Category Archives: Visiting Authors

Welcome to Author Kay LaLone

Today, we welcome Kay LaLone on our blog. After a few very illuminating questions and answers, we will have an excerpt from Kay’s new Young Adult mystery, Family Secret.

First, Kay, tell us about yourself and your writing.

I’m Kay LaLone author of Ghostly Clues, my first MG novel. Family Secret is my first YA novel. Both published by MuseItUp. I live in Michigan with my husband and teenage son (two older sons and a daughter-in-law and my first grandbaby live nearby) and two dogs. I love to get up every morning and write about ghosts, the paranormal, and things that go bump in the night. I write PB, MG and YA novels. No matter the books I write, I want my readers to feel like they have met a new friend. I’m an avid reader of just about any type of book (mystery, paranormal, and ghost stories are my favorites). I do reviews and post them on my website and blog. I love to collect old books, antiques, and collectibles. You can find many of my antiques and collectibles selling on ebay and at fleamarkets.

Whenever we invite someone to our site, we always ask for a picture that will tell the reader what the author likes to do in his or her spare time. Kaye sent us a picture of her family. NICE!

family christmas 1 2014

Now, let’s move on to our questions!

Please share with us a memory of visiting the library or of reading, preferably as a young child.

I have a lot of memories of visiting the school library and taking books home. I would get so excited to see so many books on the shelves. It was always hard to decide which books to read. I wanted to read them all. I still have that problem.

Which book have you inherited from the generation above; that is, which book have you read and has stayed with you and made you reread it in whole or in part? What about the book created this attraction?

Now that I have a granddaughter, the books I love to read to her are Dr. Seuss books. Those books were one of my favorite books to bring home from the library for my mother to read to me. I have read them to my sons. Now I love to read them to my granddaughter.

Which book would you like to leave to future generations with the hope that they will read it? Why? (NOT one of the books you’ve written).

R. L. Stine’s Goosebump books. My son collected them when he was a kid and read every one of them. I still have the collection and plan on passing them down to my granddaughter when she gets old enough to read them. I think R. L. Stine has a way of scaring kids in a fun sort of way.

Take a photograph of one of your bookshelves. If a stranger were to enter your room and see it, what would it tell that person about you?

She loves to collect old mystery books like Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton.

Please tell us about your next book.

I have a lot of writing projects in the works. One of them is book 2 of Family Secret titled Family Legacy. Tom learns more about witchcraft and how to protect himself from demons. Rob and Sarah help Tom solve a mystery and kill more demons.

Are there any genres that you have never written in that you would like to try? Why or why not?

Not at the moment. I write the stories that my characters tell me to write.

Thank you, Kay, for those great answers.

Now we come to the excerpt, a deliciously scary piece of writing from Family Secret.

“Ow.” Tom yanked the chain and dragged the burning amulet from under his shirt. Even the chain was warm, but there was no way he was going to take the stupid thing off. He let it drop to his chest and rest warmly on the top of his shirt as he stared at the demon.

“It’s not your grandfather,” Tom whispered. Anger rolled around inside him because of what this thing did to Sarah.

The dark figure stepped out of the shadows causing the boys to take two steps back. The demon looked like a man dressed in thunderous storm-like clouds from head to toe. Even his face was black and the eyes a dimly puke-yellow that churned Tom’s stomach. He felt Rob’s heavy breathing just inches behind him, but it didn’t stop a chill from shimmering up his spine like fingernails on a chalkboard.

“I know who you are.” Tom tried to sound confident even though his voice shook with fear. He swallowed hard. “What do you want?”

The demon raised a shadowy arm and then his stormy cloud-like body started to swirl like a mini tornado. In a gust of black smoke, the demon shot up into the air and zipped right over Tom and Rob’s heads. The boys ducked and laid flat on the wet grass, afraid the demon would consume them.

Tom turned his head to see the black smoke head toward Mr. Watson’s house. Tom got to his feet while Rob remained on the ground. The black smoke swarmed over the house and then drifted back down. It slithered around the house like a snake looking for a place to sneak in, circling several times before seeping through the crack in the window and disappearing inside.

Rob scrambled to his feet. “That thing is inside my grandfather’s house.” His voice was high-pitched in fear. “My…” He glanced toward the empty driveway. Then he sighed. “Mom must still be at the hospital.”

Tom touched Rob’s arm to prevent him from doing something crazy. He didn’t want another one of his friends to get hurt by this thing.

“We need to do something, but I don’t know what.” Tom glanced over to the tents in Granddad’s backyard, hoping Matt or Granddad would come running to save the day. But there was no movement over there.

Inside the house, Jake growled and then started to bark wildly. Before Tom could stop him, Rob dashed upon the back porch and flung the backdoor open. Jake continued his wild barking as if protecting Rob and the house. If only the dog could save the day, but Tom feared nothing would save them.

A cracking noise caught Tom’s attention, and he turned his head toward what he assumed was Mr. Watson’s bedroom window. The glass appeared pitch black at first, and then a face appeared. The same puke-yellow eyes stared at Tom and gave him an evil grin.

And here is the cover.

Family Secret 200x300

MuseItUp

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/family-secret-detail

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014X7C59O?keywords=family%20secret&qid=1444857096&ref_=sr_1_5&sr=8-5

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/family-secret-kay-lalone/1122625739?ean=2940152212761

blog

www.kaylalone.blogspot.com

Website

www.kaylalone.weebly.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/ghostlyclues

Twitter

www.twitter.com/kaylalone

good reads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6580388.Kay_LaLone

Welcome Barbara Ehrentreu!

Today we welcome Barbara Ehrentreu to our blog. She looks very relaxed in her picture because it is not much of a trip for her to come to New York City from Stamford, Connecticut.  We’re guessing she took the train.

IMG_0459 (1)

Barbara grew up in Brooklyn (home of Bernie Sanders and a few other notables) and moved to Queens. She has lived and taught in Long Island, Buffalo, NY and Westchester, NY as well as a year in Los Angeles, CA. She has a Masters Degree in Reading and Writing K-12. Currently she is retired from teaching and living in Stamford, CT with her family. If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor won second prize in Preditors & Editors as Best Young Adult Book for 2011. (More about this book below). Her second book, After, considers what can happen to a teen when her father becomes ill with a heart attack. It is based on her own experiences when her husband had a heart attack and the aftermath of what she and her family experienced. She is preparing the sequel to If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. Barbara also writes poetry and several of her poems are published in the anthologies, World Poetry Open Mic, Prompted: An International Collection of Poetry, Beyond the Dark Room, Storm Cycle and Backlit Barbell. (Some of her poems are also included below). She has a blog, Barbara’s Meanderings, and she hosts a radio show on Blog Talk Radio, Red River Radio Tales from the Pages, once a month. She is a member of Pen Women Letters and SCBWI.

So, we can conclude that Barbara is a very busy woman! Let’s get to our questions!

Please share with us a memory of visiting the library or of reading, preferably as a young child.

We had a library about two blocks away from us on Eastern Parkway where I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. You had to cross a very big boulevard to get to it, but at a fairly early age, maybe nine or ten, I was allowed to go to the library myself. I would browse through the stacks when I was old enough to read anything and look for books that would catch my eye. I read mostly novels and sometimes I would find one that would engross me so much I would just sit and read in the stacks. I was in awe of these authors who could write so much. But at that age I was just a reader and never thought I might be joining them.

[Ed. We love the image of a little girl crossing Eastern Parkway, a very big street, with a pile of books in her arms. Talk about adventure!]

Which book have you inherited from the generation above; that is, which book have you read and has stayed with you and made you reread it in whole or in part? What about the book created this attraction?

I think the book that I have read and reread is Alice in Wonderland. When I was very sick one year with a whole array of illnesses and confined to bed for weeks, my parents bought me a copy of Alice in Wonderland and I consumed it and reread it until I needed to read the sequel Through the Looking Glass. I loved both books and may have conflated the two after all these years, but I do feel this book attracted me because of the absurd situations and the way Alice handled them. I also think the writing is brilliant and sometimes it applies to modern life very well. We can think of our present situation right now as a collection of Alice in Wonderland characters if you know what I mean.

[Ed. We can think of a Humpty-Dumpty character right off the top of our heads, and maybe a Cheshire Cat. Further affiant saith not!]

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? (NOT one of the books you’ve written).

I think I would like to leave more than one: 1984 and Brave New World. Each of these was written as a warning to its generation and a lot of what they predicted has come true. If every person read both of these books they would have an understanding of how little power an individual has in these kinds of situations. Plus the writing is excellent.

[Ed. Interesting that both books retain their message.]

What inspired you to write If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor? (By the way, we think that’s a great title.)

Thank you, I appreciate your telling me! I have told this story many times before, but in case anyone hasn’t learned about this I will tell you. I was going for my Masters degree at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. Manhattanville runs a Creative Writing Week every summer. They invite famous authors and writing professors to head up their workshops. The workshops run in the morning and then the afternoons are free for writing or other endeavors. The second year I participated a workshop with Paula Danziger was offered to learn children’s writing. I was lucky enough to be admitted into this workshop. To be admitted you had to write three pages of a children’s story. At the time my daughter was a senior in high school and acting out with signs of bulimia. At the same time she had issues about her body. So I created Carolyn Samuels, who felt bad about her body. She was being bullied by a girl, Jennifer Taylor, who was as perfect as a girl could be. Except she had a big problem and a big secret because of this problem. Carolyn hyperventilated when she was nervous and Jennifer was bullying because of it. I took the three pages into my workshop and when my turn came to have Paula Danziger on an individual basis she wrote Cut, Cut, Cut on almost every sentence. She said to me that it had a good idea and she was going to help me to get it where it should go. She wrote almost the entire first chapter again and aside from a few changes here and there and of course, rewriting it in my own voice, the chapter is as she wrote it. She showed me how to write small but effective sentences and when I was able to look at it again I decided to write an entire novel. Because of all of her help I dedicated this book to Paula.

[Ed. Barbara, we never get tired of hearing this story. Good for you and good for Paula Danziger.]

 Tell us about your latest project or projects. What was the inspiration for those projects?

I have finished the sequel to If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Who Is Jennifer Taylor? which focuses on Jennifer’s story and is told in her point of view. What makes her the girl she is? How does she cope with her life, which in this book is falling apart? I had not thought I needed a sequel until my line editor’s daughter, who had been given my book, asked him was there another book in this series. It was then that I realized I did have a series after all and so this set of books is being renamed: The Mill Valley High series. I am also in the middle of writing a third book, which will be about a boy who just moved to Mill Valley and became a big part of the second book, Danny Ryan. I am calling it Danny’s Story. I started it at NaNoWriMo and it still has a ways to go. I am waiting to submit Who Is Jennifer Taylor? until after I have gotten feedback from my beta readers.

Are there any genres that you have never written in that you would like to try? Why or why not?

Yes. Actually, I would love to try writing a mystery story or a sci fi story, but that would require my finding a reason to write one. You never know, because I have written a story that is definitely not YA. It is a mystery/adventure/love story, but it needs more research and I haven’t done it.

We understand that you are working on a poetry project. Are there things that you feel can be better said in a poem than in prose? Please explain.

Yes, I am working on a poetry book as a memorial to my late husband. It will be called Losing the Love of My Life. I have gathered many of the poems I have written these past two years and I am adding a few from when he was alive too. So far this is in the very early stages, but I am hoping to have it ready soon.

Actually, I do believe that there are some things that are better said in poetry than in prose. Since I write in both, I can say that emotions are better expressed in poetry and because of that I feel writing poetry can help your prose. Images are a big part of poetry and for me the words flow more easily when I am writing poetry. I have learned that people really like my poetry and I have become part of a poetry community. Poetry digs deep into the core of a person and it’s like putting your soul on the paper or the screen.

Let’s show some poems right now.

Aura of Possibilities

The flower buds rise in front of me

from long thin green fronds

poised to open

about to burst forth with yellow

flowers seen poking from

a precocious one in the crowd

I stand to check it out

moving closer to see it

I have been sipping

my iced vanilla nonfat latte

in the time between appointments

on a bench near Starbucks

alone and alone in my heart

 

My thoughts ramble in the soft

breeze as I ponder living without you

A separation so painful it is

as if a limb were severed

The bleeding has stopped and

a scar formed over the cut

Yet I imagine you here

sitting beside me on the bench

probably doing the crossword

from the NY Times

on the page you tore

 

and folded to carry with you

or on your phone as you later did

my imaginary limb there once more

making the world full for me

like the time you were still here

when I felt complete and not

as if I were dangling in the air

 

But wait the garden speaks to me

“You are a bud waiting to open

and though some of mine have

withered and dried the strong live on”

and I knew I was in

the aura of possibilities.

copyright 2015 by Barbara Ehrentreu

 

Your Words

 

Feed me your words

for they expand and

fill the cracks so

empty and yearning

for the lilting phrases

gliding gracefully over

the page and lifting

my spirit as I view

the luscious images

you portray in your

tender and truthful

way

and my heart sings

with the joy of finding

such beauty in

phrases dripping

with desire and pain

love and sweet ecstasy

of learning, questioning,

wondering and prayer

And they rush in like

a torrential overflowing river

dislodging the mundane

and the unquestioned and

rest in a precious place

refreshing my soul

creating peace.

copyright 2015 by Barbara Ehrentreu

 

Poem for Karen King’s Poetry Contest based on a photo of a white bird maybe an egret

White Bird in the Water

Curved white neck graceful

as the sweep of a woman’s hair

standing straight as a statue

long black pointed beak protruding

 

It guards the space around it

searching, always searching

though still as a stone

feet planted in the loose sand

 

Poised to strike it holds its stance

a study in paused action

its eyes able only to see to the side

unaware of the vista in front of it

 

Aqua waves wash over its caged feet

yet it can rise in a second to grab

the escaping prey found finally

erupting with a splash as it goes

 

What could this white beauty

be thinking if it does think?

Or is it only trained on the prize

waiting beneath the surface of the water?

 

Would I had the patience of this

magnificent bird to wait for the prize

to come to me and not race around

like a gobbling turkey or a scurrying mouse

 

In our attempt to find our prizes

could we not take our cue from this

patient bird who takes a stance

and does not budge until the prize is in sight.

copyright 2016 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Here are excerpts from both of Barbara’s books:

ICBLJT Cover

If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor:

I spot him walking toward my locker with a small box in one hand and a plastic fork in the other. My Crush! He hands me the box, and I open it. Inside is a piece of luscious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I look up into his blue eyes and give him the box so I can touch his cheek as I smooth his dark hair. “You always know just what I like.” He smiles and feeds me a forkful of cake. I don’t have to worry about eating it because I can eat anything I want and not gain weight. He places the cake box in my locker so he can put his arms around me. The first bell rings in my ears. I ignore it because I’m thin and blonde and floating in the arms of my dark- haired crush. The other cheerleaders run up to us laughing and kidding around, and I’m about to speak. The ringing gets louder.

The dream evaporates, and I realize it’s the darn alarm piercing my sleep. Slamming my fist onto the snooze button, I get this nagging feeling. Then I remember. I have something to do. Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.

I see my new book bag is packed and ready by the door with the initials C. S. in blue, my favorite color. Suddenly it hits me, and I get this dizzy let-me-plop-on-the-pillow feeling. Freshman year of high school—first day. My brain is ready, but my body isn’t. Jennifer will be there. Math class and Jennifer; gym class with Jennifer. My body curls into a fetal position, and I throw the covers over my head. Don’t faint Carolyn, I tell myself, panting.

AFTER333X555

After:

The phone rang as the ball left the pitcher’s glove and I glanced toward the sound. Mom’s tears made me forget all about the game. My life changed while the TV blurred and turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope. That moment has been indelibly pressed into my thoughts.

My sister, Diane, was upstairs hunched over her computer as usual. She’s not a baseball fan at all. But I lived and breathed for the Mets that fall. They had such a great chance of getting the pennant and maybe even winning the World Series. I obsessed about the Mets, and of course, Joey.

Joey, my best friend from kindergarten, was always there for me. It’s hard to imagine a recess without him by my side. He’s bigger than I am and always looked a little older than he was. Mom liked Joey because he reassured her he would obey her rules. Maybe it was his easy smile or his clear, gray eyes.

Lately, though, Joey and I haven’t been so close. It happened during the summer when he was a counselor at this camp and he hooked up with this girl, Amber, who goes to our school. So now he spends a lot of his time with her and we barely see each other. We used to watch the Mets together all the time, too. So I missed him being there with me, and his comments about the players. But all that was before the phone call. Pre-phone call my deepest thoughts centered on the Mets and finding the sweet spot for the ball in my new baseball glove. Pre-phone call, my world was worrying about homework getting done and wondering what lunch would be like on Monday. Oh, and of course, thinking about how to beat the next team we were up against in softball. I’m a starting pitcher this year and I want to show my coach she can believe in me. I’m only a sophomore, but I hope

someday to play college softball. I need to get a scholarship in order to go. My parents have already told me they can’t swing it without one.

After the phone call my life was a ball of twisted emotions and all I could think about was Dad, and how Mom, Diane, and I would get through this night.

And here are the buy links.

After:

MuseItUp Publishing:    http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/after-detail

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/After-Barbara-Ehrentreu-ebook/dp/B00NDYDC3C/ref=la_B00J0URGVM_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418409175&sr=1-2

For Nook on Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/after-barbara-ehrentreu/1120349821?ean=2940046242980

If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor: (print and ebook)

MuseItUp Publishing: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museityoung/if-i-could-be-like-jennifer-taylor-detail

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/If-Could-Like-Jennifer-Taylor-ebook/dp/B005NWRLL6/ref=la_B00J0URGVM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418409175&sr=1-1

For Nook on Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/If-I-Could-Be-Like-Jennifer-Taylor%2FBarbara-Ehrentreu/1105870667?csrfToken=7tl0EbMuS9kryS71CGU8jWQqfAkqgZfa&sort=3#reviews

And here are all of Barbara’s links to find out more about her.

Blog: Barbara’s Meanderings: http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraEhrentreu

Twitter: https://twitter.com/barbehr

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4797564.Barbara_Ehrentreu

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top

Thank you for being on our blog. It was great having you!

Welcome to Matthew Peters

Today we are very pleased to have author Matthew Peters here for an interview.  We’ve been having a bit of very unsettling weather and there was heavy fog last night so it is something of a miracle that Matt is able to be with us today! 🙂

Matt lives in North Carolina but lived for a time in New York and attended Vassar College which is just up the Hudson River in a place with the wonderful name of Poughkeepsie, which means, I understand, “the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place”.  There was a stream that entered the Hudson here and the Indians used it as a meeting place.

For a change, we would like to start with an excerpt from Matt’s latest novel, The Brothers’ Keepers, which is excellent:

The bus moved up Viadotto and turned right onto Rene. Smells of fried food and burning incense wafted through the open windows of the bus. A left turn brought them to Emilia, past white stone buildings, statues, and street vendors, past the fountains toward the heart of Pisa. The further north they went, the closer they came to the Arno, where a vast migration of darkly-clad figures moved in the opposite direction, southeast toward Rome. It was a black exodus of grief, one of almost unreal proportions; swarms of people with lowered heads and bent postures, heading desperately, slowly, inexorably toward a common ill-fated destination. The dark edges of the black clothes stood out in stark contrast to the gray day that blurred the corners of buildings and churches. Rain fell, blended with human tears, and smudged the scene like a charcoal sketch. Open, dark umbrellas resembled the conical piles of volcanic ash upon which the country was built. On that gray morning Pisa wore a death-mask.

Now, we are ready to begin!

Matt Pic

Please share with us a memory of visiting the library or of reading, preferably as a young child.

I did visit the library when I was a child, but no particular memory stands out. I was the only person in my household who read for pleasure. I do remember escaping into my own world through books and reading in an effort to shut out the chaotic environment surrounding me.

 

Which book have you inherited from the generation above; that is, which book have you read and has stayed with you and made you reread it in whole or in part? What about the book created this attraction?

The book I inherited is not exactly from my generation, but it is from my childhood. That would be LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The attraction to me was the strength of the family depicted in the book. They stuck together through the worst of times and the gravest of challenges. Despite incredible odds, they survived and grew closer in the process. I think I saw in Laura’s family the characteristics I wish I had seen in my own. In addition, the illustrations by Garth Williams are just enchanting.

(Anne and I got to read these books through our children, who loved them as well.)

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? (NOT one of the books you’ve written).

The book I would like to leave for future generations is THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. In this novel, Dostoevsky says so much about life, that he renders superfluous many novels that came after.

Dostoevsky(He is  indeed a tough act to follow.  I think Brothers Karamazov is also many novels in one.)

Take a photograph of one of your bookshelves. If a stranger were to enter your room and see it, what would it tell that person about you?

Book shelf

I think the picture tells the stranger (no pun intended) that I love Camus, and that in addition to novels, I am a huge fan of playwrights, especially Henrik Ibsen. A bookshelf down one would find YA, contemporary romance, and philosophy (mostly Nietzsche), to demonstrate the eclecticism of my reading taste.

Albrt Camus(If you haven’t noticed already, Matt is a deep thinker, and this thought is reflected in his writing.)

 

You have written a thriller, The Brothers’ Keepers, and a mainstream novel, Conversations Among Ruins. Did you prefer writing one or the other? Why?

I liked both of them for very different reasons. THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS allowed me to exercise my love for research, history, and politics.

CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS allowed me to use a different set of writing skills, and to fulfill my love for literary fiction. Most importantly, it gave me the chance to explore the issue of dual diagnosis. Daniel Stavros, the protagonist, is dual diagnosed, meaning he has a mood disorder and chemical dependency.

I’d like to continue writing both genre fiction and literary fiction.

(We hope he does write both!)

This is the buy link for THE BROTHERS KEEPERS : http://amzn.to/1BTP8cE

This is the buy link for CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS on Amazon, available both in paperback and Kindle: http://amzn.to/1GbhBrX

You can find Matt on social media at these addresses.

Website/Blog: www.matthewpetersbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewPeters65

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Matthew-Peters-Author/1434941676798108

 

And as an added treat, this is an excerpt from CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS:

She continues to sing and it’s all so surreal—the Christmas song in June, love-making’s passion followed by sudden coldness, the undulating movement of hips and breasts as this mercurial woman dances in the warm summer night. The balcony doors are still open and she has her back to the water. At the end of the song she stretches out her arms and tilts her head to the side. In that moment, silhouetted against the dark night, she looks crucified. Humming softly now, she dances barefoot toward the balcony. She glides past the table, picks up the open bottle, beckons with a crooked finger. Through the open doors he watches her pour ruby liquid into glasses.
He goes out and stands beside her. When she leans over the railing, he reverently places his hand on her tattoo—almost an exact replica of the pendant his mother gave him right before she died. 
“Still want to go?” he asks.
She reaches behind her and rests her hand on the back of his neck. “Yeah, but not from here. Not yet anyway.”
He turns her around and dances her slowly back to bed.

(Beautiful!)

Thanks for being her, Matt!

Helena Fairfax Visits from Yorkshire, England

Today we are welcoming the English Romance Novelist Helena Fairfax to our blog.  She has a web site and blog where she posts consistently wonderful items about her life, her writing and her fellow authors. http://helenafairfax.com/

Helena is visiting from a town called Saltaire in Yorkshire, which is a UNESCO preserved mill town just steps away from the moors.  And if the word ‘moors’ does not evoke enough mystery and wonder for you, here is a picture from Helena’s website that will make you want to pull on the hiking shoes and get out there.the-moors-004Yorkshire is a place that I have long wanted to visit and explore.  One of my ancestors — Thomas Tindal — came from Yorkshire with his young family at the end of the 17th Century.  That is one reason Anne and I used that last name for our protagonists, Jenny and James, in our ‘tween novel, Things Are Not What They Seem.

But enough shameless self-promotion…

We now welcome Helena, and ask her to take a seat in our living room since it is still a bit too cold in New York City to sit on our terrace.  We have macaroons today because we are in the middle of Passover, and they are especially good this year  And Anne has a selection of teas for Helena to choose from!

  1. Please share with us a memory of visiting the library or of reading, preferably as a young child.

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, by Rumer Godden, is the first book I ever read that really gave me a sense of what the best books are all about – a mirror of our own lives and experiences, and also a way to see the world with fresh eyes.

To put you in the picture: I was born in Uganda, and didn’t arrive to live in England until I was six. Until then I’d never been to school. When I got here, I hated it. I couldn’t understand what the other children were saying to me with their accents; the skies were grey; I was cold, miserable and homesick.

Then I read Rumer Godden’s story and – amazing! Here was a little girl, just arrived in England from India, who felt exactly as I did. I was bowled over by it. After that, I was hooked on reading. (And I still have my battered copy!)

Miss+Happiness+and+Miss+Flower

 (What a nice story within a story!  And such an inviting cover.)

  1. Which book have you inherited from the generation above; that is, which book have you read and has stayed with you and made you reread it in whole or in part? What about the book created this attraction?

One of the best presents I ever received was a complete set of Jane Austen, given to me by my mum on my fifteenth birthday. I’ve read and re-read these novels, and never get tired of them. I love Austen’s piercing insight into what makes people tick, her dialogue is witty, and what she has to say about how people interact is as relevant today as it was all those years ago.

  1. Which book written in your lifetime would you like to leave to future generations? Why? (NOT one of the books you’ve written).

A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth. This is a really long book – I think one of the longest ever published in one volume – but if you haven’t read it, don’t let that put you off. I love it because, like Jane Austen, it’s a book about people. I love the style of writing, which is deceptively plain and easy to read, and I love the fact that basically it’s a beautiful, heart-warming book.

(Another book for our TBR pile.  Thanks!)

  1. Take a photograph of one of your bookshelves. If a stranger were to enter your room and see it, what would it tell that person about you.

I don’t think it would give them much insight, apart from to tell them I love books! I have hundreds on my shelves, I like to keep them in alphabetical order, and my books on writing would give them a clue that I’m a writer 🙂

(Funny that you have given us a clear image through words when we asked for a photograph.  Who needs pictures when we have words!)

  1. You have written three contemporary romances so far. Do you think you will ever try out a different genre? If so which one and please explain why. If not, also please explain why.

I’ve just finished writing my fourth contemporary romance. I love this genre, probably for the same reasons I love the novels of Jane Austen and Vikram Seth. Romances are novels about people, about how we as humans relate to one another, and they are novels that take an optimistic view of mankind.

I’m also in the middle of writing a YA “time slip” novel which features a fifteen-year-old present-day heroine and a young Roman soldier. I like the possibilities the time travel element opens up. I’m also interested in exploring what it is to be a teenager, and how teenagers view themselves and the world around them.

  1. If you could make a wish and be magically transported to anywhere in the world tomorrow i.e., cost and comfort is not an issue (and assuming the magic would keep you safe in this place), where would you go and why?

I’d go to New Zealand. First of all, my daughter lives there, and I’d love to see her! Secondly, the landscape and the wildlife are wonderful. I’d love to experience being at the bottom of the southern hemisphere, and if I could also take in a trip whale-watching in Antarctica that would be superb!

(Great trip!  But this is why we built “magically transported” into the question.  The thought of a plane ride there is daunting.)

  1. Attach a photo  (preferably one that we have not seen before!)

helena+fairfax

A Way from Heart to Heart is available in print and e-format

A+Way+from+Heart+to+Heart-1

Amazon: http://authl.it/B00PQRJ0WQ

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-way-from-heart-to-heart-helena-fairfax/1121193110

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-way-from-heart-to-heart/id965774616

and from other online retailers.

You can find out more about Helena’s books on her website www.helenafairfax.com, on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HelenaFairfax , Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7082986.Helena_Fairfax and on Twitter https://twitter.com/HelenaFairfax

 Blurb from your latest book (or another if you prefer).

My latest release,  A Way from Heart to Heart, is published by Accent Press, and is set in London and on the Yorkshire moors near where I live.

Here is the blurb:

A novel about friendship, loss, and the human heart’s enduring capacity for love…

After the death of her husband in Afghanistan, Kate Hemingway’s world collapses around her. Her free time is spent with a charity for teenage girls, helping them mend their broken lives – which is ironic, since her own life is fractured beyond repair.

Reserved, upper-class journalist Paul Farrell is everything Kate and her teenage charges aren’t. But when Paul agrees to help Kate with her charity, he makes a stunning revelation that changes everything, and leaves Kate torn.

Can she risk her son’s happiness as well as her own?

 Thanks for visiting, Helena!  And if anyone would like to see our Five Star Review of A Way From Heart to Heart, you can find it on our website reviews page, on Amazon and on Goodreads.