Diane Byington joins us on the blog this week to discuss her latest novel, a time-travel thriller, If She Had Stayed. Welcome, Diane!

Author Name:  Diane Byington

Book TitleIf She Had Stayed

Book Genre:  Women’s fiction/thriller/time travel

Release Date:  February 17, 2020

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

How would you describe If She Had Stayed?

From would-be rock star to museum curator, Kaley Kline remembers the past through rose-colored glasses. When she gets the opportunity to go back into her own life and change the thing she regrets the most, she chooses to go back to college and not break up with her boyfriend, Scott. But that might not have been the best decision she’s ever made.  

What drew you to the idea for the book about time travel that in part features the inventor Nikola Tesla?

This book was a process. I’ve always liked time travel, but in this case it was a means to an end, the end being the ability to have a second chance at fixing the things we regret the most. We can’t do that, of course, so I needed to find a way that someone could. Ergo, time travel. And I think that Tesla was so quirky that he could have actually discovered it, if that were even possible.

How has your real life informed If She Had Stayed?

I love to write about professional women and their concern with their careers. I am a retired social worker. During my career I was a college professor, a professional coach, a technical writer, a psychotherapist. I was never a museum director, though, and that caught my interest in trying to figure out what that life would entail.

In what ways do you think you’ve evolved as an author since your first book came out?

This is my second novel. The first one was a serious historical novel about a girl who wanted to run the Boston Marathon, but it was 1968 and women weren’t allowed. I loved writing that book, but for my second novel I wanted to write about something different, fun, a little on the crazy side. In my third novel, which I’m finishing now, it returns to the serious side. I think I’ve found my niche, which is as a writer of women’s fiction with an edge of suspense.

What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?

The absolute best part is seeing my writing in print and hearing from readers who’ve liked the book. That is awesome! The most challenging part is the marketing. I’d rather write than market, but that’s the case for most introverted author. In these challenging time, authors must do both.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I love to kayak, spin and weave, and photograph sunsets. I also love to hike and bike and hang out with friends.

What are you working on now?

My new book is about an astronaut who, just before she goes up to space for the first time, is hit by a truck and terribly injured. Because of this, she is ultimately grounded. She is devastated and, instead of finding a new life, she is determined to find another way to get to space. It leads her into some questionable decisions and a dangerous situation that threatens to end her life.

Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)? Any upcoming events?

Because of the coronavirus, it will be a while before I do in-person appearances. I’d be delighted to attend your virtual book clubs, though, or speak to groups via Zoom or Skype. You can reach me at www.dianebyington.com, at my author Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/dianebyingtonauthor), Twitter (@dianebyington), or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/dianebbyington). I’m also starting a Facebook group to support people who are interested in journaling during the pandemic. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2696965530532463/. I hope to have it up and running by the time this interview is printed.

Thank you, Diane! If She Had Stayed is out now.

Sometimes the past is better left alone.

Kaley Kline is thrilled to have landed a job as director of the new Tesla Museum in Colorado Springs. To make the museum successful, she searches for undiscovered works to display. When she finds an old safe that might have been Tesla’s, she’s shocked to find some diary pages supposedly written by the inventor himself.

Kaley initially thinks either that the journal is a fraud or Tesla was experiencing a nervous breakdown when he wrote it. However, if his experiments were real, the world will never be the same. She decides to secretly build Tesla’s time machine and attempt to go back into her own life to change a decision she has always regretted.

She prepares for a trip to the past, not knowing whether she will electrocute herself or travel back to the Boulder of her sophomore year in college. But an old boyfriend might have hidden some secrets from her—secrets that could have her fighting for her life.

BIO

Diane Byington has been a tenured college professor, yoga teacher, psychotherapist, and executive coach. Also, she raised goats for fiber and once took a job cooking hot dogs for a NASCAR event. She still enjoys spinning and weaving, but she hasn’t eaten a hot dog or watched a car race since.

Besides reading and writing, Diane loves to hike, kayak, and photograph sunsets. She and her husband divide their time between Boulder, Colorado, and Dunedin, Florida.


Excited to have Nicole Mabry on the blog today. She’s here to discuss her timely novel, Past This Point. Welcome, Nicole!

Author Name: Nicole Mabry

Book Title: Past This Point

Book Genre: Apocalyptic Women’s Fiction

Release Date: Out Now

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Please tell us about Past This Point

After years of failed relationships, Karis Hylen retreats from her social life, whittling her days down to just work and her dog Zeke. Her self imposed exile ends up saving her life when a deadly flu epidemic wipes out half the United States, and she must survive for months, alone in her apartment building.

How did you come up with the idea?

Years back there was a horrible snow storm in NYC and at the same time, a flu was making its way around my office. I work at NBC on the Saturday Night Live floor, which makes it a very busy floor. I was doing my best to stay away from everyone and barricade myself in my office so I wouldn’t get sick. Cuomo shut down all forms of public transportation because of the snow storm, which essentially shut down the city. That night, I had a vivid dream that combined these two elements, the flu and the shutdown, and it eventually became the plot for Past This Point.

How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?

I wrote the first draft in two months. But it was a very skeletal draft. I then spent the next two years editing it. One and a half years on my own, and then a few months editing with my agent. There was a ton of research that went into it. I had to research emergency response to something like this, how water, electricity and gas would be handled, food, police, etc…I needed to research what would cause a power outage in just one area of NYC, how viruses worked and how they were cured or vaccinated against. My favorite thing, though, was writing the cross country trip to the quarantine border. I’ve never driven cross country but wanted those scenes to ring true. So I basically Google mapped the entire trip and then went to street view and did the entire trip. It was so helpful, because I could see what my characters would see during the drive.

For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?

The actual words are the hardest. One of my writing instructors said most of her students come from a place of words, but I come from a place of plot. I have plots coming out my ears, but not enough time or mental space to actually write all of them. I feel very confident about my plots, but I agonize over the words to create the worlds I’ve imagined.

What do you love most about it?

Building intricate plots and taking people into my crazy head. The main reason I wrote Past This Point was because I was telling my best friend about my dream and her response was, “And then what happened?” Well, then I woke up! But she pushed me to write this because I then spent the next hour telling her what I would do if this happened to me and it ended up being a great plot. It was inspiring to me that I could engage her that much with just a ‘what if.”

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Past This Point?

Past This Point is not only an action packed thriller and emotional tear-jerker, but it’s also an inspiring story of a disillusioned woman who undergoes a major mental transformation by the end. Not only did my character make much needed changes, but I did in real life as well. Seeing what Karis went through and how her thinking changed by the end, changed my own thinking too.

How does your day job inform your novel writing?

I work on USA Network, Bravo and SYFY networks at my job and being so immersed in such diverse shows has helped me in so many ways when writing Past This Point. Combining reality TV with aliens, viruses, FBI and crime shows, and emotional dramas has helped me to combine these different but adjacent genres in my own work.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I work in photography in my day job. It was my first real passion. I shoot art photography mostly. Nudes, studies in shape and color. I try to explore the way our bodies fit into the landscape of life. I’ve been shooting for almost thirty years and still enjoy it. However, lately, most of my free time is spent on writing. I do still post some of my images from time to time on Instagram but the bulk of my work is on my website. And my other major interest is horror movies. I can watch them all day long, which I know is really odd. But I belong to a horror movie club and I do a top ten horrors for each year. It’s more of a fun hobby.

Are you working on a new project?

Yes, I actually have several in the works. One is a co-written thriller about a serial killer that taps into the current true crime trends. My co-author and I are currently querying agents for this one. On my solo projects, the second one is also about a serial killer, but a female serial killer and follows the #metoo movement. This is the one I’m working on right now. I do have another project that I was about 2/3 of the way through but then I realized, timeline-wise, the female serial killer one needed to come first. This third one is about a woman who witnesses a kidnapping of a young girl. When she tries to intervene, she ends up getting kidnapped along with the girl.

Where can readers find you?

http://www.nicolemabry.net/

https://www.instagram.com/nicolemabry_author/

https://twitter.com/fornickels

Thank you, Nicole! Past This Point is available NOW.

Karis Hylen has been through the New York City dating wringer. After years of failed relationships, she abandons her social life and whittles her days down to work and spending time with her dog, Zeke. Her self-imposed exile ends up saving her life when an untreatable virus sweeps the east coast, killing millions.Alone in her apartment building, Karis survives with only Zeke, phone calls to her mom, and conversations with two young girls living across the courtyard. With the city in a state of martial law, violence and the smell of rotting corpses surround her every day. But her biggest enemy is her own mind. As cabin fever sets in, vivid hallucinations make her question her sanity. In addition to her dwindling food and water stash, Karis must now struggle to keep her mind in check. When a mysterious man enters the scene, she hopes she can convince him to help her make it to the quarantine border. With the world crumbling around her, Karis discovers her inner strength but may find that she needs people after all.

BIO

Nicole is an award winning photographer and writer who now lives in New York City after growing up in Northern California. She manages photography post production at NBCUniversal, working on USA Network, Syfy and Bravo. Nicole’s photography has graced the covers of books internationally and has been featured in shows throughout the city. Nicole is an animal lover, avid book reader and horror movie junkie. Her love of the macabre led her to write Past This Point, an apocalyptic women’s fiction novel. Past This Point has won several awards including a silver medal in the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards, Best Book of the Year on Indies Today, and has been shortlisted for the Chanticleer Global Thriller Awards for High-Stakes Suspense.


Debut novelist, Joanne Easley, visits the blog this week to chat about Sweet Jane, which releases this week. Welcome, Joanne!

Author Name: Joanne Kukanza Easley

Book Title: Sweet Jane

Book Genre: Literary Fiction

Release Date: March 19, 2020

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Please tell us a little bit about your book.

After a broken childhood, Jane runs away at sixteen right on time for the Summer of Love. Seventeen years later, her return for Mama’s funeral catapults her back to the events that made her the woman she is.

What sparked the idea for Sweet Jane?

The character of Jane came to me at a writing group at a café in Austin, Texas. The writing prompt—she didn’t get that far—conjured an image of a heartbroken teenage girl hitchhiking away from her troubled home. The mental picture was so vivid, I had to delve into her story.

How long did it take for you to write ? And what was the research like?

It took several years to finish SWEET JANE. Life events put my writing on hold at times. When I retired from nursing, I was able to complete the novel. I did research the settings in Texas and California and the time period 1957-1984.

What’s the hardest thing about writing? What do you love about it?

The writing itself isn’t hard for me. Right now, with the upcoming release of my novel, all my time is devoted to promotion, and I’m itching to get back to the creative process.

I love when my main character comes to life and I feel I know her.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Sweet Jane?

My novel is ultimately about self-acceptance. Any reader who has struggled with unresolved childhood trauma will identify with Jane.

Has your career influenced your writing at all?

I draw on my knowledge and experience as a psychiatric nurse for perspective on the psychology of my characters.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

My dogs. I have three little rescue terriers. We enjoy walking around our small ranch with its abundance of wildlife. I’m also a dedicated swimmer, a mile-and-a-quarter three times a week.

Are you working on a new project?

Yes, I finished another novel while waiting for a contract. JUST ONE LOOK is set in my native Chicago and tells the story of a girl who fell in love at thirteen. I also have started researching another novel, LAUREN EATON, based on a character in SWEET JANE. Jane’s AA sponsor never did tell Jane her story as promised, so it’s up to me.

Where can readers find you?

www.sweetjanenovel.com

https://www.facebook.com/J.Easleywrites/

You can find my upcoming author events on my Facebook page. I’m located near San Antonio, Texas.

Thank you, Joanne! Sweet Jane launches on March 19th!

A drunken mother makes childhood ugly. Jane runs away at sixteen, determined to leave her fraught upbringing in the rearview. Vowing never to return, she hitchhikes to California, right on time for the Summer of Love. Seventeen years later, she looks good on paper: married, grad school, sober, but her carefully constructed life is crumbling. When Mama dies, Jane returns for the funeral, leaving her husband in the dark about her history. Seeing her childhood home and significant people from her youth catapults Jane back to the events that made her the woman she is. She faces down her past and the ghosts that shaped her family. A stunning discovery helps Jane see her problems through a new lens.

BIO

Joanne Kukanza Easley, born in Chicago, Illinois, has adopted Texas as her home. She lives in the Texas Hill Country on a small ranch with her husband, three rescue terriers, and abundant wildlife. Retired from a career in nursing—with dual specialties in the cold, clinical operating room, and the intense, emotional world of psychiatric nursing, she devotes her time to writing fiction. Her novel SWEET JANE was a 2019 Faulkner/Wisdom Writing Competition Finalist.


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