Interview With Hannah Carmack

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I just finished reading Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack , and I have had the opportunity to interview the author about it!

Who or what inspired your latest novella Take Your Medicine?

Originally, the piece was written as a submission for Nine Star Press’ Once Upon a Rainbow anthology, but the editor liked it so much he suggested we release it as a stand-alone! In terms of content, I think Eve’s Bayou and Grey’s Anatomy both had big impacts on it.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I think I’ve been writing my whole life on my own accord, but what really got me writing consistently was Naruto fanfiction! LOL. From there I honed my craft and started writing my own original stuff.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Overall?! Oh man, this is a fun one. I love most of the cast I’m working with for my next project, but from what’s currently released I think it’s gonna be Da Vinci from Seven-Sided Spy. He’s got such a story to tell and there are so many layers to it.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My bed! I feel incredibly comfortable burritoed in a bunch of blankets.

What is your writing process?

For a manuscript I do intense character development first. I’ve got to know the players on the stage before I can really get a plot going. Then, I do a light outline with the story’s general arc. After that, I go wild and write a first draft. I don’t hold back during this draft. I think the first time around it’s important to be as undisciplined as possible to encourage all the best writing. From there it’s editing, revising, rewriting, ad perfecting.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I learned so much about what was wrong with my work that I’ve really improved tenfold, especially with head-hopping and POV switching. Also, adverbs. I’m still learning to knock off the over-usage, but man it used to be bad.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Scrivner! This thing gives me life! It’s so fun to use and it’s a one-time fee.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

I think the response to Take Your Medicine really made me realize how lucky I am to be where I am in the time that I am. I have found so many other chronically ill writers just from this one project and we’re all able to connect at the swipe of a lock-screen.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

Oh man! THAT’S a big question. Likely The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. At this point I have mentioned this book every time I’m asked questions like this, but I cannot stress how beautiful of a novel it is. I actually have a tattoo based on the cover’s imagery.

Do you have any up-and-coming projects that we should look out for?

Currently I’m working on a project titled Viva La Education! I’m super excited for it. It focuses on a group of queer educators fighting the department of education. I’m not sure on release as it’s still a WIP, but fingers are crossed sometime in the next year or two!

How do you take your coffee?

I don’t! Lol. I used to love getting frappes, but since I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis coffee has been on the no-no list.

Review of Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack

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When I saw the novella Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack on NetGalley I was drawn to it because it was about a girl that has vasovagal syncope. This is something that hits close to home for me because my younger sister suffered from vasovagal syncope. I am also a huge fan of gothic literature and Alice in Wonderland so what is there not to like.

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Alice “Al” Liddell is from Echola, Alabama. She leads the life of a normal teen until the day she’s diagnosed with vasovagal syncope – a fainting disorder which causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly.

Her mother, the “Queen of Hearts,” is the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and a bit of a local hero. Yet, even with all her skill she is unable to cure her daughter of her ailment, leading Al into the world of backwater witchcraft.

Along the way she meets a wacky cast of characters and learns to accept her new normal.

Take Your Medicine is a southern gothic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

This book took me a little while to get into but once I got into it I was hooked. I really liked the relationship between the names of the characters and Alice in Wonderland characters. One of my favorite characters was Rabbit. I could really relate to her. Her being anxious about dancing and socializing was very relatable.

I also like the relationship between Al and Rabbit. It felt really natural. That first love type of relationship. I thought that it was very authentic that Al didn’t know how to react to their first kiss. She was just discovering her attraction. I wish there was more to this book.

 

The only problem that I had with the book was Al and her mother’s relationship. It seemed really smothering. Like Al was not allowed to have a life of her own outside of her life with her mother. It seemed that because Al was sick her mother didn’t want her to do anything other than staying home, study, and mind the garden.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Alice in Wonderland. As well as anyone who likes YA novels.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

You can purchase a copy of Take Your Medicine by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Hearts Like Hers By Melissa Brayden

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Lately, I have been hooked on romance novels. When I saw Hearts Like Hers by Melissa Brayden listed on NetGalley I couldn’t pass it by.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

No one pencils in falling in love.

 

All work and no play has Autumn Primm in the market for a little excitement. Her Venice Beach coffee shop, The Cat’s Pajamas, is her pride and joy. While she doesn’t mind the long hours, she finds herself staring dreamily out the window, imagining the life she’s yet to lead. The time has come to take off the apron and see what the world has in store.

 

Kate Carpenter needs to get away. And quick. A small-town firefighter, Kate’s been crowned a local hero for reasons she can’t quite get behind. An open highway and some time off have her fleeing the scene to sunny California to catch her breath and put some distance between herself and the unwanted acclaim. Dreamy Autumn Primm was never supposed to be part of that bargain. What Kate needs is a temporary escape, emphasis on temporary.

 

I wanted to like the book more than I did. I just couldn’t get into the relationship between Autumn and Kate. I felt like everything in their relationship moved too quickly. The women seemed to fall in love almost instantly.

 

I also had a problem with Autumn’s fertility journey. I was really excited to see someone going to a fertility clinic for insemination. I have been looking for a book that would accurately portray the process that many lesbians go through. While this book tried it did not accurately portray what happens. Everything moved much too quickly.

 

While I did have problems with the relationship and the insemination there were good aspects of the book. I really liked Kates backstory about why she came to Venice Beach. She was my favorite character in the story. I also liked the details about Autumn and her friends. Their backstories made the story stand out.

 

While I wasn’t wowed by the relationship aspect of the book. I would still recommend it to anyone who is interested looking for a lighthearted read.

 

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

You can purchase a copy of  Hearts Like Hers by clicking here.

 

 

Interview with Missouri Vaun

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Who or what inspired your latest novel Love at Cooper’s Creek?

Homesickness. I think for those of us who’ve left the Deep South because of the necessities of career there’s a part of us that always longs for home. The initial idea for this book started with a brief bout of homesickness while overseas, but then, as with all character driven stories, it took on a life of its own.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I think I’ve always written stories. My mom has some hilarious bits of writing from all the way back when I was in second grade. My childhood was spent in rural, sometimes quite remote, areas because my father was a forester. I think I began creating characters and stories for my own entertainment, so I didn’t feel quite so lonely. Not that I had a sad childhood or anything like that, but the easiest way to have friends in a remote place was to create them on paper.

Which of your books was your favorite to write and why?

Wow… that’s a tough question. The last one I finish is always my favorite. But that’s not entirely true… it’s just that the most recent is the newest to be released into the world at large. You feel attached, protective, and basically, you’re still living in that world in your head. The release of a book always, for me, comes with an immediate brief period of sadness… Like leaving friends behind and moving on to a new place, you miss the characters.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Cole from the first novel, “All Things Rise,” might be my favorite. Possibly because she was the first, possibly because there’s a lot of myself in that character. But it’s hard to choose between the rest. I try to create characters that I would fall in love with or want to be best friends with.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a converted shed in my backyard. It’s small, but quiet. My father lined the interior walls with heart pine and we didn’t seal them, so it smells great… literally, like a pine forest. When I’m in that space it’s easy to be transported to another place or time. I also have a great writing studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the back side of my parent’s property. It’s built like an old 1930s era fire tower. But I don’t get to go there as often as my backyard.

What is your writing process?

I describe my writing process as chaos.

I keep one or two notebooks of random thoughts, and about a million scraps of paper in my pocket that I eventually type into a file on my laptop… My novels don’t really take full shape until I’m about thirty percent into the book. Then I go back and rewrite everything before moving forward.

I was in Amsterdam last year and had a pocket full of notes for a story I was developing. I’d forgotten about the notes… along with the cash… and sent my jeans out to be laundered. The laundry staff very kindly returned my soggy cash along with the wet, faded, unreadable remnants of my story notes in a zip lock bag. The moral of that story? Check your pockets… always check your pockets.

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How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I think the best part of working with a publisher for me has been working so closely with one editor. My editor, Cindy Cresap, has taught me so much… It sort of makes me wonder if I even had English composition in college… or if I did, possibly I slept through it.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Converting my backyard tool shed into a writing studio.

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What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

The sweetest thing a reader ever said to me was that reading my work, that my characters, made them feel less alone.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

It’s hard to narrow that down to one book… I could maybe narrow it down to one writer and that would be, James Agee. He literally paints with words. In terms of the first book I discovered that made me fall in love with reading? It was “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” by C.S. Lewis.

How do you take your coffee?

Often. Cream, no sugar.

 

 

 

Review of Love at Cooper’s Creek by Missouri Vaun

Love at Cooper’s Creek by [Vaun, Missouri]

When I saw Love at Cooper’s Creek by Missouri Vaun listed on NetGalley I was intrigued. I have really enjoyed the other books that I have read of hers in the past. This book was no exception.

Here is a short blurb about the book:

Successful but suffocated by the demands of her corporate career, Shaw Daily walks out on it all. She returns to her grandparents’ rural property in Cooper’s Creek, North Carolina, with a plan to hide out and reboot her life to be simple and stress free. But escapism eludes her when her attentions are captured by small town beauty Kate Elkins.

Kate has spent almost her entire life in Cooper’s Creek. For Kate, the bonds of small-town life are a source of strength and comfort. When her aging mother weakens, Kate takes a leave from teaching to care for her. Romance is the last thing on her mind when she bumps into her unrequited teen crush Shaw Dailey just back from California. Long-buried feelings resurface for Kate, but all Shaw sees is a beautiful woman saddled with the responsibilities she is finally free from.

I really enjoyed this book. I also liked how the story was told from both Shaw and Kates point of view. It gave a deeper view into their relationship. I liked how each of the characters had a side story to go along with their relationship. Shaw was on a search to find out about herself and she discovers the truth about her family. Kates Story hit close to home for me because Kates mother had Alzheimer’s and my grandmother also had Alzheimer’s and recently passed away. I really appreciated Kate taking care of her mother. I also enjoyed how Shaw is portrayed as Butch. When she stands up to the redneck boys I was on the edge of my seat. This book has some of the best sex scenes that I have ever read.

I would recommend this book for anyone who loves a sweet romance and steamy sex scenes. Also, if you like strong butch women this is a great book for you.

A big thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review Love at Cooper’s Creek.

You can purchase a copy of Love at Cooper’s Creek by clicking here.

 

 

Interview with Clare Lydon

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I just finished reading Twice in a Lifetime  by Clare Lydon , and I have had the opportunity to interview the author about it!

 Who or what inspired you to start writing?

The first lesbian series I ever read was Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For. It was so brilliantly written, and I always wanted to emulate her but purely in words – I’m no graphic artist! I then read Georgia Beers’ books and realized there was a whole world of lesbian romance out there – but most of it American. So I thought I’d write lesbian romances set in the UK to balance things up!

Which of your books was your favorite to write?

It’s normally the last one I’ve written, so I’d have to say Twice In A Lifetime. Writing that book also reminds me of the fabulous time I had in Chicago last year where the idea for the book was born, so it still makes me smile. I also have a soft spot for Nothing To Lose, because that was based on a true story and reading some of the accounts of the flooding that occurred and the community spirit that came out of it was humbling. I put my heart and soul into that book and readers seem to love it.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

I love Jess from London Calling because she was my original heroine, and it’s been great to see her grow up in the following London books. I’m just finishing book four in the series – The London Of Us – and there will be another following that, too.

Where is your favorite place to write?

It always used to be my office, but about nine months ago, our neighbor decided to excavate their basement and it meant our house was shaking every day for about six weeks. It made me feel sick, so I started writing in a coffee shop down the road from me – and now I can’t write anywhere else! The good thing is the coffee shop is a 25-minute walk along the river, so it gets my steps up, too. It’s a win-win!

What is your writing process?

I wrote my first three books – London Calling, This London Love and The Long Weekend – by the seat of my pants. I had no idea what the story was, I just wrote. However, since All I Want For Christmas, I have become a plotter. I work out the theme of the book, I work out story and character arcs, and then I plot scene by scene, so that when I sit down to write, I know exactly what I am going to do. This has super-charged my writing speed! Once I have the story done, it goes through a story editor and a copy editor, as well as early readers to check everything works and makes sense.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I learned a lot doing it the first time, and my second book took half the time it took to write book one. For my third book, I wrote it in five months, and now my process from day one to publishing is around four months. This year, I’d like to speed that up a little more!

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Scrivener is an invaluable writing software and only costs about £40. It’s definitely the best money I ever spent. I also love buying nice pens. I don’t write stories with them, but I love looking at them while I type – they’re inspiring!

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

I heard from one reader that my books helped a suicidal teen realizes she wasn’t alone and after reading it, her mum read it too and it brought the family together. She’s now got a girlfriend and has gone to her first pride. That brought a tear to my eye. I also recently had a mail from a man whose daughter came out, and he wanted to read some lesbian fiction to know lesbians could have happy endings too – and he’s now a fan of mine. I also love hearing from readers just telling me that my books have cheered them up or touched their week – it’s why I write!

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

I loved Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – what a first book that was. But while I admire Jeanette Winterson’s writing, it’s authors like Judy Blume and JoJo Moyes I want to emulate. I loved Judy Blume’s recent In The Unlikely Event, and JoJo Moyes’ The Last Letter To My Lover was spell-binding. And if you haven’t read And Playing The Role Of Myself by KE Lane, it’s one of the best lesfic novels ever written.

How do you take your coffee?

Nuclear strength, splash of milk.

Review of Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon

Twice In A Lifetime

When one of my favorite authors contacted me to read her latest work I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon is a wonderful story of a second chance romance.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

When her first love walks back into her life, Harriet Locke is thrown – because Sally McCall still looks as gorgeous as ever. The trouble is, Sally doesn’t trust Harriet, and with good reason: she hasn’t forgotten the past.

Sally loved her once, but 17 years later, is that still the case? And if it is, there’s just the small matter of living in different states, as well as convincing Sally she’s worth taking a chance on again.

Will Harriet and Sally be lucky enough to find love twice in a lifetime?

From the best-selling author of London Calling and Nothing To Lose comes a witty & wondrous story of second-chance romance!

 

As always Clare Lydon delivers. Twice in a Lifetime is a cute lighthearted read.  I really enjoy how chance brings these two lovers back together. I thought that the characters were beautifully written. My favorite character was Sally. She was so relatable. I feel like everyone has been he here shoes before. Not knowing what choice to make because they don’t want to be hurt again. I was also a huge fan of Aunt Paula. She seemed like that crazy Aunt that everyone has. You can’t help but love her because she is so off the wall. The sex scenes in this book are a knockout. Clare really has a talent for creating some of the steamiest sex scenes in her books.

 

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a second chance romance. Also to anyone who loves steamy sex scenes.

 

I would like to thank Clare Lydon for allowing me to review this book.

You can purchase a copy of Twice in a Lifetime by clicking here.