Patricia Crandall

Patricia Crandall has published numerous articles and short stories in various magazines and newspapers. In July, 2012, she was named an Honorable Mention Honoree in the annual short story competition for her story “The Crazy Jug.”

Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Patricia.

Patricia: I have published a vast number of poetry/haiku, numerous articles and short stories in small press magazines, a variety of newspapers and web sites. I have won poetry awards and have four books in print, Melrose, Then and Now, a historical volume, I Passed This Way, a poetry collection, The Dog Men, a thriller which draws the reader into a tempest of animal abuse, lawlessness, and kidnapping within the confines of small-town happenings, and Tales of an Upstate New York Bottle Miner, – seeking adventure in abandoned dump sites and the challenges of entering flea markets.

I live with my husband, Art, at Babcock Lake in the Grafton Mountains near Petersburgh, New York. My children and grandchildren live nearby. I devote time to my family, writing and community work. I enjoy reading, skiing, golfing, knitting, walking/hiking, swimming, exercising and traveling.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Patricia: In the nineteen fifties, my interest was captured by the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene. Each holiday, I would request the latest Nancy Drew title and upon receiving it, I would curl-up in an over-sized chair and begin reading the fast-paced adventure.

I dabbled at creating my own mystery stories at an early age. My first effort detailed a long, frightening chase by a sinister man. A dark tunnel appeared, leading to (of course) a haunted mansion. The not-so-brilliant ending had me saved by the man of my life at the time – my Dad.

Briefly tell us about your latest book.  Is it part of a series or stand alone?

Patricia: My latest book is The Dog Men.

The Dog Men is a stand-alone Adult/YA book, although readers have requested I write a series. They bonded with the characters, particularly Lester Cranshaw, and want his adventures to continue. I am writing a new thriller, The Red Gondola, to include Lester Cranshaw.

The Dog Men: Ten-year-old Wyatt and eleven-year-old Hannah uncover the dark world of illegal dog fights when they trespass at a Vermont farm and peep through a barn window. And when crotchety old Lester Cranshaw’s dog, Paddy, turns up missing, there is no holding him back from investigating the situation and the kids join in. In the dead of night, after the trio are captured and held hostage at the Inglis farm, Wyatt will need all of his wits and courage to escape in order to save the lives of his friends. The Dog Men draws the reader into a tempest of animal abuse, lawlessness, and kidnapping within the confines of small-town happenings. A chilling plot and a peerless relationship between kids, adults and pets.

What’s the hook for the book?

Patricia: I have delved into the horrific world of illegal dog fighting. One editor considered my book then titled Missing Children.  He requested a change in subject matter, stating, “I just can’t add to the deluge of fiction about children, kidnapping and sex. Whereby, I researched the sordid sport of dog fighting and the characters that inhabit it. It became The Dog Men.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Patricia: My characters develop themselves. I create them using a combination of real and imagined people. I’ll admire one person’s hair color, another’s features, still another’s body language and put them together. Any attempt I make at molding a character does not work. If I force a character to act against his/her will, the story is all wrong. I will sit back and think it through, letting the character direct me. I have read other author’s essays confirming this dilemma. It is a fact. A character will lead and the writing flows until the next hurdle due to plot, scene description, etc.

Who is the most unusual/most likeable character?

Patricia: My unusual/most likeable characters are (1) Lester Cranshaw of The Dog Men. See description above. (2) Gert Carver and Nina Westakott are two favorite characters from my bottle mining stories. Gert and Nina, friends for many years, now share a common passion – bottle mining. Nina was a homemaker and a widow. She and her husband raised four daughters and had been active in the community until his death. Gert, a spinster, had spent productive years as a beloved schoolteacher who started her career in a one-room schoolhouse and ended with her retirement at a district high school. These days, the two women have time to nurture their newest hobby, searching for antique bottles in the local dumps.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Patricia: My writing styles are varied. I write mainstream, mysteries, non-fiction, historical, flash fiction, young/adult and poetry. I work on several stories at once. This pace keeps my thoughts fresh. I continually submit my work for publication and enter contests. My ultimate goal is to write well.

I consistently learn from the unique style of other writers. I pay attention to the voice they use. When a writer captivates me, I do not wish to imitate his/her writing. I want to achieve what they have accomplished by leaving a reader satisfied and anxious to read more of their books.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Patricia: My parents and teachers would often tell me, “Patty, you are a dreamer. You have a vivid imagination. Put it to good use.” It was at that point, in lieu of playing with friends or watching the new small-box-wonder – TV, I sat at an old desk in the kitchen and wrote mystery stories. I also drew stick figures to illustrate the action in the stories. The discovery of boys replaced pen and paper. The telephone became my favorite instrument and I lost interest in reading and writing until a formidable nun taught me English in High School. With a revival of interest, I picked up where I left off, writing salable poetry and a variety of articles, essays, and short stories. Presently, I am taking a writing course and penning novels.

Share the best review that you’ve ever had.

Patricia: Comments for “The Garden of Love,” a flash-fiction story published in Flash-Fiction World, include:

“Awesome piece! The ending adds another whole dimension entirely.”
“Good story”
“I want more!”
“Amazing!”
“Loved it.”
“Clever!”
“Great end.”
“Fantastic.”

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Patricia: Visit my blog at: www.authorpcrandall.blogspot.com. Visit me on facebook and twitter. Visit my Editor and Virtual Assistant Manager’s blog: www.lindabarnett-johnson.blogspot.com. Go to Amazon and for my books, The Dog Men and Tales of an Upstate New York Bottle Miner.

Lastly, my pattern for a writer’s success is Winston Churchill’s famous quote: “Never, never, never give up!”

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Barbara Ebel

Barbara Ebel is an author and a physician.  She has lived up and down the US East Coast and now resides in a wildlife corridor in Tennessee. “Perfect for writing,” she says.  Her first novel is a romantic suspense:  Operation Neurosurgeon: You never know …who’s in the OR.

Please introduce your self, Barbara.

Barbara: I am a physician-turned-author who sprinkles interesting, credible medicine into the background of my storylines.  However, that doesn’t take center stage to my plots or vivid characters.

Another thread you will find in my writing is dogs.  There will be at least one four-legger as a main character, especially since I own a few and have made one a star in a children’s book series called Chester the Chesapeake.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Barbara: I am a physician-turned-author, so my “M.O.” is to sprinkle credible medicine into the background of my plots. However, my characters and plots take center stage!  Also, since my specialty is anesthesiology, my operating room scenes shine. I love for readers to get realistic views into what goes on and there are messages they pick up by my showing and not telling them.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Series or stand-alone?

Barbara: Since I have written several genres, I’ll focus on my fiction which best suits your site: Operation Neusosurgeon: You never know…who’s in the OR.  This novel was written as a stand-alone.  However, I am consistently asked about a sequel because of the characters and their development, so writing a sequel is in my future!

Here’s a short description:

Who says a rising neurosurgeon can’t fall from his pinnacle?  From the skullduggery taking place deep in the Tennessee woods to the silent tension in the OR, Doctor Danny Tilson’s life takes an abrupt turn after performing surgery alongside a scrub nurse with aqua eyes and a velvet voice.

Can Danny’s situation get any worse after the alluring lady disappears, he inherits her roguish retriever, and his Albert Einstein historical book turns up missing? A pack of Tennessee attorneys pursue Danny while he develops a scheme with his paramedic best friend to payback the mysterious woman who left in a hurry.

What’s the hook for the book?

Barbara: Will an esteemed neurosurgeon fall prey to a calculating seductress during an astonishing surgery?

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Barbara: Ha!  My characters happen to emulate some character’s I’ve bumped into over the years and the setting for Operation Neurosurgeon is straight out of Tennessee.  The geography and description spans from Memphis to Knoxville, and from Nashville to the Caney Fork River to a character deep in the woods. You will enjoy the flavor!

Who’s the most unusual/likeable character?

Barbara: Even though Danny, the neurosurgeon, is the protagonist and takes center stage, he’s pretty stupid for being so smart. My favorite character is the dog and the paramedic who you may fall in love with. He stands by his friend no matter what. The most despicable and unusual character is Rachel. How diabolically cunning she is, but I’ll post no spoilers!

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Barbara: The beautiful state of Tennessee was perfect for the plot’s progression. The contrast between the big cities and backwoods, along with the contrast between urban and rural characters, makes for great spin and variety.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Barbara: Red Adept Reviews, the critical in-depth eBook reviewer, gave Operation Neurosurgeon: You never know…who’s in the OR an overall 4 ½ stars and a perfect 5 stars for characters. And here’s a tight review or the “verdict” from Indie Book of the Day which was awarded to it on 6/26/12:

Author Barbara Ebel creatively uses medical facts by deeply embedding them into the storyline and at the same time keeping the readers hooked. Operation Neurosurgeon stars a character whose single mistake can cost him a career but everything is not over yet, or is it? Barbara Ebel has managed to keep the suspense & mystery alive, till the very end. An enjoyable read & recommended for those who prefer detailed descriptions with logical plot progression.                                                                                                    – IBD Verdict.

What are your current projects?

Barbara: I am simultaneously working on the text and photographs for the two final Chester the Chesapeake children’s books in the series. I don’t rush ‘producing’ them, but let the storylines come to me. Since I illustrate with real pictures of my dogs, it will take me at least two years to finish them.  I also hope to start the sequel to Operation Neurosurgeon by the end of the year.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Barbara: Please visit my website where you’ll find my eBooks & paperbacks; book videos & a few reviews; as well as links for purchase:

http://barbaraebel.weebly.com

Please visit my children’s book website all about Chester the Chesapeake!  Who doesn’t love dogs?

http://dogbooksforchildren.weebly.com

Twitter:  @barbaraebel

Thanks for joining us today, Barbara.

Barbara: Shelagh, thanks for having me!

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K. F. Johnson

K. F.  Johnson, born Kiyeta F. Johnson, developed a vivid imagination and an aptitude for creative writing, drawing and anything else entertaining at a very young age. Her first glimpse of writing success came in the sixth grade when she won a New York City statewide poetry writing contest.  Her first book, Behind  Closed Doors, was published in July 2012.

Kiyeta: I am from Queens, New York, but I’ve lived in Atlanta, Georgia, since I enrolled at Spelman College, a liberal arts school. I graduated with a BA in psychology and I have a Master’s Degree in business, but I’ve always been involved in the arts. In my twenties, I modeled, was a rapper, danced, acted in movie shorts, music videos and local commercials.  Although I’m a mother and partner with a full-time job as an accountant, I couldn’t let my passion for writing die. I worked on my book Behind Closed Doors on and off for about ten years before it was published.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Kiyeta: I think I got the writing bug when I won a New York State wide poetry writing contest in the sixth grade. My two older siblings are seven and ten years older than me so I had a lot of time to play with Barbie dolls, cabbage patch kids and let my imagination roam. Eventually I put those ideas down on paper (mostly while I was on punishment).

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Kiyeta: Two adult siblings, who manipulate their way through the dating world, discover that  their often abusive, alcoholic and philandering father mysteriously drowns in the pool at their parent’s home, and begin to question his untimely death. Soon, as the skeletons of their family secrets begin falling out of the closet, they’re forced to face some truths of their own and pay the consequences of their actions. Behind Closed Doors is a sometimes  funny, maniacal and sexy journey inside the relationships of two siblings, who haven’t got a clue and need one before they lose everything!

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Kiyeta: I try to envision what they look like in my head and what kind of person they are going to be. Then I write about them like I know them. The setting is in Atlanta where I live, but I also pull from New York City, where I grew up.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Kiyeta: Brian is the most unusual character because he rarely considers other people’s needs or feelings before tending to his own. He’s also the one most readers have said they love to hate, and the one they talk about the most. Coincidentally, he was the most fun to write.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Kiyeta: I use Ywriter5, which is a free writing software I used to help keep my storyline, scenes, characters and chapters organized. It allows me to have outlines, describe my characters, locations and scenes in detail and have them auto populate into each chapter as I write.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Kiyeta: I wrote this one in the first person for the two main characters and I think I find it the most comfortable because I can speak as the character about what they’re thinking.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Kiyeta: I come from a middle class family, but I attended a prestigious college and have experience in the entertainment world, which allowed me to have a front row seat to  many things a lot of people would not. For that reason, I think my experiences, and that of people I know, have influenced the way I’m able to develop characters to think in ways I’m completely against.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Kiyeta: Recently, a reader, who is a Facebook acquaintance, told me that his wife was reading the book, and she’d asked him to please ask me if the characters were based on real people. Apparently, she was getting so involved in some of the antics of the characters that she felt the need to know if I really knew them. I was extremely flattered that she found my writing so believable that she would even feel the need to ask.

What are your current projects?

Kiyeta: I’m mostly promoting my new book Behind Closed Doors, but I have begun writing a little of the sequel at the request of many of my readers. The cliffhangers at the end of the book seem to have inspired an interest in a sequel, which I’m extremely grateful and excited about.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Kiyeta: I have my own website at www.kfjohnsonbooks.com/ and I blog at wordpress at www.kfjohnson.wordpress.com.  I’m on facebook at www.facebook.com/kf.johnson.7 which was a huge tool that helped jumpstart my readership. I am also on twitter @kfjohnsonbooks and I’m on linked http://www.linkedin.com/in/jproperties

Thanks for joining us today, Kiyeta

Kiyeta: Thank you very much for your time and consideration in including me in your author blog interviews.

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