Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Meet A Writer Presents...

... D. E. Stockman

1. Tell me about your book, The Ship's Carpenter, and where you got your inspiration for it?

The Ship's Carpenter came about from the research I did on a French frigate warship from the mid-1700s named la Renommée. For over a decade I searched through historical documents and books and uncovered a wealth of information on the ship. When I began to dig deeper into the lives of the commanders of the ship, I soon discovered remarkable connections between the officers. The more I read, the more I felt their little known histories should be told.

The story I wrote centers on Abraham Robinson, my fictional main character, who is simply trying to get along in life as a shipwright. When he is forced to leave England to find a job, he sails to Brest, France and gets a position at their naval shipyard. There he meets Yvette and a romance blossoms but soon fades as her old lover, René, intercedes. Abraham then loses his position when the war (War of Austrian Succession) begins and he leaves France to return to England. After a night of heavy drinking, he awakes to realize he has been pressed into the Royal Navy as a ship's carptenter. From that point on, his life is challenged by the whims of captains, his lover, fate, and war as he survives sea battles, captures, escapes, and prison.

2. Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so what was it?

Most nautical tales concentrate on the swashbuckling fortitude of their main character against an evil, heartless villain. In reading the biographies of the sailors who sailed the frigate, however, I quickly realized that I couldn't describe the English or French captains as entirely either benevolent or dastardly. They were a combination of many moral and ethical credos. In my book all the characters have flaws and strengths and become the protagonist or an antagonist at some point in the story. It's more of a slice of real life than the typical tall ship novel.

3. Have you ever danced in the rain?

I did. Once as a teenager, I felt the glory of spring and danced across the street oblivious to all. A friend of mine had just turned the corner and caught me. "Were you dancing just now?!" he laughed. "Oh, no, no, I slipped," I answered. He knew I lied but he never menioned it to anyone or me again. Ah, if we could only do the things to express our real emotions without worrying about social criticism.

4. Which do you use more often, dictionary or thesaurus?

Most definately I use the thesaurus more. WordHippo is a godsend. Creating clever ways of saying the same things over again is a challenge and the thesaurus either gives me the exact word I wish to use or kick-starts my mind into a new channel of thought that will get me to the word.

5. Mountains or the beach?

Mountains give me the "here's nature" feeling because I can see interesting things all around and few humans. The beach is too desolate for me with everything hidden under the water and just other people to look at. The mountains remind me of hiking and exploring, the beach reminds me of pina colatas and naps. Both are great fun, but I prefer the former.

6. What do you think Victoria’s secret is?

A place my wife used to get free panties at or the queen's hidden Scottish lover.

7. You’ve just been kidnapped and the people from the last TV Show/Movie you watched have to save you. Who is it?

I don't think Seth Myers would lift a finger to save me. So, I hope I'm watching Magnum, P.I. or FBI just before it happens.

8. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

I've been lucky enough to have seen places in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. But I have yet to travel to Asia. Being a Tai Chi enthusiast for decades, I'd love to visit China and compare the forms and see the historical sites.

9. If you could live in a book, TV show or Movie, what would it be?

Doctor Who, not because of the aliens he runs into, but because I'd have unlimited access to any place at any time. I couldn't get bored with that.

10. What motivates you to succeed as a writer?

The greatest feeling that I ever got being a writer was when the first non-family person who read my work said it was good and he enjoyed it. More than anything, what motivates me is entertaining the readers.

11. Do you think the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

The cover is the first and most important part of capturing a potential reader's attention. The title font, design, graphics, and even overall color hues must indicate the feeling of the book at a glance. As they say, "A picture is worth..." and in marketing a book, it is so important.

12. What part of your writing time do you dedicate to marketing your book?

I use about 25% of my time in marketing a book. By far, it is more challenging than writing the story. With the advent of self-publishing, a flood of books has become available to purchase on Amazon. Millions of poorly written books keep the well-written and vetted titles from receiving the attention they deserve. In addition, traditional publishers, the former gatekeepers of book sales, have been in a decline. Readers have a hard time finding the gems amidst the rubble of 8 million book titles on Amazon. How many potential Hemingways are buried in the slush piles on literary agents' and publishers' desks I hate to imagine.

13. Have you written any other books that are not published? Do you intend to publish them?

I just finished my second book in the Tween Sea & Shore Series and will be shipping it off to the publisher for review within the month. That is, of course, unless my beta readers or editor pulls it back for more rewriting. It continues the struggles of Abraham and Yvette and recounts the naval actions of both new historical characters aboard the frigate la Renommée/Renown and those from the first book.

14. Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

This book has a large number of characters that need corralled into their overlapping time periods. Once I created a basic outline for the story, I allowed each character to push the story to the conclusion by entwining with the other characters.

15. What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

A number of reviewers have mentioned that the story does not really fit any particular genre. Two even mentioned it could fit in the category of YA. I have to agree. As I mentioned, the book spans multiple aspects of the characters' lives, from their seafaring experiences and romance to action and adventure. It was difficult to pigeonhole the story, although I finally settled on historical nautical as the most general, overall genre. Covering both their naval lives and civilian lives prompted me to name the series Tween Sea & Shore.

Caught between Great Britain and France in the mid 1700s, Abraham struggles to pursue his passion for shipbuilding. Kings and captains interrupt his quest for a peaceful life as he encounters and overcomes barriers in two opposed and stratified cultures. From the streets of old London to the Citadel of Louisbourg and lands between, sea-faring battle action and love’s complexities entwine to create a dramatic story centered on the carpenter and his love, Yvette. The fastest frigate on the seas links a host of historical characters, with warriors, nobles, shopkeepers, and lovers crossing paths in the wake of la Renommée. 

About D.E. Stockman

David Stockman grew up roaming the woods and fields in Ohio. His fossil hunting, scouting, pet reptiles, and reading provided direction for a lifelong interest in history and science. As an adult, travel enabled him to explore the relics of ancient empires and modern cities adding more historical perspectives to his life. He and his wife Valerie currently live near Chicago, with family scattered around the Midwest.

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Sunday, 15 November 2020

Meet A Writer Presents...

...Audrey Lewis

1. Tell me about your book, Everybody has a story...these are ours, and where you got your inspiration for it? 

Everybody has a story…these are ours is a collection of short stories that focus mostly on women at different stages of life, motherhood, adult siblings, daughters, seniors, not necessarily from an easy fun, feel good perspective but rather challenges, emotions that might exist in relationships and experiences. Outcomes that might not always be what one might think or that we might all wish for. They are stories that I hope will open dialogue when readers ask themselves “what if?”. I am not so sure that I can say I was inspired as much as I watched those around me, I played back my own emotions, I imagined what if it was me, how would I feel and I wrote.

2. Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so what was it? 

I definitely learned that taking risks and not following rules has its downside. I was not aware of all the work that would be needed to market and sell, really of how hard it would be for me to put myself out there and promote me, still working on that. I think that is the most difficult part for me, believing in myself enough. I think as I write more and read more, listen more to readers I am growing as a writer and perhaps that will help with my self confidence.

3. What are the top three books in you TBR pile? 

1)A girl is a half formed thing - Eimear McBride
2)The heart is a shifting sea - Elizabeth Flock
3)House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski

4. Have you ever danced in the rain? 

This question made me laugh, I was wondering who hasn’t danced in the rain.

5. Mountains or the beach? 

Such a hard question, I suppose it would be both, Big Bear Mountain Lake area can most definitely meet that need.

6. What feels like love to you? 

My children, my son and daughter definitely are what love feels like.

7. If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?

I thought about this question and first thought it I’d like to go back in time because I wouldn’t want to go the future I might miss something along the way. But the truth is I wouldn’t want to time travel, today is who I am and what I know without my yesterdays who knows what might be different, I’m up for whatever struggles and roadblocks I might encounter right where I am.

8. What motivates you to succeed as a writer?

I have so many stories in my head that need to get out. And in some way I suppose it is the need to say to my family and friends, I can!

9. What makes you cry? 

I hate when people forget how to be kind. And when my children are hurt or sick. Both of these things make me cry.

10. If you could have an answer to any question, what would that question be? 

 Is this all there is?

11. Do you think the cover plays an important part in the buying process? 

I didn’t use to think that the cover was so important until I realized it was. I think it plays a huge role in readers choosing.

12. Do you think giving away books for free works and why? 

 I think it is helpful for new authors in getting reviews and that perhaps that free book will be shared and recommended.

13. Have you written any other books that are not published? Do you intend to publish them? 

 I just recently finished my first low fantasy novel and have three more novels that I have started. I go back and forth between them depending on my mood, since they are all different genres. What has your experience been like as a new Indie Author? Bruises, Highlights, and lessons? It has definitely had its highs and lows. It is an amazing feeling when a total stranger reads your words and finds them engaging and reading worthy. Yet my heart becomes a weight when attending signings and no one shows. I have learned that one cannot allow their emotions to get in their way and how important it is to be able to self promote.


Family relationships. Friendships. Finding our Place. This collection is a series of narratives exploring events, experiences and memories. Each short work, while unique, brings the reader in touch with the inner monologue of the characters bringing their reality to life. Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Daughter, Son, Wife, and Husband – this book pulls together seven independent stories into a compelling, and thought-provoking anthology. While the focus is on the women – the men in these stories provide an interesting counterpoint. Readers meet: Lexi’s mom, as she struggles to understand her daughter; Abigail, now grown, remembering her nanny Chamele and the life lessons she shared; a sister trying to forge an adult relationship with a once-adored older sibling; a woman finding beauty in a place others have forgotten; another woman finding a true understanding of what holds meaning to her; Claire, the empty-nester and her “girls night out” group with an unusual twist, and Megan – lost but not forgotten. But don’t judge a book by its cover, in each story nothing is exactly as it seems.

About Audrey

Audrey Lewis enjoys spending her free time with her family, working on creative projects such as furniture restoration, finding vintage treasures or a good game of scrabble. Nature tends to dictate some of her interests. She always enjoy connecting with nature in a variety of ways, beekeeping, growing vegetables in her garden, and capturing the world through a lens. When the day finally winds down, she enjoys turning on her laptop and getting down to work. Writing has provided her an additional creative outlet which she now is able to further explore after 25 years of running an International non-for-profit. Now as a published author she is able to finally give her writing the attention it has been longing.