Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I Know, I know, I say every interview is special . . . and they are, but this one is really unique.  Not only am I breaking the tradition of interviewing authors, but I'm also going to try an actual video interview.

This week, I'm interviewing the  up-and-coming rock band - Shadowplay.

Shadowplay is tearing up the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia music scene and I feel fortunate that I've had the chance to sit down with them before they move on to bigger and better things.  They were also kind enough to allow me to use their music for my book trailers which is where the  literary connection comes in.

You can find links to listen to and buy their music at and also find videos, links to their facebook pages etc.  Check it out when you have some time to look and listen.

You can also buy their new single, Ghost Train, by going directly to Amazon

With that introduction out of the way, click below and watch The Author's Studio's first video interview:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rachel Tsoumbakos

This week's interview is with Rachel Tsoumbakos whose first published book is:  Emeline and the Mutants.  I'm currently reading that book enjoying it very much.  It combines elements such as zombies, vampires and even mermaids, but with a very fresh perspective.  Her next project is a vampire series that is currently being edited, and she writes for a True Blood fansite - True Blood Net -

She lives in Australia and has published articles with Australian magazine Living Now and its sister publication, Dare to Dream.

You can buy Emeline and the Mutants at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Please also check out Rachel's Blog and stop by and 'like' her Facebook Page

TAS: Let's get the plug out of the way.  Tell us a little bit about the project you are currently promoting - who will be interested and why?

RT: At the moment I am promoting Emeline and the Mutants. It's about what would happen to the world if an AIDS cure went horribly wrong and turned a large majority of the population into different types of creatures. Emeline Hart is the heroine of the story and is one of the lucky few that do not change. It's her job to rid the world of all the trolls, zombies, vampires, mermaids and other mutants that now exist. In the midst of all this chaos her brother, Warwick, goes missing and she befriends a dwarf who was secretly dating him.

TAS: What aspects of being an author do you most enjoy?

RT: Being able to write.

And being able to steal my friends identities and turn them into crazy hermits or brothel owners at my own whim and fancy.

TAS: What aspects of being an author do you least enjoy?

RT: Having a constantly messy house. I personally flunked out of the University of Domestic Duties (except for Floordrobe 101 and Organised Clutter for Beginners), but even I find the dust too much to bear sometimes. I am very lucky to have children who think our house is normal and a husband who prefers being able to brag about having an author as a wife over a sterile environment.

TAS: What moment as an author have you experienced that you are likely to remember 20 years from now (good or bad)?

RT: The first time I completed a manuscript. Up until three years ago, I had written plenty of stories, but never completed one. I forced myself to do NaNoWriMo in a last ditch attempt to be able to put an end to a story. It worked.

TAS: What bad habits do you have when it comes to writing/promoting your books and/or what do you wish you could do better?

RT: When writing, I do not take enough time to step away from the computer. I find by the end of the day I have claws for hands and eyes that feel like they have been laser gunned. With promotion, I just wish I was better at selling my product.

TAS: What’s the worst book you’ve ever read? Why does it get that honor?

RT: I just finished reading 'The Painted Caves' by Jean M Auel. It is the final book in a series that has taken the author over thirty years to write. I loved this series so much that I named my daughter after the main character. After reading the last book in the series, I am now trying to work out how to reclaim three decades worth of anticipation. Basically, the author has rewritten the third book in the series and not answered ANY of the questions raised with the first book.

TAS: What is your least favorite genre?  Do you feel you could write something that was at least average or better in that genre for the right price?

RT: Probably westerns or war stories. It's not that I think they are generally badly written, I just don't find either topics favorites of mine. And no, I would never, ever attempt to write either styles. Personally, I feel that you can only write well in a genre that you also love to read yourself.

TAS: Were you smarter than your writing/literature teachers in high-school and why do you answer the way you do?

RT: Of course I was ;-P

Seriously though, they are the teachers that taught me all that I know about the English language today. Besides them, I list my mother and her push to make reading fun that have lead me down this path.

TAS: If you could ask one question of one author (living or dead) and you would get a detailed, honest answer, who would it be and what would you ask?

RT: Jean M Auel: Why?

TAS: Tell us about the most interesting person you’ve ever met.

RT: I am a writer, every single person that crosses my path are interesting in some shape or form. Every character I have ever created has been based (however large or small) on interesting people around me. In Emeline and the Mutants, one of my characters, Nore Berry is based on a close friend of mine. So far, though, I still haven't found a place in one of my books for the lady who only does her grocery shopping while wearing leopard print. Over the last ten years, I don't think I've seen her wear the same outfit twice - that's a lot of leopard going on! I find it fascinating that she could be so obsessed with such a gaudy print.

TAS: Tell us a little bit about your home town and what makes it special.

RT: I live in a suburb called Greensborough (not Greensboro). I have lived here since I was very young. It's special to me because it is home and there is a wonderful sense of community. I'm sure it has other redeeming and important features, I am just unaware of them. We have a really cool abandoned cemetery, does that count?

TAS: If space aliens landed and said you could come with them to their planet to see wonders beyond wonders . . . but you would never see earth or your friends and family again, would you go?

RT: Hell no! I once went to a psychic who told me that I had learned all there was to learn on this planet, and that with my next life, I would be born on another planet. Needless to say, I did not go back to her again. I am a homebody, I cherish my humble piece of earth. Needless to say, my family and friends are everything to me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Danielle Raver

I have just finished reading Danielle's debut novel:  Brother, Betrayed, and I thought it was excellent.  It's an epic fantasy-adventure, but with a slightly different flavor.  The linchpin that ties the whole story together is the relationship between three brothers who must defend their kingdom and family from powerful forces that threaten to tear them apart.  And discovering the nature of those forces keeps the reader's brain active until the end.  I can't say much more or I'd be giving too much away, so check it out for yourself.  It's a very well written book and I'd highly recommend it.
In addition to writing, Danielle has a Master's degree in School counseling and has taught elementary school for 5 years.  She is currently working on a follow up to Brother, Betrayed called Flight Moon.
Check out Danielle's Website for links to buy Brother, Betrayed plus other cool info. including more details on Brother, Betrayed and Flight Moon.
TAS: Let's get the plug out of the way.  Tell us a little bit about Brother, Betrayed - who will be interested and why?
DR: Brother, Betrayed is a fantasy-set tragedy. Readers who like a strong emphasis on character development will enjoy it I think. There's also elements of magic, fighting, and classical fantasy (such as dragons, elves, and dwarves.)
TAS: What aspects of being an author do you most enjoy?
DR: I most enjoy being able to create something. Writing is my way to leave my mark, literally. I also enjoy spending time with my characters and falling in love with them. Their accomplishments become my accomplishments, their trials my trials.
TAS: What aspects of being an author do you least enjoy?
DR: Writer's block. I hate having the story in my head and not able to get it down on paper.
TAS: What moment as an author have you experienced that you are likely to remember 20 years from now (good or bad)?
DR: The moment I let go of Brother, Betrayed and said “okay, I'm done” will likely not fade from my memory. I was exhilarated and depressed all at the same moment. On one hand it felt like a child being born, on the other it felt like a good friend was moving far away without saying goodbye.
TAS: What bad habits do you have when it comes to writing/promoting your books and/or what do you wish you could do better?
DR: Hmm... I have a funny confession. Anytime I go out anywhere (since I published my book) I look at all the fellow shoppers or what not and I'm constantly thinking “How could I strike up a conversation with them about my book?” “I wonder if they would like my book?” “How could I get them to buy my book?” I guess that's the marketing side of it coming out.
TAS: If an editor suggested a change that you felt weakened the story but you also felt it would increase sales, would you do it?

DR: It depends on how strongly I felt about it. If it would increase sales, hopefully that means that it would make my book more appealing to a general audience. I've had to learn that while sometimes I stick to my guns about what I feel is right for the story, sometimes I'm just being stubborn.

TAS: If a movie studio intended to make a film of one of your books and you had a choice of $1,000,000, but you'd give up all creative rights, or $100,000 and you'd have a large say, which would you take and why?

DR: Does it sound awful that I would take the million? I guess I wouldn't find it that important to have everything just like my book. I've had my turn at creating my world and it's characters, and if people want to find about that they could read my book. I actually think it would be fun to see where a movie studio would take it.

TAS: Tell us about the most interesting place you've ever been.

DR: There are too many places that hold my heart to choose one. How can I choose between the way the wind sings in the pines of the Black Hills or the way the ocean smells right before dawn? Or how fireflies come out during thunderstorms in southern Alabama? Or how the full moon reflects off the sand in the Arizona desert? Or the silence that a billion people make in Hong Kong? Or the taste of fresh strawberries in a market in Adelaide? My heart is many places.

TAS: Is there anything that you look forward to that gets you through a tough day?

DR: Wow this is going to sound corny but I'd have to answer that with my children. When I get home and give my boys a big hug all the troubles of the day melt away. I realize that no matter what happens, life is good because we have each other.

TAS: Tell us about a guilty pleasure.

DR: Seriously? Okay, fine. Lucky Charms. My husband and I started a no carb, no sugar, no starch diet after our second son was born. But every once and a while I'll have a private “pity party” featuring either Lucky Charms or chocolate truffles.

TAS: What's the most childish thing that you still do?

DR: Uhh seriously? Okay.... whine to my husband after the kids go to bed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jacqueline Hopkins

This week's author is Jacqueline Hopkins.  Her first  book is Wilderness Heart -  A contemporary Romance set in the Idaho Wilderness.  She is currently busy working on a serial killer thriller, a murder mystery and a fictional mainstream set in Alaska.

You can buy Wilderness Heart in paperback HERE or as an eBook in a number of formats including but not limited to:  Amazon  Smashwords  Sony  iTunes  Diesel  Barnes & Noble  Xin Xii

And as a special offer in celebration of her Birthday on July 7th, Jacqueline is offering her book for only $0.99 throughout the month of July.  Just go to the Smashwords link and use coupon code GT64D for a free copy in the format of your choice.  And please share that link and code with your friends. 

TAS: Let's get the plug out of the way. Tell us a little bit about the project you are currently promoting - who will be interested and why?

JH: Well I hope everyone would be interested to read Wilderness Heart but since it is a contemporary romance, probably only women will be interested in it. Although, I do have to say the first purchase and review I received on Amazon was from a man and he said he quite liked it.

TAS: What aspects of being an author do you most enjoy?

JH: Seeing my words in the printed book, holding it in my hands, seeing my name on the cover, knowing people enjoy and like what I have written.

TAS: What aspects of being an author do you least enjoy?

JH: Seems everyone says promoting...and I have to agree with them. It is very hard work and it takes away from your writing, but if you want to sell more books, you have to get your books and yourself out there.

TAS: What moment as an author have you experienced that you are likely to remember 20 years from now (good or bad)?

JH: Holding my first proof, the printed book, in my hands and seeing my name on the front cover. That was very exciting and something I will treasure always.

TAS: What bad habits do you have when it comes to writing/promoting your books and/or what do you wish you could do better?

JH: Bad habits...hmmmm...I procrastinate until I put myself under pressure...but perhaps that is not a bad thing. It forces me to write if I give myself a deadline. I wish I could better market myself, either with more writing on my blog or learning those darn hash tags on twitter and what they are for and mean.

TAS: Do you have any moments or anecdotes that led you to want to be an author?

JH: No, I can't say there are least none that I remember. My parents were a great example to me to want to and like to read. I love to read, but when I am writing, it is hard for me to read.

TAS: Do you write books that are part of a series or stand-alone? Why have you chosen as you have?

JH: Probably stand-alone because I am not sure I could come up with a sequel to a book, although my current thriller wip could be part of a series if I used the main character and put her in my murder mystery and then in the fictional mainstream. I've thought of that, but not sure if I will do it.

TAS: Have you ever written something that made you cringe to imagine your children/parents/significant other reading it? If so, tell us more.

JH: Well, yes...Wilderness Heart has about 3 really major love scenes and I thought it would be hard for me to have my kids, parents and friends read it and look at me differently. My daughter said she loved it as did my friends...they are suppose to say that, right, lol...But I had another gentleman read it from my office. Actually, I am the only female in my office and they were teasing about the love scenes when I first told them I published it. The one who read it said they were pretty steamy. Don't know his definition of 'steamy' but he did say he had to hide it from his 13 year old boy. Three out of the five men in the office bought the book...for their wives.

TAS: Have you ever changed the way you worded something you were writing because you weren't sure the grammatically correct way to say it as originally imagined?

JH: Oh, sure all the time. I still do it and will probably always do it. It has to be right and I hope I chose the right way in the end. But at work, I have the Chicago Manual Style of Writing close by, and at home I am a member of it online, so it is close as my mouse clicks and fingertips.

TAS: What's your favorite all-time cartoon, and when is the last time you saw it?

JH: That's a hard one...but probably Tom and Jerry and probably the last time I watched it was with my grandson, Aden when he was 2, and now soon to be 6 in couple of months.

TAS: Tell us about the area you live and what makes it unique (good or bad).

JH: I could write a book on Sitka. It is beautiful. We are right on the ocean with mountains right behind us. We have about 14 miles of road with the town in the middle and it is only about 1.5 miles wide. Only way here is by boat or plane, and the weather is like Seattle. We have lots of great fishing and it is a super place for settings in a novel. Only draw back is that the population is less than 9,000 so everyone knows everybody and what they are doing, and only one book store so hard to hold a book signing.

TAS: Tell us about an embarrassing moment.

JH: You know I am sure there were lots of them, and if you asked my friends and family, they could probably tell you about some, but I must not have been that embarrassed because I honestly can't even remember a one...I know boring, huh?

TAS: If you were going to be locked in a room and watch one of three shows for 24 hours solid, which would you choose: Gilligan's Island, Starsky and Hutch or the Love Boat?

JH: Gilligan's Island, of course. I love island shows, movies, the life style. I lived in Hawaii during my ex-husband's last duty station from 1988 to 1990, my daughter was born there in 1989 and I could certainly live there again. In January, I took my daughter back there so she could see where she was the big pink Army hospital on the hill and we would definitely love to retire there, so Gilligan's Island would be fine. Besides, I used to watch it a lot when growing up.