Interview with Dyane Forde

The interviews go ever on and on…

Next up is Dyane Forde, author of ‘The Purple Morrow’ and ‘Wolf’s Bane’, the first two books of the Rise of the Papilion Trilogy.

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I’ve just started on ‘The Purple Morrow’ and am really impressed. As I often say, ’tis a damn fine yarn!

You know the rules: read, enjoy, support and enjoy some more!

Here we go…


Tell me a little about your latest book.

In February 2015, I released Wolf’s Bane book two of the Rise of the Papilion Trilogy. This book takes the reader deeper into the conflict developing across Marathana, introduces the reader to new players and people groups and drastically raises the stakes. Questions of identity, individual choice versus the greater good are explored. Jeru struggles to accept his destiny while Kelen fights the evil dogging his every move, all of it leading to a devastating end.

I’ve included the blurb to give you a better taste:

The Purple Morrow is destroyed. However, its promise endures in the form of a champion, mankind’s only hope against the destruction spawned by an ancient, sinister evil.

The Rovers have invaded the Southernlands, sending its inhabitants fleeing for respite. Waylaid in a defunct desert town, and reeling from revelations about his past, a powerful, emerging evil lures Kelen to seek vengeance. Though he resists, Kelen soon learns that the Shadow Man will not relent until a terrible, ancient claim is fulfilled.

As Marathana quails under the burgeoning darkness, Jeru’s clan looks to him to lead. Jeru, however, knows his path lies elsewhere. Leaving everything behind, he braves the Badlands, a hellish desertland, to awaken the latent spirit of the Papilion within him. Jeru learns much in that place of desolation, including one truth which could turn destiny on its head. Now more than ever, Kelen, the Wolf of the North, threatens everything he holds dear. Jeru must choose: save the people he loves, or sacrifice them to save Marathana.

jeru4_ahands Digital painting of Jeru.

Nice blurb! I also have to comment on the quality of your book covers, they are very good indeed.



When did you decide that writing was the thing for you?

I always knew. From the time I wrote my first story in the first grade; when I started ear-marking pages in books so I could go back to look up the meanings of words I didn’t know; when I realized nothing gave me more pleasure than reading a good book and then putting it down to pick up another. I just loved books and knew I wanted to write my own one day.

 I was kind of the same. I loved books from the off. 🙂


Out of all your characters, which one is the most fun/interesting to write?

Wow. There is no easy way to answer that. Each character has a little of me in them, for one. And I like to have fun with my characters. Like, I like to try new voices or experiment with style to portray them. Finding and honing a Voice and then running with it is really what makes it fun to write a character.

 If I had to pick one, though, I have to say that Oren, the Master Seer and one of the main antagonists in Wolf’s Bane, was great fun to write. He’s this sly, disillusioned, passionate, and driven devil of a man—writing the scenes where he’s vying for power against his nemesis, Ambroze, was a blast. I’d always wanted to write a scene where two great minds with a lot at stake go up against each other—it played out like a movie in my head. I loved making Oren squirm! Oh, and a second character I grew to love writing is Seylem, Kelen’s ‘conscience’ of sorts and also from the same book. The two get off to a rocky start and then sort of develop this odd-couple kind of comraderie. I love writing male characters, which can be a challenge for a female writer. But these kind of challenges are what makes it so much fun to write in the first place.


Do you listen to music when writing? If so, what kind and why?

I used to a lot. I found it helped get me into a flow, especially when I was grasping for words to write something lyrical. I also do it when I’m stuck, unmotivated, or tired. I find music distracts from the fatigue or the block itself. Also, when my inner editor tries to wreck everything that comes to mind, I find music drowns out the negativity so that I can get words on the page. If they suck, then they suck. But at least I have something to work with.

I don’t have much preference, really. I usually just get the ear buds in and set my phone to shuffle. Anything works. If you want to know more about my thoughts on music and writing, I blogged about it here:

I suggest folk check out Dyane’s thoughts on music and writing. Interesting stuff!


What motivates you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys)?

Great ideas or concepts for stories that deeply move me or make me think; when I suddenly get clarity on a problem I have been trying to solve, such as why a character doesn’t work, or discovering a character’s motivation or Voice; when I just need an emotional release, are some examples.


The best thing about being a writer is…

…holing up with my laptop or pen and paper and letting inspiration take over. Then breaking up the piece, reworking it again and again until it takes the shape it needs to. Crafting the story—finding ways to elevate it from the ordinary to something different, striking, or meaningful–is what I enjoy best. Someone once used that word to describe my writing and it was one of the best compliments, ever.

I agree. Compliments like that keep me writing.


The worst thing is …

…dealing with how hard it is to get books into the hands of readers, for one. Marketing and promotion is essential but very time and energy consuming. I’d love to put all that into writing instead. Second, is getting feedback/reviews. Feedback is so important to an author—we work hard and love to hear from our readers, and honest, thoughtful reviews can motivate a new reader to take a chance on our book.

I hear ya!


What next from Dyane Forde?

I took a break from blogging and social media because I needed it, but I hope to get back into regular blogging and collaborating with people. Right now, I’m waiting for feedback on a few stories I submitted to some emagazines. Nor’easter, a literary fiction story that was short-listed in the Storgy writing contest, will soon be out in their Kindle anthology. And lastly, I’m working on the last book of my Papilion trilogy called Berserker. I’m about 75% done the first draft. I’m really looking forward to finishing the trilogy so I can work on the other books I have on the back burner.

 Great interview, Dyane. Cheers!

And now for her bio and links.

Bio: Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. She was amazed at how linking words together in different ways had unexpected and pleasing results on others. This sparked a life-long desire to write all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction, poetry. To Forde, every story or book represents new challenges. Forde views writing as an amazing and intimate communication tool, meaning that it becomes a means through which she seeks to connect with people on a level deeper than intellect.










Interview with Lela Markham

So, the month of May is drawing to a close. Blimey, where does the time go?

Anyway, time to post my least interviews of this busy month.

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing Lela Markham, author of ‘The Willow Branch’ and ‘Life As We Knew It’.

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Lela is a fellow writer from the Breakwater Harbor Books clan and was one of the first to give me a warm welcome.

As per usual, I hope you folks out there enjoy the interview and will go support another excellent writer!

Here we go…

When did you decide that writing was the thing for you?

My mom said I told stories from the time I could talk, so I must have been around 2. Long winters in Alaska meant a lot of time hanging out in the basement, so I would make up stories to entertain myself and my friends. My 5th grade teacher made me write down one of my stories. I hated the process – way too contrived for me – but it ignited a passion that I couldn’t turn off. I’ve been a journalist, a technical writer, and an editor, but my avocation has always been storyteller.

I think long winters can be very productive for a writer 🙂


Tell me a little about your latest book.

Life as We Knew It is an apocalyptic tale that asks what would happen to ordinary if the United States were hit by nuclear terrorism, destroying transportation and communications hubs. The larger events of terrorism are the background for an intimate story of people trying to survive. This is Book 1 of the Transformation Project, which hit Amazon in March, so we will return to visit the people of Emmaus in about a year. Look for Objects to the Rear.

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Out of all your characters, which one do you relate to the most?

In the Daermad Cycle (which Book 1, The Willow Branch, was published last year), one of the main characters is Ryanna. I modeled her physically after my daughter (a tall, strong, slender dancer, which isn’t me), but I realized recently when writing some scenes for her that I had unconsciously used a lot of myself in her character. She’s caught between two races, comfortable with both, not loving the prejudices of either, a woman of faith who occasionally argues with her god, a young fool who has grown In wisdom as she has matured. I’m part American Indian, raised to be proud of all of my heritage and I see both sides of my heritage as both good and bad. My faith is complex and I am still growing as a person even now.

Willow Branch Blue White Recreation Cover

Do you listen to music when writing? If so, what kind and why?

I do and depends on what genre I’m writing or what the tone of the scene is. For example, writing the Daermad Cycle (a Celtic influenced epic fantasy) I listen to a lot of Celtic music – wild tunes for action scenes, gentler tunes for more intimate scenes. Transformation Project has a lot of rock music playing in my ear phones. I try to create a mood in my head with the music that helps me to envision the scenes. Since I write at home while the family is living life sometimes in the same room, it also helps to screen out the distractions.

Yeah, music does help to screen out distractions. Sadly, it is only partially successful!


What novelty item would you like to see spawned from your novels?

Wow, I had never thought of that before as I’m not much of a consumer. There’s a novel I’m working on that is about grief, loss and guilt. It’s provisionally titled “What If … Wasn’t” and the main character’s full tag line is “I’m living in what is.” Coffee cups, t-shirts, plaques – if I wanted to teach the world anything about reality it would be that we ought to live in reality and stop thinking the world is fair, because it’s not. What if wasn’t … so let’s live with what is.


What motivates you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys)?

Characters show up from time to time to tell me their stories. I might as well write them down. If along the way, I can write about some of my beliefs in narrative form, then maybe I’ve made the world a slightly better place – or at least warned it about the messes that it’s making.

 Nice answer 🙂

Which book do you wish you had written?

There’s a lot of writers I admire for many diverse reasons and I enjoy their books greatly, but I am comfortable with not being them or writing their books. If I had to name my absolutely favorite book – The Young Unicorns by Madelaine L’Engle. Every time I go back to read it, I am incredibly impressed with how good it is.


The best thing about being a writer is…

Writers live dozens of lives without ever leaving the comfort of their living rooms. That can be said of readers too, but writers get to create the worlds we visit. That’s what I love about it.

I couldn’t agree more. 

The worst thing is …

The way non-writers really don’t get the writing process. Even readers who are very enamored of our books seem not to get that you don’t just sit down and crank out a good book as easily as they read that book. I have to suppress the eye roll when people ask “Are you finished yet?”


What next from Lela Markham?

I’m in Daermad Cycle mode right now. I’m working on Mirklin Wood, which is the sequel to The Willow Branch and also working on a short story for a Breakwater Harbor Books anthology that will be a stand-alone in the Daermad Cycle universe. That’s been interesting to write because it’s my first short story in 25 years, so it’s sort of like remembering how to ride a bike. Hopefully, I’ll be done writing both by August so I can start the editing process for Mirklin Wood, which I hope will publish by the end of the year.

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Thanks for the interview, Lela! 

Here comes Lela’s bio and links:

Lela Markham is a pen name. I grew up in Alaska in a house built of books. Long winter nights meant a lot of time in the basement curled up with books or acting out what we’d recently read. It was a great environment to breed a writer. I told stories from the time I could talk. A teacher made me write one down in 5th grade and that ignited a passion in me that has never gone out. Alaska is a grand adventure like none other with a culture that embraces summer adventure and winter artistic pursuits. I’ve been a journalist, worked in the mental health field, and currently work for the State of Alaska, but my avocation has always been storyteller. My husband is extremely adventurous, my kids are fearless so we spend a lot of time hiking into the woods where be dragons — another excellent experience for a writer.



Interview with Scott Toney

Continuing with my interviews with BHB folk, next up is Scott Toney.

Scott is Co-Founder, Author at Breakwater Harbor Books, and a thoroughly nice person!


When he asked me to become a BHB author, I jumped at the chance. I’m very happy that GhostCityGirl has found a suitable home!

But enough about me, it’s time to throw some random q’s at Scott…


When did you decide that writing was the thing for you?


It’s so hard to put a lock down on that, because I’ve been engrossed in writing some work or other since I was at least around fourteen years old, but my real passion for writing started when I was seventeen and began writing Dusk Crescence, my Fantasy genre poetry book. There haven’t been many days since I began writing that book that I haven’t written something.

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What is your favourite written work so far?


Eep. My favorite so far has got to be The Ark of Humanity. It’s got a bit of everything, faith, sci-fi/fantasy, love and darkness, and I feel it is the most unique and beautiful of my book premises.


I am halfway through Ark and it does indeed have a bit of everything! It’s also a very good read. 🙂

Out of all your characters, which one do you relate to the most?


My wife says that there’s a character in each of my books that I am very similar too. The funny thing is that she’s right. I’d have to say that the one I currently relate to the most though is Ben in the Romantic Suspense book Hearts of Avon. I’ve worked real bits of my life in to his character and his personality is a decent bit like mine. In the Nova Trilogy I’d say I relate the most to Ivanus.


Do you listen to music when writing? If so, what kind and why?


I never did before this year but now that I’m writing NovaSiege, the second in the Nova Trilogy, I’m listening to the musical score to Guardians of the Galaxy and the musical score to The Lord of the Rings. They really get the mind in the right place and because there are no words nothing distracts my mind from my own words.

Ooh, I haven’t listened to the LOTR soundtrack for ages. Must give is a spin later. 


What novelty item would you like to see spawned from your novels?


Comic books based on my Nova Trilogy. 🙂

Good answer! 


What motivates you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys)?


The responses from my readers about how much they enjoy my works really drive me forward, that and the desire to strengthen people’s faith through my Christian works.


Which book do you wish you had written?


The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams. Williams is the master, the pinnacle of authorship. And that book is stunning.

Good choice! Tad Williams is rather excellent. 

The best thing about being a writer is…


The dozens of worlds spinning through my mind constantly and the friendships forged with other authors.

Totally agree there!


The worst thing is …


Not having enough time in the day to write more.

What next from Scott Toney?


In June the second book in the Nova Trilogy is releasing and then I’ll be working on book three in the Trilogy, NovaDark, a sequel to The Ark of Humanity, a short Sci-Fi work for Breakwater Harbor Books’ upcoming Anthology and a short Christian short work that I’ll probably be releasing before the end of the year. There are too many stories in my mind and not enough time to get them all on paper!

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Thanks, Scott!

Thanks so much Simon! Have a fantastic day!


Ladies and Gents, do go check out Scott’s novels. You know it makes sense! 

Here comes Scott’s bio:

Singer, Father, Husband and Author, Scott J. Toney is a family man first and a great lover of the written word. With over 45,000 copies sold he tackles Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Christian genres, using his Journalism and Public Relations background in constructing characters and worlds.
His first book, The Ark of Humanity, is a what-if mer novel based on the story of Noah and the flood. His most recent work is the Sci-Fi book NovaForge, a fast-paced post apocalyptic read. Scott holds degrees in Journalism and Public Relations and marks his greatest achievement as his family.

“I can see comparisons to Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy in some of the themes raised [in The Ark of Humanity]. As with Pullman’s ‘daemons’, the relationship between the beings and their companions who transport them is particularly enjoyable, a relationship which also reminded me of the dragons in the film ‘Avatar’. I can see this as a fantastic storyboard for a Pixar film.” – HarperCollins’ review of The Ark of Humanity

Scott’s links:


The Ark of Humanity

Eden Legacy

Hearts of Avon

Lazarus, Man

The Last Supper: John

Interview with Mindy Haig

Here we go with the first of my interviews with some of the lovely Breakwater Harbor Books folks.
First up is Mindy Haig, author of The Wishing Place, and quite a few other titles!


Let’s see how she tackled my random questioning!

When did you decide that writing was the thing for you?


I wrote some poetry pieces back in High School that were published in our school Literary Magazine.  And though I always thought I would write a book, it wasn’t until 2009 that I actually found myself in a position to give it a fair chance.  It took me a year to write my first book, Kiss Her in the Moonlight. After that I immediately drafted two others: Midnight Radio (not published) and Glory, and I had a pitch ready for The Wishing Place.

Once the ideas were flowing, I just couldn’t stop.

kiss her v4 final      Glory Cover TWPfinalwborder

Out of all your characters, which one do you relate to the most?


I would have to say the character I poured the most of myself into is Lea from Kiss Her in The Moonlight. I think the first book a writer completes is based very deeply on his/her own experiences and feelings, likes and dislikes, so while I am not Lea, there are definitely things about myself that I made part of her; most notably my love of music, and that feeling that she just didn’t quite fit in the place or time she was born into.

Other than that, I would say Jantzen Burke from Hidden in the Pages is the character I can relate to the most because he definitely spends a lot of his time inside his mind.  He’s the person who takes care of everything and everyone except himself, but pours his heart out in poems in a magic journal.


Do you have a strict writing regime? 


No! I have a job and a family. My two teenagers are both athletes. My whole world revolves around my ability to be flexible! I carry my iPad (greatest invention ever) everywhere. I write down ideas and have entire dialogue conversations sitting in my car waiting to pick up one or the other of the kids. My laptop is on the kitchen counter, and it would not be unexpected to see me writing while watching dinner cook in the oven.

Sounds a little like how I write! 


Do you listen to music when writing? If so, what kind and why?


Yes, I listen to music. Sometimes it is music that specifically relates to the book.  When I wrote Kiss Her in the Moonlight, the book had a whole soundtrack because I had to be sure the music fit the time-frame of the book. When I wrote Midnight Radio (not released) I was doing a lot of yoga at the time and the yoga class itself sort of became associated with the story.  The Instructor actually burned me a disc with the music she taught to on it.

Most of my books have a specific song that inspired me. The Wishing Place has a song that Nick calls the bedtime song, but it is really a song by Donny and Marie Osmond. Nights on Broadway was named for the Bee Gee’s song, but the song that really got me into the story was Love Look What You’ve Done To Me by Boz Skaggs, and one of the short stories in my recent collection Under A Million Stars is based off a disco song. So, I am sort of all over the place as far as what I listen to. You should see my Pandora stations!

 I think an eclectic taste in music is most useful for a writer!


What novelty item would you like to see spawned from your novels?


I would love to see someone do a fan fiction based on The Wishing Place/The White Room.  One of my readers gave her daughter the book – she was in middle school at the time and she did her final grade project for her language arts class on my book! It included a visual presentation as well, and she got an A on her project. I was so excited, I mean I was really ridiculously happy that she chose my book and she got such a good grade on such a little known book.

A resurgence of Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots would also be great!




What motivates you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys)?


There are at least a million characters in my head. I can always find something to write about.  The thing I love most, what really motivates me is the research. When I wrote Glory, I researched every flashback, the history, the religion, the myth, even down to what newspaper stories were happening and what shows were playing on Broadway. I learn new things with every book.  It keeps me sharp and young to some extent.

My daughter, Delaney, is a graphic arts student as well as a budding writer herself. She does all of my covers and the process gives us so much to talk about, so that is an added perk.


If you could get everyone in the world to read one book, which book would it be and why?


I would say The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, but I am fairly certain that everyone in the world has read that book.

If I could get everyone in the world to read one of my books, it would definitely be Glory.  It’s such an interesting thought. If you look back through all of history, religion and myth, there is always a character who is discord, trouble. I had this idea that what if it was the same guy. What if it was one being cast out of his home and made to walk the human world until the judgment day opened the gates and allowed him back home. What would he do? What would he be like? How far would he be willing to go to get back to his home? Glory takes place in 1996, but the main character has flashbacks to his many lifetimes of being drawn to places of turmoil hoping to encourage the end of the world.

 I totally agree about Hitchhiker’s. It’s a work of genius.


The best thing about being a writer is…


I live a thousand lives. The best thing about being a writer is that moment when the whole story comes together, especially in a story like Glory or The White Room where you get to the climax and even as the writer, you’re holding your breath waiting to see how it is going to play out.  And when you get that review from a reader that says ‘I did not see that coming’ or ‘the ending blew me away’ that is the ultimate reward of being a writer. When I see the reviews and I get to know that I have given that reader something they really enjoyed, that’s what it’s all about for me.


The worst thing is …


Promoting. No doubt about it.
I so agree!

What next from Mindy Haig?


I have 8 books drafted, I hope to get Forsaken, the sequel to Glory, out this summer. I am working on something new that is tentatively titled The Postcard, that I hope to release in 2015 and I will be submitting a short story that is a spin off from Hidden in the Pages to the Breakwater Harbor Books Gateway Anthology due out this summer.


Thanks so much, Mindy.

Dear friends, do check out her wonderful works and support a hardworking writer!

Here follows Mindy’s bio: 

I am a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick New Jersey. I was born and raised in New Jersey so I am very much a city slicker. I moved to Florida to marry my sweetheart after college and marveled at how little there was to do and how much one had to drive to do it! But due to a job change and an abrupt move, we settled in Austin, Texas where the mottos is ‘Keep Austin Weird’ and I try my best to uphold it!
I am the mother of 2 great kids and though writing has always been a pursuit I was interested in, being a Mommy got in the way for quite a few years. I decided I would give it a fair shake in 2009 and I haven’t been able to quit since. I have 4 completed novels and I have 4 additional started novels plus 2 sequels all in various stages of gestation. I have a hard time stopping my ideas and when a seemingly great idea hits me – typically just as I am attempting to fall asleep – I am compelled to start an outline.
My 2 great talents are:
1. My remarkable ability to remember names – which has served me well.
2. My ability to remember lyrics from every song I ever heard in the 70’s and 80’s – which has not helped me in the slightest.
I have a quirky sense of humor and sometimes TV commercials crack me up.
I like the notion of things being ‘meant to be’ or somehow touched by the unexplainable. I also like the effect music has on one’s state of mind and the memories a song can recall.

Here are her links:
Twitter:  @mindyh101