Category Archives: Interviews

Acknowledge Fear And Indecision

JP Mac Author Interview

How to Run a Marathon in 13 Years details the variety of obstacles you faced while fighting to regain the ability to run a marathon again. Why was this an important book for you to write?

At first, I thought it would be a fun book about running. But as I went back over the years, I saw my life had been collapsing financially, physically, emotionally; pretty much in all areas.

Running became the scaffolding upon which I hung my reactions to the challenges that arose. Hopefully, readers will glean a few good lessons.

I appreciated how candid you were in your book. What was the hardest moment in your life to write about?

The deaths of family and friends. Recalling their passing triggered varied memories and emotions, often reminding me of times when I was petty or mean.

I can’t repair the past, only strive to be less self-centered in future.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is struggling to find motivation?

Acknowledge fear and indecision, then think of one tiny action you might do right that moment that will guide you toward your goal. Small things, little deeds got me in motion.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?

We never lose the choice of how to respond to the cruelty of time and the unfairness of life. And maybe a couple of laughs.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

“. . . a real, raw, beautiful journey . . . . “

— Coach Kate Martini Freeman, ultramarathoner, Ironman finisher, co-founder of Coyote Runners Training Group
Injured while training for a marathon, distance runner JP Mac learns his knee is wrecked. He’s finished for good. Or is he? Discovering a revolutionary new method of running, Mac attempts to reinvent his form. But over time, fate unleashes a series of cruel challenges.
Knee surgery is followed by shoulder surgery. Mac is diagnosed with cancer. A new form of cancer strikes next. Massive weight gain balloons him above 270 pounds. Mac plunges into a Marianas Trench of depression. He battles self-destructive urges. But the hope of running another marathon will not fade nor “go gentle into that good night.”
Part training log, part diary, this award-winning, non-fiction memoir relates Mac’s incredible journey from washed-up marathoner to reborn runner. If you’ve ever been injured in a sport, this astonishing story is for you. If you’ve ever watched a dream slip away, this breath-taking tale is for you. Learn the amazing power of perseverance and mental toughness. Buy this book and discover the wonders that await when you allow your reach to exceed your grasp.

Not a Solution For Crime

Joe Clark Author Interview

Demented follows a woman who’s trying to live a normal life after being assaulted, but finds that one of the attackers is her coworker which sets in motion a series of events that spiral out of control. What inspired the setup to this crime novel?

I felt a need to address what I see as misconceptions about the value of sending people to prison and a novel is the best way I know to do that. Demented allowed me to dramatize the difference between justice for the less wealthy (Troy) and the very wealthy (Adan and Beau). I was able to talk about the fact that simply sending people to prison is not a solution for crime. I was able to raise the issue of treatment of those who have completed their sentences and sincerely want a second chance to be good citizens.

What scene in the book was the most emotionally impactful for you to write?

There are many scenes that I consider powerful and it is hard to pick one that tops all the rest. But the scene where Cindy comes to Troy’s apartment to confront him. They struggle to work past their issues but don’t quite make it.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

First was resolving Troy’s post prison life. Does he build a new future of does obsess over revenge? And why? Depicting Cindy as events unfold. She doesn’t come off as a sympathetic character. She is resilient, proud and strong. She stumbles and she doesn’t get everything right but she never stops fighting. I think she does as well as any of us would in her circumstances. Talking about prison and the justice system without being preachy. Bringing down Adan Jackson without resorting to cheap tricks.

Do you have plans to write more stories featuring Private Investigator Nickey Arnold?

I am excited about Nickey. I have a story in mind and I have done some research but it’s in line behind my current project – a Civil War Saga based on my Great Grandfather’s years in the Union army.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

It had been a gang rape. As bad as that was, it was not the turning point. Her life turned around when Cindy Smith put it behind her and started over. She got her degree and a good job. She married a great guy. Then she discovered that one of the rapists was a coworker.
When Adan Jackson begins harassing her, Cindy tries to protect her secret past by ignoring him. When he escalates, she turns to Private Investigator Nickey Arnold for help.
The PI quickly finds herself caught up in unfinished business from the past. When she confronts Adan, things spin out of control. Troy Mondale, who served time for the rape, is dragged back into the mess. Adan descends into madness. His increasingly violent behavior forces Police Sergeant Jack Edwards to step in and put an end to the nightmare.
Demented is a story of crime, punishment and getting away with it. The insanity of our legal system is exposed. The sanity of our society is brought into question by this unforgettable tale.

A Complex Multi-systemic Disorder

Christie Cox Author Interview

Holding It All Together When You’re Hypermobile explores the physical effects of hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome, its emotional impacts, and provides readers with a prescription for healing. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I struggled for 17 years to find the correct diagnosis for unrecognizable chronic health conditions. I wrote the book so other patients wouldn’t have to do the same. To be able to find answers without dismissive providers discounting their physical and emotional pain was the driving force.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about EDS?

Most people have never heard of EDS unless you know someone impacted. It used to once be thought of as rare. But scientists at MUSC working on it now say it affects 1 in every 500 people so it’s not rare, but rarely diagnosed. Getting the right diagnosis for a complex multi-systemic disorder is challenging in our US healthcare system of siloed practioners. No one is looking at you hostistically. Medical schools aren’t teaching about connective tissue disorders or mention it in one paragraph of a lesson. Patients often have to crowdsource their care to connect the dots. In fact, some medical providers do not yet believe hypermobility is a real diagnosis and write patients off as it being in their head. The misconception is we are just double-jointed and flexible on the outside but what people don’t realize is all of the elasticity is going on in every level within our bodies affecting veins, muscles, joints, and organ systems simultaneously. That often is a very painful and debilitating process.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Self-advocacy and empowerment are vital to waging any war on disease. Yet slowing down to take care of yourself fully is also important. The two are not always aligned with each other. We often face cycles of boom and bust where we overdo it on a good day – only to need recovery time from any sort of exertion. EDS is an invisible illness. We might look normal and even seem capable on one day or week, then quietly fall apart. It is a difficult rollercoaster ride not on physically but emotionally. I wanted to offer inspiration and hope to others along with practical suggestions on exactly how to cope with those challenges.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I hope to write more on the autonomic nervous system within the human body and how we can utilize practical tools for calming down the chaos of chronic illness from within. “Dis-ease” is a state we should not get comfortable living in and is too commonly found today. I also hope to create more materials to support other patients better advocate for themselves withing the constraints of our existing medical system for better outcomes.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

How to Deal and Heal for those with Rare Chronic Illness like EDS
Tired of being told there’s no name or treatment for your illness? That it’s all in your head or that your pain can’t be real because you’re too young/old/pretty/bright/healthy/normal to have a chronic disorder? Have you been dismissed by doctors or disbelieved by loved ones? What if instead, there was someone who knew what you were going through and could teach you strategies for coping with chronic illness?
This is not a false hope. You can turn pain into possibility with this life-changing book that can help everyone with elusive hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) – from those newly diagnosed to those who have suffered in silence for decades. Wherever you are on your journey navigating the complexities of chronic illness, you’re not alone.
In Holding It All Together When You’re Hypermobile, Christie Cox explores not only the physical effects of hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome (a connective tissue disorder) but its emotional impact as well. As a fellow patient and medical rarity, known to doctors as zebras, she’s experienced her body’s betrayal and suffered through the myriad complications stemming from this disease. But she’s also found a way out from the depths of this life-altering disorder with wisdom you can turn into hope.
As a self-advocacy guide, she offers practical, no-nonsense advice about living with chronic illness and the concrete steps you can take to achieve a new normal. In her book, you’ll discover…A healing prescription for the miracle of the modern mindset
A look at the latest scientific research on the edge of answers
Q&A interviews with expert doctors and advocacy groups
Guidance for how to help loved ones better understand hEDS
Christie’s own inspiring story of how she came to live her best life
Lessons, questions and quotes to inspire your search for answers
Holding It All Together When You’re Hypermobile gives you the tools and resources you need to get back to living the life you want. Reading it will not only boost your confidence but empower you to change your life for the better.

The book was a “joint effort” of patients, providers, and advocates coming together to help an underserved community. Participants who were interviewed and shared in the book include:

EDS Medical SpecialistsDr. Sunil Patel, Neurosurgeon, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
Dr. Chip Norris, The Norris Lab researching hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), MUSC
Dr. Cortney Gensemer, Norris Lab (has hEDS)
Dr. Amanda Miller, Progress Physical Therapy (speciality in hypermobility)
Dr. Eric Singman, Professor of Ophthalmology, Neuro-ophthalmologist, University of Maryland Medical School and Former Chief of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins
Industry Leading AdvocatesLauren Stiles, President and Co-Founder, Dysautonomia International
Lara Bloom, President, The Ehlers Danlos Society
Dorothy Poppe, President, Bobby Jones Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation
Gwenn Herman, Clinical Director, US Pain Foundation
Trisha Torrey, Founder, The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates
Camille Schrier, Miss America 2020 (who has EDS)
Ben Glass, Long-term disability lawyer, Ben Glass Law
To learn more about Christie’s book, visit http://www.holdingitalltogether.com.
If you want to learn more about Christie’s advocacy work, visit http://www.journey2joyous.com

What This Illness Truly Is

Scott Ellis Author Interview

Chasing Numbers details your battle with Anorexia Nervosa and your path toward recovery. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It was important for me to write the book because there are not a lot of stories out there of those who have battled this illness, less so from a male perspective. There are also a lot of misconceptions about eating disorders. Many studies have shown that 40% of the population still do not believe eating disorders are a serious mental illness when in fact they have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. The book has also been so helpful for parents navigating the illness with their child. It is so hard to understand the illness unless you have gone through it. I wanted others to have the most raw and honest picture of what this illness truly is. I have also been donating 100% of the proceeds from Chasing Numbers to those seeking treatment with an eating disorder in Canada. This made it even more important that I really put everything I had into the book.

I appreciated how candid you were in your book. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The hardest part of writing the book was telling the story in a way where blame wouldn’t be placed on my parents. My parents did so much for me throughout my recovery and I knew it was hard on them. It was actually the reason I talked less about them in the book than I otherwise would have. It is so hard to see the illness in someone. It was even harder since I was so good at hiding it while I was around them. Parents often feel responsible for bad things that happen to their child so I was doing everything I could do to avoid them thinking that any of this was because of their actions or something they didn’t do.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

One of the biggest ideas that I wanted this book to give to the reader that eating disorders are widespread and can impact anyone. When people think of eating disorders, they often think of a white college girl who is starving themselves. I wanted people to know that this is not the case and there are many diverse people that also suffer. Secondly, while presenting a story that showed how horrible Anorexia Nervosa can be, I also wanted to present a hopeful ending that shows others the illness can be beaten.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about anorexia?

A common misconception is that only females get Anorexia Nervosa. While it is much more common in females, a person of any gender can be diagnosed. 

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook

In Chasing Numbers, Ellis walks you through the journey of his battle with Anorexia Nervosa. From the early habits and thoughts that kickstarted his eating disorder to the most intense stages of the illness and his eventual recovery, Ellis shares his story in its most raw and honest form. Despite millions of Canadians suffering from eating disorders, they are not widely talked about or understood. Through his book, Ellis hopes to show you that no matter how impossible recovery may seem, it can be done. He did it and you can too.

All proceeds from Chasing Numbers will be donated to Eating Disorders Nova Scotia in order to help fund programs that support individuals who are suffering from eating disorders.

That Bushytail Is Fated For Greatness

Ruby Knight Author Interview

High Clowder Cats follows a feral tom cat who sets off to find his own territory and start a colony of his own. However, fate has different plans for him. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I guess everyone is really motivated by a sense of wanting to belong and is somewhere on the journey of figuring out how they fit in. Bushytail is no different. The question is, how much of the opportunities one is presented with on our journey through life are due to fate and how much are because of our actions and the consequences of those actions? Bristle does determine that Bushytail is fated for greatness and leads him toward that but on the way Bushytail also has choices to make – the path Bristle laid out for Bushytail isn’t easy and he could have given up – but thank goodness for the readers, he doesn’t.

Bushytail starts out wanting a simple and quite life; what he gets is something much different and harder to adapt to. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

There is a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings that has always stuck with me: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Bushytail’s choice is much like that. He did not choose to be the hero of the story, but when he had the choice to try and help others or walk away, he decided to stand up for what was right.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The most important theme is that everyone is a leader and everyone needs to lead by example and be a good citizen. It is easy to feel that you can’t make a difference in the world when faced with enormous issues like global warming but it is up to each of us as individuals to make a difference. In the end, there is no other way to solve the world’s problems except by working together to make the world a better place. The hard problems are a bit easier to discuss through the eyes of cats – it seems to make them a bit more accessible.

What is the next book in the Clowder Cats series about, and when will it be available?

I don’t want to give away any spoilers from book one, but if you have read book one there is a “coming soon” section at the back with some insight into what happens in Book Two: Dark Clowder. The title is a bit of a giveaway! Book 2 is nearly ready for editing at the minute. I will let you know when it will be released on my website http://www.clowdercats.net

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Life is not easy for a feral cat at the best of times, but the difficulties Bushytail faces on his journey to search for a home are far from ordinary.
Bushytail wants to find his own territory, but the journey is dangerous. He has to avoid the humans and their noisy machines as well as being on alert for other toms that may want to challenge him. He is used to relying on his wits to survive: he is a cat and a cat walks alone…
…but this time Bushytail realises he is going to need help.
Bushytail joins up with a band of clowderless young toms, where he meets the enigmatic Bristle whom Bushytail reluctantly allows to guide him. Will Bushytail ever master the three rules and the mysterious powers Bristle is trying to teach him?
He needs to—the future of catkind depends on him.

The Devastation of War

Andrew Tweeddale Author Interview

Of All Faiths & None is a coming-of-age tale focusing on the relationships of the characters and how they fall victim to the tragedy of a needless war. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I marched against the Iraq war and wanted to write a novel that showed the needlessness and brutality of war. The following year I visited Castle Drogo on Dartmoor. There is a room in the castle that is a shrine to the memory of Adrian Drewe, the eldest son of the tea baron who commissioned the castle in 1910. It seemed to me to be the perfect setting to tell a story about war. I wanted to introduce the reader to characters they would grow to like and then have each of these characters deal with the effects that war has on people’s lives. I therefore created a fictional story set around Castle Drogo that led up to the final tragedy of a lost generation.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you. I did not want to create stereotypes but rather rounded characters with flaws. I wanted to take ideals such as faith, duty, conscience and honour and see what would happen to characters when faced with the devastation of war. In many cases the ideals that the characters believed in are questioned or lost by the effects of the war on their lives.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The necessity of war and its consequences on those caught up by it. However, I also wanted to look at what drove people to enlist and how people dealt with tragedy.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The book I am currently writing looks at the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya and considers whether it is ever right to use torture and oppression to stop an enemy who uses the bloodiest tactics imaginable. It has a working title of ‘The Nuremberg Paradigm’ and should be completed within the next two years

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In the autumn of 1910 the famous architect, Edwin Lutyens, receives a letter from Sir Julius Drewe for the commission of a castle on Dartmoor – Castle Drogo. The design for the castle focusses on both the past and the present and reflects Britain, which at that moment is in a state of flux. Lutyens’ daughter, Celia, becomes enamoured with the project dreaming of chivalry and heroism. The following year Lutyens and his family are invited to a stone laying ceremony at Castle Drogo. Celia meets Sir Julius’ children: Adrian, Christian and Basil. Adrian has an unbending sense of duty and honour and is seen as a hero by Celia when he rescues a farmer from a fire.

The novel moves to 1914, and the start of the Great War. Christian Drewe returns from Austria where he has been working as an artist. He has reservations about joining up, unconvinced that the war was either necessary or right. He meets a nurse, Rose Braithwaite, when he is stuck at a railway station by fog. They subsequently meet again when Rose invites Christian to a party she is having for her birthday. Despite them being of different classes, there is a mutual attraction and during the evening they kiss. However, Rose is engaged and a fight breaks out between Rose’s fiancé, who arrives much later, and Christian. Both Rose and Christian decide never to see each other again. Christian’s moral conflict about enlisting comes to a head when he is handed a white feather – the sign of a coward. Eighteen months later, during the war, Christian is injured and is treated by Rose at a hospital on the front line. Both realise their mistake of following their heads rather than their hearts. Christian is sent back to a rehabilitation hospital in England where Celia is now working.

Adrian, when on leave, visits Christian and again meets Celia. The relationship is now one of equals. Celia, a headstrong young woman, decides that she must try and develop the relationship or risk losing Adrian. Adrian is torn between his desire for Celia and his need to protect his family, who are now having financial problems. The story moves from the battlefields of Flanders to Castle Drogo, where the characters are reunited for brief periods. Faith and love are stretched to their limits as each character is affected by the relentless brutality of the war. Of All Faiths & None is the story of a lost generation. It is a novel that focuses on the relationships of the characters until those relationships are shattered. It is a coming-of-age tale and a social commentary on the tragedy of a needless war.

What Happened to the Ark

Louis McCall Author Interview

He Chose the Glory details the conditions and storylines surrounding the building of the Ark and how many people were eager to look inside it or treat it as a trophy, only to receive retribution. Why was this an important book for you to write?

This book was important for me to write because most people are ill informed concerning the Ark. In addition, no one knows what happened to the Ark. My book covers that and explains why it disappeared from history without a trace.

Your book is very detailed. What kind of research did you undertake to write this book?

I traveled to Israel and to the place in Judea where the Ark was said to have been in the house of Obed-Edom. I also explored old Jerusalem, within whose walls, in the City of David zone, King David set up the Ark in a new system of worship.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about the Ark of the Covenant?

The misconception people have about the Ark is that it was some kind of talisman as in the fictional movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. King Saul tried to use it that way as a magic charm to defeat his enemies, but that didn’t work and he was killed in battle by suicide and the Ark taken by his Philistine enemies.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

That God honors those that honor Him. This was demonstrated by Obed-Edom, his clan, and descendants who honored God and God, in turn honored them. It is an apt pattern for our lives. The more intriguing take away is that Jesus was the better Ark, but the old Ark had to be taken away so that people didn’t continue to look to it. It simply foreshadowed the Messiah, that is Jesus, who was to come.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

History and Prophecies of the Ark!
What was the purpose of the golden Ark of the Covenant? The Ark was one of the most important religious objects in antiquity. Have you ever wondered what became of the Ark? Was it always honored? How did it become a trophy of war in the hands of the enemies of God?
– Could the decision of one man, Obed-Edom, to forsake all for the glory of God change his destiny and the destiny of his family and kin for generations?
– See what God does for the person who honors Him.
– Observe how blessings flow down to the generations of those that honor the Lord.
– What did King David learn from Obed-Edom that changed how worship was done around the Ark?
– Learn the story behind the transition from honoring an object designed by God, the Ark of the Covenant, to the Son of God who was to come down from heaven to establish the new covenant not in animal sacrifices but in His own blood.
– See how the prophets pointed to the new thing God was going to do that would be even better than the Ark of the Covenant and the Temple, which foreshadowed the new thing.
He Chose the Glory is rich in detail and puts into context a tumultuous period leading to the transition to God’s new and better thing. It is concise enough to be read in one sitting.

The Few Cowgirls Around

T. P. Graf Author Interview

A Cowgirl’s Stories is a companion book to the trilogy featuring Jaime Cruz, but here we get to focus on Sallie’s character. Why did you feel like Sallie needed a book of her own to tell her story?

Sallie was introduced very slowly in the trilogy and while as the story progressed, we learned how influential she was to her family, we never had the chance to really hear her story and the stories of her parents. My editor friends all agreed that when the spirit moved Sallie to tell her story, this author needed to take her promptings seriously. I first told them I didn’t think Sallie was in any rush. Then one morning at breakfast, my spouse asked what I was thinking about. (I guess I looked like I was off in some distant place—which I was.) I replied, “I’m not sure you want to know. Sallie is writing the first chapter of her story.” As with all my novels, once I start to write I write everyday as though some tap has been turned on and won’t turn off until the story is told.

What sources of inspiration did you pull from to create Sallie’s character?

Visualizing Sallie was easy. Living in West Texas as I did for many years, there were the few cowgirls around that made my descriptions of her authentic—if a bit of an amalgamation.

As to her essence, I’ve known some strong women in my life including my own mother. I’ll tip my hat to them for all they have taught me by their example. None ever smoked Swisher Sweets or had Sallie’s course tongue. Still, it wasn’t hard for me to imagine that growing up as the eldest daughter on a remote ranch would imbue Sallie with the love of nature, humor, grit and tough old cowgirl demeanor that defines her character.

What scene in the book was the most emotional for you to write?

I have to mention a couple scenes: the day’s events when Bill shares with his in-laws and Sallie, Billy’s leaving home; and when Billy mourns in solitude on the Sierra Diablo, the passing of his beloved grandparents. They share in common the hardship of grief and mourning in the midst of estrangement—making any sadness all the harder to bear.

Did you feel like you were able to complete Sallie’s story with this novel?

Yes. While she would, no doubt, continue her influential role in the family, she clearly states in the final pages, it is for others to pass along her gifts of love, understanding and wisdom to those who follow along with their own stories. Any future telling would fall to Noah or Billy, though I’m not sure the author will get the job done. It would only make sense to me if such an addition followed several years from now when Billy or Noah can really weave a new generational tale.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

No one member of the Geermann-Schlatter family defines the life and essence of the ranch quite like Sallie.
When her great-nephew, Noah, says to her, “Grandpa writes the poems; you need to write the stories,” Sallie reflects upon the lives of those before her, those in her life now and the extraordinary healing that comes to all when hearts are open.
Sallie’s own life has been molded by her father’s reverence for “nature’s symbiosis” and her mother’s contemplative spirit. She blends her characteristic wit and gravitas with her unending love for the people, land and creatures that surround her. She takes us along on the journey as only she can.
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