Blog Archives

To Move Past All The Hurt

Zachary Ryan Author Interview
Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Silent Screams follows four friends in the aftermath of a school shooting that unravels secrets and relationships. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this compelling story?

It came from a song called Prom Queen by Katie Turner. She has a line about a audience that was never meant for me. It was where the idea for Zachary came to be. It was also my 50th novel that I wrote. I wanted to add elements from each of the first 49 in there.

We really get to dive deep into each unique character in the story. Who was your favorite character to write for?

Honestly, it was Cass. I just had such love for her. I wanted so much for her to be strong and be able to move past all the hurt she had to deal with. I just honestly don’t know how she handled that situation. You find out your boyfriend is cheating on you, and you can’t hate her because she lost her life from one of your best friend’s actions. Then on top of that Jarele was a good guy. He helped Cass through so much. It was hard for Cass to hate Jarele. I just was impressed by her strength and where she ended up.

In this story we get to explore how families and relationships are all different and complex. What were some themes you wanted to capture within them?

Honestly, that everyone goes through some hardships in their life. I also wanted to go through this idea that no one is a full villain or victim. With Gabe each person viewed Gabe in such a different way, and I really wanted to portray that. My theme for all my novels is make sure to not judge someone because you don’t know what’s behind someone’s closed doors.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available
I’m working on a campy book. It’s a lot like my High Schools Queen trilogy. It’s called Cutthroat Cheerleader. It’s sassy, campy, and a murder mystery too. It will be out actually in October.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

For a group of friends, one mistake changed the course of their lives forever.
In the aftermath of a tragic school shooting, the group must find their own form of justice and a way to begin healing from a wound that just won’t stop hurting.
For them, the lines were drawn.
Right and wrong became blurred.
Friends became enemies.
Told from the perspective of four friends, we learn how one student’s revenge reigned terror over a school and a community– causing secrets to unfold and relationships to be tested.
A compelling and powerful story about a school shooting. A must read.

Now It’s Inescapable

Bill Mccausland’s Now It’s Inescapable depicts the psyche of a drug-addicted physician. Through his main character, Glen, he tells a relatable tale of how easy it is to slip into addiction, especially if you’ve lived a life full of adversity.

From the outside, Glen seems to have an incredible life. With his own practice and a beautiful wife, he appears to be the epitome of health and success, a stark contradiction to his real circumstances. As we read from chapter to chapter, his life unravels right before our eyes.

The author doesn’t depict Glen in the best of light. In many ways, he seems to be the villain of the story; reckless and unaffected by the way his addiction impacts those closest to him. On the other hand, his wife Julie is painted as the ever-supportive but highly enabling spouse. However, ultimately it is revealed that the two of them have a dangerous codependency that only births destruction. Interestingly, neither is purely evil nor purely good; each one has their own demons to fight.

This story mirrors real life by attempting to explain the complex multilayered nature of the human soul. By telling the story through the main character’s perspective, the author seems to bring us so intimately into his life. We not only see what Glen does but also why he does it and the mental process that leads to his decisions. Great details are given about all drivers of Glen’s addiction, giving us a fuller understanding of him.

However, the book contains some grammatical errors and inconsistencies that make it hard to get through this otherwise interesting story. There is also a lot of use of grandiose terms and long winded dialogues that don’t feel natural.

That aside, I do acknowledge that the author does a great job of expressing important themes through the book. The outstanding ones are the role that family dynamics play in adult dysfunction and the cyclic nature of life. Ultimately, I do believe that with a little bit of polishing, this story has the potential to be a fan favorite.

Pages: 245 | ASIN: B07GC72TTL

Buy Now From B&N.com

 

 

Test the Boundaries of his Love

Thomas Duffy Author Interview
Thomas Duffy Author Interview

Stockboy Nation follows Phillip on a journey to discover a new life and re-evaluate his romantic relationships. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from the first book?

I wanted to convey the idea of the ever changing state of the world we live in. While Phillip was seemingly getting back to square one as the book starts off, the world was evolving into something that is almost completely different than what he had been expecting. When he’s back in New York City and the plot takes a turn that echoes real life recent events, we see that no matter what Phillip had done, he would have been back to square one anyway. We are never fully “settled” no matter what we may think. That I think is the greatest takeaway of the book.

I also liked the idea of introducing a new female love interest in to the mix to sort of test the boundaries of his love for Melissa. That was the main goal of the book. To explore the love triangle between Phillip, Melissa and LeAnn. I wanted readers to be taken on a journey to see which characters they wanted to end up together at the end.

Phillip ends up back at the same bookstore where he previously worked. Was this theme of starting back at the beginning something you did intentionally?

Absolutely. For Phillip to move forward, he had to confront his past and this book which he wrote about the store where he worked. I wanted Phillip’s character to move forward by confronting the details of his past which includes his love/hate relationship with New York City. It was intentional to bring him back to his old stomping ground in NYC.

Romance, and contentment, are themes explored in this book. Was there a certain perspective of these themes that you wanted to portray?

Yes. Romance and contentment with the cards you have been dealt in love (and life) were topics I wanted to portray. The perspective is that your happiness with life can be challenged at any given time. The same for one’s happiness in his/her romantic relationship(s). Life is never at a stand still and as we constantly evolve as human beings, our need for change and also for stability comes in to question. I think the book touches on these topics head on and I am very proud of it.

Will there be a third book in the Stockboy series?

Good question. Right now I am working on a “Heaven” project and the sequel to “The Separation.” It’s anyone’s guess whether or not I will return to do another “Stockboy.” I guess it all depends on how readers like “Stockboy Nation.” I’ve heard good things so far.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Phillip Doherty is at a crossroads in his life. He has moved from New York to California. He is engaged to be married to his long-time girlfriend, Melissa, his career is going nowhere and his latest novel has flopped beyond a reasonable doubt. Phillip thinks his only way out of money troubles is to go back to retail by working for Milton’s World of Fun which was the company where he worked when readers first met him in the original book, Stockboy (2013). Life doesn’t work out easily for Phillip in a forever-changing world where things transform in the blink of an eye. This story is Phillip’s journey to discover a new normal for himself and, somewhere along the way, decide what he will do for work. When confronted with another romantic partner, he also must re-evaluate his relationship and decide who he really loves. Stockboy Nation aims to make you laugh, cry and think in ways you’ve never done so before.

Tribulations of the Marginalized

Richa Gupta Author Interview

Richa Gupta Author Interview

Slices of Life is a collection of stories that explore life from various perspectives. Where do you find your mind often wandering when writing?

When writing, my mind wanders to several places, people, events and incidents I have either witnessed or heard about, any of which may trigger my imagination to create a plausible scenario. Sometimes, an idea or an issue I feel passionately about acts as the trigger, and I develop the characters and events subsequently. Writing each of the 12 stories in the collection from October, 2018 to April, 2020 has been a distinct process usually based on contemporary incidents. While the initial episodes described in ‘The Young Visitor’ are inspired by my own experiences while searching for a suitable cook, ‘Dusk’, written in April, 2020, is based on the tribulations of migrant workers during the lockdown due to the pandemic in India. My mind also wanders to the different genres of fiction I have read. So, while ‘Future Love Story’, in the tradition of Sci-Fi, depicts a future dystopian society in the year 2090, ‘Knots’ is a whodunit, in the genre of detective fiction, in which the murderer’s identity is revealed at the end.

My favorite story from the collection was ‘The Incomplete Story’. Do you have a favorite story from the book?

It’s like asking a mother who is her favourite child. I am deeply invested in each story and want my readers now to tell me which story appeals to them most. Each reader gives me a different answer. So, I would like to believe that there’s something in it for everyone.

What were some themes you wanted to explore while creating your characters?

Some themes I wanted to explore include the suppression of a woman’s individuality (‘Mother and Daughter’ and ‘Watershed’), the aftermath of infidelity (‘Disclosure’ and ‘Knots’), a society based on eugenics and social distancing (‘Future Love Story’), tribulations of the marginalized section of society (‘Dusk’ and ‘The Theft’) and misguided priorities in life (The Choice). In a few other stories, the intention was to create authentic vignettes of life that evoke hilarity and social satire (‘The Young Visitor’ and ‘Bridal Wear’).

Are you continuing to write short stories? Will you be publishing another collection of stories in the future?

I love the process of writing short stories, which is a different experience from writing a novel. The gestation and maturation of a story is a shorter process, and I can write it on the go. I will definitely bring out another collection of stories in the future, but I am still deliberating on what will be my next publication.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Amazon.inFacebook

Slices of Life’ is a collection of short stories or vignettes that provide an immersive and entertaining experience of diverse scenarios of life in motion. They are slivers of existence with the ingredients of plot and characters, sprinkled with human emotion, pervaded by the aroma of human dilemmas and served in the platter of lucid language. Sometimes searing with agony and often pervaded with beauty and yearning in the midst of travails in a contemporary or futuristic reality, they explore relationships and the human struggle to find meaning amidst chaos. They describe the consequences of our choices and characters who are at the threshold of a discovery or have reached the zenith of tolerance. The universal themes and enduring images of commonplace individuals in the swirl of life are embedded in a mixed bag of genres ranging from bathos and futuristic SciFi to grim Realistic fiction and a suspenseful Whodunit.

Our Forever Crazy Love

1

Jennifer Nolan’s debut romance novel, Our Forever Crazy Love, is quite the emotional roller coaster. First of all, the fact that it’s written in the first person through the perspective of the main character, Vivienne is something that makes it more personal. In many ways, it feels like you are reading her diary, taking a sneak peek into her most intimate thoughts.

In this riveting novel, we get a front-row seat to not only Vivienne’s personal life but her career life as well. As she explores her relationship with her long-standing crush Danny, we understand more and more why they have never ended up together. While in the beginning Danny is described as handsome but a bit standoffish, this perception is radically challenged as we get to know him better.

The book starts with Vivienne trying to seduce him but ends with her getting a complicated but yet fairy tale ending. More importantly, this is the story of a woman trying to juggle the demands of her career while trying to be there for everyone she loves. As life throws her numerous curve balls and she grapples with excruciating grief, her independent persona begins to unravel.

Apart from love, a recurring theme in this book is the struggle for control. Through the main character, the author attempts to explain how many women struggle with letting go and taking it easy; much to the detriment of their love lives.

As a modern woman, this book hit very close to home with me being able to see some elements of myself in Vivienne. Her struggle with relinquishing control is one that I believe many women can identify with.

While the author does a good job of describing the characters and their relationships with each other, there are some discrepancies and details left unshared. For instance, it would have been great to know more about Danny’s family and how that fed into the man he is today.

There was also little on Luis’ side of the family, especially during moments when such information should have taken center stage. Other characters like Rach also need more development. However, I do understand that the author may have been trying to focus on the main character, Vivienne.

On the plus side, the book has a rhythm to it quite like that of real life; there are a few things that matter and others that are just part of the flow. I also appreciate the use of foretelling by incorporating a psychic; that was a nice touch. At the end of the day, Our Forever Crazy Love is a good read.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-989733-00-4

Pushing Back

 

 

 

Pushing Back by Jim Hartsell is an introspective coming-of-age novel that tackles the challenges of a broken family and growing up in the rural South through the eyes of its sympathetic protagonist, Boone Hammond. Though the central themes of the novel are heavy, Hartsell masterfully balances the sometimes-painful topics of the novel with poetically beautiful prose that will whisk you away to Boone’s world. Pushing Back is different from many of the top sellers you will see advertised in bookshops in that it embraces the slower pace of its plot, which is reflected in the drawling prose. Sometimes we all need a break from the unstoppable onslaught of reality and deserve an escape to a beautiful literary world, right? If you are looking for a thoughtful novel that will likely force you to consider your own prejudices and misconceptions, then I highly recommend Pushing Back.

Pushing Back is one of those beautiful, engrossing novels that sucks you in with the first page and, before you know it, you are several chapters in and it is way past your bedtime. The novel is told from the first-person perspective of Boone Hammond, whose namesake is humorously not the Daniel Boone of whom you’re thinking. A junior in high school, Boone lives in rural Tennessee with his parents and young sister, all of whom are dealing with the loss of his younger brother several years previously. Boone’s family is dealing with struggles that will be familiar to many readers, regardless of whether they hail from the American South or elsewhere: domestic abuse, poverty, alcohol dependency, and depression. Though he finds himself making his way through this formative time of his life largely on his own, Boone forms a deep relationship with his nearby elderly neighbor and charmingly begins to experience the heart-racing delights and pitfalls of teenage romance.

While some sections felt repetitive at times Hartsell writes in an incredibly elegant way, and the paragraphs often feel reminiscent of poetry. This is especially true in the passages where Boone is experiencing the natural beauties of Tennessee. I also enjoyed the raw emotion that Hartsell fills the novel with, in describing Boone’s emotions and those of his abusive father, as well as those Boone’s romantic interest, Nancy. The emotions of loss and love can sometimes be hard to read, especially as they come from the perspective of a young man who is growing up alone, but readers will undoubtedly appreciate the honesty and sensitivity with which Hartsell tackles these pains, as they think about their own experiences with change and pain.

In spite of the challenges facing Boone, Pushing Back is a hopeful novel: hopeful for the future awaiting Boone, acknowledging the room he has to grow to become a better person, and littered with charming moments that are bound to make you smile. The feelings coursing through the pages of Pushing Back are universal to humanity.

Pages: 328 | ASIN: B01FAVY0AY

Buy Now From B&N.com

The Aristocrat

Book Review Icon

The Aristocrat by Regine Dubono is a short story about a girl named Marianne Maywee, who lives with her family (including her younger sister, Paula) in Nice, France. One day an older man appeared in their lives and introduced himself as their godfather, Mr. Giles. Marianne and Paula go on many outings with Mr. Giles, until the day he does not come to their house as expected. Marianne learns that he’s in the hospital and she goes to visit him. Will this be the end of their enjoyable outings together?

I enjoyed reading the descriptions of the sights Marianne saw on her outings and the places she visited with her sister, Paula, and Mr. Giles. The book was an interesting and quick read, but I wished that the story had been longer. The ending was too abrupt, and there were still questions that I had hoped to have answered.

I was confused by the hint of romantic interest for Marianne from Mr. Giles. I wasn’t sure if he actually had romantic thoughts regarding her or if it was only an incorrect impression she got from some of their interactions.

I encountered a few run-on sentences, some issues with grammar and a few typos and inconsistencies; (On one page, it was stated that Marianne and Paula were born eleven months apart, but then on the next page, twenty months separated their ages).

Overall this a quick and interesting outing with Marianne and Mr. Giles.

Pages: 23

www.regine-du-bono.com

 

Cuffed by You

Cuffed by You (SAPD SWAT) by [Mays, Nikki]

Kayla is almost at her wits’ end. Her ex-husband is a loser of massive proportions, and it just so happens that she attempted to drown him. Ridding herself of his insanity has left her alone to work the business his family built together and raise her four small children alone. With a more than just supportive family of in-laws who actually favor her over their own son, Kayla is making her way in the world one day at a time. A chance meeting with the officer who cuffed her during that lapse of better judgment turned drowning incident leads Kayla down the path to a life she thought was no longer in the cards for her.

Nikki Mays has done it again. Cuffed by You is the third installment in her romance series, SAPD SWAT, and it actually may be my favorite of the three. Kayla and Marc, the book’s main focus, are lively and easily visualized characters. Kayla is every single mom striving to make a better life for her children and resigned to the fact that she won’t allow her heart to be broken again. She walks the straight and narrow, for the most part, and is a truly likable character.

Marc, like the other male figures in Mays’s series, is a wonder of nature. As Mays churns out one stunning adjective after another to describe his physique, readers are left wondering how this could still be considered a realistic fiction piece–he is almost too good to be true. Mays is a pro at making her male main characters into loving and caring men who still manage to exude a rough exterior–they are dreams come true. This is only one of the many aspects of Mays’s writing that make her books so exceptionally readable and easily favorited.

As with each of the other books in the series, Mays has included a hateful and spite-filled antagonist. Enter the ex-husband. Mays succeeds in making Kayla’s ex a virtual monster, and the loathing is almost palpable page after page. While the entire cast of characters, including his own mother and brothers gang up against him, the reader is swept into the same vortex of hatred and animosity. Mays makes it easy to despise him while simultaneously building a case for Marc to take his place.

Mays is queen of the banter. Her dialogue between characters dominates the pages and makes the book what it is–a masterpiece of romantic comedy. While she includes a good bit of the traditional romance elements in her writing, she is able to make her characters jump off the page as they bicker back and forth, hurl jovial insults, and generally function as one loving unit of friends-turned-family.

Mays’s writes for her books to be enjoyed and for her characters to be remembered well beyond the last page–she achieves that, no doubt.

Pages: 221 | ASIN: B07L6WLS6Y

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: