Tag Archives: Q & A

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Mary M. Forbes, historical romance author


Author interview with Mary M. Forbes

Mary M. Forbes is a member of the Alberta Romance Writers Association and has been writing since she was a teenager.  She is the author of two other books, Alberta Wild Rose and Hawk’s Gift, both historical romances.  An enthusiast of everything country western, Forbes also thoroughly enjoys history and crafts.  She has completed certified coursework in a wide variety of fields including writing, computers, accounting and weather observing.

Forbes currently resides with her husband in a beautiful mountain town in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

One Dance with a Stranger is a story about Wade, a country music superstar who gains success too young and Emily, raised on the streets and now determined to follow her mind and never her heart in order to obtain the life she craves.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I always knew I wanted to write when as a teen I avidly read all the romance books around and other stories including literature. I was the only student that put my hand up when the teacher asked who liked Shakespeare – it was embarrassing at the time, but it was the truth.   I wrote poems, short stories and won awards .  I enjoy learning and research and always ‘critique’ books and movies saying ‘what if…’ or correcting glaring errors or weak plots.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I need my morning coffee, then answering e-mails, writing, researching or outlining stories and sometimes playing games.  Occasionally I go on trips with my long-haul truck driver who travels all over North America.  I try to take walks along the river at least once a day.  I spend time with my grandson and my daughter most days as well.

4. Describe your workspace.

I have my desk/computer in my kitchen beside a patio door.  I have a large yard full of hills and pine trees, close to a river and usually see the deer and squirrels and birds just outside the window. Once I even saw a bear.  I am usually alone as my husband is on the road.

5. Favorite books

My favorite books are Something Wonderful – Judith McNaught,  North and South

– John Jakes and War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I love ‘debating’ (some call it arguing) and will research and question everything.  I often see humor when someone gets too intense.  I don’t believe in Global Warming.

7. Favorite quote

Only God can Judge me or It’s amazing how much people believe beauty is goodness (Leo Tolstoy – maybe not exact quote)

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best – going into a world where I can be/do whatever I want.

Worst: – Being interrupted when everything is falling into place and then after forgetting ‘the place’ you were in.

9. Advice for other writers

Don’t take yourself or your characters too seriously.  Humor goes a long way to make stories interesting and enjoyable.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

When I published my first book and was so proud of, I met with the author Bev Jones who had inspired me to do it, for lunch.  The waiter saw the book and started talking to me about his wife loving romance.  Bev Jones stepped between us and started ‘selling’ her book.  I realized I was not aggressive enough (like she was) to sell myself – and I realized sometimes when you think someone is helping you maybe they’re helping themselves?

Where can people buy your books?

My books ‘Hawk’s Gift’ and ‘Alberta Wild Rose’ are available on my website

http://www.marymforbesauthor.com (paypal) as well as contacting me directly at marymforbes@hotmail.com.

One Dance with a Stranger’ is available on my website, through Authorhouse, Amazon, Barnes & Noble as well as e-published on Kindle(Amazon), Lybrary(Authorhouse),  shortcovers (Indigo/Chapters)

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Frances Cole Jones, author of “The Wow Factor”


Author interview with Frances Cole Jones9780345517944

1. Tell us about your latest book:

The subtitle of The Wow Factor is “The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World.” The idea is that in this economic climate people need immediate, practical solutions for finding a job, positioning themselves for promotion, keeping their customers’ trust– generally maintaining their edge no matter what their situation. With this in mind The Wow Factor offers11 habits I’ve found my clients must have, 11 things I’ve realized they’ve must know, and 11 things I’ve discovered they can do today to be more effective tomorrow. My hope is that the readers of The Wow Factor will gain the tools they need to do the same.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

By being a lifelong reader— someone who can put words together effectively has always made me swoon. After that I was lucky enough to work with teachers and mentors who pushed me beyond– so far beyond—where I was comfortable. 

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up about 5 a.m. and write until about 9 a.m. After that, I practice Ashtanga yoga; then I work with clients in the afternoon. In between, I’m usually walking my dog.

4. Describe your workspace

My workspace is anywhere I can open my computer—I’m not picky. I write at my desk, on my bed, on the sofa, on buses, trains, airplanes….

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger, Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.

6. Tell us three interesting/crazy things about you

  1. I’ve been practicing Ashtanga yoga for twelve years. Ashtanga asks you to be on the mat six days a week: you’re tired, you practice; you’re busy, you practice; you’re sad; you practice, etc. Incorporating this discipline into writing has been incredibly helpful.
  2. Thanks to Ashtanga, I can stand on my hands and put my feet on my head—before I started I couldn’t touch my toes.
  3. I consider brownies perfectly legitimate breakfast food.

7. Favorite quote

“Write toward vulnerability. Don’t worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent.”

                                                            Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part of being a writer is getting paid to write—how extraordinary is that? I’m grateful because it’s a privilege. I don’t know that there is a worst part—I would say the hardest part is that moment about 1/3 of the way into the writing process when I inevitably say to myself, “Well, this is just absolutely awful and I have no idea how I’m going to make it work.”

9. Advice for other writers

Find people who will give you honest—constructive—feedback. It’s not enough to say, “This is just great!” Or “This isn’t working.” You need someone who can say, “This is great and here’s how I think it can be better.” Or, “This isn’t working but I think this is how you can make it work.”

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

My writing experience was a long time coming — when my agent first told me she thought I had a book in me, I told her I thought she was delusional. What I discovered, thanks to her patience, is that—for me—finding the right tone was the hardest part. Putting words together wasn’t tricky—putting them together in such a way that others responded to them was. We went through seventeen drafts of the manuscript for my first book before she thought it was ready to go out into the world- this is why I so strongly recommend finding someone you trust to give you feedback.

The Wow Factor is available on Amazon here:


10 QUESTIONS FOR “Thirsty” author Kristin Bair O’Keeffe


Author interview with Kristin Bair O’KeeffeLayout 1KBOK_Color Bio Photo_High Res

I’m a writer, a writing teacher, and the curator of “Out Loud: The Shanghai Writers Literary Salon.” My work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Poets & Writers Magazine, The Baltimore Review, and The Gettysburg Review, and I write a monthly column about writing fiction for WritersontheRise.com. I live in Shanghai, China, with my husband and daughter. Thirsty is my first novel.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Thirsty is the story of one woman’s unusual journey through an abusive marriage, set against the backdrop of a Pittsburgh steel community at the turn of the twentieth century. Klara Bozic marries young, immigrates to America, and discovers her husband is angry and abusive. She is a woman without a voice, a woman constrained by religion, class, gender, and economics, but still she has to figure out if she has the courage to change her path in life (a question we all come up against at one point or another). Thirsty is the story of her journey.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I wrote my first poem—“The Hummingbird”—when I was eight. (I still have it.) After that I was obsessed with writing. I wrote poems, short stories, and during middle school, a series of parodic plays about my older sister and her friends. While other kids were dallying around at the mall, I was sitting under a tree scribbling in my journal. I majored in English and journalism as an undergrad at Indiana University, and studied poetry there with some amazing poets (including Lynda Hull and Yusef Komunyakaa). I wrote the first draft of Thirsty as my graduate thesis at Columbia College Chicago.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

5:00 a.m. – Wake. Go to gym.

6:15 a.m. – Check email/Twitter/Facebook. Say hi to world. See what I missed overnight.

6:45 a.m. – Tully (my 20-month-old daughter) wakes.

6:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Tully time.

12:00 – 5:00 – Write. Ponder. Work.

5:00 – 7:00 – Tully time.

7:00 – 7:30 – Eat. Talk with husband.

7:30 – 10:00 – Write. Ponder. Work.

10:00 – 10:30 – Read in bed.

10:30 – Crash.

4. Describe your workspace.

My apartment in the French Concession area of Shanghai sits at the intersection of two streets: Wulumuqi Road and Anfu Road. Wulumuqi Road is still part of old China; here I can have a live chicken killed and plucked for dinner, get a couple of frogs skinned for lunch, or buy xiaolongbao from street vendors. Anfu Road represents new China; here I can sip a glass of wine at a French wine bar, have a slice of thin-crust pizza at an Italian restaurant, get my nails done, or have a silky dress made at an upscale tailor shop.

While I often hole up in my home office when I’m working hard on a project, I spend an equal amount of time in one of the many coffee shops at the intersection of Wulumuqi and Anfu roads. As a writer, I’m inspired by place, and there’s no better place for a little inspiration than this intersection in Shanghai, China. I see it all. (Then I write it down.)

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Here are five books that have wowed me in the past couple of years. I’ve read all of them more than once:

  • · Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • · The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • · Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • · The Known World by Edward P. Jones
  • · The Gathering by Anne Enright

(I also think that Steve Almond is inappropriately hilarious and should be read out loud to friends at least once a week, Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is brilliant, and Mark Haddon is a master of point of view.)

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

Between 1998 and 2002, I spent three seasons on a 588,000-acre ranch in New Mexico where I saw more bears and elk than people, learned to shoot a gun, and became a terrible, but passionate fly-fisherwoman.

I am Meat Loaf’s greatest fan. (I’ve seen him perform numerous times, grabbed his belly at a record label meet-and-greet, and served homemade meat loaf to friends for dinner before concerts.)

I suffer terrible vertigo.

7. Favorite quote

“’There is no use trying,’ said Alice; ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’ ‘I dare say you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’” – from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

First drafts are excruciating for me; when I’m writing them I feel like I’m being turned inside-out. I love writing second (and third, fourth, fifth) drafts. That’s when the fun begins, when things flow, when I can really dive deep.

9. Advice for other writers

For me, there are two parts to being a writer:

1)   the mystery of discovering and writing stories

2)   the business of finding homes for those stories

Keep those two parts separate. Trust the mystery of your story as you’re writing it. Listen to it. Breathe it in. Breathe it out. See it in your dreams. Carry it on your daily walk to the river. And once you’ve got a story finished, believe in it. Then work hard to find a home for it.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I read everything I write out loud. Over and over again. Whether I’m alone in my office or sitting in a crowded restaurant. Last year I was reading a piece out loud in a local Shanghai coffee shop when I realized an entire table of Chinese teenagers was staring at me. The funny thing was, they weren’t bothered by the fact that I was reading out loud, but were listening to practice understanding English.

Where can people buy your book?

Thirsty has a great Web site and a very cool book trailer. Visit it at http://www.thirstythenovel.com. You can buy Thirsty at your local indie bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the Swallow Press Web site. I’d be eternally grateful if you ran out and bought a copy right now. Then stop by my blog, leave a comment, or ask me a question (http://kristinbairokeeffeblog.com).

Follow Me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kbairokeeffe

Friend Me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Kristin.Bair.OKeeffe

Watch for these upcoming author Q&As this week!



March 18 (Wed.): Tim Warneka (black belt/leadership books)querybook

March 19 (Thurs): Linda Bilodeau (mainstream/romance)

March 20 (Fri): Susan Rosson Spain (Young Adult and children’s books)

March 21 (Sat.): Karen Sherman (how-to/inspirational)

March 22 (Sun.): Alma Bond (biographies, novels, children’s books, mysteries)

March 23 (Mon.): Frank Say (psychological thriller)