I'm an Australian Foster Carer and Educator with over a decade of industry experience.  I run the Facebook page "More Than A Foster Carer", where I share my experience working with the foster system. I live in rural New South Wales with my husband, a changing number of children, a dog and some chickens. As a self proclaimed creative soul, I have had a passion for writing fiction from an early age. When I'm not wrangling chickens, children or dogs, I love to be whisked off on magical adventures, and tagging along on epic quests.

Sapphira

Sapphira is the MC in Awaken. She’s can be sassy and clever, but more often finds herself confused or angry by the sudden shift in her reality. She deals with anxiety and panic attacks due to a few extraordinarily horrific events in her life, and feels as though she carries the weight – or fate – of the world on her shoulders.


Fallon

Fallon has always been Sapphira’s protector, her friend and ally. But by the end of book 1, Saph has discovered that not everything she thought she knew about her friend was true.
In book 2, we see so much more of this stunning lady and her people – and we get to really see her in her element.
There is more to Fallon than meets the eye, though, and I can only hope Sapphira is ready to see who Fallon truly is, and what she is capable of.
Is she an ally? Was everything a lie? And what side is the djinn woman on in the game of the gods?


Ari

Ari is a complicated woman.
She’s a sassy, moody protector for Sapphira, and one that hasn’t been around as long as the others.
Ari introduces Saph to one of MY favourite characters in the series, and brings a lot of conflict and hard truths to the story.
She is also one of the only characters that I have a love-hate relationship with while writing – she doesn’t like to stick to the outline at all!


Valdis

This is the badass known as Valdis.
She is someone you don’t want to cross – a powerful Necromancer and Assassin.
In Awaken, Valdis is someone Sapphira meets that becomes an invaluable acquaintance. She helps Saph overcome some pretty awful things, and we get to see a side of this beauty that not many others see.
Saph wouldn’t be the person she is, going into book 2, if Valdis hadn’t been in her life.
Whether that’s a good thing, though, we’ll have to wait and see!


Kamilla

Kamilla is trouble. She’s power-hungry, deceitful, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. It’s unfortunate that Sapphira gets between Kamilla and her goal – but who will come out on top? That depends on which of the feisty ladies has more power and the strongest allies. Don’t count Kamilla out just yet though – she has had centuries to perfect her skills and deceptions!


Lyra

Lyra has more sass in her little finger than anyone on earth! She’s probably been around a lot longer, too! She makes the most divine cup of coffee Saph has ever had – and is usually the one to put our MC in her place. Sapphira comes to love the old woman, and hears some fascinating truths from her along the way.


Stay tuned for your introduction to the boys of Awaken!

I love hearing from readers about what they thought of my work, it means the world to authors like me – it is amazing that a story that began in my head has managed to touch others, that someone has found a character relatable – or the plot came as a surprise. Mostly, I’m so happy that all of my hard work has given someone some joy, or an escape from reality, if just for a little while.

The following are just some of the amazing thoughts I have received from you guys about Awaken. Keep your feedback coming – I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Happy reading!

Have you picked up your copy of Awaken yet? Let me know what you thought!

The Author: Julia Vellucci

Julia Vellucci is a 17-year-old girl, born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario. She is Italian by origin. She has never been good at visual art but her mom and younger sister both of whom she admires are definitely her creative endeavours as she was inspired by them to find a way to express her creative side, through writing. She discovered her love for creative writing almost two years ago when she first began to bring fictional characters to life through the written craft thanks to a school book club she was part of and couldn’t help but wanted to discover what made her characters unique and carry out their story until the very end. Julia’s dream is to be able to inspire readers through her words as she believes words can project more than actions ever could.


The Book: The 30 Day Exchange

With this day and age, everyone’s stressing about something or someone. You have so much to worry about and bringing an infant into the world shouldn’t add to your stress; your bundle of joy should and will relieve your stress with a store-like exchange among infants. The 30 Day Exchange. All parents are given a slip of paper as soon as they bring their child into the world, a paper asking if they want to participate in The 30 Day Exchange. 18-year-old, Jonah Walters, given up at birth to only be adopted and then placed in a foster home after the passing of his adopted parents and uncle, has had many questions about his upbringing since he was five.

All he wants is closure as to why his biological mother gave him up, but things aren’t as simple as they may seem especially with The 30 Day Exchange being involved which is no longer legal and doesn’t just affect him. One 30 Day Exchange affects two people, little does Jonah know that the person he got exchanged with was the only woman he has ever truly loved. Join Jonah on an emotional ride full of pain, deceit, friendships and most definitely love as he seeks out the answers he’s been aching for practically his whole life.


The Review: 3 stars

The 30 day exchange had such an exciting premise – something that I found myself wanting to know more about. It tells Jonah’s story, a young Canadian man searching for the truth about his beginnings and the scandalous secrets at the core.

We spend most of the book looking back over his life, meeting the people he cares most about, while he searched for his birth mother. The reader follows along through his adoptive parents and uncle’s death and his time in foster care. We are introduced to a myriad of fascinating support characters and learn about their lives too. Vellucci manages to portray relatable, funny teen characters that you actually want to care about – a single mother, a boy in the LGBTQ community, and a rebellious girl with a sharp tongue.

Throughout, you are made to feel that something isn’t quite right – that there are things at play that Jonah doesn’t know – and other characters, if aware, aren’t willing to talk about. It isn’t until we find out precisely what the 30 day exchange is, do we understand the scandalizing truth of our MC’s birth situation. It’s treated as a taboo subject, something that no one talks about due to its disreputable nature, and the more we find out about it, the more you feel for Jonah and the others involved.  

Vellucci tells of a Canadian policy in place that pretty much treats newborn babies as a purchase – you can trade babies with other mothers for 30 days. Some of these children are given up for adoption at this time, and most people are unaware that this has taken place.

Julia Vellucci’s The 30 day exchange is a book about love, deceit, betrayal, and self-growth – and although the writing style can, at times, be a little clunky and drawn-out, Vellucci makes up for this with incredible amounts of passion and deep emotion that draws you in.


The Interview:

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

The most surprising thing when writing this book was that I was able to convey many sad emotions throughout the book despite me preferring to read books that are happy throughout and without experiencing tough obstacles that can even come close to what the characters had to overcome.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

The blurb describes the main plot to this book, but there are three major subplots among Jonah’s three close friends he meets at the foster home as they each have their own romance story and their own obstacles that they assist in helping each other overcome.

There’s 15, almost 16-year-old P.J who gets Jonah used to the foster home, makes him feel welcome and becomes a close friend and older brother to him in a way.  P.J is part of the LGBTQ community, he is openly gay and has been crushing on the pizza delivery guy for two years but isn’t sure if the guy is also gay or even interested. 

There’s 16, almost 17-year-old Alana, who is a rape victim, has a six month old son as a result and is almost like a mother figure to Jonah since she always looks out for him and unlike his biological mom, actually kept her son and loves him to pieces despite the terrible circumstances.  She also has an emotional and complicated romance story with her boyfriend along with that that is explored throughout the book

 Lastly, there’s Hope who is your typical 14-year-old rebel girl, who there’s more to than meets the eye, especially when she’s forced onto a path she probably wouldn’t have taken at this age or maybe not at all, a path that exposes her for who she truly is and she has a sweet and humourous romance story as well to add to the mix.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

Yes, Hope holds a special place in my heart as she was originally meant to be your typical teen rebel girl, whose main purpose was supposed to be just to add some humour to the story with her blunt attitude.  However, she became so much more than that as I instantly saw some potential and room for her to grow emotionally adding more depth to her character, allowing her to be more relatable, as well as still being a humourous addition to the novel.  It truly taught me to not judge a book by its cover, not to judge a person by what they allow you to see, a message I portrayed throughout this book and I’ve grown to love Hope because of that, her humour, sass , how upfront she is, and her character development was what made her my favourite character to write and definitely close to my heart as how she embraced a change that came her way and truly found happiness after a major obstacle, is definitely an inspiration for myself and I hope to others as well.

What was the inspiration for the story?

My mom, sister and I went to a clothing store to look at grad dresses for my sister’s eighth grade graduation.  My mom found a dress for her that she was on the fence about, so she asked the cashier what the return policy was and she said that you have 30 days to exchange the item.  The thought of what if babies were exchanged like items in a store pondered in my mind and the main plot to “The 30 Day Exchange” immediately came to me and subplots, characters, themes and certain scenes came later.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

There are actually two main messages I hope readers can take away from this book.  

One is that no matter what obstacles are thrown your way, you can always overcome them by relying on those closest to you as although you may feel alone, you’re not.  Everyone has their own problems, usually different from one another but even if you can’t relate, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, or just even an outside voice from the terrible situation is what everyone needs, as we’re all meant to bring each other up in life because similar or different, when one of us is in a tough situation, we all are. 

The second one is to never give up.  Things may not be as they seem and it’s difficult to be patient or hope for the best, but if it’s worth hoping for, waiting for, standing by your beliefs even when no one else will, then you shouldn’t settle for any less than that.

What is the significance of the title?

The title is the exchange policy both Jonah and the only woman he has ever truly loved were put in after they were born as they were exchanged like items in a store.  The main plot is the mystery behind all this as both Jonah and the woman he refers to as his fiance seek out the answers they most desperately deserve involving their upbringing.  

What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

Yes, there will be a sequel. I don’t want to reveal too much as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone interested in reading book one.  All I’ll say is that it’s called “The Seven Day Return”, is all about forbidden love, there is another birth exchange, lots of love, betrayal, deceit and denial, and some characters return from book one and some don’t.  This is the final book in my exchange series as for when and if it will be released, I encourage you to follow my Author Instagram account @juliavellucci_ which will have any announcements or posts regarding that in the near future.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?

A challenge I faced while writing this book was throwing obstacles Jonah’s way as well as the other main characters as I hated throwing heartache good people’s way, but I managed to get through it as overcoming obstacles are what make people stronger, make them grow emotionally and definitely allow my characters to be more relatable and human.  The highlight of writing this book was definitely gaining a more positive mindset in my life as if my characters can be strong during the worse of times for them and throughout many barriers, so can I.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

When a creative idea forms in my head, I know it is meant to be so much more than just a single idea, so I allow my imagination to run wild and expand, and as soon as characters begin to enter it, I can’t help but want to write their story until the very end, hoping I can portray it the best of my abilities and hope my words can shape readers lives for the better once my words are out in the world for all to see.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

Michael Hiebert is my favourite author with his unique and exquisite writing style that makes his mystery books all the more intriguing along with his characters that are so relatable and human, some of which are children and have been proven to be just as capable as an adult in doing anything.

What are you reading now?

Right now, I’m reading “Ignite Me” by Tahareh Mafi which is the third book in her Shatter Me series, I’m reading it on and off as I can’t seem to get enough of writing, but her series is phenomenal and even during book three, I’m still in love with it.

Favorite book/story you have read now, and what was your favorite book when you were a kid?

I loved “Dream With Little Angels” by Michael Hiebert and that whole series of four in general which are honestly my favourite mystery books of all time.  When I was a kid, I loved “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carl, with its colorful shapes, bright colours and adorable caterpillar that immediately drew me to it and read it with my mom quite a lot.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

If I’m not writing, I enjoy to read mainly mystery books, my favourite are those that have romance as a subgenre in it.  I also enjoy to watch my favourite TV show “Supernatural” as well as spend time with family and friends.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

Advice I’d give to a new writer starting out would be to never give up even if you have a dream as big as getting a book, short story or a written work of yours published, with the right mindset it is possible.  There will be people that try to change your whole written piece, parts of it, or might even say it’s not good enough, which isn’t so good on your self esteem, I know that from experience.  But at the end of the day, your written work is yours, so keep writing if you enjoy it, don’t let the negative opinions of others discourage you and write to impress and express yourself and the right audience, right publisher if that is your goal, will find you.

How do you handle writer’s block?

I honestly don’t believe in writer’s block because your imagination is always up and running as for the right words to express it, you can always fix the wording as you go along. 

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

The most important elements in good writing are the intriguing plot and characters you can’t help but love, hate and relate to all at the same time.  Some people believe that big, fancy words are what make good writing, but I disagree with that as you don’t have to use big words to be a good writer, but add meaning and feeling to your words that make them look and feel big, something I believe I incorporate in my writing the best I can.

What comes first, the plot or characters? 

The plot usually comes to me first and then the characters, setting and other important details come to me later.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

The world around me, may it be paintings, nature, TV shows, movies, books, quotes, family and friends, all provide my imagination with the creative juices to get a plot going.  Once I have a plot, character traits soon begin to come to me for a potential protagonist that will be able to overcome what I throw their way or not, depending on what I choose for the book to be about.  Their appearance, flaws and more in depth character traits soon follow as I reflect more regarding my idea and secondary characters along with an antagonist begin to join in the fun and scenes as well as subplots form or slightly change once I get to them when writing.

Describe a typical writing day.

If my day doesn’t consist of school, work associated with school or anything else that isn’t writing, I’ll be listening to a song that relates to the chapter I’m working on on some level while writing with a goal of at least 2,000 words which I meet on most writing days and sometimes exceed.  

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

The most difficult part of writing for me is writing a necessary but boring scene or chapter before the scene I’ve been dying to write for so long.  It’s like knowing something big is going to happen in the next episode of your favourite show, but forcing yourself to watch the episode before it first.

How do you do research for your books?

The books I mainly write are romances with subgenres that usually are teen fiction, mystery, adventure or fantasy, or a combination of all or a few of them.  These books are fiction but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to make them realistic, like find a video of a couple kissing from a TV show I’ve seen and watch it several times, so I can use that as inspiration to write my main character’s first kiss with his or her love interest and describe it in a way that allows you to picture a scene similar to what I watched and be in awe while reading it. 

 I’ll also use pictures to better envision how certain rooms I’m describing look, look up character descriptions to envision and describe my characters all the more vividly.  Then there would be certain things I’d look up in a private window, so my family doesn’t think I’m a serial killer when wondering why what is the most efficient way to remove a heart from someone’s body is in my search history or think I have a disease if I’m constantly researching one or wondering why I’m looking up information regarding different stages of pregnancy.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood? How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I’ll usually listen to music when writing, that goes along with the theme and mood of the chapter I’m working on, especially if it’s emotionally draining, so I can get into the character’s mindset, sort of become the character in a sense.  Often it won’t be one scene that’s emotionally draining, but the entire chapter itself or most of it which I won’t do in one sitting or one day which helps or following it, I’ll watch something with my family that lessens the emotional impact of the book as I’ll be focused more on something else.

How do you handle literary criticism?

When I first began to write, I wasn’t very good at taking literary criticism as I always believed it brought me a step backwards and that I had to follow it.  But with time, I began to realize that at the end of the day, certain criticism can help enhance my written work, make it all the better, and the criticism I don’t agree with, I don’t have to use as at the end of the day, it’s my book, my words, my emotions, and if I really like it and am happy with it, the right audience for it will soon find my book.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

I’d say about 25 percent of world building takes place before I start writing, sometimes more, it really depends.  But that’s enough to give me a vague idea of it and as I start writing, the holes and questions regarding the world I’m building, begin to fill itself and become complete.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I hear from my readers quite a bit on Wattpad in the comments section (I couldn’t help but laugh with certain comments I received that were thoughts about characters that never crossed my mind) and when I got this book published, I received many words of encouragement and so much support from my fellow readers which I’m entirely grateful for. 

Some asked me about the publishing process, one of those people recently got accepted by the same publishing company I’m with, Ukiyoto Publishing, after I went over the process with her and helped her correct her author profile, so I’m pretty happy for her as it has also been a dream of hers to get one of her books published.  One girl even said that I’m an inspiration to her and that I gave her the courage to complete writing a book and pursue that which is truly touching.  I’ve been told by many readers that they hated me throughout the book as I brought plenty of pain the main character’s way and secondary characters’s ways which are almost as main as Jonah, but they said it was completely worth it in the end and I did try to incorporate some light hearted humour throughout which many readers enjoyed.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book, and are you on social media? Can your readers interact with you?

I can be reached regarding any questions on my book, writing advice or anything work-related in general on my Instagram account @juliavellucci_. I always love to hear from readers, their questions, comments and feedback in general, so I highly encourage you to reach out.  I also have free books to read on Wattpad under the username JuliaRV3 if you’d like to check out those books as well and a sample chapter of “The 30 Day Exchange” is also posted up there.  I encourage you to look up my book “The 30 Day Exchange” on Goodreads if you’re interested in leaving a review and this book is available for purchase on Amazon in ebook and paperback format, Barnes&Noble in paperback format, Ukiyoto’s official website in ebook format and other smaller online bookstores listed on Goodreads if you’d like to give this book a try.

The Author: Laurie Oknowsky

Laurie Oknowsky had her start as a community author on Wattpad and Inkitt. As her success morphed into something worth trending about, she made the leap into the world of traditional publishing.

Class of 95’ is her debut book being published with Ukiyoto Publishing House. Not only is this a work of fiction, it is also a very personal account of a time of awkward adolescence into the hopeful aspirations of a chaste adult.


The Book: Class of ’95

What would you do if you got a second chance at true love?

When Eunice Rysner meets the sexy Jake Castellano, she already knows he’s going to be trouble. Though she tries to push him away to spare them both a lot of heartache, Jake is persistent. But his vindictive girlfriend and Eu’s nemesis since eighth grade, Geri Thompson, is determined to keep him all to herself-by whatever means necessary.

Even twenty years later, when the three meet up again in Long Island at their high school reunion, Eunice-now a successful novelist-can’t deny the feelings she still has for Jake. As she reacquaints herself with the now-divorced love of her life, she can’t help but wonder if this is finally the time to stand up for herself and give in to true love. But if she does, Geri may just steal everything she’s ever wanted from her yet again.


The Interview:

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

How much I missed my youth. How I wished I could go back and do things over again.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

That Eunice would be a different person if not for Geri. But, who knows how the story would have been told if Eunice was the Queen Bee – just in a kind way. Because if Geri wasn’t the way she was, it would be Eunice ruling the school – but in a kind way.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

This question is like picking my favorite child. They all have a special place. But, for the sake of this question – my answer would have to be Geri. She’s hated throughout the bulk of the book – until the end. I know why she is the way she is, and I think I issued poetic justice without causing her physical harm.

What was the inspiration for the story?

The story is very, very, very, very, loosely based on my high school experience up until adulthood. Eunice is who I wished I could have been and grew up to be.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

 The message is that no matter how things look on the outside, a whole lot is happening behind the windows of someone’s glasshouse. That however how much you hate someone, the hate they feel for themselves may be uglier.

What is the significance of the title?

The title is taken from the year I graduated from High School.

What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

 I already have a sequel and spin-off in the works. The sequel is about the daughter of the main male character, and the spin-off is about the healthiest relationship out of all of them. The main characters had their time. Although they told their story, they will still be around in the following books.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?

The challenge to writing the book was making Geri’s psychosis believable but also making her seen as a victim too. The highlight was the ending. Making Eunice’s and Jake’s forgiveness of Geri’s actions a strength and not seen as a weakness. Forgiveness is not for the perpetrator but for the one being targeted. I think at the end of the day, I did what was best for all of them.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

The dreams I have. The voices in my head and how I feel about certain topics. One book I’m developing is about life and death and the fears I have about leaving the ones I love behind. How I am remembered by them and how their lives will be shaped due to the loss of me. It’s called My Life in A Year, and it’s about a young single woman (a music teacher) who is diagnosed with stage four uterine cancer and how she falls in love with her attractive oncologist, but he doesn’t know that until he finds her journal.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

I always had an affinity for Anne Rice. The reason is for her ability to take you away to a time and place that you’ve never been before. The lives she creates that can easily pass for a true moment in actual history. She makes her fantastical characters realistic.

What are you reading now?

At the moment, I am not reading anything except children’s books. But, I have been writing poetry and reading various stories in eBook form. It’s hard to have a quiet moment during the day with a 3-year-old.

Favorite book/story you have read as an adult, and what was your favorite book when you were a kid?

As an adult, I loved Black Hollow by Myria Candies and, as a child – The Secret Garden.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I write poems or play with my son.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

Write every day. Anything at all. Anything that pops into your head – write it down. Even if it’s a fleeting thought, a single word, or a one-sentence phrase. Jot it down. Use a thesaurus. That’s very important as being repetitive in literature is a nuisance.

How do you handle writer’s block?

That’s a hard question. I had dealt with this for over a decade before I began writing again. And you know what helped me? Therapy. I’m an advocate for therapy, and having someone to talk my problems out with was what gave me my biggest breakthrough. I understand that not everyone can have the opportunity to see an actual therapist. But writer’s block stems from a place of stress and anxiety. And if you can find a way or a method of defeating those stressors, then the words would just flow again.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Being able to build your characters, your world, and making it relatable and as authentic as possible – even if what you write is sci-fi, fantasy, period pieces. Grammar, spelling, points of view, and dialogue.

What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?

For me, it’s the basic plot. Then, the character development. I think this is a personal topic. We all work differently.

Describe a typical writing day. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

A typical writing day is in the evening, the moment my child is tucked away in bed and not making a peep. I sometimes have music on; I read my last chapter over that I wrote prior, and then I just write. I can’t give you specifics, but if I am listening to music, I go where the music takes me. The music I play dictates where my story goes.

How do you do research for your books?

To be honest, when I pick the locations of my stories, I usually pick places I’ve lived in or visited before. So, research is minor for that. If I am using certain character traits, like mental illness or cultures, I tend to research online or The Journal of Psychology, AJP. Just depends. I stay away from Wiki. If I have friends from a culture or religion I know little about, I use those friends as a research tool.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood? How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

It all depends on my mood. But if I have to write a scene of particularly draining emotions, I listen to music that brings it out of me. If I am not feeling a particular heavy emotion, I hold off on those scenes until I feel it. Otherwise, it’s forced and I hate feeling like I forced something that should have taken time to be written.

How do you handle literary criticism?

It depends. If it’s coming from a place of kindness in order to make it better, then I am all for it. If I ask for it, then I am prepared for it. If it’s unsolicited, then back off. When I first released Class of ’95 and entered a contest, I was actually told by one of the judges (that shouldn’t have been a judge on a contest she was the host of) that the plot was overrated and done before. That the bully storyline has been done before. The saddest part of it all was, my book isn’t a bully story. Being bullied is honestly only a small portion of the plot. It’s about the resilience of the human spirit. That no matter what you’re put through, that you can get through it. And no matter the path you take in life – there are times that path leads right back to the people that should walk that road with you. Do I make any sense? Plus, the judge only read like two chapters.

How much ‘world-building’ takes place before you start writing?

Honestly, none.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

Yes – and they love the characters. They love the dynamic of Connie and Eunice. They relate to Eunice. They immediately find similarities between themselves and her. I love that. I also love how they hate Geri.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book, and are you on social media? Can your readers interact with you?

They can find me on Instagram and Facebook. Yes – they can interact with me. I love talking to my readers. I still have books on Wattpad and Inkitt. I can be found on my publishers’ website – Ukiyoto Publishing House, and my book is on Amazon for purchase. My website is being finalized and launched by the end of November.

The Author: Nicolette Beebe

Nicolette is a Bay Area romance author of different subgenera who lives and breathes storytelling. Outside of the all-consuming obsession to write, she is going on her fifth year as a fourth grade teacher. Any student who has been in her class has a special place in her heart. During downtime, she enjoys knitting and crocheting while watching video game playthroughs with her hubby and fur baby. As someone with dyslexia, she hopes to inspire those with a learning disability that anything is possible.


The Book: Mar King

It’s been four years since Dexter Bennet failed to protect his sweet and delicate Sara Mar King from the world’s plague. He’s ready to surrender when she barges through his camp, wielding an arcane power and no longer needing his protection. A second chance at love has Dexter committing himself to Sara’s journey. He must cross the forest wastelands riddled with monstrous screechers and treacherous elements to help her reach Mount Verta.

Yet, something’s amiss about Sara’s mission. When he uncovers her deadly secret, it makes him question who is protecting whom.


The Review: 5/5 stars!

This book pulls you in and doesn’t let go.
From beginning to end, Mar King was fast-paced, full of action, and incredibly emotional. I loved Sara as the main character, loved seeing her inner turmoil and strength. The way that Beebe has written her character is incredible – you feel everything, see everything Sara does as if you were right there with her. Beebe also manages to give you an incredibly vivid and raw look at the effects of trauma in young people through flashbacks, conversations, and dreams – and how those events can still trigger and shape people years later. Not only with the victims but those around them too.
That brings us to Dex – the incredibly refreshing love interest. I don’t want to give away too much, but it has been a long time since I’ve read a romance like Dex and Sara. It was brutal and raw. Sweet and beautiful and so very relatable. There was no insta-love, no perfect relationship from the get-go – Beebe has given the reader a truthful take on a big love story.
The plot, world-building, and romance aspects of the story were all deeply fascinating, twisting on themselves in ways that I’ve never come across before. All building to a heart-pounding crescendo that left me screaming at the final pages, demanding that more materialized so that I didn’t have to leave the world Beebe created so beautifully.
I went into this book thinking that I knew how it would go – the world ends, the girl has to save it, oh – a hot guy too! BUT I WAS SO WRONG.
Mar King is so much more than the typical post-apocalyptic paranormal romance. And although many of those familiar elements are there, Beebe has somehow given us something original and incredibly real to sink into.
I honestly cannot wait to see what she brings to the table next – I’m sure it will be epic, just like Mar King.


The Interview:

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

One of the most surprising things I discovered while writing Mar King is that I am capable of writing a book in one month! It usually takes me years, but Mar King came to me in a complete whirlwind and didn’t let me go until every word was written down. I didn’t sleep or eat or breathe. The little sleep I did get, I dreamed of Sara and Dexter. I even developed tendonitis in my hands. But, I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

Something that is not in the blurb is the specific type of power Sara Mar King harbors in her core. A searing orb of energy sleeps within her and awakens whenever she is under attack or needs to defend herself. Neon green beams of light shoot out of her palms to freeze enemies. But the catch is, they will become unfrozen once she is one mile away from them. She seems to like using this on Dexter Bennet a lot!

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

Both Sara and Dexter share an equally special place in my heart. Parts of their personality reflects parts of mine. I admire to be as badass as Sara and as intuitively aware as Dexter one day!

What was the inspiration for the story?

I had always wanted to write an apocalyptic story since I’m utterly obsessed with them. But, I knew I had to wait until my overactive imagination sent me a story that was different enough to stand out as well as excite me enough to write. Sure enough, while I was at a stoplight in my car, Sara and Dexter came screaming to me!


What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

Out of the many themes of the novel, the one that tends to stand out the most to me is not to be afraid to say what you want to say while you can.


What is the significance of the title?

When it comes to titles, I tend to write a throw away, “whatever”, title while I write just to have something on my thumbnail file. And at the time I started writing this, I actually didn’t have Sara’s first name. All I kept hearing in my head on repeat was “Mar King, Mar King, Mar King…” so I just decided to call it that. And it stuck! It’s one of the only titles I haven’t changed since day one. And now that I have finished the story, I think it works so beautifully with the content. A well deserving character for the face of the cover. It also pairs well with book II, Sir Bennet.


What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

I spoke too soon! Yes! Book II has been written and has undergone several revisions. The cover has been created as well, and I may secretly like it more than the first. Once I get to a point where I see the light at the end of the tunnel with editing, I will announce a cover release date and a book release date.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?

One of the key challenges I faced while writing Mar King was trying to make sure I don’t kill Sara or Dexter on accident! I kept putting them in situations I was worried they couldn’t get out of. A highlight is that they surprised me by their story continuing with Sir Bennet! Mar King was supposed to be a stand-alone novel. I guess not anymore!

Where do you draw inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from my overactive imagination. It tends to flare up when I watch video game playthroughs and movies.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

My all-time favorite author is Judith McNaught. She is in a league of her own when it comes to romance. I used to stay up late and write letters to her about how much I love her stories, but I never ended up sending them. Maybe one day! I also really love the up and coming author Jessica Ruben. She is an enabler of my mafia romance addiction.

What are you reading now?

Right now, I’m currently reading the most amount of books I’ve ever read at once! It ranges from indie authors to audiobooks to traditionally published authors. I just finished Coraline, which I really, really enjoyed.

Favorite book/story you have read as an adult, and what was your favorite book when you were a kid?

My absolute favorite book is Paradise by the amazing Judith McNaught. When I was a kid, I never really read. The first book I ever remembered enjoying was Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, I love knitting, crocheting, drawing, playing with my fur baby, watching video game playthroughs, and binging on TV shows.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

For a new writer, I think my number one piece of advice is to learn your grammar early on. It will save you so much time. In addition, it’s important to remember your writing isn’t for everyone. There is going to be someone out there that will absolutely adore your work. And it’s those little things that you need to remember to celebrate, no matter how small.

How do you handle writer’s block?

I’ve been fortunate enough to not have experienced writer’s block. But I have experienced lack of motivation before. What I tend to do is reread previous sections of my writing and make those scenes shine. I also sometimes skip over the part I don’t feel like writing, and go straight to the more exciting scenes so it feels like less of an obstacle. “What comes next?” is easier when the question is “What can I do to bridge these two scenes?”

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Plot, characters, and pacing are probably my top three most important elements of what I consider good writing. The plot’s conflict can’t come alive without the development of characters, and none of that works if your pacing is too slow. Lastly, if there are way too many grammar issues, it tends to pull me out of a story really quickly. But, I’m also an editor, so I tend to notice those things more than other people.

What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?

Characters always, always comes first for me. I can sometimes hear them in my head. I get bits of dialogue and perhaps a scene or two, and it’s up to me to piece them all together in a way that forms a readable plot.

The Author: Trinity Lemm

Trinity Lemm is from a small town in Illinois. After graduating from high school in 2019, she began attending Western Michigan University to study both business and dance, with plans of maintaining a writing career on the side. When she is not writing, she enjoys dancing, spending time with friends and family, and watching scary movies.


The Book: Forever Burn

Tatum Everley is a freshman at Western Michigan University. Due to an emotionally and psychologically abusive past relationship, Tate struggles from Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She has been working on controlling her symptoms and flashbacks, but when she meets Axel Burne at a fraternity party, who is notorious for sleeping around and getting into fights, she tries her best to dodge the bullet. Axel starts to become intrigued by Tate, but she’s better off choosing Lucas— the sweet guy who has been trying to take her out since orientation. But even though Lucas is the better option, Axel keeps reappearing. Tate continues to try to stay away from him, but it starts becoming harder to, and as she gets closer to him, things start to get way out of hand. If Tate wants her happy ending and her sanity intact, then she has to push through the hardships and maintain control over her disorder.


The Review: 3/5 stars!

Trinity Lemm has written a masterful story between the pages of Forever Burn. It is a story that brings the darker side of young love into the light – something that many other books in the genre shy away from.

It leads you through the effects of abusive relationships, and the toll it takes on a person. It shows you the lasting effects of abuse and what it takes to come out the other side.

I will admit that it took me a chapter or two to fully be submerged in the book, but I soon lost track of time, adrift in the story, needing to know more. I loved that Lemm’s main character was flawed; it leads to her being three-dimensional – and super relatable. I found that I cared for Tate; I felt the trauma and felt the doubt and pain as she tried to move on with her life and be a ‘normal’ college girl like her friends. All the while dealing with C-PTSD.

I thought that the support characters in Forever Burn were pretty great too, Axel was by far my favorite. He was what many girls want in a guy – enter a bad boy with a soft side. The way he helps Tate through some pretty dark stuff *SWOON*

I’m interested to see where Lemm takes the story next. Hopefully, we won’t have long to wait!


The Interview:

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

The most surprising thing I discovered while writing my book was my own motivation and dedication. If you know me personally, you know that I tend to procrastinate everything. Whether if it’s doing homework or simple things, like laundry or cleaning, I tend to procrastinate. But when it came to Forever Burn, I was so extremely dedicated to writing. I made sure I met my quota each day, which was to write at least four pages a day. I often went to Barnes & Noble or Starbucks, spending hours there writing. Forever Burn was at the top of my priorities list. I was so dedicated to the characters and finishing the novel that it was all I ever wanted to do.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

I feel like in the blurb for Forever Burn, and for your first impression of him, Axel is definitely a bad boy d-bag. And don’t get me wrong, he is most definitely the biggest bad boy on campus, but he’s secretly very sweet and caring.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

Tatum and Axel both hold a very special place in my heart. Tatum has a lot of my qualities, and most people that know me personally tend to assume that I based her off of myself, which I guess is partly true. Not only do we both have a quirk for red lipstick, but I have Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from an emotionally abusive relationship as well, which is where the idea originally stemmed from. Axel is also so special to me. I created him to be the perfectly imperfect guy that every girl dreams of. But above his good looks and dragonfly tattoo, he is the exact opposite of Tatum’s past, which is my favorite part about him. These characters mean so much to me. I even have a small dragonfly tattoo with has a red heart next to it on my hip, that I got in honor of Tatum and Axel. They will be part of me, always. Literally and figuratively!

What was the inspiration for the story?

The inspiration for the story stems from my own struggles with Complex-PTSD. I’ve written a more in-depth article about the inspiration behind Forever Burn, which can be found on the blog on my website trinitylemm.com.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

The key theme is to highlight the differences between toxic and healthy relationships. I feel as though a lot of romance novels tend to romanticize toxic relationships. This is not something that readers, especially young adults, should be looking up to. These are the relationships that readers will want, the ones that are supposed to be “goals.” When a young reader truly loves a romance book, they will strive to have the same relationship as the one they read about. And why on earth should they strive to have a relationship that’s toxic?

What is the significance of the title?

When it came to the title, I wanted something that represented both Tatum and Axel. Tatum’s last name is Everley. Axel’s last name is Burne. So, I figured using some form of “ever” and some form of “burn” would be a great way to represent them both. So, I came up with Forever Burn, and I was immediately set on it.

What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

The future of the characters is still in the works! I’m currently working on a sequel, which I plan on entitling Forever Frozen. I am so extremely excited to share this sequel with my readers. I can’t wait for them to read the future and fate of Tatum and Axel!

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?

I faced plenty of challenges while writing this book. There were so many moments where I kind of stopped and thought to myself, “Should I keep doing this? Is it even any good? Will people like it?” But at the end of the day, I knew that I needed to finish and get it into the hands of readers. I knew I had already gone too far to just stop. Another huge challenge I faced was time. While writing Forever Burn, I was juggling so many things at once. School, dance, my friends and family, and my writing career were all piling on top of each other. It took so much dedication and motivation to keep each one balanced, but I somehow managed to do so! I think the highlight of writing the book was the moment I finally finished it. I honestly don’t think I had ever been so proud of myself. From that very moment, it became my most prized possession.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from the people and places around me. I find it easiest to write things that I know, things I’m familiar with. Hence why Forever Burn takes place at Western Michigan and why many of the characters are based off of people I know in real life.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

My favorite author of all-time is Jamie McGuire. I absolutely love her writing style. She always knows exactly how to effectively pull readers in, and to pull at their heart strings. I’ve pretty much read all of her books, and there’s not a single one that I dislike. She’s a very well-rounded writer and I hope to be as successful as her someday.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading the After series by Anna Todd. I’m on the third book, After We Fell. A lot of people began comparing my writing style to Todd’s, and once they started to do so, I knew I had to check out her work! She’s an excellent writer, and it’s so encouraging to be compared to someone as successful as her.

Favorite book/story you have read as an adult, and what was your favorite book when you were a kid?

Not too long ago, I reread Beautiful Disaster and it is still my favorite book to this day. I love the characters, the vibe, and the story gets me every time. I’d say one of my favorite books from when I was a child would either be The Hunger Games or Divergent. I’ve always been a huge fan of dystopians, and both of those books are total dystopian classics!

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me dancing, watching scary movies, or hanging out with friends and family.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

The biggest advice I’d give to a new writer would be to focus on writing for your own sake. Create something beautiful that YOU love, and the rest will follow. How is anyone supposed to love your book if you don’t love it first? And second, finish that manuscript. Nothing else can be done or accomplished until your manuscript is!

How do you handle writer’s block?

I usually handle writer’s block by either reading for a while or giving myself a change in scenery. Reading other people’s work tends to get my writing gears going and gives me motivation to create my own work. Changing my scenery is also very beneficial. It allows me to clear my mind easier and push past my writer’s block.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I believe the most important element to good writing is all about the characters. One of my old English teachers used to always say, “The characters have to be like-able.” And that stuck with me up until this day, because he was absolutely right. Your characters are the ones that the readers are going to get attached to. They’re the ones that readers will continue reading for. If they aren’t relatable in any way or if have a terrible personality, then readers aren’t going to like them. And what person is going to continue reading a book where they hate the characters?

What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?

I believe main characters come first. You can’t create a plot until you know who your characters are, because how do you truly know what actions they’d take or what situations they’d be in if you don’t know their personality, hobbies, or lifestyle?

Describe a typical writing day.

A typical writing day for me is to head over to Barnes & Noble to write. There’s something about being surrounded by books that inspires me to write my own. I usually grab some Starbucks in the café and find a seat, and before I know it, two to three hours have passed!

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

For me, the most difficult part of writing is finding time. Last year, when I was writing Forever Burn, I had a pretty good system to meet my daily quota. I usually wrote a bit each morning when I woke up, throughout the day if I had free time, and a little before bed. Now, since I’m juggling writing with my schoolwork, job, and sorority, it’s become a bit more difficult.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I do hear from my readers, but I’m always looking to interact more with them! My readers have been so supportive throughout my writing journey so far. Dozens of them have left such kind and positive reviews of Forever Burn. They are my main motivation to continue writing. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

How do you do research for your books?

I didn’t really have to do research for Forever Burn since I was already so familiar with C-PTSD due to my own diagnosis. After I originally got diagnosed last year, I did an extensive amount of research just to become more aware of the disorder and understand my symptoms better. I used a lot of my previous research and my own experiences in Forever Burn.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood? How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

When writing an emotionally draining scene, I usually listen to music. I find it very helpful, especially when it’s music that reminds me of the scene I’m writing. For example, if I’m writing a sad scene, I’ll play slow or sad music. It sets the vibe for me as I write. When it comes to Tatum and Axel, since I’m so invested in their characters, I tend to feel what they feel while I write very emotional scenes. If they are angry, I’m angry. If they are upset, I’m upset. If they are happy, I’m happy.

How do you handle literary criticism?

When it comes to literary criticism, it can be discouraging at times, but I try my best to take it as a learning experience and to apply any suggestions or corrections to my writing. Since I’m such a new writer, it’s always good to get some harsh criticism at times, because I know it’ll help improve my writing in the long run.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

It depends on what genre I’m writing. If I’m writing contemporary, then not much “world building” takes place because I just write as I go, since I’m writing in my own, everyday life/world. For fantasy or sci-fi, it definitely takes a lot longer because you need to create an entire world on your own.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book, and are you on social media? Can your readers interact with you?

Readers can find out more about my book through my social media or my website. I have a Facebook page, Goodreads page, Twitter, and both a writing and personal Instagram account. My website is trinitylemm.com or you can search my name on any of my social media platforms. I am constantly looking to interact more with my readers! I love hearing from them, whether it’s about Forever Burn, other books, or just casually talking about whatever comes to mind. It’s so exciting to get to know my readers better.

The Author: Kristen Temple

Kristen Temple resides in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland, Australia, with her husband and two young children. She works part-time as an occupational therapist. In the hours she steals between work and family, she is a writer and artist.

Kristen’s love of reading and writing blossomed at an early age, and has only grown since. She began focusing on her writing in 2014, with particular interest in fantasy and romance. Her current priority is The Active Eight Series, with book one released in September 2020, however she anticipates this is just the beginning of a long writing career. 


The Book: Paired (The Active Eight Series Book 1)

A sheltered girl. An awakening power. Can she defend against an enemy who wants her dead?

Kaylee Saunders longs to make her own choices, but her controlling mother refuses to give her the freedom a seventeen-year-old should enjoy. Full of defiance, Kaylee sneaks out to a party. The overwhelming sights and sounds trigger a panic attack, releasing her undiscovered powers in an eruption of force, sending those around her scrambling.

Vincent, who witnessed her outburst, tracks her down and reveals the truth: they harness the power to control the elements.

Vincent helps Kaylee embrace what she is and the consequences that come with it, but is it all too late? Kaylee must find the strength to control her element beyond imagination or her kind will perish at the hands of an enemy that has been hunting them for centuries.


The Review: 4/5 stars!

Paired is a fun read.
Kristen Temple created a fascinating hidden world within the pages of this book – one full of magic and secrets that kept you captivated until the final page. Her main character, Kaylee, would have to be one of the most relatable characters I have ever read. Seriously, how many protagonists have you read that suffer from anxiety and panic attacks (that actually read authentically)? Not only does our MC suffer from this, but she also had to learn to control abilities that link to her emotions.
The way that Temple has divulged the world history and relevant information in this book is excellent too – little tidbits peppered throughout to keep the reader needing to continue on. Now add in danger, lies, and a swoon-worthy list of support characters, and Temple is clearly on to a winner with this book.
I personally thought that the premise behind the book was terrific, and I’m going to say that I’ve never read anything like it before.
I finished this book way too quickly – devouring it in two short hours! I was disappointed when that final page turned – I wanted the story to keep going.
So, I am officially (and impatiently) waiting for the next one in the series.


The Interview:

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

I wasn’t prepared for the personal development that occurred throughout the writing process. First was the boost in self-confidence, and then the sense of self-accomplishment from creating something from scratch to finally holding a physical product in my hands. And finally, the passion. As soon as I started writing, I knew this was something that I would be doing for a very long time.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

While the genre of the book is young adult urban fantasy, there’s also a side of romance!

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

My protagonist (Kaylee) has anxiety, and I’ve had several comments from people loving how relatable that is, and how well it is written. I have personally struggled with anxiety, including panic attacks (which my protagonist also experiences) and believe that’s why it comes across so well. Anxiety isn’t something that I’ve read much about in fiction, but is so prevalent in today’s society, so I wanted to bring that into my novel.

What was the inspiration for the story?

The story originally came from a dream. I often have quite elaborate dreams but generally cannot remember them. This dream had felt so real that as soon as I woke, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I remember thinking that I should write about it, and eventually put pen to paper.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

I didn’t go into the book with a specific agenda, but I knew I wanted to try to portray someone realistic in today’s time. Kaylee has anxiety, often second guesses herself and has to learn to find her own voice.

What is the significance of the title?

Paired is something that relates to the element users in my story. It’s something unique that I haven’t come across before in the books that I’ve read. You’ll have to read the book to find out more!

What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

Definitely! I anticipate that the Active Eight Series will be a trilogy, hopefully releasing one a year over the next two years.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?

This book took seven years to write! Funnily enough I’d finished the first draft within a year but then self-doubt crept in. I think writers often start out wondering if they’re good enough, and I was definitely no exception to that rule. The highlight to me was when I had BETA readers read the book and they all said they loved it. Because I didn’t personally know these people, I knew that their feedback was honest. This was a massive turning point for me where I realise that I’m actually a pretty decent writer!

Where do you draw inspiration from?

My mind is my greatest tool. Between dreams at night and daydreaming, I’m often off in the clouds thinking of weird and wonderful things.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

I love reading young adult/new adult fantasy, and adore Sarah J Maas. When I started writing, I’d read that writers should try to avoid reading while they’re writing, to stop themselves being influenced by others work. However, my writing journey lasted seven years for this story, so I went a long time without reading! It wasn’t until recently when someone chastised me for not reading that I went straight back to A Court of Thorns and Roses and re-read all the books in the series. Sarah’s writing sucks you in from the beginning, taking you to a world you never want to leave.

What are you reading now?

Lately I’ve been helping other writers and authors by BETA and ARC reading, so I’ve recently finished a wonderful unpublished novel. 

Favorite book/story you have read as an adult, and what was your favorite book when you were a kid?

As above, as an adult I love A Court of Thorns and Roses. As a child, like many others, I was obsessed with Harry Potter. I was in year six when my teacher began reading Harry Potter to the class and I was hooked. I still have my collection of Harry Potter plush toys, and my three-year-old son has Harry Potter bedsheets even though he has no idea who or what Harry Potter is. 

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I have two young children at home so they fill up most of my day. Beyond that, a year ago a sewing machine landed on my table so I’ve been teaching myself to sew this last year.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

I’ve seen this advice a number of times but it’s something I try to follow: keep on writing, regardless of whether you think the writing isn’t great quality. Writing can always be edited, but if you don’t write anything, you’ve got nothing to work with.

How do you handle writer’s block?

I’m fortunate (or possibly unfortunate) to drive an hour to and from work. I often drive in silence and let my mind wonder to my stories and my characters, and let that help progress the story.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

To me, having an engaging story is priority. Something that makes the reader want to keep turning the pages. 

What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?

For Paired, the plot came first. I knew where I wanted the story to go, then had to build my characters into that. A lot of my plot or character development comes from my daydreaming. I’ll imagine a scene and allow my mind to take it in different directions, or have characters have different conversations, and just see how everything develops.

Describe a typical writing day.

I’m the worst person to set an example for writing. Often I write of a night once my children have gone to bed, but it’s not a daily occurrence. I allow myself my driving time to create the story in my mind so that when I find time to write, I can get straight into the story. If I need more writing time, I often send the kids off to the grandparents or daycare for the day and spend the whole day in bed writing (my bed is my writing domain, I did say I was a bad example!).

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

The most difficult part is editing. I already mentioned that my story was finished in the first year, but the reason it took seven years to be completed is that I couldn’t stop editing. I love how time and editing transformed my story into what it is today, but I definitely need to learn when to stop!

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I’ve had some wonderful reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. A lot comment on the uniqueness of my story, and as mentioned above, I’ve had comments on the relatability of my protagonist.

How do you do research for your books?

I’m very much a ‘write now, research later’ kind of writer. It’s not until I get to a point in my story where I need to know about the climate or something simple like whether the local school has mandatory uniforms that I realise I need to research. In that case, Google is often my best friend for answers.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood? How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

A lot of the time when I’m writing, I put myself in the position of the protagonist. If you were to observe me writing you’ll see lots of arm actions and facial expressions as I try to ‘live’ the experience. I find putting myself in the scene helps me to connect with the emotions.

It’s an odd thing to feel happy about feeling sad, but I know if my writing is making me emotional, then I’ve done my job as a writer. Often it’s taking that moment to reflect and realise I’ve done well that helps me work through the emotional toll.

How do you handle literary criticism?

After all the self-doubt in the beginning, I’ve come to a wonderful place where I now have a very open mind. No person experiences the same book in the same way, and therefore each person will have a different opinion. Criticism is just an opinion and you have to decide yourself whether there was some merit to any feedback and how you go about making necessary changes if you feel that it is required. Sometimes it is through criticism that we develop further as a writer.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

Very little. Usually if I have a story I’m excited about, I want to get straight into writing it. Even if that means writing the ending first, then having to go back and develop everything around that (which is how I started writing Paired). Coming into writing the second book in the series, there’s definitely a lot more planning involved beforehand, though!

Where can readers find out more about you and your book, and are you on social media? Can your readers interact with you?

I have a website, kristentemple.com, that has all the links to my social media accounts. I’m most active on Facebook and Instagram, and love people interacting with my posts.

The Author: C.F Gonzi

C.F. Gonzi has always had a wild imagination, and she discovered early on that writing was a fantastic outlet for all of her exciting ideas. She lives in a beautiful Utah valley with her husband and daughter, where she enjoys rock-climbing, reading, and hiking when she’s not writing. UNRAVELED is C.F. Gonzi’s debut novel.


The Book: Unraveled

McGregor has been pumping the streets of New York full of illegal and experimental drugs for too long. He’s slipped through the FBI’s fingers twice already, but they just made a new break in the case…Delilah’s two-year probationary period is up. She’s already passed the entry tests to becoming a field agent and is hoping to be let in on the action right away. The top Criminal Profiler in the city, the attractive Agent Jace Avery, is leading the McGregor Case, and Delilah wants in.As anticipation and excitement for the impending infiltration rise, Jace’s feelings for Delilah are interrupted by caution. However, after an impressive performance on her first mission, Delilah lands a spot on his infiltration team.Will Delilah be the one to unravel this case? Or will McGregor be the one to unravel her?


Also Available: Numb

As the top criminal profiler in the FBI, Jace Avery is used to closing cases quickly. But after a year of playing cat and mouse with McGregor, all he has to show for it is an incarcerated girlfriend and two new victims of the drug lord’s experiments.Siale is an all-star basketball player at her high school, already being recruited by the top colleges in the nation. She has her whole life figured out, until a run in with McGregor’s drug takes basketball away from her. A forced acquaintance with Agent Avery soon turns to friendship as Siale’s need to play ball almost equals Jace’s desire to save Delilah.Will Siale have to remain numb to this integral part of her life? Or will Jace’s desperate efforts be enough to stop McGregor and cure his victims?


The Review: 4/5 stars!

Unraveled isn’t in my usual genre that I like reading, so I was a little surprised that I really enjoyed it. I read this book in one sitting, eyes glued to the pages, trying to figure out where Gonzi was going to take the story. Let me just say that the way Unraveled is written, with all of the intricate build up and twists, the use of language and thought, and the warping reality within Delilah’s spiralling mental state is fascinating. Gonzi did an amazing job at writing from multiple POV’s, ensuring both main characters had their own unique voice.
The themes found in this book, along with the character’s struggles as they try to deal with some pretty awful stuff, were all written in a way that showed Gonzi’s depth and knowledge base as an author writing about crime and the effects that drugs have on people.
I’m looking forward to reading more from this author!


The Interview:

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

I think the most surprising thing I discovered while writing was my general obsession with making the reader be able to feel. I guess I never realized that to stir such emotions in someone else was so invigorating, or so addicting.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

This is a hard question because my book is full of plot twists that I would hate to give away. But I think the readers should know that maybe these characters seem too perfect at the beginning for a reason 😉

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

Actually, my main male protagonist, Jace Avery, was somewhat mannered after my husband, solely because writing a romance was made easier by imagining my soulmate in it.

What was the inspiration for the story?

I follow various writing prompt accounts on social media, and came across a post where someone complained about never reading a story from the villain’s perspective. That is what inspired Unraveled, and I can’t say more because I don’t want to give anything away.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

This may sound naive but I do not think my book holds a message. It was simply a story that I needed to get out of my head. Perhaps the theme is that we are all a little insane in our own way.

What is the significance of the title?

One could say my main character gets “unraveled” as the story unfolds.

What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

There already is a sequel! It is entitled Numb and follows only one of the POV’s from the first book while introducing a new one. And now, as I write the next and final installment of this trilogy, I will be introducing one more POV as well.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?

The biggest challenge in writing Unraveled was definitely the editing of the first draft. I had to cut what I thought was an absolutely perfect 85k manuscript down to 60k because beta readers and friends decided a lot of my fluff was unnecessary, (looking back, I definitely agree). One of the highlights of writing was sharing my ideas with my husband. Oftentimes he would look at me like I was crazy, but even then he would remind me how creative I was to even have those ideas.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Inspiration comes to me in many different forms, but I think I gain most of my inspiration from simple writing prompts; most of the time they open a floodgate of schemes that have nothing to do with the prompt itself.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

This is such a hard question! I think my favorite author of all time would probably have to be Louisa May Alcott. I am obsessed with how eloquent and beautiful her language is, and am constantly in awe of her ability to pull emotion from every page.

What are you reading now?

I am currently reading The Blood Society by B.B. Palomo, as well as Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle aloud with my husband and daughter.

Favorite book/story you have read as an adult, and what was your favorite book when you were a kid?

My favorite book as an adult is definitely Little Women, but my favorite childhood books were the entire Harry Potter series.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When not writing, I love going to the mountains with my family, whether that be kayaking on a lake, rock-climbing, hiking, or just camping. I also enjoy playing the piano, baking, singing, playing basketball, doing hair, and spray painting.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

I think the best piece of advice I could ever offer is to not shy away from that rough thing you want to write. That thing that you are afraid will make others uncomfortable, or is a hard subject. Write it anyway.

How do you handle writer’s block?

I often just let writer’s block run its course. I’ve tried to force my way out of it, but I never get solid prose from force, so I have decided that if I feel writer’s block, the best thing to do is distance myself from the project till the motivation and determination to write comes again.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I think a fundamental understanding of ethos and pathos are important elements in good writing, even if you don’t necessarily recognize that that is what it is called. The ability to call onto emotion can override any grammatical or spelling errors. Good writing evokes feeling.

What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?

My plot always comes first. I develop a somewhat solid plot before I look into my characters at all because they have to be able to fit into the story well. But you can ask any writer, our characters rarely listen to us.

Describe a typical writing day.

I unfortunately do not get writing days. I get blocks of time in my day that are typically filled with writing: when my daughter takes her afternoon nap, and then again when she goes down for bed at night and my husband studies. Each time is the same, though not monotonous. I grab my notebook, pen, phone, and laptop, find somewhere comfortable, (but not too comfortable), and sit down to work. I’ll have my Harry Potter water bottle beside me, occasionally accompanied by a baked good or veggies and hummus, and set my fingers to work. Don’t be fooled, though; most of my writing time is spent staring out the window or at my phone trying to find the right words to better portray my scenes.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

The most difficult part of writing is indefinitely the self-doubt. I get to a point in every one of my books, about halfway through the manuscript, where I begin to hate everything I’ve already written, and fear that everyone else will too.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I don’t hear from my readers as often as I would like. The one’s I do hear from, however, are very often mad at my cliffhangers and begging for spoilers, which I rather enjoy.

How do you do research for your books?

An open google tab is my constant companion as I write. Also, if I know anyone of similar occupation, lifestyle, or ethnicity of the character I am writing, I will interview them to get more details on the subject.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood? How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I don’t wear makeup, I leave my phone behind, And I separate myself from any distraction. I also clip my nails, because when writing emotionally draining scenes, I often drag my fingers down my face in exasperation. There have actually been many scenes in my current project that have drained me more than usual; for these I just have to walk away from the computer and find something uplifting to do, which is usually baking. With Unraveled and Numb, I found that reading the scene aloud to someone else and making them feel the same was uplifting to myself. Wow, that sounded evil. I’m sorry, I promise I’m not.

How do you handle literary criticism?

I do my best to take criticism into stride. I know that my story isn’t for everyone, and my writing style may not suit what others like to read. I try to imagine myself in the critic’s shoes, see my mistakes or their critiques and understand that we are all human, but none of us are the same. That makes the blow of criticism much easier, though still not the easiest thing to deal with.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

World building definitely depends on the story I am writing. For example, Unraveled takes place in present-day New York, so very minimal world building went into the preparation for the book. Storyboarding, on the other hand, takes at least a good month to put together, because I want to make sure the foundation of my tale is as solid as rock.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book, and are you on social media? Can your readers interact with you?

I have a Facebook page under C.F. Gonzi and an Instagram account @cfgonzi where I post updates on my current works, promotions for published works, and general life reports. I answer every DM that comes my way, so long as it is appropriate. I have actually made many friends around the world from doing this. A website and newsletter will be in the works as soon as I finish my current manuscript.