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.

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 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?


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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!

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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) 

Interview with Keshia L. Gaines - Author of Why are Students Not Learning on the School Bus

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

Oh, sure. I am Dr. Keshia L. Gaines. I graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi with a doctorate in philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Leadership. I am the author of "Why are Students Not Learning on the School Bus?" and "Learning on the School Bus (the student version)." I've been in the education field for over 10 years and I enjoy teaching, writing books, and traveling.

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

Yes, I did. My first book had a lot of research and facts on a doctorate level. I realized that many of my readers and fans could not understand some of the big words (ex. neuroscience) and research, so I decided to release a version that is easier to understand for students and the general public.

What are some challenges that you faced while writing?

Well, I think the most challenging part of writing my first and second book was the editing. I worked closely with editors and graphic designers from other states. I kept having the book revised and revised until it was almost perfect. I worked really hard on the book, so I wanted everything to look professional and to be grammatically correct. I know my editors were ready to complete the project, but I challenged my team to revise, edit, and layout the book to the highest level of professionalism.

What does “success” mean to you?

Success, to me, is to meet my goal(s). One of my goals was to finish my Ph.D., so I finished my Ph.D. Another goal was to write a book, so I published my book. Another goal was to travel and promote my book, so I travel and promote my book across the United States. Success, to me, is setting a goal and achieving the set goal. I believe that I am very successful.

What are your current projects?

I want to write a third book, but I am still working out the details. I know I want it to be in the education field, but I am still thinking about the title and the possible content.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Oh, sure. If you want to write a book, buy a pencil/pen and a small notebook. Start small. Write a page a day. Stick to your goal of a page a day and in one year, you will have a 365 page book. Add pictures and wha-lah!!! 

Also, buy a copy of my worldwide book "Learning on the School Bus" at Amazon or Barnes & Noble for an example of a good book layout.

Dr. Gaines’s E-mail Address:
YouTube Video 1-TV Interview:
YouTube Video 2- News Flash:
YouTube Video 3- Book Review:
Link to Clothing Line: