Interview with Jeff Gunhus - Author of Jack Templar Monster Hunter

Can you tell us a little about your books and yourself?

I'm Jeff Gunhus. I've authored five novels, three for my middle grade/young adult series called Jack Templar Monster Hunter and two novels for adults, Night Chill and Killer Within. In my spare time, I own and run a national home services company with a few thousand employees and chase around my five kids with my wife Nicole. 
What inspired you to write your books?
The Jack Templar books were inspired by my son who was a reluctant reader. I wrote them as a way to hopefully inspire a love of reading in him. It worked and he is now a voracious reader. The adult books are my homage to Stephen King and Dean Koontz who I enjoyed reading growing up (and still do.) The horror and thriller genres are fun for me to dive into and I've been blessed with great sales and fans. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Every book teaches me something new. The Jack Templar books were the only books I've written in the first person which can bring you inside the character but also has limitations as well. The horror and thriller novels were great reminders that character comes first as the reader has to care about the people they are following in order to feel the emotion of the situations in which they find themselves.

What are some challenges that you faced while writing?
Time is always the scarce commodity. With a business to run and a family to enjoy, the only time to write is from 5am-7am. Luckily, I'm a morning person and feel the most creative before the sun comes up over the horizon.

Who or what in your life would you say influenced you the most?
I grew up overseas in Greece, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia from the ages 5-12 and I didn't have access to TV. As a result, I read pretty much every day and got hooked on books for life. 

What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?

With five kids, I'm interested in finding things I can do with them We fish, kayak, hike, play tennis and I coach sports teams. There's never a dull moment!

What do you get passionate about?

I'm passionate about getting kids excited about reading. I speak on the subject and wrote a small book called Reaching Your Reluctant Reader. It's not just literacy, put instilling a passion in kids so they want to read in their spare time. 

What does "success" mean to you?

Success is being proud of your relationships, being proud of the way in which you achieved your accomplishments and feeling confident you've honored the path and much as the destination. 

What are your current projects?

I am editing the follow-up to Night Chill and four chapters into Jack Templar #4.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read On Writing by Stephen King. Read it a second time. Then put your butt in a chair and write. Every day. Period. 

Killer Within (An Allison McNeil Thriller)

Night Chill

Jack Templar Monster Hunter

Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy

Jack Templar and the Lord of the Vampires

Interview with Cheryl St. James - Author of Lucy Pinkston mysteries

1. Can you tell us a little about your books and yourself?
Hello, my name is Cheryl St. James, and I'm the author of the Lucy Pinkston mysteries. Lucy is a gilded-age detective working in Boston, Massachusetts. Lucy solves cases with the support of her Indian-born adviser, Mr. Farouk, and her brother, Jack Pinkston.

2. What inspired you to write your books?
I was lamenting the lack of a female Sherlock Holmes, and the idea of Lucy came to me. But of course, she didn't turn out as planned. Lucy is a great detective, but she is also a young woman growing up in a very restrictive environment. The way she handles this is similar to the struggles of modern day women. Even though we aren't wearing corsets and taking afternoon tea, we can connect with Lucy's struggles on a very basic level.

3. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned to let your characters be themselves. Like I said, I wanted Lucy to have more of a bite. Shrewd like Sherlock, but with a feminine twist. Once I started writing, she made her quirky personality known. I learned to let your characters be themselves--don't force them to act a certain way. The result might be more entertaining that you initially imagined--Lucy certainly is!

4. What are some challenges that you faced while writing?
My eternal challenge is the seemingly endless rounds of editing. It is so frustrating getting your manuscript back from the editor, riddled with red marks. It's a challenge, but a necessary one. I like to think of it as an evolution.

5. Who or what in your life would you say influenced you the most?
I'm influenced by creative people. I feed off their vibe, and it sustains my passion for writing. I love hearing about other people's creative processes, and I really love studio tours. It's like taking a walk in someone else's daydream.

6. What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?
I'm an avid walker, and I love music. So I steal parts of my day for strolling and listening to internet radio. Beyond that, I am an unabashed Murder She Wrote super-fan. I recap episodes on my blog, and I have a ridiculous amount of fun doing it.
7. What do you get passionate about?
I'm super passionate about art. We should find time for the creative process and encourage it within ourselves and other artists. If you have even the tiniest inkling to create, transition time-wasting habits into ones that sustain your creative spirit.

8. What does "success" mean to you?
Success is one person reading the Lucy books and forgetting the stresses of their day. I don't write books for myself, I want people to join Lucy's world and forget their own struggles. If I take your mind off a horrible boss for a few minutes each day, I feel like a million bucks.

9. What are your current projects?
I'm currently writing the third Lucy book, "Lucy Pinkston and the Centennial Case." Lucy has been hired to protect a fossil exhibit at the Centennial celebration in Philadelphia, and she runs into some familiar faces during the case.

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Kick the "aspiring" out and just write. Figure out how you work best and stay committed. Don't write the first book if you don't want to write the 15th. Stay the course, it's the only way you'll get better at your craft. Start a writer's group in your area for support. Don't critique, encourage each other and celebrate your group successes. You'll look back in a few years, amazed at what you've accomplished.

Interview with Mohit K Misra - Author of Ponder A While

1. Can you tell us a little about your books and yourself?

The name of my book is Ponder Awhile a collection of 48 spiritual poems on various aspects of life,death and God.The basic aim to show the oneness of God and Religions.

I was born and bought up in Mumbai-India.Studied in Cathedral and John Connon followed by Jai Hind College (science) before joining the Merchant Navy where I worked as a Navigating Officer. Although I come from a family of priest, fathers side being Brahmins and Mothers- Parsi priests, I was an atheist and didn't believe in the existence of God. During a voyage from South Africa to South America I gained enlightenment in the Atlantic Ocean which altered my view of life and God. I had this experience at the age of 25 and at the age of 33 I became a poet spending the next few years writing. in Pune.I have recently shifted to Dubai.

2. What inspired you to write your books?
Enlightenment, God inspired me to write. I had to share God knowledge to uplift humanity and unite religions which fought over which prophet or God was greater even though there is only one God mentioned by all religions as the Light.

3. What are some challenges that you faced while writing?
It was the most arduous thing I have ever done and will probably ever do.Would meditate 6-8 hrs a day and contemplate the rest of the time for many years. A very lonely journey as very few understood when I was writing and I was lost to this world.

4. Who or what in your life would you say influenced you the most?
The Light or God and the masters.

5. What does "success" mean to you?
Peace of mind, finding out what reason one has come on this planet and then dedicating oneself to accomplishing it.

6. What are your current projects?
I am done writing for now took me 11 years to be content with one book.

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Be truthful to yourself, write if your purpose of being here on this planet is to do so otherwise follow your call.

Interview with Daniel Bishop - Author of Ground Zero - Lockdown

Can you tell us a little about your books and yourself?

I'm from Hemel Hempstead, just outside of London and this became my setting for Ground Zero series. GroundZero  is a "mini series" built up of three short installments spread over 24 hours. I am currently a Network Engineer but it has always been a dream to write full time so in September 2012 I decided to throw caution to the wind and publish some of my stuff. 

What inspired you to write your books?

I was diagnosed with dyslexia in school and really struggled, I was not supported by my teachers so I took things into my own hands. I got myself a laptop when I was around 13 and started writing, now I am able to read and write confidently all by teaching myself, writing really did change my life. I hope that I can show others like me that nothing can stop you doing what you enjoy!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I would say I have seen that I can do what I love which is writing. I have had some amazing support and fantastic feed back, I know I am not a professional writer and I am still learning. But my confidences has grown and I know that nothing can stop you doing what you really want to do.

What are some challenges that you faced while writing?

For me personally it has to be the standard that is expected for someone who is using their hard earned money to download my book. My dyslexia is still a big challenge and I have to live with that everyday when I write, with a fantastic editor and group of friends who have supported me I have been able to overcome this. I just hope that my readers can see passed this and also maybe inspire other people with dyslexia. 

Who or what in your life would you say influenced you the most?

For me it has to be my friends! I have a wonderful network of friends and they always shine through in my writing. In my ground Zero series you will find all of my friends, every character is based on one of them! It is however difficult when I have to kill someone off and then I have to explain why I killed them over another character.

What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?

Music, it has to be my music. I can never pull my headphones off, if I am not working, out with friends then I am sat at home listening to my music. I would also say comics, I love anything Marvel! My office looks more like Marvel shrine rather then a place for my writing.

What do you get passionate about?

This has to come back to my dyslexia. I am very passionate about showing people you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I remember in school I was telling a teacher I wanted to be a writer, she just laughed and said to my face I could never do that with my current skills. I was so angry that someone told me I couldn't do it, so I ignored it and kept on writing. Now look at me, people are reading what I write! I really want to show people that dyslexia is not something to hold you back.

What does "success" mean to you?

Good question! I personally think someone reading my work and enjoying it is success. Dont get me wrong I would love to write full time as a day job. I would live in Italy, drink a glass of red wine and watch the sun go down as I write. But I have a successful and ever growing career in my day job. I would love to write full time and be successful enough to do so, but right now I just love the fact people are reading my work!

What are your current projects?

I am currently working on the last in my Ground Zero series which I hope to release in the next year, time and work depending of course. I am also working on a one off horror which I hope to also release in the next year or so, this will be my first novel rather then my normal novellas. I am really excited about this one and I cant wait to share more when the time is right.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

It would be, JUST DO IT! Don't care about anyone else and what they say, just do it! All you need is a laptop and some free time, give it a try! If anyone wants any advise or pointers, check my website out and email me or even tweet me.

Interview with Carmen Amato - Author of The Beast

Can you tell us a little about your books and yourself?

I’m originally from New York but love to travel and experience new cultures and new ways of thinking about the world. I’m lucky enough to have had the opportunity to live in Mexico and Central America for several years and what I saw there inspired me to start writing mysteries and thrillers, after several years writing adventure stories for my son. I’m probably best known for the Emilia Cruz police procedural mystery series set in Acapulco, including CLIFF DIVER, HAT DANCE and the collection of short stories MADE IN ACAPULCO.

Emilia is the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force, taking on both Mexico’s drug war and culture of machismo. Readers can get a free download of THE BEAST, the story that reveals how beat cop Emilia Cruz fought her way into the detective ranks at

Like most mystery writers, my favorite beverage is coffee. I spend far too much time on Twitter but am still happily married with two grown children. We own 5 Kindles and more than 2000 print books.

What inspired you to write your books?

We lived in Mexico at a time when the drug wars were really beginning to heat up. One Christmas a junkie stumbled into midnight Mass. Father Richard was leading us in the Prayer of the Faithful when a man staggered up the center aisle, his limbs jerking as he alternately murmured and shouted incomprehensible words. We all shrank back as he made his way towards the altar, an unexpected and volatile presence.

As the congregation looked on in growing panic, the man accosted Father Richard. The priest didn’t move or stop the prayer, just dug through his robes for a pocket. He pulled out a few pesos and pressed them into the man’s hand. By that time several of the male congregants had come onto the altar as well and they gently propelled the drug-addled man back down the altar steps and through the church to the rear door.

Christmas mass continued and the addict remained nameless to the shaken congregation. But he stayed with all of us, evidence that Mexico’s own drug problem was growing as more and more drugs transited the country en route to the insatiable United States. 

He reminded me of the drug war raging just outside our happy expatriate bubble. We were an American family in Mexico City, embracing a new culture, exploring a vibrant city, and meeting people who were to impact our lives for years to come. But we always knew that the bubble was fragile and as if to prove it, Mexico’s news grew worse in the new year: shootouts in major cities, multiple drug seizures, rising numbers of dead and missing, the murders of mayors, governors and journalists.
When we moved back to the United States, I was surprised and saddened by how little of what was going on made it into the news. Especially as the number of people missing in Mexico continues to climb, I’m hoping a mystery series can raise awareness of what’s going on in Mexico, with plot elements straight out of the headlines, an authentic dive into one of the most beautiful settings on earth, and a little salsa fresca from my own years living in Mexico and Central America.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I knew a lot about Mexico and the drug war violence before I started writing but have learned much more over the past few years. The official Mexican government count remains elusive, but most news outlets report that at least 60,000 people have been killed or have been reported missing due to Mexico’s drug violence over the past decade. While most think that the casualties are rival drug cartel members fighting each other for control of the lucrative smuggling routes, known as plazas, too many of the victims are those simply caught up in the violence.
In the Emilia Cruz series, she keeps records of women who have gone missing in Acapulco and her hunt for one of them continues through all the books. Emilia calls them Las Perdidas—the Lost Ones. Her list is also a nod to the murders of over 340 women in the Cuidad Juarez area, on the US-Mexican border. More bodies are found every few months and no one has ever been held accountable.

What are some challenges that you faced while writing?

My biggest challenge is not to take on too many big projects at a time. There are so many things an author can do these days, from running a Facebook or Goodreads group, participating in book clubs and review groups, taking on research projects--the list goes on and on. I’m enthusiastic about so many things, but am gradually learning how to pare down and only tackle projects I truly enjoy.

Who or what in your life would you say influenced you the most?

My grandmother is definitely the person who has been the biggest influence in my life. She was strong minded, well-read, fashionable, and most importantly, knew how to build community. She was the core of my extended family. She also taught me the value of a good handbag and I still have her collection of evening purses.

What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?

Apart from writing, I love to travel. Last summer my daughter and I drove all the way from central New York to Prince Edward Island in Canada. We visited colleges, kept on the watch for moose in the road, and saw the house that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books. Later I realized we’d driven the whole way without turning on the radio. We were too busy enjoying each other’s company and the incredible scenery through New England and Canada.

What do you get passionate about?

I was inspired to write about Mexico because of what I believe to be a very unequal social situation there. To some extent, Mexico has a caste system. In my view, that inequality encourages the drug cartels. The money to be made from drug trafficking enables people to attain a lifestyle that is otherwise denied under that caste system. It’s heartbreaking to see how drug violence is eroding the beauty and culture of Mexico.

What does "success" mean to you?

What a great question! Success as an author today is about building a community of readers and fellow authors who share the same interests. We connect to share ideas, views, and experiences. I love being able to connect with that community on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. One of the most exciting projects I’m involved in brings together authors who all write mysteries set in Mexico. The Mexico Mystery Writers Cartel website will be live in a few weeks and I think the combination of four different author perspectives will be the core of a vibrant new online community.

In more concrete terms, success means being able to give back. In 2014, I’m donating $1 from the sale of each Kindle book I sell to, the charity co-founded by Matt Damon to bring clean water and decent sanitation to communities worldwide. Fellow authors Sharon Lee Johnson, Norm Hamilton and Jerold Last have helped me form the Writing for Water team. With all this help, I’m hoping to be able to raise enough through book sales to provide 25 people clean water for life.

What are your current projects?

DIABLO NIGHTS, the third full length Emilia Cruz novel is in the works and slated for a late June 2014 release. In it, Emilia finds a relic from Mexico’s Cristero War of the 1920’s, when the government tried to suppress the Catholic Church. Emilia’s efforts to determine the authenticity of the relic leads to her into a labyrinth of drug smuggling, police corruption, and murder.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t fall in love with your first draft. Fall in love with your characters, in the setting, and in the plot twists. Keep editing and rewriting until your manuscript is as good as it can be. Learn to be a ruthless editor of your own work.

In addition to political thriller The Hidden Light of Mexico City, Carmen Amato is the author of the Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco, including Cliff DiverHat Dance and the collection of short stories Made in Acapulco. Originally from New York, her books draw on her experiences living in Mexico and Central America. Connect with Carmen on Twitter @CarmenConnectsfind her books on Amazon and get a free copy of the first Emilia Cruz story, The Beast at

Interview with IVEE OLIVARES – The Sonnclere Mysteries

Can you tell us a little about your books and yourself?

I’ve always loved mysteries. Growing up, I was particularly fond of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. So when contemplating writing a series myself, I decided to create a character not quite like Sherlock but similar. A highly intelligent person with a unique way of seeing the world. Someone who arrives at clues and conclusions that would escape ordinary people. The result is my Sonnclere Mystery Series. The protagonist is a young female chemist by the name of Dr Neroli Sonnclere who suffers from a condition called hyperosmia. It means she has an especially acute sense of smell. While Sherlock Holmes applies his deductive reasoning and vast knowledge, Dr Sonnclere uses her sense of smell and training as a scientist. Like Sherlock, she stands out from others. She’s tall with red hair and a big nose. And also like Sherlock, she’s socially awkward in her own way. Maybe not quite as strange as Sherlock, though.

 What inspired you to write your books?

Apart from Sherlock Holmes and mysteries in general as I mentioned earlier, science inspires me. I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist, but I enjoy watching documentaries on nature, medicine, archaeology and so forth.

 Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

To stretch myself. When I started my writing journey, I was advised that I should begin with what I know. That was fine at first. However, as I gained confidence, I found it limiting. Had I carried on the same route, I’d probably not have much to say. Hence, I try to write about subjects I know very little about. This means I have to do a lot of research, and exercise a lot of imagination. A challenging process, but I believe it enables me to write more interesting stories. And as an added bonus, I learn new things along the way.

Get the Book (US)  and UK.

 What are some challenges that you faced while writing?

Finding the time. There’s nothing like being in the zone and spending hours hammering away on the computer. Unfortunately, life gets in the way. I am also impatient by nature. I wish I could be as prolific as other authors who churn out book after book. But I like to take breaks in between and give my stories and me some space.

 Who or what in your life would you say influenced you the most?

First, all those literature classes I had to “endure” at school. While I liked to read, I didn’t necessarily want to discuss what I read, much less write papers critiquing it. Writing creatively had also never crossed my mind. Until one professor turned it all around for me. I remember him wearing a short-sleeved white shirt, black-rimmed glasses and a toothy smile, reading an excerpt from one of Shakespeare’s plays. I can’t recall which in particular, but I was completely enthralled. The words were so beautiful, his rendering so impassioned. He made me wish I could write like that. I’m still wishing.

Second, my family. I grew up in a home that treasured books, music and art. I am grateful that they have always supported me in my artistic pursuits.

And last but not the least, my faith in God inspires me. It not only gives me strength and hope, but amazingly I get my best ideas while I am praying.

 What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?

I love stories, whether they come in print, film or TV. Predictably as a writer, I read all the time—anything from thrillers to crime and romance novels. Sometimes, literary fiction and the classics. When I get the chance, I also enjoy travelling and going to museums and galleries. Since I trained as an artist, I still like to paint. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do much of it these days.

 What does “success” mean to you?

Success means doing what I love to do, doing it well and earning a living from it. I write to entertain people, too. To give my readers a few hours of fun and excitement would make my efforts worthwhile.

 What are your current projects?

I am in the middle of my third Sonnclere Mystery instalment. I’m really excited about it. Still set in London, it’s about the creation of a truth drug and the consequences that follow its discovery. I’m taking the story from the laboratory to the press and ultimately to the highest echelons of power.

 Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write. Start writing and keep writing. If you persist at it, you will get better. Write about stories that thrill you, that make you think and feel. If you aren’t passionate about your characters and plots, how will your readers be passionate about them, too?


Author Central (US)

Author Centra (UK)

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Interview with Philen Naidu - My Life My Africa: A Real African search of Love, Freedom and True Community

Can you tell us a little about your books and yourself?

Well, I released my debut book in May 2013. It was a 13 year journey that started when I was 23 and questioning my identity and purpose, feeling really alienated and unwelcome in the world. This search eventually led me to a place within myself that demanded a decision: either I continue a life of pretense, or I drop everything and follow my heart. I chose to follow my heart. This led to a 5-year African adventure that took me into the depths of the unknown, where tribal people co-exist with Africa’s wildest wildlife. It was an adventure I could never have imagined. But I won’t give away too much, because that will ruin the story, for those who haven’t read it yet!

Get the Book - My Life My Africa.

As for me, I am a traveling Soul, an adventurer devoted to serving those in need. I have a deep passion for the marginalized, neglected and impoverished ... especially the children. I founded the My Life My Africa Children’s Foundation as a vehicle for me to serve through, but I am still questioning whether this was the best way, or whether I should rather partner with already established organizations and communities as I travel. I am leaning towards the latter, but we’ll see what time reveals.

What inspired you to write your books?

Currently working on my 2nd book, my inspiration remains the same. After discovering how lonely I am in an illusory world of fleeting material attractions, I decided to change the course of my life and to go in search of Love, Freedom and True Community. My books are the real life adventures on this Journey. Book 1 took me for 5 years into rural Zambia, Book 2 took me into an urban slum community of 80 0000 people in South Africa ... and I am currently in the south of India, capturing the story of Book 3.

I am a spiritual man who believes in the Divine, and my inspiration for writing comes through this Divine connection, as it is revealed to me ... and more importantly, as I listen, because this noisy mind is full of distractions!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing my book has been more of a lesson to me than anything else. And I think that as long as I write, I will continue to evolve at my best rate. Obviously there are the writing skills that develop. And then it took time for me to find my REAL voice and to be comfortable with this, rather than pretend to be someone I am not.

I found myself struggling to be completely honest, for fear of what opinions people would hold against me, so I compromised my Truth along the way, though my intention has always been to be completely honest and transparent.I also learned how selfish I am, until my editor – who is the BEST in the world! – taught me how to think about the reader and to take their hand and walk them through my story.And finally, I learned that I will never be fully satisfied with my work, but that this is the point and I must learn to let go at some stage and to trust the process.

What are some challenges that you faced while writing?
I think my answer above covers this question. But to add onto it, one of the big challenges is the alienation from everyone around me. I get so locked into my own story that I see everyone as characters or, if they are not characters then I see them as insignificant. So this is tough. It’s lonely.And then another challenge has been that when I am writing, I stop reading ... and since I have been an avid reader since childhood, this is something that does me little good.Then of course, there are countless cigarettes, coffees, vodka martinis and whiskey’s ... as I struggle to break through creative barriers.

Who or what in your life would you say influenced you the most?
My father is my hero and role model. He is the one who gave me wings to fly. He taught me to dream and encouraged me to pursue my dreams with full faith.
My mother has been an anchor, and it is coming from her womb and her home that has provided me with the security I needed to be a traveling Soul.
And then James Redfield, Graham Hancock and Paulo Coelho have been largely responsible for my spiritual awakening and this calling to be a writer/adventurer, that I now follow.

What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?
Travel, travel, travel!! And with this comes the exploration and sharing of different cultures and foods, which I love. Music, dance and anything creative is a joy to me, and then I am also just a simple guy who enjoys sports and just hanging out.

What does “success” mean to you?
This is a tough one. On the one hand, if my books can generate royalties to sustain my simple life on the road, I would consider that ‘success’ ... BUT that is not completely honest, because without a partner to love and to share the Journey with, it would be meaningless ... and without a deep sense of stillness and inner peace, it would all also be worthless.So ultimately, ‘success’ for me, is to do the work that has been assigned to me to do, with no attachment to the outcome.
And in the process, to find inner peace ... and ultimately the beautiful woman to love and share it all with.

What are your current projects?
Have just started Book 2, and am looking for sponsors to help me sustain myself in India while I do this. And then am currently investigating a few orphanages in the Andhra Pradesh and Kerala districts of India, to get involved in.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Trust the Voice within you, and just start writing.Whatever excuse pops into your head, know that it is your enemy that has no other purpose than to destroy your joy.
Just write. Don’t think about sales or audience or grammar or spelling or publishing or anything ... just start writing ...right now!
And keep a journal with you ... always ... everywhere you go ... even the toilet.
And buy a copy of Steven Pressfield’s ‘The War of Art’.
And stop saying ‘I want to write’... start saying ‘ I am a writer’ ... because you are.
And most importantly, ENJOY THE RIDE!

My Life My Africa (US) 

My Life My Africa (UK)