Monday, 28 December 2015

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Barbara Winkes

1. Tell me about your book Indiscretions and where you got your inspiration for it?

My wife and I were watching the show House Hunters. A couple was visiting a house with a pretty creepy basement, and there I had the serial killer’s lair. The main characters and their dilemma came to me pretty soon after that. People judge, and they particularly like to judge women. Ellie and Jordan are far from perfect, and like everyone, they make mistakes. The killer’s point of view will show that there’s definitely a way to take morals and ideology too far.

2. Who is your role model and why?

In writing, especially when it comes to good, fast-paced thrillers, I look up to Tess Gerritsen and James Patterson who have built long-standing careers, defined their genre but dared to step out of it as well. I love both the Women’s Murder Club and the Rizzoli & Isles series. There are of course other series out there with female investigators, but I prefer when there’s more than one female main character, and they are able to work together and be friends. Oh, and Shonda Rhimes is a hero. She is absolutely fearless. I admire that.

3. Are the titles of your books important?

Yes. The feel of the title needs to fit that of the book, and it has to give the reader a first impression together with cover and blurb.

4.  Are there any occupational hazards of being a novelist?

Sitting on your behind for too long at a time? Seriously, it’s a challenge to keep yourself moving, especially when you have great writing days. Other hazards can arise from the fact that you’re in your head with fictional people most of the time. I guess there’s a reason why I don’t drive…

5. How much of your book is realistic?

Women get judged for their choices in relationships and sexual preferences? Very realistic.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

You can’t please everyone all the time. This book has some controversial issues, which I knew when I first came up with the idea. Some readers like to read for escapism, to be touched or moved. I like those moments in a book when you bite your nails or want to shake a character because you just now they are making a mistake, or, at the very least, a questionable decision. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but here’s the book anyway.

7. What is your favourite character from your book and why? 

I love my main pairing, but I might have to go with Bethany. I enjoy writing the characters that bring conflict to the plot and the main characters, and she certainly does that a lot.

8. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

No particular subject comes to mind, but if I felt I couldn’t do something justice no matter how well I research it, I would ditch that idea.

9. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My parents read to me a lot. Words and stories always were powerful to me, so I couldn’t wait to be able to read and write myself. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t make up stories in my head.

10. Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

Full-time. This gives me the great opportunity and challenge to divide my time as I see fit. I try to do an average of 2K a day, often more, writing on the weekend is optional. At the moment, I have five more releases with Eternal Press waiting in the wings. I just published Familiar Places, which is a follow-up to my romantic suspense short Halfway Home, and Indiscretions—so now is a time to focus more on the marketing side.

11. What do you like to read in your free time?

Some of the same genres that I write—romance, suspense—and non-fiction, for research or simply out of interest. Feminist theory, psychology, politics, etc.

12. What are you ambitions for your writing career?

Be better with every book, reach more people, build a varied and interesting backlist.

13. If I came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for me?

Probaby pasta, with a good glass of wine. If you’re lucky, my wife would do the cooking. She’s so much better at it!

14. Where would your dream vacation be?

The Caribbean, San Francisco, Tuscany. I hope to cross all of them off the list someday.

15. What would be the most gratifying thing a fan could do in your opinion?

Recently, a reader said that my debut novel was the first lesbian book she read (and she loved it), naming it in one sentence with some of the classics…That was a great moment. I think for us writers, it doesn’t get better than hearing from readers who say that the stories we made up have meaning for them.

16. What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?

Who Do You Think You Are with America Ferrera. Then again, we both tear up easily, so it can happen on any given day. All the time with The Fosters or Shonda Rhimes shows.


After surviving an attack by a stranger, rookie officer Ellie Harding decides to put herself first and make bold moves in both her career and her private life, refusing to let the traumatic incident get her off track.

Detective Jordan Carpenter faces the decision whether to remain in a disastrous, but long-term relationship or give in to the attraction she feels for her younger colleague. Her partner Bethany isn’t willing to let go, of Jordan or the case, a sadistic killer who murders women for behavior he considers immoral. Can they find him before he strikes again?


About Barbara

A psychologist/trauma counselor by training, Barbara Winkes left her native Germany to live with her wife in Qu├ębec City. Telling stories has always been her passion. She loves to write suspense and romance with female protagonists who try to solve the puzzle of their love life, a murder case, or sometimes, both.


Monday, 21 December 2015

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

... Juliet Waldron

1. Tell me about your book The Master Passion and where you got your inspiration for it?

First, thanks, Sonnet, for the opportunity to appear on your blog! It was different—in a good way—to have a selection of questions from which to choose.

The Master Passion~Love & Liberty, is the first part of a two-part series about Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Betsy Schuyler. It was completed well over a decade ago. Hamilton came into my life early—I’m close to 72 now—and we “became friends” when I was ten. My mother loved history and encouraged me to read novels and biographies of famous people at a tender age. One day, we were visiting a favourite place, a musty, dark used book store. While Mom greeted the owner, I started looking at the historical novels, some from Edwardian times. Pulling one out at random, I opened it and there was the famous Trumbull painting of Hamilton, gazing out, past me. He appeared young, triumphant, simply overflowing with energy. My mother saw what I was looking at, and explained that this was the same man who appears on the $10 bill. This amazed me, because I knew about Founding Fathers—George Washington in particular, for we share a birthday.

Weren’t these guys all old and dignified? This one, to the contrary, had the look of a hero. And so, I learned, he was, one of those creative geniuses America was fortunate to have on hand when our nation was formed. Well, I read the book, a novel written in 1902 by a then famous lady novelist, and became a fan who went on to read proper biographies on the subject. Mother, who had an adventurous streak, took us—on a shoestring in the 1950’s--to visit Nevis in the West Indies where Hamilton was born. I was always falling in love with historical characters during childhood, and the weird prediliction never really went away. There have been other famous “dead white men” from other eras (Mozart, Richard III) in my life, but Hamilton has been around the longest.

2. What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?

In the first place, I have to get a bee in my bonnet about someone, as my inspiration is character driven. As I write historical novels, based upon people who were once among the living, I like to have a kind of template, in the form of a life story, to work with. Famous men are the hook, you might say, upon which I hang my ideas, although I usually end up writing my books through a woman’s eyes, often the significant other. That’s where the research comes in, because period influences not only technology—food, housing, clothes, medicine—but also mind-set. For instance, a person of “medieval” times is 250-500 years distant from someone living during the Age of Enlightenment. You must acquire at least a sense of how people thought—their world view--in order to create characters plausibly resident in that particular long-ago world.

3. Are the titles of your books important?

Yes, and I agonize over them. I sometimes feel they are the hardest part of writing a book. How do you sum it all up in a word—or three? Often, I do the obvious: the name of the main character, such as “Genesee,” whose mixed race heroine was born in the Genesee Valley of New York in an Iroquois village, or “Roan Rose” a girl whose over-whelming red freckles gave her an obvious nick-name. “Nightingale” is a common 18th Century term for an opera singer, and in that story, it is the heroine’s occupation. “My Mozart” is the first person narrative of a young fan, whose obsession pushes her to the edge of madness. “The Master Passion” is actually a quote from the didactic 18th Century poet, Alexander Pope, whose works were as familiar to educated people in those days as Shakespeare or the Bible.

4. Are there any occupational hazards of bring a novelist?

Yes, several. First, too much time hunched over books taking notes or in front of a computer--bad for the eyes and, cumulatively, bad for the back. Not to mention the fact that a writer can be a resounding bore. I know I have given everyone around me an entire series of highly opinionated history lessons they may not have been particularly eager to hear. When I wrote the Mozart books, I almost drove my husband over the brink with the composer’s greatest hits.

5. What is your favourite character from your book, The Master Passion, and why?

Dearly as I loved Alexander Hamilton, I grew, over time, far closer to his wife. As always, ‘anonymous was a woman’, so I had to discover her character inferentially. Betsy Schuyler Hamilton was truly an amazing woman, one of great strength of character as well as the kind who loved her husband to the grave and beyond. She lived another fifty years after Hamilton was killed in that famous duel with Aaron Burr. In her eighties, she travelled by flatboat and coach all the way to Indiana—still wild country—to see one of her less-domesticated boys, who was then the boss of a frontier mining town. Although she was left with few resources after her husband died, she was known for her generosity to the poor who came to her door, and for her charity work on behalf of widows and orphans, both in NYC and in Washington, D.C.

6. If a two year old hands you a toy phone, do you answer it?

Yes, most certainly! That’s the imagination inherent in all of us just beginning to express itself, the beginning of imaginary friends. As my own life has been full of these—in my case, phantoms from the past—I’m ready to get down on the floor beside them and talk to whoever they say is on the end of the line.

7. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

Both my parents were big readers and both encouraged me in so many ways. Both of them brought small libraries of their own childhood books. They not only shared these with me, but talked with me about what I thought after I’d read them. My Grandfather Liddle was a professor of English and he and his wife too, bought me books and read to me. As my love of history developed, the family encouraged that, too. I grew up in a world filled with crammed bookcases, and I was allowed to lie behind the couch—if that was my pleasure—and read.

8. Where would your dream vacation be?

I’d love spend some time in the West Indies again. I went to high school in Barbados, but I’ve never been back to see what it’s like now—although it’s probably so built up I’d not recognize it. I’d also like to go to Nevis again, to walk on those brown sand beaches and watch the clouds gather round the sleeping peak of the volcano in the afternoon.

9. What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever warn?

I had a terrific pair of genuine leather chaps—they’d been Mom’s—and combined with a black shirt and the cowboy hat, boots and six-guns that all lucky kids in the 1950’s had—I added a skeleton mask and then called myself the “Ghost Rider,” which was a popular song my parents often played. I don’t know if anyone else really got it, but I felt spectacularly spooky.

10. If you could dis-invent one thing what would it be? 

Maybe not the cell phone so much, but some of the apps people are now constantly distracted by which are part of today’s package. I know a cell phone is useful, but once people began to drive while talking on them, and then, as internet connections were made, to spend so much time staring into them, they’ve become a positive danger. As a cyclist—and I’ve biked the roads for 50 years—I’m always wondering if the car hurtling along behind me has a texting driver at the wheel. Then, in coffee shops or while walking in parks or wherever, I’ll see mothers talking, texting or playing games, while their children, isolated in carriages or walking beside them, are ignored. This lack of real contact between people isn’t going to be a good thing in the long run.


THE MASTER PASSION is the story of the marriage of our brilliant first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, and his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler. It begins with a whirlwind Revolutionary War courtship at Washington’s headquarters. Conflict, however, is built into this marriage.

“...And hence one Master Passion in the breast

Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up all the rest..."

Betsy's passion is Alexander. Hamilton adores his wife and children, but sometimes he loves America more.


About Juliet

Juliet Waldron has lived in many US states, in the UK and the West Indies. She earned a B. A. in English, but has worked at jobs ranging from artist’s model to brokerage. Thirty years ago, after her sons left home, she dropped out of 9-5 and began to write, hoping to create a genuine time travel experience for her readers. She’s a grandmother, a cat person, and a dedicated student of history and archeology.