Amy Aislin – Author Spotlight

Meet the Author

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Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.

An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers.

Pride Month Sale – Keeping Casey

.99 Sale until June 27th

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Purchase your copy here

Casey Preston is the guy with the plan. The list-maker. The one who micromanages his own life.

Spontaneously offering to be his best friend’s fake boyfriend to get Ethan’s annoying team captain off his back?

That’s not thinking things through. It’s not even smart given Casey’s been fighting his feelings for Ethan for years.

Ethan Rain just wants to play hockey and get his college degree. Adding a fake boyfriend to the mix? He doesn’t need that complication.

If Casey were his real boyfriend, though? If he got to keep Casey forever? Now we’re talking.

Click the cover to purchase!

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Connect With Amy

Twitter * Instagram * Website * Facebook

What do I like about Amy Aislin (besides her writing)?

When she says she likes to connect with her readers, she means it. She’s very active in her Facebook group. She is active in other author groups as well. She participates in a lot of fun games and giveaways. She’s as much as a reader as the rest of us. I love checking her Goodreads to see what she’s read and her thoughts on the book.

Amy cares about the accuracy in her work. Fun fact, I got to sensitivity read for her on one of her books.

Also I have an ABSOLUTE love of hockey and I can read her work in one sitting.

If you like Amy Aislin, you should read:

RJ Scott, VL Locey, Rachel Reid, Amy Daws, Beth Bolden

An Interview with Kathryn Sommerlot

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So I may have needed a little more insight into what inspired Kathryn Sommerlot for The Life Siphon Duology. Okay, more like I’m just super nosy and like to see what happens in other authors minds.

 

How did you come to decide on the names you used? It’s obvious that they have meaning, at least one character in particular.  

The names are divided by location, since all the varying kingdoms have their own linguistic commonalities. Runon in particular uses the Japanese phonemes as its base, so all the names use those sounds. Both Yudai and Tatsu are Japanese names. For Chayd, there’s a lot of l’s used, and some sounds that don’t show up in the Runonian language, like the ‘sh’ and ‘sch’ sounds. So you get names like Alesh, Ral, Drel, and Hesch. But I tried to keep them fairly short, because it can be difficult for readers faced with long unknown names, and the shorter ones are usually easier to sound out.

The scenery throughout is extremely rich? Do certain real life elements appear in these settings? 

With the scenery, I tried to use combinations of real life climate zones – like Chayd’s subtropical zone, Runon’s moderate mountain climate, and Joesar’s tropical deserts – and more magical settings I could see in my head, because I wanted them to be a realistic fantasy. The Weeping Forest was based originally off Weeping Willow trees you can see in my home state!

Do you have any upcoming projects we can be on the look out for? 

There is a sequel novel coming for The Life Siphon series that is set in the world with many of the same characters, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to finish that within the year. I’ve also just finished a first draft of an alternative historical fantasy that I’m planning to shop around to agents.

Is there any fun, behind the scene stories you want to share with us from while you were writing this?

It was my beta’s idea to have the trees in Runon laugh and giggle, set up to be the opposite effect the siphon had on areas like the Weeping Forest. Her hand is very visible in the story, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as good without her influence. The importance of having a beta who loves your work as much as you do can’t be overstated.
Want to read more by Kathryn Sommerlot?
She’s got more to read and they are officially on my TBR List. 
Both are available on Amazon and other major retailers.
Ibuki   Roanoke

A Interview with Matt Doyle

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Of course I had some burning questions for Matt Doyle after reading Addict. I mean who wouldn’t have a million questions with all the tech and the mystery? Plus, I may have gotten the scoop for those of you who were wondering if there were more books planned.

What drew you to writing about a private investigator?

Honestly, writing a PI was something new for me, and it wasn’t initially planned. What basically happened was, I was playing the fighting game BlazBlue Central Fiction online on my PS3 – read as ‘getting destroyed by people across the globe’ – and during a particularly brutal loss, something in the back of my head just said, “We’re writing a mystery novel next.” And who was I to argue? The thing is, I always loved the noir detectives of old; they were stubborn, and they certainly had their own moral compass, but they always seemed to be pushing towards (what they at least viewed as) the greater good. So, when it came to writing about a PI, my mind went to there. At the same time though, I tend to write with a grounding in science fiction, even when the books themselves don’t fit neatly into that genre, so it really felt like I should try to work that into the setting. When I was searching for inspiration, I basically just sat down and did a marathon re-watch of the films The Maltese Falcon, L.A. Confidential, and Blade Runner. That solidified in my head that using a PI as a protagonist for this tale was the right way to go. It’s been interesting too, as I’ve seen readers not only comparing the story to both The Maltese Falcon and Blade Runner, but also to characters like Jessica Jones, Veronica Mars, and Claudia Valentine. It’s really heartening, because people are finding similarities with all this awesome stuff that they enjoy, but without the book becoming a pastiche of these works.

 

What gave you the idea for the tech shifters?

Now, that I actually had a good idea about from the get-go. I’d been reading a lot of urban fantasy novels – stuff like the Mercy Thompson and Otherworld series – and wanted to work shifters in, but with a tech-infused twist. As a result, I went back to stuff I was familiar with. I build costumes in my spare time, and these have ranged from simple clothing modifications to full-blown mascot style fursuits. The world of fursuiting is really varied too, with everything from the cartoony humanoid costumes that people generally think of to quad-suits designed to simulate quadrupedal movement. So, I took that concept and had a look at the way different builders are already incorporating tech into the costumes and worked my way through how a future version might look.

Meanwhile, the reasons that Lori has for Tech Shifting came from some documentaries I’d seen on pup-play (and pet-play in general). The way I saw it, people would have many different reasons to want to use Tech Shift Gear, so understanding why we do similar things already was a must. It’s also really different to what springs to mind for most when you mention kink.

 

Where did you get your inspiration for all the tech for you book? You’ve got to be tech-minded.

I knew from the get-go that, while I wanted a futuristic setting, I didn’t want to go too far into the future. The world in The Cassie Tam Files is pretty dark at times, and I wanted to leave people thinking that it could be a viable reality. That included the tech. So, I started looking at the stuff that we have now and what we’re seeing growth in in terms of usage, then started brainstorming ideas as to where that stuff could end up further down the line. I am fairly tech-minded, but a lot of the time, I simply research what I’m wanting to work with and go from there. Moving forward, you can expect some other bits and pieces to pop up that utilises modified versions of existing tech too. The key for me was to try to understand some of the science behind it and make sure that everything was at least theoretically possible.

t’s a really interesting part of the BDSM scene too, because it’s not sexual for a lot of people. It’s also really different to what springs to mind for most when you mention kink.

 

 

Obviously there’s plan for more books. Are you going to explore the BDSM aspect and the tech shifters more?  One of your characters, Lori, said something that was so important. It’s about trust and I wanted a little more insight.

Yeah, unless plans change, there should be at least five books in the current run. NineStar Press has signed both the second and third book already, so I’m hard at work on editing those and planning out the fourth now. As to what we’ll explore … a lot of stuff. The BDSM part is only touched upon in the second and third book, as Cassie is still a little wary about the Tech Shifter community, and it kinda spills over for her. It really is all about trust, and when you’re still unsure about something so important for your partner, that can make things a little difficult. We do get to learn a little more about why it’s difficult for Cassie though, as well as seeing her try to get her own hang-ups about it under check. There will be a resolution to this, so I’m hoping to build up towards doing a little more about that part of the world, but at the moment the focus is on Tech Shifting itself rather than the BDSM side of Lori’s application of it.

The thing with it is, there is a bigger story going on in the background. Each book is its own self-enclosed case, but all of them drop breadcrumbs for something bigger until we hit the book where Cassie starts investigating the bigger mystery. My main goal has been to touch on things as and when it seems natural to do so. I want everything to feel like it slots into place by the end, if that makes sense? So, while the kink scene is a part of New Hopeland, it won’t be the main focus.

 

 

How did you come up with Bert? I need more Bert in my life. He had sass and snark and the most he said was, “Caw.”

You know, it’s really amazed me how popular Bert has been. I love that he’s so well loved by readers, but it wasn’t what I expected to happen.

I had wanted to have a futuristic pet in the book and being a fan of gargoyles (from the actual statues to the cult Disney cartoon series), I figured that a mechanical gargoyle would be a good way to go. His general attitude and behaviour came in because I was trying to picture what sort of pet would both infuriate and endear itself to someone like Cassie. As a result, we ended up with the lovable little menace that is Bert. There will be plenty more of him going forward though. I’ve been careful not to have him turn up for the sake of it, I want to keep the same feel for him in all the books, but he’ll definitely be a mainstay.

 

What’s to come?

Book 2 – The Fox, the Dog, and The King: Cassie and Lori have a night out at the theatre to watch a professional Tech Shift performer named Kitsune. What should have been a fun night out soon turns into Cassie being lumbered with a missing dog case, and that in turn spirals into something far bigger that has the potential to effect not only Cassie, but the whole of New Hopeland City.

 

Rebecca Langham Interview

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I took a few minutes to talk with Rebecca Langham to pick her mind about Beneath the Surface and to see what she had upcoming. Fun fact,  Rebecca Langham is Australian!

What drew you to writing about ‘aliens’?

“One of my favourite things about sci-fi is its ability to consider social and political themes using a distant frame. The Outsiders were always about the concept of humanity’s fear regarding difference, as well as our own obsession with being superior as a species.”

Why did you call them Outsiders?

The concept came from a lot of reports I kept seeing about how the Australian government treated asylum seekers. Then there were all the HORRIBLE comments on Facebook articles, with everyday people always saying they were “illegal” and we shouldn’t waste our resources to help them…but there’s actually no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker because Australia has ratified multiple UN declarations that ensure the rights of people fleeing persecution.

‘Outsiders’ is all about the rhetoric of public discourse. The irony of the term becomes clear by the end of the novel. None of us are Outsiders — but words and attitudes can make us feel that way.

I myself see a lot past historical events in this book like segregation and even events here in America now. What appealed to you to write this?

As a History teacher, I’m fascinated by the notion of memory. There’s not a specific historical event reflected metaphorically in BTS, but rather a thematic discussion around the ways that ‘self’ is defined by the past. The difficulty is that the past can be controlled and manipulated. Women’s history is an obvious example of this, but there are many. The notion of ‘revised history’ has gained a lot of traction in recent decades as a result.

Winston Churchill said “History is written by the victors”, and I wanted to — even just for my self — look at how it may impact upon the collective and individual identities of people to always feel that they’d been in the wrong, that they somehow owed the world a debt because history books have told them as much. I’m not an expert in psychology or anthropology and I can’t pretend to have painted an accurate picture, but these are the larger forces of historical representation that I find quite fascinating and which in turn influenced the novel.

What are your future plans and what can we look forward to from you? Are you planning any more books or currently working on any?

I’m working on the second book — the follow up to Beneath the Surface. The story isn’t finished just yet. It’s a tricky novel to write because the characters have a very new reality to deal with, and there are a few more answers about the government conspiracy to be found.

After that, I have a list of ideas long enough to spend the next five years writing. I take a while to finish books (thanks to my children and full time job).