Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Visit with Beverly Stowe McClure

When did you start writing?

Around 1990

What gave you the idea for your first book?

A visit to Charleston, SC, where we took a twilight tour of the historic district and heard wonderful stories of the ghosts that lived in many of the old mansions.

What genre do you write?

Mostly contemporary for young adults and tweens, along with historical fiction.

What do you do to keep yourself focused?

I’m a planner. I make lists each week, aiming for 500 words a day and put most everything else aside until I accomplish my goal. Usually.

Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects?

I work on multiple projects. Currently I have two stories in different stages of progress and two more waiting in a corner of my mind.

What is your writing process?

I usually start with a character, sometimes an idea, have a vague notion of how the story will end and just start writing. I might write a rough outline later on as thoughts occur to me of what I want to happen in the story. So I won’t forget them. But I don’t really outline the whole book.

What is the theme of your novel?

My latest, a historical fiction novel about the Civil War, is about love and forgiveness.

Do you consciously use symbolism in your book?

No, if it’s there it’s strictly by accident.

What is your latest release?

Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, young adult historical.

What other books do you have published?

Just Breeze, middle grade/tween contemporary; Rebel in Blue Jeans, young adult contemporary; Listen to the Ghost, young adult paranormal; and Secrets I Have Kept, young adult mystery.

Where are your books available?

From the publishers: Twilight Times Books and 4 RV Publishing and Wings ePress. Also at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the ebooks at Fictionwise and other places. Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines can also be purchased at some of the military parks museums and bookstores.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Meet Mickey Hoffman!

What is your book about?

School of Lies is funny mystery novel about a bunch of teachers who work in a dysfunctional, urban high school. The stressful environment is a perfect catalyst for the murder that takes place. My new book, Deadly Traffic takes a teacher out of her comfort zone into the word of human trafficking when female students disappear from campus.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

My MC is a Special Ed. teacher named Kendra Desola. She’s compulsive and overly inquisitive; every problem has to be examined and solved. She is devoted to her students but has learned the hard way that the best way to help them often involves breaking the rules. There’s a tension between her wanting to be a good role model and her willingness to lie when she thinks it’s useful. In Deadly Traffic, Kendra meets a young man, Win Ni (who my brother decided to call Win Ni the Pooh). Win has a good heart but he wants to be rich and is willing to do almost anything to achieve his goal. I wanted to make him a lot darker than he ended up because I became fond of him.

Who is your most unusual character?

I’d have to say most of them are unusual, but they’re true to form. The good characters I create are never all good and that bothers some people. Readers who aren’t familiar with what really goes on in public schools may think the teachers I portray are over the top. I’ve had people react in shock. They say, “A Vice Principal wouldn’t talk like that.” Oh, but they do, they do.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

For School of Lies I relied on my own experience moving through different schools. I mentally filed away what other teachers told me of their experiences as well. The book, in fact, started because some of my fellow teachers knew I liked to write and said, “You should really make a book about some of this stuff because no one would believe it.” For my second book, Deadly Traffic, I read several nonfiction books about modern slavery—in this country as well as overseas—and human trafficking, and visited many websites.

What was the first story you remember writing?

My family used to make up poems and stories in the car during road trips when I was very young and I’d try to contribute when my older brother would stop torturing me. Just kidding. I do recall writing a play in 9th grade with some friends about a super pigeon named Supersplatt.

What do you like to read?

I like mystery novels, fantasy and science fiction. I try to find mysteries with puzzles and with as little gore as possible. Some of my favorite writers are Elizabeth George, Ian Rankin and Tad Williams.

What writer influenced you the most?

Mark Twain. Absolutely.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

Hitchhiker’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

I want the main characters to have a “quest.” The quest can be a real journey or one in their heads and if there’s mystery involved all the better.

What is the best advice another writer gave you?

I asked how you tell when your manuscript is finished. The reply: “You don’t leave a book when it’s done, it leaves you.”

See also:

Mickey Mickey Hoffman's author page at Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Interview of Kendra DeSola the Hero of School of Lies by Mickey Hoffman
The first chapter of School of Lies by Mickey Hoffman
Review of School of Lies by Mickey Hoffman

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Interview with Bethany Halle writing/published as Cassandre Dayne

When did you start writing?

I started when I was about nine and completed sixteen books by the time I was 16. Sadly, I stopped writing for a long time as life intervened.

What gave you the idea for your first book?

Star Wars – no doubt in my mind. At the time I loved all things science fiction.

What genre do you write?

I am currently published under the pseudonym, Cassandre Dayne, writing erotic romance, but I have several vampire books complete and in the final editing stages writing under Bethany Halle; a campy murder mystery series set in community associations as Dakotah Black; and I have several children’s books completed as Victoria Chenault.

What do you do to keep yourself focused?

I really don’t have to – it flows to the point I have to keep a notebook with me and I dream of my characters.

Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects?

Always multiples from editing and writing at least two at a time.

What is your writing process?

The only process I have is I have to have music playing and I do enjoy writing where I can see the outdoors. In the summer, I always write outside on my deck.

What is the theme of your novel?

Too many themes and some are horror while others in the romantic realm delve into many aspects of fantasies, but end at least with a HFN.

Do you consciously use symbolism in your book?

Good versus evil of course plays out in my vampire books including the concept of the Knights of the Roundtable – Dracula and adding the aspect of human relations with it.

What is your latest release?

Her Sinful Long Legs – is an erotic short by Rebel Ink Press. I have another one coming out in February called Revving Her Wild Engines, which is a very romantic erotic about two damaged people.

What other books do you have published? Currently my other released is Treats in a Plain Brown Wrapper.

Where are your books available?, Amazon kindle. Barnes & Noble, &

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Interview with Amanda Thrasher

I'm continuing my friend interviews over the next few weeks. This week, I'm featuring my new friend, Amanda Thrasher. I'm proud to say that Amanda & I have a lot in common and I'm thrilled to hosting here at Writer's Sanctuary. Welcome, Amanda!

When did you start writing?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. What sticks in my head, was recognition for a poem that I wrote when I was nine years old and a creative story when I was ten. That poem was saved for years via my mom; it now is hung above my desk. Writing for me, truly is about the love of words. I love words. I love to watch them leap off of a page and come to life. I love to see a story ‘work.’ As a child, poetry and short creative stories were what I wrote for fun. I loved pencils and paper, journals or pads. Being an author is not what I set out to be.

What gave you the idea for your first book?

My very first book was likely build on childhood memories, though the characters are fictional. My first published book was written for a woman I loved dearly, my mother. She was ill, she loved fairies and I wrote her a fairy story, ‘Mischief in the Mushroom Patch.’ She never saw it in print; but she read the first eight chapters and I told her the rest.

What genre do you write?

My published pieces are children’s fantasy; I often refer them to them as fresh new fairy tales. Purposely written with polite characters that are sweet and kind, there’s a lot to be said for kind. There are no scary characters in the Mischief series, purposely written that way, of course. My intent was and is, to take my little readers, into a fantasy mushroom patch that is so real it seems unbelievably, believable. My adult novel I believe would be considered mystery/drama.

What do you do to keep yourself focused?

I think this is a great question! It seems as if I am only truly focused when I am working. I am ninety to nothing on a normal basis. But my writing time is so important to me I schedule it, often daily. When I write I require complete silence. (I know often writers like music etc), but not me. I have to be able to hear myself think. To do that requires a quiet stillness that can only be obtained through scheduled time. If I can’t give 100% of what I feel my work deserves, my art, my words, I will not write that day. On the other hand, if I have scheduled writing time nothing will detract me from it, phone, other to do’s, nothing. It’s too hard to come by, for me. I schedule my time at my desk and will not allow anything to detract me from it. I read the chapter I wrote prior to my new day’s work, to find my rhythm in my flow of thought. For me, it works and makes sense. It has to make sense or for me, it’s a waste of time. I value my time.

Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects

I have an adult novel that I love, but I cannot work on that piece at this time. My children’s pieces take precedence over it. A particular children’s novel I am working right now, of course to me, is phenomenal. But it has to be. Because the truth is, if I don’t love it that much first, how on earth will my little readers love it second? I enjoy the piece I am writing, it still find it exciting. That can only be good, since I am creator of this piece. I have flat pieces, they are finished, but they are flat. The one I am working is not....I like it!

What is your writing process?

My process has always been the same and is the same regardless of the piece(s) I write. (Adult or children’s), and I have absolutely no idea why. It has always been this way and so I wouldn’t have known to question it anyway. Having no intentions of being an author and just writing, why would I? It doesn’t matter what I write, I can visualize the whole thing in my head before I pen it. I haven’t written a word of Mischief 3, and yet I can tell you the whole thing. Right down to the newest character. What the opening scene will be, what the highlight will be, what the disaster will be, who will save the day, how I will close it etc. I even know most of the dialog exchanges.

Every piece I write is like this, though the details often are perfected along the way, the bulk of what I’m doing is laid out prior too, in my head. I carry a common book with my, (much like other writers), twenty four seven and have for years. I have jotted down things such as a name, and by the next day known exactly who the character will be. I’ve jotted down possible scenarios for chapters I’m writing etc. I think most writers do this. My common book is invaluable to anyone else and yet priceless to me.

What is the theme of your novel?

The theme of my newest one, ‘A Fairy Match in the Mushroom Patch,’ I believe is so neat for lots of reasons. First it gently teaches how a colony of ‘fairies’ can work together to overcome a pending disaster and how to have fun in a game one of them is not a fan of. Building unity in the ranks of elders, scientists and fairlings, (my word, fairlings,...I love it ). It also has a very special theme, building confidence and feeling comfortable in your skin. This is based on a lovely character I created named Pearle. She has her own story, a true story and it’s beautiful.

I had written Mischief and a lady I did not know purchased the book at a Barnes & Noble signing. We must have conversed, because weeks later she emailed me. She said, “I loved your book and my daughter would have loved your book.” She went on to say, “Could you consider creating a character with a disability, because my daughter was bound to a chair and she always asked, where are the fairy tales for me.” You can only imagine how I felt when I read that email, it touched me so. I emailed the lady back and said, “If you give me a minute to think, I might be able to do that.”

I had two concerns (a) First and foremost I wanted to be respectful of her request and (b) respectful of my art, my work, which I had already created. (the second book was underway). But I created a beautiful, little fairy named Pearle. Though she can’t walk, she can fly effortlessly. She is in a chariot, her chair, though always referred to as her chariot. The other fairies love her and she loves them. She has no limitations and is accepted by all; but more importantly, she accepts herself. I sent the lady, (Beverly Hutton), sample chapters. I said, “If you approve, I will continue.” Needless to say she loved her too, and Pearle will forever be in the Mushroom Patch, in honor of Jeni. We have done some good things together, with the help of my Mentor, Anne Dunigan, in honor of Jeni.

Do you consciously use symbolism in your book?

I don’t. I would have to say Pearle is the first character or thing, based on something or someone that I know of and she was a unique and special request. If I do, it truly is on a subconscious level. Meaning I do not purposely try to incorporate such.

What is your latest release?

My latest release is ‘A Fairy Match in the Mushroom Patch.’

What other books do you have published?

‘Mischief in the Mushroom Patch.’

Where are your books available? Because both of my titles were picked up by Barnes & Noble, NY, small press division, they are in my local Barnes & Noble, 4801 Overton Ridge Blvd. Fort Worth, TX. 76132 (Children’s Classic Section) The Parks at Arlington, Barnes & Noble. 3881 S. Cooper St. Suite 2027, Arlington, TX 76015,, amazon,, Strategic Book Group and other online stores.

When did you start illustrating?

I was assigned an artist, though I knew exactly what I wanted on my cover. The artist drew what I asked, detail, per detail as best she could.

What media do you use for your covers?

I am with small press; I have no ‘large’ media. I would love media....who wouldn’t.

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