing Rexa story, Awakening Sand follows a theme that is only hinted at in the first book. I can say a kidnapping is at the core. I also have a third book in the Secrets of the Revealers series in the early planning stage. I think other sequels and at least one prequel are likely.

Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly purchase your books.

Ella Stradling: Thanks Tim, I would love to see some more visitors to my humble little website at:

There, readers can find excerpts from Revealing Rexa and Awakening Sand as well as character biographies and sketches. There are also links to my Facebook and Twitter pages. The bookstore page contains links to the books for purchase and soon I will be selling directly from my site.

Tim Greaton: Thanks for taking the time with me today, Ella. I feel certain that many fantasy fans are already heading over to your site or are looking up your titles at the nearest online bookstore.

Ella Stradling: Thanks again, Tim. Your forum is a wonderful place for authors and readers to get together. I appreciate all of your efforts here and elsewhere.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Interview with R.C. Drake, author of "Crystal Clear": A Supernatural Mystery

Today, I’m pleased to welcome good friend and author R.C. Drake. She’s here to talk to us mostly about her novel "Crystal Clear": A Supernatural Mystery, but I’m guessing we could probably get her to open up about her poetry, children’s and even her sci-fi fantasy works.

Tim Greaton: R.C., I’m thrilled to have you here on the forum. We’ve been friends for a long while, and I’m glad to be able to share you with other friends and readers. Maybe you could start by telling us about where you grew up?

R.C. Drake: First off Tim, thank you very much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to do these interviews for all of us.  You are one in a million. I live in a little town in Southeast Texas, called Buna, not more than twenty miles from where I was born.  I guess you could say I haven't ventured far from home.

Tim Greaton: We’d love to hear more about you and the business you manage to run while also finding time to write an impressive list of novels.

R.C. Drake: "My House Resale" is a little consignment and resale shop located right in my hometown.  I have quite a few regular shoppers who I know by first name. We have a rapport with each other that is indescribable. Since my shop is on the way to our local lake, I get a lot of out of town visitors as well.  Sometimes, between customers, I may have a fleeting thought or ideas that just pop in for a visit. I always have my little mini recorder with me so I can capture them before they flit away.

Tim Greaton: You’ve written quite a number of books. Could you tell us what they?

R.C. Drake: Let’s Find a Toy For Moo Moo The Mutdog is a children’s poetry-picture book based on my own dog who is truly a little scamp. She absolutely believes she’s human, so I try not to mention otherwise. No need to upset the poor thing.   

Roxi Needs a Home was based on my son’s dog. She really did need a home, so we adopted her. Written for a young adult audience, this book explains what adoption is through the eyes of a boy.

A Moment Missed is an adult poetry book. The culmination of years of work, I’m especially proud of this collection. Each poem is heartfelt and intended to be life-lifting for the reader.   

The Warriors Dragon, The Gift and The Commencement are books 1 & 2 my Warriors Dragon sci-fi/fantasy series. Set in a futuristic time where the last remnants of humanity are clinging to life, the only hope for our dying planet and remaining survivors is a brotherhood of dragons led by a single warrior.

My most recent novel "Crystal Clear": A Supernatural Mystery is a mystery/ghost story.

Tim Greaton: Who are your top three favorite authors and why?

R.C. Drake: Danielle Steele is matriarch and pioneer in my eyes.  I love her work because she steps outside the boundaries of romance and kicks in a little mystery. Stephen King has an amazing grasp of the unreal. And Nora Roberts’ style really appeals to me.

Tim Greaton: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face as a writer and how do you think it has helped you as a writer?

R.C. Drake: I think the biggest challenge has been to develop original ideas. I have rejected more than I have used.  Perhaps the basis for next novels just leaps out at some writers, but I tend to develop mine at a slower pace. Usually, I conceive of an ending then work backwards toward the beginning. Maybe I should live in Australia then I would think right side up.

*She grins*

Tim Greaton: I’ve had the pleasure of reading your last novel, but for those readers who haven’t had a chance yet could you tell us a little about "Crystal Clear": A Supernatural Mystery?

It’s about a mother’s love and her inability to deal with loss. Her actions set into motion a succession of events that culminate in a horrific tangle. Evil steps in and the only way to stop it is through self-sacrifice and the selfless act of a stranger; whether that act can possibly come in time is a question most readers ask.

Tim Greaton: Where did you conceive of such a unique plot?

R.C. Drake: The family aspect, in part, is drawn from incidents in my own life.  As the plot unfolds, however, the story veers further and further from my own experience. Throughout the process, my protagonist Susan developed her own personality, and as she became more real it broke my heart to put her through such hardships.

Tim Greaton: Did you have to change any parts of the story to better fit the characters, or did you have to change any characters to better fit the story?

R.C. Drake: Actually both challenges occurred.  Characters and events were changed and rearranged to keep the book moving evenly.  A steady flow of events from present to past and then back to present had to occur. Keeping up that pace required some characters to appear and then slowly fade away.

Tim Greaton: Which character is your favorite and why?

R.C. Drake: I really enjoyed writing about Mr. Caldwood a frequent customer at the diner where Susan works. He’s a funny, little old man with an unusual kind of insight.

Tim Greaton: Are you planning a sequel or are there other books available in this series?

R.C. Drake: This novel is complete in its current form, however, it does ends with a possible open door.  I might someday tackle a sequel but it’s far from definite.

Tim Greaton: Just for fun, if you could personally live any scene in your book, which one would it be?
R.C. Drake: I would like to be there when Stan is finally able to say his last goodbye to his deceased wife of many years. When she smiles at him for the last time and he realizes she is happy and no longer in pain…that would be a wonderful moment to witness.

Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly purchase your books.

R.C. Drake: I would like to invite everyone to visit my blogsite at:   as well as my Author site on Authors Den at     My Author site on Amazon list all of my current works at    All of my books are available for purchase at all of these sites.

Tim Greaton: Thanks for being with us today. I feel confident that you have earned a lot of new fans.

R.C. Drake: Thank you Tim, I have enjoyed spending time with you this morning, and I hope everyone enjoys reading "Crystal Clear": A Supernatural Mystery. I also hope they take the opportunity to read one of the fine books that you have written, as well. 

For everyone reading, please have a wonderful day, and may God bless you and yours.    


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview with award-winning novelist & criminologist Jennifer Chase about her novel "Silent Partner"...

I’m excited to say that we have roped award-winning author and criminologist Jennifer Chase into joining us in the forum today. Her crime novel Silent Partner will be the center of our discussion, but I’m betting we might be able to drag out information about her other titles, too.

Tim Greaton: I understand that you were reading almost as early as you were talking. Is that true?

Jennifer Chase: I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember.  There was something about cracking open that binding and embarking on an adventure.  Even before school age, I looked forward to my mom taking me to the library once a week.  Once there, I would pile up all the books that my little arms could carry.  My mom would tell me that I could save some for the next time, but I still carried out a full load.  Reading so many books early on gave me an appreciation for authors and what it takes to write books.

Tim Greaton: So those early trips to the library were your motivation to write?

Jennifer Chase: I really do think so. Those young reading adventures definitely helped to propel me in the writing direction.  I always dreamed about becoming a published author.  It has been with me all this time until 2008 when I wrote my first book.

Tim Greaton: What part of the world do you most like to use as a setting for your stories?

Jennifer Chase: My settings up to this point have taken place in various areas of California, which offers an amazing variety of beaches, deserts and mountains to choose from, not to mention the great cities and rural areas. These are places that I know, have visited and have been inspired by. They’re also wonderful backdrops for my stories. 

Tim Greaton: Could you describe your office space and a little bit about your writing process and habits?

I write from my home office, which looks out at the trees and a pesky squirrel who chatters at me through the window from time to time. Though I do most of my computer work inside, I do carry a notebook to more distracting locations like local coffee houses, where I often jot down plot ideas or new quirks for serial killers. 

My office is fairly typical with a desk, computer, books, a bulletin board, a dry erase board (which looks a lot like a police investigation), lots of sticky notes. Of course, I can’t forget my faithful Labs who are forever at my feet.  I write six days a week when I’m working on a book project and generally spend the afternoons writing.  Mornings are blocked off for promotion, blog articles, housework (ick), errands, exercise, and anything else that may pop up. Oh, one odd writing quirk I probably shouldn’t share: I have to write barefooted…even in winter.  ‘Not sure why.

*She grins*

Maybe that could be our little secret.

Tim Greaton: Do you usually have specific people in mind when you’re writing, or do you find your story is populated entirely by fictional people?

Jennifer Chase: Typically, I design my storylines first; then I create the characters (with the exception of my series heroine). Though I don’t usually have “one” person in mind when I create a character, he or she is often inspired by someone I’ve met, interviewed or have known throughout the years.  My characters are really a combination of those people mixed with imaginary traits. I also think a lot of my own qualities find their way into that mix.  It’s always fascinating to see how my story people evolve beyond their original outline and descriptions.   

Tim Greaton: What is the title of your latest book?

Jennifer Chase: It’s called SILENT PARTNER.

Tim Greaton: Is it true that Silent Partner won an award recently?

Jennifer Chase: Yes, I was really pleased and surprised when Readers Favorite named it the 2011 WINNER of Best in Suspense.

Tim Greaton: Congratulations! Maybe you could tell us a little about this award-winning crime/suspense novel.

Jennifer Chase: Deputy Jack Davis is a police K9 officer who gets tangled between love and deceit when he falls for a murder suspect.  Then, while dodging the fine line of the police brotherhood, he stumbles headfirst into a deadly cat and mouse chase with a taunting serial killer.

Tim Greaton: It sounds fascinating, Jennifer. Did you fully plot the story out or did it grow organically as you wrote it?

Jennifer Chase: I’m usually an outliner—which in my case is someone who writes choppy first drafts—but Silent Partner actually grew out of a screenplay that I had written several years ago.  I had already written two previous books in my Emily Stone series, so I decided to take a break and adapt this story into a novel.  A little backwards, I know.  The book allowed me to incorporate more details and twists that weren’t originally penned in the screenplay. 

Tim Greaton: Is there a scene in this book that made you laugh? Cry?

Jennifer Chase: I have to say both.  Writing this story was like riding along with the K9 unit for me, and I actually laughed out loud while writing several scenes. Some of the most emotional scenes involve the dogs.  I think a lot of readers will experience a tear or two. I know I did. What I am most pleased about the story is how likeable my hero turned out to be…even in the face of the difficult decisions he has to make.

Tim Greaton: What parts of the book were faster to write than others?

Jennifer Chase: Great question!  The challenge is often in writing the serial killer scenes…so they usually go the slowest.  There is something inherently difficult about writing from a killer’s perspective, a place that is both dark and brutal…but also essential to the story.  On the other hand, I love to write exciting chase or escape scenes, and these types of scenes seem to just flow along quickly for me.

Tim Greaton: Is there a sequel in the works or are their other books available in this series?

Jennifer Chase: Though Silent Partner wasn’t written as part of a series, I’m contemplating it.  Dark Mind, which is book #3 in my Emily Stone series, will be coming out in the fall, however.

Tim Greaton: Just for fun, if this interview causes your book to sell so many copies you have as much money as JK Rowling, what are the first three items you will buy?

*There’s that grin again*

Jennifer Chase: Hmmmm, other than a fleet of sports cars with prepaid speeding tickets.  Well, immediately I would say a nice house on the coast where I can walk the beach every morning while two full-time assistants manage book promotions back at my office would be great.  On a more serious note, I would love to get involved with the “Project Pooch” program and start one in my central California area to help juvenile offenders and shelters dogs.  As a criminologist, I feel that if we want to curb crime we need to start with young offenders and rehabilitation. 

Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly purchase your books.

Jennifer Chase:  My books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  They are in both paperback and e-book formats.

Twitter: @JChaseNovelist
Current Books Titles:

Compulsion (Emily Stone series)
Dead Game (Emily Stone series)
Silent Partner

Tim Greaton: I can’t tell you how great it has been to have you on the forum today, Jennifer. I have no doubt that oodles of readers are opening their e-readers and bookstore websites to find your titles right now.

Jennifer Chase: Thank you so much for the interview opportunity, Tim.  It’s been fun! I hope your readers know I welcome questions and comments, and will get back to them right on your blog for at least the next few days.                                                                                              

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interview with author Kellianne Sweeney about her novel "The One The Got Away"...

First-time author Kellianne Sweeney joins us in the forum today. She’s truly wonderful. Her novel "The One That Got Away" is a sweeping story of reincarnation that spans history. It’s a fascinating premise that I look forward to hearing more about.

Tim Greaton: What’s the most important story you ever read and why?

Kellianne Sweeney:  James Michener’s novel “Hawaii” was an important book to me. It is a beautiful, sweeping tale of stories within stories and contains such full and incredibly developed characters from many walks of life. I found it to be amazing and inspiring. It is an excellent example of the qualities I just mentioned as well as historical fiction.

Tim Greaton: Did you always want to become a writer, and was there a particular person or event that caused you to move in that direction?

Kellianne Sweeney:  When I was a child I spent quite a bit of my time writing and illustrating stories. I added journaling and poetry as I got older. Throughout my life I would often have stories and philosophical meanderings playing in my mind. Writing and illustrating was a creative and expressive outlet for me, but wasn’t really intended for others. At some point in the midst of my hectic, adult life it occurred to me that I wanted to share my writing as an author. For many years after that I still did not pursue it due to time constraints being busy with Life in general. Recently, however, I made the decision that I was going to run out of somedays if I didn’t get serious about becoming an author.

My sixth grade teacher’s words still ring in my ears today: “Kelli, I fully expect that you will become a published author/illustrator.”  I didn’t believe him at the time, but it meant a lot to a shy, insecure girl.

Tim Greaton: Do you find yourself writing about specific types of characters, or do you find they change a lot from story to story?

Kellianne Sweeney: I make concerted efforts to keep my characters different. I don’t want them to blend together. I would say that an underlying characteristic for most of them is that they find strength within themselves, even despite themselves, when faced with adversity. I strive to have my characters well developed.

Tim Greaton: Have you found writing has fit easily into your lifestyle, or has it been a challenge to carve out the time and energy to create novels?

Kellianne Sweeney:  I am laughing at this question! No, writing does not fit easily into my life. While I was writing “The One That Got Away” I was working fulltime as a Kindergarten teacher and taking care of my family of six. I managed this only by awakening at four o’clock in the morning to write before my day started. I have come to love that part of my day. It is just me and my coffee and my ideas at dark-thirty in the morning.

Tim Greaton: When you’re creating a story, do you imagine yourself inside the character’s head as the story unwinds, or do you have another mental process that helps you to build exciting plots and satisfying endings?

Kellianne Sweeney:  My writing process begins with daydreaming. Most of my writing ideas come to me while I’m doing something else, particularly when I’m driving or being driven. When I am writing, I see a movie in my head. I write what I am seeing. It flows freely by pen into a spiral notebook. After I have written a couple of chapters I go back and revise it as I type it into my laptop. Then I revise those same chapters again before returning to the spiral notebook to continue the story. A final revision comes at the end of the story. I rarely get writer’s block. If that happens, I take a break and go back to the daydreaming stage until I’ve worked through it.

Tim Greaton: What is the title of your latest book, and could you tell us a little about the story?

Kellianne Sweeney: The name of my first novel is “The One That Got Away”. When I began writing this book, my intention was to write a reincarnation story to allow myself to jump in and out of history. I adore history. I wanted to write stories within a story. I would create a character that was too busy and jaded to be bothered with such nonsense and I would force her to believe it. As I was writing, I began to ponder how I could weave Heaven into the picture. Then I had the same thought about ghosts. People wonder about these things, but generally assume that you have to choose one to believe. What if they could all be connected somehow? This idea caused the novel to become bigger than itself, and it became apparent to me that a sequel was required.

Tim Greaton: Did you fully have to do a lot of research for the book, or did was most of the world building done in your head fictionally?

Kellianne Sweeney:  I am such a history geek that when I was a teenager, I used to research periods of history for no required reason. The eras that I used in my novel are a few that I had previously researched all of those years ago. I had to do some brush up research on the Titanic portion of my novel for details and to assure that the sequence of events were timed correctly.

Tim Greaton: Is there a particular scene in your book that you were worried might not work…that maybe your readers would either be confused by or maybe even be offended by?

Kellianne Sweeney:  My biggest concern was that the pieces would come together coherently in the end. When I read books and watch movies I enjoy twists and a nonlinear style. I have tried to write in this way. I want to keep my reader guessing. Of course, the challenge there is to makes sure it does flow and fit together at the end.

Tim Greaton: Which character in the story did you enjoy writing about the most, and was he/she based on a real person?

Kellianne Sweeney:  My favorite character is Meg Larkin. She is loud, boisterous, emotional and amusing. She says exactly what comes into her mind and acts straight from her heart. This is a blessing and a curse to her, but she is unable to act differently. Meg is not based on a real person. The only character in the story that is based on a person that I know is the little girl Anna Parker. Her personality is unabashedly stolen from my daughter. The character Violet Jessop is an actual figure in history.

Tim Greaton: You mentioned that there is a sequel coming?

Kellianne Sweeney:  Yes, there is definitely a sequel coming. I have already started writing it. At the end of “The One That Got Away” there are still questions that require more detailed answers. The sequel continues the story from a different person’s point of view.

Tim Greaton: Just for fun, if you could magically become a real character living inside a book that some author has written, who would it be and why?

Kellianne Sweeney:  I would love to be a character traipsing through the land of Prydian from Lloyd Alexander’s Young Adult series that begins with “The Book of Three” or participating in adventures in one of the worlds that L. Frank Baum created. Of course L. Frank Baum wrote the “Wizard of Oz” but he also wrote sequels about Oz as well as stories that take place in other worlds. I would love to go play in one of those magical places that you only find in an excellent imagination.

Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly purchase your books.

Kellianne Sweeney:  My novel “The One That Got Away” is available in all formats at most online bookstores including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

More information about my novel can be found on my website at

I also invite everyone to come visit my blog

Tim Greaton: It has been wonderful having you here in the forum today, Kellianne. I think all our readers would agree that your novel sounds fascinating and that we should all be rushing online to get more details right now.

Kellianne Sweeney: I really enjoyed being here, Tim. It’s always fun sharing with readers.