• Welcome back Robin Crumby! - Find out more about The Hurst Chronicles here

    Hi Robin, I am so glad that you are able to join me again on my blog. Please let everyone know about youre exciting post-apocalptic series.

    How did the idea for your book begin?

    Hurst Castle was the inspiration for the book. It's a beautiful setting, opposite the Needles Rocks and the Isle of Wight, reachable by boat or along a mile of shingle beach. Originally built by King Henry VIII, it's been updated and modernized over the course of the last five hundred years.

    What was the most important thing that you wanted to say in your book?

    However bleak circumstances may appear, good will prevail and hope springs eternal!

    Did you include any life experiences in your book?

    I spent much of my childhood exploring the various harbours, creeks, and islands around the Solent. It's an area with so many stories, shipwrecks, and history, it makes a fascinating backdrop to the story. People often ask me where all the characters in the book came from and whether they are based on real people. There’s a little piece of me and the people I know in each of them, that’s all I’m saying...you know who you are.

    What was the most rewarding thing about writing the book?

    Having people read my stories and hearing their feedback makes it all worthwhile (good and bad). Writing for me is a collaborative and iterative process. Reader comments and reviews help iron out any wrinkles and make the story and characters stronger for the next reader.

    How did the characters come to you?

    I’m an avid people watcher, read a lot and consume a lot of movies and TV series, so immerse myself in other stories in search of inspiration. The cast of Hurst is quite large and keeping them all in your head is quite a challenge. I tend to have a (movie celebrity) photo of each one together with a summary page so that I can maintain consistency and keep them distinctive.

    Were the personalities of your characters informed by the plot, or instead was the plot informed by their personalities?

    I like the slow-reveal approach to character development. To some extent, the flu pandemic has pressed reset on the world. Between disease and disorder, families have been torn apart, communities shattered, memories so painful, characters have chosen to start again and reinvent themselves. Who can really be trusted in this new world, when all points of reference have been stripped away?

    Did you do any research when you were writing this book?

    Hurst has five hundred years of history which I needed to familiarise myself with plus the subjects of pandemic viruses, bioweapons research and flu vaccines are quite technical so required a lot of background reading.

    What were your biggest learning experiences writing this book? Writing the story is just the beginning. Publishing the finished version takes a lot of work.

    What would you do differently if you could do it again with regards to writing this book?

    Give up other projects to focus on writing full time.

    If they made a movie from your book who would you choose to play the main characters?

    Tom Hardy for Zed, Natalie Dormer for Riley, Kirsten Dunst for Terra, Jack - I've never quite figured out, suggestions welcome.

    What are you working on next?

    I have a few short stories I’m releasing soon, an audiobook version of book one due out imminently and book four in the series due out in 2019.

    Why do you write?

    Making up stories is great fun. I have a lot of creative energy and this is a good way to channel that.

    Do you keep an idea’s book or record of things that you would like to write about at some period in time?

    Yes, whenever I see interesting articles about the Spanish Flu, outbreaks, vaccines, anti-vaxxers, bioweapons research, or Porton Down/CDC/WHO, I save the articles to a book ideas folder.

    Do you know the end when you start writing a book?

    When I first started I was a self-proclaimed 'pantser', meaning I worked with only a loose plan and structure and did a lot of discovery writing before figuring out where the story was going next. This can make for more work and more rewrites, so for the latest book in the series, I did a lot more planning and knew more (not all) about the denouement of the story and all the various character arcs.

    How do you go about editing process?

    I undertake several versions and rewrites before I am ready to show third-parties. I have a freelance editor and proofreader I’ve worked with on the series. I also have an advance reader team who do an amazing job of suggesting ideas, flagging any errors or inconsistencies and generally supporting me through to publication. I’m also married to a former Editor/Publisher, so that helps.

    What techniques do you use for writing?

    I try and write every day but that doesn't always happen with other work commitments.

    Do you have any tips for self-publishing for other authors?

    It takes 10,000 hours to be really good at anything. Practice makes perfect. I’ve found Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula an invaluable resource for all aspects of publishing and marketing. The SPF author community are also very supportive and collaborative.

    What is your occupation and how does it influence your writing?

    I ran a business to business publishing business for 20 years so have done copywriting, editing, proofreading before so tend to write quite clean first time. Writing fiction beats business writing any day of the week.

    Do you have any philosophies that you live by?

    Reciprocation, personal responsibility, and ‘be kind to others’. Generally, always try and do the right thing, but if you can't, don't get caught.

    What is your favourite quote?

    “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Winston S. Churchill

    Thank you Robin, so much for sharing. There are three books in The Chronicle Series and they are available from Amazon

    Book Series: The Hurst Chronicles

    Book One: Hurst – https://amzn.to/2LW7yjq

    Book Two: Sentinel - https://amzn.to/2QtJdF8

    Book Three: Wildfire - https://amzn.to/2CH4CYH

    Robin Crumby is the author of The Hurst Chronicles, a post-apocalyptic series set on the south coast of England in the aftermath of a flu pandemic. Robin spent much of his childhood messing about in boats, exploring the many waterways, ports and military forts of the Isle of Wight, where The Hurst Chronicles is set. Since reading John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids as a child, Robin became fascinated by end of the world dystopian literature and was inspired to start writing by Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. Why? Because post-apocalyptic fiction fires the imagination like nothing else. Pondering what comes next, who would survive, what would life look like? Much of the best fiction in this popular genre focuses on brain-eating zombies or events unfolding in the USA so Robin determined to write a story set in the UK. His Eureka moment came wandering the shingle beach at Milford-on-sea, inspired by the beauty and rich history of the Solent. Where better to survive the end of the world than a medieval castle surrounded by water?

    Your Twitter Account: @hurstchronicles

    Your Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/hurstchronicles

    Your Website: http://www.hurstchronicles.com/

    Your Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15179227.Robin_Crumby

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  • Author Michael Ford Jr. a retired Assistant Chief Louisville Division of Fire is my guest today

    Mr. Ford served as a professional firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for 23 years, in the one and only Bluegrass state of Kentucky. He has recently completed and published his first book entitled: 24 “What Can Happen In A Day.” This inspiring book will take its readers on an introspective journey as they learn the lessons and relive the experiences within through the lenses of the author. This book is about people; about family, love, heartache, triumph, determination and so much more!

    Welcome Michael to my blog, please let everyone know about your life and writing journey.

    1. What made you want to write a book?

    As a firefighter for 23 years, and like most firefighters, I was thrust into the lives of thousands of complete strangers during the best and mostly the worst moments of their lives. Yes, I was called there to assist and help, but inadvertently I found myself also being a spectator and student of life. I discovered truths and insights in the tragedy and triumphs of others that helped me navigate my own life and propel me to personal success. I realized that the truths and insights that I learned were universal, and would challenge others to grow and excel. So I wrote the book to share these truths and insights to my community.

    2. Tell us about you and where you live.

    I was raised in a financially poor home and family in Louisville, KY, but a home and family that was rich in love and character. As number two of five siblings I was taught early to share and serve. My mom and dad were both very giving people and served their community often and in various ways. So I believe that culture of serving really impacted my life. I have found myself living a life of community service: besides my 23 years of community service as a firefighter, my wife and I founded a youth program called Children Against Negativity (CAN) that has for over 20 years educated nearly 2000 students; for over 10 years we have provided management and financial support for 3 elementary & middle schoolsin Kenya East Africa; we founded Master Builders Academy a local Professional Development & Entrepreneurialorganization.

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    The next project that I am working on is a book about the adventures of parenting.

    4. Where can readers find your book for sale?

    24 “What Can Happen In A Day.” is for sale on my website at https://michaelfordjr.com as well as the following websites Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, iBooks, Books-A-Million

    Thank you Michael :)

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  • Turkish author Zeynep Unalan is my guest today talking about his book Baalzebub: To Forgive a Beast

    Hi Zeynep, welcome to my blog. Please let everyone know about you and your book '

    'Baalzebub: To Forgive a Beast'

    1. What made you want to write a book?

    Since my childhood, I have always been worried about the world and the creatures in it. I find this world to be a very beautiful place and I feel very lucky to be a part of it. However, in all its beauty, it does not seem to be sustainable if we keep our status quo. It is overwhelming to see destruction of wildlife every day. So I wanted to write a story to remind people of how lucky we are to be here together and that we must do something to keep it going; we must change something, starting from ourselves -our perceptions to be precise.

    2. Tell us about you and where you live.

    I was born in 1981, Ankara/Turkey. I attended college and university in the same city. I graduated from Ankara University's faculty of law and became a lawyer. For about 6 years, I worked as a lawyer but then realized that is not what I want to do. Then -all by chance- I started working for a small publishing company. And I have been a co-editor in that company since then. Justice and environment are what interest me the most.

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    I have written a fantasy novella about a group of flies and their King, Baalzebub. It is the story of some creatures' turning into good from the evil. It all happens step by step: First they realize the truth about themselves, which is, "They are despicable." Then, they decide what they want to be. And then, they act on it.

    It also focuses on how we see ourselves, how we interact with our environment according to it and why hard work and good intentions are important. I intended to make it a story for all ages.

    Currently I am writing the second book.

    4. How do you market your books and do your promotion methods work?

    I do believe good works promote themselves. So I am only trying to reach out to as many avid readers as I can. Having worked as a co-editor myself, I know how difficult it is to make your work viewed. Indeed, it is difficult both for the authors and for those who evaluate it for there are "too many books and too little time."

    This is why, what I want for my work is to have it read by as many people as possible, get the criticism, and improve myself with each and every one of them.

    5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

    It is available as an e-book on Amazon. It is also free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

    Thanks Zeynep for sharing your story

    A short novel about the choices and struggles of an individual -be it a human or not- in pursuit of happiness.

    Baalzebub, "the Lord of the Flies," discovers the reason why humans hate flies -with the help of his weird son. Although he is one merciless ruler, he is amazed by the fact that not all creatures have to keep struggling in order to stay alive. As he envisions his folk becoming creatures that are loved and respected, he risks not only his own life but also an entire community's; without even knowing.

    Get your copy here!

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Baalzebub-Forgive-Beast-Zeynep-Ünalan-ebook/dp/B07D9SSZFJ

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  • My guest today is author, formerly a concert pianist, Eric Hausman, talking about his life and his book ‘The Lost Artist: Love Passion War (Part 1)’

    Today I welcome Eric Hausman, previously a concert pianist, to my blog. Many authors are multi talented and have amazing writing journey's to share.

    So glad you are able to join me.

    What made you want to write a book?

    I knew my father had a remarkable story, but I felt too far removed to write it. He had escaped Nazi Germany at the age of 13 by going alone to Palestine and as a WW II Commando became the highest decorated Palestinian/Israeli soldier in the British Army. But besides what he told me, what did I know about the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, Palestine before the State of Israel, WW II’s North African Campaign, the No. 2 Commando, etc.? I’m used to researching a subject until I’m comfortable enough to write about it, but this seemed overwhelming.

    Then in 2010, I received an email from Einat Amitay, a top computer scientist with a chair at IBM Israel, saying, “You may not know this, but your father is very famous in Israel.” At first, I thought it was a scam, but my father’s passion was art and as I read on, she talked about a children’s book that he had illustrated, And There Was Evening (Vayehi Erev) (ויהי ער). I knew the book because my father had brought it back from his one trip to Israel in the early 90’s. In early 1948, he had turned in the illustrations right before leaving Palestine/Israel for New York City and never gave it any more thought.

    He showed me the book in disbelief. “It’s a miracle. The book was actually published, and this one little bookstore somehow got the leftover copies from the 1950’s printing.”

    I told Einat that during our first Skype conversation. She laughed, saying, “He could’ve walked into any bookstore and found it. It’s everywhere.” It never crossed his mind that the book could have had more than one printing, much less become a bestseller and timeless classic, now in its 42nd edition, referred to as the pearl of Israeli children’s literature. After a sixty-year ongoing search for the artist, Einat, while dying of breast cancer, had joined the mission and, against all odds, finally solved the mystery.

    The story was now too much for me to resist. Einat was a great support. I was very moved by her story of finding my dad and wanted to tell it as a present-day backdrop to telling his story. We became close friends as we chatted often on Skype. Though she made it clear that her chances of survival were slight, she was so vital, such a wonderful person, and had such determination that it was hard for me to accept. How many people dying of breast cancer would have the determination to join a 60-year search for a lost artist of a favorite children’s book and be the one to actually succeed?! I will always be incredibly grateful to her. On her blog, you can see how much she did for so many, especially for children. I can’t say how much her search for my father has meant to my family and me. I only wish my father could have known her. He died a few years before she found him, but she felt his spirit was pushing her. So maybe they know each other now. I hope so.

    Tell us about you and where you live.

    I am from North Stamford, Connecticut. I now live in New York City.

    In the early 80’s, I was offered a Julliard scholarship by Abbey Simon and was signed by Global Records, who changed my name from Hausman to Houston. The producers of my first album, Beethoven Sonatas: Moonlight Pathetique Appassionata, won the Grammy that year. I did over a hundred concerts to promote my second album, Tonight and Forever, and went into serious debt. I started writing while sitting out my four-year contracts and never went back to the piano.

    What have you written and what are you working on now?

    I am a playwright, memoirist, and ghostwriter. My first play, Playing with Fire, was picked up by Earl Graham of the Graham Agency and optioned for Off-Broadway by Lois Deutchman. My second play, Sweet Deliverance, received some great reviews from regional productions and was the last play optioned by legendary Broadway producer, Alexander Cohen. When Alex suddenly died it was held up in two-year contracts. Gerry Cohen, the brilliant TV director, then produced and directed my next play, Becoming Adele, which had won the Key West Theater Festival Award. It got great reviews in LA and was optioned by Warner Bros. Television.

    I then worked in Hollywood for a bit, but my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. In order to move back to New York City to be closer to family, I began ghostwriting. The Lost Artist: Love Passion War (Part 1) is the first book I’ve written in my own voice and name, which was the hardest writing I’d ever done. It felt like the absence of a voice. But I got used to it, and it really helped me get over that hurdle.

    I am now working on The Lost Artist. Part 2, which will complete Einat’s mission of finding my father as a present-day backdrop to telling his story of becoming a British commando and highest decorated WW II Palestinian soldier in the British Army, his love affair with a beautiful English professor while recuperating from critical injuries in Italy, and his tumultuous years in Palestine after the war up until the formation of the State of Israel. As with Part 1, the research is overwhelming.

    Where can readers find your book for sale?

    Amazon in paperback and Kindle

    https://goo.gl/ckCysV

    Thank you Eric, please keep in touch

    Natasha :)

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  • My Guest Today is author Virgil Daniels talking about his debut novel 'Shifts'

    Welcome Virgil to my blog, please let everyone know about your writer's life and your new book 'Shifts'.

    1.What made you write a book?

    "I have been writing for a long time in other arenas. Mostly in the environment of music production. Writing is something I have done most of my life, and it started when I was young, around the age of 12 when I first realized the joy I have for it. The need to work and survive was really the only obstacle between me and printing my first book. I basically chose now, since there is no longer a reason to prolong it."

    2.Tell us about you and where you live.

    "I live in Chicago, IL. Born and raised there, never really lived anywhere else, besides one or two short stints just outside of town. I like food, music, and good company, just like anyone else, however, as I age I find those things more and more difficult to find, just like everyone else. I maintain a website, with tips and hints to help those who may have trouble keeping their focus. And also advice on how to be better at being creative as well as alternative avenues of entertainment."

    3. What have you written, and what are you working on now?

    "I just published a book called “Shifts”. It’s and fiction/drama based on the lives of three people and how they interchange with each other. The novel is more for the Young Adult genre, but there is an underlying technology theme, that most people can enjoy. The book is meant to be entertaining and a good read over all. My next book is also for the YA genre, although it is more gratuitous in nature and has more of a sinister theme."

    4. How do you market your books and do your promotion efforts work

    "I am still new. My book has been published barely under a month and I am still looking to see if my current methods are working. As some of you may know, there is a space between marketing and sales and profits, that all artist must endure. I won’t really know if any of this is working for another few weeks. However, I do advise others to take the advice of their publisher and work the steps outlined by them. They are the experts when it comes to this."

    5. Where can readers find your books for sale?

    "The book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The kindle version however is only available on Amazon for now. You can purchase the book at discount from me personally on my website http://subdwellerzbeats.com/buy-shifts"

    More about ‘Shifts’

    "In Virgil Daniels’s debut novel, the stories of three individuals weave together, showing that even the most different among us are connected. Though it is as sensory as a graphic novel, Shifts lends a unique positivity to pulp fiction and fantasy. The conflict we as human beings endure and the humor we find in the everyday are what make life so rich—and they are what elevate Shifts into a page-turner for lovers of fiction too."

    Take a peek in the lives of Dax, Frank, and Rita. Three extra-ordinary people, bound together by time and the goals they have set out for themselves.

    Dax the inventive yet reluctant Ex-Soldier, trying to make something of his life and shed the mistakes of his past. Rita, a young scientist and researcher with the talent to be the best in her field, while still feeding the unrelenting urge to nurture her daughter. Frank, the most socially capable of them all, who carries with him a checkered past, a lust for women, even better food, and all that is good in life. He continues only to conquest the best and keep his ship afloat. Their lives will interchange and mingle with each other as the dawn of the technical era reaches its peak, and crests with the emergence of yet another technology. This one also, capable of altering the human experience as we know it.

    Thank you Virgil, good luck for the future

    Natasha :)

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