6Ws, Author Series

6Ws with Author Kateri Stanley

Kateri Stanley is the next author featured in this 6Ws series. Her latest book, From the Deep, is a modern day, dark fantasy thriller. She says fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid might enjoy reading it. Now that makes me curious. Read on to learn more about Kateri Stanley — a pseudonym by the way — and her writing.

Who is the author Kateri Stanley?

I’m a British-based writer moonlighting under a pen name, I work a regular office job by day, and I live with my boyfriend and our cat. I love my music, movies, TV shows and a video game here and there. Big fan of comedy. I’m an introverted geek. 

What is your latest book? 

From the Deep is a modern day, dark fantasy thriller. Based in the fictional town of Drake Cove. It follows fisherman, widower and single dad, Julian Finch who finds out that two of his colleagues have been murdered. His hometown is struggling under a huge hot media spotlight as their controversial practice of The Culling hits headlines everywhere.

The suspects of the murders come in the form of radical animal rights group, Fighters Against Animal Cruelty – FAAC. They go wherever the politics is trending and detests the town because of the brutal killings of pilot whales which are eaten.

After a hate attack goes viral, Julian and his daughter, Emily stay with a family friend, Frank Blothio. He is an ex-fisherman turned writer and political activist who does not have the best history with the animal rights movement, or Drake Cove as a whole. As Julian integrates into the Blothio way of life, he discovers heinous secrets and disturbing truths lurking beneath the skin of his hometown that will change his life forever.

Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid might enjoy it.  It was published by indie publisher, Burton Mayers Books on the 6th May. 

When did you begin writing? 

I’ve been writing since I was a kid whether it was jotting down a diary, ideas, short stories, bad poetry, fan fiction, lyrics. But I didn’t start writing with serious intention to be published till I was a teenager when I started working on my first original idea.

 How do you write? 

I normally have an idea in my head and I let it simmer for a while. If it doesn’t go away, it will naturally mature, spread legs and blossom. I jot them down, might do a bit of research. then I start writing, typing up the first draft. Sometimes the ideas change and I go with the flow of it.

 Where do you write? 

At the moment, I write in my office at home and when I have a breather, I’ll scribble something down or jot it on my phone during my lunch break at work. 

Why do you write? 

It’s linked to my mental health. I have a lot of characters and stories swimming in my head. I feel alive when I write. If I didn’t, I’d probably be in a mental hospital. 

Links to books and social media: 

Website: www.kateristanley.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sal_writes

Instagram: http://instagram.com/sal_writes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/salwrites2

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21272876.Kateri_Stanley

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kateri-stanley

From the Deep on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09WG2GVV5

Forgive Me on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08XQSQF1D 

All links: https://linktr.ee/sal_writes 

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6Ws, Author Series

6Ws with Author Michelle Cook

Michelle Cook is the next darkstroke books author to feature in the 6Ws series. (With a nod to my former life as a journalist, I opted for the 6Ws of the business: who, what, when, where, why and how, which counts as it ends in W.) Michelle’s most recent release is Counterpoint, which is a sequel to Tipping Point, her debut novel. Both stand on their own, however. These eco-thriller adventures follow the story of a young woman called Essie. But I will let Michelle tell you about her writing and her books herself.

Who is Michelle Cook?

That’s a tricky question to start with!

I’m an author who lives in the UK with my husband and two children aged nine and six. By day, I work for the National Health Service, but I disappear into fiction whenever I’m left to my own devices. 

I write all sorts of tales, but they mostly turn out dark, sometimes despite my best efforts. They are usually “what if?” stories – taking something from life around me and moving it on a step or two to see what happens. I’m also interested in resilience, and how people deal with extreme situations with a wider context. I naturally lean towards thrillers and dystopia.

What is your latest book?

My recent release is called Counterpoint. It’s a follow up to my debut novel Tipping Point, but it’s a standalone story if you haven’t read the first. The books are eco-thriller adventures that follow the story of a young woman called Essie. She lost all her family in a terrorist bombing some years before the story opens and lives a meagre existence in the 2040s amongst climate breakdown and social unrest. An authoritarian government controls the population with draconian laws and propaganda and the corrupt Prime Minister, Alex Langford, lines his own pockets while society collapses around him.

Essie discovers an elite conspiracy to suppress technology that could reverse climate change and provide limitless free energy. This puts her in the middle of a dangerous power play and in mortal danger. She must decide if she’s willing to risk everything to expose the plot. 

When did you begin writing?

I loved reading and writing stories as a kid. My first real memory of creative writing success was at the age of ten, when the teacher read out my short story in class. A slapstick tale of two talking kangaroos breaking out of a zoo, the work was sadly lost to history. But something in me must have remembered the buzz of others hearing my words.

Over the years, I got distracted by life and jobs, and stopped writing though I never stopped loving stories and was an avid reader.

A few years ago I took it up again, thinking it would be an excellent release from everyday life. Stress-free it was not but having two books published now is one of the things I feel most proud of and I can’t imagine stopping now. I’m a little while from retirement but I have a vivid plan of how I will spend my days when I get there!

How do you write?

Sporadically! I have one day set aside a week where I’m not working, and the kids are at school. That’s my writing day, though when I’m in the swing I will also write at night when everyone else has gone to bed. I often plot and think about the story while driving or listening to music—I love to build a playlist for each book.  But when I get down to writing it, I need silence so I can forget the real world around me.

When it comes to novels, I’m a plotter. I always work to an outline which lays out chapter by chapter how the story will unfold. It helps me see the bigger picture and get though the inevitable ups and downs of writing a book. Any author will know it’s a marathon effort and I need the scaffolding of a plan to keep me motivated. When I was drafting Tipping Point and got blocked, I jumped ahead to write scenes I could picture clearly and that sparked my enthusiasm again. I couldn’t have done that without an outline.

Where do you write?

At home, usually on my floppy sofa. Terrible for the posture, I’m afraid. I’ve tried to do the writer thing and set up in café, but I’m too nosy and distractable. I end up people watching instead of working. I have to be quite strict with myself to get anything done.

 Why do you write?

It depends on what I’m writing. Sometimes I’m trying to pour out my brain because I would drive my family crazy if I didn’t write it down. I get passionate when I see unfairness and injustice, to a point where I can’t understand why the world keeps turning while this stuff is going on. Writing helps get it off my chest without getting a divorce. Tipping Point was born of this obsession, during the era of Trump and Brexit, because I was so frustrated at the world’s blindness and I wanted to make it listen. Whether it does or not, the story is out there now.

On the lighter side, I suppose it goes back to the kudos of being the one who amused the class with my kangaroo story. I’m not the person who’ll regale you at parties, though. I don’t like the spotlight like that. Things always come out better for me in writing than talking. I love the idea that I can sit in my little corner and make stuff up, and you could sit in your corner and read it and think, “That was a great story, I enjoyed that.” I’m shy, though, so it’s best if I’m in the next room with a glass of wine when you read it!

The best times are when I’m writing to entertain myself. Someone once said write the book you want to read, and that’s always the aim. If I’m enjoying it, I can dare to hope my readers will too.

Thank you so much for hosting me, Joan. I had tons of fun responding to your journalistic probing!

More about Michelle Cook:

You can buy Tipping Point and Counterpoint here: http://mybook.to/counterpoint

Catch up with me on social media here: Linktree

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6Ws, Author Interview

6Ws with Author Mary Kendall

Mary Kendall is the next author featured in my 6Ws series. She used her life-long interest in history to write two novels, The Spinster’s Fortune and her latest, Campbell’s Boy, which was released this week. Like many authors, Mary has been inspired by her own experiences, including growing up in haunted houses. Really. Here, I will let her take over.

Who is author Mary Kendall? 

Mary Kendall lived in old (and haunted) houses growing up which sparked a life-long interest in history and story-telling. She earned degrees in history-related fields and worked as a historian for many years. Her fiction writing is heavily influenced by the past, which she believes is never really dead and buried. Fueled by black coffee and a possible sprinkling of Celtic fairy dust, she tends to find inspiration in odd places and sometimes while kneading bread dough. The author resides in Maryland with her family (husband, three kids, barn cat and the occasional backyard hen) who put up with her mad scribbling at inconvenient hours. 

Her debut novel, The Spinster’s Fortune, is a historical mystery. Her second novel, Campbell’s Boy, a coming of age historical fiction, was released Nov. 22. She is also a contributor to Darkstroke’s anthologies for charity with short stories included in Dark Paris, Dark New Orleans and Dark Venice.

What is your latest book? 

My second novel, Campbell’s Boy, was released this month through Moonshine Cove Publishing! It is coming-of-age historical fiction that crosses over into biographical historical fiction. The novel is the result of eleven years of research into a family genealogical puzzle in my ancestral line and centers around a real-life probate court case in the small town of Colusa, California, in the late 1800s. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/author/mary-kendallh

Here’s a quick blurb:

After the death of his mother on the wagon train out west, young Emmet Campbell struggles to find his place in the world. Fighting off town bullies, an evil Irish stepmother and his own learning disabilities, he mostly fends for himself in the boomtown of Colusa.  While struggling to find his footing, he never loses his curiosity about the world around him and the people in it. Scuffling and skylarking along the way, Emmet eventually discovers family and identity in places he could have never imagined. With equal measures of the dark and the light, Campbell’s Boy is a tender tale about what it means to be human.

When did you begin writing? 

Define “writing”? If little stories as a child count, then from age sixish on. The teen angsty years that followed could also be termed the emo journaling years. In my 20s, I dabbled with short stories. Attempts at novel writing began in my 30s but came to a screeching halt when three kids arrived. Enter the 40s and some breathing room where I picked it all back up. Now, in the ripe and mature decade after that (ahem, we don’t need to name it), I am about to see the publication of my second novel.

How do you write? 

I need both writing in long hand and typing on the laptop. It’s a combo that works for me in different ways. For example, editing is almost exclusively laptop. If I am stuck on a plot line, it’s picking up a notebook to experience the physicality of pen to paper.

Where do you write? 

I just recently got a private little den (sad when kids leave for college but it can come with a perk or two). Prior to that, my computer was in public space in the middle of household action. I made it happen but now it is so much better to have “a room of one’s own” — with a door. I also have a lovely outdoor area that overlooks my rose garden. The writing magic happens between those two spaces.

Why do you write? 

To untie the knots. By that I mean it is how I process and digest the ways in which life happens to me.

More about Mary Kendall: Parting words and social media contacts

I reached out and connected with our hostess, Joan Livingston, a couple of years ago, prior to signing up with our mutual publisher, Darkstroke. Joan is a wise woman and gave me some sage advice that has stuck with me ever since: “there is writing and then there is the business of writing.” Truer words never spoken.

That advice led me to the successful publication of my debut historical mystery novel, The Spinster’s Fortune. It also steered me in the direction of moving forward with the writing, both aspects of it. Thanks for having me on your blog, Joan … and thanks also for your wise words.

To learn more, check out https://www.marykendallauthor.com.

Twitter @MaryLavin49

https://www.facebook.com/mary.kendall.3152

https://www.instagram.com/mary.kendall.author/

The Spinster’s Fortune is available for purchase at mybook.to/fortune and short stories at mybook.to/DarkWorlds.

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6Ws, Author Interview

6Ws with Gary Kruse

The next author in this 6Ws series is Gary Kruse from the UK. I so enjoy getting to know my fellow authors and what they are willing to share about their writing. How’s this? Gary wrote the majority of Badlands on his phone during his lengthy work commute. Up next? Bleak Waters, a supernatural mystery. But I will let Gary take over this post.

Who is author Gary Kruse?

I’m a writer of novels, short stories and flash fiction from Hornchurch in Essex. I’m married with two sons, and in my day job, I work in the educational/charity section as an Administration Manager. I like rock and alternative music and play guitar, enjoy football and tennis and love reading, cinema and theatre. 

What is your latest book?

My latest published book is my dark thriller Badlands, a story of deception, betrayal and conspiracy inspired by and set on the wild rugged coastline of North Cornwall. 

Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Jane Harper, James Herbert and Robert Goddard, it’s the story of Willow, a runaway who’s dragged back into the life she fled when she gets a call for help from her estranged sister. 

When she returns to the Cornish coastal village of St. Agnes where she grew up, Willow finds that her sister was involved in a local scandal, but has since gone missing. 

To dig into the secrets of her sister’s life, Willow must confront her own mistakes and with every revelation Willow finds herself dragged deeper and deeper into a murderous conspiracy who’s roots lie a lot closer to home than she realises. 

It’s a story of sisterhood, broken families, smuggling and hidden identities with a hint of social commentary and even a dash of the paranormal. 

My current WIP is called Bleak Waters. It’s a supernatural mystery set in Hickling on the Norfolk Broads. 

Twenty-five-years after a young woman went missing in broad daylight, a stranger turns up asking questions about the disappearance. 

Lost in her own grief, the stranger’s arrival is a welcome distraction for twenty-three-year old local girl, Lily West, but when she starts uncovering the web of secrets and lies surrounding the disappearance, Lily realises that she’ll have to choose between protecting the people she loves, and uncovering the truth.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing in 1996. I went to see the Craft in the cinema, and I’d recently seen the Lost Boys, and in the days that followed I started thinking what would happen if the girls from the Craft met the Lost Boys? From there, I began writing a series of short tales about the conflict between a gang of witches and a vampire crew, and this eventually became my first (and gratefully unpublished) novel, Blessed Be

How do you write?

These days it’s mainly on laptop, but I wrote the majority of Badlands on my phone on my commute to and from work. I used to commute from my home in Hornchurch, to my job in Hampstead, North London, which was an hour and forty minutes each way, which meant I had around 3 hours a day of solid writing time. 

Where do you write?

We did a loft conversion a couple of years back, and now I have a writing space in the corner of the loft. But at the minute most of my writing is done in the local library on my lunch break from the day job. Occasionally I’ll write in coffee shops too. 

Why do you write?

To tell the stories that I want to read about the places I love, but that I can’t find in bookshops. 

More about Gary Kruse: parting words; links to your books; social media

Thank you, Joan for hosting me! Readers can find links to all my social media, my mailing list, website and published works through this link: www.linktr.ee/garykruseauthor

Badlands is available from Amazon on kindle, kindle unlimited and in paperback: http://mybook.to/badlandsdarkstroke

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6Ws, Author Interview, Darkstroke Books

6Ws with Author Jennifer Worrell

Jennifer Worrell, a Chicago-based author, is the next one featured in this 6Ws series. I found it interesting she wrote her suspense/crime novel, Edge of Sundown, sitting on a lawn chair while balancing an iPad on a retaining wall. Jennifer has a whole lot more to say about her writing, so I will let her take over.

Who is author Jennifer Worrell?

I’m a pen and cheese enthusiast from the States (Chicago) with an unofficial goal of writing in every genre before I die. I’m forever trying to catch up with my TBR list, but since I work at a university library, I have zero chance for success.  I live with a husband and a kitty, neither of whom understand the zeal for pens, but they do understand the cheese thing, so we get along quite well.

What is your latest book?

Edge of Sundown is a suspense/crime novel published by Darkstroke Books.  It tells the tale of Val Haverford, an aging author whose dystopian universe of covert invaders eliminate “undesirable” members of society—something that could never happen in modern-day Chicago—until it does.  What started as a chance to revive his career and reconcile dark events from his past becomes a race to save himself and the people he loves.

Though we never seem to learn much from history, and it always comes back to bite us, I had no intention of writing anything political when I started writing Sundown in 2014.  It came about purely from asking ‘what-if’ questions.  That’s what I get for taking more than six years to write a book. 

Many stories are about loss, but lost opportunity feels more devastating to me, so I wanted to share that perspective.  It’s a recurring theme in other pieces, including my next project: a sci-fi novel about a rather shady radio exec with a particular talent for traveling through time.

When did you begin writing?

Since kindergarten, but not seriously until I was in my mid-thirties.  Looking back, I’m a little ashamed that I pissed away so much time.

How do you write?

Messily.  With lots of coffee.  I tend to write the scenes that compel me most and the essentials to convey plot and theme.  Then I put them in some kind of order, figure out what needs to happen in between so things make sense, and tie it all together.  I believe this is called the quilting method.  Sometimes I feel detached from the project until I throw myself into research, so I visit towns that inspire my settings, even live like my characters.  For instance, I hosted a radio show based on a weekly theme so I could more accurately portray my current protagonist.

Where do you write?

After the pandemic hit and we were forced to work from home, I set up a nifty little table against my living room windows.  I’m usually there, but I love working “offsite”.  Coffee shops, parks, lobbies of theaters—it really refreshes the mind to get away from routine.  I wrote Sundown sitting on a lawn chair while balancing an iPad on a retaining wall.

Why do you write?

It’s such fun.  It’s my outlet.  Some people draw, others make music…this is what I do for pleasure and escape and to occasionally torture real-life foes without those pesky social mores getting in the way.

More about Jennifer: Parting words; links to her books; social media

I’m the slowest writer ever but I have some stuff for you to read in the meantime.  

Edge of Sundownmybook.to/edgeofsundown

A novella and short story by my alter ego, for you grown-ups:  https://www.jenniferworrellwrites.com/behind-the-beaded-curtain

Facebook: facebook.com/JWorrellWrites

Twitter: twitter.com/JWorrellWrites

Website: jenniferworrellwrites.com

Everything, everywhere, all at once (assuming you open all the links in one go): linktr.ee/JenniferWorrell

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