Wednesday, July 23, 2014

E by Kate Wrath

Title: E
Author: Kate Wrath
You can find this book here: Amazon (Kindle Edition) and Amazon (Paperback).

Author's description:

A poignant tale of love and friendship in a world beyond hope…

Outpost Three: a huddle of crumbling buildings choked by a concrete wall.  Cracked pavement, rusted metal, splintering boards.  Huge robotic Sentries police the streets, but the Ten Laws are broken every time one turns its back.

Eden is determined, smart, and a born survivor.  Stripped of her memories and dumped on the streets of the Outpost, slavers and starvation are only the beginning of her problems.  A devastating conflict is coming that threatens to consume her world and tear her newfound family apart.

Life is harsh.  It makes no exceptions.  Not even for the innocent.

I don't usually read sci-fi. Or dystopian. I'm more of a happy reader, looking for rainbows and unicorns. What made me read (and love, and put the author on my top favorite authors list) "E" were the first paragraphs posted on Kate Wrath's website. The power and the beauty of the dark, poetic language won me over, reminding me of some of my favorite poets. And once you start reading this book, trust me, you cannot stop.

My official review:

Title & Genre
"E". As simple as that. The title is a mystery, just like the main character of the book. You will only discover what the title means when you are about 50% in this science-fiction, dystopian novel, so I won't spoil that for you.  

Theme & Plot
The storyline is constructed around three main themes: hope and the loss of it, character destruction and rebuilding, and the battle between good and evil. Actually, I would rephrase the last one as "the battle between evil and less evil", because we are talking about a world where nothing is good or innocent, and one has to choose between worse and the worst.
The main plot revolves around the main character and what she has to do to survive. I think the main fights take place in her heart and mind, not in the outside world. On the outside, though, there are events and struggles that create an endless web of sub-plots. A simple accident (getting a piece of glass stuck in Eden's foot) creates a whole side-story that lasts through chapters. Characters rise and die, taking their stories with them. The beginning of one sub-plot sometimes resolves the other, but in general, there are two or three going on at the same time.

Point of view
The novel is written in first person, present tense, from the main character's point of view. That gives you the chance to discover the world that she is dumped in together with her, as you start on the same level: neither you, nor the character knows what that world is like in the beginning.

Kate Wrath's characters are alive. You see them, feel them, bond with them and discover their world through their eyes. The main character is "reborn" from an "iron womb", nameless, in a hopeless world. She has no memories, no past, no future. Later on, she names herself Eden. Since the story is written from her point of view, the reader bonds with her deeply; you end up liking what she likes and hating what she hates. Eden is a complex character that learns, discovers, adapts and evolves very fast. Think of a new-born child forced to become a grown-up in a matter of days. What I like is that, even if her memories were erased, her sense of morality remained intact. She always tries to do the right thing, in this world where being correct lessens your chances of survival. This also leads to inner struggles, when she has to choose a side to fight on or choose among friends. The author pays the same attention to secondary characters: Apollon, Jonas, Miranda, Neveah, and my favorite, Oscar (which make up her new family); and Matt, the "god" of the Outpost, a very controversial character that you hate and love in the same time. All these characters have depths that I have rarely seen in a sci-fi writing.

As you would expect from a sci-fi/dystopian novel, the setting is crucial to the events that take place and to character development. What renders "E" different from other books in the same genre is the lack of direct description, the lack of dwelling on the subject. Everything happens in Outpost Three, but that is all you will know about it. You do not find out where it is situated, in what year, how big or small it is, and you do not need to, because it is not essential to the storyline. It is the dark atmosphere that the author creates that lets you in what the Outpost is all about. She does not describe the rags that people are wearing, but tells you that the leading groups have fewer holes in their clothing; she does not try to tell you what hunger feels like, but that "even the mold tastes good". Kate Wrath creates a world where being pretty is a curse, where you sell yourself for a crust of moldy bread, where the only way to "get rich" is to strip a corpse of its belongings, where menace comes in many shapes and from many sides, "the bottom of humanity's barrel". 

Modern poetry are the words that define Kate Wrath's style. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love it. Fragmented sentences; rich, descriptive vocabulary; attention to details and, especially, to feelings; dialogue as a main source of characterization – these are just a few things that describe this author's style. She lets the train of thought go, makes you think what the character thinks, and the thoughts come into your head not through words, but through this poetic language that enables it. A language that speaks to your subconscious, demanding to let go and embrace your feelings, and be part of this grim universe. 
I will give you only one example: "Tepid air.  Tepid metal.  The inability to move.  Limbs pressing outward, ineffective.  My ribcage curled in on itself.  No room to breathe.  The back of my skull smashed against the box.  Neck and spine aching.  Heavy limbs.  Not enough space.  Not enough air.  Suffocating.  Dying." Get the drift?

Obviously, I recommend this book to sci-fi and dystopian readers, poetry lovers, readers in search of a good thriller or a good book in general. But I warn you: this book is not for the weak hearted.

My Twist:

Favorite character: Oscar, without a doubt. This little sunshine of a boy offers you a ray of hope in an otherwise hopeless world.
Favorite quote: "E". No, not the title. The whole damn book. 
I'll choose a little rainbow-sweet quote for you, though: "Once […] there was this white doe. I don't think she died […].  I don't think God would let something that pretty die. Well, […] if I was God, I wouldn't."
Favorite names: Eden and Apollon. All the names are well-chosen and meaningful, but these two got my attention: Eden – a garden of beauty and desired perfection in a far-from-perfect universe – and Apollon – a cross-breed between Apollo, the Roman god of sunlight, and Apollyon, the destroyer, a name given to the Devil in the New Testament.

Least favorite character: Miranda – shallow, egocentric, but good-at-heart character, who sometimes behaves like a spoiled brat – it is a wonder how she has survived for so long in this world.
Least favorite quote: "You stink" – I never like it when people say that to me; do you?

Aspirin of the book:

If you wake up one day with no memories, in a dark world where everyone wants to harm you, and you don't even have your cell phone with you, look at the bright side: you might get to eat rats!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Voices of the Sea - New release!

Title: Voices of the Sea
Author: Bethany Masone Harar
You can find this book here: Amazon (Kindle Edition), Amazon (Paperback) and Barnes & Noble.

Author's description:

The Sirens of Pacific Grove, California are being exterminated, and seventeen-year-old Loralei Reines is their next target. Lora may look like a normal teenager, but her voice has the power to enchant and hypnotize men. Like the other Sirens in her clan, however, she keeps her true identity a secret to protect their species.
Lora's birthright as the next clan leader seems far off, until the Sons of Orpheus, a vicious cult determined to kill all Sirens on Earth, begin exterminating her people. When an unexpected tragedy occurs, Lora must take her place as Guardian of the Clan.

Lora is determined to gain control of her skills to help her clan, but they are developing too slowly, until she meets Ryan, a human boy. When Ryan is near, Lora's abilities strengthen. She knows she shouldn't be with a human. Yet, she can't resist her attraction to him, or the surge in power she feels whenever they're together.

And the Sirens are running out of time. If Lora can't unlock the secret to defeat the Sons of Orpheus, she, along with everyone she loves, will be annihilated.


Bethany Masone Harar grew up in a family with "gypsy feet", as she describes them herself, moving from place to place before settling down in the suburbs of Washington D.C. Between her job as a high school English teacher and her family, she still finds time to write. The official release of her first novel, "Voices of the Sea", takes place today, and Bethany shared with us some insight on the characters in her book:

The Sirens in my book are very peaceful, living among humans for centuries, but keeping themselves hidden to protect their real identity.  They look completely human, but have the amazing ability to seduce the opposite sex with either their singing, or with an instrument. (Yes, in my book, both males and females can be Sirens)  However, they do not take this gift lightly, and only use it when absolutely necessary.

The ocean sings to the Sirens in my novel, and the song varies depending on the Siren's mood.  It even speaks to my main character, Loralei, who will one day be the Guardian of the Pacific Grove, California, clan.  For the Sirens, singing along with the ocean's song is very difficult to resist, and is both a treasure and a torment to them as they try to keep up their "human" life. 
My Sirens cherish and protect their heritage, aware that their legacy needs to be preserved, but also hidden, because if the world knew what they were, they would not be allowed to live freely.  They are gentle, but brave, and are about to face the greatest threat to their existence.

I can't wait to share my Sirens with you, and I hope you love them as much as I do.

Thank you, Bethany! Looking forward to reading more about your Sirens.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Tale of Atterberry - New release!

Title: The Tale of Atterberry (The Faire Pendant - Book1)
Author: Leah Price
You can find this book here: Amazon (Kindle Edition), Amazon (Paperback), Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Author's description:

Glenna’s life is anything but ordinary. The daughter of Renaissance festival vendors, Glenna’s days are filled with magic and medieval reenactments as she travels the faire circuit with her family.
Then one day, Glenna’s life changes forever. With the help of a pendant, she discovers Otherworld. An enchanted realm, Otherworld is the land in which all of the myths and magic woven by the Renaissance players comes to life!

Suddenly, Glenna is thrust into a quest filled with danger and deception when Atterberry, a great and powerful magician in Otherworld, needs help recovering a stolen item.

Can Glenna find the item in time? Can she summon the courage to become the medieval hero the residents of Otherworld expect her to be? And perhaps most importantly, can she juggle both her life in the real world and her life in Otherworld without damaging either?


A lifelong lover of fantasy, Leah Price has spent years dreaming of other worlds and distant places. After traveling and studying abroad, she decided to write the story she always wanted to read. "The Faire Pendant" is a series of books dedicated to the child who lives in a world of imagination and wonder, who dreams of magic, and who longs for adventure. 
Leah price has just released the first book in the series, "The Tale of Atterberry", and with this occasion, she agreed to answer a few questions:

1. What inspired you to write "The Tale of Atterberry"?
I've always loved the fantasy genre and when the idea came to me to write about a girl who lives at Renaissance festivals, things started snowballing from there. Suddenly, I saw her having the ability to travel to a place where the people are the characters they play. Otherworld became a place I could see clearly in my mind. I knew the trails and buildings of the land, the people and creatures, such as Atterberry. I think many pieces of Otherworld are bits of my childhood re-imagined.

2. Who should read this book and why will they enjoy it?
I wrote it for children. I wanted to give them a land of imagination and adventure. A dreamy place to visit. But I have to say, when I imagine my book being read, it's a story parents and children read together. I want "The Tale of Atterberry" to be something they share and enjoy.

3. What made you want to become a writer?
I've always been a storyteller and it was a natural progression to writing. While recovering after a horseback riding accident, I began writing and haven't looked back. The "Tale of Atterberry" is actually the first of many in a series.

Thank you, Leah Price! I can't wait to discover your fantasy world!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Prediction by Darren Sugrue

Title: The Prediction
Author: Darren Sugrue
You can find this book here: Amazon (Kindle Edition), Smashwords and Darren Sugrue's site (free e-copy).

Author's description:

Nobody knows the day they’ll die… until now. 

Mathematical genius Daniel Geller has developed a formula to predict a person’s date of death only to have it rejected by the faculty at Trinity College. Totally devastated, he turns his back on the world he once loved. 

Twelve years on, Daniel’s old professor, John Redmond, and his wife are coming to terms with the death of their ten-year-old son. Could Daniel's formula have predicted his death? Revisiting the thesis, the professor makes an astonishing discovery: out of the five fellow students whom Daniel used the formula on, one of them died on the exact date predicted by Daniel. 

One more is due to die in six days: Daniel’s ex-lover, Grace. 

The professor draws Daniel back into the world of mathematics where he is suddenly faced with the dilemma of allowing someone he once loved to die, to be one step closer to proving his thesis and enjoying a prestige he once dreamed of… 

Set in the vibrant cities of Dublin and Amsterdam, The Prediction is a powerful story about coping with shattered dreams, the loss of a loved one, and an illustration of just how unpredictable the human heart can be.

Don't start reading this novel, if you don't have time to finish it! It gets you hooked from the first paragraphs, and it asks to be read in one sitting.

My official review:

Title & Genre
The title, "The Prediction", pretty much sums up the starting point of the novel: the formula to predict people's date of death. After reading the blurb and taking a look at the cover, I feared that the book would be filled with mathematical equations or something of the sort, but it is nothing like that. It is a thriller – crime – mystery novel with elements of a detective story. Filled with suspense, peppered with a bit of romance and softened by tragedy, it is one of the best crime novels I have ever read.

Theme & Plot
It is difficult to pinpoint one theme in the novel, because the plot (or plots) is constructed on so many levels, each with the same degree of importance. There are three main storylines that intersect: First, the story of Daniel Geller's life and career plays around the theme of hope and the loss of it. He has abandoned his doctoral thesis and his dreams of becoming a world-known mathematician, and he has come to terms with having a simple life and a menial job, only so that his hope is rekindled after twelve years. Second, John and Claire Redmond's tale is built around the destruction of family life, after the loss of a child. It is the darkest part of the novel, emotionally engaging and, sometimes, distressing. Third, Grace Visser lives her own tragedy due to her abusive husband. Her decision to leave him seems to create more problems than solutions. This third storyline focuses on character destruction and rebuilding.
Accidents play a defining role in the story. They offer major plot twists and an amazing ending.
Until the curtain falls, all the plots are resolved, one way or another, and the end of the book is both puzzling and rewarding.

Point of view
The multitude of points of view is another novelty that Darren Sugrue has to offer to the world of writing. We are used to seeing two or three points of view in a story, but here we encounter eight different ones! Each of the main characters and some of the secondary ones are given the chance to tell part of the story as seen from their side. The point of view usually changes from one chapter to another, as the story jumps among plots and characters.

After noticing the multiple plots and points of view, the number of the main characters is not surprising anymore: Daniel Geller, the mathematician; John Redmond, the professor; Claire, John's wife; and Grace Visser, Daniel's long lost love. Surprising is the part given to Zoe, Daniel's wife; she appears seldom in the novel, but plays a decisive role in the story. There is also a number of notable secondary characters: Otto, Grace's abusive husband; Rik, Grace's friend; Janssen, the detective; and my favorite, Edward, an episodic character who plays the role of the sage, the wise elder.
The author seems to love all his characters, paying the same attention to both primary and secondary ones, showing empathy towards all of them. They seem to come to life from the pages of the book, they change and develop through the story, and I am sure that any reader can find at least one character to relate to.  What surprised me was that among all these characters, there is only one villain. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean that all the others are linearly good. They are complex, deeply flawed, with their strengths and weaknesses, yet sympathetically portrayed, which is what makes them so "real".

The setting is secondary to the plot. The action moves between Amsterdam and Dublin. There is little description of the surroundings, but it is not missed. The parts that deal with the setting are full of humorous observations, such as the modes of transportation used by the police in Amsterdam or the bicycle lanes in Dublin: "Daniel suspected that Dublin Corporation had employed magicians to plan and construct the bicycle lanes. One would be cycling on them when all of a sudden, poof! They’d vanish."

Darren Sugrue writes in short, clear, sometimes fragmented sentences that have the fluency of modern poetry. It feels like the author just gives in to his train of thought. A great example is Chapter 58, a hospital scene. The details and the onomatopoeic vocabulary make you feel like you are there, in that hospital hallway. It is my favorite scene in the novel.
Attention to detail is noticeable throughout the book, in the way the author describes how a loose bike chain is reattached, how a woman applies varnish to her nails, or how the drops of rain bounce off the street.
The Prologue is a flashforward, giving you an insight on how the story will end, and getting you hooked within minutes.
Humor is subtle and scattered throughout, balancing the gloomy atmosphere that floods other scenes in the book.
Dialogue prevails and plays a major role in depicting the characters and the course of action. Inner thought is also present to characterize and give depth to the "actors".

You will not hear this from me very often: this is a must-read! Readers of all genres, unite! You have a crime, a thriller, a good detective story, romance and mystery all in one. It is funny; it is sad; it is good!

My Twist:

Favorite character: Edward, the old man whom Claire meets in the supermarket, and who helps her realize that she can get through her loss. It might be the most unbelievable character in the book – I mean, who goes for a smoothie with a total stranger they have just met while shopping? – but I like his role, his empathy, and the fact that his words are made important without making him an important (read "main") character.
Favorite quote: "There was no need to lock it [the door of the crane] after him. If a thief was willing to risk his life climbing all the way up to steal a Rubik’s cube, Daniel didn’t want to disappoint him." – one of the many quotes that I loved. I could probably quote the entire 58th Chapter to make my point, but the copyright prohibits it.
Favorite name: Claire – meaning "bright" or "clear", this name is attributed to a person who is going through the darkest moments in her life.

Least favorite character: Otto, Grace's abusive husband, the drunkard, the villain – no one could like him.
Least favorite quote: "'File for a divorce. Move in with me,' he blurted out." – guys really don't get it, do they? Like it's that simple!
Least favorite name: Darth Vader – I've never liked this one.

Aspirin of the book: 

"We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure of all diseases." - Sir Thomas Browne

Friday, July 11, 2014

Guardian of the Underworld - New release!

Title: Guardian of the Underworld
Author: Rachel Tetley
You can find this book here: Amazon (Kindle Edition) and Amazon UK (Kindle Edition).

Author's Description:

Two worlds

Neither can exist without the other

And one guardian to ensure their survival

But a family with a score to settle

Forces one boy, into a dangerous adventure

Jake Summers is an ordinary boy with an ordinary family- so he thinks. He has just spent another summer holidays building dens in the woods with his best friend Paul. But when someone special unexpectedly dies, Jake is determined to find out the truth, unaware that it will change his life forever. 

He discovers a key to Grandpa’s forbidden room, and is plunged into a long-forgotten magical world, together with class mate Arianna Brown and a strange creature called Noggin. Stormy seas, underground carts pulled by Golden Eagles and a dragon all stand in his way. He must race against time to fulfill an ancient magical prophecy and save the world.


Starting from the cover, to the beautiful illustrations (done by the author herself!), continuing with the story - which I can't wait to explore - "Guardian of the Underworld" feels soaked with magic. 
Yes, I know it is a children's adventure story, and I shouldn't get so excited about it, with me being a grown-up and all, but I am sure my inner child will enjoy it.

Rachel Tetley shared a few words on her book, with the occasion of its release:

It is about an eleven year old boy, Jake Summers, who finds himself on an adventure in a long-forgotten magical world, where together with his classmate Arianna and a strange creature called Noggin, he has to race against time through five deadly challenges to fulfill an ancient magical prophecy and save the world.
 It is along the lines of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" story. I have attempted to weave good strong family values and the importance of forgiveness.  It would appeal most to those who enjoy the likes of Fablehaven, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.


 It is the first in an intended series, although I’m not sure, at this point, how many there will be.

Thank you, Rachel! Looking forward to reading your story.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Interview with May Nicole Abbey

Caroline Gregory
Today we will be playing “Twenty Questions” with May Nicole Abbey, the authors of “The Fall Series”, which includes three fantasy-adventure-clean romance novels – “The Dreamer”, “The Scholar”, and “The Pauper” – up to now, with the fourth in the making.

And yes, I did say the “authorS”. No, it was not a typo. No, May Nicole Abbey does not suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder (as far as I know). May Nicole Abbey is two persons. May Nicole Abbey is the pen name chosen by two sisters, Caroline Gregory and Shawnette Nielson. Unusual? Yes. Original? Definitely. Successful? Absolutely!
Shawnette Nielson

1. How does this work, writing as a team?

Caroline:  It’s all over the place. First we pound out the general story with endless and wonderful phone calls (thank goodness for free mobile to mobile), then it just depends. Sometimes Shawnette does the first draft and I edit, or vice versa, or sometimes we write it together over the phone. Every book, every scene, is a new adventure. We don’t know where we will be compelled to go.
Shawnette:  What I love most is that we are each other’s biggest fan, even though we are so different from each other. To trust someone so completely is rare, to be able to hand over our work in progress and know that even if things are cut or changed, that it is done respectfully. I so value my relationship with my sister Caroline.

2. Do you have a plan – as in who will write what – before you start, or you just make it up as you go along?  
We make it up as we go along. We thought we had a writing strategy for the first book, then it changed for the second, still again for the third. We’re working on the fourth now, and we’re doing it yet a different way. Whoever has an idea says, “Let me give it a try.” Then the other sister edits the heck out of it. We’re very different creatively, so we both have lots to say when we get a first draft. And second. And third….

3. What gave you the idea to write as a team, instead of trying to publish separately?

It just happened. Shawnette had a wonderful idea for a story, and I got excited about it and helped her plan it. We live hundreds of miles apart, so on vacations or over the phone, it would come up and we’d get excited about it again and write a little more. It became ‘our’ story. When it was finished (ten years after we started it!) we thought we’d try to get it published. We never planned a series, but our publisher gave us a great idea for book two. Then the rest just fell into place.

4. Do you plan on publishing separately, or will you continue authoring as a team?

Caroline: We have big plans together. We have our series planned out to book 9, then we have more ideas all the way to book 27! Who has time to publish separately?
Shawnette: I think that I have recognized that my writing is incomplete without Caroline and so throughout the years, as I continually strive to improve my own talents, I also know intimately my own weaknesses. I think my writing will forever be better for Caroline’s added talents. Why work alone when it is so much more enjoyable to do it together?

5. How did you come up with the pen name you are using – May Nicole Abbey?

I liked the name May, Shawnette liked Nicole, and Abbey came about because we wanted to be first alphabetically. (This was before the internet played such a big part. In book stores, we wanted to be right up front!) We came up with the name years ago. When we decided to try to get published, we thought, “What pen name did we come up with?” We looked and just had to laugh. Shawnette’s daughter’s name is Abbey Nicole! It was meant to be!

6. What inspired you to write this series?

The phrase, “I had a dream once that I flew,” began it all. It popped into Shawnette’s mind about fifteen years ago and she rushed to find a pen to write it down. The rest was inspired by that one line. It plays a big part in the first three books, repeated throughout. In the third book it is one of the last lines. We plan on having it play some part in the whole series. Giving it its due.

7. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Caroline: Shawnette has three kids and I have four. Our strange writing habits are that we are able to write at all! We promised ourselves our children wouldn’t have to pay the price for our dream, so we write when we can carve out time. Mostly at night after the kids are asleep. But I have had my computer in the kitchen as I cook, on the floor while the baby plays, and in the car while I’m waiting outside during the kids’ activities. You name it, I’ve probably written there.
Shawnette: I guess you could say that adaptability is key when you try to write with the responsibilities of motherhood on your shoulders. The challenge of it all makes it extra fun, though.

8. Does any of you identify herself with your protagonist, and if so, in what way?

We LOVE our protagonists, no matter how flawed they are. Each one I can identify with, or I envy. Heather, in the third book, is so spunky and fearless. How I love living through her eyes because I’m naturally timid. Rachel is intelligent and innocent, always making mistakes, but it doesn’t occur to her to care. Serena is simply beautiful. A beautiful nature. I wish I could love people as readily as she does. We love all our characters. We couldn’t write them like we do unless we loved them dearly.

9. Your series is about time travel. If you were able to travel in time, where would you go?

Caroline: We romanticize the areas we visit in our books. In reality we know these places had many challenges. Right now we’re writing about the American wild west. If I could visit a romanticized version, it would be that. The cowboys, the adventure, the grit and determination must have carved out hearty, wise character. I think that, in every book I write, it becomes my new favorite place, just like the characters become my new favorite people.
Shawnette: Could I have a free pass? I want to visit it all, live in a place for a time, learn of its beauties, and then move on. I would never stop.

10. If you were superheroes, what would your names be? What costumes would you wear?

Caroline: We are big superhero fans at my house. I love the powers of the little girl in The Incredibles. She could disappear and create protective force fields. Totally up my alley. Loved the outfit, too.  :)
Shawnette: As I think of all the superheroes, the ones that I admire the most are those that have a natural toughness built of grit and determination; Captain America, Wolverine. They were true heroes, not only because of their inherent talents, but because of their strength of character. My superhero power would be something that put me in the thick of it all, right in the fray; but would also require strength and determination on my part. Invincibility. My costume? Hmmm, I like Black Widow’s look. :)

11. If you could walk a day in somebody else’s shoes, who would it be?

Caroline: Jane Austen. She intrigues me. I love the way she saw people. To be able to write characters like she did, she must have really been able to read those around her. I would love to be able to write characters the way she did. I wonder what she’d think of me. The idea both fascinates and terrifies me.
Shawnette:  George Washington. What an example of a real life super hero. He was INCREDIBLE, and honorable, and good. Brave. Noble. Unstoppable. To know what he knew, feel what he felt; I would have so much to learn from him.

12. If you had to characterize yourselves with just one word, what word would you choose? 

Caroline: Right now it would be mother. That is ninety percent of my time. And I love it. But there is a writer there, too. I am a mother who writes. Or something like that.
Shawnette: Adventurer. Right now my adventure is motherhood, who knows what will be next.

13. Do you have pets?

Caroline: Do we have pets?? Two dogs, a poodle named Bennett and a pug named Darcy (sound familiar? Think Pride and Prejudice), four turtles named Spike, Crusher, Claws and Turbo, and a toad named Foot. (Did I tell you I have four boys?) I am also a part time zoo keeper, apparently.
Shawnette: I am in the process of downsizing our animals. At one point we had chickens, salamanders, fish, dog and cat. Now we have a yellow lab named Rusty who is my running companion and around good friend, and Echo our Russian Blue cat. She owns the house and everything in it, including Rusty’s bed, poor fella.

14. How do you relax?

Caroline: I watch TV. It lasts about five seconds… but it’s glorious.
Shawnette: I should sleep. When I’m making good decisions, I sleep. Most of the time it is not the case, and my relaxing time happens late at night when everyone has fallen asleep and I watch an old fashion movie.

15. What are your top three favorite books?

Caroline: Pride and Prejudice, Secret Garden, and Where the Heart Is.
Shawnette: Pride and Prejudice (who doesn’t love this book), I have to name a Georgette Heyer… maybe The Talisman Ring, Arabella, or The Masqueraders, and number three would be… Divine Center by Steven Covey.

16. What is your favorite movie or TV show?

Caroline: Soooo many to choose from. Probably Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow. Funny but with depth. Perfect balance.
Shawnette: I have found such charm in the old black and white movies. Adam and Evelyn is so charming. I loved it.

17. Do you read your reviews? Do you learn from your readers?

Caroline: I used to read the reviews religiously. But I realized it brought either ecstasy or agony. Neither very healthy emotions. Shawnette keeps me up to date with generalities, but for the most part, I try to avoid them. We get wonderful ideas from our readers. So often they see things that we didn’t see. It makes us look at the book in a new light.
Shawnette: I have to be careful, for the same reason mentioned by Caroline, but I can’t help myself. I try to learn from everything… as hard as it is sometimes. And reading reviews has brought me in contact with some incredible women (case in point, Anka :)

18. What advice would you give your younger selves?

Caroline: Don’t lose hope.
Shawnette: Write, write, write.

19. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Write, write, write. And read, read, read. The only way to get better is to practice. It isn’t entertainment anymore. It’s work. Not that you have to stop loving it. But I think you have to look at it a different way. Going from being a reader to a writer, you go from being an enjoyer of an art to a creator of it. You have to figure out how it works.

20. How can people discover more about you and about your work?

May Nicole Abbey's website
May Nicole Abbey's blog
May Nicole Abbey on Facebook
May Nicole Abbey on Twitter
May Nicole Abbey on LinkedIn
May Nicole Abbey on Pinterest
May Nicole Abbey's Amazon author page
May Nicole Abbey on Goodreads

Thank you, Anka. It has been such a pleasure!

Thank you, Caroline and Shawnette, for letting me pick your brains. This was a wonderful opportunity to find out interesting things about one (I should probably say "two") of my favorite authors, and I hope the readers feel the same.