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Month: October 2012

Interview: Mary K. Norris

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, please welcome Mary K. Norris.  It’s always interesting to hear how authors come up with different ideas, and it’s incredibly fun to find someone who wrote an entire book out of one line in a song — which is how I came up with my current work in progress.  Mary’s book sounds absolutely fascinating.  I love stories like that.  Please enjoy this interview where Mary answers your questions!

Tell us about yourself:

Mary K. Norris loves to travel the world and go on crazy, extreme adventures. Unfortunately, she can’t do that all the time, so she creates crazy adventures for her characters in supernatural worlds from the comfort of her home in Southern California. She has a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and when she’s not reading or writing she’s usually found doing some kind of physical activity, playing video games, or at Disneyland.

Tell us about your current release:

Hard-edged Cali Crazar is determined to succeed in a world that’s been less than giving. Fierce and protective Felix Del Valle is sent to Cali’s aid when a member of his guild catches a glimpse of the future where Cali is endangered.

Felix is an Eraser, someone with the ability to make objects vanish with a wave of his hand. Cali is a Silencer, a manipulator of sound, and has no idea of the world she has yet to uncover. As if trying to get Cali to believe she possesses supernatural abilities isn’t hard enough, Felix must also explain to her that she is his destined soul mate. Even Felix has a hard time believing he’s met his Mirror Mate, but when he first lays eyes on her the attraction is instant. As is the danger.

Together they must stop a power hungry corporate owner who fuels his multi-million dollar company by exploiting others with supernatural abilities. But the clock is ticking when Felix and Cali discover that Cali is the next target and the man after her is looking to use her for more than just money. It turns out she could be his one chance at eternal youth and power.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?

I was always a big fan of romance. I loved any relationship development in TV shows or movies and didn’t really start reading until I was a sophomore in high school. My cousin introduced me to romance novels and after that I was hooked. I started reading like a fiend and eventually I started thinking up my own ideas, or I would read a book and it didn’t end the way I wanted so I finally decided to write something that would end the way I wanted. 😉

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Interview: Shannon Kennedy

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, I’m so pleased to introduce to you Shannon Kennedy.  Shannon is a horsemanship teacher and substitute teacher who comes up with story ideas while she mucks out stalls or drives her bulldozer named Frou Frou.  I had the best time with this interview, and hope you enjoy Shannon’s answers to your questions as much as I did.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Shannon lives (and works) at her family business, Horse Country Farm, just outside of Granite Falls. Teaching kids to ride and know about horses since 1967, she finds in many cases, she’s taught three generations of families. Her life experiences span adventures from dealing cards in a casino, attending graduate school to get her Masters in Teaching degree, being a substitute teacher, and serving in the Army Reserve – all leading to her second career as a published author. Using her grandmother’s name of Josie Malone, she writes mainstream western romance. Her third book, A Woman’s Place just came out in trade paperback. Throw Away Teen, a young adult novel, will be out in December from Black Opal Books and No Horse Wanted will be a July 2013 release from Fire & Ice YA . Shannon is the newest contributing writer for Mountain Loop exPress.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?

When I attended Washington State University several years ago, I really wanted to find a critique group in Pullman, WA. I did and learned a great deal from the other writers who met once a week at the Skippers restaurant in nearby Moscow, ID. We traded our latest chapters. Then we were expected to read our work from the previous week aloud, getting not only written critiques but verbal ones as well.

The name of the group was Writer’s Bloc, and the expectation of regular submissions to critique along with the assignments due for my English and History courses since I was doing a “double major” meant there wasn’t time for me to opt out. I had to write every day either for class or for critique. As more experienced members told me, it’d be easier to listen to their advice if I brought in the “raw” or “rough drafts.” After all, I’d be revising and polishing that work anyway. I still send my first drafts off to my critique partners and try to write every day.

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Saturday Mornings

Saturday mornings are my quiet mornings. Gregg and Kaylee typically sleep in – they’re the sleepers of the family. The boys don’t really sleep in (5:30 this morning), but once they’re up and I feed them (the only morning of the week I give them cold cereal), I put in a full length feature film for them (Spider-Man 3 this morning), and spend the next 90-120 minutes surfing Pinterest uninterrupted.

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Interview: Cindy Vallar

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, I am excited to introduce to you Cindy Vallar.  As a person of Scottish heritage (the clan McCay), I LOVE almost anything Scottish.  Cindy’s debut novel is a historical novel set in Scotland.  She also writes about maritime piracy.  I have a brother who is an expert on maritime history and who was married in the Maritime Museum chapel in New York City.  It’s always fun to find someone with so many common bonds.  I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Cindy Vallar is the author of The Scottish Thistle, her debut historical novel about the Camerons and MacGregors during Scotland’s Rising of 1745, and Odin’s Stone, a romantic short story of how the Lord of the Isles settled the medieval feud between the MacKinnons and MacLeans on the Isle of Skye. In 2005 she received the first Friend of Clan Cameron Award from the Clan Cameron Association North America.

A retired librarian, Cindy is also the editor of Pirates and Privateers  (, a monthly column on the history of maritime piracy. She is a freelance editor and a workshop presenter, as well as a reviewer and columnist for the Historical Novel Society’s Historical Novels Review. She belongs to the Historical Novel Society, Clan Cameron Association of North American, Scottish Clans of North Texas, National Maritime Historical Society, Laffite Society, EPIC, and the Louisiana Historical Society.

She invites you to visit her award-winning website, Thistles & Pirates (, which includes an excerpt of The Scottish Thistle, as well as pictures of the places in this novel.

Tell us about your current release.

Set during the Rising of 1745, the last civil war fought in Britain, The Scottish Thistle is a historical novel intertwined with a love story.

Loyalty and honor. A Highland warrior prizes both more than life, and when he swears his oath on the dirk, he must obey or die. Duncan Cameron heeds his chief’s order without question, but discovers his wife-to-be is no fair maiden. Although women are no longer trained in the art of fighting, Rory MacGregor follows in the footsteps of her Celtic ancestors. Secrets from the past and superstitious folk endanger Rory and Duncan as much as Bonnie Prince Charlie and his uprising to win back the British throne for his father. Rory and Duncan must make difficult choices that pit honor and duty against trust and love.


Sneak Peek: Song Prologue

I thought I’d give you a sneak peak at my current work-in-progress. I’m HOPING that it will be ready to publish by the end of this month, but I’m not promising. Every time I get good momentum, something around me requires days of my attention. Nevertheless — I’m about halfway through it right now and am really excited about the story that is shaping up.

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