Featured Author: Peter John

Featured Author:

Peter John

Peter John

  1. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I was born blue (I am not a smurf) back in 1973. My Mother had a hysterectomy straight after giving birth to me, which I has always felt a little insecure about. It was as if she had taken one look at me and decided, there and then, that she wasn’t going to have another one of me. Coupled with the fact that I have been told that I was an accident, I am left wondering if I am even supposed to be here on this Earth. When she got back to the ward, a nurse had sat her down and explained that I had stopped breathing and had turned a funny blue colour, while she was in the operating theatre; it was only by chance that another patent had seen me laying there and had alerted the hospital staff of my condition. I had survived my first day alive by the skin of teeth that I had yet to grow and each following day seemed easy by comparison.

It wasn’t until I had reached the ripe old age of fourteen that I discovered the desire to write and I have been indulging that desire ever since.

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2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.   

I decided to write a paranormal comedy because of all the years that I have spent listening to my mother talk about the many spiritual readings that she has attended in her life. While the main plot of my book is not based on true events, several incidents within it most definitely are.

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3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I find that book promotion is harder and more time consuming that the actual writing itself. My view on promotion techniques fall down to a simple concept: People will hear the sound of one voice but the sound of many voices will make people listen. Independent doesn’t mean that you have to face this world alone.

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4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

My first review was a wonderful one that suddenly appeared halfway through my first ever free promotion. The timing couldn’t have been better and, if I ever get the chance, I would like to thank that individual from the bottom of my heart. I was inexperienced and unsure of myself, that first review gave me a sense of hope that I have yet to lose.

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5.   Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

Dead Medium Cover Art

Dead Medium is a humorous look at life after death. It revolves around May Elizabeth Trump, a grouchy old woman with little time for other people. May dies and becomes the rarest of ghosts, a dead medium: a ghost who can communicate with the living. It’s filled with larger than life characters, humorous one liners and an ever encroaching darkness.

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6.     Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

 The Trump Diary Blog   http://thetrumpdiary.wordpress.com is my Blog-site and it is also the home of my serialised prequel to Dead Medium. The Trump Diary is a documentation of May Trump’s final months prior to her untimely death.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwaZ4B3Htm8 I am rather impressed by this video by Puddingtane Productions.

The Rekindled Affair Kindle Cover Scaled c    This is my perma-free Dead Medium Spin-Off Short Story http://www.amazon.com/Rekindled-Affair-Peter-John-ebook/dp/B00FOF8W8I

http://www.amazon.com/Peter-John/e/B00B0MNUVI

http://deadmediumpeterjohn.webs.com

https://www.facebook.com/DeadMediumbyPeterJohn

Wrapped Up In Brown Paper Cover RK    https://www.facebook.com/WrappedUpInBrownPaper

https://twitter.com/AttemptedAuthor

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6899829.Peter_John

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7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

This is one of my favorite scenes where The Thursday Night Club first meet the late May Trump.

***

May watched as the four old ladies shuffled out of their coats and sat around the coffee table on. Chloe returned a few moments later with five glasses. She had left the box in the kitchen; it was obviously cake. She placed a glass in front of each of her guests and then collected their coats, which were being held up expectantly. She took them to the wall hooks in the hallway. The coats were thick and heavy, she seemed to struggle a little with the burden. When she returned she took the only vacant seat, which was opposite Barbara.

“Oh do you need a corkscrew?” Chloe said as she started to rise back out of her seat.

“No dear, it’s not a posh plonk.” Victoria said as she unscrewed the wine bottle.

“So we should start with introductions I guess,” Barbara said as Victoria filled the waiting glasses.

“Of course,” Chloe agreed. “My name is Chloe Saunders and I’m so very glad you all were able to come tonight.”

“Yes I remember you from Gracie’s don’t I?” Deborah said. “I’m Deborah but you can call me Debs if you like.” Margaret reached out for her glass.

“My name’s Margaret,” she greeted as she sipped her wine.

“And Victoria you met earlier today as well,” Barbara pointed out. “Now what seems to be the problem?” Chloe took a deep breath; they had gone over this initial statement many times.

“My mum has recently passed away,” Chloe announced.

“God bless her soul,” Deborah interrupted her with the best of intentions.

“Yes bless her soul,” Victoria agreed, raising her glass. They gave a toast to Penny and then Chloe continued.

“It has been a hard time for me, which has been made even more disturbing by some strange events that have recently been occurring in this very house.” Each of the group leaned forward in their seats.

“Ever since my mother died, I’ve been hearing strange sounds and even voices in the night. Things that I have never previously experienced. To tell you the truth, I’m beginning to feel quite uneasy living here.” May and Penny listened intently, the speech had been a joint effort.

“I need to know if the spirit of my dear departed mother still resides here. I‘m at the end of my tether, I‘m worried I might be losing my mind.” Margaret reached over and patted Chloe lightly on the hand.

“You’re not going mad dear,” she soothed. “During time of stress, your judgement can become clouded. If we can’t find any evidence of your mother’s spirit here, don’t worry yourself. You’re probably just reacting normally; this is a particularly traumatic time in your life.” The rest of the group nodded in agreement.

“That’s only if we don’t discover anything supernatural here tonight” Barbara confidently added.

“Drink some wine, settle your nerves,” Victoria suggested. “It’s alright; I’ve got another bottle in my bag.” Chloe picked up her glass and took a token sip.

“I think we should start by lighting some candles,” Barbara suggested.

“Always with the candles, I don’t see how they help?” Victoria groaned. Barbara pulled four small, red tea-light candles from her bag.

“They work I tell you!” Barbara said as she placed the candles on the table. She put coasters underneath them to protect the wooden surface.

“How do you know?” Victoria asked, “Have you ever tried without them?”

“We have never had a reaction from the spirit world without them,” Margaret pointed out. Victoria looked over at her.

“We have never been without them to know!” Victoria said. Deborah put her hand in the air.

“I quite like them; I think they’re rather pretty,” she announced.

“They calm the spirits and make them more amiable and approachable.” Barbara explained as she begun to light the candles. May watched the candles burn and felt no calming effects; she was more worried about them becoming a fire hazard. Penny seemed to like them, however, so maybe Barbara did have something there.

“We should all hold hands around the table now,” Barbara said, reaching out to Deborah and Victoria who were sitting either side of her on the sofa. Victoria swapped her wine glass to her free hand. Margaret, who was in one of the arm chairs, could just reach Deborah’s other hand. Victoria quickly downed the last of her wine before putting the empty glass down and taking Chloe’s hand across the table; she had to move one of the candles for fear of burning herself. Chloe reached out with her other hand and held Margaret’s free hand at an uncomfortable stretch. They looked a little awkward and unevenly stretched.

“It’s usually more comfortable with a round table,” Barbara pointed out, even though she had the position of greatest comfort. May walked around the group and tried to work out who was going to fall out of their seat first. Her money was on Chloe; she seemed to be making the most effort to be within reach.

“Right then, if you would all now try to relax,” Barbara instructed.

“Not likely!” Victoria pointed out.

“Well try your best, it helps.”

“What as much as the candles?”

“Please Vicky we are trying to help young Chloe put her demons to rest. Can you please concentrate,” Barbara closed her eyes. She started to hum softly and sway a little, or as much as the conditions would allow.

“Come hither to us restless spirits. Tell us your woes and let us help guide you on the path to peace and contentment.” Margaret leaned towards Chloe slightly, which in turn threatened to lift Deborah from her seat.

“She wrote those chants herself,” Margaret whispered. “They’re rather good don’t you think?” Chloe smiled back at her, either way the words were pointless. The ghosts were already present and waiting.

May still wasn’t sure about the initial greeting that they had finally agreed upon. She was worried that it was a corny, stereotypical way to instigate communication. She Stood by the doorway and cupped her hands over her mouth, in an attempt to create a muffled echoic voice.

“Woo!” she called out self consciously. The group reacted with surprise and Chloe tried to mimic them.

“What was that?” Margaret yelled in shock.

“Keep concentrating everyone; I think we’ve got something here,” Barbara said.

“Woo…woo! Who disturbs the cosmic forces and summons me to this place?” May said as she began to get into the swing of it. Margaret‘s shock seemed to give way to nervous confusion.

“It is I, Madam Smith of the Inner Circle of Sacred Seers, who summons you here today,” Barbara replied. Her voice sounded confident but her facial expression suggested that this was probably her first real spectral encounter.

“For what reason do you summon me into your presence?” May was beginning to ad-lib a little. Margaret kept trying to grab Barbara’s attention. Deborah was a white as a sheet and Victoria was trying to reach for the wine bottle, while still not releasing Chloe’s hand.

“Barbara!” Margaret called but appeared to be ignored. She tugged at Deborah’s arm to get her attention but Deborah was as stiff as a pole.

“We summon you here today to help Young Chloe Saunders ease her suffering after the passing of her mother. Are we speaking to Penny Saunders?” Barbara called out.

“No I am not she,” May replied through her cupped hands. “She’s standing over by the window.” Margaret clearly wasn’t having any more of this charade as she released her grip from Deborah’s and Chloe’s hands and stood up from her chair. Victoria took the opportunity to release Chloe’s other hand and make a grab for the wine bottle.

***Peter John is a colleague of mine and I strongly recommend you perusing his books 🙂 

Thank you Peter for accepting my interview request.

Featured Author: Christopher Courtley

Featured Author:     Christopher Courtley

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  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I’ve been telling stories, writing poetry and prose, and drawing (or more like doodling) for as long as I can remember. I’m not happy unless I’m creating. A consequence of this, perhaps, is that I’ve also been a bit of a misfit for as long as I can remember. As a child I had what one might call a fey nature. I was a very solitary, private person for much of my life, mostly nocturnal and attracted to dark and lonely places, old forests and brooding wastelands, ruins, graveyards; a lover of mist and moonlight, fascinated by the creatures of the night, and by death, the paranormal, and the occult. This disposition has served to shape both my life and my work.

2.  What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.   

I’ve always loved fantasy, especially dark fantasy, and Gothic horror, and found that these elements often come together in fairy tales of the type collected by the Grimms in addition to those included in the Arabian Nights and not a few written by Hans Christian Andersen as well, so naturally some of my earliest writings have been in that vein. I’m also a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, so his work has had a major influence on my own, especially pertaining to the realms of Faerie and my poetic experience of them.

3.  How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I use social networking almost exclusively to promote my books. Right now the most important promotional tools for me besides my blog are Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google +, and the Virtual Ebook Fair.

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

Yes, I remember it well. I almost don’t need to copy-paste it because I remember it almost word-for-word, but I will do so anyway for the sake of accuracy: “if you like the dark side of things this book is for you.i love the short stories and the poems if you like that odd creepy feeling when your reading.this book will surely do it for you”. This review made me feel really good because this is exactly the sort of reaction I was going for.

5.  Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

My book, TROLL STEW: A STRANGE BREW OF DARK FAIRY TALES & POEMS FOR ADULTS, is a collection of original dark fairy tales and fairy-related poetry. While it isn’t exactly a series, it’s a small taste of things to come. So far the reaction to this very first book of mine has been overwhelmingly positive, so I am excited about releasing my next, even larger collection of dark fairy tales, which I hope will be finished well before the end of this month, since it’s perfect for Halloween, tending more toward the Gothic, with some elements of weird fiction thrown in as well.

6.   Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

Well, my official website is www.christophercourtley.com and my blog is located at www.courtleymanor.com.

You can get the paperback edition of TROLL STEW here: http://www.amazon.com/Troll-Stew-Strange-Fairy-Adults/dp/148492746X/ and the Kindle edition here: http://www.amazon.com/Troll-Stew-Strange-Adults-ebook/dp/B0091K7HJC/

I also have a sword and sorcery series in the works called The Valruna Saga, which is currently only available from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/8341

For more information on this developing series, you can also visit the official page at http://www.christophercourtley.com/valrunasaga.html

Some additional links you might be interested in are:

My Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtleymanor

My Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/courtleymanor

My Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/christophercourtley

7.   I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

An Excerpt from “The Palace At Winter’s End”, one of the stories included in TROLL STEW: A STRANGE BREW OF DARK FAIRY TALES & POEMS FOR ADULTS:

book

That night, for the first time since she had come to the palace, Autumn had a dream.

She was riding through the forest. It was a sunny afternoon, and the leader of the wolf pack was running alongside her and Amani. They were hunting the unicorn.

“We’re close,” said the wolf. “I can smell him.”

Then suddenly their prey darted out from behind a tall thicket. With unnatural speed, Autumn drew her bow and shot an arrow into the unicorn’s neck. The beast stumbled and then fell to the ground, twitching in the agony of its death throes, its blood bright scarlet on the snow.

Autumn dismounted and she and the wolf approached the dying unicorn. As she stooped to examine her fallen prey, Amani came up behind her and neighed loudly.

“What have you done?” the horse said with her own voice.

She turned to Amani, on the point of telling him that she was only doing what her mother had wanted her to, but the words died upon her lips.

For it wasn’t Amani anymore. It was the unicorn, no longer near death, nor even wounded.

Then, with an anguished cry, Autumn realized that the arrow was in her own neck.

She awoke in a cold sweat. It was just before dawn, and she could see through the narrow gap between the drawn drapes the silvery-grey of the twilight.

Turning her face from the window, she tried to go back to sleep, but found that she couldn’t. So she just lay there in the waning darkness, pondering her strange dream. She was still wide awake when her mother brought in her breakfast tray.

“Good morning, daughter,” the queen said cheerily as she placed the tray beside the bed.

“Good morning, Mother.”

“Did you sleep well?”

“Not exactly. I had a terrible dream, and then couldn’t get back to sleep.”

“Would you like to tell me your dream?”

“Perhaps later.”

“Very well. Enjoy your breakfast, my darling.”

The queen drew the drapes aside to let in the light and left the room.

Autumn picked at her breakfast absently, the stark images of the dream still lingering in her mind.

Then, after she had finished eating, she rose and dressed, and headed straight to the library. It was not long before she found what she was looking for; a compendium of legendary creatures she had spied while perusing the books on the night of her arrival at the palace. She turned to the page where there should have been an entry for ‘unicorn’, but to her disappointment, she discovered that it had been torn out. So she closed the book and after carefully returning it to its place on the shelf, went looking for her mother.

She found the queen sitting beside the hearth in the dining room, staring into the fire.

“Mother, tell me about the unicorn.”

“You have seen it for yourself,” the queen replied without taking her eyes from the flames. “What more is there to tell?”

“Why do you hunt it?”

“For sport.”

“No other reason?”

“No. Why?”

“Because I recall having read once, though I can’t remember where, that the unicorn’s horn was once thought to have magical and healing properties.”

“Well, yes. I suppose that it does. But I have no need of such.”

“Well, then, what do you intend to do with the unicorn once you’ve finally killed it?”

“Oh, I will never do that.”

“You mean you don’t wish to kill it?”

“No, I mean that I can not. I will never catch the unicorn.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do.”

“Then why do you hunt it?”

“I believe I have already answered that question. But come, why all these questions concerning the unicorn?” Now at last she looked at her daughter, and silver flames danced with the shadows in her eyes. “Was it him you dreamt of last night?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me your dream.”

Then Autumn related her dream, to which the queen listened attentively, but without any change in her expression. Then, when the girl was done, she said nothing, but turned back toward the fire.

“Well?” asked Autumn with growing impatience. “What does it mean?”

“What do you think it means?”

“I don’t know. I’m asking you. I wish you would just give me a straight answer for once.”

The queen glanced at her daughter’s face again and smiled softly.

“Only you can know for sure what your dream is trying to tell you, my dear. But I will say this: It does contain a grain of truth. As I said, I can never catch the unicorn. But you can.”

“I can? How?”

“You must go deep into the forest alone, and wait for it there. It will come to you.”

“But I don’t want to catch it!”

“That is precisely why you will.”

“I understand now. You want the unicorn, but you can’t get it for yourself, so you think to use me to lure it into a trap! Well, I won’t do it!”

The queen laughed. “Nor would I not want you to. Where would be the sport in that?”

“I don’t get it,” said Autumn. “What’s the point in hunting something if you know you can’t ever catch it?”

“The joy is in the hunt, my girl. There is only one unicorn; if I ever succeeded in slaying it, there would be no more hunt. Whatever would I do with myself then?”

“Well, why would I want to catch it?”

“That is another one of those questions you must answer for yourself, my darling. But I will say this: if you never catch it, you will never know the answer to that question. Such is the way of things.”

***Christopher Courtley is an accomplished author and colleague of mine.  I strongly recommend his book and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!! 🙂