A Diary in the Age of Water follows the climate-induced journey of Earth through four generations of women with a unique relationship to water. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting novel?
It started with one of my short stories: “The Way of Water”. I’d been asked by my publisher in Rome (Mincione Edizioni) to write a speculative socio-political short story about the environment—water, particularly. I wanted something ironic, so I chose water scarcity in Canada, a nation rich in water. The story was about young Hilde—the daughter of the diarist in the novel—who was dying of thirst in Toronto. This is a Toronto under the control of the international giant water utility CanadaCorp—with powers to arrest and detain anyone. A world in which China owns America and America, in turn, owns Canada. I realized that I needed a larger story: on how Canada became this water-scarce nation as indentured state; more on Hilde’s mysterious limnologist mother, Lynna (the diarist in the novel); and more on what happens next (explored through Kyo and her strange world of the future).
Kyo is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind the character’s development?
Kyo starts and ends the story in the sacred boreal forest of the far future. she’s a blue-skinned multi-armed human being—essentially a water-being—looking for answers why the world is the way it currently is due to climate change and other things humanity has caused. She frames the gritty diary part of the story. Kyo represents the future. She’s also a young girl, and in some ways, her part of the story is a coming of age, of self-discovery and growing maturity. Given her metaphoric connection to water, the planet and a new humanity of sorts, Kyo’s character serves as a metaphor for humanity and its own coming of age.
The novel expertly captures a post-climate changed world and the changes it effects on society. What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?
A Diary in the Age of Water is a cautionary dystopian tale that is based on real events and precedents. This is partly why I wrote some of the book as a diary. The diarist—Lynna—is a limnologist who sees what is going on but because she is right in the middle of it, she lacks the perspective to recognize the gravity of some of the things she is witnessing and doing herself. She exercises a myopic protectionism that backfires on her time and time again. Perhaps the main theme of this book is one of perspective and how that perspective can influence actions and reactions in surprising ways. Information and knowledge isn’t enough—as Lynna demonstrates. Context and understanding, fueled by compassion and kindness must accompany it.
Ultimately, the book carries themes of hope and forgiveness—of ourselves and each other—and compassion for all things, starting with water. Each character carries an aspect of that theme, from the diarist’s activist mother, to the diarist’s own cynical protectionism, her spiritual anarchist daughter, and lastly the innocent storm of the last generation.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently researching and working on the sequel to “A Diary in the Age of Water”—a thriller about four lost and homeless people who find their way when a phenomenon brings them together through a common goal to free the Earth from the manacles of human greed. The story takes place throughout Canada—from Halifax to Vancouver and the Arctic. It takes place mostly during the 2050s, and features a few ghosts, the Halifax 1917 Explosion, experimentation on humans, espionage, murder, and—of course—a plague. I’m calling it my COVID19 novel…
Posted in Interviews
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The pleasing warmth of fresh-baked maple cookies . . . the sweet, buttery flakiness of a raspberry jam pastry. In 1913 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery is beloved by locals and visiting Englischer alike. And its understanding community always provides help, healing—and new chances for love.
Secrets devastated Maryanne Harding’s marriage to an Englischer—and took away her untrustworthy husband. Now the young Amish widow has found contentment cooking up treats at the bakery, raising her little girl, and comforting her ailing mother. And when Andrew Wittmer asks her to marry him, Maryanne is over the moon with happiness that she and the kind furniture maker will put down roots in her hometown . . .
Until Andrew’s uncle becomes ill, and Andrew must permanently take over his store in a town hours away. Though she would go anywhere to be Andrew’s fraa, Maryanne can’t abandon her mother—or the family that depends on her so much. And when she discovers Andrew harbors secrets of his own, Maryanne’s hard-won trust is shaken. Now, can she risk difficult choices and take a leap of faith into the loving, joyful future she longs for most?
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Tags: amish, author, book, book review, book trailer, bookblogger, christian fiction, christian romance, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, Maryann's Hope, molly jebber, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, suspense, trailer, womens fiction, writer, writing
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.
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Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, contemporary fiction, drama, ebook, family, fantasy, fiction, friends, ghost story, goodreads, high school, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, relationship, romance, story, teen fiction, womens fiction, writer, writing, young adult, Zachary Ryan
Our Forever Crazy Love is a riveting romance novel that gives readers a peek into Vivienne’s personal and career life as she explores her relationship with her long-standing crush. What were some ideas that guided this novel’s development?
I set out to write a contemporary romance with a strong female lead, someone with a busy career and complicated personal life. The main idea in the novel’s development was to show women, especially younger women, you don’t have to be perfect or have everything figured out. Sometimes, the best things happen when we let go and release some of the control we try to hold over situations in our life.
Vivienne is an interesting character that I enjoyed watching develop. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
I wanted Vivenne to be someone many modern day women could relate to. Smart, fiercely independent and a person who likes to maintain control over situations in her life. Striking a balance in our modern world between career, family, friends and romance is not always easy. The feeling of wanting or needing to be in control of our lifes and the situations in it is a struggle I think many women will understand.
The relationship between Vivienne and Danny was emotional and deep. What were some sources that inspired their relationship?
Honestly, I’m not certain there was a source. Their relationship just unfolded on it’s own. I did want to introduce a bit of complication with Danny having been married before and having a child. The second chance at love trope mixed with a friends to lovers narrative added an interesting element to the story. In the end, I think the varying elements will keep readers engaged with a good pace that mirrors real life rather well, full of emotional twists. While Our Forever Crazy Love is a contemporary romance with some open door sex scenes it’s also got some interesting women’s fiction elements. Opportunities for the reader to be emotionally drawn into the story are plentiful as they laugh out loud in one chapter and silently cry along with the characters in another.
When and where will Our Forever Crazy Love be published?
It will be available Sept. 3rd, 2020 Jacketed Hardcover books are available online wherever books are sold and you can find the digital book through amazon. Paperbacks will be out in mid-late October. The book is also being released on kindle unlimited.
The Mirror Without Reflection follows Sofia as she struggles to escape an abusive relationship while losing her reflection. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
I have a particular interest in motivational speakers and inspirational content. In particular I was interested in self value and the impact it has on interpersonal relationships.
In my study of the interpersonal relationships of the individual with the narcissistic personality disorder I found the dynamic of one individual gaining power through the devaluation of another. Thus the abused would lose themselves and their ‘new’ identity could only be painfully defined by their abuser. The other devastating dynamic to these relationships was that the abuser and the abused were drawn to eachother like a magnet. The only antidote being that the abused was to find themselves and to love the person they found. This was the fuel I used to craft Sofia’s story. I wanted to see her gain that inner strength that would ultimately lead to her freedom.
Sofia is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
I wanted to develop a character who was strong internally but with flaws that allowed the inexplicable disrespect of ones own boundaries. I wanted to show how childhood wounds have a major impact on ones overall development to adulthood and the ability to navigate relationships. I wanted to show how an independent, accomplished individual can make some of the most astounding misjudgments in life.
What were some themes you wanted to capture in the relationships that Sofia has with men?
Mainly an expert ability to ignore red flags because of an internal signal that tells her that she can’t manage on her own. This is a protective strategy that helps her to avoid rejection.
A desire to please in order to gain accceptance.
The opinion of these men is the one that matters the most.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
At present I have taken a very short break from writing. I will resume to begin the sequel to The Mirror Without Reflection. Could Uche return to destroy Sofia’ happiness?
The are two other novels I have started outlines for and will be able to share on these in the future.
I am also working on some genealogy research for my family which will be documented shortly.
Your characters were all well developed and interesting. Who was your favorite character to write for?
My favourite character was Diane as I can identify most with her having suffered some of the same traumatic events in my own life.
What were some themes you felt were important to capture in this story?
I wanted to write a book that many women from all walks of life could identify with. I have suffered much trauma and tragedy in my life so each character I have developed is modelled on my own experiences.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book is called ‘When the Sparrow Weeps’ and will be available towards the end of 2021.
I’ll Remember April is an emotional novel of a love that cuts across seventy years and three generations. Louise Ferris, an old lady at present, dotes on her granddaughter who is distraught about her recent romantic dilemma. The situation with her granddaughter makes Louise remember her own romantic encounters and reflect on her life and all the things that she has gone through with her family. This epic family saga reaches as far back as World War I. I’ll Remember April is a passionate novel that shows the ups and downs of love, life and how family is at the intersection of both.
Jean Murray Munden’s novel addresses issues of real love in a real world, devoid of an fairy-tale ideals of romance. Most authors talk of lovers who meet, have one challenge, overcome it and live happily-ever-after, but not Jean Murray Munden. In this book, Jean explores love, lust and infidelity from the different perspectives of diverse and intricately developed characters. The Story of Lulu is a good example; she is in love with Bruce and they are engaged to be married but what happens when she meets another guy whom she likes and can’t stop thinking about? Will Lulu be able to remain loyal to Bruce? These characters and their problems create self contained mini dramas that are captivating all on their own.
The author also addresses the pain of losing a loved one and the everlasting trauma. When Louise Ferris and Harriet lost their partners, their lives are changed forever. The emotion is authentic and palpable. For instance, Harriet dived into work, church and charity events in order to escape the pain. This happens to the extent her own mother thinks she is boring and her niece thinks she will go into a retirement home before her mother. Through Louise Ferris’ point of view it is clear she has never gotten over her husbands’ death and she never will.
The author has used simple language to present a timeless story to readers. I’ll Remember April is a love song to families. it is a touching story that shows things as they are, not how they could have been. I enjoyed the well researched references to the past, but I was mostly wrapped up in the characters and their lives from beginning to end. I highly recommend this book.
Pages: 380 | ASIN: B07PHVV57N
Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale is a thrilling murder mystery story that combines true facts with fiction in a compelling historical fantasy novel. The book follows the story of a young housekeeper, Clara Swift, who is sought by Prime Minister John A Macdonald to help find out who assassinated his master, Mr. McGee. Clara’s tenacity and abilities get her embroiled in a plot with national consequences.
Ann Shortell has creatively used a well known historical moment to tell a riveting mystery. Clara is an intriguing character right from the start. She’s smart and quick-witted and was someone that I empathized with along the nail biting journey she’s thrust on. Her perseverance and determination to seek the truth was something that kept me flipping pages. The story takes places in Ottawa Canada during the 1800’s and the time period is captured in striking detail.
Alluring characters in a memorable setting pulled me into the story, but the one thing that I think elevated this story above genre fiction was the theatrical mystery driving this dramatic novel. Ann Shortell is able to give readers just enough to keep them guessing, just enough to root for characters, and contine to feed you those bread crumbs until the finale. I am not familiar with the historical events discussed in the book, but still found the book to be entertaining. I will say that a reader may need a good respect for history and willingness to absorb the history and time period to be able to truly enjoy this novel as Ann Shortell really dives into the era. Like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, it’s still entertaining, but you’ll be engrossed if you know about, or at least enjoy, the history discussed in the book.
Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale is an enthralling historical fiction novel that places an unassuming but sharp girl at the heart of a spellbinding mystery.
Pages: 332 | ASIN: B07BN2TNQ3
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