Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Away from the Spotlight

Today's guest is Tamara Carlisle, a former attorney and business consultant.  Away from the Spotlight is her first published work of fiction.  She currently is working on two additional novels:  one is about love in the music industry and the other is a work of paranormal fiction.  Tamara currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her British husband and daughter.


What do you like to read?  Do you have any favorite authors or books?
When I was young, my father wanted to create a home library.  Our family library had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with books by my parents’ favorite authors and gilded leather-bound versions of classic novels.  Consequently, in addition to the classics that were required reading in school, I read even more at home, including The Count of Monte Cristo, Dracula, Jane Eyre, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, among many others.
Reaching adulthood (and after a three-year hiatus from reading for pleasure during law school), I started to read popular fiction.  My favorite genres were spy thrillers and adventure novels.  My favorite books are The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins and The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. 
When True Blood came out in 2008, I started to read the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  The original Twilight movie was released soon thereafter and I read the related novels by Stephenie Meyer.  I became hooked on the romance elements in those books.  I then started to read all types of romance. 
Now that I have a Kindle Fire and selecting a book requires only a push of a button, I have become an even more prolific reader.  Over the course of the last year or so, I have started to read a lot of books by Indie Romance Authors. 
I tend to be captivated by the hero in romance novels.  If I’m really into the hero, I love the book.  Off the top of my head, my favorite heroes are Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, Kellan Kyle from Thoughtless and Effortless by S.C. Stephens, and Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.

How do you develop your characters?

I started with the underlying premise that being famous would be tough in terms of the lack of privacy, the difficulties in engaging in basic activities without being bothered, and never knowing whether a so-called friend wasn’t really your friend, but with you solely for the perks and publicity.  With that premise in mind, I created a hero who initially struggled with fame and subsequently tried, to the extent possible, to live a normal life.  Since Will MacKenzie largely enjoyed a normal, grounded life, he was a genuinely good guy rather than the narcissist some famous people appear to become.
Creating Shannon’s character and backstory was easy.  I merely layered the overarching plot on my experience graduating from law school, studying for the California Bar Exam, traveling abroad after the Bar Exam, and commencing a legal career. In terms of Shannon’s appearance, I wanted her to be unusual.  Since Will felt different, I wanted to create a character who felt different as well.  As a redhead, I can relate to a feeling of otherness.  I therefore made Shannon a redhead to give Will and Shannon some common ground in feeling different.  In terms of Shannon’s personality, I made Shannon a fairly emotional creature because the story wouldn’t be so interesting if she looked at life, as I do, in a very logical, rational way.  She would come off like a robot on the page.  Also, Shannon’s insecurities make it clear that she doesn’t feel entitled to the lavish treatment bestowed on her by Will - she wouldn’t be very likeable if she had an entitled attitude.
In keeping Will grounded, I created a support network of a loving family and good friends around him.  When I was a third-year law student, I dated a Frenchman who shared a house with a two other French ex-pats in Pacific Palisades.  I therefore had Will live with two other British ex-pats in a house in Pacific Palisades.  Those friends, and their girlfriends, helped Will live a relatively normal existence for a twenty-something in Los Angeles, albeit in a little nicer neighborhood that most.
I also included a love triangle in the story.  I wanted to ensure that John Maher and Shannon were thrown together regularly so I created his character as one of Shannon’s co-workers.  I knew from experience that, in light of the hours required in the practice of law, you tend to become really close with your co-workers because they are there at the office burning the midnight oil along with you.  It makes sense that, with limited free time, a romance would blossom in that environment – and I speak from experience in that regard as well.  In terms of John’s personality, I wanted him to be different from Will.  Will is an engaging, outgoing actor.  I therefore made John a relatively shy person.  The fact that John was shy and reserved also helped to explain why he hadn’t made any moves on Shannon before Will came along.
Shannon’s friend, Rachael, is based upon a friend of mine who died as a result of complications of uterine cancer at the time I wrote the novel.  The fact that my friend had been a paralegal and my partner in crime at the various pubs in and around Los Angeles when I was younger made her character fit right into my story.

How did you get the plot idea for your book?
Around the time that the Twilight movie was released and for quite a while afterward, I couldn’t open my internet browser without seeing, front and center, some story about one of the actors or actresses in that movie.  Every detail of their lives, real or rumored, was published.  I wondered how they would date and ever know whether that person liked them or the perks and publicity of being associated with them.  I thought that they would have to date someone who knew them before they were famous or someone who didn’t know who they were.  However, considering how much press they were getting, who wouldn’t know who they were?  The answer then occurred to me:  a law student. 
A law student has little free time in light of the vast amounts of reading required and working part-time as a law clerk reduces that free time even further.  Based upon my experience, the last thing a law student wants to do in his or her limited free time is read or engage in any other sedentary activity such as watching television or going to the movies.  Consequently, a law student might not be knowledgeable about relatively new actors and actresses.
With all that in mind, the idea for the novel came to me:  a very famous, young actor meets a law student who doesn’t know who he is.  I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and finally decided to write it down.  Away from the Spotlight was born. 

In the closing weeks of law school, Shannon Sutherland meets handsome and charming Englishman Will MacKenzie. Initially swept off her feet, Shannon finds that Will has a secret that, once discovered and the consequences realized, could destroy their fledgling relationship. Will and Shannon take great pains to have a normal relationship but, ultimately, find it impossible to do so. Will the pressures of their careers and the temptations of others drive Will and Shannon apart? Can Will and Shannon live a happy life away from the spotlight?


“I met someone.  His name is Will.  He’s English, I think.”

“That would be different for you.”

She wasn’t wrong.  I had very casually dated a number of men I had met in the various pubs in Santa Monica.  They were from all over Europe, but not one of them had been English for some reason.  There were Scottish, Irish and Welsh men among them, but never English.  I had commented on occasion on the fact that I never seemed to meet English men at the English pubs I frequented.

“I’m going to see him again tomorrow night.”

“What’s he like?”

“Drop-dead gorgeous, smart, funny and with excellent taste in music.  Just my type.  Well, better than my type, actually.  It’s hard to believe someone that perfect has any interest in me.”

Please” Rachael said.  “You get hit on every time we go out.”

“That’s overstating things quite a bit.”

“You seem oblivious to it half the time.”

I guess I did ignore some of it.  When you spend time as part of a female minority in bars full of drunk men, it was hard not to think that some of them would have hit on me for no other reason than that I was female, regardless of how I acted, what I said, or what I looked like.  I therefore learned that getting hit on wasn’t necessarily a compliment and, the later it happened in the evening, the less of a compliment it was.

Tamara will be awarding two $25 Amazon GCs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

For further information about Tamara, go to 

Tamara’s Goodreads Author Page also includes a blog detailing trivia relating to Away from the Spotlight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Look at Lumberton

During our inaugural Book 'Em North Carolina event, we had authors come from as far away as Arizona and attendees traveled from as far away as New Jersey and Florida. More than 2,000 people attended the panel discussions and talks and of those who purchased books, more than half came from outside the county.

For many, it was their first exposure to Lumberton, North Carolina. But they quickly learned what I knew all along: this is the friendliest place on earth.

When I moved here more than 7 years ago, the community welcomed me with open arms. I found scores of people who eagerly volunteered their time and their energy to a variety of causes to make this town an ideal place to live - from those who created annual events such as the Rumba on the Lumber and Chevy to the Levee... To those who participate in the Friends of the Library, Robeson County Arts Council, United Way, Communities In Schools... To those who have the special vision to create the Southeastern Regional Waterworks Art Gallery, River Roots, Purple Door and Flying Angel Entertainment (both live theatre) to sports, exploring the Lumber River that snakes through town, and so much more.

Fall is a time for barrel racing at Cowboy Up at the Southeastern Agricultural Events Center; for kayaking along the Lumber River; for Leaping Lizards Craft and Home Show; for the Haunted Hay Ride, Family Fun Day at Biggs Park Mall, and so much more.

Lumberton is a town of contrasts. It has one of the most picturesque and relaxing historic areas, which can instantly take you back to the time of Mayberry and Andy Griffith...

To planning into the future with the NorthEast Park and the new Art Gallery and attracting businesses to this area...

And come next February, scores of authors and attendees will converge again on Lumberton and discover it's the greatest place on earth.

Written by p.m.terrell, the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and co-chair of Book 'Em North Carolina. Her 14th book, Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, launches today at the Carolina Civic Center Historic Theatre in downtown Lumberton. It is the third book in Black Swamp Mysteries, an award-winning series that takes place in Lumberton, NC. For more information, visit her website at

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Cerberus Rebellion

Today's guest is Joshua Johnson, the author of Gunpowder Fantasy The Cerberus Rebellion (due to release in early July) and the creator of the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. When he isn't working or spending time with his family, he writes novels, short stories and novellas. He currently lives in Northern Illinois with his wife and young son.

He is also giving away .mobi copies of his short stories (details available at to one commenter at every stop. Grand Prize for one random commentor and host with the most comments: The Chesian Wars collection (all published 3 short stories and an additional prelude short story exclusive to the collection).

The more you comment, the better your chances of winning! The tour dates can be found here:


Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

I like to write in Fantasy and Sci-Fi because it allows me to create my own world. The rules, the boundaries; everything. They also lend themselves to epic scale and sweeping tales.

Tell us 5-10 things about your book and the characters that give us an inside peek of the inner workings of your writing.
 The Cerberus Rebellion covers ground that is very rarely touched on: the territory between the typical medieval fantasy and steampunk. I refer to this area as Gunpowder Fantasy; epic scale, magic, mythical creatures mixed with rifles and railroads.

While the The Cerberus Rebellion doesn't showcase it, my world is rife with political intrigue, backstabbing and family politics. The follow up books will include much more of this.

One of my main characters, Raedan, fears the power that has been bestowed on him through the various events of his life.

As a child, I was a really big history buff, especially about the civil war. When I was developing this world, I naturally gravitated towards civil war themes. When I had the skeleton for my story and world built, I looked at it and realized that I had taken a lot of themes and trends from the Civil War and had woven them into my world.

I'm a heavy-duty plotter: nothing in my universe happens without a reason or an end goal in mind. Having said that, sometimes I have to revise the plot because my characters go for a wander.

How do you get your ideas - for plots, character development, setting, etc?

I get ideas from all around me. The way that the people around me interact helps build character development, places that I go or have been become the basis for setting. As mentioned above, some of my plot ideas have been adapted from historical events; other times the plot builds itself out of basically thing air.

Who are your favorite authors and/or books and how have they influenced your own writing?

Two authors that have a major impact on my writing have been George RR Martin and David Weber; Martin's willingness to kill any character at any time, his intricate worldbuilding and the detail that he puts into his characters. Weber's take on Space Opera, his vast scale and his character building.


One hundred years of peace and prosperity. War changes everything.

On the world of Zaria, Elves, magic and mythical beasts coexist beside rifles and railroads. The futures of two nations hang in the balance as rebels and revolutionaries trade gunfire with loyalists and tyrants.

Eadric Garrard was raised to believe that as the rightful King of Ansgar, his loyal nobles and fearful subjects answered to his every whim, no matter the cost or consequence. His decision to send his troops thousands of miles away will test that fear, and loyalty.

Raedan Clyve was ordinary until an Elven ritual involving a griffin’s heart turned him into something more. Twenty years later, he still struggles with the magics that rage through his body. His mentor holds him back from his full potential and he faces pressure to find a suitable wife and father an heir.

Hadrian Clyve has picked up where his father left off and works to expand his family’s influence amongst the Ansgari nobility. His aggressive negotiation of alliances and shrewd choice of marriage agreements has earned him respect, and resentment. When his King calls his troops to arms, Hadrian has other things in mind.

After a century of scheming and decades of preparation, Magnus Jarmann is ready to bring his family’s plans to fruition by launching a war of independence that will free his people and return his country to its rightful place among the nations of Zaria. The King’s call to arms creates an opportunity that Magnus cannot afford to miss.

In a war, little is held back; in a revolution, nothing is safe.


He found the door exactly where Auberon had said it would be: plain oak, set in an unremarkable arch. Raedan dismounted and pressed his right hand to the door; he could feel the magics that held the door closed.

The particular spell that had been bound to the archway was different from one magic-user to another, but there were only a handful of spells that could be used on something as plain as the door that stood between Raedan and the library beyond.

He touched the onyx at his throat with his left hand and began whispering the first spell. It was the most common of binding spells, and Raedan very much doubted that it would work. He was right. The magic in the door pulsed, but did not dissipate.

Raedan found the spell on his fifth attempt. It was an obscure spell that Damon had only mentioned once in passing; Raedan had studied it more in his own time. Had he tried to force the door, he would have found himself unconscious.

There was a small, dark room on the other side of the entrance. Raedan left the door open, so the faint glow from the moon would give him some light. Dust covered every surface in the small room. The bookshelves were largely empty, but one contained several thick tomes. Raedan pulled them off of the shelf.

He traced the inlaid title on one of the books and smiled. He returned to his horse, tucked the books into his saddle bags and climbed back into the saddle.

Raedan turned back toward the gatehouse. The wagons would be arriving soon.


Joshua Johnson is the author of "Gunpowder Fantasy" The Cerberus Rebellion (due to release in early July) and the creator of the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. When he isn't working or spending time with his family, he writes novels, short stories and novellas.

He currently lives in Northern Illinois with his wife and young son. 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Blood Memories

Today's special guest is KJ Dahlen. Kim lives in a small town (population 495) in Wisconsin. From her deck she can see the Mississippi River on one side and the bluffs, where eagles live and nest on the other side. She lives with her husband Dave and dog Sammy. Her two children are grown and she has two grandchildren. She loves to watch people and that has helped her with her writing. She loves to create characters and put them in a troubling situation then sit back and let them do all the work. Her characters surprise even her at times. At some point in the book they take on a life of their own and the twists and turns become the story. Of all the stories she could write she found she liked mystery/thrillers the best. She likes to keep her readers guessing until the very end of the book.


Kim answered some questions for Book 'Em North Carolina about her writing and herself, which you'll find interesting!

When and how did you become interested in writing?
I read a lot, always have all my life, so when the books I read became predictable I decided to see if I could write one.  I started when my children were young and life interrupted so I had to put my writing on the back burner for a while. Then when I was free to start up again, there has been no holding back. I still enjoy reading and now that I am an author myself I have been introduced to so many new authors and friends.
How did you select the genre you write in?
I chose suspense because I sucked at writing romance. My first attempt was a romance but I couldn’t make it come out the way I wanted, so I turned to suspense and was happy with the results
What books do you read for relaxation? Who are your favorite authors and why? 
I don’t have just one or two favorites, I have several in every genre. Most of them are new writers or writers I have just discovered.
How do you develop your characters?
I make my characters as real as possible in my mind before I commit them to paper. Each one has a little bit of myself.
Where do you get ideas for your plots? 
I get my ideas from everywhere, from Television to overheard conversations. It can be as little as a group of words and once the idea is born I develop it into a plausible story line. I wrote a book, called The Prophet from the simple question, “Has he asked you to convert yet?”
What are you working on next? 

I have two books waiting to be edited by my fifth publisher, Xchyler Publishing, but I am working on a sequel to one of my Solstice books and reworking a book I wrote earlier this year. I also have several more books going and a new serial book started, called Ripples in Time. I also have three dozen books outlined and ten started that I have to finish. Looks like I’m going to be busy for at least a little while.


When an accident turns out to be not an accident but murder Savannah must solve a double murder that happened over twenty years ago to find the truth. She was the only witness to her parent’s murder and now their killer is after her. She puts her trust into a man her aunt has known and all these years but evidence soon points to him being involved with the man she thinks killed her parents. Will she prove him innocent or fall prey to his intent? Her life and over two million dollars in diamonds is at stake.


Savannah  was about to walk down the hill to her car when she saw him. He was leaning against a tree not too far from where she stood.

She was sure she didn't know him yet he seemed very familiar to her. She tilted her head and studied him for a moment. Bits and pieces from her past flashed through her mind as she tried to place him, but it wasn't until he smiled she remembered where she'd seen him before. A few years ago when she was coming home from school, he was leaving her aunt's house. His smile was as warm then as it was now. He pushed away from the tree and began walking toward her.

Savannah waited until he reached her to hold out her hand. When he took her hand in his, she had to say, "I don't think we've met before, but I've seen you somewhere."

He smiled. "I've known you most of your life. I was a friend of your aunt's." He shifted his gaze to the disturbed ground of Donna's grave. "I'm sorry I didn't get here in time. I only arrived this morning. When I read the paper, I found her obituary. I had to come, at least to say good-bye.

Savannah smiled. "I remember you. I'd see you leaving as I was coming home. I asked her about you, but she wouldn't tell me who you were."

He smiled. "I'm sorry, my name is Charlie Manning."

Savannah shook his hand. "I'm Savannah George."

Charlie glanced away for a moment then looked back at her. "If Donna didn't tell you who I was, then she wouldn't have told you what I am."

"Excuse me?" Savannah said. "I don't understand. What should she have told me about you?" Savannah was intrigued now. She was finding her aunt had kept a number of secrets over the years.

Charlie leaned back on his heels. "You may not remember me, but I'm a cop from Chicago. We met once when you were three years old."

Savannah felt a chill run down her spine. She lived in the Chicago area with her parents until she was three years old. Taking a deep breath, "I think we should talk, but not here. Let's go back to my aunt's house. I have some questions for you. I think it’s time for me to know the truth."

Charlie stepped back and allowed her to lead the way down the hill. He got into his car and followed her back to Donna's house. The drive only took minutes but seemed longer.

Savannah glanced at the package sitting on the passenger seat. Whatever her past was, maybe the answers she'd sought all these years would finally be revealed. She checked her rear view mirror as Charlie Manning pulled in the space behind her.

Grabbing the package, she opened her door and walked to the front door. Once they were inside Savannah made a pot of coffee. A few minutes later she sat down at the kitchen table and stared at Charlie.

"Ok, mister policeman from Chicago, tell me what happened twenty two years ago that caused my aunt to take me and run." Savannah said.

Charlie studied her for a moment then decided to tell her the truth. "There is no easy way to say what I came here to say."

"Just spit it out then."

"How about the fact that at three years old, you might have been the only witness to the brutal double murders of your parents?" Charlie finally told her.

Kim will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Kim's web site:
She is on facebook and twitter as kjdahlen
Her blog is on facebook at K.J.’s blog

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Carolina Wine Country Cooking

One of the most thrilling aspects to Book ‘Em is when a writer reports they met a publisher at the event and as a result their book is now in print. That’s precisely what happened at the Inaugural Book ‘Em North Carolina event this past February when writer, wine connoisseur and chef Ginger King literally ran into Mike Simpson, Publisher at Second Wind Publishing. By the time they parted, both knew it had been more than a chance encounter—Ginger’s book was exactly what Mike had been searching for.

Carolina Wine Country Cooking by Ginger King  was released this month. She will be signing copies of her book at the next Book 'Em North Carolina event on February 23, 2013.


(1) How did you get started writing and how long have you been writing?
In high school, I found joy in most of my writing assignments but was told by an English teacher that I admired very much, "It will never happen."  Over that summer I progressed in a job I held and followed some advice I received from my boss.  He saw good business sense in me I suppose.  That was when my focus shifted into finance and business management.  During college, I was told by a professor that they thought I would make a good investigative journalist.  However at the time my professional business career had already begun, and I was working part time in my field, so I stayed the course in my studies of business.  Over the years I continued to write for myself, poetry, music, short stories.
(2) What do you do when you're not writing?
I have held a few jobs in management accounting and finance positions in local businesses as well as working in large corporate settings for and with world wide fortune 500 companies.  This past fall I transitioned into a new finance roll in higher education where I look forward to learning even more while enjoying life in the shade of gorgeous Carolina pines, cooking with Carolina wines.
(3) How did you select the genre you've written in?
It happened that I didn't set out to only be a food writer.  However it combines two things I am passionate about.  Creating great food for my family and writing.  My opportunity to get published came during the 2012 Book Em' NC event where I met the publisher of my current book.  So here we go.  I can't wait to see what happens next.  It has been so exciting.  When I have time, or when I get a sprite of inspiration, I write fiction too.  I stop and do this even if inspiration comes when I don't have time, making enough notes to get me started when I get time.
(4) Do you have plans for future books? Can you give us a peak into those?
A peak into my coming projects would include additional volumes of Carolina Wine Country Cooking, some with themes and a cast of characters other than the food!  I also have a fiction   series in the works that may be set in familiar territory, woven in the Carolina Vines.
With autumn upon us, it's a great time to try this heart-warming Sweet Potato Soup:
2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
4 ripe plum or vine tomatoes seeded and diced
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 - 15 oz. can beef broth
2 cups white wine (Thistle Meadow Green Apple Riesling)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp salt plus 1 tsp
Pepper and dried basil to garnish top of soup when serving
Peel and dice sweet potatoes. Boil over medium heat in wine/stock mixture. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Then add tomatoes, ketchup and one tsp salt. Cook until tomatoes have melted and caramelized with the onions. Add the vinegar and stir. Reserve.

Check the sweet potatoes; insert a fork and if the potatoes are done, they will slide off the fork easily. Drain potatoes, reserving the liquid.

Combine drained sweet potatoes and onions/tomato mixture into blender (or use an immersion blender); add 1 Tbsp salt, 1 cup of cooking liquid and blend. Add more cooking liquid or wine until it reaches desired consistency.

Serving suggestion: serve with parmesan crisps or bacon crumbled on top.


9/29 NC Muscadine Harvest Festival Kenansville NC
9/30 Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair Lumberton NC [at the Village Station booth]
Ginger will be there all day Sunday 9/30 and in the evenings on Monday and Tuesday from 5:30 pm to closing.
10/13 NC Grape Festival Lu Mil Vineyard Dublin NC.
The first 100 people to like Ginger's facebook page Gingerwrotewhat will be entered into a drawing to win a set of two rustic wine tumblers. Handcrafted of recycled glass with thick walls and pleasing rounded rim, each tapered glass is hand-etched with stylized grapevines.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Congratulations on the Miracle of Birth!

Today we're celebrating the announcement that Katie Huneycutt, co-chair of Book 'Em North Carolina, and her husband James are expecting their first baby! The due date is early February 2013.

Please join with us in congratulating Katie and James. Leave a comment below - as short or as long as you'd like to make it.

Then visit these authors' blogs who have volunteered to write about the miracle of birth and life:

Dora Hiers

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Branch Isole

Pamela June Kimmell


We will print the blogs and the comments and they'll be bound into a very special booklet for Katie and James. We hope it will be a keepsake for their very first child.

Katie and James, on behalf of all of
Book 'Em North Carolina,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Boys of Summer

Please help me welcome Ciarán West, visiting us from the United Kingdom today! His first book, The Boys of Summer, was recently released and Ciarán has some fun ways of promoting his work. You can read more about him at his blogspot, He is also on Twitter at and on Facebook at

The Boys of Summer, by Ciarán West

"It’d been boiling for weeks. Mam said last time we’d a summer like this was in 1977, when she was pregnant with me. I used to wonder what she’s looked like; twelve years younger, with a big belly on her. I seen pictures of her from before that, when she was young; people used to say she was beautiful. She just looked like Mam to me."

Why is this book any different from the rest?

Well, because reviewers say this one is brilliant. When was the last time you read a book that really gripped you from the start; held your attention all the way through, and left you reeling at the end? A long time ago, probably. That's because these days, anyone can write a book, but very few people can write one properly. The Boys Of Summer is different. The characters are real, the dialogue is authentic and the plot is as relentless as it is clever. 

So what's it about?

Ostensibly, it's about a killing that happens in 1989, in a close-knit estate in Limerick, Ireland. Really though, it's about being eleven, friendship, love, romance and loyalty. It's about knowing who your friends are, and finding out who your family are. It's about making choices and living by them.

Who's in it, and why should we care?

The story is told through the eyes and words of Richie South, a boy who's a little more bookish and well behaved than his peers, and finds Growing Up to be rife with challenges and confrontations. We watch him mature over a very short time, when faced with tough choices and horrific events. We also watch him fall uncontrollably in love, with a girl who you wouldn't take home to mother.

What is it reminiscent of, in your opinion?

My big influences would be Stephen King and Irvine Welsh; with very early Dean Koontz in there too. In a modern sense, people have compared this to Emma Donoghue's Room and Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time. Comparisons which are both flattering and fair, I think. 

Why should we buy it, in a nutshell?

You should own this book because it's unpretentious, it's written from the heart. The prose is spare, vital and not littered with pointless adverbs or flowery, thesaurus-derived language. It's not over-long or boring. It speaks to everyone who has ever been a child, no matter where or when they grew up. And because it'll be the best thing you read all year, self-published or not. I would bet my life on it. Go to Amazon, read the first chapter and a half, and if you don't want to buy the book and read the rest of it, then we'll part company as friends and never speak of this again. Below is a short excerpt from the book between the main character and his mother:

"‘You know I love the bones of you, don’t you?’ She turned off the gas under the kettle, cos it had started whistling.
‘Yeh-huh,’ I could feel a blush coming all over me, and I didn’t want her to see it. I loved her too, but you couldn’t really say it."
Where you can get the book now:
Are you writing another book now?
I am mainly promoting this one at the moment, rather than writing another one. I have three clear ideas for grown-up novels, and another that I'm going to write for the 8-11 yr old bracket, under a pen name. My daughter is nearly ten, and the biggest reader I know, so I've promised her I'll write something appropriate for her to read. I can't say much about the other ideas, other than that one of them involves a fringe character from the first book, but we've flashed forward to 1995, so it's another nostalgia-fest of sorts. And that one of the other ideas involves the present day, London, and a lot of dread and peril!
I have to tell you, I love your videos. You have one in which you talk about your book in a funny mock interview (below) and two in which you talk about how to limerick correctly. I hope you do more!

Connect with Ciarán!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog

Please welcome today's guest Deanna Klingel. Dianna will be joining 75 other authors, publishers, literary agents, book promoters and one awesome Hollywood producer on Saturday, February 23, 2013. The event, Book 'Em North Carolina, is free and open to the public.

I live in the mountains of western North Carolina with my husband. I write YA literature. 

My first book, Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, was written for a general audience, but it turns out the young readers like it, too. It has the Seal of Approval of the Catholic Writers' Guild.  

Avery's Battlefield (Stars & Flags National Book Award), and Avery's Crossroad are middle grade historical fiction, set in Civil War Virginia. Bread Upon the Water, 6th grade up, is nonfiction, biography, and carries the Seal of Approval of the Catholic Writers' Guild. Cracks in the Ice is pure teen fiction, and timely for an Olympic year. You can learn more about the books on my website,