Friday, April 27, 2012

Author Interview: Jacqueline Gardner

Welcome to The Wormhole!
It is my pleasure today to feature Jacqueline Gardner and her book Thoughtless.
Thoughtless by Jacqueline Gardner

Amazon Product Description:  When Bridget finds a dead cheerleader in the janitor’s closet, she becomes the killer’s next target. High school just got worse. It’s bad enough that she can hear the shocking truths that pass through her classmate’s heads. Now she has to worry about staying alive, and all clues point to the one person whose thoughts she can’t read - her boyfriend Terrence. Someone is taunting her, threatening to expose her secret. And when Bridget tries to single out her blackmailer, she’s nearly beaten to death by a mind controlled minion with fiery eyes. 

But when Bridget finally comes face-to-face with the killer, suddenly a horde of brainwashed students programmed to destroy her life doesn’t seem so bad. 
Jacqueline has graciously stopped by for an interview!
? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been telling stories since I was little.  I kept an idea journal by my bed and still do.  I often wake up in the middle of the night, turn on a light, and write things down.  When I read those entries in the morning sometimes they make sense.  Sometimes they don’t!  I think for me writing a book was always in the cards.  It was just a matter of finding the time to sit down and do it.

? How long does it take you to write a book?
The first book I wrote took me about 9 months to write.  That manuscript taught me a whole lot about myself and my preferred writing style.  Sadly though, it will never see the light of day! 

? What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I can’t write in absolute silence. 

? Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
I draw a lot from personal experience.  Though I never use names of people I know!  At least I try not to.  But all my main characters are a little like me, and I don’t intentionally do that.  I just write what I know.

? How do you decide what you want to write about?
My book ideas usually start with a question.  And not all my ideas work out.  I have a few manuscripts that I started but never finished because I wasn’t in LOVE with the characters.  If you’re going to devote months of uninterrupted time to something, you should probably be in LOVE with it.  Love-hate relationships work too.

? What are you reading right now?
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series

? What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like to hike, camp, and decorate cupcakes.

? What is your favorite comfort food?
A lot of people are probably expecting me to say cupcakes, but I actually prefer salty over sweet.  I have a weakness for tortilla chips.

? What do you think makes a good story?
A lot of things, but something that I think makes a story stand out is honesty.  Books with a lot of raw emotion are ones I connect with.  Putting your feelings out there for the world to see isn’t easy, so I admire authors who do that. 

? Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
I admire a lot of authors, but there is one in particular that made me fall in love with books.  Roald Dahl.

? What book, if any, do you read over and over again?
The Harry Potter series.

Fun random questions: 
·        dogs or cats?
·        Coffee or tea?
·        Dark or milk chocolate?
Dark chocolate.
·        Rocks or flowers?
What kind of ‘rocks’ are we talking about here?  If a diamond counts, I would definitely take that over flowers. 
·        Night or day?
·        Favorite color?
·        Crayons or markers?
Colored pencils.
·        Pens or pencils?
Whatever I can find!  I’m always losing both.

Thank you so much Jacqueline for being here today and thank you followers for stopping by to visit!
Stay tuned for an INCREDIBLE giveaway and review: 
May 28, 2012

S.B. Lerner and In the Middle of Almost

Welcome to The Wormhole!
It is my pleasure today to feature S.B. Lerner and her collection of short stories, In the Middle of Almost.
? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
 When I was single and working at a high pressure job in Manhattan, I took a writing workshop and wrote my first story in a fit of inspiration. The teacher called it a “little gem” and I was hooked. Not only because I can’t resist a compliment, but because the process of zeroing in on an emotional state and revealing through a story was liberating. Often I didn’t even know what I was writing about until I finished. Even then, other people would see things in my stories that I hadn’t realized were there. It was all very heady.

? How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
 I worked as an attorney/businessperson for many years, while writing.

? How long does it take you to write a book?
A couple of years, including researching and editing.

? Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
Sometimes from research, although the personalities are often derived from friends and family.

? How do you decide what you want to write about?
The stories in IN THE MIDDLE OF ALMOST came about from conversations with friends and from observing people. There are potential stories in every overheard conversation.

I was inspired to set my upcoming novel, A SUITABLE HUSBAND, in prewar Poland after learning about the Zionist youth group my father belonged to as a kid in Poland. His enthusiasm for it showed, even all these years later. I began to research and learned they were educated and serious young men and women who were passionate about social justice and rejected both the anti-Semitism they’d experienced in Poland, as well as the stratified Jewish cultural hierarchy.  As I researched the period and learned more about the plethora of politically active youth groups, I knew it would make a great background for a novel.

? What books have most influenced your life?
I read mostly historical novels because I like to learn about other periods of history through great characters and a touch of suspense.

? What are you reading right now? 
I’m in the third book of Game of Thrones. It’s outside my normal fare, and I’ll admit I skim through some of it, but it’s got some great characters that show moral ambiguity and complexity.

? What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I play with the puppy, exercise, and enjoy the family.

? What do you think makes a good story?
Complex, interesting characters and a sense of suspense.

? Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
I love Ken Follett. I’ve read everything he’s written.
And now for the book:

Amazon Product Description:
An engrossing collection of funny, poignant and bittersweet stories about busy young women who find men in all the wrong places (the garage attendant across the street, the stay-at-home dad in the playground, the younger man at the diner counter) and discover something about themselves in the process. 

The short stories and memoir were previously published in literary magazines and newspapers.

You can buy your own kindle copy and see reviews by clicking HERE.

Review:  My thoughts:
This is a nice collection of short stories about women and their encounters with men.  Some are fleeting encounters and some are potentially much more.  Each story gives the reader an inside glance at the woman and where she is at in her life.  They are touching, personal, and thought provoking.  Each story is different, but all encourage the reader to look at the piece of their life that the story reminds them of.  I both liked and disliked the unfinished aspect of the ending for each short story.  I am usually looking for either closure or a " be continued" feel at the end of a story, but these stories don't actually have either of those.  Each story leaves the reader with the opportunity to find the ending in their own story or imagine what happened next.  
I am normally a strict "not about real life" story reader, in other words - I am all about fiction.  I tell people I have enough reality in my day to day life that I read solely for pleasure and solely about things that are no where near my life.  Having said that, this was not my normal, average read.  I am pleased that I had the chance to read this well-written collection and will look for more stories written by S.B. Lerner.  

Review: The Slayer: Book 2 of the Legend Chronicles by Theresa Meyers

The Slayer: Book Two of the Legend Chronicles by Theresa Meyers

Amazon Product Description:
April 1, 2012 
The Legend Chronicles (Book 2)
Brothers Winchester, Remington and Colt know the legends--they were trained from childhood to destroy demon predators, wielding the latest steam-powered gadgetry. It's a devil of a job. But sometimes your fate chooses you. . .CHASING TROUBLE

Winn Jackson isn't interested in hunting nightmares across the Wild West--even if it's the family business. Unlike his rakehell brothers, Winn believes in rules. As sheriff of Bodie, California, he only shoots actual law breakers. That's what he's doing when he rescues the Contessa Drossenburg, Alexandra Porter, a lady with all the elegance of the Old World--grace, beauty and class. And then he sees her fangs.

Alexandra isn't just some bloodsucking damsel in distress, though. She's on a mission to save her people--and she's dead certain that Winn's family legacy is the only way. Luckily, aside from grace and class, she also has a stubborn streak a mile wide. So like it or not, Winn is going to come back with her to the mountains of Transylvania, and while he's at it, change his opinions about vampires, demon-hunting, and who exactly deserves shooting. And if she has her way, he's going to do his darnedest to save the world. . .

My thoughts:
(The short, fast version) ~ Wonderful story!  I couldn't put it down.  The Legend Chronicles are a must read for fans of steampunk!  The characters are fantastic, the plot is intriguing, the story itself is entertaining, it is paced perfectly and the ending leaves you screaming for more!

(The longer version) ~ I fell in love with this book from the start.  I was intrigued by the characters right away.  Theresa Meyers has created a wealth of fantastic characters in this series.  She started with creative names and flushed them out with well developed personalities, enough back-story to make sure you get to know them, and principles/beliefs that they are willing to sacrifice for.  She takes these fabulous characters and sets them into a world that has been carefully built to be the perfect setting for their lives.  It is a clever blend of Old West meets technology with a few extra twists.  I truly enjoyed the interactions of the characters and was thrilled by the way the relationship developed and played out between Winn and Alexandra.  

I can't wait for the next book and would encourage all steampunk fans to check this series out!