It All Began When He Stole Her Cherries – Interview with @arawrites

Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a movie star…I mean, for real, and have them totally love you back? I love Ara James’s book Cherries because that’s exactly what happens to her heroine, Lia, during the Sundance Film Festival. Of course, romance is always a wild and harrowing ride, so there are many bumps and bruises along the way–not to mention cocktails and hangovers.

Cherries is a featured story on Wattpad and is currently ranked at #7 on the Chicklit Hot List! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this amazing storyteller!

Reading tip: This book totally deserves fuzzy socks, a cozy blanket, and some hot cocoa.

Cherries girl (533x800)

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CHERRIES

Lia has a dream job in Park City as a ski instructor to two amazing young girls. When the girls and their family leave town on short notice, they gift Lia two free passes to the Sundance Film Festival, which makes it hard to stay upset for long. With her best friend Callie in tow, Lia vows to enjoy the festival to the fullest – which includes crashing premiere parties and rubbing elbows with one of Hollywood’s hottest bachelors, Wren Ellison.

A week of carefree partying turns complicated when Callie starts disappearing, Wren pops up around every corner, and Lia realizes that the aspects of her life that she considered most stable are starting to shift out from under her feet.

Lia knows how to handle herself when things go wrong on the mountain. But can she manage when things start to go wrong on the ground?

What sparked the idea for Cherries?

Truthfully – sitting at a bar at a ski resort, bored out of my mind. I wondered: what would it look like to be hit on in a funny way, no sleaziness or blatantly ulterior motives? I first imagined Wren (the leading man) drunkenly stealing cherries from Lia’s drink and being escorted away by a caring friend. When I started writing, Lia’s voice was so strong that I knew the story would be about a lot more than a drunken hook-up. Park City, her job, and her best friend were her world, and I wanted them to carry through the whole story.

In your book, your leading lady falls for a movie star. What movie stars have you fallen for? (I’m a big fan of Thor myself.)

One detail Lia shares with me is her first celebrity crush: John Cusack in ‘Con Air.’ See also: Grosse Point Blank. Nowadays I’m a pretty big fan of Naveen Andrews, John Cho (RIP, Selfie, you were gone too soon), and any of Jane’s romantic interests on Jane the Virgin.

As for Thor – one of my readers envisioned Wren as Chris Hemsworth. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the Marvel actors, honestly. 😉

Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

When it comes to short stories, I’m definitely a pantser. I’ll start with a scene, concept, or even a first sentence, and just see where it goes from there. Usually I can ride that wave for the appropriate several thousand words, and the story chooses its twists and turns (or so I think). Some stories grow bigger as I write them, and as I go along the skeleton plot I imagined turns into something much larger and intricate.

Cherries was a pretty straightforward story until I took an hour-long drive one day and figured out the finer points of the plot and learned some character background I hadn’t known until then. I scrawled out short notes for every chapter on a giant piece of posterboard as soon as I got home.

True story: There were only fifteen planned chapters. I need to learn some self-control.

If you could write in a different genre than your normal one, what would it be and why?

Although my larger ‘plots’ (they’re not books because they don’t exist yet!) have always been YA or NA, I never really saw myself as a Chicklit writer. I don’t prefer to read Chicklit or Romance – instead, I’m a sucker for fantasy, sci-fi, and epics of all sorts. I would really like to write either fantasy or sci-fi in the future, but as I’ve learned on my latest attempt: it involves a ton of world-building. Since I’m used to figuring out the finer points as I go, I need to sort a lot of these things out before I can dive in as much as I’d like. I got to write a fantasy ‘excerpt’ within Cherries which I really enjoyed! I think half the trick is pretending to be a middle-aged classically-educated British man. Preferably writing during World War II, but that part is optional.

How are we going to celebrate when you hit the best seller list?

Oh man! First I will need a mental health check to make sure I’m not hallucinating. After that, I might need to get some comfy shoes for my happy dance. And finally, it would seem only appropriate to toast with some well-made whiskey sours and some delectable baked goods. You can always tell when I’ve been writing hungry, my chapters will be full of amazing sounding food, and Cherries was a whole year’s worth of writing before dinner. 🙂

Cursed Times, Now What? by @lina_hanson

I read Cursed Times-Now What? in about two days. I loved it! Being that I sort of feel like a brainless writer–meaning that I would love to write historical fiction if I weren’t so lazy–I was blown away by the amount of research and attention to detail that Lina put into this book. Rightfully so, this book was awarded a 2015 Watty Award out of 75,000 entries! Congratulations, Lina!

Cursed Times – Now What? by Lina Hanson

From Pyramids to Standing Stones; from the high-tech 21th century Earth to a parallel past full of magic: ‘Cursed Times’ follows the adventures of an extraordinary woman. Trueth, last of the European witches (or so she thinks) sets off on a vacation from hell which starts in an underground temple and goes downhill from there. Together with her new-found friends she solves a 5000-year old riddle and, as a reward, not only gets heart-broken but stranded in an alternative Egyptian civilization.

The place is as full of magic as it is lacking in decent showers. Instead, there is evil lurking just below the surface of the Nile and Trueth will need to embark on yet another world-saving adventure. One that hopefully does not end with a romantic shipping-wreck…

CursedTimes2Read it FREE on Wattpad!

What sparked the idea for the novel?

I’m fascinated by history. Especially the long bloom of the ancient Egyptian civilisation has me intrigued and I read tons of novels over the years. I read less about the witchhunts but I’m still intrigued at what sparked this outburst of inhumanity. It felt natural to combine the two and throw in a lot of humour, which is another thing I like a lot. And cats. Must have cats!

I get  the impression you’re a big traveler. Is it safe to assume you’ve visited the settings of the book?

I have been to Egypt several times, and I lived in Britain and worked in tourism jobs. I really know the country very, very well.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Hm. I use the Scrivener corkboard function to plan the plotline and I plan each chapter in terms of purpose, characters, conflict etc. But things change. A lot. It’s an organic process. I need to have a view of the characters and the purposes and rough outline though. Based on that I’, probably a plantser or potter. Or whatever a hybrid would look like.

I’m a fan of Terry Pratchett and you might notice it. Not in terms of style – I would not remotely aspire to his levels. But I love to couch my opinion of certain ongoings in our world into fiction. There are some clear ‘messages’. I dare say the novel is still highly enjoyable.

If you could write in a different genre than your normal one, what would it be and why?

I shifted from fantasy to paranormal to adventure. I believe I’m writing fantasy adventures. My secret ambition is to write cozy mysteries with a fantasy touch, lighter than the Cursed Times series. Let me just finish this one and I’ll be off on that project.

How are we going to celebrate when you hit the best seller list?

Not sure. I think I would do what I did when I won a Wattys Award – just stare at the screen and go ‘Nah, not possible.’ And then just continue. And secretly be very, very happy. And hope I get tons of money so that I can do some good for at least a few of all the people suffering in this world!

Find Lina on the WWW at:

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I’m Getting DRUNK ON LOVE with @natmarieauthor

If I were to pick a Wattpad author who I think has a similar style to my writing, it would be Natalie Marie, hands down! I love this book. It’s easy to read, it’s fun, and it’s got a love story that will make your toes curl.

Drunk on Love by Natalie Marie

Something old: Her ex-boyfriend, Casey. Something new: His gorgeous wife, Julia. Something borrowed: A slinky, black dress. Something blue: A pair of eyes staring at her like she’s crazy.

Somehow Becca Felix tricked herself into thinking that going to Casey’s wedding was a good idea. It wasn’t. In fact, it was beyond terrible. Not only did she make a fool of herself, but she woke up with a killer hang-over and in bed with his best friend. Cue the awkwardness and watch the sparks fly.

This is a story about letting go, hanging on, realizing who you are and why fate should always come with a pair of blue eyes.

natmarie2Read it FREE on Wattpad

What sparked the idea for Drunk on Love?

Drunk on Love actually started life out as a short story. I was a year out of college and found myself amidst wedding season and several friends starting the next chapter of their lives with their special someones.
There were always reconnection with new people, old acquaintances and a slew of quasi-wedding dates. Becca and Nick’s story was born.

Your book starts with your MC having to attend the wedding of her ex-boyfriend. Oh, the horror! Have you or would you do this?

I have not attended an ex’s wedding, but I have been to a wedding or two where ex’s of guests or the bride or groom were present. It’s the nature of a close knit group of friends and college town I suppose. Would I do
this? I’m not sure. I guess I’ll know if the opportunity presents itself.

I know I tend to weave in parts of my personality into my female lead characters. Do you see any of yourself in Becca?

I think inadvertently there is a bit of me in all of my characters, and my friends for that matter. Like me, Becca enjoys what she does for a living, is close to her family and is a closet romantic.

Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

I’ve tried honorably and adamantly to be a plotter. I have almost OCD-like tendencies in other parts of my life, but aside from very blurry scenes and general plot lines I can’t force my writing. I’m a pantser through and through.

How are we going to celebrate when you hit the best seller list?

This is mind-boggling to even think of this happening. I picture a signing with big cardboard character cutouts and drinks all around to celebrate. Just enjoying the moment with everyone who helped inspire me and make it possible.

Find Natalie Marie on the WWW at:

Wattpad
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Try Your Luck with RUSSIAN ROULETTE by @MayFreighter

Russian Roulette by May Freighter

Soul-bound to a man she cannot trust and hunted by darkness, nineteen-year-old Helena Hawthorn is learning what the world behind the veil of normality is really like.

Desperate to know the fate of her father, Helena ventures into the Angel Realm but never expects that her curiosity would put everyone she loves in danger. An unseen darkness now hunts her, threatening to devour her soul. Believing he might save her, Helena binds her soul to a mysterious vampire called Lucious only to find that he is being hunted by the deadly Vampire Council.

With their lives tied together and emotions stripping their barriers, the Council is coming for her too, the darkness still looms in the shadows … and her guardian angel is nowhere to be found.

So, will she be able to fight the attraction between them and protect those she loves?

HH-RR v5 whiteRead it for FREE on Wattpad now!

What sparked the idea for the Helena Hawthorn series?

When studying Computer Science in university, your imagination tends to go down the drain as mathematical and logical sciences consume your brain. I spent a lot of time staring at the screen and half-listening to my lecturers, or doodling as if my life depended on it to stay awake. Then, one day, I thought: “Why not try meditating. It’ll be fun.”

So, I did try it, and it wasn’t what I expected. What really happened was that I was standing in a white space with a representation of a guarding angel next to me. Yes, I believe guardian angels exist. That is how Helena and Michael were born. I asked him if vampires existed, and he told me they did. So, when I linked my soul-string to one, I got to meet the character people know as ‘Lucious’. After that, I stopped meditating and just wrote Russian Roulette. At some point in the drafts, I had to separate Helena from myself and I’m glad I did. She is her own person now.

Your stories weave in a lot of high-concept fantasy, vampires, and romance. The story often reads like a dream. I wonder if you are a vivid dreamer?

I am indeed. I always dream in colour and find myself inside of people that are doing something. This can range from escaping from bandits that hijacked the train and having to survive in the strange new place city, or a zombie apocalypse, or an experience where things get really steamy. I probably wouldn’t trade vivid dreams for anything … unless it’s a mountain of non-expiring cake.

In this series, you’ve done a lot of world-building, creating this “world behind the veil of reality”. World-building can be tough, what inspired you to create such an elaborate realm?

It took me three years to solidify Helena’s world in my head. It was mainly through the side stories, and a series called “God’s Games”, which I will start after Helena Hawthorn series is over.

As for what inspired me, I grew up watching horror films, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ series, magical anime, and, soon after, I dove into reading Fantasy and Horror. I still remember “The Forbidden Games” by L. J. Smith and the “Saga of Darren Shan” or “Demonata series” as something that kept me clinging to the books I borrowed from the local library. I found those universes to be so fascinating and out of the blue decided to make my own.

Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

Always a plotter until I reach a point where the characters just drive the story. This happened in Demon Gates. The characters simply ignored the plot and did whatever they wanted to do. I didn’t stop them as it was their lives I was watching. And, I can honestly say, I’m glad I didn’t intervene. They made the plot better. They even added their own lore.

Otherwise, I have to know the beginning, middle, and the end. It allows my brain to decide on certain elements in the story and the general direction it will take. The characters and their little schemes take care of the rest.

How are we going to celebrate when you hit the best seller list?

I want to say party but I’m a boring sod during those. Drinking makes me sleepy, so I stick to cola. Instead, we should go to Disneyland. I would want to feel like a kid again.

Where to find May Freighter on the WWW:

www.mayfreighter.com
Facebook
Twitter
Wattpad

Get FEROCIOUS with @LWStuart

This year, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some amazing writers in the Wattpad forums. They have inspired me along my own literary journey, supporting me mentally and professionally through one of the hardest and most exciting years of my life. One of those writers is Leigh W. Stuart.

Leigh has an imagination like a freight train. She gets rolling with an idea and it is full steam ahead! I’m honestly a little jealous. Whether it be monsters or balding truck drivers, this woman can spin a story… leaving her readers on the edge of their seats, upside down, and facing backwards.

A few months ago, I dabbled in her writing with a short she wrote called ‘Strawberry Pickers’. The first line of her blurb for that one told me, ‘Leigh ain’t your average story-teller!’ This is the line:

There were monsters in cages on the lowest floor of the Genieworks building. Other monsters held the keys. –That’s a literary ‘you had me at hello’ line right there.

Her current horror story Ferocious is on my holiday reading list. I invite you to check it out!

Ferocious by Leigh W. Stuart

Five years ago, the brothers Sean and Levi disappeared from the woods
without a trace. The police of Allsbury, Arkansas might have given up their
search, but Brooklyn, one of the boys’ best friends, is still desperate for
answers.

The morning before the boys were taken, Brooklyn began seeing things that
others could not see–things that could not possibly exist. On every
anniversary of the kidnapping since then she is haunted by frightening
images and hallucinations that are getting worse each year and turning into
warnings.

Brooklyn’s search for the truth of what happened to her friends leads her
to the edges of her own sanity and into a fight for survival. Not knowing
whom she can trust, she finds herself the hunted instead of the hunter. And
she will learn that in this town, friendship is deadly.

FerociousFullSizeRead it for FREE on Wattpad

When you’re not writing about balding truck drivers, you write a lot of
horror. What inspires that? Do you love the adrenaline of it?

I’m an eclectic reader which motivates me to write in many different genres, from
romance to comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. In Ferocious, I love
exploring primal fear through my character Brooklyn: not knowing what’s
reality or nightmare, whether or not she can trust anyone, who (or what) is
coming after her, and what happened to her friends who disappeared five
years ago.

I know I’ve got a scary scene right when I feel the need to wrap up in my
fuzzy blanket. Some of my irrational fears that make an appearance in the
book are dark cellars, forests at night, words scratched onto the walls,
abandoned houses, feelings of being watched from the shadows, wondering
what’s under the bed, and little girls singing nursery rhymes!

On a side note, it’s surprising how many women love Earl, the balding
truck driver from Wild Rides!

Favorite scary movie?

I wouldn’t call it a favorite movie, because I only watched it a single time (that was enough), but hands-down The Blair Witch Project is the scariest one I’ve seen. It still freaks me out 15 years after watching it. Never send kids to stand in the corner as a punishment!

Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

I’m actually a ‘connect the dotter!’ Stories are rather like cheese for me. In the beginning I have something rather bland and thin, but by cooking it up and then letting it sit in a cold, dark place, interesting changes happen. I begin to develop
major and minor scenes in my head, as well as basically how the story ends.
Put that together with the main characters, and I can start writing from
dot to dot.

How do you deal with writers block?

I think of it more as a creative hurdle to get over that’s best treated with dark chocolate and red wine. Sometimes I knit or spin to keep my fingers busy, but mostly I use chocolate and wine.

How are we going to celebrate when you make the best seller list?

Let’s all run around naked in the alpine snow, drinking champagne and
screaming at the top of our lungs!

Find Leigh W. Stuart on the WWW at:

Twitter
Wattpad – LeighWStuart
Wattpad – Binding Ties

The Iceberg Theory by @A_VSim

The Iceberg Theory by Ana Simons

“Well, you know what? I’m telling you that story now.” And that would be the story of Sophie Thompson who, in one of those moments life throws you a curve, sets out on an inner journey, a truly emotional roller-coaster ride with all its highs and lows, twists and turns.

She won’t be alone though. A perfect stranger will cross her path, willing to dive headfirst and go there, to that secret place we all have but try to keep safe from everyone’s eye. The thing is, will she let him in?

But there’s always a story behind a story, and sometimes in order to understand one, you have to know the other. And that’s the challenge of ‘The Iceberg Theory’: to make real sense of everything you’re being told…

Cover_FINALRead it for FREE on Wattpad!

What sparked the idea for your book?

The ‘iceberg theory’ itself, which I actually lecture about. It reinforces the idea that our perceptions rarely correspond to the whole truth, because we all hide much more than we allow the others to see. The iceberg analogy, the fact that there’s much more underneath the surface than we actually observe floating on the ocean, underlies the love story between the two main characters.

What is your favorite book and why?

Paul Schatz im Uhrenkasten, by the German author Jan Koneffke, is definitely one of my all-time favorites. Based on real life events, it’s a moving, at times disheartening account of how a Jewish little boy managed to survive the Nazi persecution. Part of it is narrated from the child’s perspective and it’s amazing how the writer, who is nephew to the real ‘Paul’, managed to capture a child’s imaginary and his innocent interpretation of all those shattering events.

In your book “I Love You. So What?” you write from a man’s point of view. How do you get in that frame of mind? Is it hard for you to get inside the brain of a dude?

No, it’s not that hard, but it’s quite a challenge. And I like challenges. A lot. First of all, you need to be crazy enough to believe you can play the part. I don’t know if I can do that well enough, but I do find myself sometimes laughing at my own character and his views, so probably that means that I have it: the necessary degree of insanity. Then we all know the stereotypes, so I start from there; it’s meant to be satirical and funny, so I guess it’s okay to play with all these preconceived ideas people have of men, and of women as well. I also gather characteristics from different people I’ve met along the years, been reading a lot of male magazines lately and, of course, I have my own male private consultant at home.

Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

I’m a total pantser! When I started posting ‘The Iceberg Theory’ I had only written about a dozen chapters, knew how it was supposed to end, but had no detailed, rigid plan for the following parts. Then I began to post as I was writing. Not very professional, I am aware, but I actually think that those segments are better than the initial ones. Knowing that people are already reading it, makes you work harder, I feel.

With my current story “I Love You. So What?” it’s the same: I know where I want my guy to go, but I’ll decide along the way how I want him to get there. Or I won’t, as sometimes I even have the feeling the plot takes on a life of its own…
Well, I write mostly for fun, as a hobby, and the truth is that I really like this feeling that I’m watching it from the first row, that I’m discovering my characters and their adventures and misadventures as I write them.

How are we going to celebrate when you make the best seller list?

LOL. When? Not if? You’re funny. I don’t know, I’ll slap myself a couple of times first just to make sure it is for real? Now seriously: my first novel is set in different locations in Europe and also in the US. Maybe I would visit them all.

And one more thing: I’m hooked on the work of the Broolyn Duo. What they do with a piano and a cello is simply amazing and I have used a lot of their interpretations of well-known songs in the media of ‘The Iceberg Theory’. I’d love to meet them and listen to them perform live.

Find Ana Simmons on the WWW at:

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To Be Her First – A New Novel

To Be Her First – The Prequel to The Bed She Made
GET IT FREE for a limited time!

To Be Her First is the highly anticipated PREQUEL to The Bed She Made. It is available ONLY on Wattpad for the amazing community of readers who have boosted The Bed She Made to the top of the charts!

Thanks to Wattpad…

THE BED SHE MADE is averaging around 2,000 reads PER DAY!

Out of 100 MILLION books, it has been jumping around the top 10 in ChickLit all week!

It has been downloaded in all these countries:
WATTPADSTATS

Accounts are FREE, and if you like to read, you will love Wattpad!

But… about the NEW BOOK!!!

to_be_her_first400To Be Her First – The Prequel to The Bed She Made
For a limited time, get it FREE!

At sixteen, Journey Durant hasn’t yet experienced her first anything. No first boyfriend. No first date. No first kiss. But, that’s all about to change. Two boys at West Emerson High are vying for her attention: the MVP quarterback and the school’s reigning bad boy.

David Britton is the sensible choice. He’s attractive, responsible, and every mother’s dream—including hers. But, David and Journey are from two different social universes where David is the sun in his, and Journey is a moon rock in hers. He’s the most popular guy in school, and Journey is just background noise. She has a hard enough time accepting that he truly wants to be her friend, much less anything more.

And then there’s Steven Drake. Steven has dominated Journey’s fantasy life for as long as she can remember. He has a short list of things he cares about and school, the future, and what anyone thinks of him aren’t on it. Journey finds the element of rebellion he emanates to be intoxicating. But as much as Steven excites her, she knows there’s trouble down that road.

So, who will be her first? Mr. Most Likely to Succeed or Mr. Most Likely to Go to Jail?

Get it FREE now!