Posted in Author Q&A

Author Q&A with Dr. David Meredith

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From Goodreads:

Dr. David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

Dr. Meredith reached out to me to review his audiobook The Reflections of Queen Snow White. Now that I have finished listening to the novel, he has been so kind as to answer some questions I have.

What got you interested in retellings of classic fairytales?

The original versions of most fairy tales were pretty brutal, (especially compared to the highly sterilized Disney versions that most people are used to). However, despite the fantastical elements, they invariably contain, they are at their root, very real. They speak to our deepest desires, darkest fears, and greatest flaws, but they are also aspirational. They provide us with examples, regardless of how improbable, of how we might overcome desperate circumstances to achieve greatness and contentment in a world where such things often seem rarified and elusive. They give us hope that everything really will work out in the end. The best of them leave you with a sense, on some level, the story really could have happened. I think it was this that led me to choose a fairytale retelling as the vehicle for this particular story

Now, the other part of the inspiration, the real world part, was personal. In the space of about three or four months back in 2006, both of my grandfathers died unexpectedly. As I observed how hard my grandmothers took their deaths, it led me to wonder on their behalf – “So… Now what?”  They had both had wonderful, loving relationships – many long, happy years together (over 60). Suddenly, it was over. It made me wonder, “When your life has been so closely tied up with one other person for so long, what do you do when they are no longer a part of your life? How do you pick up the pieces and move forward?” That was the original kernel of the idea for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

Do you think Alice in Wonderland is overrated in the fantasy community or do you think the original author left it open to other authors to take their interpretations of the story?

I think it’s important not to conflate the movies with the book. I’ll admit I haven’t been that impressed with any of the screen adaptations I’ve seen. I think what’s missing is the historical context. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in its day was a scathing piece of political satire. In an era when criticizing the British government was punishable with prison time, Lewis Carroll trashed the major political institutions of his day including the queen. A great part of the brilliance in the work is Carroll’s ability make it obvious what he felt were the farcical, hypocritical, and ridiculous realities of British politics and political figures, while skillfully cloaking it as a harmless children’s story. I don’t know that any of the film adaptations have effectively preserved that aspect of the original novel.

What was it like living in Japan? How does their culture influence your teachings and/or writings?

It was an eye-opening experience to live as a minority among people who believed very different things than I did myself. I’d say it made my world and my understanding of my place in it much broader and nuanced. I lived there for nearly a decade and two of my three children were born there, so yes, I’d say it has definitely had a significant impact. I think I am probably better at presenting an affable public face despite frustrations or irritation because of operating so long under their more stringent norms for appropriate public behavior. I also have come to recognize that the foundational “truths” we hold so dear are strongly a function of culture and experience. In regards to my writing, I specifically have a fantasy series based on medieval Japan and Japanese mythology that has been in the works for quite some time, but I haven’t released yet. I’m in the middle of finishing up a Young Adult Sci-Fi series, but as soon as that’s done, I’m planning on turning my attention back to the Japanese fantasy series.

Is Snow White your favorite Disney Princess? If not then who is?

I don’t know that “favorite” is necessarily the right word, but I did think she had the potential for a great deal of complexity that was not adequately explored in the Disney version. With Snow White, I saw a character who had the potential for some interesting darkness that was at the same time also really relatable. I also noticed, however, that fairy tale princesses, particularly of the Disney variety, despite horrible trauma and tragedy don’t appear to suffer the same lasting impact of those experiences as regular people. I felt like this distanced the character from the reader. One would think, that a character who had experienced as much tragedy as Snow White – the death of both parents at an early age, years of horrible abuse and neglect by a stepparent culminating with her attempted murder not once, but three times – would lead to some pretty serious emotional and psychological baggage. At the very least, I think most people can relate to depression. Most have either experienced it themselves or know someone dear to them who has. My approach I think more accurately examines the likely effects that a life of neglect and abuse, like the one Snow White, was forced to endure, would have in real life. It’s the sort of thing that really has the potential to scar a person, and I wanted to explore that emotional struggle more thoroughly.

Did you do any research regarding mental health for reference?

I did. I specifically looked up information about the effects of early childhood trauma on adult mental health, although as an educator by career, I’ve studied a good deal about it in my formal coursework as well.

Do you have any other plans to write other fairytale retellings in the future? Or do you just write as the stories come to you?

I’ve been asked by several people about that, some even going to far as to suggest a series of After-The-Happily-Ever-After novels or novellas, but I worry that might reduce the impact of the original work. There are certainly plenty of fairy tale princesses who experienced trauma, especially in the original versions of the stories, but I don’t want to just write basically the same story over and over again. I won’t say no, but if I do another fairy tale retelling, I’d want it to have a fresh and compelling approach and/or message. So I guess my answer is maybe, but not right now, although I do currently have a couple of other novels out in paperback and eBook on Amazon. I’m about to release book three of the Aaru Series, and that has been my biggest focus of late. Aaru is a near-future Young Adult Sci-Fi novel. You can read the synopsis here: David Meredith’s Amazon Page.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Mr. Meredith! You can read my review of The Reflections of Queen Snow White here.

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Posted in Author Q&A

Author Q&A: Duncan Ralston

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*No Spoilers for Ghostland by Duncan Ralston*

Who do you relate to more, Ben or Lillian? If so in what way(s)?

Mr. Ralston: I relate a bit to both of them for different reasons. With Ben, it’s his childhood illness and love of horror novels. With Lilian, it’s her sarcasm and needs to present a tough, seen-it-all exterior, which I remember trying to project when I was her age.

Was it difficult creating the world of Ghostland?

Mr. Ralston: It was pretty difficult but also a lot of fun. There were really no limits as to where I could take the technology of the park – the biggest hurdle was trying to reign it all in to make for a cohesive story rather than a bunch of random incidents and set pieces strung together.

Did you base some of the ghosts on real-life events?

Mr. Ralston: Not that I can recall. There may be some that were unintentionally inspired by other stories or real-life events, mostly I took the standard tropes and tried to put a fresh spin on them.

What are your thoughts on Halloween in this politically correct society?

Mr. Ralston: It seems like much of the pushback against Halloween comes from the folks who aren’t so interested in political correctness.

Do you have a favorite non-Horror movie/book/tv show?

Mr. Ralston: Favorite non-horror book: Perfume: Story of a Murderer. Movie: currently, Interstellar. TV Show: all-time, LOST.

Would you be surprised if one day we had the technology where everyone could experience hauntings for themselves?

Mr. Ralston: It would surprise me very much as I don’t believe in the existence of ghosts – and the idea of them disturbs me deeply. That we would go on, trapped here on Earth without our bodies. Stuck re”living” past events. Is it purgatory? A way station between life and death? I’d much rather believe in reincarnation, or Heaven or just life being the end of everything. That said, if life after death was ever proven, I’d be all in. Though like some of the characters in Ghostland, I would have moral issues with exploiting them.

Is there any other Paranormal phenomenon you’d be interested in writing about in the future?

Mr. Ralston: I’m interested in just about every possible paranormal phenomenon you can think of – from TK [telekinetic] to UFOs. The second Ghostland book will feature psychic phenomena more directly than the first, exploring some of the powers displayed by ghosts at Ghostland.

Thanks, Mr. Ralston for answering my questions, and I can’t wait to read the next installment of the Ghostland series!

You can read my review of Ghostland here!

~

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Posted in Author Q&A

Q&A with E.L. Croucher

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About E.L. Croucher:

E.L. Croucher is a young author, living in London. She started writing over two years,
with her first novel The Butterfly on Fire, which she published on Amazon. Alongside
her career as a writer, she works as a Japanese translator and interpreter for a well-
known Japanese gaming company, after studying Japanese at university and living
in Tokyo, Japan.

Her latest novel, Horned Winged Blessed is an ironic look into a world in which
gender roles are swapped, and minorities are forced into labels that they did not
choose. With a mix of feminist views and a pro-LGBTQ+ stance, E.L. Croucher writes
to further her dream of a world free from prejudice, hate crimes, and bullying.

 

  1. How has the LGBT+ community affected your life?

I would put this down to two stages. Stage one was when I tried to live as a gay man in the world, so we can call that the “G” phase. It was never right for me though. Everyone, including myself, worked that out over time. My heart was never happy. Still, I learned a lot about minorities and what it means to fit in whilst in the “G” phase – so I don’t regret a single second of it. I made some wonderful friends along the way.

Then eventually, at around 21 years old, I admitted to myself that I wanted to change my body to match my mind. I entered the “T” phase and embraced my life as a woman. Wow, what can I say? It was like living in monochrome all my life until suddenly waking up to color. I’d never felt so happy. Today, I am happier and happier with every new tick that I cross off my transition-goals-list.

And the LGBT+ community has been there to support me in its different forms the entire way. I’m so grateful and feel so blessed to be as lucky as I am.

 

  1. Do you think LGBT+ will no longer be a niche subgenre in the next 5-10 years?

It looks to me that the sub-minorities within what was already a minority are started to come out of the closet, now that people are finally learning more about the world and questioning themselves. Next, I would like to see the normalization and acceptance of straight cis men that find transwoman attractive and visa-versa. In general, the movement of sexual orientation exploration, non-binary people and their different genders is only just starting.

Unfortunately, I fear that the entire group won’t always fall within the giant LGBTQ+ bubble. I hope it does. In a world like ours, we should try and stick together! Ls should love Ts. Gs should love Ls. That is what love and acceptance are all about, right?

So to answer the question, I think that there is every chance that LGBT+ will no longer fall under the term “niche subgenre” as it grows and expands. But I hope that with whatever form it takes, we can still stick together. Power in numbers.

 

  1. What inspired you to write this novel?

I wanted to make a social commentary about how gender plays an important role in our lives, and how we cannot assume to label or group together people that do not want that. The main theme of Horned Winged Blessed is that the government in the novel has attempted to make it fairer for all genders by classing them as a ‘third’ one. This, however, is flawed because when forcing it upon the subcategories within the LGBTQ+ community those minorities are in fact having their freedom stolen from them.

My main motive was to give non-binary and transgender people a voice without making the story a huge trope about the journey we go on. (That was perhaps the mistake I made with my first book…)

 

  1. What do you wish people outside of the LGBT+ community knew about the movement?

It’s not our choice. And it has nothing to do with anyone else other than us what we do.
What I mean by that is that my identity and gender has nothing to do with the men that catcall me whilst I walk to work in the morning. When I get chatted-up in a bar, I’m not attempting to “trap” anyone. How self-centered of them to assume that! I’m simply just living my life as I want to and as I always should have. The lines that this blurs between gender and sexual orientation are a secondary issue that modern society has to awaken to and solve in itself.

That is literally what paving the way means to me.

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  1. Who inspires you? LGBT+ figure? Author? Someone close to you?

I can’t chisel this down to a single person, but I am truly inspired by allies to the LGBTQ+ movement that have no direct link to it. So for example, a perfectly happy straight cis person who in no way relates to the LGBTQ+ minorities that are 100% supportive and understanding of our cause. That’s an ally. That kind of pure acceptance and benevolence is inspiring. I think that the voice of an ally will resound a thousand times louder than any LGBTQ+ member. When I see or meet someone like that, it makes me want to fight even harder for equality.

 

  1. How has the writing community supported/helped you with your writing(s)?

There is a great pool of resources out there for any indie writer. I often asked opinions of my cover art, of which editor to go for and whether or not I was making the right decisions. It was always so fantastic to gain such proactive and honest support when those close to me were often too blind with love to tell me the truth.

 

  1. What advice would you give to other writers in the LGBT+ community?

I honestly mean this when I say that: if I can do it, so can you. My English is a native level, but it’s not perfect. My story had plot holes until my editor tore it apart and rebuilt it back up. It’s a long process, but anyone can write a book if they put their minds to it and are motivated enough.

 

  1. What is your favorite childhood book/series?

As a kid, it was, of course, Harry Potter. I always aspired to be as hardworking and focused as Hermione, and wished that my muggle parents would eventually tell me that I was off to Hogwarts next year at school.

I’m still waiting on my owl… should be here any day now!

~~

Thanks, Ms. Croucher for taking the time to answer my questions! I had a lot of fun learning more about the LGBT+ community!

Learn More about E.L. Croucher’s Works

E.L. Croucher’s Website

Follow her on Instagram @emi13230

Posted in Author Q&A

Author Q&A with Lee Gabel

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In honor of Mr. Gabel’s upcoming novel, Arachnid 2.0, I’ve reached out to Mr. Gabel for a little interview. I have been following Mr. Gabel for awhile now, and I try to be a part of his community on Twitter.

From Mr. Gabel’s website:

Lee has spent most of his life living on an island in the Pacific Northwest. A certified movie junkie, he has channeled his love for good stories to the printed (and electronic) page.

Why does Lee write? In his own words: “Writing is magic. I’ll never understand how it works the way it does, but I do know if I put energy into it, it rewards me in strange and wonderful ways. Even if I know where I’m going in a story, often I’ll end up being pulled in directions by my characters that I least expect. What ends up on the page never ceases to surprise me, and that’s super cool. Writing continues to be one of the most difficult and most rewarding aspects of my life.”

Lee has worked within the visual and dramatic arts landscape as a graphic designer, illustrator, visual effects artist, animator, screenwriter and author.

Elisha’s Books: Where did the ideas of Vermin 2.0 and Arachnid 2.0 come from?

Mr. Gabel: The genesis of the idea came from having to become a rodent exterminator on my own property in 2008. In the space of a few months, I caught more rats than I care to admit. A few properties down from me, a dirty, run-down house stood vacant and had been that way for years. It was the neighborhood eyesore and affected property values of the surrounding homes. The owner of the property was given an ultimatum: clean up and renovate the place, or demolish it. The owner chose to raze the house, but before that could be done, the community’s health authority needed to inspect the home’s interior for asbestos, lead, and anything else harmful to the environment. That’s when the colony of rats was discovered. Hundreds of them. The air was so bad inside the house that inspectors had to go in wearing hazmat suits and breathing apparatuses. They didn’t use electricity to kill the rats, but in the end, the colony was decimated, and the house was bulldozed soon after. I didn’t see many rats on my property after that, but the idea of a rat-infested living area stuck with me. Since I had hands-on experience as an exterminator, the ideas and images were forefronts in my mind. I wrote a screenplay first (which placed highly in a couple of competitions), then used the screenplay as the basis of the novel.

As for Arachnid 2.0, I had seen a lot of interest in Vermin 2.0, and even though I didn’t intend it to be a series, it moved in that direction organically. A reader sent me an article about a giant spider in Australia, and I’ve got a healthy respect for spiders (they can startle me), I continued the story from there. Most of my ideas come while I’m actually writing, so as I come up with an outline I’m happy with, more ideas pop up. When I write the first draft, more ideas pop up and sometimes I have to adjust the outline a bit for it all to make sense.

Elisha’s Books: I saw that you participating in writers’ workshops, do you find meeting other authors helps you with your writing?

Mr. Gabel: Absolutely. I value all opinions, even though I may not agree with all of them. And that’s okay. I’ll incorporate ideas and suggestions into a story that I feel belong and throw away the rest. Writers that I trust can add a different spin on a subject or story element. If enough people say the same thing, then that’s the time to listen. It’s also just cool to hear what other writers are working on and what is going on in their lives.

Elisha’s Books: On Twitter, you have several posts involving NASA and space in general. What about space inspires you the most?

Mr. Gabel: To me, space and the cosmos offer limitless possibilities, just like the blank page one of a story. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to travel to different planets, but we are limited by our technology and time. In fact, one of my favorite movies is Contact, written by the late, great Carl Sagan. A private industry like SpaceX are making serious progress but we have a long way to go. With my interest in space, many would think that I’m a fan of science fiction, but that’s one genre that I have rarely read and currently have no sci-fi projects on my schedule, except ones that are more contemporary in nature. Perhaps that will change in time.

Elisha’s Books: What was your favorite book or series when you were growing up?

Mr. Gabel: I didn’t read a lot when I was growing up. Perhaps that’s because I read slowly. It’s only been in the last 30 years or so that I’ve made a concerted effort to read more. Recently I’ve started to broaden my interests, reading almost anything contemporary. But my favorite book, and in this case a novella, is Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. The novella was included in King’s 1982 collection Different Seasons. Some more recent favorites include Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell), The Outsider & Elevation (Stephen King), Dark Matter (Blake Crouch), The Woman in Cabin 10 (Ruth Ware), I am Pilgrim (Terry Hayes), and Gone Girl & Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn). Yeah, my genres are all over the place.

Elisha’s Books: Have you ever considered writing a nonfiction title? If so, what would it be about?

Mr. Gabel: Have I thought about it? Yes. Have I seriously thought about it? No. My interests and skills are varied but I don’t think I know enough about one thing to fill a book. I know that’s what research is for, but I’m having too much fun making it all up as I go along. I love dialog and interaction between characters, peril, and twists. Making it non-fiction would hold me back too much. But if the right subject presented itself, who knows! Never say never.

Thanks, Mr. Gabel for answering my questions!

You can get Vermin 2.0 by Lee Gabel here.

You can follow Lee Gabel on Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
And BookBub

Posted in Author Q&A

Q&A with Sarah J. Harris

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From Simon and Schuster Author Profile:

Sarah J. Harris is an author and freelance education journalist who regularly writes for national British newspapers. She is the author of the young adult series Jessica Cole: Model Spy, written under her pen name, Sarah Sky. She lives in London with her husband and two young children. The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder is her first adult novel.

After I reviewed her latest novel, The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder she was so kind enough to answer some of my questions about her writings.

What got you so interested in synesthesia and face blindness?

Ms. Harris: I’ve been interested in synaesthesia for many years, after first coming across the condition during my work as an education journalist. I’d written a feature about childhood synaesthesia following new research at Edinburgh University, which highlighted a lack of awareness about the condition in UK primary schools. I found the subject fascinating and it made me wonder what life must be like for a child when people struggle to understand their day to day experiences – or simply don’t want to know. Over the years, I’ve kept cuttings from newspapers and magazines about synaesthesia and also avidly read up on another condition that fascinated me – developmental prosopagnosia or face blindness.

I knew that at some point I wanted to write a novel involving both conditions and ideas bubbled away in the background as life, in general, took over – I was raising my two young sons with my husband, working as a freelance education journalist and I went on to write three Young Adult books about a girl spy. When I finished my last YA book, I was no longer under contract with a publisher and I felt a sense of freedom – I could write whatever I wanted and I returned to my initial interests.

I started to research synaesthesia and face blindness more intensively and both conditions played on my mind a lot. The central idea for the book eventually came to me in a dream: I saw a terrified young boy running across a suburban street at night, terror etched on his face. When I woke up, I realized that a particular color could have traumatized the boy. Perhaps he had face blindness and identified people by the color of their voices. What if the voice color of someone he knew well had transformed toa horrific shade as they screamed? What if he had seen the color of murder? The book grew from there and I wrote the first draft in about nine months, continuing to carry out research as I worked.

Is Autism Awareness something important to you?

Ms. Harris: Yes, it is very important to me. Jasper’s father finds it difficult to accept his son’s differences but by the end of the book, he accepts him for who he is and stops trying to change him. They finally reconcile and have a shot of happiness in the future. Hopefully, the message from my book that resonates with readers is that we all perceive the world differently and that diversity is a wonderful thing. It’s OK to be different and to accept others for who they are.

I wanted to make my portrayal of Jasper as accurate as possible and had help from the National Autistic Society. The response from the autistic community following the publication of my book has been fantastic.

In what way do you relate to Jasper?

Ms. Harris: I was bullied at primary school and used to run home to get away from the boy who used to wait for me at the gates, just as Jasper does.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Ms. Harris: Probably the painting scenes – I painted each picture with a local artist to enable me to describe them accurately, which took time. I had to know the exact colors Jasper created when he mixed voice colors together, for example, his dad’s and Bee’s voice colors merge to make “dirty sap circles”.

Since it’s #IndieApril, What is your favorite independently published novel?

Ms. Harris: Still Alice by Lisa Genova. My father-in-law had an early onset of Alzheimer’s in his fifties and eventually died from the disease, so I’ve always felt a personal connection with this book.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

Read My Review of “The Color Of Bee Larkham’s Murder” HERE

Posted in Author Q&A

Q&A with Ed Duncan

*No Spoilers for The Last Straw*

1. Your novel discusses how some kids leave street life behind as Mr. Elliot did, and how some kids never escape it. Was this something you witnessed yourself growing up?

Mr. Duncan: Yes, I did witness this.  I grew up in Gary, Indiana in the 1950s and 1960s.  At that time it was a booming steel town and was home to one of the largest steel mills in the country.  I lived in a lower middle-class neighborhood.  However, despite an abundance of jobs in the steel mills, there were nevertheless stubborn pockets of poverty within my neighborhood and on its edges.  Most of the boys who got into to trouble with the law and who, in those days were called “juvenile delinquents,” lived in the poverty-stricken areas of the city, and some of them were my friends, schoolmates, and neighbors.  Too young and stupid to know better, I occasionally joined them in some of their less serious infractions.  Fortunately, as we grew older, our paths diverged.  While I (and others) concentrated on school, some boys I considered to be friends graduated to more serious crimes.  A handful ended up in prison for varying lengths of time, up to and including life, and a few even died in street violence.  Maturity and parental guidance were part of the reason I escaped their fate, but another part was luck.

2. Do you feel like you connect more with Mr. Elliott or more with Rico?

Mr. Duncan: Paul Elliott was always meant to be the hero of the novel because he is a highly idealized version of me!  Like me, he comes from a working-class family, he did well in school, and he became the first black partner in a large majority law firm.  However, the more I developed Rico’s character, the more he fought to become the central focus of the narrative.  The more I tried to rein him in, the more he resisted.  Although I didn’t surrender, I like to think we fought to a draw.  By that, I mean that Paul is at least arguably on par with Rico as the driving force in the novel.  So the answer to your question is that, while I understand that readers will feel that Rico is the more riveting character (as do I), I actually connect more with Paul.

3. Are you part of a writing community?  If so, how do they help you to become a better writer?

Mr. Duncan: No, I’m not a part of a writing community. However, I regularly attend writing conferences.

4. What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Mr. Duncan: I would have to say that How Green Was My Valley is my favorite in that category.  I believe I’m correct that it’s underappreciated today.  Although it was adapted into an academy award winning movie in the late 1930s or early 1940s, I don’t hear much about it today.  It is exquisitely written and the coming of age story is achingly beautiful.

5. Do you want The Last Straw to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a series?  I honestly felt like The Last Straw could be its own standalone novel, or it could be part of a series.

Mr. Duncan: I’m happy that most people think the novel works well as a standalone.  However, it is the second in a trilogy.  The first is Pigeon-Blood Red, which was originally published in 2015 and was later published by my current publisher Creativia in 2017.  I’m currently working (too slowly!) on the third in the trilogy, Rico Stays.  Incidentally, I’ve also written screenplays for all three novels (I completed the one for Rico Stays before writing the novel), and I hope one day to be lucky enough to have them produced.  It’s a long shot but I have my fingers crossed!

Well, Thanks Mr. Duncan for taking the time to answer my questions as well as introducing me to your novel!

Read My Review of “The Last Straw” Here!

Buy “The Last Straw” by Ed Duncan Here!

Posted in Author Q&A

Q&A with Jessie Cal

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Jessie Cal is the author of the Disarray series as well as Looking After You: A Clean Romance. Her friend reached out to me and asked me if I’d review Ms. Cal’s novel. After reading Disarray I naturally had some questions for her!

Q: Have you had experience with amnesia before? If so, what was it like?

Ms. Cal: I have never suffered from amnesia, but I have for years wondered what it would feel like. I find the idea of starting from scratch both scary and fascinating at the same time. Sad, I know. My mind goes off the rails at times.

Q: How much research do you put into your writing overall?

Ms. Cal: It depends on how much knowledge I already have on the subject. I knew nothing about amnesia, however, my character didn’t really have “regular” amnesia, so that gave me the freedom to write whatever I wanted and still be true. Now, I wrote a short fiction where she was a surgeon who believed in bloodless surgeries. I had to research a lot on that topic–took me days.

Q: Are you inspired by literary trends?

Ms. Cal: Although I enjoy reading them, I can’t say my writing is influenced by them. I tend to write based on my dreams, and odds are, you won’t find that in the bestseller section.

Q: What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Ms. Cal: Oh, it’s so hard to pick just one. They are all different genres, and I love them for different reasons. But one I just recently read was entitled If I Was a Rich Girl. Very cute. Also, Soaked. Adorable. And many more!

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up:

Ms. Cal: I went through several phases, but writing stories have been a phase that always came back. Until I finally decided to sit and write my own [short stories and novels].