Tag Archives: meet the author

Meet the Author – Joyce T. Strand

Joyce-Strand2Joyce T. Strand writes contemporary and historical mysteries set in San Francisco, the Sonoma wine country,  or Southern California. Her most recent release, The Reporter’s Story, features a young female reporter in 1912 San Francisco drawn into murder and intrigue as she tries to get the story that will propel her to become a world-class reporter. It is Strand’s seventh published novel. When she’s not writing, she loves to attend live theatre productions, especially Broadway musicals. She lives in Southern California with her cow statuary, two cats, and her muse, the roadrunner


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About The Reporter’s Story

A house burglary in 1912 San Francisco that the victim denies happening piques Emma Matheson’s reporter instincts. Why would a not-so-wealthy businessman deny that recovered loot was his and forego collecting his $8,000 worth of stolen jewelry? Why did he fire his maid and butler who originally reported the theft? The more she pursues the burglary that wasn’t a burglary, the more she sees it as a major story, involving murder, intrigue, and smuggling. Can she solve it and write the story that could project her to become the world-famous reporter she so covets? Or will she become one of its victims?

Additional info about Emma:  Emma Matheson is a young woman determined to be a star front-page reporter despite the bias against women in her day.Her mother died when she was born. She was reared by her father who runs a newspaper in Sacramento. She grew up learning about the newspaper business. Her father valued education and insisted she attend university before starting her career. She is bright, determined, a great writer — but a bit naive.

One on One with Joyce T. Strand…

So Joyce, what genres and authors do you enjoy reading?

I read mostly mysteries. My favorite authors include John Grisham, who spins a great story while showcasing some real dangers that could occur in our lives. I also enjoy Michael Connelly’s LAPD Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch and criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller; both series are compelling procedurals. And I can get easily engrossed in spy thrillers, such as those written by Tom Clancy (OK, maybe I skip some of the technical description), Robert Ludlum (I once counted 14 shootings in the first two pages), or John le Carré. And Stieg Larsson’s  tales of Lisbeth Sanders held me spellbound.

However, my most favorite novel ever is James Clavell’s historical novel about medieval Japan, Shogun.  Although a historical novel and not technically a mystery, it had many elements that I enjoy from a mystery – great puzzles along with fascinating characters and big plot.

With so many interests, what genres do you write in? What age groups are your books for?

I write contemporary mysteries along the lines of Mary Higgins Clark and historical mysteries similar to Eric Larson,  so I guess that might be two genres, given the amount of history I include in my mysteries set in the past. I target adult women as readers. Although there is little that would offend a younger reader, I write from who I am – an older adult woman. I don’t consider my books particularly edgy or hip..

So tell us a little about your most recent release. Where did you get your inspiration?

All of my mysteries are inspired by either a real crime case for my contemporary mysteries, or a real person, for my historical mysteries.  In The Reporter’s Story, I wanted to feature a female reporter in the early 20th century because I believed she would make a compelling amateur sleuth. I discovered Marjorie C. Driscoll, a real reporter who originally worked for William Randolph Hearst and then in 1921 joined the San Francisco Chronicle, a competitive newspaper to Mr. Hearst’s. She eventually moved south to the Los Angeles Times where she became a respected front-page contributor. A graduate of Stanford University in 1913, Driscoll wrote an article in The Stanford Illustrated Review in 1920, titled “In the Newspaper Field” that describes the features of a successful reporter, including the mantra “know a little of everything. My fictional reporter, Emma Matheson, follows the approach and values of the real-life reporter Driscoll as she pursues the mystery of a house burglary that the victim denies happened, leading to some precarious situations..

And what are you working on now?

I am currently drafting the final novel in my Brynn Bancroft mystery trio.  Brynn is a spinoff character from my first three contemporary mysteries. She served as a Chief Financial Officer at a small biotech company in Silicon Valley, but departed to manage a winery in Sonoma with her ex-husband. The first two mysteries of the trio, Hilltop Sunset and Landscape for Murder are both standalone as is the one I’m currently writing, but we see familiar characters in all three. It’s fun writing about wine country and the making of wine.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes you? What does your work space look like? Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?

Although I don’t outline, I definitely “plot out” my story, and the more plot points I conceive, the faster the writing process. I admit that sometimes my characters get away from me and explore ideas I haven’t considered, but on the whole when I sit down to write I know the opening scene, the puzzle part of the mystery, a sub-pot, and how it will weave together in the end. Red herrings are most likely to pop up as I write. Also, I usually do research prior to writing.

My work space is basically any chair and my lap top. I do EVERYTHING on my lap top (lightweight MacBook Air). When I’m writing a first draft, I set a goal of writing a minimum of 3,000 words a day no matter how good and no matter where they might fall in the story. I always write at least 90,000 words per first draft of a book, aware that I will want to cut.  I count on my editors to tell me how much!

What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel?

I have two difficulties when writing a novel: the first is knowing what NOT to include. For example, I love history and enjoy finding out how people lived in the past. But as my editor tells me, I need to exclude much of it so that I can get on with the mystery. Second, I also find it difficult to write a compelling conclusion. I sometimes revert to Hercule Poirot’s get-everyone-in-the-drawing-room to make sure the reader knows the mystery’s solution.

What about the easiest? What parts of the writing process just feel natural for you?

Writing itself comes easy most of the time, so long as I know where I’m headed with the story. If I don’t have the plot points, then it can be difficult. But I’ve always found writing therapeutic. It’s fulfilling to type words on a blank page that are meaningful.


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Now, your debut novel is making some waves. Can you tell us about it?

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about my
contemporary and historical mysteries set in California. I’m excited about my
newest release, The Reporter’s Story, which features a young female reporter in 1912 San Francisco who, in her quest to become a world class reporter, encounters murder and intrigue.  And I hope you’ll follow my contemporary protagonist, winemaker Brynn Bancroft, in her final novel coming out in November. She’s sure to encounter a murder or two.

Thank-you Joyce, for taking the time to talk to us.


Joyce is currently on a blog tour.

To find out more, visit these links

  Webpage Blog Facebook Goodreads Twitter

  • 1st Prize: Kindle Fire 7” WiFi 8GB Black plus ebook or paperback copy of The Reporters Story
  • 2nd Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of The Reporters Story
  • 3rd Prize: ebook or paperback copy of The Reporters Story




Meet the Author – CJ Bolyne

CJ Bolyne - headshotPlease welcome CJ Bolyne, author of the Trinity Trilogy the most recent release being ‘Guardians – Victory or Defeat’, the third and final book of the series. The first one is called ‘Trinity’, the second is ‘Anords – Tyranny’. She comes from rural Manitoba, just outside of Steinbach.

What genres and authors do you enjoy reading?

I like to read fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal and historical. I love fiction!

 What genres do you write in? What age groups are your books for?

I write fantasy, sci-fi, and ancient history. The age group range from mid teens-adult.

Tell us a little about your most recent release. Where did you get your inspiration?

My most recent release is the third book in a trilogy called ‘Guardians: Victory or Defeat. Although I have a new book soon to be released called Ancient Origins – Discovery. My inspiration comes from my imagination and my curiousness for all things mythical.

What are you working on now?

I am working on three different books right now. One is about witches and warlocks, one is a second book to Ancient Origins series and one on a subject I won’t discuss at this time………..

Tell us about your creative process. Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes you? What does your work space look like? Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?

An idea pops into my mind and I wonder….what if? Most of the time I start a story and write a chapter or two before I begin to write notes on what I want to write next on the story just to keep things straight.

I have, however, written by the seat of my pants, so to speak. In fact, Ancient Origins, book 1 was just that.

I like to keep a fairly neat and organized work space. Anything too chaotic and I can’t concentrate very well. In fact, I need to make sure my house is presentable also. I like to have a clear mind when I write.

What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel?

I find that if writer’s block sets in, I’m very frustrated. It does pass though, but if it comes I panic a bit.

What about the easiest? What parts of the writing process just feel natural for you?

The easiest part of writing is coming up with a story. My imagination is vast and writing just feels natural itself. I am glad I didn’t put off writing any longer than I did.

Thank you to CJ for joining us today.

CJ Bolyne - books

You can find the Trinity Trilogy on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Lulu and most recently, Createspace. For more information, please visit  her website at cjbolyne.com

Meet the Author – Geralyn Wichers

geralyn wichers - author photoPlease welcome author and blogger, Geralyn Wichers. She is celebrating the release of her second novel, Sons of Earth, a Sci-fi story about a clone discovering his humanity. She also wrote post-apocalyptic love story, We are the Living. When not writing, Geralyn can be found running down the sidewalks and trails of Steinbach, Manitoba.

What genres and authors do you enjoy reading?

I could never pin myself to one genre, but anything speculative appeals to me–particularly dystopian. Classic fantasy is what really got me started on spec fiction. Right now I’m rediscovering the Chronicles of Narnia. At work, I lug around all seven volumes in one. I get a few funny looks.

I also ready leadership and self-development books. Recently I read Leadership Lessons from the Age of Fighting Sail by Chris Brady. It was fantastic. I’d recommend it for students of leadership, or history buffs.

What genres do you write in? What age groups are your books for?

I write under the umbrella of “speculative” for adults. My first novel, We are the Living, was post-apocalyptic (read, zombies). Sons of Earth tends more toward sci-fi. I’ve dabbled in fantasy, and hope to return to it soon.

Tell us a little about your most recent release. Where did you get your inspiration?

Sons of Earth was inspired by my work in Pharmaceutical manufacturing. I got this thought: “What if we were manufacturing human clones?” And then I wondered, “We work with such strict parameters. ‘Reject’ medication gets thrown out. What would happen to ‘reject’ clones?” That’s what sparked the idea–the idea of ‘garbage’ human clones.

What are you working on now?

I just released Sons of Earth, so I’m just in the pause between projects. There’s a bit of gear-grinding going on in my head. I’d put a series (started during National Novel Writing Month 2014) on hold to finish production, so I’ll be taking that up again. It will be nice to work with original material again. This will be a series about a secret society of immortals, living among us.

 Tell us about your creative process. Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes you? What does your workspace look like? Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?

As I mentioned, I get the thought ‘What if…?’ and that thought ruminates, and turns over and over and gains size like a snowball rolling down hill. If it works out well in my head, I’ll keep building and fleshing it out into a chapter by chapter outline, which I follow loosely during the first draft.

My workspace is where ever I put my laptop down. 🙂 Generally at the kitchen table. I nearly always have noise–in fact, to concentrate I’ll take my laptop to McDonalds. Something about the buzz of people helps me do my best work.

What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel?

Self-doubt! And after that, self-discipline. Since I work full time, it can be difficult to schedule time to write, even though I desperately want to write.

What about the easiest? What parts of the writing process just feel natural for you?

I find writing dialogue the best part. I love to write out conversations, particularly ones that are snappy and full of sarcasm. I’ll read over them and laugh at my own jokes. I hope other people laugh too! I also love to lie in bed and dream up scenes in my head, hear them, picture them, and almost ‘act them out’.

Thanks to Geralyn for joining us today.

geralyn wichers - books






You can find Sons of Earth and We are the Living on Amazon. Check out Geralyn’s Blog, where she writes about adventures in relationships, running, personal-development, and general mayhem, at childrenofthewords.com. You can also find samples of her books and further information at that site.

Meet the Author – Doreen Pchajek

Doreen Pchajek- headshotWith us today we have Doreen Pchajek a first-time writer from Ste. Anne, Manitoba. Doreen’s book, Ultimate Tragedy tells the story of her experiences after suffering the devastating loss of her only daughter in a car accident. Besides writing the book, Doreen also established the Stacey Pchajek Memorial Foundation, a registered Canadian Charity which gives scholarships, bursaries & prizes in her daughter’s memory. Thank you for joining us today, Doreen.

 What genres and authors do you enjoy reading?

 I used to really enjoy reading suspense thrillers and mystery novels. Since the accident though I find it very difficult to read as I have a great deal of difficulty with memory & concentration. There are so many great books out there right now that I’d love to read; if only I could read like I used to!  My favorite authors are Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

What genres do you write in? What age groups are your books for?

 So far the only book that I have written is non-fiction and it is for age 16 and up.

Tell us a little about your book. Where did you get your inspiration?

 I had always enjoyed writing and there were many people who told me that I had a talent for writing. My daughter Stacey told me often, “You should write a book mom.” The possibility of writing a book had always been somewhere in the back of my mind. However I always seemed to be so busy being a wife and mother so it was just something to think about down the road.

When Stacey died at the age of thirteen, our whole family’s lives were thrown into turmoil. After going through six very difficult years it occurred to me that by putting my experiences into a book it could help others who are going through a similar tragedy and at the same time help others to understand what bereaved parents go through.

What are you working on now?

 Right now I’ve been kept busy raising money for my daughter’s memorial foundation which is very important to me. However, I am currently contemplating writing another book. I’m just not sure if it will be another non-fiction or something else.

Tell us about your creative process.

 Since my book was based on my own actual experiences it didn’t really involve a lot of creativity. Writing non-fiction stories does involve some creativity though as you still have to tell the story in a way that captivates your audience.

Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes you?

 Yes, my story was definitely outlined and since I have difficulty with memory I had to rely on help from family members. Together we put everything in point form in chronologic order and I worked from there.

What does your workspace look like?

 My workspace is usually quite messy with papers all over the place. Every so often I have to clean it up so I can find things.

Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?

 As for quirks or odd habits most of the things I like to do while writing are pretty normal. Except that I like to write at night when everyone else is sleeping. Since the accident I don’t sleep well at night. I am usually ready to fall asleep about the time that everyone else is waking up. I think that I kind of like to be alone in my thoughts.

What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel? What about the easiest? What’s your favorite part?

 Writing Ultimate Tragedy was extremely difficult for me; especially when I was reading Stacey’s hospital chart. The easiest part was knowing that it could help so many other people. My favorite part was seeing the actual finished product.

Thank you for sharing with us today Doreen Pchajek.

You can find Doreen’s book on Amazon.

Doreen Pchajek- books



Meet the Author – Celesta Thiessen

Celesta Thiessen -  headshotWith us today we have Celesta Thiessen a writer hailing from Steinbach, Manitoba. Celesta is a published author of over 20 books. Her other achievements include currently raising two young kids and working with her husband on their iPad app creation business, Visions Encoded. Thank you for joining us today, Celesta.

What genres and authors do you enjoy reading?

 I really enjoy reading clean science fiction and fantasy. Sometimes I read middle grade or young adult science fiction and fantasy. I also enjoy Christian speculative fiction, which is fantasy and science fiction from the Christian worldview. My favorite author is Kathy Tyers who wrote the Firebird trilogy.

 What genres do you write in? What age groups are your books for?

 I have written books for elementary age children, middle school readers, young adults, and adults. My books are mostly science fiction and fantasy. Prince Jade, a young adult fantasy, is my favorite fantasy book that I’ve written. The Dragon Warrior and the Princess, a space opera for adults, is my favorite science fiction book that I’ve written.

 Tell us a little about your most recent release. Where did you get your inspiration?

 My most recent release is called, Whispers of a Faded Dreamer. I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time now. I get most of my story ideas from my daydreams and that’s where this one came from. The idea is that you can get paid to sleep because wouldn’t that be fantastic? I think I first started contemplating the story in high school or it may have even been in junior high. The story has evolved over time. Even from the time I started writing it to the completion of the story the plot changed significantly.

 What are you working on now?

 I’ve written a series for children called, The Super Seven. So far, there are five books in this series. I am now working on the next book, which doesn’t have a title yet. I want to write two more books to complete The Super Seven series.

 Tell us about your creative process.

Most people assume that because I’m a writer and a published author that I find writing easy and fun. I don’t. I love the ideas in my head. I love holding my finished book in my hand. It’s everything in between that I find difficult. So my creative process looks like trying to figure out ways to get myself to actually write the story and then to edit it.

I have found joining different writing groups or participating in writing challenges to be helpful in getting myself inspired to write the story. I wrote my first novel during NaNoWriMo 2010. Now, I write a novel during this writing challenge each year. Also, participating in the 3 Day Novel Contest has been helpful for my productivity. I have written most of The Super Seven series during 3 Day Novel Contests.

Having accountability with writer friends has also been very beneficial. I meet with a local writers group in Steinbach where we read our stories to each other. It’s great hearing someone’s reaction to your story and looking at them to see their facial expression during the story. It really gives you a good idea about what kind of effect your story is having on people.

Recently I have bought the program Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance. This is a new part of my creative process, something that I’m starting to try out to help myself get excited about writing. With this program I can speak the story instead of having to type it. Some people say they have found Dragon Naturally Speaking to be very beneficial for their productivity. For me, that remains to be seen. So far, it is an interesting novelty. So the most important part of the creative process for me is feeling the inspiration and energy to be able to write.

 Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes you?

 As for being either a pantser or a plotter, I am more of a pantser. A pantser is someone that basically flies by the seat of their pants as they write, meaning they don’t really have an outline that they’re following. I like to go where the story takes me. Most often, I do have a general idea before I start though. It’s important to have a setting and characters in mind. I also like to have a beginning for the story in my head as well the major problem and how that problem is addressed so I will know how to start and where I’m trying to go.

What does your workspace look like?

 I’m very lucky I have my own office where I do my writing. I would like to say that my office is neat and organized with a place for everything and everything in its place. However, the reality is that my office is usually a mess. Sometimes even finding a spot on my desk for my laptop can be a challenge. On the wall in front of my desk I have dozens of sticky notes, small posters and cards from friends displaying motivational notes, phrases and Bible verses. I like having these words nearby. When I am feeling tired or discouraged I read these notes and verses and then the inspiration comes back.

Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?

 As for quirks or odd habits most of the things I like to do while writing are pretty normal. I like to have a cup of tea, for instance. I guess some of the things I do are a little unusual. One thing that’s a little unusual is that I prefer wearing something red when I’m writing. I find the color red inspirational. And I guess I do have a weird thing that I do during the writing process. I like bouncing while I think about the story. Before I got a knee injury, I used to jump on my trampoline while I worked out the story in my head. Since I am unable to do that now I had to find a new way to bounce. So now I have what’s called a Bounce Back Fitness chair – it’s chair where I can sit and bounce. I wrote about my Bounce Back Fitness Chair on my blog. My Bounce Back Fitness chair not only helps me think through my stories but also helps my mood a lot!

What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel? What about the easiest? What’s your favorite part?

 As I mentioned earlier, I find the whole process of writing a novel difficult. I suppose the most difficult part of writing the story is the middle. At the start of the story I still have excitement and drive and also some knowledge of what will happen in the beginning. At the ending of the story I’m excited because I also usually know the ending and am excited to be almost done the story. The middle is kind of a no-man’s-land of I-don’t-know-what’s-going-to-happen and despairing of ever getting the story done. My favorite part is when I open a box and see the physical copy of my book for the first time. I just love spinning nothing into stories – stories that can light the way to a different world.

 Thank you for sharing with us today Celesta Thiessen.

Celesta Thiessen -  books

You can find Celesta’s books on Amazon and other e-book retailers such as Kobo, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble.

Meet the Author – Robert Stermscheg

Robert Stermscheg - headshotI’m pleased to introduce Robert Stermscheg, writer and translator.

Robert was born in Maribor, Yugoslavia, at a time when the Communist regime carried a powerful influence. His father, an electrical engineer, wished no part of the communist system and moved his family, initially to West Germany, and several years later, to Canada.  Robert’s father ensured that he maintain his German language, an asset that would prove beneficial many years later.

Robert embarked on a career with the Winnipeg Police Service, spanning twenty eight years. It’s fair to say that he developed his craft writing reports, crown briefs and other documents, although his passion lay in translation and historical fiction.

Once retired, Robert took to the challenge by translating a prolific German author, Karl May, into modern English. He started with The Prussian Lieutenant, followed up with The Marabout’s Secret and just completed Buried Secrets.

What genres and authors do you enjoy reading?

 I particularly enjoy murder mysteries, historical fiction and biographies. I’ve read PD James, Anne Perry, Dick Francis, and just recently finished Laura Hillenbrand’s biography of Louis Zamperini, entitled Unbroken.

What genres do you write in?

 I’m partial to historical fiction, which is where I got my start. Karl May wrote extensively in the genre of historical fiction.

Tell us about your most recent release. Where did you get your inspiration?

My most recent release (translation), Buried Secrets, is the third installment in The Hussar’s Love series by Karl May. It takes place in the 1870s, and was penned by May in the late 1880s in serial format. Although I’ve written most of my adult life, I’ve recently discovered a skill for translating.

What are you working on now?

 I’ve spent the last two years researching and writing a WWII mystery/thriller, entitled, Stealth. It takes place in the last stages of the war. Although Hitler knows he’s lost the war, he is desperate to send the Allies one final message. Using a prototype aircraft, the Horten bomber, he intends on sending a ‘special’ package to London, one that Churchill won’t soon forget. The story has elements of history, but it also has that human element, pitting a ruthless Gestapo officer against an American pilot, determined to thwart their effort.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes place? What does your work space look like?

 I’m much more organized than I used to be. For example, I used to get an idea, make a few notes, and then simply run with it. That might work for small projects, but when it comes to working on a full-length novel, say 100,000 words or more, you have to have structure. Now I spend far more time outlining the plot, developing a comprehensive list of characters, complete with physical description, bio history and psyche profile.

This doesn’t mean that I confine myself to going from start to finish, with no inclusions or changes until I’ve completed the manuscript. As a writer, you have to have the freedom to jump back to a previous setting or scene, insert a new character (if that person enhances the story) or modify a scene, even deleting one.

In terms of habits or quirks, I really work on being open to new ideas, not limiting myself to what has worked in the past, or for other writers. In many aspects, I guess you could say I’m more traditional in my writing regiment. I write at home on my lap top, rarely in a coffee shop. I also find that I’m most productive in the morning. I also know of writers who start writing late at night until the wee hours. It might work for them, but not for me.

 What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel?

 For me, the easiest is getting started. Once I’ve developed the story outline and list of characters, I get going with gusto. But then, when I run out of steam, or get side-tracked by the countless things around us (bills, maintaining a home, not feeling well, family commitments, not to mention work –most of us have day jobs), I find that I’ve lost the initial inspiration and it now becomes more like work. Uggh! (Robert grimaces)

What was the easiest? What parts of the writing process just feel natural for you?

As I’ve already mentioned, getting started on a new project carries with it the excitement of a new work, exploring characters and how the story will unfold. All the drama is just waiting to happen. That’s the part that, in my opinion, all of us look forward to.

 Any highlights?

 Of course. The first time your book is proudly displayed on a table in a bookstore. You gaze at the finished product in wonder, remembering all the hard work that went into it. But then, one or two weeks later, your pride and joy is relegated to a less prominent spot on a shelf, replaced by the latest New York Times bestseller. But at least you had your moment of fame. (laughs)

I should mention that one of my favourite accomplishments and fondest memories as a writer, was collaborating with my father on his memoir. I choose the title: POW #74324 (his actual number!) My father, John Stermscheg, was a prisoner of WWII, captured by the Germans and imprisoned in Stalag IIIC. Fortunately he survived, and I felt privileged to be able to write his biography. It was my way of honoring him. I was grinning from ear to ear when I presented him with the first copy, coinciding with his 90th birthday.

That’s great. Thanks for sharing your insights.

Robert Stermscheg - books

Robert Stermscheg lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. You can find his titles on Amazon, Smashwords and Kobo. A softcover version of his titles is available at Chapters, Indigo as well as McNally-Robinson.

For more information, visit his website. www.robertstermscheg.com

Meet the Author – Casia Schreyer

casia schreyer -  headshotCasia Schreyer is an author from rural Manitoba. She is married with two children and has been focusing on her family and her writing.

So Casia, what genres and authors do you enjoy reading?

I’ll read anything, really. I prefer fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, I guess but I also like suspense, intrigue, thriller, bizzaro, mystery, general fiction, and even the occasional romance. More than anything right now I read children’s books with my kids.

As to authors, where to start? We just lost Terry Prachet, he was one of my favourites. Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Anne Bishop, Laurel K Hamilton, Orson Scott Card, HJ Bradley, Ashlyn Forge … I don’t think I’m even scratching the surface!

With so many interests, what genres do you write in? What age groups are your books for?

Again I prefer fantasy and science fiction. I don’t think I’d be very good at horror though. I’ve also written YA contemporary. Mostly I write for 16+, some are targeted at the YA audience but not all.

So tell us a little about your most recent release. Where did you get your inspiration?

My most recent release was ReImagined which is a collection of poetry and stories from before my debut novel. When it comes to a collection inspiration comes from everywhere. So far it’s getting good reviews with a poet I know saying the poems are very good, and a reluctant reader I know saying he can’t put it down.

And what are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on Rose in the Dark, a fantasy romance. It’s good, clean, romance for young adult readers and anyone who isn’t interested in a lot of sexual content in their books. Not that I have a problem with that, it’s just fit with this story.

Rose in the Dark is the first of five books in the Rose Garden series.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes you? What does your work space look like? Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?

Ha, okay, let’s start with the easy questions. My writing space looks like the rest of my house, a mess! With two kids I tend to write wherever and whenever I can. I sit outside while they’re playing or I work at the kitchen table, or sometimes even in my office. I do a lot of my first drafts by hand so that I can spend more time being around my kids while I work. I guess that counts as a habit too, right? My quirk is rewarding myself with chocolate, but only in the spring when I can get chocolate eggs really cheap, or at Christmas time when I can get those foil wrapped chocolate balls.

My creative process is complicated but it’s based around the outline. I always outline but my outline is a living, breathing thing. I add to it, cross things out, change dates, move scenes around, anything to accommodate the growth of the characters and the story. I guess my outline is more like a record of ideas and a way to keep them straight. I’ll be adding to my outline right up until the end of the writing process. And then I use the outline to help with the story coherency part of the editing process.

What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel?

Endings. Scene endings, the end of the book, endings are hardest for me by far. I can write a snazzy opening line or scene, but where to cut the chapter or scene off? That’s a lot harder.

What about the easiest? What parts of the writing process just feel natural for you?

I love world building and developing characters. I have tons of material that will never make it into any book because it’s just me getting to know my world or my characters.

Now, your debut novel is making some waves. Can you tell us about it?

Nothing Everything Nothing is about a sixteen year old girl who is striving to be popular but ends up in a very toxic situation. I was inspired by my cousin’s struggles and I wanted to write a book that she could relate to, one in which the main character hit rock bottom, made the choice to attempt suicide, and lived. More than that I wanted the book to have a happy ending.

I am selling Nothing Everything Nothing in support of Kids Help Phone which is a youth crisis hotline. They have a 24/7 call line and a chat option on their website. They deal with abuse, mental health questions and concerns, bullying, cyber issues, and suicide ideation. They’re a great cause and I’m proud to support them.

Thank-you Casia, for taking the time to talk to us.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Casia’s support of Kids Help Phone and how you can help you can see her blog here: www.casiaschreyer.wordpress.com

Nothing Everything Nothing and ReImagined are available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, B&N, and Smashwords. You can find a full listing of links here:  casia schreyer - books


Meet the Author – Barbara Ann Derksen

barbara ann derksen headshot

I’d like to introduce you to Barbara Ann Derksen, a motorcycle riding, scuba diving grandmother of ten, mother of four, and married to HC, a singer/songwriter, for 46 years. While working for six years as a journalist in Iowa, Barbara became a published novelist in 2003 and will complete her nineteenth book this spring.

What genres and authors do you enjoy reading?

I have always enjoyed reading a great mystery. My favorite authors are Terri Blackstock, Brandilyn Collins, Colleen Coble, Robin Johns Grant, Nancy Rue, Joel Rosenberg, Sue Grafton, and James Patterson as well as many others.

What genres do you write in? What age groups are your books for?

I wrote and published my first mystery in 2003 and suspected that this was my niche but then I wrote a short series of children,s stories for six of my grandchildren as birthday gifts. I work all summer as a missionary to bikers so I wrote a series of devotionals for them but my favorite genre is still mystery/suspense and will complete my 8th this spring.

Tell us a little about your most recent release. Where did you get your inspiration?

My recent work is the third in the Finders/Keepers Mystery Series. This collection surrounds a young woman who, as a five year old, watched her parents be killed. Now as an adult, she returns to the city of her birth to act as an investigator searching for missing children and the killer, who’s never been identified. Her investigation brings her into the world of pedophiles and human trafficking as she works with a service dog, Chief. This third book brings her closer to discovering why her parents were killed and who was behind it and now wants her dead.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes you?

I write character lead fiction. I have, in my head, the beginning of the story, but my protagonists introduce me to new people and take me to new places. Writing, for me, is almost like reading a good mystery. I can’t wait to get to the end. As for the non-fiction, I plan those out a little more.

What does your work space look like? Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?

I share my life with a singer/songwriter who has taken over the office for his sound equipment, recording devices, etc. So I moved into the dining room where I commandeered a small corner space to call my own. Because my space is more visible, I need to keep it neater than his. We can always close the door and do so often. As far as quirk, I like quiet with soft music playing in the background but have learned to tune my music making husband out. When I close his door, he knows I am writing so respects my space.

What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel?

I find self editing tedious but necessary. I find it amazing how many extraneous words I use when I craft the first draft, and how often I use the same phrase or word in a particular scene. Self-editing is the hard work after the fun of revealing the story.

What about the easiest? What parts of the writing process just feel natural for you?

My characters live and breathe in my head so it is natural to bring them out and watch them move through a particular scene. They’re amateurs and stumble while they bring closure to grieving parents. My male protagonist is a Christian, as am I, so his viewpoint is different than my female, who sees no need of a Saviour, yet. They argue about this religious thing, as she calls it, but his faith gives my male protagonist extra patience with her and a sense of discernment she doesn’t have. I find the give and take between my characters easy to write and the story they take me through becomes just as easy as I follow their lead.

Barbara Ann, thank you for visiting with us today.

 Thank you for introducing me to your readers and followers. I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog. I would also love to hear how you enjoyed my work by writing a review about a book you’ve purchased at the site you purchased it from. Reviews are important and need to be your honest appraisal.

Her books can be found at AMAZON.comAMAZON.caBarnes and Nobles

Her website, Adventures in Writing, is where she engages her readers with a devotional every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday hoping to inspire the lives of her followers and she introduces them to a variety of writers some Tuesday’s or Thursday’s.

barbara ann derksen books