Interview with Novelist Scott Meehan (DESERT ROCK)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Scott Meehan: In 2003, a female soldier approaches Major David Allan and gives him a crystal marble, telling him that he must keep it with him at all times. When he goes on Christmas Leave from Balad, Iraq, the C-5 Air Force jet is shot down in the wasteland of Iraq…and he is the only survivor.

After being in a three-month coma, David wakes up in a hospital bed at Walter Reed, his wife, Sherry, looking much younger than when he left for the war zone, at his side. Along with the television shows, news magazines, and general talk, David comes to realize that he is back in the year 1991.

History is on track just as David remembers it so he makes wiser decisions, but on the side, he takes on a fictitious name and bank account to gain wealth through investments and betting on Super Bowl and World Series winners at Vegas.
Life is flowing smoothly until he remembers that the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing is about to take place in 1995. Faced with the decision to save lives or change the course of history, David tries to warn the FBI without implicating himself of the upcoming disaster.

Later, when on a vacation in Aruba with Sherry, the mysterious girl appears with the crystal marble and gives it back to David…then walks out into the sea. When he tries to follow her, David discovers a new world as the unexpected takes hold of him in a reality beyond what is perceivable to his mind, body, and soul.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Science Fiction / Fantasy / Time Travel

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Perceived reality

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Star Wars or Back to the Future (first ones).

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

“Time Waits for No One” – Rolling Stones

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

“Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara

7. What motivated you to write this story?

After retiring from my 25 years in the military, I thought back many times, “What if…?” to the many paths I did not take at the crossroads.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Jesus Christ

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My family, especially my grandchildren.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Broadened exposure.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

If you love writing, don’t ever quit. Write because you want to…write because you like to.

Watch the Novel Performance Reading: 

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Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

In 2003, a female soldier approaches Major David Allan and gives him a crystal marble, telling him that he must keep it with him at all times. When he goes on Christmas Leave from Balad, Iraq, the C-5 Air Force jet is shot down in the wasteland of Iraq…and he is the only survivor.

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Interview with Novelist Sharon Bennett Gandy (Catlips Incorporated)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Catlips Incorporated is about Argyle and Pap along with their friends met along the way, who join together to put a stop to the nip drug usage and the violent cat gangs who sell it.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

The genre is urban fantasy fiction (I think)

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Entertaining and enthralling

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

There are a few movies: John Carpenters, The Thing, Scarface, Goodfellas, Color Purple

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Prince music-especially his less radio, public music. It’s the best!!

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Stephen King’s It

7. What motivated you to write this story?

My cat (Pap in the story) got into a stashed away supply of catnip, I had put in the drawer. He had too much and his normally peaceful friendly attitude, turned much more aggressive under the catnip “high”. From that incident, the story formed in my mind and grew from there.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

It’s 2 people actually: Maya Angelou and Stephen King

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m also a real estate agent and passionate about buying and selling real estate.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I hope to get Catlips on audio file so this seemed like a good first step

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Above all else, keep writing. We all bring something to this table we call life, so don’t deny your gift and share it with the world. 🙂
Check out my new fiction novel Catlips Incorporated
http://www.catlipsbook.com

Watch the Novel Transcript Reading: 

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Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

Catlips Incorporated exemplifies the strength of friendship, perseverance and the unwavering sheer determination and courage to stand proud and do the right thing, despite the odds.

Though the feline and canine characters may be a bit unconventional for some, their struggles against the undesirables within their community is a familiar scenario to many.

Interview with Novelist Jerry L. Harvey Jr. (SPACE TANGENTS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Jerry L. Harvey: Four rednecks are abducted by aliens while playing golf in Kansas. They are drawn into rescuing a princess as they try to return to earth.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Science Fiction

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Mindblowingly Ludicrous

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a toss up between Tequila Sunrise and The Fifth Element.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

One Week, By: Bare Naked Ladies.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

No, but Douglas Adams, Robert Aspirin, Harry Harrison, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Terry brooks are all favorites.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

A recurring image of a one-legged Gautemalan pigmy hooker.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

Isaac Asimov or Kurt Vonnegut come to mind, I forgot to mention them earlier.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I do a fair amount of hiking in the Smokies.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I just thought it would be good to have it performed by a different perspective than the writer’s.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Keep trying, keep writing, write because you have things in your heart and soul to share with the world.

Performed by Kat Smiley

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Four Rednecks from Kansas are abducted by aliens and have an unbelievable adventure as they travel to several planets, fight Kelvekians, battle the Elvi, rescue a damsel in distress, party with Elvis and then, there is the incident on Herpe.

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Interview with Novelist Chynna Laird (PASSING LOOP)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Chynna Laird: The novel is about three generations of very strong women, each set in their ways, who are brought together in a time of tragedy. It was not an easy transition for any of them, to say the least. And on top of their personal hurdles they’re trying to overcome, they are thrown other unexpected curve balls to deal with. They teach one another that no one way is the ‘right’ way and through it all, despite how hopeless things may seem, together they are a force to be reckoned with.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

This story is clean and can be read by anyone anywhere but the main genre it targets is NA/YA.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Finding peace.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

I really love old movies. I’d have to say the black and whites are some of my favorites. But the movie I’ve seen over and over without wanting to blow DVD up has to be ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Blackbird by the Beatles. This song has tremendous meaning for me for a multitude of reasons.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

That is such a hard question. I should really show a picture of my ever-growing, over-stuffed bookshelves. lol I am an avid reader, which is important in becoming a good writer. I’m not sure I could narrow all of the books I’ve read down to one specific all-time favorite. I do have a certain kind of book that draws my attention. I like a strong main character who is going through or facing tough times and dealing with it in the most positive way he or she can under their given circumstances. Books, like good movies, need to make you think, open a new door (or view an opened door in a new way), draw you in, surface emotions and have moments of laughter because that is what real life is made up of.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

You know, it’s funny because I am usually more comfortable showing a story through a male main character’s perspective than a female one. But this story not only has a very strong female main character, but also revolves around her mother and grandmother. What motivated me to write this novel were the words my own grandmother said to me many years ago, “Life is a passing loop with many trains going in different directions and with different end destinations. As fast as they go, it’s the sudden or unplanned stops made along the way to that end place that you learn from the most. Just always make sure to keep your back to where you’re leaving from, and face where you’re heading.”

There are sprinkles from my own experiences mixed in there but all in all, it’s my way of thanking my grandmother for all of her pearls of wisdom, even when she didn’t think I was listening to her.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

There are several people I’d love to have this opportunity with for different reasons. Not just for what they do, but to be enlightened by their unique view of the world. If I had to pick one person of all of those I highly respect (dead or alive, famous or not), I’d have to say Alan Alda. I have admired him and his work for many years. He’s not just a superior actor and director, he sees things with the most profound wisdom and undying curiosity. I love that!

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about giving a voice to issues or causes that aren’t discussed or dealt with as strongly as they should be. Giving those a voice whose own aren’t always strong enough to be heard over what other people believe or think, is so inspiring. The most important things in my life are my four children. They are my reason to keep going, the daily reminder of why I’m still here and the motivation to trudge ahead through each day I wake up to.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I won’t speak for every other author, but I spend endless months hearing my stories in my head. I see the characters, hear their voices and experience the story right alongside them. But it’s a beautiful thing to hear your words being read by another person. It brings to mind a quote I came across recently by Maya Angelou who said, “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

After reading that, I considered it my sign to enter the story and see what happens.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Keep writing. Even on days when you think you don’t have anything useful to put down, keep that writing craft active. There will be days where ideas may not come as easily and trust me, I know how frustrating that can be. But don’t stop. If you need to, get away from your writing space for a while and surround yourself with all that life has going on around you. It won’t be long before your inner idea jar will overflow again.

So, keep writing, don’t give up, hold strong to what you believe in and absorb the advice from those you aspire to be. That will always keep you motivated.

Watch the Novel Reading: 

Performed by Kat Smiley

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Interview with Nia Markos (ELEMENTS: BOOK ONE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Nia Markos: My novel is about a young woman whose life gets thrown into turmoil by events out of her control. It involves a prophesy, a quest and finding her inner strength.

Along the way, she also has to deal with matters of the heart. Throw in mythology, magic, faeries, demons and shadows, and danger from all sides stand in the way of her accomplishing her task.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

This novel is a young adult urban fantasy, paranormal quest story.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Magical awakening.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Independence Day. I still stop to watch it whenever I catch it on television.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

It’s so hard to pick just one song. If I had to pick one on the spot, I would say Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I’ve always wanted to write, but I never found the time. This story, though, wanted to be written. When I sat down this time, the words just seemed to flow.
I found my motivation in my main character. Alexa sparked something in me. I never looked back once I started telling her story.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Ernest Hemingway. What a fun night that would be.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Music, science fiction movies. I’m learning the guitar. Most of all my family, living life to its fullest.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

The thrill of seeing my words come to life.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I’ll pass on what other authors have told me. Read. Read a lot. Not just a genre you like, but vary it to see the nuances of other ones. Each genre has its own way of storytelling.

Take what you read and build your own voice.

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Performed by Esther Thibault

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Interview with Novelist James Charles (Spirit Of The Amaroq)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

James Charles: Spirit of the Amaroq:

Pastor Jack Douglas resigns his ministry after a traumatic event and hikes across America. In North Dakota, he finds work on an oil rig until a violent turn of events forces him to seek seclusion in the Alaskan wilderness where he’s stalked by the mythical Amaroq wolf.

In Nome, Jack takes a job on a king crab fishing boat where he continues to struggle with his past tragedies while fighting feelings for the proprietor of a rustic inn, a beautiful Inuit woman, Qaniit.

A man from the past perpetrates a catastrophic event that will once again challenge Jack’s faith. Will Jack survive or will God forsake him once more?

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Romance/Adventure

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Love anew

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Casablanca

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

LA Woman

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

The Sun Also Rises

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I stumbled upon the mystical Alaskan story of the Amaroq wolf and adapted it here in an adventurous and romantic way.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

Ernest Hemingway because he not only plays a central character in my previous novel, My War With Hemingway, but I read his books in the army. It would be one heck of a dinner and I could treat him to a Hemingway Whiskey Smash here at Gertrude’s in Kona!

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Scuba Diving.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

A chance for more exposure and your operation seemed to provide this opportunity.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Write for the passion, not for the money….
 

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Performed by Esther Thibault

Interview with Novelist Bogdan Dzakovic (FORTRESS OF DECEIT)

1. What is your novel about?

This is an autobiographical account of my 32 year adventure in the federal government. Beginning my career with enthusiasm and idealism and ending with the belief that our own government is more a threat to this country than anything that can be dreamed up from outside. Between the two, the events I witnessed or participated in which infused in me these hard lessons of reality. This includes our efforts to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks (yes, we knew it was going to happen) followed by the retribution of a vengeful federal government that demonstrated its more interested in maintaining its lucrative and unaccountable status quo than in serving the country – no matter how many people it kills.

On the positive side, the book also demonstrates what moral, highly motivated individuals and groups can accomplish once they learn to ignore the limitations that society and the system imposes on them.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Nonfiction, horror, comedy, all rolled into one.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Ecce signum!

Latin for: behold the proof.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

The Yakuza!

The ZEN master in the movie is inspirational.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

The music of ENYA is my favorite. She has the voice of an angel.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

The original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Deductive reasoning is a unique way of thinking.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

I spent the first half of my career developing the expertise to identify the threat, the vulnerabilities, and attempted to prevent the calamity of the 9/11 terror attacks. Just one of a few in the entire federal government to do so. I spent the latter half of my career entombed in an entry level staff job engaged in a daily struggle just to survive. After 9/11 when I realized that Congress was engaging in a big cover up, including the 9/11 Commission, I became an official federal government whistleblower. Through experience I learned that even the whistleblower laws were designed to maintain the unaccountable status quo of the government. Once I was able to retire, I knew this story of how our government really operates had to be told.

Frederic Whitehurst (one of the first of contemporary whistleblowers engaged in trying to stop major FBI abuses in the 1980s and 90s, and a hero of mine) recently sent me an email succinctly describing the problem in government. It was written specifically addressing the FBI, but it applies directly to the entire federal government: “The problem we have with them is that they are law enforcement officers and though fools can cut and slash under the color of law for as long as they wish without accountability. Because we are a civilized society we do not cut and slash in return. We do what we do with the law, so far without violence, so far in a civilized manner. With our hands tied behind our back, blinded in both eyes and without hearing. They know it, violate the law and human rights and hide behind the badge while beating the hell out us.”

This is the reality of the deep state. If you got rid of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government then literally at least have of our tax dollars would be eliminated. This doesn’t even count the more nefarious things our government does.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

My mom. Didn’t get much of a chance. She died when I was eight.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Life, developing the mind, body, spirit.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Someone suggested I contribute my book, seemed like a great opportunity, particularly with a minimal budget for marketing. Really a great service you provide.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Don’t quit your day job. Write for yourself. Never say die.
 

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Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

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