Interview with Kent Lester, author of The Seventh Sun

We’re so excited to bring you an interview with Kent Lester, author of the epic thriller The Seventh Sun! A big thanks to Kent and Forge Books!


The Seventh Sun by Kent Lester

A stunning debut novel about corrupt government agencies and terrifying conspiracies using the latest developments in science, technology, and oceanography

In a breathtaking debut drawing on complex science and recently discovered deep-sea biology, Kent Lester has married fast-paced narrative and cutting-edge, reality-based science to produce an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

A seemingly random murder off the Honduran coast leads scientist Dan Clifford to a massive corporate conspiracy. Illegal, automated, undersea operations have unwittingly awakened a primordial organism that turns host organisms into neurotoxin factories, wreaking havoc with aquatic life and the nearby human population. This maleficence threatens to trigger a worldwide outbreak that could end in human extinction, the Seventh Sun of ancient myth.

When the CDC and the full resources of the U.S. biological threats team fail to uncover the source of the devastation, Dan and a brilliant marine biologist, Rachel Sullivan, must plumb the deeps and face an unimaginable, ancient horror in the murky depths. It’s up to them to stop this terror before a determined multi-national corporation unleashes death on an unsuspecting world.

Published April 18th 2017 by Forge Books


What inspired you to write The Seventh Sun?
Kent: I went on a scuba diving vacation to the island of Guanaja, Honduras many years ago. It was one of my favorite trips and I found the island to be an idyllic paradise. The local Payan Indians and the people at the scuba resort were extremely friendly. At the time, there were no roads on the island. Everyone traveled about on boats. The main settlement, Bonacca Town, was literally built on stilts over the water. It felt like the Caribbean version of Venice. Life was simple, fun, and beautiful, and I loved it. I vowed to return there in the future for more scuba adventure.

Then tragedy struck. In the late nineties, Hurricane Mitch traveled directly over Guanaja and sat there for three days. The entire island was destroyed. Every single tree and bush was denuded. I was devastated, thinking about all the friends I had made on the island and what their lives must be like after the hurricane. This got me thinking about the nature of tragedy, and how it always seems to be so unanticipated. This led me to read about Black Swan Events, those sudden surprising developments that come out of nowhere to turn our lives upside down.

Then I realized that all our modern tragedies were black swans — 9/11, the Asian tsunami, the Great Recession, Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, the Chilean earthquake, the Ebola outbreak, Fukushima – they all seemed to catch the experts by surprise because we, as a society, are totally unprepared for the unimaginable. Can we prepare better? Imagine the unimaginable, ahead of time? Can we predict our demise before it’s too late?

That seemed like a great theme for a thriller, and the idea for The Seventh Sun was born.

Government agencies and conspiracies play a big part in The Seventh Sun. Do you have any favorite conspiracies?
LOL. I’m not sure I’d call them my “favorite” conspiracies! That’s sort of like asking “what’s your favorite way to die?” That said, I believe that there are real conspiracies in the world, but not in the way we imagine them in fiction. A lot of conspiracies happen because a bunch of people share similar goals and behavior, so they act alike in similar situations. Their shared tendencies creates the illusion of conspiracy. But the result of the illusion is no different from the reality.

During the Super Bowl, toilets flush around the world when commercials are aired. Is this a willing conspiracy? No, but the effect is the same. Millions of people are programmed to behave in similar ways, so you get “collusion by action” even though nobody sat down and decided to conspire.

I think we see that a lot in the corporate world. Everyone’s out for profit and power, so several entities can behave as if there’s a conspiracy, even though the participants are unaware of each other’s actions. That is a key component of The Seventh Sun: that conspiracies can emerge naturally without one’s express knowledge.

What was the hardest part of writing The Seventh Sun?
Wow! It was all tough. But if I had to focus on one thing, I’d say taking a complex subject and theme, and making it compelling and exciting. Early on, I probably focused too much on the scientific enlightenment I was experiencing while researching the story. But my wife, Penny, kept me centered, thankfully. She kept asking me, “are you writing a textbook, or a novel?” I soon realized that the REAL story was about how the characters coped with the unknown, how we all try to make sense of the nonsensical. So the real journey of the story focuses on Dan Clifford and Rachel Sullivan, two characters who have suffered through their own black swan events. They use their prior experience to deal with the world-shattering events that take place in the story. From that point on, the story became far more gripping, since the readers could experience events through eyes of the main characters.

What makes Dan Clifford such a special character?
I think Dan Clifford is an ordinary guy who gets thrust into an extraordinary circumstance and has to rise to the occasion. We can see Dan growing as a person and as a hero throughout the progression of events. Dan is a prediction scientist. Because of his own childhood tragedy, he desires to predict and prevent black swan events before they happen. I think he begins to realize that you can’t reliably predict the future. It’s what you do when faced with the unimaginable, that defines one’s character and heroism.

What was the hardest scene to write in The Seventh Sun?
The romantic scenes for sure! I tell people that my romantic scenes improved immensely when I shortened them to one paragraph or less. J Actually they’re a bit longer than that, but romantic scenes are just as awkward to write as they are to experience in real life. Love scenes make geeks of us all. But as the reader will discover, there’s a huge secret in Rachel Sullivan’s life that makes the romance between Dan and Rachel poignant and gut-wrenching.

Having a background in biology and oceanography, did the science in The Seventh Sun come naturally to you?
That was probably the easiest part for me. I love to increase my knowledge of how the world really works, and there’s a lot of profound stuff that is revealed in this story about the nature of life, something I hope readers will enjoy.

What can readers expect when they pick up The Seventh Sun?
They should expect a rip-roaring adventure with a lot of technology, action, scuba diving, ocean life, conspiracies, biology, cool technology, and some compelling romance. It’s a good “beach read.” But if readers stop there, they’ll miss most of the hidden messages lurking under the surface like an iceberg. I love stories that surprise and enlighten, as well as entertain. For the diligent reader there is a lot of hidden information, and I’m proud of the ending especially, because it catches the reader off guard, just like any good black swan should.

What do you hope readers take away from The Seventh Sun?
That the “truth” of life is fascinating, surprising, and takes mental insight to understand. We have to exercise our minds and hearts if we really want to decipher how the universe really works.

If you could describe The Seventh Sun in one word, what would it be?
Can I cheat with a hyphen? “thought-provoking”

Kent LesterAbout Kent Lester

Author of the upcoming thriller, The Seventh Sun, to be published by Macmillan-Forge on April 18, 2017.

Current non-fiction author of The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home, 5th edition, with over 350,000 copies in print.


Interview with The Rising Authors, Heather Graham & Jon Land

We’re so excited to bring you an interview with New York Times and USA Today bestselling author,  Heather Graham and USA Today bestselling author of thirty-eight novels, Jon Land.

Their new sci-fi thriller, The Risng, was just released January 17th and I was honored to ask Heather and Jon a few questions about The Rising.


What inspired you to write The Rising?

JON:  Tor Books had partnered with NASA on a series of science-themed books aimed at educating kids on what NASA is all about and stimulate their interest in science.  Since we’d wanted to work together on something for a while, this seemed like the absolute perfect fit.

HEATHER:  Ah, well, that is easy! Bob Gleason, our editor at Tor, managed to set up these great trips to the Goddard Space Center for us. Amazing! I don’t think I would’ve had any interest in writing a book like The Rising if I hadn’t been so inspired by meeting and listening to the scientists down there.

JON:  I actually couldn’t make those trips and feel I really missed out on something.  Then we decided to set the book out West, closer to NASA’s Ames Center for Astrobiology, and both of us can’t wait to get out there someday.

What did you enjoy most about collaborating with another writer?

JON:  A fresh perspective that made me realize, in this case anyway, two heads really are better than one! Here’s an example:  Being a hardcore thriller writer, I had originally proposed that Samantha, who loves science and dreams of working at NASA, has parents who are vehemently anti-science.  So to pursue her dream she has to sneak around and keep things from them.  Fine for a hardcore thriller but Heather suggested a lighter touch by making Sam’s parents marijuana farmers who grow weed for dispensaries.  And I can’t tell you how better that worked and more effective that was than my idea.

HEATHER: Learing how to let go and trust Jon when it sometimes came down to final checks and proofs. He’s actually way better than I am most of the time! Because we are usually working alone, we expect that we’ll always have a last look. Sometimes, it was super nice to think, wow, I don’t have to worry—I know that Jon has that, my back, our backs!

What was the hardest part of the collaboration?

JON:  Okay, confession time: I haven’t read a whole lot of sci-fi, though I have read some Bradbury and Heinlein.  So I can’t honestly say those giants necessarily affected us as much as, say, the influence of David Morrell, Robert Ludlum, and Clive Cussler is all over my thrillers.  It’s a great question and you picked two names, Bradbury and Heinlein again, were writing great stories that happened to be sci-fi. And they were also expert at using their work as metaphors for a lot of societal issues of their time in a comparable sense to someone like, say, Jack Finney in his classic Invasions of the Body Snatchers.  Science fiction proved a great way to explore the themes that Heather and I wanted to.

HEATHER: There are often fine lines between horror, thriller, sci-fi, and much more. I spent my life as a huge fan of Richard Matheson and his work covered everything from straight drama to horror to sci-fi—a major example, of that, of course, being “I am Legend.” Also, Asimov—I was terrified as a child by the first story of his I read in a Reader’s Digest Treasure for Young Readers book! LOL. Really—did mummies come from alien technology? In all of these stories, though, the constant was that men and women were getting through life with very human emotion and behavior. There’s the old saying—no one can change other actions, they can only control their re-actions. That’s the core in our story—and we like to believe that Alex and Sam will be human, but the kind of humans who will rise not just to save themselves, but come to realize that what is happening doesn’t just touch their lives, but the world around them.

What makes Alex and Samantha such special characters?

HEATHER:  I think it’s something we often come across in life—not so much love at first sight, but incredible admiration—and then caring more and more deeply as you come to realize just how wonderful another person is. Life can be so superficial. I think that it was important to us that Sam and Alex come together in a far deeper way—and that what talents and assets each has work to help them both grow. I always love that the thought that when you’re in love, it’s the person who is the object of your love who often helps make you a better person yourself!

JON:  Wow, that’s a great question, and I echo Heather’s comments entirely.  I’d also add that this is really a hallmark of her work and what has made her a master of romantic suspense.  Not too far into the book (spoiler alert!), Alex loses the two closest people he has in the world.  So part of his growing attraction to Sam is that she’s all he has left, and she sticks with him against his own protestations to get herself out of harm’s way.  That reveals so much about both their characters and, for me, the real treat is watching Sam’s attraction to Alex growing from a simple high school crush to something much deeper than that.  So they’re drawn together, initially, by necessity but, ultimately, by the enormity of what they’re facing that’s bigger than both of them.

HEATHER: Sam’s growing up to be a very modern woman, determined, brave, and sure of herself—and yet ready to listen and learn. She can stand alone, but is happy to lean on someone she loves. This is new for her, and they’re cast into a startling situation and then they have to deal with incredible trauma in their personal lives, but she will fight for both herself—and Alex.

JON:  She’s fiercely independent, disciplined, and very goal-oriented.  But her loyalty, friendship and, ultimately, love for Alex trumps all of that.  The nature of her heroism is defined by her willingness to sacrifice what’s most important in her life so someone she’s very close to won’t be left alone.  That’s what makes a great friend, the best possible friend, and the fact that Alex and Samantha start out as friends before they fall in love will help define their relationship in a way that assures it will endure for many books to come.

What makes The Rising different from your other books?

HEATHER:  I think the lines between genres are so blurred these days, THE RISING being a prime example of that.  If the reader is emotionally vested in the characters, and those characters are in some kind of peril, then by nature that’s a thriller, however else you choose to classify it.  I just don’t like splitting hairs between so-called genres, because everybody’s got their own definition of what separates one from another.

JON:  It’s a true mix of genres, so much a hybrid I don’t even know how to classify it.  Whereas all my other books are clearly pure thrillers, THE RISING has elements of sci-fi, young adult, romance, mystery—you name it.  But I do think the “Thriller” category in general acts as a kind of umbrella for all of those, because it’s so big and broad.  And at its heart, THE RISING is a really ambitious thriller.  You can add, romance, you can add young adult, you can add science fiction, but ultimately this is a story about two heroes racing against time to save the world.  So, structurally, it fits squarely into the classic thriller form, which is something both Heather and I pride ourselves on.

What was the hardest scene to write in The Rising?

HEATHER:  For me, it was the death of Alex’s parents, especially his mother.  These were kind, wonderful people who’d devoted their entire lives to keeping him safe and protecting him from the truth of his background.  I know they had to die for the sake of the story, and the development of Sam’s and Alex’s characters, but it’s never easy to kill off characters that you come to love.

JON:  I’d say the aftermath of the scene that Heather is describing.  It’s very difficult to capture the indescribable thoughts, feelings and emotions of someone dealing with that kind of loss, especially a teenager.  We set the scene in a dingy old motel room as the shock wears off and Alex realizes how alone he really is.  The emotion is palpable, especially in how it really starts to flesh out the relationship between Alex and Sam, because she’s all he has left.

If you could describe The Rising in one word, what word would it be?

JON:  Fun!


About The Risng:


From acclaimed thriller-suspense novelists Heather Graham and Jon Land comes a story of action, mystery, and the endurance of young love.

Twenty-four hours. That’s all it takes for the lives of two young people to be changed forever.

Alex Chin has the world on a plate. A football hero and homecoming king with plenty of scholarship offers, his future looks bright. His tutor, Samantha Dixon, is preparing to graduate high school at the top of her class. She plans to turn her NASA internship into a career. When a football accident lands Alex in the hospital, his world is turned upside down. His doctor is murdered. Then, his parents. Death seems to follow him wherever he goes, and now it’s after him.

Alex flees. He tells Samantha not to follow, but she became involved the moment she walked through his door and found Mr. and Mrs. Chin as they lay dying in their home. She cannot abandon the young man she loves. The two race desperately to stay ahead of Alex’s attackers long enough to figure out why they are hunting him in the first place. The answer lies with a secret buried deep in his past, a secret his parents died to protect. Alex always knew he was adopted, but he never knew the real reason his birth parents abandoned him. He never knew where he truly came from. Until now.


Get a copy of The Rising:


About Heather Graham:


Heather Graham is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult and Christmas family fare. She has been honored with awards from Walden Books, B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, RT Book Reviews, and more. Visit her online at

About Jon Land:


Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of thirty-eight novels, including the bestselling series featuring female Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. He is also the co-author of the nonfiction bestseller Betrayal. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island and can be found on the web at


Blog Tour: Wonder Women by Sam Maggs + Review




28503941Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History
by Sam Maggs and Sophia Foster-Dimino (Illustrator)

Publication: October 4th 2016 by Quirk Books

Ever heard of Allied spy Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim woman whom the Nazis considered “highly dangerous”? Or German painter and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, who planned and embarked on the world’s first scientific expedition? How about Huang Daopo, the inventor who fled an abusive child marriage only to revolutionize textile production in China?

Women have always been able to change the world, even when they didn’t get the credit. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs introduces you to pioneering female scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors—each profile a study in passion, smarts, and stickto-itiveness, complete with portraits by Google doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino, an extensive
bibliography, and a guide to present-day women-centric STEM organizations.




Prior to reading this book, I’d only heard of a couple of the women mentioned (Marie Curie and Amelia Earhart). I might not have paid attention to lot of my history classes in school but I would have remembered these women if I had been taught about what they’ve done for the world.
The fact that so many of women’s impact on history has been throw aside and disregarded upsets me so much. But thanks to Sam Maggs, we can educate ourselves on some of the women that changed the world. Sam clearly did a ton of research for this book and it shows. It’s extremely well written and fun to read. I’ve learned so much about history because of this book and I can’t recommend it enough.

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A conversation with Sam Maggs, author of Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History

Your first book, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, celebrates women in geek culture. In Wonder Women, you’ve detailed the lives of some of history’s most important yet underappreciated women in STEM and beyond. Where did the idea for Wonder Women originate?

I love funny, hyperbolic Tumblr posts that casually teach you about unknown historical figures. In The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, I originally had little chapter enders that each focused on a cool gal in history that, sadly, got cut for length, but my editor thought they’d make a great book on their own. And Wonder Women was born!


Some of the things these women accomplished—from becoming the first American woman to earn a medical degree to writing the first computer program—are truly groundbreaking. Why do you think these women’s stories are still unknown to the general public?

It may not surprise you to learn that, overwhelmingly, history has been both written and taught by a very particular type of person. It has been outrageously difficult for marginalized people to leave their mark for a variety of reasons—white men had a vested interest in promoting the success of other white men; women were simply unable to attend school and therefore their accomplishments were taken less seriously; women were unable to own property and therefore had to file patents under the names of male associates or relatives; and so on, and so on. Circumstances have been such for centuries that it was nearly impossible for women to make these sorts of advancements, let alone be remembered for them. I feel lucky to live in a time when I’m able to bring these stories to the forefront to hopefully inspire another generation of creative and brilliant women.


In addition to profiling historic figures, you also include an interview with a present-day “wonder woman” at the end of each chapter. Why did you decide to include these contemporary women?

I wanted to remind readers that these amazing discoveries aren’t just limited to the past—there are women out there breaking barriers and crossing boundaries and shattering ceilings in STEM fields right now. I need ladies to know that this could be them.


Based on your research and personal experiences, what advice would you give to young women interested in a career in a traditionally male field?

I think that you have to have confidence in yourself and in your abilities under all circumstances. There are always going to be people who doubt you—sometimes you’ll even doubt yourself. But your belief in your abilities has to be stronger and louder than the voices of those who say you can’t do it, or you shouldn’t do it. Ignore them. You’re awesome. Do whatever you want.


You’ve worn a lot of different hats—historical scholar, journalist, author, and now game developer at BioWare. How have these experiences influenced your writing?

I have met so many strong and inspiring women in each one of my careers that it boggles my mind to think that, even half a century ago, people doubted that women could be equal to men in any field. Women like Mary Sherman Morgan or Grace Hopper didn’t live hundreds of years ago; this is the mid-twentieth century we’re talking about. Even today, you see arguments about whether women should be promoted in the workplace if they’re going to have children, or if they should be able to achieve certain ranks in the military. It honestly blows my mind that we’re still having these debates, because I’ve looked up to accomplished, incredible women in each of my jobs.


Wonder Women discusses serious subject matter in a fun and accessible way. Why did you decide to use a conversational writing style for this book?

I wanted to write Wonder Women in the same way that I like to be taught history. Dry, boring textbooks make me lose focus and interest quickly (and I say this as someone with a Master’s in Victorian Literature). Instead, I always find myself more engaged with historical texts when the writer or teacher allows me to personally identify with the material, by making it as accessible as possible while still relaying all the important facts. I think it’s really easy to forget, when we look back in time, that all of these dusty-seeming historical figures really were just people; many of the gals featured in Wonder Women were barely out of their teen years when they made their contributions to the historical record. It was important to me to be able to write the book in a way that said, “Look, these women were just like you and me,” because then, I think, you’re more likely to think, “Well, maybe I could do something like that, too!”


Since the publication of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, you’ve had the chance to speak at various conventions and have served as a voice for women in geek culture. How have these experiences affected your identity as a fangirl?

It’s very humbling to be asked to speak out on behalf of women in geek culture. Obviously I can only speak from my own experience, but if putting my voice out there helps make things even a little bit easier for other people, then I am happy to do so. Plus, I’ve met so many amazing fangirls from all walks of life. I’ve cried over letters and fanart from readers, but there’s really nothing like speaking to someone who just intrinsically understands you because of your shared experience in the geek world, regardless of age or other circumstances. It’s this really awesome bonding experience.

Wonder Women Tour



About Sam Maggs

maggs-sam_wonder-woman_credit-ashley-walkerSam Maggs is an Assistant Writer for BioWare, and the bestselling author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and the upcoming Wonder Women, both published by Quirk Books and distributed by Penguin Random House.

Named “Awesome Geek Feminist of the Year” by Women Write About Comics, Sam has also been an Editor for geek girl culture site The Mary Sue, and has been published across the web and in other books about gaming and genre. She’s been interviewed about women in geek culture by everyone Vulture to The New York Times. Despite her MA in Victorian literature, Sam’s writing mostly focuses on geek culture, and (sometimes) how it intersects with being a lady.

Sam is also an accomplished on-air personality, appearing as the host of the Cineplex pre-show in front of six million Canadians a month; a frequent co-host on Teletoon; and a regular guest on MTV and Space. She’s also appeared as a regular pop culture commentator on CBC’s q, 102.1 The Edge, Newstalk 1010, and more.

Sam has appeared on or moderated nerd culture panels at San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comicon, Calgary Expo, Fan Expo Canada, C2E2, and others, including speaking with super-rad guests like Ming-Na Wen, Hayley Atwell, and Steven Moffat (who insulted her to her face – she’s made it!). She would totally love to write a thing for you or appear on your thing.

Sam’s parents saw Star Wars: A New Hope twenty-four times in theatres when it first came out, and used to keep her home from school to marathon the Indiana Jones trilogy, so it’s really not her fault that she turned out the way she did. Sam mostly loves YA lit, Pacific Rim, BioWare games, Carol Danvers, and Jeff Goldblum.




Author Interview with Joel Lawrence

We’re very excited about today’s post! A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview debut author Joel Lawrence, author of the soon to be released Tears of Time, the first installment in the Atlantis Reborn series and I’m so excited to share it with you guys!

tears of time

How did you think of the concept for your book?

That’s a cool question to think back on, since concept is probably my favorite part of all this. Tears of Time evolved as a side project I worked on as I completed a large fantasy manuscript a few years ago. I’d been getting into YA books like the Lux Series and the Mortal Instruments, and I thought it would be fun to try something contemporary myself. But I viewed fantasy as my strength, so I was trying to think of a two worlds style fantasy that would let me practice something contemporary while still having one foot in the genre I was more familiar with.

So the two worlds type of fantasy was where the idea started, but I wanted to do it in a way that felt fresh. So no magical wardrobes or intedimensional portals! Next was the decision to ground the fantasy world in a real place and time, though a highly fictionalized/mythological version. That’s where the Atlantis idea came from, and everything started clicking together and forming a really interesting outline.

As a Young Adult writer, what do you strive to get across to your readers?

I think YA, like all genres of fiction, is ultimately about entertainment and escape, but good stories are almost always wrapped in several ubiquitous themes by their very nature. So YA has a core audience centered around a younger demographic group, and there’s certain universal themes that emerge when writing about younger characters, such as new experiences and coming of age conflicts, so I strove to present those familiar themes underneath while weaving in some different ideas as well. Feeling lost in life is a familiar idea, for example, but feeling like a stranger in time felt fresh to me. Identity, destiny, regret, but played out on a much larger canvas. And at the very core, I strove to make the main character grounded and relatable, so the fantastic elements would mesh with the contemporary setting.

What’s your favorite part about writing YA?

The diversity of the audience. Many YA readers aren’t genre exclusive, but are open to and even eager for genre blurring stories that might not have been possible 15 years ago. If you look at something like Red Queen or Obsidian or Under the Never Sky, there’s a unique mix of elements in each case that might not have been considered marketable before YA rose to prominence.

Do you have a favorite line from Tears of Time?

Another cool question, and yes, many. Maybe for a fun teaser, “The temple gives way to a dark hotel room somewhere in another life.” And “Riadyna, my love, you’ve betrayed me.”

Do you like to outline the plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

I like an outline initially, but as George RR Martin says, it needs to be viewed as a roadmap subject to change as you’re trekking across the country and see something cool, get sidetracked, run into a detour or engine trouble. Once the writing starts, character motivation needs to drive everything. If a character isn’t trying to achieve one of their goals, a scene is spinning on wheels and needs to be scraped, regardless of outline. If that means changing a cool outline element or even the entire finale, so be it—it will read so much stronger in the end. This might be the most important writing lesson I’ve discovered, and yes, I’m also still learning it!

What books have influenced you as a writer?

Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Wheel of Time. The Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout was kind of my introduction into the world of more recent YA. I’ve enjoyed everything from Red Queen to the Twilight Saga to Alienated, and many many others.

What was the hardest part about writing Tears of Time?

Getting a somewhat complicated background story across in First Person POV. In a way I think it works out in the end, since it’s the first book in a trilogy, but I spent a lot of time during editing cutting and adding and moving around little clues and pieces of information so that the reader could hopefully piece together a sense of what’s going on in the same way Eden is. The sequels will expand on some of the unanswered and partially answered questions, but the first book in a series still needs to stand on it’s own, and that took me awhile to achieve.

What can readers expect when they pick up Tears of Time?

A fun, fast paced story that naturally blends a lot of fantasy genres together. Final Fantasy meets Outlander. X-Men meets Twilight. Atlantis mythology meets contemporary YA. There’s a lot of back-story and mystery beneath the surface, and some deeper themes going on, but hopefully the story can also be enjoyed as just a fun adventure fantasy with some romance, mystery, and epic magical duels!


Thank you so much to Joel for all of his wonderful answers and to Ben at Oftomes Publishing  for setting our interview up.

Be sure to grab a copy of Tears of Time when it’s released September 13th!

About Tears of Time, book one in the Atlantis Reborn series


tears of timeCal State freshman Eden Ellis feels like a stranger in time, and her dreams are growing more dangerous each night. Is she really the reincarnation of a Bronze Age princess, or is that just the medication talking?

Eden’s new telekinetic powers feel real enough, the same abilities used to wage an apocalyptic war in the dream world, where an ancient kingdom struggles to survive the wrath of a fallen priest. When Eden’s friends start having similar nightmares and developing powers of their own, she realizes one of them may be the reborn soul of the villain from the dreams who nearly shattered the world—a madman, a traitor, and the lover of Eden’s past self.

When a government experiment using the same powers that started the ancient war goes disastrously wrong, Eden’s dreams hold the key to saving the future—if she can accept her dual identity and defeat the reincarnation of the man she used to love.






Review: The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

25133261The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Published June 5th 2014

Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world’s most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope.



This a super quick read that I really enjoyed. I thought it was kind of confusing at first but I really loved the writing style. Even though The Apple Tart of Hope is only 172 pages, I thought it was actually the perfect length. I really liked how all the loose ends were tied up at the end.
I didn’t really become emotionally invested in the characters but I did really like them. I thought Oscar and Meg were really cool and even relatable on some levels. My favorite part about this book how the plot really focuses on friendship and platonic love. There’s so many YA books also force romance into the plot when it’s not necessary. So I really appreciated how this book focused on friendship.



Author Interview with Jaime Lee Mann

I’m so excited for today’s post! A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to interview Jaime Lee Mann, author of the Legend of Rhyme series and I’m so excited to share it with you guys!

 How did you go about building the world in the Legend of Rhyme series? Did you have a clear vision of what you wanted before writing or did you build it as you wrote?

Interesting question! The world that I built was definitely based on the place where I grew up, but the vision didn’t become entirely clear until I continued writing. To be honest, the world is still revealing itself to me as I continue to add bits and pieces and explore additional realms.

Did you feel any pressure as the series went on to build the world even more?

I wouldn’t say that it is pressure I feel, as much as a strong need to get the story out of my head. The world continues to build itself in my mind as the characters show me what they want to be doing and where they want to be doing it. (Sounds crazy, but it’s true!)

What was your inspiration when you were writing?

When I’m writing I find inspiration everywhere! I wrote much of Elora of Stone and Into Coraira outdoors, either on the grass under a tree in my yard, on the red rocky shore below my parents’ house, or on a sandy beach. Nature would be my greatest source of inspiration. That and my beautifully imaginative children!

What’s your favorite kind of scene to write?

I love writing scenes with new magic spells! I also love writing the pixie scenes. And the scenes with Grimblerod. I don’t think I have a favourite kind of scene to write, but I can tell you that looking at that first blank page is my favourite. Writing the first draft of a story is my absolute greatest joy.

 Do you have a favorite line from any of your books?

Oh, I don’t think I could pick just one favourite! But I do always share this little blurb from Elora of Stone when I’m reading to students:

“Come with me,” the toad croaks. “I want to show you something.” He hops off into the woods, and I follow him. He’s not a dragon, but he is a talking toad.”

As a middle grade writer, what do you strive to get across to your readers? 

The underlying message throughout the Legend of Rhyme series is that things are not always as they seem. I also just really want kids’ imaginations to be stretched!

What’s your favorite part about writing for young readers?

Hands down, my favourite part about writing for young readers is when I get to read to them! Seeing the reactions to the story in a classroom setting is a feeling I never expected when I started writing.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

I knew when I was about nine years old that I wanted to write! When I was in high school, I had a creative writing teacher who told me that whatever I chose to do in the future, I had to keep writing. I never forgot that and here I am!

Do you like to outline the plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

I always outline the stories so I have a guideline to work with and I always start with the ending! There’s no guarantee I will stick to the outline (my characters always have their own plans) but I do always start there.

 What books have influenced you as a writer?

The Chronicles of Narnia and everything by Dr. Seuss


Thank you so much to Jamie for all of her wonderful answers and to Talia at DigiWriting for setting our interview up.

Be sure and check out the  Legend of Rhyme series!

About Elora of Stone, book one in the Legend of Rhyme series

23653469Four-year-old Asher Caine vanishes while playing near the woods one day with his twin sister Ariana. Eventually, his family believes him to be dead. In the Kingdom of Falmoor, twins are cursed. Ever since the evil sorcerer Larque turned the good witch Elora to stone, all twins in the Kingdom are doomed to be separated, either through death or mysterious disappearances.

Now about to turn thirteen, Ariana learns that her brother is alive, and she must find him in order to save Falmoor. With their magic blood and powerful bond, the Caine twins must release Elora from her stone imprisonment. Only then will Larque be stopped from spreading darkness throughout the kingdom.

Will the twins find each other in time? Can they save Falmoor from evil and remove the curse of the twins forever?


About Jamie Lee Mann

When Jaime Lee Mann was nine years old, she decided that she jamie lee mannwould be an author when she grew up.

Many years later, Jaime Lee’s children would beg her to tell them stories at bedtime. Sometimes her stories were silly and sometimes they were magical.

The girls loved one of her magical stories so much that Jaime Lee decided to write it down. That story would eventually become Elora of Stone, the first novel in the Legend of Rhyme series.

JL (as her family calls her) lives in a pretty house in Prince Edward Island with her husband and two daughters (who are still little girls for now).

She writes every day and plans to do so for as long as people love to read her words.

Follow Jamie on Twitter: @JamieLeeMann