#BookTour ‘Christmas Secrets’ #Author Interview @donnahatch

Interview with Author Donna Hatch

  1. Could you tell us something about why you wrote this novel and where the idea, or inspiration, came from.

I’ve been toying with the strangers kissing idea for a couple of years, and have had a few false starts. Finally, I brainstormed the concept with a critique partner. After trying several options, I finally landed on one that worked for me.

2- You are a bestselling author of Regency Romances. Why do you think this genre is so popular 200 years after the original romances were written?

I think there are many reasons. One reason they are popular is due to all the recent movies based on famous historical books such as all the Jane Austen films, North and South with the dreamy Richard Armitage, and many other historical novel adaptations as well as BBC series that take place in historical eras.

Another reason historical romance novels stay popular is because most people read either to relax or escape—which are kinda one in the same. We crave a reprieve from our troubles. The fantasy of vicariously living the life of the very rich, wearing beautiful gowns, having handsome heroes vie for our favor or even dueling over our honor is very appealing, and giving those stories a historical setting furthers the fantasy.

In Regency England, manners were very formal. There was a protocol to everything from how many sets a lady could dance with a gentleman in one evening (two), to what to wear while walking (a walking gown).

I love the eloquent speech used during the Regency and how they also prized wit. My job as a historical novelist is to include witty dialogue in every historical I write. I also love the manners of the Regency: gentlemen stood when a lady entered the room, removed their hats, cleaned up their language, and bowed. Yes, I do wish men still did those things today. Regency men were educated as well as athletic; they rode horses, fenced, and boxed. They were strong, noble and honorable—to the point of being self-sacrificing. And that is why I love them!

3- Have you ever thought about writing another genre, such as contemporary romance?

Not contemporary but I have written a fantasy, which is currently out of print, and I’d like to write more in the future. I also am considering writing young adult fantasy or futuristic/science fiction.

4- What are you writing at the moment?

I am working on book 5 of my Rogue Hearts series, and I’m brainstorming a new series about spies during the Napoleonic Wars.

5- What would you like readers to know about you?

I love chocolate and cute fluffy baby animals.

Here is my official bio: Best-selling author, Donna Hatch, is a hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, the force that drove her to write and publish twenty historical romance titles, including the award-winning “Rogue Hearts Series.”  She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions as well as her six (yes, that is 6) children. Also a music lover, she sings and plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Donna and her family recently transplanted from her native Arizona to the Pacific Northwest where she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Connect with Donna here:

Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~  Goodreads ~ Twitter ~

 

Holly’s two Christmas wishes this year are to finally win her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, and discovering the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss…even if that mystery kisser is the resident Christmas ghost.

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon Canada ~ Amazon Australia ~

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Blog Tour ‘Visions of Zarua’ and #Author Spotlight on Suzanne Rogerson

Visions of Zarua Blog Tour Banner

I’m delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour of Suzanne Rogerson’s debut novel, Visions of Zarua.

This is the last stop on her tour.  You’ll find out more about the novel and the author below. You’ll also be able to take part in a Goodreads Giveaway. Tour schedule:

Blogg Banner Zarua

Blurb: Visions of Zarua

Two wizards, 350 years apart.

Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.

Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

Visions of Zarua Book Cover

To buy links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Kobo

Author Interview

1- Visions of Zarua, is your first published novel. Can you tell us something about your journey into publishing.

Getting Visions of Zarua published has been a long process – 10 years +, though my journey started way before that. I wrote a teen novel when I was 12 and had written two fantasy novels by my early twenties. Since then I’ve completed several fiction home study courses and attended creative writing classes. These helped me become a better writer, but it was the professional critiques and editorial services I paid for that really shaped this book and gave me the confidence to self-publish it.

Over the years I’ve contacted agents and entered many competitions, but looking back the books and short stories I submitted weren’t ready.

When Visions of Zarua was finally finished, I decided not to wait on an agent or publisher’s decision, but to take charge myself and let the reading public decide. Seeing the wonderful comments from readers and reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads, I’m so happy I took that chance. If I hadn’t, I could still be waiting now.

2- Which authors have influenced you most as a writer? 

The author that most influenced me is David Gemmell. Apart from being a master storyteller, he had a way to make you care about every single character no matter how small a part they played. That’s something I love about his books and still keep in mind as I write.

More recently I’ve been influenced by the success of a self-published author Anthony Ryan. He started out like me, before being snapped up by publishers and is now a bestselling author. When I read his first book, Blood Song, I knew I’d found someone worthy of stepping into David Gemmell’s shoes.

3- Someone says, ‘I don’t usually read fantasy novels.’ What would you say to convince them to read you novel?

Fantasy is about so much more than just magic and wizards, that’s what attracts me to the genre. Visions of Zarua has elements of other genres that I love to read; mystery, adventure and a sprinkling of romance.

A recent reviewer called Visions a fantasy detective story, and many others have commented on the mystery side of the story. It’s still a fantasy, but it’s accessible to everyone, not just fans of the genre.

I’ve created characters readers seem to love or hate, and another big plus for this book is that it’s a standalone – no need to wait a year or more to find how things turn out.

Many of the reviews for Visions of Zarua have said it’s a book anyone can enjoy even if you don’t normally read fantasy, and that it’s the perfect introduction to the genre.

 4- Can you tell us something about your main character?

There are several main characters in this book. Paddren is the reluctant hero, forced at every turn by events out of his control, but he’s also guided by a sense of duty and determination to see his master’s killers brought to justice.

Varnia is strong-willed and stubborn, but she’s caring and determined to do what she thinks is right for everyone.

Leyoch’s need to be accepted by society drives him into difficult situations, though he always puts the welfare of others above his own needs.

5- What are you working on now?

A fantasy trilogy ‘Bloodlines’ which has a similar mix of fantasy, mystery and romance. The first book, The Lost Sentinel, will hopefully be published later this year or early 2017.

I also hope to develop a short story into a novella. It’s about a woman whose husband doesn’t return from war, though his body is never found. She has nightmares about him reaching out to her from the battlefield and becomes convinced he’s trying to contact her. Certain he isn’t dead, she enlists the help of a local mystic to find him.

I have several other novels in various stages of planning and first draft, and I’m hoping to reach a point where I can publish a book a year. That means I really should get back to writing now.

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2015 author photo 2015 Zarua

Suzanne Rogerson. Author Profile

 Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

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Suzanne Rogerson’s Social Media links:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

 

If you’d like to win a copy of Visons of Zarua, you can take part in the following Goodreads Giveaway (Click on the banner below):

Giveaway Poster Zarua

 

 

 

#Author Spotlight Jan Ruth and #BookReview ‘Midnight Sky’

Jan Facebook Banner

As you can see in this banner, Jan Ruth has written plenty of novels, although I have discovered her recently, quite by chance, on Facebook and Twitter. I was drawn in by her by her book of Christmas stories, Home for Christmas, which I read over Christmas, and I decided that I liked her writing style, so I went for one of her full-length novels, Midnight Sky, which is part one  of the Midnight Sky Series, and I contacted her at once for an author spotlight, because I enjoyed it so much, but first my review.

*****

Midnight Sky is a contemporary family drama and romance, with touches of humour, which lighten some of the intense moments.

The plot revolves around the lives of Laura, her partner Simon, and her sister Maggie’s family, on the one hand, and James, a brooding horse whisperer, who is dealing with many personal issues, on the other.

I loved the setting, partly in Chester, but mainly in Rowen, a small village in the Welsh countryside, and the nearby beaches, farmland, cottages, country lanes and Victorian houses, pictured from freezing January, when the story starts, through to the warm summer, when the novel ends. It was also enlightening and heart-warming to watch James at work with his troubled horses on the farm.

Jan Ruth 1

Laura is an interior decorator who works with her partner in a successful business. Life seems to be perfect, but really, Laura is stuck in a dead-end relationship with Simon, whose ex-wife and two children often seem to be more important for him than Laura. Laura would like to have a family, but Simon already has children, and this brings great conflict to their relationship.

Laura’s sister, Maggie, introduces Laura to James’ sister Liz, and Laura and Simon are employed to refurbish their cottages. James is unfriendly at first because he’s against any type of change on his farm, and we’ll discover that part of the reason for his moody nature is that he is still mourning the loss of his wife, Cary, in tragic circumstances, two years earlier.

Laura and James gradually connect, and after some heartache and strife, both their lives become intertwined. Their friendship slowly develops into love, and the novel has a satisfactory ending, however, there is room for a sequel, and I’m delighted to hear that part two is due out this month, and that there’s also a part three. (I’ve already read part two Palomino Sky, since writing this review. I’ll be reviewing here soon)

I enjoy reading character driven novels, and there are plenty of lively and well-drawn secondary characters, such as James’ Bossy sister, Liz, and Maggie’s stoic and secretive husband, Pete. Another vibrant character is Laura’s niece, Jess, a rebellious teenager who has a crush on James, and provokes many of the hilarious situations in the novel, sometimes on the farm, where she helps with the horses, and often at the pub, leading to many memorable scenes!

I highly recommend. It was a pleasure to read.

Especially for lovers of romance, passion, and complex family relationships.

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Midnight Sky Cover EBOOK Palomino Sky Cover MEDIUM WEB

Here’s Jan Roth’s Interview.

  • I’ve read Midnight Sky and Palomino Sky, and I’m looking forward to book three, but could you tell us something about your previous novels?

My previous novels stay with the family-saga theme; they’re a blend of rural and city, business and countryside, with the family dynamic central to the story line. I think my sequels (Palomino Sky and Dark Water) have steered away slightly from the original genre by bringing in a grittier thread as both books feature crime and some suspense.

  • Your fiction has a very contemporary setting, how much of your novels, especially people and places, is based on personal experience?

The places are real, they do exist! I think the characters are a cocktail of people I’ve encountered in my life. As a writer we tend to draw on experience whether consciously or not. Oh, and that goes for the horses and dogs too.
I moved from Cheshire to Snowdonia, North Wales, about fifteen years ago and it kick-started my writing in a big way. I love the landscape here and use it almost as a character in its own right.

  • I know you’re working on part three of the series, when will it be published? What can you tell us about it? Is it the end of the series?

I’m currently writing part three of the Wild Water series, Silent Water and yes, the end of that series. I think three is enough where the main plot line revolves around two characters coming together. I’ve read series where they’ve become too lightweight and watered down even by book two, or the original characters are forgotten and new ones take their place; sons and daughters of…etc. I don’t want to do that. I want to keep the three books tight and rich with story. Part three of the Midnight series will be Strawberry Sky… I do think there’s a lot more to come with James and Laura, Jess and Sam, Pete and Maggie. Their story isn’t quite complete. I’m hoping to start this one next year.
Silent Water will be published spring/early summer.

  • What are you planning on writing after the Midnight Sky Series?

After Silent Water, my current work-in-progress, I’m liking the idea of a set of novellas called The Heart series.First consideration will be Christmas Heart. No, not a fluffy thing, you know me better than that! But it will be – hopefully – funny. I always find hiking groups full of eccentrics and believe me, I’ve done the research! So I have a vague outline around a walking holiday. And Christmas teams well with observational humour. Add some pathos and a few baubles along the way and I think I may enjoy this after writing two full-length, more serious tomes for the previous two years. And for contrast, I like the idea of Celtic Heart and Ancient Heart, exploring the idea of a historical time-slip.

  • I recently wrote a post about the prejudice against self-published authors. You’ve had the experience of working with a traditional publisher and as an independent author, which would you say are the advantages and downside of both types of publishing?

This is a huge subject, and each and every author will have a different experience so whatever I say here applies specifically to me and my material. I think there are still misconceptions about self-publishing, especially amongst the die hard traditionalists who’ve always had an agent or a publisher. There’s also confusion over vanity publishing and those self published books produced to a poor standard. The advantage of a small to medium size publisher is that your material will be edited and published for free. The disadvantages? Everything else. There is nothing a small publisher can do for you which you can’t do for yourself – and thus keep not only the royalties but full control over your material from the covers to your branding. I thought a traditional publisher would know more than me and therefore sell more of my books than I could by increasing my visibility with serious marketing.
Full story here: https://janruthblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/publishing-a-lot-of-smoke-and-mirrors/

  • You’re very active on social media, especially on Facebook, where you manage a public group called Readers and Writers UK, how important are social media for writers?

I suspect it as much about establishing support and sharing information amongst fellow authors, as it is to sell books. We’re selling on on-line product, so we need to be on-line, otherwise no one will discover our books!

  • What would you like readers to know about you in a couple of sentences? 

I live in Snowdonia, North Wales. I write contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic with a generous helping of humour, horses and dogs. My books blend the serenities of rural life with the headaches of city business, exploring the endless complexities of relationships.

Grey Horse

  • You’re a very experienced self-published author, the most experienced I’ve ever had on my blog. Could you tell us about how you became a writer?

The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. I failed all things mathematical and scientific, and to this day I struggle to make sense of anything numerical.

My first novel – written in 1986 – attracted the attention of an agent who was trying to set up her own company, Love Stories Ltd. It was a project aiming to champion those books of substance which contained a romantic element but were perhaps directed towards the more mature reader and consistently fell through the net in traditional publishing. Sadly, the project failed to get the right financial backing.

Many years later, my second novel, Wild Water, was taken on by Jane Judd, literary agent. Judd was a huge inspiration, but the book failed to find the right niche with a publisher. It didn’t fall into a specific category and, narrated mostly from the male viewpoint, it was considered out of genre for most publishers and too much of a risk.

Amazon changed the face of the industry with the advent of self-publishing; opening up the market for readers to decide the fate of those previously spurned novels. I went on to successfully publish several works of fiction and short story collections and after a brief partnership with Access Press in 2015, I returned to the freedom of independent publishing.

Fiction which does not fall neatly into a pigeon hole has always been the most difficult to define. In the old days such books wouldn’t be allowed shelf space if they didn’t slot immediately into a commercial list. As an author I have been described as a combination of literary-contemporary-romantic-comedy-rural-realism-family-saga; oh, and with an occasional criminal twist and a lot of the time, written from the male viewpoint.

No question my books are Contemporary. Family and Realism; these two must surely go hand-in-hand, yes? So, although you’ll discover plenty of escapism, I hope you’ll also be able to relate to my characters as they stumble through a minefield of relationships. I hesitate to use the word romance. It’s a misunderstood and mistreated word and despite the huge part it plays in the market, attracts an element of disdain. If romance says young, fluffy and something to avoid, maybe my novels will change your mind since many of my central characters are in their forties and fifties. Grown-up love is rather different, and this is where I try to bring that sense of realism into play without compromising the escapism.

How can readers contact you or find out more?

Jan’s Facebook
Jan’s Twitter

Where can readers purchase your novels? 

On my Website
On Amazon

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Thank you so much for visiting my blog, it was a pleasure to read about your work and your publishing experience. I’m looking forward to reading the Wild Water Series, and the Heart Series sounds intriguing 🙂