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It’s Up To You

Author Interview
Axel Schillton Author Interview

Pizahn follows a futuristic Egyptian animal on a perilous quest to save his sister. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

At the time I was writing Pizahn I didn’t have an inspiration for the setup of the story. Mainly I was focused on the motivations of the characters and trying to make the story make sense as well as engaging to the readers.

Pizahn is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wrote Pizahn similar to a protagonist from a Japanese anime. However, I wanted Pizahn to also be relatable in some ways to the reader.  An example of this is going on his journey to find his baby sister.  Another example is he values his friends and family. But, Pizahn isn’t without his faults since he tends to lie in order to save himself or get what he wants.

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

To be honest there weren’t any themes or deep messages that I wanted to convey. All I wanted was to make a great story that people would enjoy. I personally feel that any form of art should be enjoyed and not try to be overanalyzed. I guess if you could take anything away from Pizahn it’s this: Regardless of how hard life gets, the world will always keep moving with, or without you, it’s up to you to decide if you want to keep going.

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

I’ve put the sequel on hiatus since I don’t know if the first book in the series is going to be published. But I’m working on a YA horror novel about a group of high schoolers that face off against a demon trying to bring about an apocalypse.

axelschilltonauthor.com

Daughter of Pompeii

Daughter of Pompeii by [Lorraine Blundell]

In Daughter of Pompeii, author Lorraine Blundell envisions what life might have been like in Ancient Rome for a little-known girl from Pompeii, called Poppy in this historical novel, and the notorious Emperor Nero. The story begins while Poppy is just a young girl and Claudius is still emperor. Through a tragic turn of events, Poppy loses her only family and embarks on a life-long quest for vengeance. Her journey to becoming Empress of Rome eventually felt less about revenge and more about straight ambition, to change her own destiny and rise far above her station.

Poppy’s character is written sympathetically while still attempting to convey the horrific things she did. Poppy is relatable and easy to root for, but there are times I felt she was unjustified in her actions, but this spike of emotion the story created in me is the mark of good writing. Her only lasting relationship throughout the book is with a friend she makes as a young girl who journeys through life with her, ever loyal and dependable. Farzana is an intriguing moral character, which made me wish I saw more from her perspective in the book. In addition to these two characters, there is a large collection of interesting characters who flit in and out of the narrative.

The narrative is told from an omniscient perspective, and the story often jumps from character to character, switching points of view or “getting inside their head”. I thought this was a little confusing, as it wasn’t always clear whose thoughts we were following. The story covers a lot of time, making this feel like a very quick read.

This novel was well written and the story was very entertaining. There’s everything one might want from a historical novel: the historically accurate references to real people and recorded facts from their lives, the political intrigue of the time, and a glimpse into ancient life for the differing classes. We get to view major historical events through the eyes of our protagonist, bringing to life tragic events like the murder of Claudius, the burning of Rome, and Nero’s descent into madness.

If you’re a history buff, particularly interested in Ancient Rome, this book is for you. Author Lorraine Blundell provides a riveting fictional story within an already fascinating time in history. All of this is elevated by Lorraine Blundell’s captivating storytelling ability.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B07S1S75JV

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Alter The Course of History

Thomas Bauer
Thomas Bauer Author Interview

The Assassin follows the life of a baker’s son in a small Italian village whos future is radically changed by a mysterious visitor. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I simply wanted to explore the idea of how one small act might be able to alter the course of history as well as what impact historical events might have in an insignificant spot on the planet peopled by those ignorant of world events.

Umberto is a stirring and authentic character. What were ideas you wanted to capture in his character’s development?

How the innocent and ignorant among us live lives more simple, but still filled with the same aspirations as the more privileged among us.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

During the Napoleonic era, Umberto Guardo, a naive son of a baker in an insignificant Italian village, falls under the spell of a radical revolutionary. When the great general himself sets foot in the village, the awe stricken lad is given a task that could alter the course of history. The Assassin portrays an Italy that once was and a small village, isolated and unaware of the world beyond its borders until the unexpected intrusion by the most famous man in the world.

Hope in Liverpool

Hope in Liverpool is a stirring historical romance novel following a dejected young woman who finds renewed hope in a handsome stranger that provides the prospect of a better life. But that life has its own set of obstacles.

Hope Bennett is an intriguing character and could be described as a woman with a gentle soul and a heart of gold, but don’t let that fool you because once you hit a nerve she can be as feisty as ever. This dynamic character is really brought to life by T N Traynor’s sharp writing.

This emotionally charged love story showcases the hardships that women go through on a daily basis, yet somehow they are able to soldier on and continue being the anchors in their home while also being their own pillars of strengths. Traynor takes this novella beyond your typical romantic love story and makes it a book that shows the strength of a woman while adding a twist of romance. The story is a deep but subtle exploration of dysfunctional families and through this it shows the true value of forgiveness.

As a young woman myself I was able to empathize with, if not relate to, Hope as she felt authentic and the writing really places the reader in her shoes. This is a melodramatic love story, but it’s melodrama done right. It brings all the emotions of family drama and love to the forefront and probes them throughout the story in various ways that ensures the reader is always entertained. Although this is a love story it still displays the imperfections of people and choices.

When I read through the prologue I thought this was going to be a stuffy historical fiction novel, but stick with it because after chapter one I was fully engaged with the story.

Hope in Liverpool is a stimulating historical romance novel with a well-conceived and thoughtful protagonist that was a delight to follow. This a compelling romance novel that will appeal to anyone looking for a quick but riveting love story.

Pages: 210 | ASIN: B091B8LYNP

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Runaway Princess

Runaway Princess by [Valerie Anne Hudson]

Runaway Princess, by Valerie Anne Hudson, is a story about Princess Louise-Marie who feels trapped in the Royal Palace of Limolou. After a botched runaway attempt when she was nine, Louise quietly accepts being stuck in the palace. This attempt opened her eyes to the plight of the commoners. Louise learns as much as she can from her tutor. It’s not until she’s seventeen and being forced to marry an abusive Duke that Louise finally takes action again.

This riveting historical fantasy is written in the first person point of view which enables readers to be pulled into this story from the start and I was able to really connect with Louise’s character.

We don’t meet Louise until she’s nine years old. Author Valerie Anne Hudson speeds us through the years until shortly before her seventeenth birthday. With the first person point of view, we get to see and feel what Louise does, which is important in this emotionally resonant story coming-of-age story. It means that we don’t get the intrigue of the palace. I find that I’m glad that Hudson didn’t focus on that. She focused on Louise’s story, her growth, and what needed to be done for the people.

While I heartily enjoyed this effervescent historical novel, especially the beginning I felt like the ending was a bit rushed, as I felt that she was able to fix the problems of the commoners rather quickly.

Runaway Princess is an enchanting historical fiction novel in the depths of the tumultuous French Revolution. This is a vibrant story that takes readers on a subtle but deep exploration of a character that never ceases to be intriguing.

Pages: 133 | ASIN: B0981FXW22

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Wars Are Ugly, Bloody, And Vicious

Rox Burkey
Rox Burkey Author Interview

Out of Poland is a historical thriller following a group of Polish citizens who band together to fight Hitler’s forces. What was the inspiration for the idea behind your story?

We have long held that the three founders of the Enigma Series escaped Poland in 1939 during the German invasion. These heroes stole a copy of the Enigma Machine and put it on the last British plane out of the country. But they were shrewd enough to make a copy of it. Taking refuge in Switzerland the three broke the code and started their information brokering business to help victims of WWII recover and protect their wealth under the cover of the R-Group. Their children and grandchildren make up the cyber heroes of the Enigma Series.

We wanted to tell the harrowing tale of how they accomplished their deceptions and the risks are taken. Heroes born of the circumstances, especially under fire, sacrificing for what is morally right, for us, is a compelling story. We wanted to bring the realism of the war to our readers. We feel we accomplished this in our novella. We also created a screenplay which we have submitted for consideration with a few groups.

Was writing a historical fiction story a challenge or a nice change from writing technology thrillers?

Writing historical fiction, much like our novels in the series, requires accurate details. Breakfield has studied World War II for years. He has read hundreds of books of the battles, places, and people from English, American, German, and Russian authors. The details of the war in this novella are accurate, it is the circumstances of our heroes that are embellished to protect the unsung heroes of the travesty of overrunning Poland. Hitler was driven and we are grateful he was stopped.

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

We wanted to convey the struggles of the people faced by war from a maniac who demanded harsh domination. Wars are ugly, bloody, and vicious filled with victims from all economic strata. We also highlight the racial prejudices that the invaders brought with them. No one is immune to the evils of war. Our German military is portrayed as a machine overrunning a proud country with passionate people.

We wanted to focus on the trials of the Polish people and the lengths they went to keep their beliefs alive. Without a properly equipped army or the support of the allies, escape was their best option. Illustrating that was key as was the part Russia played in the loss of Poland.

This is a novella-length story. Was that intentional or incidental to telling the story you wanted to tell?

The length of this story, like all our stories was a result of what we wanted to convey to readers. We are storytellers who are passionate about telling a great story. The drama, passion, tragedy, sorrow, triumph, and hope captured in our stories dictate the length. We believe this is a fabulous foundational story that created the basis of our current day technology thrillers of the Enigma Series. That focus is realized for us in this story. We want readers to gain that insight into our award-winning R-Group. We invite your readers to view the book trailer https://youtu.be/VnQOxg1rMgU of this story.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website (check out the freebies)

Out of Poland: Novella by [Charles Breakfield, Rox Burkey]

Beneath the storm clouds of a deadly war, three men are poised to unlock the secrets to redeem the world.

The setting is Poland 1939, Germans are marching toward Warsaw running their armor, and devastating swarms of armed soldiers, along with their cavalry. Fighting against the Nazi military machine is a death wish realized all too clearly.

The path of the invaders is paved with death, destructions, pillage, and woman brutalized at the hands of soldiers with no honor. As much as the citizens of Poland pray for a different outcome, everything they have known, loved, and grown up with is devastated.

Three young men are tasked with finding and extracting the German military communications device, Baby, that is kept under heavy guard. Polish patriots die to aid the three in getting the information and then fleeing with the prize. The race is on as the Germans try to match wits with the clever patriots who risk detection at every turn.

The Ambassador Ferdek Watcowski, insists that his son Ferdek along with Wolfgang and Tavius, take their families and flee while there is still time to reach a border. The goal of their journey is to escape with Baby intact.

Poland’s military is so outclassed by Hitler’s forces that survival is key to fighting another day. Facing great peril and odds against their survival, the men resolve to make a difference so that those who died helping them would not have sacrificed in vain. They vow to undertake a lifetime of fighting tyranny.

Successful survivors must look ahead.

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The Assassin

The Assassin by [Thomas Bauer]

In Thomas Bauer’s The Assassin we follow the character of Umberto Guardo. He’s a lonely baker’s son who resides in a small village located in Italy and desires more for his life. Umberto’s dreams may have the potential to come true when a mysterious cloaked man visits his village. The mysterious man can offer a life and legacy to Umberto that he can’t refuse, but at what cost?

Writing is truly an art form, and Bauer has a firm grasp of it! I appreciated his ability to write simple dialogue that had an impact. Many newer authors feel that if the subject matter is complex, the words have to be as well – this is simply not true. Bauer understood he could use other writing methods besides fanciful language to get his point across. Along with his fantastic but simple writing style, Bauer is stellar at setting the scenes in his book. And I am not merely referring to the actual surroundings in a scene, such as buildings and people. I am referencing how he sets the tone. He conveys the energy of his characters using the show don’t tell method. He shows us how the characters are feeling through their actions, not just through their words. The words solidify the mood, but they do not determine the mood. And last but certainly not least, I have to commend Bauer for his great attention to detail when it comes to human behavior and analysis. One could argue that it’s the primary theme of the book. He dives deep into the world of human desire, especially of those who, by society’s standards, have less than exciting lives. When Umberto travels into the nearby larger city, you feel his longing. This main plot point added an enjoyable and relatable aspect to the novel.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced historical fiction novel that will make you think about life and the people around you then you have to pick this up. I read The Assassin in one afternoon and couldn’t put it down!

Pages: 222 | ASIN: B097CFY4PG

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Through the Waters and the Wild

Through the Waters and the Wild by [Greg Fields]

Through the Waters and the Wild by Greg Fields tells us the story of the human spirit. The book starts with Conor Finnegan, a young American completely disillusioned with the way his life had come to be. Trying to get out of the depressive state that he was in, caused by a failed marriage and a meaningless job, he starts to read the letters left for him by his grandad, Liam Finnegan, and begins to gain a new sense of purpose through his words and memories. Liam Finnegan was an Irish farmer who spent his youth in Ireland during the Irish Civil War. Liam felt stuck in his home country, without a real purpose. Not wanting to involve himself in the Irish war, he fled to America, leaving everything that he ever knew and loved behind, in the pursuit of a dream and a meaningful life.

It is through Liam’s memories and experiences, that he left for his grandson in his letters, that Conor is able to find new motivation in his life as he tries to turn it around for the better. The most enjoyable and enriching part of the book is Liam Finnegan’s story. Most of the book narrates the hardships that Liam had to go through in life, the losses that he experienced, the physical and mental pain that he had to endure, and all that he had to do to build himself a life worth living. Through Liam’s story we not only get to see the effort that it takes to find one’s purpose in life, we also see and are able to learn a little bit of the Irish history alongside it. This all makes for a very interesting and gripping storyline, full of history and humanity.

The pacing of the story felt at times a little slow, especially when it related Conor’s thoughts and storyline, however, it was still very enjoyable and easy to follow through. The writing is excellent, the way that the author presents the character’s thoughts and experiences is simply beautiful, very poetic, I simply couldn’t put the book down. There’s a lot of reflection that one goes into while reading this book, the stories told can be very relatable, we all experience doubt, loss and loneliness, sometimes we get stuck and we don’t know who we are or what’s the life that we want for ourselves. This book revolves around all of these topics, around human nature and the hardships that one may face throughout life, which allows for some introspection and deep thoughts about our past, present and future. The story also beautifully describes the value and importance that love and family has in human life, something that I enjoyed reading a lot about.

I wouldn’t mind reading more about Liam Finnegan’s story, he’s definitely a very interesting man that had to go through some unfortunate circumstances, a man “born in the blood of oppressed generations”. The human soul is contained within the pages of this book. Liam Finnegan not only helps his grandson but also us, the readers, to navigate the hard realities of adult life. Through the Waters and the Wild is a story about finding one’s place in this harsh world and also about finding love, full of the hopes and dreams of the human mind.

Pages: 250 | ASIN: B08LHMCC5R

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