Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘writing

I am so pleased to be featured on Jemsbooks Blog. Janice Spina is a prolific author herself with many kids books on her list of publications. Check them out. Even if you think you know all about me and my books, you might learn about a special talent I have!

Jemsbooks

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DARLENE FOSTER!

Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster

Please help me welcome author Darlene Foster to Jemsbooks Blog Segment of Interview an Author. 

It’s lovely to have you here Darlene. Please step up on the soap box.

Please tell us something about yourself.

I’m probably considered a late bloomer as I didn’t start writing seriously until later in life. But I have always loved to tell stories and made up tales in my head growing up on a ranch in southern Alberta. I recall pretending I was in exciting, foreign countries having an adventure. I had two wishes as a child, one was to travel the world and the other was to be a published writer one day. I have been very lucky as I have held wonderful jobs over the years, raised two amazing children, and been blessed with four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. My dreams have come true…

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I am so pleased to be the featured author on Pens, Paws and Claws, a wonderful blog that features authors and their pets. Don’t you just love the title of the blog? Check it out, especially if you love pets. Read about how I use animals in my books and how animals have affected my writing life. Of course, Dot is included.

Welcome Author Darlene Foster

Pens, Paws, and Claws would like to welcome author, Darlene Foster to the blog!

 

Author Darlene Foster and her dog, Dot. 

How do your pets impact your writing?

Spending time with my dog relaxes me and inspires ideas. When I get stuck, I take her for a walk and often return with fresh new ideas. She also gets me off my butt and away from the computer. When she thinks I have been there too long, she comes into my office with her ball and drops it in front of me, looking at me with those big puppy dog eyes. I just can’t say no. Before moving to Spain and getting our dog we had cats. They would sleep on my lap or on my feet while I wrote. A writer needs pets. They are great to discuss ideas with.

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Who could refuse those eyes? 

Do you include animals in your stories?

Living on a farm/ranch there were always animals around so I love animals of all sorts….

read more here and discover my funniest pet story

http://penspawsandclaws.com/welcome-author-darlene-foster/

Whether you are a writer or not, how have animals affected your life? Do you have a funny pet story?

I’m tickled to be featured on MJ Mallon’s blog. Find out what I would do with a traveling onion and a few other things about me and my writing that you may or may not know.

M J Mallon Author

A huge welcome to Darlene Foster who is over at my blog home today for a Q and A about her children’s adventure series: Amanda Travels.

Some of you might know that I like to interview using my nickname MJ…

MJ: I’d love to find out more about your amazing travel series featuring a twelve year old girl. Who is Amanda Ross and where does she like to travel to? What mysteries does she uncover/solve? What adventures does she have?

Darlene: Amanda Ross is an average girl living in Alberta, Canada and she is bored. On her twelfth birthday she makes a wish for travel and adventure before blowing out all her candles. The next day tickets to visit her aunt and uncle in the United Arab Emirates arrive in the mail. She has an amazing adventure in the UAE that includes a mysterious perfume flask, a beautiful princess, a…

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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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Stevie Turner has invited all writers to enter her short story competition for January. I would suggest you give it a go. Enter at https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/share-your-short-story-january-2018/

This is my entry. Let me know what you think.

Solar Eclipse 

by Darlene Foster

Audrey rolled out of bed, looked out the window and decided this day would be her last. She saw no point in going on. Her life had become abysmal.

No one called except telemarketers and people taking surveys. As if her opinion counted. No one ever stopped in for a visit either. Many of her friends were dead; the others had gradually disappeared from her life.

A dish with mouldy cat food sat in the corner. How long had the cat been dead? How long had she been so unhappy? She had lost track of time.

Loneliness engulfed her and left a crater in her heart.

She pulled apart the curtains and peered out her kitchen window. The rain continued to pour down like it had for months, or so it seemed. Audrey couldn’t remember the sun anymore. The sun had disappeared like her friends.
When did her life change? How did it happen? She recalled that once she laughed, and sang, and danced. The sun used to shine. That was a different person – another life.

It grew darker outside. Audrey shivered and let the curtains drop.

Was it after Charlie died? That was a tough time. She felt sad back then and cried a lot. Her friends rallied around her, took her out, kept her busy. She concentrated on her job as an employment counsellor, helping others find work. She got through it. Life carried on.

She cleared a corner of the dining room table laden with newspapers, dirty dishes and used tissues. After pouring herself a bowl of cereal, she opened the fridge. The smell of rotten vegetables and stale bread wafted out as she searched for the milk carton. The light in the fridge burnt out a while ago. Three drops of milk dribbled from the container. So much for that. She certainly wasn’t going out for more. Why bother eating anyway if she wasn’t going to be around for much longer.

No point in getting dressed either. Nothing fit. She looked down at the stained nightgown she had been wearing for weeks. A threadbare housecoat that refused to close in front, covered her heavy body. Where did this body come from? Clearly, it was not hers. She ran her hands through her greasy, grey hair. When did she stop colouring it? What did it matter?

Perhaps it was after she retired. Was that when her life went to shit? When the sun went into hiding? She spent the last few years submerged in a virtual fog.

She lumbered to the mailbox in fuzzy slippers. Nothing of interest ever came but checking the mailbox was a habit. Her spotted hand shook as she inserted the key. The door swung open and a multitude of flyers tumbled out. She left them on the floor of the apartment lobby. Someone else could pick them up and throw them away. Someone who was going to be around tomorrow. She began to close the miniature door.

A flash of colour caught her eye. The blue was so bright it hurt her eyes. Like someone had suddenly turned on the overhead light while she watched TV in the dark. She squeezed her eyes tight and then opened them again. The patch of blue remained and beckoned like a neon light outside a downtown bar.

She reached in and pulled out the small rectangular object. What´s this? A postcard? She studied the picture of dazzling-blue water and a clear blue sky. A lone palm tree overlooked the scene and a white sailboat floated in the sun. Sun! She thought she would never see the sun again. Her frozen body began to feel warmth.

Audrey turned over the card.

The unexpected jolt of colour was from her old friend and coworker, Lillian, one of the disappeared who moved to Spain a few years ago. She was inviting Audrey to come to Spain and spend some time with her.

Audrey returned to her apartment, blew the dust off the neglected computer and turned it on. She checked her savings account. Charlie left her a decent amount of money that she barely touched. She had almost forgotten about it.

She placed the postcard on the mantle, took a shower, pulled on jogging pants and a sweatshirt, applied some makeup and ventured outside. After calling in at the travel agent where she bought a ticket to Spain, she purchased a new housecoat, some clothes that fit and milk for the next day’s breakfast. She cleaned the apartment and threw out the cat dish, food and all.

The rain stopped and the sun emerged from behind a cloud.

Her last day could wait.

 

Book six in the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind has been officially released on Amazon, Kobo and other sites. A recent reviewer stated: This story combines a good young adult adventure story with hints of the paranormal while also providing some well placed educational material lightly in the text and great ideas for other young people to aspire to.

Thank you to everyone who has already purchased a copy of the book. I do hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you like the story, a short review would be most welcome.

To celebrate, we are featuring a fabulous giveaway that includes a copy of the book, a colouring book, the cutest little ghost stuffy, cookie cutters and an Amazon gift certificate. All in time for Halloween!!

PrizePack

You can enter this great giveaway here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4e6fad2120/?

Please note it’s only available to US & Canadian entries. Any international winners will be granted digital copies of the full Amanda Travels series.

And there´s more! I was honoured to be invited to be a guest on The Maltese Tiger´s Tips From a Pro.  My responses to his excellent questions.

Do you think that creative writers need to pursue a formal education, or can you learn the craft on your own?

Foster: I think creative writers need to continue learning as long as they breathe. But I don’t believe they need a formal education, although it certainly doesn’t hurt. But not having a formal education should never stop one from writing. There are so many ways to learn and improve the craft of writing. Reading everything you can get your hands on will always be the best teacher. I’m a great believer in workshops and seminars, both in person and online. Critique groups also provide a fount of knowledge. Hanging around other writers, not just those who write in your genre, can teach you so much. Every time I attend a writers’ conference, I come away feeling like I just received a degree.

What kind of research do you do when writing a book or story?

Foster: I usually start my research during my travels by being curious, taking a lot of pictures, keeping notes and chatting with people. When I return home and start the story, I do more detailed research on certain topics I plan to include in the book, usually on the internet.

Read the rest of the interview here and leave a comment if you wish.

Don´t forget to enter the giveaway http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4e6fad2120/?

I hope everyone is having a super autumn, whether you are basking in the sun or enjoying the freshly fallen snow, it is always a lovely time of the year. Life is good!

 

 


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