Interview with Bryan Koepke, author of Vengeance

 

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It is my pleasure to introduce to you fellow author, Bryan Koepke, who has recently released his first novel, Vengeance.

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Bryan has been very supportive of my writing career and I am delighted to be able to return the favour. Below he talks about his novel and the journey to getting published. I hope you enjoy and please do check out Vengeance.

Tell us a little about yourself, Bryan.

I grew up drawing pictures of cars and airplanes and running through the fields and woods of Michigan and Oklahoma.  At a young age I got into motorcycles and enjoyed ridding dirt bikes.  Early in my career I had jobs that ranged from paperboy to sous chef.  I spent twenty-years working as an electronics-engineering technician and during this past decade had the privilege of being on teams that built, tested, and launched spacecraft from both Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  Prior to that I worked on F-16 fighter jets, I got my FAA Airframe & Powerplant licenses, and later managed to get a private pilot’s license.  These days I work on the financial side of things at an aerospace company, and write a Blog called The Writers Cabin.

When I was in my teens I knew I wanted to be a writer and during much of my technical career I gravitated toward documentation and test procedures.   I’m married to a beautiful woman named Ildy, and we have a dog-named Daisy.

What made you decide you wanted to become an author?

When I was a teenager I wanted to become an author, but over time more urgent matters such as figuring out a way to earn a living replaced that pursuit.   A few years back at a time when I was reading tons of mystery and thriller novels I decided to write one of my own.  I spent the next two years writing two thrillers that are currently sitting in the bottom drawer of my desk aging like fine bottles of wine.  Book three became Vengeance.

Each author has a different writing process. Can you tell us about yours?

I do the bulk of my writing early in the morning before my day job and on weekends.  When I begin a novel I write scenes and chapters sequentially.  At some point in the process I’ll begin an outline mainly to use in the revision process.  Recently I’ve started aiming for a goal of 1000 words each time I sit down to write.  On weekends when I’m well rested I can crank out 3,000 or more words in one sitting.

Vengeance is your first novel. Tell us about your journey to getting it published. 

I began sending out query letters in the fall of 2013.  It was sometime after a visit to see my 80 something year old parents that I decided to start my own small publishing company, Writers Cabin Press, Ltd. and publish my own work.  I think the biggest reason I made this decision was that I knew that the traditional process of gaining the attention of an agent, going through additional revisions with them, and ultimately publishing the work could take two or more years.  I wanted to put a book into my mom’s hands sooner than later.

Can you tell us a little about the story?

Vengeance is the story of Reece Culver a former aerospace engineer tortured by unanswered questions revolving around the mystery of his father’s cold-case murder. When a seemingly desperate and seductive woman hires him in an effort to find her missing mother he ends up on a deadly collision course with the very person responsible for killing his father.

What was your inspiration for the book?

In September of 2011 I read an article about a woman who dreamed up a home invasion story to murder her husband and almost got away with it.  From there my story morphed into something completely different.

If Vengeance was turned into a movie, who would be your dream cast?

I would have someone young and outgoing like Bradley Cooper play the part of Reece Culver.  Scarlett Johansson would play Crystal Thomas, someone like Bruce Willis might play Sam Shanks, and I’d cast Anthony Hopkins as Vinton Blackwell.  I’d also cast Denzel Washington as Reece’s mentor Haisley Averton.

What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on books 2 and 3 in the Reece Culver Thriller Series.  This next book is shaping up and will contain some interesting aerospace technology.

What are your views on social media and how it can help/hinder authors?

Social Media is a great tool.  It provides a great means of interaction and information between authors and their readers.

Tell us about what you like to do to relax when you’re not writing.

My favorite things to do when not writing are hiking, skiing, ridding my ATV, and fishing in the mountains of Colorado.  I also enjoy reading and traveling.

And can you tell us who the authors are who inspire you?

Stephen King, Raymond Chandler, CJ Box, Ernest Hemingway, and James Salter.

What date will Vengeance be released and where will readers be able to buy a copy?

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Vengeance is currently available on www.Amazon.com as both an eBook and as a 6”x9” Paperback.  It is also available on www.smashwords.com, and will be available shortly on Nook, and from many other distributors.  For more information about the book and links to amazon go to my website http://www.bryankoepke.com Stay tuned to the website for some exciting events that will take place next summer.

 

 

 

Interview with Megan Denby, author of A Thistle in the Mist

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I am delighted to announce this week’s interview is with Canadian author, Megan Denby, who you may remember wrote a fascinating guest blog on my site last year about the great-grandmother who inspired her debut novel, A Thistle in the Mist, and her road to getting it published. Her new novel, Lost to the Mist is due to be published later this year.

Take it away, Megan.

Tell us about yourself in 100 words? No more and no less.

Megan Denby is a novelist who grew up on a farm, where she spent much of her time riding the dirt roads on her bike and sprawled on the porch swing reading books. Writing for over thirty years, her debut novel, ‘A Thistle in the Mist’ was inspired by the turbulent life of her Scottish great-grandmother. Megan is an avid dragon boater, and, a true Canadian, she is a rookie goalie in the local women’s hockey league. Residing in the lakeside community of Port Perry with her family, Megan is currently working on the disturbing sequel, ‘Lost to the Mist’.

Tell us about your book.

‘A Thistle in the Mist’ is a fictional drama revolving around the life of a young highland lass named Meara MacDonald.

When Meara finds her mother dead, she cannot imagine how terrible her life will become. Up until the death of her mother, Meara has enjoyed an idyllic life on Isle of Skye, dreaming of the day she will wed the gallant Duncan MacLeod. Fate, however, has other plans and when Aunt Deirdre and Uncle Sloan arrive, Meara’s family is taken, one-by-one, for reasons she discovers are both personal and nefarious. Unable to reign in her spirit or her tongue, Meara falls prey to an intricate web of lies and deception and finds herself catapulted from Scotland to a household steeped in mystery in Nova Scotia. Guided by her strength of will, she fights her way back to the remains of her family; her heart and soul.

Bits and pieces of my Grandma Ross’s life are woven into the tale. Burdened with lies and deception, ‘A Thistle in the Mist’ is a fast-paced read set in Scotland and Nova Scotia in the early nineteenth century. It is entwined with family, humour, resiliency of the human spirit and characters that stay with you.

How did it feel when you first saw your book published?

It’s hard to put that feeling into words. I think I felt a mixture of disbelief, pride and relief – relief that I was finally able to let it go after 10 years!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on book two, ‘Lost to the Mist’. It features Meara and her family and of course I am bringing back the much-loved villain, Deirdre. ‘Thistle’ is such a fast-paced story and I am finding it a bit of a challenge to keep that pace but it’s a challenge I’m up for! I have lots of twists and turns in store for my readers.

What words of advice would you give to any budding writers out there?

Never give up! If you have a story to tell, tell it. Edit like crazy and be sure to have it professionally edited. I believed I could edit myself but was extremely lucky to cross paths with a chap from the UK who generously offered to proofread and tone down my glaring ‘Canadianisms’. If you decide to self-publish, be certain to promote yourself through all avenues available and be careful not to cross the line between promoting your book and ‘shoving it down people’s throats’! Take the good with the bad and try and take something positive from every review you receive.

Social media seems to be playing a big part in the success of books these days. What are your thoughts on this and how active are you on various sites?

Social media, I’ve learned, is an invaluable tool. Facebook, Twitter and Google + are a few sites I’ve taken advantage of. Besides promoting your book, it’s the best place to connect with other writers. I’ve been lucky to connect with some fantastic authors worldwide whom I now consider friends. The group I chat with are hugely generous and have helped me immensely. They also make me laugh every day. Personally, social media has been my best friend. My day job took me away from social media for awhile and I saw a drastic drop in sales. When I resumed self-promoting via Facebook and Twitter, I saw an immediate climb in sales.

Every writer must dream of seeing the big screen version of their novel. Who would you like to see playing your lead characters?

Rachel McAdams would make a beautiful and feisty Meara but she’s Canadian. If she could pull off the Scottish burr, she would be my first choice. However, if I were to stick with actors from the UK, I would choose Emily Blunt – lovely and quirky.

I think, UK actor, Tom Hardy would make a dashing Duncan. He also possesses that vulnerable quality I feel is an inherent part of Duncan’s character.

Without a doubt, Tilda Swinton is the perfect Deirdre. Not only is she Scottish, she is an amazing actress and does evil very well.

Another Scottish actor, Robert Carlyle, has the physical characteristics to be a convincing Sloan. He knows how to do ‘bad’ without going over the top.

If you could find out the answer to one of life’s mysteries, which one would you choose?

Why do all writers procrastinate?

What would you do in life if you knew you couldn’t fail?

I’d give up my day job, move somewhere beautiful on the ocean and spend the rest of my life writing and enjoying my family.

Describe the most terrifying situation you have ever been in?

I was nineteen years old the night the police called our house and asked for my dad. The police officer would not give me any information but when my dad took the phone, the look on his face as he listened, turned my stomach to ice. My brother had been in a terrible car accident. I will never forget the terror I felt during the ride to the hospital or the relief that filled me when I saw my little brother’s face. He was badly injured and spent weeks in hospital but he recovered fully, thank goodness.

And the cliché question, four guests at your dinner party (dead or alive), who do you choose?

I would choose my grandparents. My father’s mother passed away when he was a baby and I never met her. My grandpa always told me I looked just like her so I’d love to meet her and see Grandpa spend time with her again, if only for an evening. My mother’s parents, Nana and Grandad, were a huge part of my life growing up and I miss them every day. I’d love to see them both one more time.

To find out more about Megan and her book, please see the following links.

Amazon               http://www.amazon.com/A-Thistle-Mist-ebook/dp/B00B2XML88

Website               www.megandenby.com

Blog                     http://notyouraveragelassie.blogspot.ca/

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

Twitter                 https://twitter.com/megan_denby

Interview with David T Procter, author of Dead Men Lie

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This week’s interview is with David T Procter, a former plumber turned writer from the South of England. His novel, Dead Men Lie, is a multi-genre tale that includes romance, murder and adventure.

Welcome, David. Can you tell us about yourself in 100 words? No more and no less.

Born into a working class family I grew up in a council house in the early sixties. Even then I knew I was different, but unlike my siblings I was denied a grammar school education, not through inability, but because the family money had all gone. Only in later years did I discover the rich tapestry my family has left me. It is their stories I use to build my tales. I am proud of my heritage proud and thankful for who they were, and what I became.

Why did you decide to become a writer? 

I didn’t find writing, more like it found me. Having left school and become a self-employed plumber I was content to carry on perhaps until retirement. But for years, while under baths or scrabbling beneath floorboards, a story kept niggling away in the back of my mind. I didn’t do anything about it until one day a customer looked at an estimate I had prepared and said “you should write fiction this is pretty good.” That and a series of unforeseen circumstances involving a wife with deteriorating health issues gave me the kick I needed. My first attempt at writing was born but I soon discovered I had lost much of what my English teacher had drummed into me, so I enrolled in some creative writing courses. Even now I am still re-learning.

Tell us about your books.

My books are pure escapism; they have a beginning middle and end. I tried short stories but prefer the scope which the longer novel allows, the ability to develop characters and places. Forgotten Souls was my first book, a good story, badly edited and published far too soon. I removed it from sale, perhaps one day I will re-write it. I have at least six other books in draft form awaiting finalising so I am well stocked for many years to come. As for Dead Men Lie, my latest, that is something which I am most proud of (at the moment). It was born from an item I discovered while researching the family tree and just developed.

And tell us about the authors who inspire you. 

I love anything military and historical, combine the two and I am happy for days, I read Clive Cussler, Bernard Cornwall, Douglas Reaman and lots of other authors. I enjoy any autobiography of those who have lived a long and interesting life and hate anything to do with pop stars or so called celebrities. I actually read and like all the Harry Potter books by J K Rowling. I also like some of the classics but unfortunately not Dickens, and I have read and enjoyed Homers Iliad

How did you feel when you first saw your book published? 

Excited then frustrated. Forgotten Souls should have been better prepared; when I saw it I recognised my stupidity. Vanity had ruled my heart and since then I vowed no one would have control over my work. It was a salutary lesson to learn and an expensive one, now I control everything and so far, apart from one stupid error, it seems to be working out fine.

What are you working on at the moment? 

Once Dead Men Lie is re-launched in June, then I have a prequel to complete and a family history for my granddaughter. I want her to know where the family originated from and to know her background which I didn’t. It took my own daughter to ask where does the name come from to force me to learn and I am eternally grateful to her for that encouragement.

What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?

That moment came about a year ago. It was pure theatre and so very self-indulgent but it made my wife cringe, and me chuckle at the absurdity. To understand the significance I have to tell you that Dead Men Lie was banned by my local council. Seems we infringed their strict moral code somehow, any way the local paper ran the story, we made the front page. Which explains why, while doing our monthly shop in a crowded supermarket, I was approached by a woman who asked for my autograph. Notoriety has never been so appreciated.

Is there any advice you would give to budding writers?

So much I could tell them. Firstly listen to your heart, if it feels right it most likely is. Secondly believe in everything you do even if it is proven to be wrong. Lastly trust no one, we have been ridiculed, almost destroyed and told so often that the book will never amount to anything that we no longer listen. Remember it’s your work; don’t let anyone detract you from what you first envisaged.

Describe your writing day.

I wake at about 4am, have at least three cups of tea, than work for a few hours before the house wakes. This involves answering e-mails, checking the web site and reprising the previous day’s work.  If there is any time left I try and write at least a thousand words. Then, in the afternoon, I do the bulk of my writing and research. All in all, I aim to write at least four thousand words a day not all are used, most is either filed for future use or deleted, only a few nuggets of worth actually makes it into a story.

Social media seems to be playing a big part in the success of books these days. What are your thoughts on this and how active are you on various sites?

I have a web site, which works really well. While I am on facebook, twitter and Google+ Do these work? I am still debating that question. We all use them, but we all seem to gather on the same places, and lets be fair few authors buy other authors works or not in sufficient quantities. Do such sites attract readers? I think not but we have to be seen, perhaps one day, we will all get a chance of being front of house so to speak.

Every writer must dream of seeing the big screen version of their novel. Who would you like to see playing your lead characters?

Funnily enough we have discussed this at length. If the chance ever occurred I would have to choose English actors, some of whom may not be that well known. So for the Reverend Edward Bayles I would ask a fine character actor by the name of Philip Martin-Brown. I think he would give the character a lot of depth. Abigail Wood I would ask Michele Dockery best known for her role as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey, she is feisty but innocent at the same time. As for Benjamin Turnbottle I think another Downton actor would fit the role nicely he is Rob James-Collier who plays Thomas Barrow the under butler. These three would do my creations proud.

The world is ending and you are about to be blasted off into space – Bruce Willis style – to try and save mankind. You are allowed to take two people with you. Who do you choose?

I am too old to be jumping around saving anyone but Einstein and Benjamin Franklin would be interesting travelling companions.

If you could find out the answers to one of life’s great mysteries, which one would you choose?

I would love to know where all the shoe laces go to and if they share some third dimensional space with all the missing pens.

Share a personal fact about yourself that no one would know.

I play a mean Bass guitar, all self-taught.

You are on death row and it’s your final supper. What do you choose? 

Hopefully I will never find myself there but if the fates decree I would not prolong the agony something light, an omelette perhaps then get it over with.

What would you do in life if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Being at the birth of my daughter. I escaped the other two occasions but the wife was determined I would experience it once at least.

Share one quote that keeps you going in life.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step.”  Connected nicely to “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” From each end of man’s journey, rather poetic don’t you think.

Describe your perfect day.

Easy. A whole day with my darling granddaughter as she is now, innocent and full of life.

And the cliché question, four guests at your dinner party (dead or alive), who do you choose?

I know you expect names of great statesmen and politicians, writers or philosophers but I am going all sentimental. I would invite my mother who died far too young and missed my marriage and the births of her grandchildren. My five times great grandfather born in 1702 and to whom we all owe so much to. More importantly I would like to ask him where he was born and why he came to Sussex, information apparently lost. Lastly my dear departed gran so she could explain her side of the family to me far too complicated for a poor soul like me to unpick.

Find out more about David through the following links.

Website: www.davidtprocterbooks.co.uk

Blog site: https://www.blogger.com/home

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dead-men-Lie/552651668161522