Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

I was lucky to be interviewed by Ari Meghlen on her award-winning blog. I talk about why I enjoy writing and chatting with Jane Austen.

Ari Meghlen - Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

This week’s guest post is an interview with the lovely Darlene Foster, author of Amanda in New Mexico. Enjoy!

Banner: Guest post Interview with Author Darlene Foster

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I am pleased to have as my guest today, author Stevie Turner. I have been following Stevie’s blog for a couple of years and her posts are fun, interesting and informative. She also holds a short story contest most months. She is a prolific writer as you can see and enjoys attending rock concerts. Stevie and her husband love spending time at their holiday home on the Isle of Wight, a place I love and included in Amanda in England.

Stevie and Jimi Hendrix at Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight

Stevie Turner grew up in the East End of London and was fortunate enough to attend an excellent primary school which encouraged creative writing. After winning an inter-schools’ writing contest, Stevie began to keep a diary and often added little stories and poems to it as the years went by. However, she did not take up writing seriously until 2013. By this time her two sons had left home and she had more time to herself.

Stevie has now written 10 novels, 6 novellas, 1 memoir, and 18 short stories, winning a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her third novel ‘A House Without Windows’. You can find details of all her books on her website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Stevie still lives in the same picturesque Suffolk village that she and husband Sam moved to in 1991 with their two boys. One of her short stories, ‘Lifting the Black Dog’, was recently published in ‘1000 Words or Less Flash Fiction Collection’ (2016). She has also written an article ‘Look on the Bright Side of Life’ which was included in the 2016 book ‘They Say I’m Doing Well’ which are articles about mental illness, proceeds of which go to the charity MIND.  Her screenplay ‘For the Sake of a Child’ won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival, and gained interest from an independent film production company based in New York.

1. What made you decide on the type of books you write?

I write realistic women’s fiction with a psychological twist, also suspense and darkly humorous books. These are the genres I like to read, and the type of books I am interested in. I couldn’t write a fantasy novel even if you paid me to do so!

2. How long have you been seriously writing?

Since 2013. I began to work part-time then, the children had grown up and flown the nest, and I had more time on my hands. I had always dabbled with writing poems and stories since childhood, but it wasn’t until I was in my fifties that I realised I had been privy to a wealth of life experiences over the years. I think 2014/2015 were my most prolific writing years.

3. Where do you get your ideas?

From life events, from items of news on TV or radio, and from tales I’ve been told over the years. I only write about realistic situations.

4. What is your writing process?

I don’t have one. I write when I feel like it. When the words don’t come I stop and do something else.

5. Where do you do your best writing?

In my quiet, air-conditioned front room. Sam works from home upstairs in his office, and I sit downstairs and write. Sometimes he comes down for a cup of tea and we even talk to each other.

6. How long does it take you to write a book?

How long is a piece of string? I have no deadlines to meet, and only write when I feel like it. Therefore one book could take months. My latest book ‘A Marriage of Convenience’ was completed in about 3 months

7. Do you work on more than one story at a time?

Never. I’d get totally mixed up with all the names and characters and end up writing a load of gibberish. No, I see one book through to the end.

8. How do you come up with names for your characters?

I don’t like fancy names – plain good old-fashioned names suit my characters. I also like short names so I don’t have to keep typing long ones. I write down various short traditional names and pick the one I like best.

9. What books did you read as a child?

Mostly Enid Blyton’s ‘Adventure’ series or the Mallory Towers’ series. I used to love books about private schools. I also liked the Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene. I wanted ‘titian’ hair like Nancy!

10. Who are some of your favourite authors, and why?

I like the psychological thrillers that Mark Edwards writes. I also like Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins’ books, again because of the psychological aspect. I also like books by A.J Cronin, L.P Hartley, and R.F Delderfield.

ST books2

11. What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Write for a hobby. Don’t expect to earn your living from it, because there are too many other authors out there all trying to get their books out in front. Expect nothing, and you won’t be disappointed.

12. Tell us about what you are working on now.

Absolutely nothing! I’ve just finished ‘A Marriage of Convenience’, which will be published on 6th July, and I’m going to take a couple of months off over the summer to enjoy my holiday home on the Isle of Wight and spend time with the family. There’s more to life than writing…

Thanks so much, Stevie for being a guest on my blog. 

 

My review of A Marriage of Convenience

Sometimes one hasty decision can affect your entire life. Sophie doesn’t know what she is getting into when she agrees to marry wannabe rock star Gerrie Hermann so he can stay in the UK and pursue his music career. Can a marriage of convenience survive a botched up kidnapping, harboured secrets, lost dreams and undeniable heartache? An easy read with real-life characters set in the exciting London music scene and exotic Rio de Janeiro. Darlene Foster

 

Make sure to connect with Stevie on her social media links and check out her amazing books. 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Amazon.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU/

Website: http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU/

Amazon Author Page (worldwide): http://bookShow.me/B00AV7YOTU

YouTube: https://goo.gl/E8OHai

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172051.Stevie_Turner

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StevieTurnerAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevieTurner6

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/stevieturner988/

WordPress Blog: https://steviet3.wordpress.com/

Audible: http://goo.gl/sz1cXS

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/preview?vpa=pub&locale=en_US

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/105747643789021738179/posts/p/pub

BookSprout: https://booksproutapp.com/author/875/stevie-turner

 

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Sally Cronin is an amazing woman who is a tremendous supporter of other writers and bloggers. So I was so happy to see her here being interviewed by another writer friend of mine, Joy Lennick. Enjoy learning about her very interesting life.

Joy Lennick

Sally CroninThank you very much Joy for inviting me over for an interview… it is a great pleasure.

Where you born and what was your first memory?

I was born in Wickham, a village in Hampshire, not far from Portsmouth. My parents lived in a house that my mother grew up in from about the age of 8 years old. Her step-father was the village butcher, with a shop in the main square. We went to Ceylon, as it was called in those days, when I was 18 months old for two years, and my first memories were of noisy monkeys. Small macaques lived all around us in the forest, and they would come into the house at any opportunity to thieve food, my father’s cigarettes and my mother’s jewellry. I also have vivid memories of the scents and sunshine, and I remember swimming at a very early age in my…

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Pam over at RoughWighting answered the questions to the Real Neat Blog Award in a clever fashion. Please do check it out. She has a great question at the end for all to answer. You can see my answer in the comments. Enjoy!

roughwighting

pansy, blogging, getting to know youWhat’s a fun way to learn about individuals? Perhaps by asking them to list the books they’ve read. Or, even better, to read the books they’ve written. Even though we authors may revel in our fiction (allowing our characters to act in ways we’d never dare), still, there are ways to delve into the likes and dislikes of someone by reading between the lines.

Here’s an example through my innocuous flash fiction, below, based on a set of questions I was asked when nominated last week for the Real Neat Blog Award by Darlene (a real neat blogger). The questions are included at the bottom of this post.

Spring is blooming toward summer, and I am zooming off to meet my girlfriends in San Francisco for a long weekend. Rose will be there, as well as Daisy, Iris, and Lily.

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I am submitting this story to Stevie Turner´s Short Story Competition  You may want to submit one as well.

This story was inspired by a visit to Clifford´s Tower in York.

Terror in the Tower
By
Darlene Foster

The tower ruin overlooks the city from high on a grassy mound. Angela pulls her sweater tighter around her as she glances up. She experiences the same chill every time she walks past the site.
When she was seven, her mother took her up to the old stone keep. From a small window, she saw a girl looking out at her through iron bars. Fire blazed behind the child. It had frightened her so.
“Mommy, we need to help that little girl,” exclaimed Angela.
Her mother took her hand and said, “There are no children in there. It must be a trick of the sun reflecting off the water.”
The sad, terrified and helpless child appeared very real.
Angela shudders as she recalls that day. She rushes to work.
***
It was the feast of Shabbat ha-Gadol. Instead of the usual tables overflowing with food, around her lay the dead bodies of friends and neighbours. The smell of fresh blood and smouldering wood filled the thick air. Ester searched for Jacob and Marta in the crowded tower. She witnessed parents slitting their children’s throats and then their own. Terrified, Ester tried to look away, but it was the same everywhere.
Since she didn’t have any parents, she stayed with old Jacob the moneylender and his kind wife, Marta. For her board, she cleaned the house, made meals and ran errands. Ester stumbled in the smoke-filled keep looking for the only family she knew. Eventually, she found them, dead in each other’s arms on a bed of straw soaked with maroon blood. A curved butcher’s knife lay beside them.
Did they forget about me? Did Jacob slit his wife’s throat and then his own?
The flames and smoke of the burning wood tower closed around her.
A growing mob outside yelled, “Come out, you dirty Jews.”
Why is this happening? We were promised safety in the tower.
She peered through the iron bars of a low window. Angry people outside the tower waved swords, scythes and pitchforks. It was safer to stay inside. It was better to die by your own hand. That is what the Rabbi said.
In the crowd, she caught the clear blue eyes of a girl her age. A girl dressed in fine clothing. Maybe she can help me. Ester mouthed the word Help.
The girl pointed to the window and said, “Look, Mother, there is a little girl in the tower. It is burning. We must help her.”
Ester saw an elegant woman take the child´s hand and pull her away. “There are no children in there, Angelina. Let us go away from this awful place.”
Ester coughed from the thick smoke and fell backwards. The flames engulfed her.
***
Nine centuries later Angela feels the eyes of Ester pleading for help as she hurries past Clifford’s Tower on the way to her Hebrew lessons. One day she will stop and help the child.

I´m pleased to be featured on Don Massenzio´s blog today. Pop over and say Hello.

Author Don Massenzio

Welcome to the 2018 author interview series. Author interviews will be posted every Friday throughout the year.

I am honored to continue this series with author Darlene Foster.

For those of you that have read my interviews in the past, you’ll find a new set of questions in this series. You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directorypage.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with Darlene Foster:


_MG_0156sm-Edit Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I try to do a bit of both. I certainly want to be original but not to be so out of touch that nobody will read my books. On the other hand, I am…

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My guest today is Debra Purdy Kong, a fellow Vancouver author who writes entertaining mysteries. She talks about where she gets her ideas and gives some great advice to anyone thinking of writing.

Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs inspired her to write mysteries set in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for her two Evan Dunstan mystery novellas, as well as her Casey Holland transit security novels.

Debra has published short stories in a variety of genres as well as personal essays, and articles for publications such as Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul, B.C. Parent Magazine, and The Vancouver Sun. In November 2017, she released her 5th Casey Holland mystery thriller, KNOCK KNOCK, and her 2nd Evan Dunstan humorous mystery novella, A TOXIC CRAFT.

How long have you been seriously writing? I’ve been writing for over thirty-five years and published my first short story back in 1982, for which I was paid $95. I hadn’t been writing long, and thought “well, this isn’t so hard”. Another three years passed before I published a single story and that was for free. It was quite a while before I was paid for my stories again. After that first piece was published, though, I’ve written nearly every day of my life.

Where do you get your ideas? While working on short fiction during the first decade of my career, ideas came from real-life experiences. For example, one day I was at a wading pool in the park and saw a baby nearly drown. Another time, I overheard a woman dissing her grandkids for being weird. Later, ideas for mysteries such as A Toxic Craft were inspired by my work experiences in security. I usually worked on Sundays which were really quiet. Patrolling empty buildings turned out to be a great experience, as it allowed my imagination to run wild.

What is your writing process? My writing process has changed a lot over the years, depending on circumstances. These days, I have a part-time day job Monday-to-Friday, so I’ll write for about an hour before work, again during my break, and again in the late afternoon before dinner. By early evening, I’ll switch to social networking or writing-related tasks because I’m too tired for major editing. I seem to concentrate best for up to forty-five minutes at a time. After that time, the focus fades away.

How long does it take you to write a book? The first draft of a book takes several months to complete. It’s tougher to determine how long it takes before the book is ready for publication because I never work on one book at a time. After a first draft is written, I’ll put it away for a few weeks or even months before starting the second draft revisions. Right now, I have three novels and two novellas in various stages of editing. On a daily basis, I work on two books at a time. One novel in the morning, the other in the afternoon. I don’t publish a book every year, although, in late 2017, two of my books were released which was unusual.

Who are some of your favourite authors and why? One of my favourite authors is the late great Sue Grafton who recently passed away. I so admired her writing style and her commitment to one series. I also admire her principles. Having worked originally as a screenplay editor, she refused to ever let anyone turn her books into movies.
I also admire the late British author John Mortimer of the Rumpole series. I loved the characters and Mortimer’s sense of humour. The same is true of the late Douglas Adams, author of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which is still one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.
Some of my other favourites are Tony Hillerman, Maya Angelou, Alice Munro, Deborah Harkness, Diana Gabaldon, and Ray Bradbury. There are so many more, but the list would go on forever!

What advice would you give an aspiring author? I have five pieces of advice for an aspiring author. One is to read as much as you can in every genre. Read the best books that you can find as they’ll teach you a lot about voice and style. It’s hugely inspiring to read a beautifully crafted paragraph. You can learn so much from a well-crafted book.
If you’re afraid to start or are stuck on a page and can’t seem to move forward, jumpstart things by writing in a journal. The very act of writing, regardless of topic, will put you in touch with your creative side. If you can’t think of anything to write, try a writing prompt. There are plenty of sites that offer writing prompts.
Once you’ve started, or even if you need inspiration to write, join a good writers’ group. There is nothing like learning from those who are working through stories, novels, and memoirs. Great discussions can ensue and just as importantly, you’ll learn that mistakes, self-doubt, and rejection are a natural part of the process.
If there are no writers’ groups in your area or ones that appeal to you, take a writing course or a workshop. There are good ones online, but many cities offer courses through local community and recreation programs, and of course, libraries are a valuable resource for courses and information.
My final piece of advice is this. Writing is not a quick trip to fame and fortune. The truth is that it simply doesn’t happen for most authors. Writing success (and success is how you define it, not anyone else) is a long journey without shortcuts. Many writers are goal oriented, which is fine—I have plenty of them—but if you aren’t enjoying the journey along the way toward achieving those goals, then do something else. Life is too short to resent what you’re doing because fame and fortune haven’t shown up. Be realistic about your expectations. The best part about a writing career for me is the writing itself. That hasn’t changed in all these years.

Tell us about what you are working on now. I’m currently working on the sixth installment in my Casey Holland mystery series. This book has been in the works for six or seven years, but other projects needed to be completed first. I’m working on draft #5 right now, and I hope to have it ready for publication next year.

The other novel I’m working on my first urban fantasy that focuses on Wicca, witches, and healing. At the moment, I’m struggling through draft #2, which is slow-going as it requires a lot of work. I’m over 200 pages into the second draft, which is over the halfway point. This is a whole new genre with new possibilities and connections creeping into the story every day. At this point, I’m not even sure what other types of changes this revision will bring, but I’m looking forward to seeing what emerges over the coming months.

Thank you so much for being my guest today, Debra. I look forward to more books coming from you as it seems you have an endless supply of ideas! 

Links to the 5th Casey Holland mystery, KNOCK KNOCK:
Apple (itunes): http://tinyurl.com/y96xscpv
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/y6wejnls
Amazon: myBook.to/KnockKnock

The latest attack in a string of violent Vancouver home invasions kills senior Elsie Englehart. Security officer Casey Holland is devastated. She is supposed to be watching over elderly bus riders in an affluent, high-risk area, but she’s let Elsie down. Determined to keep others safe, Casey escorts an elderly man home, but an armed intruder attacks them both. Hospitalized and angry, Casey struggles to regain control of her life, despite interference from family and colleagues—and the postponement of her long-awaited wedding. Yet another home invasion compels Casey to take action, but at what cost to her health and her relationships? In Knock Knock, Debra Purdy Kong’s fifth installment of the Casey Holland series, the risks have never been higher and the consequences more deadly.

Links to the 2nd Evan Dunstan novella, A TOXIC CRAFT:
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ycsvuaj5
Amazon: http://getbook.at/AToxicCraft

My review of A Toxic Craft

A fun read set at a craft fair. Evan Dunstan, a security guard, has his hands full. His feisty grandmother is in charge of the craft fair and things aren’t going well. His best bud, Scully, is head over heels in love and his coworker is not being very helpful. Who is sabotaging the fair and why did one vendor pass out in the washroom? Full of interesting characters and lots of action, this book will keep you on your toes. Wait till you hear what some of these seniors get up to. Can Evan find the culprit before it’s too late? Darlene Foster

More information about Debra and her books at www.debrapurdykong.com

Debra’s blog  https://debrapurdykong.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraPurdyKong 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/debra.purdykong


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