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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

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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.

Wasn’t That a Time

Wasn’t That a Time by Chip Hannay is riveting military romance novel set during the Vietnam War that touches on many aspects of life and struggles, including duty, passion, love, and camaraderie. The heart of the story focuses on Gid Bubchek, a Marine chopper pilot, and Ginger Lee, an enigmatic feminist, and the complicated emotions they experience together, in their respective positions, and within their relationship. The author candidly covers many challenging aspects of preparing for war and living in dangerous conditions while exploring diverse characters, their storylines, and their sense of humor.

Author Chip Hanny, a war veteran himself, gives the reader an authentic and unique perspective into soldiers’ lives leading up to the war and how they support each other the most during uncertain and challenging experiences. The author provides vivid details of overhead military helicopters and combat scenes amid the intense humanity throughout the story, despite the battle’s unfortunate circumstances and horrors. The book focuses heavily on character development, which carries most of the plot, and allows readers to get a close-up and raw look into their lives.

This is an excellent romantic thriller that is perfect for readers looking for a military fiction novel with a heart. I especially enjoyed this story because of its particular view of the Vietnam War and the way the story shows how it had a lasting impact on the generations of people that followed. This thought-provoking story gives readers a lot to reflect on about war and its effect on society. I recommend Wasn’t That a Time for the author’s ability to relay his experiences as a veteran into an entertaining book that contains a personal reflection on the impact of war. It’s a raw and explicit but thoughtful story that delivers a powerful message on the importance of camaraderie.

Pages: 253 | ASIN: B0B5HMFVHQ

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Of All Faiths & None 

Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale is a historical fiction novel set during the Great War between 1910 and 1918. This compelling novel begins with Julius Drewe, who hires a famous architect, Edwin Luytens, to design a castle. Drewe’s goal is to establish and preserve his legacy with the construction of Castle Drogo, which later symbolizes the nature of the war, and how the younger generation of the Drewes and Luytens become entangled in the war, which breaks out in 1914. The plot quickly develops when the setting shifts from the families’ residence in London to the various battlefields and their connections to each other and Castle Drogo.

The author explores many essential topics during the early 1900s, including the age of enlightenment, the suffragette movement, and the impact of war. It’s an emotional rendition of the history of western society and how significant changes in the world challenge different religions and belief systems. Tweeddale does a great job developing each character and evolving them throughout the book in well-structured chapters and well-written descriptions of their individual experiences.

Throughout the book, Tweeddale explores the themes of duty, vanity, romance, and spirituality and how they evolve during the war. Readers get a glimpse into the political system of this era, and the consequences of war on all levels of society, from the ordinary people to the elites. The author brilliantly showcases the horrors of war and how it capitalizes on the arrogance and vanity of humans while humanizing war casualties so that they are not merely seen as numbers or statistics but as soldiers who are also brothers, sons, and spouses.

I profoundly enjoyed Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale. I recommend this impassioned historical romance novel for the author’s ability to highlight the tragedies of war and how it is the ultimate equalizer, impacting everyone regardless of faith or lack of it. It is a well-told tale of love, faith, and war, and is perfect for fans of historical fiction. 

Pages: 352 | ASIN: 1739612205

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Based On My Own Experience

William M Stephens Author Interview

About a Girl follows one young man’s journey of self-discovery while growing up in California in the 90’s as he navigates love, friendship and betrayal. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for About a Girl was based on my own experience in high school.

Will is a compelling character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

I wanted Will to represent the average teenager in the 1990’s. I also wanted the reader to see Will’s motivation with numerous flashbacks.

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

Trust, loyalty, friendship, and forgiveness.

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

I’m currently writing Hannah, (working title) a hybrid prequel/sequel to About a Girl told from Hannah’s point of view. It will be available in the summer of 2023.

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This was the 1990’s: No cell phones, no social media…everything took place in person.

Coming of age in Visalia, California was simple for Will; it was always about a girl. There was one girl in particular, though, that monopolized his thoughts. Her name was Hannah, and she was the most beautiful girl that Will had ever seen.

Will played in a band with his friends, Rob and Chris. They had been jamming together for two years but were reaching a point where they differed about the direction the band should take. Will wanted to branch out musically, but Rob wanted to keep everything the same. It was a struggle. The focus changed, however, when Hannah moved down the street from Chris.

Follow Will on his journey of self-discovery, friendship, love, and betrayal to find out if life is indeed, simply, about a girl.

Demon’s Land

Sixteen year old Jude is just trying to get through life while using photography as an outlet. He faces many hardships that a teenager shouldn’t have to face, from his mother leaving to a father who doesn’t understand him. Along with his only friends CeCe and Abel, they are just trying to make it and find their way through life. Jude struggles with telling CeCe how he really feels about her while CeCe tries to help Abel and Jude keep it together. On top of it all Abel has to deal with school bullies because he is gay and considered not normal. How will the three friends overcome the obstacles that life has given them?

Demon’s Land by Sarah Ferguson is an emotionally-charged coming-of-age story that utilizes sharp writing to elevate a contemporary literature story into something that is sentimental but powerful. Jude’s character is dark and brooding. He just wants someone to love him. I found his character to be well-crafted, relatable and endearing. His character gives hope to those who are going through hard times as he channels the same worries that we all have, but the author conveys those emotions in a way that feels sophisticated. I appreciated that CeCe’s character is the voice of reason and she genuinely cared for Abel and Jude. I enjoyed Abel’s character because he is not ashamed of being gay and Jude accepts him for who he is. This makes the novel a fantastically uplifting LGBT novel that feels authentic.

Fergusons is a fantastic storyteller with impactful writing. Her way with writing tells so much in such a short read that I didn’t have questions even though the ending leaves the reader hanging. There are serious topics that are explored throughout the story, but the author handles it beautifully. I felt the isolation and hopelessness that the characters felt and I was rooting for them the entire time.

Demon’s Land is a heart-felt and inspiring coming-of-age novel. I recommend this book to readers who are looking for a profound young adult story that deals with trauma in a way that feels grounded and poetic.

Pages: 120 | ASIN: 0645355992

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Evoking An Incident Emotion

Sherman P. Bastarache Author Interview

An Erotic Phenotype answers some interesting questions about Romantic Love and human reproduction. What was the idea, or spark, that first set off the need to write this informative book?

I am an avid reader, more notably in all the sciences. I was reading Darwin’s Black Box because it claimed that it found flaws in Darwin’s theory of natural selection. That was on the molecular level, false as they were. I noticed that everywhere there were claims that some traits could not possibly be selected for without a creator or intelligent design: language, “the soul” or “spirit” was a big one, emotions… I was also quick to notice that some of these arguments contained answers to their own questions. Ignorance! I began looking at life and science in complete ignorance to see how far natural processes could carry an incident of biology. I.e. how an incident of sight can become an incident of beauty, evoking an incident emotion. That sparked the idea! The need to write this book was created by another book I wrote: Moral Indignation, which due to available topic space, I was forced to omit the natural course of events leading to love.

What research did you do for this novel to get it right?

I read everything I could get my hands on, in every science, every mythology, including scientific papers, books, and articles. I must point out that my father was a woman hater to the core! Mentally dealing with his absurdities helped me recognize how really amazing women truly are! It is not possible to know enough, or even learn enough, to cover every topic in complete detail. I tried to learn as much as possible. I read a few books on female same-sex erotica in an attempt to gain some mental/emotional concept of the same-sex female brain, thinking it might be close to a cisgender male brain. Also, I find that the best teacher is life. I watched people interacting with other people.

What is one thing that people point out after reading your book that surprises you?

The book is a new release and as far as I know only a few family members and friends have read it. That said, I am questioned about the topic a lot. The word “Erotic” makes people think about erotica, which it is not. The joking stops when they understand it is about “eros”. Honestly, I have not asked anyone I know that did read it what they thought. Maybe I should.

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

That is a beautiful question. There are so many topics that are not fully understood. There are still so many claims of intelligent design which need to be addressed. I am currently working on two books, both untitled. With all the current conspiracy theories and false news claims, I think it is important to explore how humans were selected for having the ability to analyze our world. We need to see how our two innate instincts, “belief” and “reason”, in that order, play havoc with one another. I am hopeful that I can publish by 2024.

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What does the female capacity of having multiple orgasms have to do with reproduction? What part does hidden ovulation play in the formation of erotic relationships? Does natural selection create pleasure—make sex fun—to trick us into reproducing?
Being in love requires you to be physical. It requires you to be emotional. It requires you to be mindful. To exist as an erotic phenotype.
Eros, commonly called Romantic Love, is more than just emotion. We have an entangled ménage à trois of sensations happening in our bodies and brains. It is the total of our entangled sensations that drive us to this insanity—that thing we call love.

A Tomboy Heroine

Jansen Schmidt Author Interview

The Ties That Bind follows a woman who is struggling with a horrifying family secret, a shocking revelation about her father, and a growing attraction to the local deputy. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted to write a story incorporating therapy animals because I believe the unconditional love of an animal is very healing. The crux of the story grew around that premise alone. My heroine did not act appropriately a lot of times because of how she was raised and she never understood the inner workings of her dysfunctional family until their father died and secrets came to light. Her aunt helped her get past some of her awkwardness and rebellion by pairing her with a therapy horse. Because I write romance, I needed a love interest and, in this case, one who was willing to accept her as she is and not expecting her to change.

Shiloh Ferguson is an intriguing character with emotional depth. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

I really wanted to have a tomboy heroine who wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty in a fight. I think more women need to learn how to defend themselves and to stand up to bullies. Shiloh was always a scrappy girl who preferred the company of boys to girls and she never backed down from a challenge no matter how misguided. Her failure to connect with women is revealed in the book so I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

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

The need for human connection was always foremost in my mind when I was writing this story. I used therapy animals as a way to demonstrate that we all need a human connection from time to time. This story developed into a “lesson” in how failure to physically connect ripped a family apart and while it is difficult to overcome, it can be done with time and patience.

Also the importance of family and accepting yourself for who you are were interlaced throughout the story.

What can readers expect in book two of your Family Ties series?

More of the same type of personal growth and healing after being in a very deep dark place. The heroine in Book 2 of this series has been a victim of neglect and abuse her entire life and the story follows her journey to happiness and love. Book 3 explores the guilt associated with losing a loved one to suicide and learning how to cope with not only the loss but the psychological entanglements of survivor’s guilt. Because I write romance, both books promise a happily-ever-after.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Shiloh Ferguson returns to Twisted Fork, Arizona with one mission: bury her estranged father and get out of town as fast as possible. But nothing goes according to plan from the moment she crosses the state line. While her childhood home is as forlorn as she remembers, the arrival of Deputy Luke Wainwright is nothing at all like her teenage memory.

Luke Wainwright is doing his best as a single parent to provide a stable home for his special needs daughter. While patrolling the outskirts of town, he sees an unfamiliar car in the driveway of the recently uninhabited Ferguson Ranch. Expecting to thwart a robbery in progress, he enters the home and runs smack dab into a grown-up version of the adolescent rebel he’d unwittingly admired ten years earlier.

Before Shiloh can escape Twisted Fork, a shocking revelation about her father and a horrifying family secret come to light. An unexpected inheritance and a growing attraction to Luke, leave Shiloh emotionally conflicted about her family, her future, and whether or not to honor a dead man’s bequest.

Taiwan Butterfly

Amadeus Rockefeller Author Interview

Taiwan Butterfly follows a British missionary who comes into possession of a powerful Tibetan grimoire called ‘The Book of the Butterfly’. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Taiwan Butterfly is the second installment of a series I am writing called The Book of The Butterfly. The prequel will be released later, which details the adventures of the main character Jonathan Woods and his travels around Asia as he searches for occult material. Something Jonathan has been obsessed about since a teenager. The beginning of Taiwan Butterfly picks up from the ending of the first novel ‘Book of the Butterfly.’ I released the second book first, ‘Taiwan Butterfly’ because it deals with death and resurrection. I am an English teacher and recently had a young twelve-year-old private English student of mine pass away from a childhood stroke. She had been my student since she was five years old. So I released Taiwan Butterfly first as a tribute to her and with a wish that it could be true.

Jonathan Woods is an interesting character that was fun to follow. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Jonathan Woods is a composite character formed from Indiana Jones, Merlin, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Three of my favorite fictional characters. All I had to do then was imagine what such a character would be like and do.

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

The death of someone we love and how it affects our belief in life was what I wanted to explore. I wanted to say that life is precious, and we should cherish it. Too many books and entertainment glorify death and the killing of people for fun or without hesitation. I find it very sad that people disrespect life so much. We are only here once on this earth. We will never be here again. Respect life and love it while you can. That’s what Taiwan Butterfly is about.

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

I’m multi-tasking on that one! I am writing four books at the same time. First to be released will be a gothic-horror story called ‘Formosan Vampire’ in mid-July 2023. The second will be a political thriller called ‘The Illuminati’ regarding a secret world order that has been controlling everything happening in the world, both good and bad. The third will be the prequel to ‘Taiwan Butterfly’. And the fourth is a sci-fi epic called ‘Conquest of our Forefathers’ about an ancient alien race that created an experimental lifeform and placed it on planet Earth to see what would happen. The human race is that experiment! Then, after a break, I will write the prequel to ‘Legend Blade’, my first novel that was published in 2021.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Award Winning Book from author Amadeus Rockefeller. An ancient and powerful Tibetan grimoire called ‘The Book of the Butterfly’ that has existed secretly for thousands of years comes into the possession of a British missionary named Jonathan Woods during the Chinese Civil war. Jonathan flees to Taiwan with the ancient spell book and takes up residence in a high mountain township at the centre of the island. There he tutors a rich landowners daughter Chen Mei-Ying about language, life and sorcery. Mei-Ying enthusiastically takes to the dark arts. But when she is killed in a freak accident, her boyfriend Huang Lee-Yang approaches the sorcerer, hoping to learn the power he wields to bring her back to life.
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