I AM Oz the Gweat and Tewwible!!! And I am here to present to you my review on Pet Sematary: A Novel by Stephen King!!!!
But before I get into the review, let me share you a quote I discovered that will sum the review up in one sentence! Read More
Topher Hoffman: Hello all! Today we will be getting into the brain of David Holwill. He’s turning himself into a reliable author who has written three novels. The titles include Weekend Rockstars, The Craft Room, and his latest book, Gap Years!
From his Twitter account he describes himself as “Teller of tall tales, singer of stupid songs, drinker of dubious drinks!” So with that, lets us see what he has to say!
Hello Dave! Welcome, 22 Questions with David Holwill on House of 1000 Books! I would like to start with some random starter questions, and then transition questions about your current book.
So with that, let’s start with some random questions.
If you could pick one animal to represent your spirit animal, what would it be and why?
David Holwill: I have a lot of animals, four cats, a massive dog, a rabbit, a guinea pig and a rescue fish. They’ve all got spirit, but do any of them represent my spirit? Maybe Duchamp, my 19-year-old cat who only leaves the house when it’s very sunny indeed, I identify with him quite strongly.
If you’re looking for a more general animal then probably something like the duck-billed platypus since it steadfastly refuses to commit to being any one type of thing.
TH: As you know, writing takes a lot of time, but not all of your time I’m sure. Can you tell us what do you like to do when you’re not writing?
DH: Nothing, it’s absolutely my favourite thing to do. A lot of people are very down on doing nothing as if it’s something to be ashamed of, but they are wrong, it’s the best.
I have a full-time day job, I play guitar and bass in three or four bands at any one time, have the aforementioned menagerie to look after, and two grown-up kids and a marriage to check in on now and then. Cramming a writing career into the middle of that when television has never been better leaves very little time for truly enjoying doing nothing. I wrote about it a long time ago here – https://davedoesntwriteanythingever.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-importance-of-doing-f-all-once-in.html
TH: All authors need something to use as tools. What are your tools of the trade?
DH: A laptop that I pulled from a skip at the day-job and rebuilt running freeware software and my phone, that’s it really. I used to keep notebooks but kept losing my pen, rendering them useless. I then lost the notebooks to weather, pets and general absent-mindedness as well. A decent notepad app on my phone backs everything up to the cloud, and there is less danger of not being able to understand my hastily scrawled in the rain, trying to get out of the way of a tractor while a little bit drunk handwriting. But those are just the tangible things. All you really need are thoughts, lots of them, a way of organising them, patience and the ability to edit.
TH: What does literary success look like to you?
DH: I consider it a success when somebody I don’t know in real life takes the time to tell me they liked something I wrote. That it resonated with them, that it made them think, or maybe changed the way they look at the world.
TH: You currently have three novels written. What does being successful mean to you and what is your definition of success?
DH: I’m not really a competitive person and success is always relative. I started out just wanting to finish writing a book, and when I finished, I considered that a success. Then getting a good review, that first one was definitely a success. Every time I notice another person has read one of my books and liked it enough to tell other people I call that a success. It’s all about the tiny victories that build up without you noticing. There’s always someone doing better than you, be happy for them instead of bitter.
TH: Here’s a hypothetical question. You have guests over, and you need to go run an errand leaving them alone in your house. They decide to through your stuff, and they notice a book on your bedside table. What book would they find?
DH: These days it’s a kindle, it saves so much space, it’s light, it goes in my pocket and has more reading material on it than I can fit in my entire house. It’s brilliant. But, for the purposes of this interview it would be Common Ground by Rob Cowen, or Don’t Hold My Head Down by Lucy-Anne Holmes because they are so very good I leave them anywhere somebody might ask about them.
TH: What is your favourite quote?
DH: “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.”
To clarify, this tiny bit of wisdom doesn’t get the credit it deserves. People are always very keen to magnify the negative, concentrate on the awful and – at least here in Britain – downplay it when they are actually happy. You don’t have to literally clap your hands, but please, make a noise, write a joyful social media update, hug a stranger – or a strange tree, tell the world around you what’s good about it amidst all the awful that’s happening right now.
TH: Now the question I like asking in every interview if you had a chance to meet your younger self to give yourself one piece of advice about writing, what would it be?
DH: Stop it, it’s hard and the money’s rubbish. Work a bit harder on the guitar playing, rock and roll stars have more fun and never have to drink alone.
Or that plotting is for people with different brains to you, that you have to write a very very bad book before you can make it a good book and that very soon computers with word-processing software will be available at reasonable prices so you won’t have to keep writing and rewriting on bits of paper before hammering the final draft into a typewriter. It will get better. I did a lot more about this here: https://davedoesntwriteanythingever.blogspot.com/2017/04/too-many-georges-how-to-avoid-mid-life.html
TH: Those were great, let’s move onto something more about your writing.
Being an author, you need to be creative. Where do you get your ideas for your novels?
DH: I watch the world around me, the people I meet, the things that happen. I invent stories around the people I see walking down the street and scrawl them in my notebook (not true anymore, see above, I tap it into my phone, so much easier) and sometimes, just sometimes, something good comes out of it rather than a sad story of a dog called Ken who thinks his owner’s coat is ugly and didn’t want to come out anyway.
Also, I nick stuff from other people. Usually, I change it enough so you don’t notice, but if you do it was a tribute.
TH: As I mentioned before, you currently have three novels written. What is your favourite?
DH: That’s like asking me to pick a favourite pet, or child, it’s not a fair question. Weekend Rockstars has a special place in my heart as my first; The Craft Room is my wife’s favourite and has some of my best jokes; while Gap Years was so difficult to put together that I am enormously proud of myself for ever getting to the end of it.
Actually, it’s none of them, it’s the fuzzy shape of an idea I had this morning. My favourite book is always the one I haven’t yet started writing.
TH: If there is one thing that could stop you in your tracks when you are deep into writing, what would it be? Essentially, what one thing is the poison that prevents you from writing.
DH: All the things, television, the pets, a vague idea that there might be something interesting on the internet that I haven’t seen yet, a slight sound from outside, the sheep running past in the field opposite my house, any tiny excuse to do anything else at all. The worst though, because I live on the drizzly, grey-skyed edge of Dartmoor is good weather. It is so rare that the second the sun appears all I want to do is find a beer garden and go for a drink.
TH: Do you hide Easter Eggs in your books, that only your close friends would notice?
DH: Absolutely loads yeah. I named the fictional pop idol in Gap Years after one of my oldest friends, I have name-checked nearly every dog I have ever owned, and there is a running gag involving a made-up kids’ TV show theme tune that I have included in everything I write. Readers who are paying attention deserve Easter Eggs as much as my friends do – and most of my friends can’t read.
TH: How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
DH: I’ve got notes all over the place that range from ‘something to do with sentient cheese?’ to a fully fledged plot outline complete with character names and a few decent jokes. I’ve got the sequel to Weekend Rockstars that I said could and would never happen slowly taking shape after a particularly awful festival experience provided inspiration. It’s very different from the first, and very different from what I thought it would be when I was pushing a trumpet player’s car out of a swamp.
TH: You have a remarkable new book out! Can you please tell us about your new book?
DH: I can, it’s about an estranged father and son who are reunited after nearly a decade apart, the troubles they have reconnecting and the woman who very nearly destroys them both. As with all the best stories it’s about love, loss and dangerous obsession. But you know, with jokes.
TH: What was the inspiration for the novel?
DH: It was originally going to be an attempt to rewrite my own history, about the summer I nearly died, twice, in a couple of nasty accidents and how I learned nothing from it and went on to have many more. But as I wrote it, Sean and Martin (the two narrators) veered away from me and became their own people. As the story developed I realised it wasn’t anything like that summer anymore, or my own experiences at all, and just went with it.
TH: If somebody was to read the book, what is the one takeaway that you would want the reader to have?
DH: I wouldn’t like to presume how somebody else interprets what I’ve written, once I’m done with it it’s yours. I’m not George Lucas or J.K. Rowling. But I’d like it if just one person felt sorry for the villain of the piece. So far nobody has.
TH: Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
DH: The band from Weekend Rockstars make a cameo, in fact quite a lot of the cast do. It happens around the same place at around the same time, so there’s a lot of satisfaction in working out how it pieces together. Also there’s a lot more sex in there than I let on, really. I should probably have put a warning on it, some of it’s filthy.
TH: Out of all the characters in this book, who is your favourite character, and what makes them so unique to you?
DH: I like Rhiannon, the girl that effectively destroys their lives. In the first draft she was a kind, likeable girl who made Sean a better person, but as I wrote the book she developed this odd manipulative side to her which became a lot more interesting. I had to really get under her skin to understand her motivations. Which is probably why I am the only person with any empathy for her.
TH: Describe that character in 3 words.
DH: Clever, covert, broken.
TH: Now, with that third novel out, what people want to know is, what does Dave have up his literary sleeve now?
DH: I have two books in progress. The Weekend Rockstars sequel I keep bringing up, and a Folk Horror novel set on my beloved Dartmoor.
TH: Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
DH: You can read my @daveholwill Twitter feed, check my blog at https://davedoesntwriteanythingever.blogspot.com/, follow me on Facebook and Instagram, look at the daveholwill.com website; or, you know, come and find me in the pub and have a chat. I’m easy to find if you’re local.
TH: Is there anything else you want to the readers know about?
Not right now.
Welcome to the House of 1000 Books, and today we have a treat for you. We have an interview with Raven Corinn Carluk. She’s a self-described “desert rose that belongs in the heat.”
Welcome, Raven to the House of Books virtual interview room! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions with us. I took a look at your profile, and you have a lot of books. I can only imagine you are a pretty busy lady! It surprised me how many books you had written.
So let’s start, shall we?
Topher Hoffman: I read your biography, so I know the answer to this, but can you tell the readers when did you write your first book? I think they will be surprised!
Raven Corinn Carluk: It surprises even me sometimes, especially as I keep getting older. My first completed novel was written back in my freshman year of high school. That manuscript is long since gone, and it certainly wasn’t up to my current standards, but there’s a part of me that wishes I had it for at least the nostalgia of it.
Recently, though, one of my aunts showed me a picture book I had written and drawn about the bicycle she had bought for me. So, I could argue that my first book was written when I was eight.
TH: What was your favourite childhood book?
RCC: There are two that really come to mind, though I read so much while growing up. Green Eggs and Ham will always be a favorite book, because it’s the first book I remember reading. And it has a great moral that more people should embrace.
The other favorite was The Rolling Stones by Robert Heinlein. I was seven or eight when I read it, and I just related to the whole family, but especially the main kids. Precocious, too smart for my own good sometimes, and hungry for adventure.
TH: I see that you write romance, science fiction, and fantasy. Has your family read your romance novels, and if they have what do they think of them?
RCC: I’m not sure if any of my extended family has read my books, because I never connected with them as a child, thus didn’t keep in contact when I became an adult. But my very tight-knit family circle has read the romance, and they like it. Even if they sometimes tease me about the steamier bits.
I’ve been told by them that they enjoy the adventure, that it’s not all heaving bosoms and pining for unrequited love, so it’s something a person can get into.
TH: Now, my favourite random question! If you were walking down the road, and you saw a younger you writing, what advice would you give yourself?
RCC: That’s a great random question, but my answer might be considered “cheesing out” by others. My personal philosophy is that I wouldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t lived through my experiences. So I wouldn’t give my younger self advice, because then she wouldn’t become me.
But my advice to any writer is to tell your story. Keep writing. Keep doing. In this day and age of internet access and free information, there is no reason to hide your story just because it isn’t popular, or is too similar to something else, or can’t be defined by a genre. You can publish it yourself, you can get people to read it, and you don’t have to compromise your vision to fit current trends.
TH: You started writing at a young age. Could you tell us how many books have you written and which is your favourite?
RCC: Published, there are five novels, one novella, and two collections of short stories. On my blog there is a serial novel that’s basically a rough draft, and a couple hundred short stories. Three or four short stories published in anthologies not quite a decade ago.
And that’s just what’s currently available to readers.
Currently, Nomycha is my favorite. There’s something about that story of star-crossed lovers, and discovering yourself as a person, and learning to balance good and evil within yourself and your actions, that touches me like nothing else I’ve written. I have other characters that are closer to mine and my husband’s personalities, and I love their tales, but Cyryna and her novel are my babies. I worked the longest on polishing the manuscript, hesitated the most on hitting the submit button, and sometimes worry that it’s not as good as I think it is.
TH: You must have a pretty good idea what it takes to make a good story. What do you think makes a good story?
RCC: It’s easy to say a good story should have relatable or interesting characters, and rising action, and real consequences, and a satisfying conclusion, but those are just parts of the craft. To paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow: That’s what a story needs, not what a story is.
A good story really has that element of je ne sais quoi: you’ll know it’s good when you read it, but you can’t define it in tangible words. It has to do with the passion of the storyteller, with how well they translate their vision to the page. I could read two novels with similar plots, characters, and conclusions, and one will just feel like the better story to me because of that touch of passion.
TH: Do you enjoy what you write, meaning, do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
RCC: I think of myself as a storyteller, and that my duty is to share my vision with people. Sometimes it’s just a variation on a common theme, sometimes it’s about subverting expectations. Sometimes it’s just about embracing the darker side of life. I’d like to think I appeal to what readers didn’t know they wanted to read.
I’ve been asked if I would write something more commercially appealing if it meant my big break, and I had to say no. I’ve never been one to follow trends in my own lifestyle, so couldn’t do that with my writing. Yeah, it would be easy to crank out another dystopian YA novel where the good guys win, or yet another bodice-ripper escapist romance novel, but that’s not me.
TH: Do all your books run along the same storyline or are they all unique standalone novels?
RCC: I mean, if you boil any story far enough down, then everything is similar. I think someone similar said there are only seven basic plots in the world, and I can’t exactly argue against that. It’s just how that plot is dressed up that makes each book different.
So, there is a basic plot of Girl-Meets-Boy and they live Happily Ever After in all my novels, but it’s the adventures they have and tribulations they go through that make each novel stand on their own. All of them are walking to the same place, but they each take slightly different paths to get there.
TH: Are there any books that you started to write, but haven’t finished, if so, how many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
RCC: Unpublished, I have a novel that my husband and I are working on together. Maybe a dozen short stories out for submission. Another dozen short stories in various stages of revision, and a serial novel I’m still working on. There are a few plots for more Keila books running around, and a handful of other ideas that just haven’t solidified into something that could actually become a book.
TH: With writing so many romance novels, can you tell us, what’s the worst thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
RCC: Gaw, this is a hard one. I actually can’t think of one, because I enjoy writing about my men, and I enjoy writing short stories from male points of view. The hardest part would probably be trying to write a stereotypical chauvinist, what the vernacular considers toxic masculinity. I’ve always had good men in my life, and that translates to the men in my story, so I can’t put myself in the headspace to create such a character.
But that goes for women, too. Writing someone stereotypically weak or simpering takes more effort than a woman who will defend herself or put her foot down when necessary.
TH: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
RCC: From plot outline to publishing, it’s a couple years. But that was while I was working full time, and had to do all my editing and rewrites in my spare time. If I can come up with a good novel idea, it might be much easier now that I’m a full-time housewife.
TH: When you start to think up a book, do you make up the plot first or the characters?
RCC: 60% character first, 40% plot. The two are really linked for me, especially since there’s magical elements to my works. So, I play with character ideas and what kind of adventures they would have. What would be the stumbling block to them based on their abilities, and who would make a good partner for them, and what kind of antagonist would they be going up against?
TH: You’ve written in the romance genre and the science fiction & fantasy genre. Do you have a preference?
RCC: Fantasy is almost always my preference over sci-fi, even in my reading tastes, but I enjoy telling love stories. I know romance has a bit of a reputation that it’s about sex, and I’ve put some explicit scenes in All Hallows Blood, but I really like to read about two souls meeting and becoming one. So I will probably always write romance with fantastical elements, because that’s where I’m most comfortable.
TH: Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what are the challenges in producing an audiobook?
RCC: I actually am looking to making some audiobooks. I’m not rolling in cash, so I wasn’t going to hire anyone, but do it myself. So I won’t have any idea what challenges come with working with a narrator, but I can tell you what it’s like narrating my own stuff.
Currently, I am posting videostories on my YouTube channel. Me, reading my old flash stories from my blog, while the words are on screen for anyone who wants to read along. And it is a fun project, because it allows me to exercise so many different facets of my creative nature.
Learning how to speak into a mic is probably the hardest thing for me right now. Learning how to give emphasis without spiking the audio levels, how to pace myself, how to make sure I’m enunciating, how to do slightly different voices. But this is an information age, so I can Google lots of tips, and am learning as I go.
Editing the audio itself has been pretty easy. At least so far. Clearing out my breathing, the occasional clicks, trimming down pauses that went on to long, that all takes less and less time. It was always the easiest part.
Once I feel I’ve really mastered audio production, I’m planning to turn Stories With Bite O,.,O into my first audiobook, then Nomycha.
TH: As I can see, you have a lot of published books. Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
RCC: Until recently, I was having to work full-time to do all the things that kept me fed and housed. After an injury at work, my husband was able to position himself so I could stay home and become a housewife. Which means I am now a full-time writer, so long as I’ve gotten my daily chores finished.
It is certainly something I’ve always wanted. Trying to be creative while working sapped my energy, and was painful. Trying to find time for self-promotion while working led to a nervous breakdown, which caused me to put writing on a hold for five or six years. Telling stories is in my soul, but it takes time and freedom. Both of which I have now.
TH: You said you have been writing since you were five. When did you first consider yourself an author?
RCC: I didn’t actually consider myself an author until I signed a contract for All Hallows Blood. I was no longer just writing, I was published, and I felt I could call myself an author.
TH: Can you please tell us about your most recently released book?
RCC: The synopsis reads: When war breaks out between the two lands, Cyryna must leave her training and contemplation to recover a relic of great power. Her magical skills are immediately put to the test in skirmish after skirmish with the undead hordes of Valham. Her heart is put to the test when she meets a man with silver eyes.
Nomycha has been an on-and-off again project for probably ten years. It was inspired by a dream, and went through at least one complete re-write before it got to this stage. I tried to explore elements of destiny, of balance, of how light and dark hate each other for being different. Cyryna explores what it means to be yourself, to stand up for your beliefs, to embrace your inner strength. Maksim is warrior, protector, and proves that love will conquer all.
Plus there’s adventure, action, monsters, magic, and villains.
TH: What is the significance of the title?
RCC: I’ll let Maksim explain it: “Mychas are spirit hounds. They act as guardians of the mystic plane, guiding magic users. Nomychas are the little hounds that watch over dreamers. I’ve dreamt of you my entire life. You are my nomycha. You are the one who guides me.”
It’s his pet name for her throughout the book. It seemed the most appropriate title, even if it’s a made-up world, because there is so much in the tale regarding dreams and the great hounds.
TH: If your book one day made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
RCC: Even though I tend to write my action scenes with a cinematic style, I don’t usually think about who would play my characters in a movie. I don’t even usually have a particular person in mind while I’m writing. But in this book, Orlando Bloom was my inspiration for Maksim’s looks. He’s always my guilty pleasure; I’ve loved him since I first saw him, and always will.
I’m not sure who would be cast, but they’d need to be young and hot.
TH: Where can people buy your books, and what book do you recommend starting with?
RCC: I’m on Amazon http://bit.ly/RavenCorinnCarlukAmazon and Smashwords http://bit.ly/RCCSmashwords I recommend starting with Stories With Bite O,.,O to get a feel for what I like, how I write, and then decide where to go from there.
Or come by my blog for free stories every week. http://bit.ly/Raven-Corinn-Carluk
TH: Finally, is there anything else you want the readers to know?
RCC: Leave reviews about the books you read. It helps the author, especially us indie authors, but you’re really helping your fellow readers. They want to know if their time and money are worth spending on a book, and you could help them make that choice.
RCC: Thanks for having me!
So there have it folks! Raven Corinn Carluk! She’s definately an author to keep an eye out for!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ravencorinncarluk/
Topher Hoffman: Hello and welcome folks to this most exciting interview by the fantastic YA author Caytlyn Brooke!
Recently I posted my book review of her first novel Dark Flowers, and let me tell you, it kept me at the edge of my seat. If you can check out the full review here!
I see that you are the author of two astonishing books. Have read in your profile that you write about the shadier side of fantasy. What inspired you to start writing books in that genre?
Caytlyn Brooke: Thank you! Growing up I was always drawn to the darker aesthetic. Whether it was movies, books, poems, or haunted houses, I wanted it. Fear is a huge motivator and for some reason, people love scaring themselves, it’s like an adrenaline rush. I saw that that fear was underrepresented in YA fiction and wanted to be the one to send the shivers up readers’ spines and make them nervous when they turned off the lights. Fantasy books typically revolve around magic and love, adventure and exploration. I took all of those things and scraped a few layers down. In my writing, I aim to create nightmares. If it scares me or grosses me out, it’s going in the book!
TH: Every author began writing at various stages in their life. When did you start to write?
CB: There is no magic age to begin writing, and that’s what I love about it. I started writing in the 3rd grade. I remember our teacher brought in a specialist for a creative writing assignment and gave us a prompt to craft a story around. I loved every second and wrote triple the amount of my classmates on that horrible yellow paper. The specialist read everyone’s piece, but when she got to mine she paused and I remember her saying, “Wow, these descriptions are incredible. You’re going to be a writer one day.” Bam! I never looked back.
TH: Writing takes a lot of time. Does this have any effect on your family?
CB: Writing doesn’t take a lot of time, it takes all of the time! My family is wonderful and very supportive of me! I have two young kids so I only have time to write during nap time and late at night after they go to sleep. So my husband takes the brunt of the sacrifice. It gets hard, especially when I’m on a deadline to finish a book or wrap up my edits because unfortunately all of our time together is put on hold until I am done, but luckily I have taught myself to type really fast, and my husband never runs out of Cops episodes to watch.
TH: Has your family read your stories? If so, have they gave you any feedback? If they did, what was it?
CB: Yes they have! It took a lot for my mom to read, Dark Flowers because she does not do scary, and the sad parts had her in tears, but she made it through! My husband is always the first one to read my books and offers fantastic constructive criticism. My sister, however, is basically who I write for. Out of all the readers in the world, she is the top person I am trying to impress. I greatly value her opinion, and she gives me honest feedback, even if it’s harsh. Just recently I had her read the first draft of my newest book coming out next year, and she told me it was so horrible she didn’t even finish it. So I completely scrapped the first draft and summoned all the forces of darkness to me and wrote a fresh new take on it. This time she agreed it’s much better, thankfully!
TH: I’ve overheard that authors get into the zone when they start to write? Is that true? If so, what does it take for you to get into your writing mood?
CB: Haha, yes! I love that zone! My husband is still working on respecting that zone! It doesn’t take too much for me to start writing. In my head all day long I am constantly thinking of how my characters and the challenges they face so when I finally sit down to write, everything just pours out of me. I do have to have a large cup of tea beside me though, that is a must!
TH: Being an author, you must read a lot. What type of publications do you read?
CB: Oh yes! Reading is how I relax. YA is my favourite genre, and just as I write, I tend to drift toward fantasy and horror when I read. I’m just starting to get into sci-fi now that that genre is expanding to include a million other things other than aliens, those aren’t my favourite. Some of my favourite authors are Cassandra Clare and the Mortal Instrument Series, Laini Taylor and The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, and my absolute favourite author I just started reading is Leigh Bardugo and The Grisha Trilogy.
TH: Speaking of reading. I know that I will be writing a review on my blog about your book Dark Flowers. Do you check your comments and reviews?
If so, how do you deal with the negative ones?
CB: I sure do, but only every few months when I think about it. It’s so easy to get hung up on negative reviews, whether they are warranted or not. If someone doesn’t like my book, I’m completely okay with that. Not everyone will love everything I do. They sting for sure because in a perfect world, every reader would think my books are amazing, but that’s not realistic, so I just brush them off.
TH: Can you please describe your new book, so the readers have an understanding of what the story is about?
CB: My newest book is a YA sci-fi/contemporary called, Wired. It is set in 2031 and technology has become the new drug whether people are aware of it or not. Maggie is a brand new book agent. She has her dream job, a steady paycheck, and good friends. The book opens on the launch of the brand new technology, the Vertix H2, which is described as revolutionary and it is. Rather than a phone that can only provide a very static, one-way experience, the Vertix completely submerges you in social media through the use of sophisticated virtual reality apps. At first, Maggie is hesitant, however, just like a drug, the first time she connects, she is hooked. Slowly her world begins to spiral out of control as she chooses to spend more time in the virtual world and thereby neglects her reality. Can she kick the social addiction or will it pull her under forever?
TH: Where did you get the idea for the book?
CB: I wrote it when I was waitressing actually. I grew so tired of dealing with diners’ wild children because they were too absorbed with their phones to notice their child scaling the wooden divider separating the tables. Phone addiction is everywhere, from toddlers to grandparents. Every person has a phone glued to their hand at all times. Moms at the park, dads taking their kids out for ice cream, a woman walking her dog, and a grandparent at their granddaughter’s birthday party. I wanted to write a book to shed some light on this cultural phenomenon because no one is talking about it. No one seems to see just how much they are missing and how dangerous phone addiction has become. So hopefully, Wired will help readers open their eyes and reflect on their own social media usage.
TH: Eliza and Millie are two charming little girls. Are they based on anybody that you know? If not, how did you come up with them?
CB: Thank you! The girls are actually based on my sister and I. Growing up we were obsessed with finding fairies in the woods. We would build little houses out of sticks and moss and leave chocolates for them. I took the idea of innocence and twisted it to the fairies’ advantage. Innocence is now a flaw, the reason why the girls’ are tricked by the shallow beauty. Every little girl wants to find fairies, but not every fairytale ends happily.
TH: When you wrote your first book and knew how much hard work was put into writing, how did you feel about continuing your writing career?
CB: I was actually never intimidated by the amount of work writing took. It’s been my dream to be an author since elementary school, and now that I’ve finally put all my words on paper and my dream is happening, I couldn’t be more excited! I have encountered several drawbacks and challenges, but dreams are never easy. If they were they wouldn’t be dreams, right? Now that I have two published books under my belt everything has started to get much easier which is awesome! Both of my books have won multiple literary awards, and I’ve been invited all over the country for speaking opportunities and book signing events which is really cool! I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!
TH: Is there anything in either one of the two books that are parts of you?
CB: There are a lot of little fun details that relate to either my siblings or me actually. For example, in Wired, Maggie laments about having small boobs the size of recess cups. That definitely stems from my own wish. Also in Wired, when Maggie orders pizza, she explains how much she loves the smell of pizza in a box. That’s a fun nod to my sister who can identify that smell on the busy New York streets! Also, in Dark Flowers, Millie mentions how badly she wants a kitten. That was taken from my own desire as a child. I love cats! In every single book I write a cat is included.
TH: Did it trouble you to write about kids and the experiences that they went through in the book?
CB: Oddly enough, no. The horror never bothers me. Watching it on the other hand, my gracious I couldn’t! The hardest part to write about was Eliza’s back story when she was five. I won’t spoil anything, but that was heartbreaking to write.
TH: Dark Flowers is an excellent name for a book. How did you come up with that?
CB: Thank you! I wanted something obviously dark to convey the horror. I settled on flowers because they represent the fairies. Flowers are flowers, innocent, beautiful, enticing, just like the outward appearance of the fairies and the realm. However, as you begin to scrape away the false outer layer, there is true terror beneath. I also like the idea that flowers don’t last forever. Very soon the beauty crumbles and death claims them. I won’t say any more!
TH: What character in your novel was the most entertaining to write?
CB: I really enjoyed writing Eliza from Dark Flowers. She is strong and sassy, not afraid to stand up for what is right. I wish I had had that confidence when I was thirteen. I also love her persistence and her devotion to Millie. I think that’s rare to find in friendships today.
TH: You now have two books. What is your favourite?
CB: Oh this isn’t a fair question! I love the creepy adventure of Dark Flowers, but I think Wired is such a strong piece and is so relevant to the issue of technology addiction many of us are currently facing. Can I say both for different reasons?
TH: What is next on your plate when it comes to writing?
CB: Next I can’t wait to dive into my YA adventure/fantasy trilogy! The first book is called, Among the Hunted and it’s about Blake, an eighteen-year-old guy trying to find himself in the wake of his dad leaving. What he didn’t plan on was meeting Kaitaini, a beautiful wind nymph on the run from a lustful God, who will stop at nothing to have her. I’m very excited for this trilogy because I’ve been working on it for years and it’s different than my other books. There’s epic battles, magic, and even some racier scenes I haven’t been able to really include in my other books yet. So stay tuned, it’s going to be fun!
Follow Caytlyn Brooke on Twitter to keep up to date with upcoming release dates and writing news! @caytlyn_brooke
Check out her books on Amazon and buy yourself a copy Darkflowers or Wired today!
Are you one of those people who think fairies are adorable, tiny, mysterious beings that come and sprinkle their whimsical fairy dust all over the place making everything smell like cotton candy?
“Oh, they are so tiny and so harmless, right?”
Well then, I have some rather unfortunate news for you regarding fairies! They could be possibly the root of all evil! Read More