Interviews

Interview with Author Brittany Nicole Lewis

Posted on

Good morning everyone, I am especially happy to have our special author of the day, Brittany Nicole Lewis with me. Brittany is an accomplished author that has many different hats, wife, mother, freelance writer, ghost writer, blogger, indie author, and poet. Please welcome Brittany.

Brittany: Hello, everyone. I’m excited to be talking with you all today.

Good morning Brittany. Let’s start with you explaining a little about all the different hats you wear.

Brittany: It can definitely be overwhelming at times, especially since I still have one child who is not in school and I feel like I need to stop what I’m doing every twenty minutes or so to help my son or stop him from doing something he shouldn’t be doing. Managing my time can be tricky, and I find it hard to take off my “writer” hat at times and put on my “mother” or “wife” hat, or vice versa.

In spite of what has been thrown at you, you have persevered with the tag line ‘Using Adversary to Grow’. You have been published in Hektoen International Journal, published poems, essays, and now novels. Could you tell us how each came about?

Brittany: I’ve been writing poems since middle school, it has always been a love of mine. I didn’t first try to publish anything, however, until I was 28. I went through a lot as a teenager and as part of my healing process I felt I needed to publish Shine Through the Darkness, which is compiled of some of the poems I wrote in middle school and high school. I was terrified about putting something so personal out there for the world to see, and was stunned by all of the positive feedback I got from it. A year later, when I released the second edition, I actually had strangers contacting me and thanking me for writing it! After I published the first edition of Shine Through the Darkness in March 2016, I started looking around for contests I might enjoy partaking in and I found one that the Hektoen International Journal was doing. I wrote an essay entitled “The Psychological Effects of Warfare on Veterans and their Families.” I didn’t win the contest, but they published it in their August 2016 issue. After I got the email that it would be published, it motivated me to keep writing. I wrote a short story called “The Oppressed” and published it on Amazon. Again, I was surprised by how many people enjoyed it. One person contacted me and said “I hate reading, but you make me want to read.” This person asked me to write more, something longer, and that’s when I started writing my novel Finding Freedom, the first book in the Zion Series.

Your new novel is titled ‘Finding Freedom’. It has in the upper right hand corner of the cover a handprint with the words ‘The Edge Books’ on it. Could you tell the audience how it came to be there?

Brittany: The Edge Books is a group of Christian authors that work together to market and promote their books. I stumbled upon them one day while I was looking for an author marketing group to join. I applied and after they read part of Finding Freedom, they accepted.

Please tell us where you get your ideas from for your stories?

Brittany: A lot of my stories and poems have to do with how I’m feeling. I get inspiration from things that I’ve been through and then I turn it into fictional stories and add more to it to make it more captivating.

Finding Freedom is about leaving a very tight knit religious community, Zion. Would you please explain how you were able to get your research for the story?

Brittany: I have read a lot of fictional books about young Amish women leaving their communities. I have also watched a lot of documentaries on various cults and how they are formed, the steps someone often needs to take in order to leave successfully, etc. It’s something I’ve always been interested in.

Please give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?

Brittany: She has the ability to let go of everything while still holding on at the same time. She can distance herself while still keeping her heart close. An ability I wish I had.

What was the hardest thing about writing ‘Finding Freedom’?

Brittany: The emotions. It was my first novel and I never imagined becoming so emotionally involved with these characters. I love them. It sounds strange to those who don’t write, I know, but if I’m not emotionally involved with my characters, I would think that there is a very slim chance my readers will be.

If your book were to be made into a movie, whom would you cast and why?

Brittany: I actually plan on making Finding Freedom into a movie, and I’m very excited about it. I have someone I’m working with now to create the screenplay and I am supposed to be having a meeting with an independent film producer within the next few months. I’m not really sure who I would cast if I could chose anyone… I would want whoever it was to really be able to become the people, though.

I know you are in the process of writing a new story. How about a teaser?

Brittany: That new story has actually been finished. I’ve done three drafts so far and I’ waiting for the final edits to come back now. It’s called Heir of Zion, the second book in the Zion Series. In this book, Katie’s twin brother Michael is the main character. Here is an excerpt:

Suddenly, all that was left of his family was a cloud of dust. As he stood there facing the spot where his family had just been, for a moment he felt nothing. Then, a wave of hallow emptiness swept over him, taking his breath away. He inhaled deeply and tried to regain control. He couldn’t let the Statlers see him like this. He had to remain strong. He was a child of God after all, walking in complete obedience; there was nothing to be upset about, nothing to fear. 

Mr. Statler walked up to where he stood and put his hand on Michael’s shoulder. “Come on Michael, let’s go home.”

 In a daze Michael began walking back to the Statlers dwelling. He felt like he was dreaming. They’re gone. They just … left. What will the Elders do? Surely people will notice they’re gone, and probably much sooner rather than later.

“This has never happened before,” he heard himself say aloud. He was startled by the huskiness of the voice he heard. It didn’t sound like him at all. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe he really was dreaming.

 

Brittany, where can the audience go to find out more about you and your wonderful work?

(website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Goodreads, Pinerest, Amazon author page, Createspace, Draft 2 Digital, Smashword, Book Trailer, Instagram, You Tube, Google+)

Brittany: They can find out more about me and my work on my Facebook author page (www.facebook.com/BLewis2008), my website (www.brittanynicolelewisblog.wordpress.com) and my twitter @BLewis2008

Why, hello, everyone we have a surprise guest with us. Katie Martin, the main character in ‘Finding Freedom’ has joined us. Welcome Katie.

Katie: Hi.

I have read ‘Finding Freedom’. Katie, you have overcome some very tough adversities in your young life. I applaud your accomplishments. To fill in our audience a bit, Katie was raised in the very religious tight knit community of Zion. Katie, please explain to our audience what a normal day of a child is in Zion.

Katie: Well, we didn’t start at the school cabin until we reached the age of accountability at eleven. So, up until then we stayed home with our mothers and they taught us simple things, letters, numbers, a little bit of reading and adding and subtracting, things like that. We weren’t allowed to go to visitation until we were eleven either and needed to stay with the Zion Mother until then.

Katie, could you please tell us about several things that is different from the outside world, the male and female role, visitation night, Elders choosing younglings’ soul mates, and the meaning of lost in the shadows?

Katie: That’s a lot to explain, haha. Well… being lost in the shadows is when somone is banished from the community. It’s extremely sad for everyone and has only happened a few times that I know of. The soul mates are chosen by the Elders to help the marriages be more compatible. The roles of the males and females are the way that they are because… well, I suppose for the same reason, to make every family unit run smoothly, to make the community run smoothly. The father is the head of the family and the mother is the helper. Visitation night… I would really rather not talk about visitation night.

When did you start to realize that things were not as rosy in Zion as it portrays itself to the outside world?

Katie: *Deep sigh* I realized slowly, over time… as I got older. But things really clicked for me the day Patty and I spoke with Kevin and he told us about the pills and the leaves.

The statement ‘Freedom through Relationship’ played an important part in you leaving Zion, and your twin brother, Michael. Could you tell our audience what you were thinking and feeling during this time?

Katie: Actually, I didn’t first “hear” that statement until I had already left Zion. I was at the library reading to some young- I mean…kids *ahem* and I sort of heard…or maybe felt that statement in my head. I thought I was going crazy, but I know now that it was God talking to me. For a long time, months, I felt I was losing my mind, my emotions were all over the place. It was an extremely difficult time for me.

How hard was it to adapt to the outside world from a sheltered life of Zion?

Katie: It was hard. It was even harder for my parents and my mama often questioned if we did the right thing or not. The hardest part was not having Michael….but I’m so thankful for Purple Haven. I don’t know what would have happened to us if we hadn’t found that place.

What is the most important thing you would like the reader of ‘Finding Freedom’ to take away from the story?

Katie: That community is important. We need community. We need to be part of the body and serve one another and lift one another up. We need to not shut people out, we need to be truthful about the pain we feel and when we feel isolated, speak up. Most importantly, that we can have a real relationship with Christ. It’s Christ that saves you, not your works or what you wear or how long your hair is… none of that matters. We are free from all of that. We don’t need to be perfect and we aren’t expected to be perfect. Christ is perfect and we are saved through Him. There is freedom through a relationship with Christ and there is freedom through having a relationship with others.

Well the time is up for our interview. I want to thank both Author Brittany Nicole Lewis and Katie Martin for coming and sharing their extremely exciting lives with us. Please do not forget to buy ‘Finding Freedom’ in whatever format you like to read and share your comments on it with the online world. Thank you for coming and until next time, may the Lord watch over you and shower you with His mercy and grace.

In Depth with Interview Author Kathryn Daugherty

Posted on Updated on

kathryn_daughertyFront

“Good day to everyone. Today I am pleased to have sitting with me by the fireplace, Dr. Isabelle Kelly, one of the main characters in ‘She Promised Her Heart’ by author Kathryn Daugherty, who will be here shortly as she has had some transportation trouble getting here.”

“Welcome Dr. Kelly, it’s a pleasure to be able to talk with you today. I am glad that you were able to take time out of your busy schedule to be here with me.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Raymond for inviting me to talk with you today. I need to tell you how excited I was to receive your call about doing this interview. Even more excited when I knew Kathryn may be here too. Been awhile since I’ve seen her. I hope I have enough to say to interest your readers.”

 

“I understand that you are a plastic surgeon that not only has a very exclusive clientele you travel throughout the United States doing procedures for those who are suffering from birth deformities and accidents that do not have the monetary resources to have it corrected.”

“Yes, I do visit two hospitals throughout the United States each year. I love coming home to Omaha, but I haven’t been here for four years. I was in Texas earlier this year and now this spring I’m back home in the Midwest.”

“That is a very commendable thing to do for people you do not know nor are able to compensate you for your time. I want to thank you, Izzie, for your compassion to your fellow human begins. Not everyone in your status of life remembers to have mercy for others.”

“Thank you fo your kind words. But it’s like I told my dear friend Jillian, “You know you can only do so many lip, butt, and breast augmentations. Sucking the fat out of someone’s butt and putting it into his or her lips is not fulfilling. Using Botox to freeze someone’s wrinkles is not what I originally thought I would do with my medical degree. When I graduated from college, I was drowning in student loan debt. I took the best paying job I could find. Doing the plastic surgery for the rich and famous got the loans paid off quickly, and I just kept doing it. Eventually, I would take the time to make trips like this one. It would ease my guilt. Now I receive so much satisfaction from doing these surgeries. I may give up my practice and do pro bono surgeries only.”

“You not only have a compassionate heart, you in your own right are a trail blazer for women. You became not only a doctor but a plastic surgeon in an era that was not very welcoming to women in this particular medial field. They were considered mostly only qualified to be a nurse. How hard was it to break through that glass ceiling and prove you had what it took to be not only a doctor but a surgeon also?”

“The early ’70’s’ was a different time. The feminist movement was in its infancy and much different than what they are pushing today. In reality, it was probably easier to be accepted then, more than at any other time. We were at the forefront of things, and each was given the benefit of the doubt. Besides, I was at the top of my class, so when I applied to medical school, they couldn’t deny me with my grades. I was accepted. You know though I’d really hate to think that I got ahead on anything but my merit. I worked hard, and I made my way.”

“You were in college at the time of the Vietnam Conflict along with the flower children, free love, and pot smoking hippies. How involved were you in those protesting the war?

“I’m impressed! You know a great deal of my history. I’m not sure how familiar you are with the atmosphere of the late ’60’s’ as far as college students, you were one of two opinions. You either supported the war, or you didn’t there was very little gray in this issue. My opinion before meeting an actual soldier, a particular Air Force Captain, was hatred for the war and everything about it. I was protesting at every turn. Once I realized the people fighting the war were not to be blamed. I turned my attention to the government that had sent them. I detested our government for putting our young men and women in a fight we couldn’t or wouldn’t win. My respect for the people on the ground doing the fighting had my new found respect. He had that much influence on my opinion. Like anything where you place a label on everyone or everything it is usually wrong. Not all college students were flower children, pot smokers, or believed in free love. Myself and my roommate Sara were straight laced when it came to those activities, yet we attended many protests.”

“It says here you were never married? That is very unusual. A pretty lady with a promising career, I would have thought someone would have snatched you up a long time ago or are you a card carrying woman’s lib person?

“No, I’m not or ever have been a card carrying woman’s libber. I believe everyone should rise or fall on their skills and talents not on their gender, race, or religion. That usually doesn’t work out well either if you use that as the only criteria. As far as not marrying, it’s not that I didn’t have dates or men in my life or that I was never asked. I did, but the men I dated though all good men, they never measured up to my true love. I often told people that the men I dated ,though nice guys, they couldn’t pack water to my Captain.”

“So you met a captain in the US Air Force during one of the protest. I would say that was a very unusual place for someone in his position to be at. Was he just looking for trouble? You know most of the protesters considered him nothing more than a baby killer.”

“We didn’t meet at a protest; we met the day before the big protest on campus. I had been assigned to put posters on every tree on campus. My soldier was on campus that afternoon. The daisy I had in my hair had come loose and had fallen on the ground. He picked it up and tapped me on the shoulder. Gazing into his eyes, his extraordinary eyes- flecked with brown and ringed in gold- took my breath away. But it was that evening dancing in his arm to our song “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” that made me realize this man was someone that I could love.”

“You fell in love in only thirty days? Then you kept your promise to be faithful to only him all these years even though the military pronounced him dead after being MIA (Missing in action). WOW! Why would you limit yourself in that way? Most people that are in your profession would have had several marriages and affairs trying to find the perfect match to complete them.”

“I’ve been asked that same question many times. We did fall in love in just 30 days. Sometimes the heart just knows – I’ve always believed in the philosophy that your heart knows best. If you overthink, you only get yourself in trouble. When the military pronounced my Captain dead, my heart never felt that he was truly gone. But that was forty years ago so they must have been correct. I’ve never thought I needed someone to complete me, my Captain, was more that than. He was a man that complimented me. I’d been fortunate to know true love, and it was a Never Let Go Love between us.”

“Okay, recently you had a conflict at the ticket counter at the LA airport about a missed connection when a young lady behind you came to your rescue. As I understand it you and this, Jillian, who is a wedding consultant, became close friends on the flight to Omaha. What was the connection that made this possible? I mean your careers could not be more opposite.”

“I’m not sure why Jillian and I met, but there was a connection. I’m old enough to be her mom. We commiserated over our love lives- the promise I made and had kept all these years, and her fiance who had just broken, yet again, a promise he made to her. We just clicked.”

“I understand that you will be a guest at Jillian’s sister, Lana’s wedding. I heard that it is going to be quite a bash as Jillian is one of the greatest wedding consultants in the US.”

“Jillian has coordinated weddings for many of the rich and famous. I understand in visiting with her that she has put together a dream wedding for her sister Lana. I understand most of the residents of Weeping Water will be at the reception. The Rumbles are playing for the wedding dance. I’m excited to see them again; they were the band playing at the dance that spring of 1969. I’m surprised they are still together, but I understand this is their last year of playing.”

“Well it’s been a pleasure visiting with you today Izzie. I know that you are very pressed for time as you need to catch your flight so you can be there for Jillian at Lana’s wedding.”

 

“I’ve loved talking to you today. Mrs. Raymond. I think I hear Kathryn, but I do need to be on my way, in fact maybe I can catch the taxi she came in. Thank you for talking to me and reminding me of some wonderful memories.”

(I turn to the audience) “For all you readers out there, you can learn what happens to Izzie and Jillian in the novel ‘She Promised Her Heart’ by author Kathryn Daugherty. You can find Kathryn’s novels at the following: click here

 

(Doctor Kelly leaves to catch her flight as author Kathryn Daugherty arrives. They give each other a brief hug in exchanging greetings so that Doctor Kelly can use the same taxi that Kathryn came in.)

Kathryn

“Hello Kathryn, I am so glad that you were able to make it out in this weather even though you had to take a cab to do it. I am sorry you did not have more time to visit with Izzie but we both know what a tight schedule she maintains. Please have a seat and warm up a bit in front of the fireplace while I get you something warm to drink. Would you like coffee, tea, or cocoa?”

“I’m so sorry I was delayed. I was hoping to see Izzie and hear what the two of you had to talk about. I spent almost two years with Izzie writing her story. I have often wondered if I captured her story correctly, if she was pleased or not. I guess I will have to read the interview on your blog. If you have coffee made, I’d love to have a cup; I take it black.”

(I leave to get Kathryn’s drink as she sits down in the rocking chair, warming her hands in front of the roaring flames. I come back with two mammoth steaming mugs and hand her one as I sit across from her.)

“Here you go Kathryn. It’s just the way you like it.” I take a sip before starting the interview. “I have been doing a little research on your writing career. I see that you started by taking an on-line writing course for romance writing in 2005. Could you tell us what it felt like taking the class knowing that it could be a new avenue for your life?”

“It was exciting, to think that maybe, after all, these years of saying I wanted to write I may have the opportunity to actually give it a try. I also knew that if I was going to write, I wanted to write stories about love. The first class I took was a How to Write Romance; it was an online course. After that first class, I knew I was a long way from being able to know what I was doing as a writer. So since 2004 I’ve taken classes, gone to writer’s conferences, own dozens of books on how to write. Joined critique and writer’s groups and found many friends in the writing world all willing to help a person declare themselves a writer.”

“After taking the class and attending conferences and workshops, you had short story published in ‘Secret Attic’ a publication from United Kingdom in May of 2007. Congratulations on being published so soon after starting your writing career. Many authors wait for years on end before achieving what you did. Your story was titled ‘White Lies’ could you tell us a little about it?”

“Well yes, I realize that three years to have my stories published is a short time in the writing world. Though as a person who tries to follow my mother’s teaching about patience being a virtue. Three years did seem like a long time. I’m fortune enough to have had work published, the story “White Lies” is about Lillian a middle-aged woman meeting Kara, a teenage girl who had become something of a rebel.Typical mother, daughter episodes of the difference of opinions. Lillian sees something of herself in the story and sets out see if she can persuade Kara to see the light. I tell people this story has shades of a situation in my older sister Linda’s life. She gave me permission to use the incident in my story. I must say I used poetic license to embellish the original story. My sister also was my first editor helping me to polish my earlier works. We lost her in 2008 to lung cancer. I miss her every day not just as my editor but as the best big sister a person could have had.”

 

You then went on and had a second short story published in the ‘Writer’s Journal’ Magazine in November of 2007 titled ‘Secret Alliance’. Please give us a snippet about that story as well.”

“The story “Secret Alliance” was published in the now defunct Writers Journal’ magazine. The story is about a regular Mom with an unique part time job. The original story was sent into the Write to Win monthly contest. It won an honorable mention. With the help of my sister Linda again, we re-edited and did a bit of a re-write. I reentered it in their annual Short Story competition. In October of 2007, when I pulled the magazine out of the mailbox and checked for the winning entry. There it was in black and white; I was a writer and I just got paid to be one.”

“You also received honors for your writing at the ‘All Iowa Writer’s Conference in 2012, 2013, and 2014 for your short stories. Once again congratulations, well done. You then branched out with your first full length novel ‘A Case of the Hearts’ publishing it in 2013. Please enlighten us on what we will find between the covers of ‘A Case of the Hearts’.”

“Short stories have been good for me. With the first two being published and then I went on to write short stories for the contests held by the All Iowa Writer’s Conference held in Montezuma each year. Three of my stories have received honors in their competition. My story ‘A Case of Hearts’ began as a short story. The question that began the story was “What would you do if you received a knock at the door early in the morning. The people at the door are police officers.” The character ‘at stake’ in this story is Jeff Matthews, he is a four-year old orphan. His single aunt, Carol Matthew, is made his guardian. When she has to fight to keep him, she hires a down on his luck attorney, Donovan Delaney, who also happens to be single, and good looking. This story is more than a romance it also is about family, friendship, and LOVE.   This story was four years in the making. This novel was a finalist in the Midwest Independent Publishing Association. It also won the readers choice cover award in the Houston Bay Judge A Book By Its Cover contest.”

kathryn_daughertyFront.jpg

“Your second novel ‘She Promised Her Heart’ was where we are introduced to Doctor Isabelle Kelly and Jillian. This is the first in a three novel series. We just had a wonderful conversation with Izzie. We were wondering how you and Izzie came to know each other and what did it take to get Izzie’s fantastic story down on paper?”

“’She Promised Her Heart’ is a story that took two years to write. The story was inspired by a Reba McEntire song “Somebody’s Chelsea.” But Izzie is the best of all things ‘60’s’ in my imagination. Izzie is a combination of many people in my life. She’s my sister, Linda, and with her way of protesting she is even a bit of my husband, Cliff. You see Linda was a product of the ‘60’s’ a free spirit, a woman of warmth, kindness, and fun. When I say Izzie is something like my husband, Cliff, here is why. I was supporting the soldiers. My brother, Dean, happened to be in the service. My future husband, Cliff, was on the Ames campus protesting the war. His protesting was based on letters he was receiving from his brother who was stationed in Quang Fri Province. So hopefully, you see that Izzie is a lot like people I love dearly. Having characters, you admire makes it easy to write about them.

“I know ‘She Promised Her Heart’ is a work of fiction but I also know you researched quite extensively about that era to be able to write it. What is the one thing you want the readers of ‘She Promised Her Heart’ to be able to take and apply it to their lives?”

“What would I like people to remember about this story? I want people to remember the importance of keeping promises. We live in a world where we often see people we admire make promises that they have no intention of keeping. Izzie kept her promise for 40 years; she promised her heart and never broke that promise. Jillian on the other hand, was engaged to a person who didn’t keep promises and she accepted that. One of the main themes of the story is when it comes to LOVE, may we all have that Never Let Go type of LOVE.”

“Who are your best supporters in your writing career?”

“My best single supporter is my husband, Cliff. He encourages me in this pursuit of my self-publishing, he made sure I have a place to work, building my office gazebo from a shell of a building. Telling me to go back to work, writing, after I lost my sister, Linda. My kids are supportive in many ways, my two grandchildren Kayla and Keegan are the models that grace my covers. My son-in-law Chris took photos. Beta readers Erica, my daughter, and TJ and Brittany, my son and daughter-in-law, have been able to give me many ideas to improve my writing. My sisters and brother have read my work and given it a thumbs up. My daughter-in-law Nanette has also given the writing high praise. I thank them all for their praise and support. I would be amiss if I did not mention my fellow Davenport Writes members. Lee Collins and the Pella Writes group. Not only are they my peers they are my friends who make this whole writing thing worth while.”

“Where can you fans find out more about your upcoming novels and events in your life?”

I post most of my events on my Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKathrynDaugherty/ also at my website http://www.kathryndaugherty.com My website also has a few short stories your audience may enjoy.

“I want to thank both lovely ladies for coming and being interviewed by me today. Please keep an eye out for Kathryn’s upcoming novels in the ‘Heart’ series. Kathryn also does speaking engagements so please reach out to her at the following address to speak to your group. Thank you.

“I enjoy meeting readers at events at libraries and the different vendor fairs. If you are interested in having an event with cookies and conversation, please contact be at my e-mail kathryndaugherty60@gmail.com . Mrs. Raymond, I so appreciate you taking your time today to interview Izzie and me. It was fun to meet you, and I appreciate your interest in my novels.”

 

 

Second Chance at Love

Posted on Updated on

Author Jordyn Meryl explores the possibility of having a second chance  at true love with someone younger than ones self. After a freak accident that takes her husband Shelton, Katie Collins finds herself now a widow. They had married in college and Shelton’s death has left a gaping hole in her heart and life. She decides to be a librarian to fill the emptiness by helping children along with buying a classy gold convertible in an attempt to feel alive. There she befriends a lonely boy, Carlo Alvarez waiting to be picked up by his big brother Enrique.

Enrique is awestruck at the classy librarian helping his little brother. This librarian is nothing like the librarian when he went to high school. He makes sure that he meets this lady that is stirring strong emotions in his heart and soul.

Katie turns to be face to face with a very handsome young man with mischievous chocolate brown eyes. Katie also feel jolts to her emotions from the first meeting stirring to the surface. However, Katie’s mind has other ideas. She makes it plain to Enrique that there can not be anything between them except for friendship as Carlos and he nephew, Lucas, become close friends.

Soon the two brothers are a permanent fixture at Katie’s summer lake front property home at Crystal Lake over the years. Enrique has so many dreams for his life and they include the lovely Katie, however Katie realizes that a everlasting relationship with Enrique cannot be even though her heart and soul has be lost to him. To have Enrique forever would deprive him of his dreams of the future.

Can she sacrifice the love she feels for Enrique so his dreams can come true or should she be selfish and take the love he is freely giving without worrying about the future and what it holds?

 

Interview with Wendy and Charles Siefken

Posted on Updated on

I am here at the farm of Author Wendy Siefken and son, Co-author Charles Siefken near Laurel, Iowa. Thank you for inviting me to your home to interview the both of you. Let’s start interviewing you and Charles while we wait for the main character, Kai Drake, of your trilogy ‘Kai’s Journey’ to arrive.

Wendy, Charles, and you are the first mother and son writing team I have come across. Could you tell us a little bit about how this came about?  Well, Charlie had issues in school with learning difficulties due to his being dyslexic and having cross modalities. When it came to writing in his journal, he wouldn’t write the topic of the day for his English class but would write stories instead. His teachers were happy that he was writing something so accepted it. He discovered books about this time and started reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini. School remained really difficult with the teachers always requiring note taking in class and extensive writing from him. He was ready to drop out in 10th grade when the principal approached him and said, “If you can write us a story that includes, Math, English and current events and get it published as well as tell us how you did it, I will give you a pass/fail grade and we will get you graduated.” Well, believe it or not he did it as well as keeping up on his other classes as well. It gave him something to strive towards. Therefore, by the time he graduated high school he was a published author.

Charles, how hard is it to have your co-author be your mother? It’s not really all that different than writing with someone else.

Wendy, your trilogy has quite the array of unique characters being introduced, how hard is it writing a fantasy without falling into the old stand-by characteristics that you read or see in the movies and still make your story believable to the reader? We did our research and found folklore from way back that showed a bit of a different twist to modern “monsters”. So we figured we would tweak it just a bit but keep a grain of truth in there, and make it our own. We developed our characters and what we wanted them to be like before we started writing.

Charles, I have been told by other authors that sometimes the characters of the story will try to take the story on a complete different path than where you want the story to go. If this has happened to you, how do you deal with it? Normally when this happens we let the characters lead us to see where it goes. If it works better than we had planned we keep it. If not we change it back to the original and the character just has to deal with it. Ha ha ha.  

Do you wrestle it back from them or do you go with the flow?  Usually we just go with the flow and 9 times out of 10 it is better than we had originally planned.

Wendy, how hard is it not to take the ‘mother role’ while wearing your author hat? It is really not hard at all. When we are working on a story, we are just two people who think a lot alike and have different ideas that work really well together. When we are working on a story, he is my writing partner. When it comes to him doing his chores, he is my son.

Charles, which one of you is the plotter and which is the pantser of the team? We are more of a pantser than a plotter. Both of us agree on that. We do have a general idea of where the story is to go but we don’t have it set in stone. It can and generally does change.

Wendy, which is your favorite character in your writing and why?  I think Lily is my favorite character in the series. She is kind of shy and quiet but very protective of her family.

Charles, same question, which is your favorite character and why? Boris is my favorite character. He is just so three-dimensional and is a heck of a guy.

Wendy, how do you get past a writer’s block in the story line? Usually if I run into writers block, I talk to Charlie, if that doesn’t work I have often talked to my hubby as well. Sometimes we just get in a gabfest and really discuss the story, characters and where they could possibly go from the stuck point. It could be while sitting around a bonfire, at a restaurant or even in the living room. I don’t recommend talking about the killing off of characters in a restaurant full of people though, you get strange looks.

Charles, you are training to be an auto technician, how would you answer people who feel that an author has to have a degree in the field of English to be worthy of someone’s time to read their novel?  You do need English to write a story but you really need experience to write a believable story. It’s creativity that comes up with the stories and practice that helps to hone that skill. Education can help but it isn’t a necessity to be an author.

Wendy, what is your take on someone taking a story say like ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and changing up a few things and bringing it up to date then claiming the story as their own? It’s plagiarism plain and simple. It’s O.K. to say like originated from blah blah, but it’s not wholly your idea because someone else wrote the story first. Give credit where credit is due.

Whoa, I just saw a wolf run pass the door and around the corner of the house. I did not think wolves were common in Iowa. Hmm? (Knock, knock) Wendy gets up and lets Kai in. Kai comes over and Wendy does the introductions.

Kai it is so nice to finally meet you. Your story is intriguing. I have had an enjoyable time interviewing your creators as we waited for you. If you take a seat next to Charles, we can start with your part of the interview.

Kai, as the story opens you are traveling alone after the zombie apocalypse when you come across a white wolf being attacked by a group of zombies. What possessed you to rescue a wolf from the zombies when it could have turned on you then you would have had to fight both the wolf and zombies? In my world, good or bad, everything fights against the zombies. There was something in the wolfs eyes that let me know it wouldn’t hurt me. I had to help.

Kai, your secret kept you from seeking other groups of survivors why was it so easy to want to join Clover’s group? A person can only be alone for so long. Even a loner like me can want human companionship. The desire to belong somewhere is usually with most people.

Kai, you had a nightmare about you and Clover that came true later in the story. Do you have the gift of prophecy? (leaning over to the open window he whispers) “Clover, what is prophesy?” (Kai listens, then sits back up) I don’t know if I have the gift, but it happened that one time yes.

Kai, when you found out about the secret of Clover’s group why didn’t you run the other way as fast as you could? Because they hadn’t hurt me up to that point. They accepted me, so I accepted them too. We all have our secrets.

Kai, your family was at ground zero when the zombie apocalypse and for quite a while it was just you and your housekeeper Rita. Can you tell us what it felt like to be so alone for so long? It was really bad. I mean it was great being with Rita and all, but every time we tried to join up with a group and they found out my name, well, we usually had to make a run for it.

Kai, your group set out for Butte, Montana with the help of Louie to escape the militia. Can you tell us about what you were feeling as you set out for Butte? I felt really good. I mean, we had a purpose instead of just existing day to day. I had a group that was becoming my family.

Kai, what were your most inner thoughts when you met the outer space dragons? (laughs) I thought I was dead and this was some sort of weird heaven. I didn’t know what to think at first but then when I realized I was alive I feared they would eat me! Let me tell you, I was sweating bullets for a little bit until they told me they don’t eat our kind.

There are so many more revelations in the trilogy but I think we will allow the readers the enjoyment to discover them. Once again I want to thank Wendy, Charles and Kai for allowing me to interview them. You can find out more about Kai’s adventures at the following websites: 

http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Siefken/e/B0069DFA34/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1