Wednesday, January 16, 2019

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Ruchi Singh, Author

Ruchi Singh, Author
Ruchi Singh brings us GUARDIAN ANGEL, a romantic thriller, which is her favorite genre. The book spins off a  character from her previous novel, THE BODYGUARD, and tells how an “angel“ rescues a security expert in mortal danger.  

Singh is an award-winning author who writes both romance and romantic thrillers. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading and exploring classical Indian dance forms. She is currently working on an emotional romance novel and is also planning a detective series.

Q: How did you conceive of the plot for GUARDIAN ANGEL

Ruchi Singh: I had released THE BODYGUARD prior to GUARDIAN ANGEL. Nikhil Mahajan, though an important character, played a secondary role in that novel. After the release of THE BODYGUARD, I received numerous personal messages and review feedback that people want to hear Nikhil’s story as well. 

Hence GUARDIAN ANGEL came into being. Essentially it is a spin-off from THE BODYGUARD and can be read as a standalone book.

Q: Reviewers in a previous book, THE BODYGUARD, said your characters were “well fleshed out.” How do you make readers care about your characters? 

Ruchi Singh: There are certain expected social, physical, and notional perceptions. If we as an author understand those qualities and perceptions, defining a character’s traits become easy. 

Then throughout the story, those traits have to be released or written depending on the circumstances and situations. I cater to those perceptions and hope that the readers would fall in love with them. They generally do. 

Q: Reviewers also tout the thriller aspect of your books. How do you create suspense while simultaneously producing romance?

Ruchi Singh: In a suspense, the information about the plot has to be revealed in a piece-meal fashion. For romance to simultaneously flourish, both hero and the heroine have to be actively involved in the main plot as well as be thrown together in the scenes. The plotting, characterization and internal conflicts are important here.

Q: Is the concept of villain vs hero relevant to GUARDIAN ANGEL? What are the characteristics of an effective villain?

Ruchi Singh: Yes, of course it’s relevant in GUARDIAN ANGEL. Every story has to have a villain. Though it’s not necessary that the villain has to be a human being. The inner conflict, weaknesses, and circumstances can also play a part in traumatizing a protagonist and can thereby be termed as a villain. GUARDIAN ANGEL, too, has a villain of the human variety. Although the protagonist and the villain do not confront each other face to face, they do go after each other in a more covert manner.

The characteristics of a villain should be such that readers also share the hero’s revulsion, fear, or distaste. A villain lays down the conflicts in the path of the hero and should be one notch more powerful than the hero. A story, where the hero is able to overpower the villain against all odds, is a real entertainer. 

Q: In GUARDIAN ANGEL, how helpful is back story, especially that of setting?

Ruchi Singh: GUARDIAN ANGEL is set in the backdrop of conflict in Kashmir. The backstory and the setting are revealed to the readers at opportune scenes throughout the story. There are certain chunks which are revealed through inner monologues, thoughts, and dialogues. Some aspects are just hinted using a word or two here and there, and let the reader imagine the rest. The backstory and settings help readers to get a reference point for the location, story and the characters’ motivations. If used judiciously it’s a very powerful story element.

Q: Did you write GUARDIAN ANGEL strictly to entertain? Or were you trying to educate or deliver a message? 

Ruchi Singh: Every novel I write is to entertain the readers. I consider myself a storyteller and entertainer.

Q: What caused you to pursue a career as an author and away from that of IT career?

Ruchi Singh: It all started in 2012 when I had left my regular job to be a full-time homemaker. After a year my daughter joined the college in a new city. I was feeling a little low due to empty nest syndrome but didnt want to go back to the corporate rut. That was the time friends and family suggested writing. My family members and friends said when you read so much, you can write as well.

Since I am very fond of novels, I began with a novel. I really enjoyed the first few days of putting my thoughts on paper. The result was the debut novel TAKE 2. But it was only when I had won the Indireads short story competition, in Oct 2014, I knew I will become a fiction writer.

Q: What’s next?

Ruchi Singh: I am writing an emotional romance which is again set in Kasauli, the backdrop of my second novel JUGNU (The Firefly). I’m also planning and plotting a detective series, which is at a very nascent stage. There are lots of ideas floating in my mind, but very less time.

Q:  Tell us about Ruchi Singh. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Ruchi Singh: I am generally a happy-go-lucky person. I go with the flow of events happening in and around me. When I am not writing I read a lot, and I also like to spend time and relax with my friends.

About Ruchi Singh

Winner of TOI WriteIndia Season 1, Ruchi Singh is a novelist, and writes in two genres: romance and romantic thriller. A voracious reader, she loves everything—from classics to memoirs to editorials to chick-lit, but her favorite genre is ‘romantic thriller’. Besides writing and reading, her other interests include dabbling with Indian classical dance forms.

The Man
Security expert Nikhil Mahajan is in mortal danger. Gravely injured and unable to see, he is in the midst of hostile strangers in an unknown place. Any hope of survival is fast fading away. 

The Angel
Should an innocent man be left to die just because he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Someone has to intervene.

In the bathroom, he stripped off his clothes and looked in the mirror for the first time since the day of the bomb blast in Mumbai. He couldn’t recognize the man staring back at him in the mirror. His hair, matted with dirt, was stuck to his skull. The only things which were clean were his wounds and the skin around it which had been taken care of by the hospital nurse.
He had a full-fledged beard with a patch of bandage where the skin on his face had burned. The scar would definitely leave a reminiscence of…? Of what? What should he call the events of the past weeks? An incident? An episode? A misfortune? He drew a blank. In retrospect, past few weeks seemed like something which could not be explained in words.
Pushing his confused thoughts aside he examined his leg. The burns were deeper on the shin and thigh, the doctor had told him. He looked gaunt, a shadow of his former self. He must have lost at least ten kg, if not more. Sighing audibly, he unwrapped the new toothbrush and remembered his own electrical one in his bathroom back home. 
Everything unfamiliar, and every person a stranger. A new name. A new identity. His ordeal was far from over. He picked up the new tube of the toothpaste and felt like a beggar.
Taking the support of the wall, head bent down, he stood under the shower with the water running down his face, and wept. The adrenaline rush of keeping himself alive receded as he emptied the fears, worries, and helplessness of the past month down the drain with the bathwater. The thought of being able to see his parents soon made him more emotional. He sniffed and sniveled, and resolved to take back control of his life. And most of all, he resolved to do something about those monsters back in the Tral forest.


~ 1 winner for 500/- Amazon Gift Card + kindle copy of Guardian Angel
~ 1 winner for 250/- Amazon Gift Card + kindle copy of Guardian Angel

Saturday, November 17, 2018

CHECK IT OUT: Character Interview by Author Joyce T. Strand

Joyce T. Strand, Author
Dangerous Delays
Dangerous Changes
Following is an interview with my newest character sleuth, Emily Lazzaro, who is here to tell us what she’s been doing since her first book, Dangerous Changes, and to give us some hints about her second mystery, Dangerous Delays.

Fans of my other books might recall that Emily is the daughter of the winemaker at Brynn Bancroft’s Hilltop Sunset winery. When we encountered her in Overcast Sunset she had just broken up with her fiancé and is heading back home to Ramona, Calif. where her adventures begin.

Q: I understand that in your new mystery there is a body discovered on the first page?

Emily Lazzaro:  Yes. I was so upset. One of the workmen helping with the renovation uncovered it with the excavator. It was disturbing to see—I have trouble getting it or her out of my mind. And then the Native American artifacts surrounding her – we assumed it was a she because of the skirt.  It was all so surreal.

Q: I’ve heard about frequent discovery of artifacts in San Diego County but I thought bodies only turned up in burial grounds. Is this site a burial ground?

Emily Lazzaro: We don’t know. Several branches of different law enforcement, including the local Barona Tribal Council and an archeologist are investigating. 

Q: What can you tell us about why you were even at this site? 

Emily Lazzaro: I was hired to help manage a new B&B that we’re hoping will become a vital part of our town. I enjoy this job much more than preparing tax returns, by the way. Anyway, the first step in that project is the renovation of this mansion. I’m so excited to be part of it. The wife of the couple who owns it is from Ramona, and wants to create an iconic place that will represent the community.

Q: What will make it represent the community?

Emily Lazzaro: Well, there will be horses, riding instruction, and hikes available to those who stay there. As you know, Ramona is an equestrian town. And our menu will reflect local specialties, such as turkey and avocados. And, although we want it to be somewhat upscale, the décor will contain some aspect of Ramona—that is, if we ever get it complete given all the delays.

Q: What about your parents we met in the Brynn Bancroft trilogy? How are they doing?

Emily Lazzaro: My dad continues as the winemaker of the Hilltop Sunset winery, and my mom loves helping Brynn—the co-owner of the winery—whenever
she needs it. They’ve become really good friends. My parents still grieve for my brother who was killed in Afghanistan, but we’re all getting more used to it even though we miss him terribly.

Q: Has anyone special entered your life? 

Emily Lazzaro: Not really. I have made great friends with a local chef but we’re just friends. I met him through an incident that occurred with his brother who suffers from brain damage due to an accident. But, so far, we’re just friends.

Q: What’s next?

Emily Lazzaro: Well, I’m not sure—about that someone special or about the B&B. We’ve had so many delays—the usual kind due to permits, labor shortage, and material problems. But with this new cadaver in our back yard, well, that means more and more delays—dangerous ones, at that.

Finding a corpse buried with Native American artifacts wasn’t the first delay of the renovation Emily faced. But she was not prepared for what followed. A murder investigation, excavation to uncover more artifacts, and drug dealers looking for missing product further delay the mansion's restoration into an iconic B&B. While facing these setbacks, Emily is also realizing her growing attraction to a local chef, a man who believes a relationship isn't possible due to his commitment to care for his brain-injured brother.

Reminder: although there will be a total of three Emily Lazzaro mysteries, each is standalone and can be read without  knowledge of the previous book.

About Joyce T. Strand, Author

Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it contemporary and historical mysteries set in California. Actual events and/or real people inspired all of her published novels, although they are definitely fictionalized. Dangerous Delays is her tenth book.

Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California's Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest in her first trilogy, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She currently lives with her collection of cow statuary in Ramona, California, and enjoys exploring and writing about the growing wine region in the Ramona Valley near San Diego.


Dangerous Delays

Barnes and Noble

Dangerous Changes

Barnes and Noble

Twitter @joycetstrand

Thursday, April 26, 2018

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Elise Whyles and Ciara Lake, Authors

Ciara Lake, Author
Elise Whyles and Ciara Lake teamed up to write The Forsaken Series, a paranormal series of books about families on the brink of war returning to their homes and love following a king’s banishment. The two authors take turns writing each book. Lake believes that the creative paranormal is an extension of fantasy and offers a  place for romance. Whyles enjoys the freedom and excitement of creating characters in this genre. 

Lake, who lives on a farm, likes to travel and embroider when she’s not writing. She plans to continue to write more books for The Forsaken Series and has other projects in mind.  Whyles, who lives in Canada, also likes to travel and particularly enjoys the West Coast of British Columbia. She is working on a Romantic Suspense Paranormal as well as the next book in The Forsaken Series.

Elise Whyles, Author

Q: Elise Whyles – you wrote the first book in the Forsaken Series, FORSAKEN HEART. Did you intend for this to develop into a series? Why did you choose this genre?

Elise Whyles: Yes, I had the idea for a series and this is such a great topic. I picked the genre simply because I could have a lot of fun with it. I’d started reading some paranormal romances and fell in love with the idea of writing about mythology, and such, and this was the easiest way to do it. It didn’t hurt that my co-author is a huge fan of paranormal romance as well. 

Q: What draws you to write in the paranormal genre? 

Ciara Lake:  I like the ability to be inventive and more imaginative in paranormal fantasy type of books.  There is no limit to what you can create.  I enjoy the freedom it gives the author to create worlds, creatures, people, places, heroes, and villains.  

Elise Whyles: The freedom to create believable characters in unbelievable settings. The only limits are those I put in place. There’s a lot of freedom and excitement to be had creating a world and species as we move along. 

Q: Elise Whyles--You write in multiple genres in addition to paranormal, including LGBT and contemporary. Do you have a favorite? Why? 

Elise Whyles: Hmm, I have to say of all the genres I write in, the one I love the most is paranormal. But combining all three genres is even more fun so when I can write a story which features an LGBT paranormal character in a contemporary setting it’s even more fun.

Q: Ciara Lake--You also write in multiple genres besides paranormal, including romance, fantasy, and SciFi romance. What made you decide to write paranormal fiction? Do you like to incorporate romance somewhere in your story despite the primary genre? 

Ciara Lake: To me paranormal is just an extension of fantasy.  And Sci Fi is another genre that is similar allowing for the imagination to be the only limitation.  They are very similar genres.  Each of them allows for the creative reach I mentioned above. I started out wanting to be a romance writer.  The paranormal, sci fi, and or fantasy was created to be the worlds for the lovers to exist in. I like creating fantastic characters who are drawn to true love.  I am a romantic who dreams bigger then real life.  

Q: How do you create credibility for your paranormal stories or fantasy worlds?

Elise Whyles: When I build a world I rely on what I can see. I try to intersperse what we have in our world into their world. If a reader can see the image I’ve tried to describe, that lends itself the credibility. 

Q: What would cause your readers to stop reading? 

Elise Whyles: Stagnation, is a huge concern when it comes to writing. If you’re working on a major story line, such as Forsaken and you’re retelling the same story over and over in each book, a reader will lose interest and stop reading.

Q: How did the two of you get together and decide to write a series? 

Elise Whyles: We met when we published with another publishing house, which has long since closed.  I began helping Ciara with her writing, and when I came up with the tiny idea of a series of paranormal stories I asked her if she’d like to jump on board and develop the plan and get it going. 

Q: Why will readers care about your characters? How will they relate? Do you have villains and heroes? 

Elise Whyles and Ciara Lake: Our characters are very relatable. Each is flawed in their own way, be it obvious or not. When we began talking with our characters we wanted to ensure they were 3-D. They needed to have a personality – in fact most of the time we were able to create characters who came to life on their own. There are villains, and heroes, and heroes who are villains. 

Q:  Elise Whyles and Ciara Lake--What’s next? 

Ciara Lake:  I’m continuing to write books for the Forsaken series.  I also have several other projects in mind such as writing the next in the Triaxen and Xihirah books.   

Elise Whyles: I’m currently working on a Romantic Suspense Paranormal as well as the next book in the Forsaken Series. 

Q: Tell us about you. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Ciara Lake: I live on a farm and I enjoy being outside with our animals. I like to travel and drive. I also embroider and other crafts. 

Elise Whyles:  Travel is a big one, my family and I routinely take day trips all over BC and Alberta. We love the coast of BC. 

About Elise Whyles

Born in Northern British Columbia, Elise is a small-town girl. She writes in a variety of genres including paranormal, contemporary suspense, m/m in various lengths. Currently, she lives in British Columbia with her husband and son, one dog, one cat, and a gecko. Elise enjoys reading as much as she does writing, with some of her favorite books being read until they fall apart. 

She is currently working on the next book in the Forsaken Series, Burning Rain. As well she has a new contemporary she’s working on. For more information on Elise, or to check out her books you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

About Ciara Lake

Welcome to Ciara Lake's World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals and More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.

Punished for crimes they didn’t commit, entire family lines were banished from their true homes by a grief stricken king. Now, on the cusp of war, they are finally finding love and their way home.

Punished for sins not her own, can a mortal claim her vampire mate?

The world of immortals must unite to save both themselves and the mortals they co-exist with from an ancient evil.

For Bede MacTaggert this means trusting in the warrior sent for her sister—a man of mystery, of power, and one who could easily sweep her into a world she's destined to be part of.

An imperial guard to the king of vampires, Gawain has always tuned out the needs of the flesh. Dedicating himself to the service of the royals, he's lived on the fringes of his people for centuries. Now he's forced from the shadows and into the arms of a woman who will awaken his heart and body to a passion unequaled.

Content Warning: graphic sex, some violence

The flame within a dragon warrior's heart awakens Arianna's passion as she begins a journey in which she will discover she's something more than she ever imagined possible. 

The realm of the dragons is a world of magic, danger, and mystery. For centuries they've been at war with the vampires, but now the two enemies must work together to save all immortals, and the mortals they co-exist with, from an ancient evil. In order to do so, they need the help of the Forsaken, descendants of immortals who were cast out into the human realm, their memories wiped clean of their true heritage.

Clayne MacDagon is a powerful dragon warrior who is sent on a mission to find one of the Forsaken. Although he's told that this woman is his fated mate, he can't believe it could possibly be true. Arianna Mergliano possesses both dragon and vampire blood, and Clayne has an intense hatred for anything even remotely related to vampires, the evil beings who were responsible for his beloved twin's death. 

When Arianna meets Clayne, she's convinced that the man is insane, or maybe he's a warlock or even the devil himself, but whichever it is, she wants nothing to do with him.

Clayne knows he can't fail at his mission. And once he meets Arianna he also knows that what he's been told is true—she is, ironically, his intended mate. 

Convincing her to accept him is only the beginning. He has to protect her from those who might want her dead. Together, they must face the shadows and evil that have long plagued the immortal realms and find a way to survive the coming war.

Content Warning: graphic sex, some violence


Ciari Lake

Elise Whyles