About the Author
Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for Davis Bunn, an award-winning novelist with worldwide sales of seven million copies in twenty languages. Davis divides his time between Oxford and Florida and holds a lifelong passion for speculative stories. He is the author of Emissary and Merchant of Alyss in the Legends of the Realm series, as well as Trial Run and Flash Point in the Fault Lines series. Learn more at www.tlocke.com
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
At age 28 I was living in Germany, working as a business consultant. I had reached a level of success where, for the first time, I could actually look forward and see where I was probably going to be in ten, twenty years time. And the truth was, it bored me silly. I had a friend who was a jazz musician, barely making ends meet, and supplanting his income by designing music for television advertisements. I helped him and a friend put together a business plan for a recording studio, and found myself surrounded by artists of all kinds. It was an introduction to a different universe, people so passionate about their work that money - while important - was secondary to growing, developing, expanding, facing new challenges. I have been a reader all my life, right from the very earliest days of my childhood. Within two weeks of starting my first story, I knew this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Even so, I wrote for nine years and finished seven books before my first was accepted for publication.
2. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
Those early years of struggle - working sixty hour weeks and trying to fit in another twenty hours each week for the writing - are still with me, in a sense. For the past twenty-two years, ever since I became able to live from the craft, I have written a minimum of four full-length projects each year. For twelve years I was able to mask this output by co-authoring one or two books per year with Janette Oke and others. Janette's retirement was actually what prodded me to return to my first love as a reader - speculative fiction. And now there is another output through screenplays. I stay busy.
3. What does your writing process look like?
I generally start work around half past five. I do a minimum of two scenes per morning when I am first drafting. Then comes sport of some kind, followed by the daily dose of administrivia. Then I sketch. This sketching process is vital as far as I am concerned. It grants me a unique opportunity to revisit each scene at least twice. And by revisit, I mean writing the entire scene out again. The first time, this sketching, is all by hand. I fill fifteen to twenty notebooks with each first draft. This does not slow me down. It actually accelerates the process. The characters have a freshness, a new life, and the entire story flows more smoothly.
4. What are some of your favorite books/authors?
When I started writing, my first mentor was Arthur C Clarke, global bestselling author of science fiction. His works include 2001, A Space Odyssey, and Childhood's End, which is currently a mini-series on SyFy. His advice and counsel is something I carry with me to this day.
5. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
My passion for all areas and topics swings with the winds of my current project. This includes history. I have been fascinated by the alternate-reality series currently being aired on Amazon, which has led to research on Churchill, a pivotal figure in keeping democracy alive in Europe.
6. When did you write your first novel? How old were you?
The first novel was a bear. I basically ran out of steam at five hundred pages. It was an emotional struggle that took me almost three years to complete. I began learning so many lessons in those early weeks and months. Discipline, character, dialogue, point of view, dramatic action, plot escalation...all of these moved from mere words to driving forces in my life.
7. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
I wanted to be a professional competitive sailor, preferably ocean-going. Or a professional surfer. When those didn't work out, I studied economics and international finance, first in the US and then the UK. Perfect start to a writing career.
8. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Music. Surfing. Road cycling. Reading. Travel. Hiking. On and on they go.
About the Author
Stephanie Morrill is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street. Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids.
1. What/whom inspired you to become an author?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since first grade. My elementary school encouraged writing time and we had freedom to write whatever kind of stories we desired. Then a parent volunteer would type our stories up for us, and we could pick the color for our cover and the binding. At the end we were supposed to illustrate it (I was awful) and then read it to the class. I loved it so much, and after that I always wanted to tell stories for a living.
2. What can you tell us about your current WIP?
The Lost Girl of Astor Street is a 1920s mystery set in Chicago. The main character, Piper, has a best friend who goes missing from their affluent neighborhood, and she knows her friend never would have run away. She throws herself into search efforts, and finds more than she bargained for. It has a Veronica Mars meets 1920s feel. February 7th is the official release date.
3. What are some of your favorite books?
I adored The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, the Heist Society series by Ally Carter, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, and I just finished Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.
4. What inspired the story for The Lost Girl of Astor Street?
My initial idea for The Lost Girl of Astor Street came while I was putting away laundry, of all things. My mind was wandering (as it often does during chores), and I started thinking about different stories I like. I thought about Veronica Mars for a while, and then something triggered a thought about Downton Abbey, and I thought, “I wish there was something out there that was like Veronica Mars but in a Downton Abbey kind of setting. Oh, maybe I could do that!”
5. What do you want readers to take away from reading The Lost Girl of
The lesson I was learning as I wrote it is that we can only take responsibility for our own choices. It’s wonderful to try to stir change in our communities, but ultimately we can only control our choices.
About the Author
Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close, Revolutionary Faith Book One and Surround Me: Revolutionary Faith Book Two. She enjoys studying history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity Univeristy in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, and Daughters of the American Revolution. Originally from Louisiana, she currently lives in Abilene with her husband.
1. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about this project?
I’m editing Bring Me Near: Revolutionary Faith Book Three. I hope to have it released in June, 2017. The novel continues the journey of Louis and Elizabeth as they enter the hoovering revolution. Their lives entwine with real historical characters trying to make sense of the turmoil.
Also, I have completed two of the four novels in my Gardens in Time series. Labor of Love takes place in 1550 Florence and Promise of Purity,1660 Hampton Court. I’m hoping for a home for these soon.
2. Have you ever traveled for research? If so, where did you visit? If not, where would you like to visit?
I travel for every book. In fact, that is where I find my story and inspiration. For the Revolutionary Faith series, I traveled to Charleston four times to obtain a feel for the town as well as in depth research in libraries and museums. On the same note, I’ve been to Florence, Italy four times and fell in love with the Boboli Gardens. I lived in England for two years and have been back five times since. Hampton Court is one of my favorite haunts. I continue to travel and find unique people and places to spark my writing. Too many ideas and not enough time.
3. What does your writing process look like?
Once I formulate an idea for a story, I search for the books and resources to develop a deep historical foundation for my characters. For the first book in the Revolutionary Faith series I researched 25 books that I purchased because I must highlight and mark the books for my use. I’ve added a few more sources to the next books. After the research, I develop my characters’ basic characteristics leaving them room to grow and change. I plot out my chapters loosely giving the characters the opportunity to rearrange, delete and add to the overall plot. Then I write and write. Since I am a teacher I have the summer and breaks to write many hours a day. During the school year, I reserve one hour a day for writing.
My books go through a critique group and multiple editing phases.
4. What inspired the idea for Surround Me? What do you want readers to take away from reading this novel?
Surround Me is the sequel to Hold Me Close. The series is inspired by my family history. Louis Lestarjette, the hero, is my eight times great grandfather. My father has his candlesticks, locket, portrait and papers. As an adult I started really listening to his stories and was fascinated. I wanted to know about the lives of these prerevolutionary and revolutionary citizens.
My genre is historical Christian fiction and my slogan is Entertain. Educate. Encourage. I want my readers to be entertained by the fiction, educated by the history, and encourage by the Christian worldview.
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