Author: kdell.

The Storyteller’s Daughter was your first published novel. Tell us a bit about this story and what inspired you to write it.

The novel tells the story of a teenage girl named Skye MacNamara who learns that the parents she has always known are changelings, that she herself is descended from a line of seannachies (the ancient storytellers of the Scottish Highlanders who have been said to have almost mystical abilities), and that her real mother has been trapped in a story for the past 15 years. Skye’s task is to try to rescue her mother, which she can only do by learning what it means to be a seannachie.

I began writing The Storyteller’s Daughter while I was finishing up my Ph.D. dissertation, which has a strong focus on memory and how our identity is made up of stories—stories that we tell, stories that we have been told, stories that we find in the world around us. One of the novels that I studied was Alistair MacLeod’s No Great Mischief. There is a single line in the novel where MacLeod refers to seannachies. I’d never heard of them before, and I was riveted by his description of the way “they would ‘remember’ events from a Scotland which they had never seen, or see our futures in the shadows of the flickering flames”. That single line inspired a chapter in my dissertation, but it also inspired my novel. I had the good fortune to live in Scotland for a few years while I did my degree; those experiences combined with my childhood in the prairies to create the setting and background for my story.

Are you currently working on any new projects?

I am currently in the process of turning my dissertation into a book, which will be published by McFarland. The book will look at representations of memory and identity in the works of four Canadian authors: Alistair MacLeod, Michael Ondaatje, Jane Urquhart, and Margaret Atwood.

I’m also working on a sequel to The Storyteller’s Daughter: Where the Story Begins. It picks up just after the last novel ends, and finds Skye and her friends facing new conflict as a consequence of some loose ends that were left at the end of their last adventure. It’s given me an excuse to delve even deeper into Celtic and Gaelic mythology, and helps let off a little steam after a day of immersion in critical theory!

When you were a kid, did you dream of being a writer?

I have always thought of myself as a writer. Even when I’m not working on stories or essays, I always have a pen near at hand. I have written dozens of journals, tons of poetry (bad), and zillions of skits and anecdotal stories that are intended to point out the absurdity of my daily life. I have always dreamed of being a self-sustaining writer, but I’m also teacher. I love teaching students how to express themselves, how to articulate their thoughts more effectively, and to appreciate the power of stories and narrative. Teaching and writing go hand-in-hand for me; I wouldn’t want (or even be able) to give up either.Cover

Do you have any advice for new writers thinking of publishing a book?

Hmmm… I’m still looking for advice in this department myself. But from what I’ve gathered, I’d recommend that new writers start by reading as much as you can about publishing, both traditionally and independently. Make contacts—through blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all those kinds of social media. There is a lot of really helpful information, and a lot of authors who are willing to share their experiences. The other thing I’d recommend is to take a deep breath and slow down—don’t rush into anything. Take your time, especially if you want to make writing and publishing a regular thing!

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Amazon Author Page:

Who is your favourite author and what strikes you about their work?

This is a tricky question. I love Terry Pratchett’s work: his novels are incredibly clever, hilarious, poignant. His characterisations of Sam Vimes and Granny Weatherwax resonate very strongly with me. I love Death, too. There is always something for me, whatever the mood or situation, in his pages. I’ve read all of his novels dozens of times. If I could write satire, I would aspire to write it like his.

Of course, I love a lot of authors and have had dozens of favourites over the years. My recommended reading list for anyone who makes the mistake of asking is huge. But Pratchett is my go-to guy when I’m reading just for me.

Celtic Tarot CardsTell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

My cover art was done by the incredibly talented Vanessa Kalyn. She read my book and came up with a number of different possible images. I chose the image of the three girls for the cover because I love the way she captured each girl’s personality so clearly yet so simply, and I feel like there’s a strong sense of the dynamic between them. Vanessa’s artistic style is incredibly unique, and the image just pops. It’s so different from every other cover I’ve seen. I still remember the first time I saw it—I couldn’t stop smiling!

Other than writing, do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

Reading and writing seem to occupy a lot of my time. However, I love to swim (I was a lifeguard for years), and I want to start camping again. I used to do a fair bit of that kind of thing, but haven’t for years. I also love to do things with my hands—a friend of mine taught me to do beadwork, and I LOVE that. I like to draw as well (though I’m not very good at it), and would love to learn to paint but I just don’t understand colour.

Give us a memorable quote from your book meant to intrigue and tantalize us.

I took a step closer then stopped, undecided. She was a lonely, eccentric old woman who’d known me all my life. My parents had trusted her. I trusted her. Part of my brain was prepared to follow her, but the rest of my brain was gibbering unintelligibly in all-out panic. Everything she said sounded right, but it all felt wrong. I knew how a mouse that has wandered across the path of a ferret must feel. At that moment, I didn’t care if I never saw any of my stuff ever again. All I wanted was to get out of there, alive and with all my usual bits still attached.

“I just remembered something…” I mumbled. Then instinct took over and I turned and ran for it.

As I dashed from the steps back to my car, I was certain that I felt her breath on my neck. I fumbled with the door handle on the passenger’s side and scrambled into the car, slammed the door, hit the locks and scrambled across to the driver’s side. Only then did I look back, and I half expected to see Mrs. Schnout pulling a full-on Cujo, slavering and crashing into the door behind me. Instead, she was still standing in front of her open door, hunched and squinting, watching me.

What other books are similar to your own? What makes them similar to your own?

Books that blur the line between reality and fiction have a lot in common with mine—you know, the idea that there is a huge part of the world that we know nothing about where amazing things are happening but we don’t realize it because we aren’t looking for it. Stories that bring gods and mythical creatures into this world, and focus on a heroine who is stubborn and independent but also vulnerable in a variety of ways, like Nicole Peeler’s Jane True stories (though her stories are way sexier than mine!). My narrative tends to focus on adventure and challenges to the individual, rather than on romance, which makes it a bit different from a lot of stories.




TTFree4 copyLooking at your various social media I’ve counted five books you’ve published. Is that correct? What are your published titles so far?

Sadly, I only have two books published so far. Book one and two in a middle grade fantasy trilogy, Truth Teller and The Wrath of Siren. Book three, Favian’s Law, is currently in the hands of my editor being proofread. I also have sci-fi/fantasy children’s novel called Unknown Reality that is also waiting to be proofread. I can’t wait to put the finishing touches to these two novels and get them published.

I have a poem that is being published by Kendall Hunt Publishers this month. They produce educational books for schools and colleges in America. The poem is called Our Solar System and was written to teach children a little bit about each planet in our solar system.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?




Amazon Author Page:


Barnes & Noble:


Are you working on anything right now? Can you tell us about it?

I’m about a third of the way through a children’s story called The World in Johnny’s Back Garden. I wanted to write a story that gave kids an alternative view of living things. I started writing this many years ago and it has changed so many times, but now I finally have a whole new plot for the story, and I hope to actually finish it one day. Here is a sample of the first chapter.

You’re very generous with sharing your marketing tips and tricks. What book marketing strategies have worked well for you?

Marketing is so very difficult for a children’s author. It’s the only genre where you don’t really have direct access to your target audience. So when you market, the best you can hope for is to persuade a parent or teacher to recognize that your book is something their children would like to read. I’ve tried to overcome this by donating my novel to places like school libraries where they will be read by the kids I wrote them for.TruthTeller_MED

My most successful marketing strategy so far has been to make my first book perma-free once I covered what it cost me to publish the novel. Then I used some of the many companies out there that do free book promotions. There are plenty to choose from. Some are better than others, but if you find a good one, you can get anything up to two hundred downloads in one day. Hopefully some customers will like my story enough to buy the other books in the series.

How did you come up with the idea for your book? You’ve published a few,  just pick one.

When I was a child, I always struggled to read some of the classic fantasy novels. I fell in love with fantasy but was never very good at reading. So tackling such classic books like Lord of the Rings was hard for me. I remember thinking back then that someone should write fantasy books like this especially for people like me who were not so strong at reading. When I decided to write children’s novels, I already had an idea of what I wanted to write: a fantasy novel just as I imagined from a child. That is how my Truth Teller trilogy was born.

Do you have a favorite author? What strikes you about their work?

I would have to say Terry Brooks is my favorite author. I have read most of what he has written. The Shannara series was an absolute classic. I think there are about sixteen books all together. I admire Terry because he is such a master at the way he writes. He is my biggest inspiration when it comes to writing.

Tell us a bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?

WrathofSiren_MEDI SO love my covers! Truth Teller won an award for best artwork on the Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll 2012. They are designed by a very dear friend of mine, Dawne Dominique. We met many years ago in the Young Adult Novel Workshop on writing,com. As I knew absolutely nothing about writing, she took me under her wing, encouraged and supported me, and helped mould me into the author I am today, along with many other amazing people I met on this journey. Dawne is such a great cover artist as well as a brilliant author, not to mention an amazing person. You can find her here:

Give us an interesting fun fact about one of your books?

Every character I have ever created has been fictional, all except one. One of my characters is actually a real person. I wonder if you can guess which one it is.


Give us a short summary or snippet from one of your books meant to intrigue your audience.

I love this bit from The Wrath of Siren where the human child, Charlotte, is traveling with a young elf called Elderfield.

Charlotte began to tire of their adventure and longed to sleep in a soft, comfortable bed once again. “What do you think we will find when we come to the end of the river?” she asked, trying to strike up a conversation to relieve her boredom.

Elderfield shrugged. “To be honest, I have absolutely no idea.”

“I reckon we’re going to find a massive lost city, probably made of gold or something like that, and nobody’s ever been there apart from us for thousands of years.” She grinned at the image she created.

Elderfield laughed. “I doubt that very much.”

“You never know, this place is well weird. You don’t know what’s going to happen next.” Charlotte was serious for a moment then continued, smiling. “And when we get there, because we’re the first people to visit this place for thousands of years, they think we are some kind of gods or something, and they treat us like kings and queens. They tell us we can have anything we want.”

“Do you not think that you are getting a little carried away?”

“No,” Charlotte replied bluntly. “If you could have anything you want, what would it be?”

“If I had the choice, I think I would have to choose … going home right now.” He grinned.

“No, that’s boring.”

She noticed Elderfield watching her with amused interest as she tried to think of something herself. “I would definitely have to wish for a chocolate river.” She licked her lips. “That would be amazing.”

“What in heaven’s name is a choclit river?”

Charlotte burst out laughing. She tried to reply but laughed too much to get the words out. “No, a chocolate river, not a choclit river,” she finally managed to say.

“Whatever it is, it sounds ghastly to me. Why would you want a river made out of … whatever it is?”

“Elderfield! You don’t know what chocolate is, do you? Wow, that’s just wrong. You have never lived, trust.” She giggled behind her hand.

“What is this stuff?”

“It’s like angels dancing on your tongue.” She paused to judge his reaction. “Apart from my family, it’s the one thing I miss the most. That and telly.”

“And you say that we are weird.” He shook his head.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you so very much, Katherine, for featuring me on your awesome site and letting me show off my books. Like so many other authors in the writing community, you have been very supportive. You’ve gotta love the writing community!

And thank you to all the readers out there who have come to view this post. If you’re a fan of fantasy, go and grab a free copy of my book. Happy reading.

So, you’ve written a book and now you want to get it published. Dido! And the more you look in to how to achieve this goal, the more confusing it gets. Yep! Don’t fret! There’s an answer out there, specific to you. And you’ll eventually find it if you stay the course. But… may I offer a bit of advice that seems to be working for me in my quest for publishing? Are you read for it?

Learn how to sell yourself and the rest will come easier. (NO, not in the biblical sense.)

Over this past year I’ve tried my hand at a few interesting hobbies, one of them being, becoming a TV and movie background actor. Through an agent I got on a few shows that were being filmed locally in YYC. I never imagined that so many big name stars came to my city! But… more to the point I want to get at.

Being on set with everyone ranging from an extra to a big star, gave me a whole new appreciation for the industry. Everyone there, no matter what rank they were, was trying, somehow, to sell themselves. To portray to best ,and most interesting side of themselves. Not everyone’s goal was to become that next big movie star, but they were all there to showcase something.

I saw background actors bringing lines from other productions to practice, honing their theoretical skills. I saw shaggy looking guys get transformed by hair and makeup artist in to someone their loved ones wouldn’t even recognize, on the chance to be involved in what is ‘movie magic’. But most of all I saw, and appreciated, the heart and dedication that went in to it all.

I’ve tried hard to emulate my experiences onset in to my writing career. For example, I ‘ve had my website, book cover, photos, and branding professionally done. All these things portray an image to potential agents, publishers, and readers that I’m the real deal. I am committed! Not only will I write one book with dedication and passion, but many! Katherine (32)

How people perceive you to be has huge effect on whether or not you’ll get noticed. Now, I’m not saying go out and spend a bunch of money on promoting a ‘movie star’ image of yourself. What I’m saying is – portray a ‘professional you’ for an audience to see. One that says this is what I do and I’m passionate about it!



Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction.

  1. See and be seen. Get out there! Got to writer conferences, book signings, trade shows, etc., and look professional while your doing it. I know an author who dresses reminiscent to the genre he writes in whenever he attends an event. Does he look like that every day? No. Does it look professional when he’s at an event? You bet!
  2. Get professional images of yourself and what your trying to promote on social medias. People make decisions about you in seconds. Make a good first impression.
  3. Separate the personal you from the professional you. Professional you doesn’t post cat videos! … Well there may be some exceptions :)
  4. And my last tip… Be consistent. Show your passion for what you do every day and people will notice.



Good luck and Good Writing.



EasterBasketMonsterHatMeet Chris Rothe, an author as wonderfully quirky as the books he writes. Not only is Chris skilled skilled in the art of weaving  fantastical tales, he has a heart of gold when it comes to helping, and encouraging his fellow writers. I introduce to you, Chris Rothe.

Chris, I’ve read your book Dirk Danger Loves Life, for which I gave a glowing review! (Book Review) Give us summary of what this book is about and what inspired you to write it.

Thank you! So very glad you liked it. The book is about a twenty-something who is unable to function as a self-sustaining adult. One morning, when he’s at his lowest, he accidentally meets an eccentric fellow named Dirk Danger who decides to help him be a better person. Hilarity ensues! 978-0-9866424-2-5_flyer1-full

 The inciting incident in the book is that the main character decides to call the number on one of those fliers with the tear-away tabs along the bottom. The number is for a weight loss program, and I wondered what would happen if the person on the other end was more mean than helpful, and if being mean could be helpful. The story sprang from there, with me trying to turn negativity into positivity, resulting in a book that aims to be funny and uplifting.

 Where can people find your book for purchase?

You can find my book at my publisher’s website ( in both physical and eBook formats, along with the usual suspects: Amazon, Chapters, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and select local booksellers.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: /

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now?

I’ve just finished my second book, a collection of short stories that deal with death and dying though a comedic lens. It’s currently at the publisher awaiting judgement, so fingers crossed I’ll have more to share later in the year. I’ve also just about wrapped a second collection of shorts and a new novel that I’m keeping the details tight on until it’s in a more solid form.

I’ve also thought about doing a podcast on the writing process. It’ll probably be only a single episode and will consist of me sobbing into a microphone for ninety minutes.

Do you have a favourite author? What strikes you about their work?

My favourite author at the moment is Dave Eggers. His book You Shall Know Our Velocity is one of my all-time favourites. The way he’s able to weave comedy and tragedy together is what I like most – it’s a tough balancing act and he handles it in way I aspire to with my own writing.

Are you reading anything right now?

Indeed! I’ve been burrowing into Adam Roberts’ collection of science fiction short stories entitled Adam Robots. The ideas are quite wonderful, and Roberts’ ability to switch up his style and tone keeps the stories fresh and distinct.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was fourteen. One night, I was lying in bed when a whole poem just materialized in my head, fully formed. As I was fourteen, I’m fairly certain it was drivel, but at the time, I sprang from bed to write it down and have been writing from that point on. Not poetry though. Poetry is hard.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?Book

The most surprising thing I learned was just how much you have to be willing to hack apart your work during the editing process. As Dirk was my first novel, I’d not been through the professional editing process prior to that point and in the end, I’d taken an axe to the manuscript and chopped out six full chapters that didn’t work, while fleshing out the good stuff. It was pretty eye opening and I had to learn that sometimes, you need to slice and dice and to let go of something you thought had merit at one point or another.

Tell us an interesting fun fact about your book.

None of the characters in my novel ever reveal their real names.

Other than writing, do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I’m very adept at having crippling self-doubt. Also, vacuuming. I can clean a floor like nobody’s business.

If your book was made in to a TV show or movie. Who would you cast to play the characters in your book?

I have no idea! Maybe it could be a movie where Eddie Murphy plays everyone, or maybe one of those avant-garde things where the characters are all highly trained cats. It’s a difficult question to answer, because I tried to write something relatable and that people could find themselves in. Putting a face to the weirdos is a challenge.

What advice do you have for writers trying to get their first book published?

Don’t give up, but don’t get your hopes up either. Getting your hard work into the hands of readers is definitely a challenge and something you should strive for with all you’ve got, but don’t expect to instantly show up on any best-seller lists. It should always be a passion while you work your hardest to make it your career.

Name one person you feel has supported you in your writing career?

As alluded to in the previous question, I’d not quite say I have made a career of my writing just yet. Semantics aside, my wife has always been a great support and points out when I’m running in the wrong direction. She’s a great reality check when I think I’ve struck gold, but have actually lodged my pickaxe into a water main and am being sprayed with raw sewage.

Anything else you’d like to add?

No, I’ve never been very fond of math.

:) Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Chris. Everyone, take the time to check out Chris’s re-launched website at !



A fellow Canadian writer! Nice to meet you! Through some of the chatting we’ve, you’ve told me that your book is not yet published. Can you tell me a bit about this project your working on?

The current manuscript is a YA thriller called Pretty Wicked. It’s about Ryann Wilkanson, a fifteen-year-old serial killer living in a small town in Colorado. Her father is one of the town’s police officers. Ryann uses him, his fellow officers, and her experience at the police station to study how to get away with murder. Even as a small child, Ryann knew she was different. Instead of concerning herself with toys and games, she was secretly studying infamous serial killers who she refers to as The Greats. The story is told in first person by Ryann, as she plots murder, incites chaos, and tries to thwart the cops in her small town Dungrave.

I have two complete novels, and am currently working on a third book as well.

Are you thinking of self-publishing or traditional publishing to get your book out there, and why?

I’m currently querying agents, but am not opposed to self-publishing. It’s a great option for authors. The publishing industry can be very tough and it’s nice to know that writer’s have more options to get their work out. Ideally, I would like to be a hybrid author. It seems to be a nice mix of both avenues.

Do you write full time or have a job as well?

I have a part-time job as an Educational Assistant. Before that I worked as a Youth Outreach Worker in the Vancouver area. Both are excellent fodder for stories about teens. I have the ability to test out ideas on potential readers and get direct feedback, which has been extremely helpful.

Do you find that things in your daily life find their way in to your novel?

Of course. I don’t see how they couldn’t. The subconscious is a powerful thing and even when I don’t knowingly use things from my life in a novel, I’ll catch something later when I’m editing. If something I’ve experienced fits and will enhance my story, I have no problem putting those details into a book. Characteristics and certain nuances of people I’ve met and places I’ve been definitely influence my work.

Are you reading anything right now? How is it?

I’ve been going through a lot of friend’s manuscripts right now as they are also querying. The last published novel I really loved was by E.E. Cooper. It’s a YA suspense called Vanished. It was really well written and fun. The book is dark and twisty, but contrasts nicely with flecks of humor.

I commend you for starting your author platform before your book is finished. What social medias can people discover more about you and your work?

I am on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. I am in the midst of building my website, which will be up and running this week.

Facebook author page-



I love to ask this question. If your book became a TV show or movie, who would you cast to play the main characters of your book?

Nicola Peltz is the perfect Ryann. She stars in Bates Motel as the beautiful but troubled Bradley Martin. I actually wrote Ryann with her in mind. Interestingly enough the role of her nemesis, Sergeant Estevez, also stars on Bates as Sheriff Alex Romero, played by the talented Nestor Carbonell. Stephen Moyer from True Blood could easily play her dad, Detective David Wilkanson. Ryann has too many friends for this game, but I would say that Austin Butler from the Carrie Diaries would be a great Lucas.

Did you always dream of being a writer?

It has been a dream for many years. I used to carry blank notebooks and fancy pens around and pretend I was a famous journalist and interview my family members when I was six and seven years old. I wrote a few stories, complete with illustrations, around nine and ten year old. But, I didn’t give it serious consideration until my mid-twenties. I was too insecure and overwhelmed to write, so I read every Writer’s Digest and Craft book on writing that I could get my hands on for a few years before I wrote my first book.

What’s been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned writing and trying to get your book published?

That writing is mostly rewriting and editing, and that you often need another set of eyes to help see things that you are no longer capable of finding in your own work. On the publishing side, I was surprised to learn that most authors write an average of 6-10 books before they get picked up by an agent and publish their first novel. I also discovered that there is no such thing as security in publishing. I was under the misconception that once you were published with one book, you had an ongoing contract with that house. I’ve learned since that it is often a succession of different contracts and that you can be essentially let go at any time. I have read about a few authors who were released mid series. It’s a scary thought, but I love writing too much to let any setbacks inhibit me. If I had, I guess I wouldn’t still be querying my second novel. You just have to be open to the stages of publication and learn what you can in each.

Do you have a favorite author? What strikes you about their work?

Successful published friends aside J, I love Anne Rice, Stephen King, Nova Ren Suma, and Maggie Stiefvater. Wait that was four. There are too many amazing authors. What stands out most about Rice and King is how prolific they are, but more than that is their ability to write widely across genres. Each of the mentioned authors take risks in their work. They choose subjects and ideas that are at times controversial and they tell their stories through narrators or points of view that aren’t always likeable or conventional. These are the most interesting stories to me.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for asking me (a yet to be published author) to be a guest on your blog Katherine! You’re so lovely, and I had a blast.



It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog. I figure it’s time I put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard so to speak.

So what should I write about? I went to this awesome writers convention last weekend, When Words Collide! It was the first time I’d ever been to a writers conference, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Everyone was there and by that I mean; there were big name authors, writers hunting for agents, avid readers, and everyone else in between.

The choice of sessions to attend were numerous and widely varied. The one that I found most interesting was on transmedia storytelling. Finally, I have words for what I’m trying to achieve! Little did I now that there are actual classes taught at a University level on this very subject! Perhaps you’re all wondering what transmedia storytelling is? Here’s a definition I found on Wikipedia.Harmless_JustFrontCover_Final

Transmedia Storytelling (also known as transmedia narrative or multiplatform storytelling, cross-media seriality[1]) is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats including, but not limited to, games, books, events, cinema and television. The purpose is not only to reach a wider audience by expanding the target market pool, but to expand the narrative itself.[2]

So, how am I incorporating transmedia storytelling in to my world of writing you ask? Well – first comes the foundation, my young adult novel titled, Harmless. Once I’ve submitted the manuscript for this, I’ll be working on my Harmless prequel in graphic novel form. The graphic novel been on the back burner for a while now. I can’t wait to get started on it again. While I’m waiting for my most talented artist (Brianna Schretlen) to draw the frames, I’ll again be switching gears again,  typing away at the sequel to Harmless in novel form.

Oh, but my transmedia storytelling doesn’t stop there! I’ve got big dreams! A book trailer is in the works for Harmless. I am so excited to show it to you all when it’s finished. The trailers is a collaborative effort between me, Brianna, and a vary talent musician (whom I’ll wait to name). Let me tell you… The rough draft, gives me goose bumps! It looks like it’s a movie trailer!image-2

More transmedia ideas… Someday I would like to create a fandom type website, that centers around the characters and mythology I’ve created. It would be a place where fans could interact with other fans and geek out about all things Harmless.

Other transmedia storytelling I’d love to happen… It would be crazy awesome if someone wanted to make my book in to a movie or TV show. A video game version is also on my dreaming about list. I could go on and on about this… but I shall cut it short. I need to get back to the editing of my manuscript.

‘Till I blog again… Good reading and good writing!



Let me first say, I’m honored to have the opportunity to interview such an accomplished author such as you. You’ve published twenty-five books to date in genres such as Mystery, Memoir, Historical Fiction, and Biography. You actively make author appearances and teach at Michigan State University as a guest assistant professor on the subjects of writing, popular literature, and Jewish-America literature. You have dozens of published essays, articles, and stories in an array of publications. I could write a book filled solely with your accolades. So, once again, thank you for taking the time chat with me and share your experiences with those who read this.

Thanks for inviting me!

Out of your twenty-five published books, do you have a favorite? Having looked at your many titles this could prove to be a difficult question. Perhaps tells us about your favorite fiction, and non-fiction books you’ve written.

That’s always a tough question, but I think I’ll stick with just one if that’s okay: no. 19, My Germany is a favorite for many reasons. It combines mystery, memoir and history so it represents my writing and publishing across genres. Then it’s a book that challenged me a lot because I wasn’t sure for a long time how to structure it, and it actually was a number of different books before it found its final form. I also have intense memories of doing research for it in Belgium and Germany.My Germany

Beyond that, it’s put more miles on me than any other books of mine in terms of book tours, including two sponsored by the U.S State Department that took me across Germany. And I even learned German so that I could travel intelligently there and eventually do some of my readings from the German translation—and that was mind-blowing! The book changed me in many ways, both in writing it and afterwards, and I met lots of fascinating people including my German BFF who’s promised she would meet me in any city in Europe when I visit. Last time it was London.

Finally, as the son of Holocaust survivors, I never expected to go to Germany or write a book about it. A long answer, but it’s a layered book. 

Are you working on any new projects? Can you tell us about them?

I have at least half a dozen books in different genres started, which means I’ve got anywhere from a page or a vague outline to as much as 40 pages written, and some involve working through a shelve of research books before I start writing–but I’m taking a break right now because I’m a little burned out. Writing my suspense novel Assault With a Deadly Lie was tough. It’s about police militarization and it demanded something new from me. I’d been writing mysteries with these characters but I had to kick everything up a few notches from “Whodunit?” to “OMG–What the hell is going to happen next?” That demanded lots of planning and writing at a higher pitch. I also had to do new kinds of research about guns and go to a shooting range and go shooting with friends who are well-trained in firearms.Assault with a Deadly Lie

I’d ask if you have any advise for new writers starting out, but see you’ve written whole books on the subject. What’s one insight you’d like to pass on to the next generation of writers?

Be patient with yourself, and that covers a lot of territory. Take the time to learn your craft and learn the business and don’t be overwhelmed by other people’s success or envy or the latest publishing noise. We all have our own paths and some of them are wonkier than others. Learning your craft also means being as well-read as possible in any genre you choose to make your home. When you write, you’re joining a community of writers, and most of them are no longer living—don’t discount writers who aren’t contemporary, they might have a lot to teach you.

Are all your books self-published? Or did you go with traditional publishing houses on some? Would you recommend your method of publishing to others?

Most of my books are traditionally published, ranging from huge presses like Doubleday to boutique presses like Leapfrog. But the choices are wide open for everyone starting out now and there are so many guides to publishing, I think writers need to do research as to what the best plan would be for their specific project—for instance is it a hot enough property and do they have a platform that might interest an agent (in which case try Every book is different, every writer is different, nothing is predictable.

I read that you have a background in theater. Can you tell us a bit about your experiences?

I double majored in English and Theater in college for a while and it helped me get over some shyness (even though I’m an extrovert). Acting in a wide variety of plays was tremendous preparation for all the hundreds of talks and readings I would end up doing down the road once my work started getting published and recognized. Here’s where patience is part of the arsenal. You can’t do a good reading unless you practice, you’re prepared, you choose your excerpt wisely, and you treat the event as what it is: a performance. Too many authors don’t take readings seriously enough. I love doing readings, and enjoy teaching people in workshops how to do them.

Have you ever been approached to have any of your stories made in to a movie or TV show? Choose one of your fiction books and tell us who you’d cast as the main characters.

The Germay MoneyOh yes. I’ve had my work optioned and had people try to do plays from some of my stories and a movie from one of my books. Luckily nothing happened because the final results would have been, well, disappointing. The German Money is an intimate family drama about the children of a Holocaust survivor arguing once she’s died. Set mostly on the Upper West Side, it would be a perfect indie film and I’d cast Mark Ruffalo as the screwed-up brother, Laura Linney as the cold sister, Jason Isaacs as the older brother escaping his past, Carla Gugino as the woman he left behind, and Olympia Dukakis as the elderly neighbor.

Name a book you’ve read that you found notable. What about it grabbed your interest?

Here are some very recent reads. Midnight’s Furies is about the partition of India into India and Pakistan and gives you a rich history of that terrible, chaotic time, going much deeper than what most of us know. The French Intifada explore the dark history of France’s colonial rule in North fracas and helps explain what’s happening in France today with its Muslim population. Sinclair Lewis’s Kingsblood Royal is from the 1940s but it’s a surprisingly contemporary-feeling portrait of white racism in the north in the story of a man who discovers he’s actually black and his family has hidden this from him. The Blue Hour is an amazing biography of one of my favorite novelists Jean Rhys. All four books told great stories and were very well written—two absolute requirements for me no matter what I read. Oh, I also finally read Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, the only major novel of his I missed back in the day and was surprised at how funny it was, and how beautiful.

Other than writing, do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I’m good at languages, speak French and German, picked up Flemish and Italian when I needed to, and am currently studying Swedish. I’m also taking voice lessons for the first time and my teacher says I have “a nice middle range” for a baritone.

How can readers find out more about you and you work?



Twitter: @LevRaphael

Amazon Author Page:


Readers can always contact me via my web site.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. It was a pleasure chatting with.

Katherine Dell

profile_picnewI see your first novel, Blood Toy is going to be released soon. Tell us bit about the story and what inspired you to write it.

Blood Toy is the story of a girl who becomes a vampire hunter when her parents were murdered. After hunting to the exclusion of everything and everyone else in her life for three years, one finally started hunting her back. Blood Toy is mostly the story of that hunt. It is definitely a more classic vampire tale than the paranormal romances that have been making the rounds lately. I was inspired in high school by Anne Rice’s Lestat and Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. Though the first vampire story I ever read was The Celery Stalks At Midnight about Bunnicula, a vampire rabbit.

What do you like most about the genre you write in?

It allows me to write the books I want to read.

What advice would you offer to authors just starting out?

Don’t get too attached. Learn the phrase “Kill your darlings.” Embrace it! I just might get those words tattooed on myself. I’d get them engraved on my tombstone when I die, except I don’t plan on having one.

What’s the most memorable book you’ve read? Why?

The Taking by Dean Koontz. As a rule, I don’t re-read books, because I hate knowing how they end, but I read this one once a year. If I told you why it was brilliant, it would give the story away, but I will say knowing the ending makes it a completely different story the second time around.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Amazon Author Page:
Book Links:

Do you have any strange writing habits?

Sometimes I eat Jelly Belly jelly beans when I write. My favorite flavors are Toasted Marshmallow and Buttered Popcorn. I also listen to music that reminds me of high school (not sure why since high school was mostly awful). I listen to these songs…in this order and in a loop. I am a creature of habit!

  • Silent Lucidity – Queensryche, 1990
  • Sailing – Christopher Cross, 1979
  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison, 1970
  • Wind of Change – Scorpions, 1990
  • Crucify – Tori Amos, 1992Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.07.26 PM
  • Carnival – Natalie Merchant, 1995
  • These Dreams – Heart, 1985
  • Witchy Woman – Eagles, 1972
  • Whispers – Elton John 1989
  • I’ve Got Dreams to Remember – Otis Redding, 1968
  • Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics, 1983
  • Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones, 1990
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor, 1982

If your book was made in to a movie or TV show, who would you cast to play your main characters?

Oooh…this is a fun one. Gabriel Gray would make a good Desollador, I think.   Diane, definitely Eliza Dushku. And I’ve always thought of Bree Conners as a young Drew Barrymore, but the closest modern actress would have to be Maddie Hasson.

Tell us a bit about the cover of your book. Who designed it? Why did you choose those images?

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 3.57.37 PMDonna Murillo of DHM Designs created the cover during a design contest I ran on The background is a photo she took in Yosemite. I had a feeling she would be my cover designer when she told me about that photo, because Yosemite is my favorite place on earth. Donna created a unique 3D model based on my very specific idea of Diane. Eliza Dushku was the inspiration for her, with Olivia Wilde’s eyes and Emily Browning’s attitude from role as Babydoll in Sucker Punch. After I narrowed down the finalists to three, Diane told me in a dream she wanted the body Donna made for her. So that decided it. Her costume, I am told, is not realistic, but it really isn’t meant to be. Her weapons also have an intentional element of surrealism. The cover depicts a very specific moment in the final chapter of Blood Toy. Readers will definitely know it when they read it it.

Are any of the characters in your book modeled after people you know? (No need to name names) Just curious.

All. Except. One. When I first wrote Blood Toy, I literally took every person I knew in high school (or wanted to know) and created a character based on them. I even used anagrams and alternate forms of their real names (which is why I have a character names Mace). It’s why my cast of characters is so large, though their personalities have evolved much over time. The good guys were based on people I liked. And the bad guys were based on people I really liked. I based my victims on the ones I didn’t like:)

Gives us a memorable quote or snippet from our book that is mean to intrigue and tantalize.

My editor thinks this is the best line ever:

I stopped at an unremarkable thatch of Bradford Pears, snowy blooms wilting in the damp air, and vomited up the people I had eaten.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 10.47.29 PM

How did you come up with the title for your book?

I had no title for this book for such a long time. The first scene in Chapter 1 of my book was actually one of the last scenes I wrote. Desollador handed me the title on a silver platter. I knew as soon as he said the words to Diane I had my title.

Name one person that you feel supported you in your writing career?

There are so many: friends who have read every single version of it from the young adult novel that it was in the beginning to the mature themed book it is today, my husband who bought me a Macbook Pro to celebrate finishing my first draft, my daughter who is too young to read it, and my parents who probably shouldn’t read it, but will anyway.

What's NextI’m beginning to think that blogging about ‘what’s next’ for me has become a form of therapy . An authors world can be a very solitary one. This way I get to tell the world what’s going on with my writing, without annoying my friends by talking about it too much. Wait… I talk about it too much with my friends anyway.

So here’s where I’m at…

I’ve written a great book – at least a few people think so. I’ve had beta readers pour over it, and an editor too. And I’m putting the final touches on my manuscript before I send it for another round of substantive edits and formatting. Which will probably end up taking another six months  to complete. After it goes in to editing again I can kick back and relax… OR NOT! Writing and publishing a book doesn’t actually stop at writing and publishing a book. At least not for me. My wheels are always turning. So, What’s Next?Harmless_JustFrontCover_Final

I’ve started working on a book trailer! Well, to be more specific, I’ve hired two exquisitely talented professionals to collaborate with on the making of a book trailer. So far, I’m blown away! It looks like it could be a movie trailer and we’re only doing rough cuts so far. Once again, I marvel at the talented friends that surround me.

Here are some great book trailers I found online of books I’ve read.

Paper towns Johns Green

The Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard

Mosquitoland By David Arnold

The Fifth Wave By Rick Yancey

Eve By Anna Carey

Audio books?

I haven’t started on any audio book version of my book yet but I’ve been pondering it. Would an audience that reads my book, buy audio books? My book is YA, perhaps leaning a little most towards the older people in that spectrum. Are those people audio book buyers? Lots to think about.

Another thing I need to wrap my head around is a concrete marketing strategy. I’m finding this hard, but not impossible. The most difficult part of this is committing to trade shows, signing, events, etc., without knowing the exact release date of my book. Patience Katherine…

logoMy website content and upkeep keeps me busy as well. I have three main categories I concentrate on; guest blogging, author interviews, and my blogs. Content is key for a good website. I like the guest blogging and author interviews the most. I get to meet writers like myself, promote them while getting great content, and build a network of like-minded people. I’m always looking for new bloggers and writers. Drop me a line if an interview or guest blogging interests you.

Good content on my site, leads to good content in my Twitter feed. There are a few other places like Goodreads and Facebook where I have profiles, but Twitter is my main social media. In an effort to increase my Twitter following read a ‘how to’ book the other day. It’s strategies on how to unravel the mysteries of Twitter are coming in handy with build my author platform.

Another project I’ve started, related to my novel Harmless is a graphic novel prequel. I write and my artist Bri draws. She is the same artist I use for all my promotional materials, book cover, and book trailer. I have high hopes to turn this prequel in to a series as well. Here are a few rough sketches Bri has come up with so far.

So yeah… That’s what’s next for me. I’ll keep you all updated on the progress!

Good reading and good writing to all of you!

Katherine (34)


Mike Cody_Portrait
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. I took a look around on your social medias before writing this interview, and let me say, your website is awesome! I was surprised to find that you also wrote two non-fictions books on urban biking. I to am a bike enthusiast! Just this year I final got my dream bike. Although, I must admit it’s probably a little more bike than I needed. Perhaps reading your book could have helped me. Can you tell us a about your two urban bike books?

First of all, thank you so much for the invitation to chat a bit about my books, my writing and how I write. The Urban Bike books happened I think because of several events in my life that occurred around the same time.

First, I moved into the DC area and needed to commute to work every day. I quickly realised that owning a car in an urban area can be a lot more trouble and expense than most people realise. I eventually started using public transportation and went though several different “Urban” bikes before figuring out what my needs really were.

The next thing was Amazon and other sites selling eBooks and those same books slowly elevating to being called “real” books. I saw people on the subway most every day reading from readers and ipads. I soon got an Ipad myself. Switching from “real” books was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I of course haven’t given up real books; I and most other people now have just added the flexibility of eBooks to our reading!

The last thing that happened was I had finally decided to try my hand at some writing. I had been thinking about it for a while but didn’t know if I could do it. I have been a reader all my life and have always enjoyed reading, hearing and telling great stories. I knew I was interested in writing fiction, but it seemed very intimidating as you might imagine! I thought, what do I know about writing a book right? So after a bit more thought, I decided to write about something I had a passion for and would require little of no research. All I had to do was write the darn book! Of course, little did I know, all the research that would be required later to get that book out there and into readers hands! As well as doing covers, PR, interviews, marketing and tons more, but more on that later.changes 8x10jpg adjusted copy-1

So that’s how The Urban Bike came to be. I knew I wanted to make something that was informative, but not intimidating. I bought a book in my college years by a guy named Denis Diblasio that used caricatures. I loved that book! It was pretty deep jazz stuff but the caricatures just made it a lot friendlier and less scary! So of course, I stole his idea and used it for the Urban Bike books. If you see this Denis, THANK YOU!

Anyway, that’s pretty much how they started.

The Urban Bike is a guide to finding and/or putting together an urban bike to fit YOUR needs.

The second book is a collection of interviews I did with people from all walks of life and from all over the world, who have made a bicycle their main form of transportation. Many of them are completely car-free. Some are what we like to call car-light, meaning they own a car and need one from time to time. But all of them had great stories to tell on the hows and whys of moving to a car free lifestyle.

After writing your urban biking books decided to write fiction, publishing Where Power Resides. Can you tell us a bit about what this book is about?

Where Power Resides takes place here in Washington D.C. Two FBI agents are brought into a case when a long-time Washington Post writer is murdered. After a lot of chases, fights and a bit of cat juggling, they learn about a secret government program called Far Sight. Far Sight seems to go well beyond just spying on citizens. The two agents learn that Far Sight might also have the capabilities of far more sinister things, like killing people. It is a fast paced thriller that I hope, keeps the reader turning pages till the end!WPR_Final_Cover copy

Did you have to do a lot of research the book Where Power Resides? Tell us a bit about it?

As a reader, one of the things I like to see in a story like this is realism. Could this happen? So I ask, is the technology, storyline and characters plausible? Keeping with that mindset, I did quite a bit of research on real government programs like MK Ultra. I also spent time just looking at the real FBI building in DC to get a feel for it. I know the area pretty well having lived here several years so when I mention places and things in the book around DC and Virginia, they are pretty accurate. The Metro stations I mention are real, and the building I call “The School” is a real boarded up old school in downtown DC near Chinatown, just as I describe it in the book!

Give us an interesting fact or two about Where Power Resides?

Well as I mentioned before, I think the fact that so much of the locations are real is interesting. The “On the spot” noodle place is a restaurant I’ve been going to for over ten years! Lastly, I guess it might interest some would be writers out there that I started this story for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) a couple of years ago. So yes, writing a book in a month or at least trying, CAN end up being a book!

metro fight    china town cat juggling-1     The School

How can readers find out more about you and your work?


Blog: My blog is located on my website






I’ve found, that becoming a self-published author can be a major learning curve. Do you have any advice for people just starting out?

I agree! If you go into Indie writing thinking all you’ll do is write a great book, well, you will be very disappointed! However, if you go in with eyes and mind wide open, you will take the kind of control over your art that very few have been able to do in the past.

Writing a good book is the first step of course, and if you can’t do that, the rest really doesn’t matter too much. (I’m staying well away from discussing 50 shades and other not so great books that made a LOT of money!) After that you need a great edit and maybe several revisions. Some where along the line you need a great cover, it’s the first thing people see so it is imperative that it’s professional, well designed and fits your book.

So now you have a book. You can sit back and watch the sales roll in! well, no… if people don’t know it’s there they can’t buy it so now comes Public relations, marketing and advertising. I don’t want to scare off all the would-be authors out there, after all I’m a reader and they might write my next favourite book! But yes, very simply, there is quite a bit to learn.

But here is the good news is if you get that far, you have already done what most people didn’t, you actually wrote a book! You didn’t just talk about it or dream about it. You put butt to seat and fingers to keyboard and wrote the darn book. You can do the rest too! So go do it!

Do you write full time? Can you tell us about other careers you’ve had/have?

I am working towards writing full time with a full time income. So far, I’m not there, but I am definitely moving forward! More fans, emails, interviews and yes, even book sales, every month!

As far as jobs I’ve had, I spent most of my life doing technical production for stage shows, concerts, events, tours and lots of other things. I guess I have been telling stories one way or another for quite a while.

Name one person you feel has really supported you in your writing career?

Hands down, my fiancée Linda. She is my biggest cheerleader and yet isn’t afraid to question things or ask questions about my work. I feel very fortunate to have her in my life. I also have a few friends who support my work. It’s funny though, you’ll find that most won’t. No idea why but most creative people I know will tell you the same thing. You need a lot of determination and will to just keep going, but I think it’s worth it.

Do you have a favourite author or book? What strikes you about their work or that book?

Hey I’m a reader so I have tons of favourite books and authors! Some, like Stephen king’s “On Writing”, are just inspirational and educational. Others, like Jurassic Park and “20000 Leagues Under the Sea”, are just great reads! But here are a few more in random order as I think of them… I’m sure I’ll leave out great stuff, but here is what comes to mind as I type this.


Fat Man and little Boy

The Right Stuff

A League of their own

Search for Red October

All Creatures Great and Small

A Man on the Moon


Miles: The Autobiography

Interview with the Vampire

The Da Vinci Code

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

The Lost Symbol

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A final big thank you for those of you who made it this far! Writing can be a solitary journey, but if you feel the pull to take that trip, I say do it. Write your story, only YOU can write YOUR story! And when you do, drop me a line so I can check it out!