Tuesday, September 9, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Emerald Barnes, Author

Emerald Barnes, Author
Emerald Barnes has authored ENTERTAINING ANGELS, described by a reviewer as an “inspiring story of a young woman who overcomes her insecurity.” Barnes says she draws on real-life experiences to tell her story. She likes “to keep us on the edge of our seats as a reader to make it compelling.”

She considers herself a “nerdy writer who writes young adult novels.” When she’s not writing, she is enjoying her nieces and nephews. She lives in Mississippi.

Don't miss the giveaway opportunity at the end of the interview.

Q: One of your reviewers characterizes ENTERTAINING ANGELS as a “spiritual-warfare-romance.” Do you concur? Why? Or why not?

Emerald Barnes: I do agree with that. It originally wasn’t meant to be a spiritual warfare novel, but when there is a good force at work, there is usually an evil one. So, I added in the demon as well since I have an angel. There is always a spiritual battle, and I couldn’t have one without the other and have the story, itself, work as a whole, because I wanted this portrayed realistically.

Q: How do you develop your protagonist’s character to help readers care what happens to her? How important is dialogue to character-development?

Emerald Barnes: In this particular case, I drew on real life experiences. What Madison feels and what she goes through is a lot like what I felt – and at times still do – during high school. So, I drew on those feelings, putting a lot of my own emotions into Madison. As far as dialogue goes, I think it’s extremely important. Dialogue reveals things about our characters. What they say and how they say it indicate so much, especially when there is a particularly tense conversation happening, but the dialogue itself needs to be accompanied by showings of emotions to really develop the characters themselves.

Q: Does the concept of “villains” vs “heroes” apply to ENTERTAINING ANGELS? What makes a hero? What are your favorite characteristics of a villain?

Emerald Barnes: It does, I believe. Like I said before, you can’t really have a good force without having an evil one as well. I think a hero is someone who is working for the greater good, someone who wants to vanquish evil, but not the person doing the evil. A hero always has a way of seeing the good in people, and they will do whatever they can to save the villain, even when the villain doesn’t want to be saved.

My favorite characteristics of villains are probably: one, they have a redeeming quality. I don’t like purely evil villains. I want to feel something for them besides hatred. And two, they always think outside of the box. I love when they do something crazy, but it really seems to work – at first. Three, I love how they just won’t die! You can kill them, but there’s someone else who has worked for them that can keep their idea going – at least until the hero(es) can vanquish them for good!

Q: How did you come up with the title ENTERTAINING ANGELS? (Don’t tell us if it’s a plot spoiler!)

Emerald Barnes: There’s a Bible verse, Hebrews 13:2, that says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” As I was reading that and thinking about my novel as a whole, the “entertained angels unawares” became Entertaining Angels. I can’t really go into more details than that without completely spoiling the plot.

Q: What do you consider to be the most important elements of a compelling story?

Emerald Barnes: I think that it somehow has to keep us on the edge of our seats as a reader to make it compelling. The main character needs to go through something that is bad, make it worse, and then let them come through it relatively unscathed but for the better. I think that’s pretty much my favorite way to tell a story. It keeps me always wanting more when I read a book like that. Of course, a happy ending – or mostly happy ending is helpful too!

Q: How helpful are back-story and setting to telling your story? Could your book have occurred anywhere at any time?

Emerald Barnes: In all honesty, in the telling of this particular story, they really aren’t all that helpful. A little backstory to why Mads is the way she is was necessary, but setting isn’t important at all – well, aside from the fact that most of her problems revolve around school. But yes, my book could have taken place anytime, anywhere because it’s such a common issue in teens these days. It could have taken place in 1980 or 2050, and the results would be the same.

Q: Do you develop your stories from an outline and stick to it; or do your characters push you around?

Emerald Barnes: My characters are so pushy! They never stick to what I have in mind for them, and I’m totally fine with that! I want them to direct the story because when I let them move about freely, the story is always so much better! They, apparently, know themselves better than I do!

Q: What do you think contributes to making a writer successful?

Emerald Barnes: There are so many keys to it. Finding the right opportunity for your novel for one thing, learning how to properly pitch your novel, learning the ins and outs of marketing. All of those things help, but I think the most important thing is perseverance. There’s no giving up, because if you do give up, you certainly won’t be successful!

Q: What’s next? What are your goals as a writer?

Emerald Barnes: To keep writing and putting books out there. I’m counting on being more successful than I am now, and I can’t do that without writing more books and publishing them. So, I have some books lined up, even short stories, to publish soon.

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

Emerald Barnes: I’m just a nerdy writer who writes young adult novels. I spend most of my time with my nieces and nephews, and now that my oldest two nieces are in school, I’m busy going to see them cheer at peewee football games and also watching my youngest niece (8months old) and nephews (ages three and two) so their mom and dad can run them to practices and the like. When I’m not helping out with them or helping my family in general, I’m usually watching TV shows or reading.

About Emerald Barnes

Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women.  She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it.  She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages!

She's constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with.  She is a crazy grammar nazi who also proofreads novels!

She's an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews.  She's a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.

Madison Andrews can't face her reflection in the mirror. All she sees is a big, fat nobody. Yet, deep inside she longs for something more, something that's not skin deep.

Along comes Zach, the new guy in school.  He's smoking hot and totally out of her league.  She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once. But just as she gets close to Zach, her nerdy best friend, Chase, won't let Madison doubt her true beauty, no matter how many meals she skips.

Even as Madison begins to realize that she is more than she thinks, darker forces are at work, darker than the lies and mocking from her peers, stopping her from amounting to her full potential. Can Madison find true happiness in her own skin?


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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Cate Beauman, Author

Cate Beauman, Author
7th in Bodyguards of LA County series
Best seller author Cate Beauman has just released her seventh romantic thriller in the “Bodyguards of LA County” series:  SAVING SOPHIE. Reviewers tout this series as having “a great balance of romance, action, and suspense” with “well developed characters” and “believable story.”

Beauman claims she is “quite mundane compared to those of my bodyguards!” She says she is a wife and mother “addicted to storytelling.” She listens to music when she writes and has provided her list for SAVING SOPHIE

Don't miss the GIVEAWAY opportunity at the end of the article.

Q:  SAVING SOPHIE is your seventh ‘Bodyguards of LA County’ romantic suspense novel. How do you conceive of new plots and protagonists for these best-selling novels?

Cate Beauman:  I have to admit that ideas just sort of pop into my head and I go with them. Perhaps I’ll be watching something on television or reading something that sparks an idea and “Poof!” a plotline evolves. I typically watch documentaries and read various magazines with a pen and pad of paper close by, waiting to be inspired.

As for the protagonists, I typically have a conflict in mind and try to figure out what type of dynamics and characteristics would work well for that story and build from there.

Q: What is the inspiration behind SAVING SOPHIE?

Cate Beauman:  Stone and Sophie are as opposite as can be—or so it seems—and that’s why telling their story was so much fun!  Readers met Stone in JUSTICE FOR ABBY.  He’s a gorgeous bad boy, more interested in taking care of himself than worrying about anyone else.  Stone’s a hard-ass.  There’s no other way to say it, but everyone has an achilles’ heel.  That’s what drew me to Ethan Cooke Security’s latest bodyguard.  I kept asking myself what type of woman had the power to bring a man like Stone McCabe to his knees.  Enter Sophie Burke, a shy jewelry designer dealing with lots of trouble, and you just might have your answer.

Q: Why did you set SAVING SOPHIE in Los Angeles and Maine? Did the setting add to the plot?

Cate Beauman:  SAVING SOPHIE takes place mostly in Los Angeles, but there are a few situations that bring Sophie and Stone to Maine. Because I write a series, I try hard to keep each story fresh. Luckily bodyguards can do their job anywhere, so they find themselves in circumstances that take them all over the world.

Q: How do you typically integrate romance and suspense to entice the reader to turn the page?

Cate Beauman:  I love blending romance and suspense together. I honestly can’t imagine writing one without the other. Watching characters fall in love is always fun, but add a few elements of danger to the mix and then it’s just plain exciting! I think that alone entices readers to get lost in the story.

Q: Why will readers embrace Sophie? Is she someone we’ll like? What makes an embraceable protagonist?

Cate Beauman:  I think readers will like Sophie a lot. Sophie’s shy and sweet and the perfect match for Stone. Sophie hasn’t had an easy life. Somewhere along the way she forgot how powerful she is. Luckily, Stone’s there to help her remember. 

I think a huge key to creating an embraceable protagonist is making characters as human as possible. I find it annoying when a hero or heroine is “perfect” because that’s just not real. We’re all flawed. We have strengths and weaknesses, as do the men and woman of The Bodyguards series. I think readers like to read about people they can relate to. Sophie and Stone make plenty of mistakes, but they also work hard to fix them.

Q: How much of your work and/or life experiences can you use to write the Bodyguard series? Do you base your characters on people you know?  Do you travel to the locations where you set your plots? Or do you rely on research for back story?

Cate Beauman:  I have to admit that my life is quite mundane compared to those of my bodyguards! I’m happily a wife and mother who is addicted to storytelling! I’m not much of a jetsetter and I’ve never actually touched a gun, so I do lots of research to bring my novels to life. Google and I are very close friends. I quick reference information constantly—and that’s after I’ve spent weeks learning as much as I can about the topics I write about. I’m also a people watcher. I could spend hours on a bench, watching people walk by. I love imagining who they might be and what their lives must be like. I never base my characters on anyone I personally know. I love getting to know my characters as they unfold on the pages. That’s one of the most joyful parts of writing for me! 

Q: What’s next?

Cate Beaman: I’m currently working on my eighth novel, Reagan’s Redemption, which I plan to release in early spring of 2015.

About Cate Beauman

Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County.  Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, four years later, I’m currently working on my eighth novel, Reagan’s Redemption, which I plan to release in early spring of 2015.  I’m very grateful for the support and success I’ve had.”-Cate

When the only choice is to run…

Jewelry designer Sophie Burke has fled Maine for the anonymity of the big city. She’s starting over with a job she tolerates and a grungy motel room she calls home on the wrong side of town, but anything is better than the nightmare she left behind.

Stone McCabe is Ethan Cooke Security’s brooding bad boy more interested in keeping to himself than anything else—until the gorgeous blond with haunted violet eyes catches his attention late one rainy night.

Stone reluctantly gives Sophie a hand only to quickly realize that the shy beauty with the soft voice and pretty smile has something to hide. Tangled up in her secrets, Stone offers Sophie a solution that has the potential to free her from her problems once and for all—or jeopardize both of their lives. 


Sophie glanced around one last time at the town she’d called home for more than twelve years as Dylan merged south on the onramp towards Brunswick, knowing she would never come back to the place where she and her mother had made their fresh start.

“Your train leaves at nine. We should make it in plenty of time.”

“I’ve never traveled by train.”

“Me neither.” Dylan moved into the right lane, letting faster traffic pass. “Have you decided where you’ll go?”

She shook her head, even though she’d thought of little else since she woke this morning, knowing today had to be the day. “Somewhere big. Somewhere where he can’t find me.” She swallowed. “He’ll look. He’ll never stop,” she said, staring into the side mirror, waiting for the black Mercedes to rush up behind them and force them to pull over. “You have to be careful.”

Dylan huffed out an amused laugh. “That bastard doesn’t scare me.”

She wished he didn’t scare her either. “Be careful anyway.”

“I will, but he’s a coward.”

“No more than me,” she murmured, glancing down at the hints of bruised skin peeking out from under her sleeves.

Dylan tossed her a look. “Don’t go there.”

She sat back fully in her seat, unable to take her eyes off the mirror until Dylan eventually exited the interstate and drove toward the center of town, stopping in front of the Amtrak station as the train pulled up.

“Looks like you won’t have to wait.” She set the emergency brake and searched through her purse. “Here’s my license.” She handed over the Maine ID and paper ticket she’d bought and printed when Sophie gave her the green light from her kiosk at the mall. “We don’t look all that different with your wig, so this should get you your next ticket in Boston.”

“Thank you.” Sophie leaned over and gave Dylan a big hug. “Thank you so much. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.”

“Don’t look back, Sophie.” Dylan eased away, squeezing her hand. “Get out of here and never look back. Here are the phone numbers for the Stowers house shelters in Baltimore and LA I told you about—just in case.” She handed over the March copy of Trendy magazine with papers sticking out from the edges.

“Thanks. Please don’t forget to put flowers on my mother’s grave.”

“I won’t.”

She nodded and hugged Dylan for the last time. “Bye.”

“Bye. Take care of yourself.”

“I will.” Sophie got out, sliding her backpack on her shoulder as she made her way to the bored-eyed man at the ticket kiosk.

“Ticket and ID, Ma’am.”

Sophie handed over both, holding her breath, waiting for her plan to fall apart.

“Safe trip.” He gave them back.

“Thank you,” she murmured, letting loose a shaky exhale as she turned and moved toward the train, wanting to run instead of walk. She boarded the first available car and stared out the window as she sat down, watching Dylan pull out of the lot in the rusty hatchback, already missing the only person she’d had a connection with. She bobbed her leg up and down, struggling to keep her fidgeting at bay. Minutes passed, feeling like hours, until finally the doors closed. The train jerked forward, moving toward Boston—the first stop on her journey to freedom.

The Unofficial SAVING SOPHIE Soundtrack

“Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Stone and Sophie’s story!  You can listen to them on my website www.catebeauman.com.

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Saving Sophie:
·      Grey Street by Dave Matthews
·      Sleep by Plumb
·      Come To Me by The Goo Goo Dolls
·      All I Want by Staind
·      I’d Come For You by Nickelback
·      Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran
·      In My Veins by Andrew Belle
·      Only You by Matthew Perryman Jones
·      Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk


Social links:

Check out GIVEAWAY

CHECK IT OUT: Cover Reveal for FATE by Andrea Buginsky

The second book in the New Avalon series will be arriving soon! Here's a look at the beautiful cover, designed by Natasha Brown.

Fate (2)

Elena Baxter’s second year at New Avalon may be more challenging than her first. The demons she was warned about show up, a visitor who greatly affects her arrives, and her best friend, Izzy, has to deal with her painful past. Can Elena survive everything that’s coming at her at once? Or will the future Lady of the Lake take on more than she can possibly handle?

Elena ran through the dark woods, tree branches leaving deep, angry, red scratches on her arms, legs, and face. Her legs were heavy and her feet were cold and damp. The moist dirt of the forest floor began to seep through her shoes. She desperately wanted to look behind her to see if the dark figures were still there, but she dared not, afraid it would slow her down and they would catch up to her.

She kept running; she felt as though her lungs were about to explode and her heart would burst out of her chest at any moment. Cold sweat broke out all over her skin.

Just when she thought she couldn’t run anymore, she reached the edge of a cliff that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Peering through the heavy mist, she realized she had run to one of the far edges of Avalon, and knew the only thing below her was the icy cold ocean.

With nowhere else to go, Elena turned to await the dark figures chasing her. She prepared to use her magic on them, even with the knowledge that the few spells she had learned so far would barely touch her oncoming attackers. She would defend herself - she would not let them see how terrified she was.

As she watched ahead of her, three dark figures appeared, and when they saw her, they came rushing at her. They reached out their hands, casting their own spells faster than she could react to them. As several fireballs headed toward her, Elena began to scream.

Releasing September 30

My HeadshotAndrea Buginsky is a freelance writer with a BA in Mass Communication-Journalism from the University of South Florida. She has always wanted to be a published writer, and decided to try to write children's fantasy books a few years ago. The Chosen is her first book, and was released on December 14, 2010, to her delight.
Andrea has written three more books since:
* My Open Heart, an autobiography of growing up with heart disease.
* Nature's Unbalance: The Chosen, Book 2
* Destiny: New Avalon, book 1, a YA fantasy
She is currently  editing the third book of The Chosen series, and writing the fourth.

Andrea lives in Kansas with her family, which includes her two precious puppies.
You can visit Andrea on her website or Google+

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Ellie Midwood, Author

Ellie Midwood, Author
Ellie Midwood, born and raised in Moscow, Russia, brings us THE NEW YORK DOLL, a fictional account of a young woman’s experiences surviving in New York City. Although fiction, Midwood tells us that the book is intended to be a realistic account of what a young immigrant faces and how well-educated women from good families turn to exotic dancing to pay the bills. She draws on her own experiences as an immigrant in New York City—a city that she depicts as a character in the novel—to tell her story.  Although Midwood says that this is a book for adults, shekept the language very clean and there’s no strong sexual content in the book.”

Midwood is an avid fan of New York City, loves to involve her friends in conversations about current events, and lives with her boyfriend and Chihuahua in New York City. She is currently writing another novel, “The Brooklyn Boys' Tales" about the lives of one of New York’s mob families.

Don’t miss the excerpt from THE NEW YORK DOLL following her interview.

Q: How much did your real life experiences influence your writing in THE NEW YORK DOLL?

Ellie Midwood: I was originally born and raised in Moscow, Russia and right after I graduated from the foreign languages faculty in my University I came to the United States. So the first few years in this country and in New York in particular were put at the base of my book THE NEW YORK DOLL. This is my personal story that basically describes everything I had to go through within the first two years here. 

Q: Why did you write THE NEW YORK DOLL?  Did you intend to deliver a message? Or strictly entertain? Or educate?

Ellie Midwood: First of all, so many books were written on the related topic, but none of them were written by a non-resident of the United States, and that’s what makes it really stand out among the competing titles. I wanted to tell a story from an immigrant’s point of view and to show my readers how hard it is to make it here if you don’t have any papers.

And second, for me the main reason for writing this book was to make the readers understand the real reasons why even well-educated girls from good families sometimes find themselves in a gentleman’s club. Because let’s face it, mostly all the people who I was talking to prior to writing this book, especially those who have never been introduced to the night club world, have this stereotype in their head: all exotic dancers are shameless, uneducated home-wreckers who don’t know any better than to dance almost naked for money.

Well, all those people would be very surprised if I told them that I personally know so many girls who have to dance to pay tuition for their higher education. Those are the future doctors and lawyers, interior designers and fashion journalists for whom dancing is the only opportunity to pay for their dream career choice. For most of the dancers a gentleman’s club is only a phase and normally a very short one, then they move on, get their dream job, get married and have kids and nobody would even know what they used to do.

I wanted to break that stereotype for everybody.

Q: How relevant is the concept of “villain” and “hero” to telling your story?

Ellie Midwood: I’m thinking of this novel as a very realistic one, and just like in real life there are no positively good people with no flaws, and that’s the main reason why I didn’t want to create a perfectly likeable main character. She is a very sweet girl, but undergoes some changes that can make her or her choices unattractive to some readers. But at the same time, I tried to explain that in this particular situation it was the only possible option for her; Mila is just a human being with all her weaknesses and strong sides, she is just fighting for her dream and that kind of a fight has never been perfectly clean and nice for anyone. As for the villains in my story, there are only few negative characters, one of them is Mila’s aunt who is constantly trying to rob her own niece of her hard earned money and at some point takes Mila’s dog as a hostage. I would call her the only real “villain”; the rest of the negative characters are very life-like and that’s what makes this story so appealing to the readers. Some of them probably encountered similar situations (who has never been cheated on in their life like Mila was? Or who hasn’t been tricked by a real estate agent – the situation very common among New Yorkers?), and can easily relate to them. 

Q:  Why will readers care about your protagonist, Mila? How does she engage readers?

Ellie Midwood: You can’t help but to sympathize with this character, she’s so honest about everything she does and says that it makes the reader root for her and hope that everything will work out in the end. The transformation of Mila throughout the story is also very interesting: from a very good mommy’s girl with very high moral principles, who gets offended when the manager confuses her for a pole dancer instead of the waitress job she was applying for in the beginning of the story, but she gradually gets stronger, more cynical and acquires that New York street-smarts so necessary to survive in this concrete jungle. Very naïve and unexperienced in flirting before, Mila soon creates an alter-ego Milana, who knows how to easily manipulate customers, and soon becomes one of the most popular girls in the club. She also takes her stand when it comes to dealing with her greedy aunt, who was trying to jump on Mila’s gravy train and to get every dollar she could from her niece:

“- You know, you’ve really changed since I first met you, Mila. You were such a nice, quiet girl, with no attitude, always so polite and respectful, and I don’t like what you’ve become.

“-You don’t like that I became a self-sufficient person who can take care of herself and finally say something back, and not a foot rug that I used to be. Then yes, I’ve changed. And good for me!”

Mila’s character development due to the circumstances and the new environment she found herself in is very truthful; the readers can easily put themselves in Mila’s shoes and that’s what makes them sympathize with this character even more. She’s very, very realistic.

Q: How important was honesty and realism to THE NEW YORK DOLL?

Ellie Midwood: Even though THE NEW YORK DOLL is classified “fiction”, it’s a very realistic story, which the readers can easily relate to. That’s why for me it was very important to be as honest as I could while delivering the message to the audience.

This story is not a pretty one, but it’s very realistic; this is what happens to those illegal girls, the so-called J-1 girls (it’s a kind of a student visa for the international students) who have no choice but to start dancing in New York and New Jersey clubs to pay their bills and to create a future in this country. All of them are fighters as it requires a lot of psychological strength to get undressed for the first time in front of the whole club full of men they’ve never seen. And don’t forget, these girls come from good families, most of them are either students or already graduated from universities, and most of them have never seen a gentleman’s club from the inside before.

Most of the readers don’t know this side of this business, that’s why my goal was to depict each character and every situation as real as I could. By the way, the book is rated R due to its content (obviously it’s an adult audience oriented novel as half of the story describes a gentleman’s club), but I kept the language very clean and there’s no strong sexual content in the book: my main goal was to tell the story of hardship of an immigrant girl, not the story of a typical stripper.

Q:  How helpful is the setting of New York City to telling your story?

Ellie Midwood: I would say that New York City is one of the characters of the book: the City is the reason why Mila decides to stay in the United States as she falls in love with it right away. In the first chapters she describes New York City as someone would describe their lover, the way it makes her feel, the look, the smell, the sound; she talks about the City with such adoration that even if you’ve never been there you’ll most certainly want to visit it after reading THE NEW YORK DOLL. New York takes part in Mila’s character development: first it’s trying to break her, keeps pushing her away, but just to find out if she’s strong enough to have the honor of being called a real New Yorker. This City will break your spine if you are not ready for it, it’ll chew you up and spit you out. And Mila overcomes all the challenges on her way to prove her right to stay in her beloved city.

One more interesting detail in the book that’s probably going to appeal to a lot of readers is the description of the disaster caused by the hurricane “Sandy”. When it strikes, Mila and her best friend Mikky find themselves witnessing the terrifying consequences of “Sandy.” The day after “Sandy” hit the City, they walk on Emmons Ave in Sheepshead Bay (an area in Brooklyn surrounded by the ocean) and describe the devastation it caused as the whole area got almost completely wiped out (it took almost a year for Emmons Ave to rebuild; some stores and restaurants however are still closed). A lot of New Yorkers are still suffering from the consequences of the hurricane and I thought it would be important to raise this topic in my book, as well as the shortage of gas and food that followed “Sandy.”

Q:  Who will most benefit from or enjoy reading THE NEW YORK DOLL?

Ellie Midwood: THE NEW YORK DOLL is an adult audience oriented novel, and everyone who’s interested in stories revealing the truth about certain aspects of life or businesses will enjoy reading it. I like to compare THE NEW YORK DOLL to THE NANNY DIARIES by Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin or THE TWINS OF TRIBECA by Rachel Pine, but instead of revealing an ugly marriage and child raising problems of the Upper East Side moms or showing the real face of the movie-making business, THE NEW YORK DOLL exposes the inner world of a gentleman’s club business, it tells the story behind each character, both good and bad, it dwells on the question why the whole industry is so popular among men and why even the richest brokers of Wall Street who can afford everything, are complaining about their life and trying to find comfort in the arms of these beautiful dancers.

Q: What element to do you think is most important in creating a compelling story? Do you think it’s different across genres?

Ellie Midwood: As an eager reader, I always find the development of a character the most interesting, especially when he or she is taken from their normal environment and has to respond to new circumstances. For example in THE ALCHEMIST by one of my favorite authors Paulo Coelho the main character Santiago chasing his dream finds himself in a completely different country, the language of which he doesn’t even speak. He gets all his money stolen and doesn’t have a place to go. And nevertheless he doesn’t give up and keeps following his path. And I think a lot of people find it very inspiring. That’s why I wanted to create a similar story, with a strong character development that would be appealing to the readers. The main character Mila wouldn’t survive in New York if she would remain the person she used to be. She has to evolve, transform herself in order to fight for her dream and I hope the readers will enjoy following her transformation.

Q:  What’s next?

Ellie Midwood: I’m currently working on my second book under the working title THE BROOKLYN BOYS’ TALES, which depicts the life of several people connected to or members of one of the New York mob families. It’s very different from all the books on the related topic as it tells the real stories of real people that you won’t find in Wikipedia or in the police protocols. It’s going to have a very Brooklyn tone and accent, with a lot of real places mentioned, but all the names will be changed of course to protect the “story-tellers”. Here’s a little blurb from it:

“Some of them were away for several years; some just never got caught. A lot of controversy surrounds them: rumors, tall-tales, some of them are true, some are created by the vivid imagination of the crowd. But once a wise guy enters the room, everybody feels his presence. And even when you get too intimidated, you can’t show your fear; they have the senses of a wild animal and will tear you apart right away. Feel free to show your respect though, they like it, and if you happen to gain their trust and establish a friendly relationship with one of them through offering some free services or helping them out with something, you won’t regret it in the future. Just like in “The Godfather”, one hand always washes the other, and believe me, when you get in trouble you want that hand to be there for you.”

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

Ellie Midwood: I’m pretty much always writing, whether it’s a new project or a post for my blog (it’s also called “The New York Doll” and you can find it here: Ellieellechka.blogspot.com). I really enjoy doing restaurant reviews for my friends and also for the new hot spots that I discover in New York. Besides writing, I’m very into yoga and a healthy lifestyle and trying to be as active as I can. My best friend Vladlena and I once walked all the way from the Battery Park to Central Park; I’m really into New York City and even though I currently live in Brooklyn, I enjoy going there and finding new places. Sometimes I like being a tourist in my own city, it always inspires me and puts me in a good mood even if I’m upset or stressed out. I also love the process of the never-ending educational process for myself (I think so far I’ve been to every museum in the City, some of them I visited several times) and really enjoy reading new historical and medical articles (my grandmother is a doctor and my childhood books were replaced by medical encyclopedias). I’m very into politics as well and can’t help but to involve people into a conversation about the current events.

About Ellie Midwood

Ellie Midwood came to the United States after graduating from the faculty of foreign languages in Moscow, Russia. Her impressions from the first years in New York were put at the base of her book THE NEW YORK DOLL. Ellie is currently working on her upcoming book "The Brooklyn Boys' Tales" that depicts the lives of several powerful members of one of New York mob families. Ellie currently lives in New York with her boyfriend and their Chihuahua.

This is a story of a young girl of Russian-Jewish heritage Mila, who came to New York in search of true love and the American Dream. But after struggling to survive and keep a roof above her head, she turns to an option that she never even considered before: she becomes an exotic dancer. On her way she meets a lot of people, both good and bad, and she depicts every single one of them with incredible honesty. She falls in love with the owner of the club, the powerful Italian-American mobster R., and now they both have to fight for their bright future together.

This is the story of love and hatred, of friendship and betrayal, and everything else that takes place behind the closed doors of a gentleman's club.


“One of the myths about this business is that all strippers are whores, or gold diggers, or both combined.  Probably in certain cases you would be right, but 80% of the girls simply have temporary financial difficulties and they are hot and open-minded enough to resolve them quickly and pain free. Some of the girls are dancing to pay off their fake marriages for papers, oh well, let’s be honest, that’s the majority of the whole strip club population. That was the reason why Mikky spent three years in different clubs and now she is a happily divorced legal American citizen with a nice bank account and plans on buying an apartment in Manhattan.

“Some of the girls, however, don’t have the papers yet and that’s the only nicely paid half-legal job that they can find at the time. That’s the case of most of the Brazilian and Puerto-Rican girls who are lucky enough to have prettier faces and rounder butts than those who have to clean hotel rooms 24/7 or babysit some spoiled rotten Park Avenue toddlers.

“Some girls are paying off their tuition by giving lap dances and doing champagne rooms, since they are not that attracted to the idea of being a 30 year old lawyer with a huge debt to pay to the truly fascinating American educational system. These are mostly American girls from the lower middle class families who do this so that their daughters won’t have to.

“You know, when you think of that, I truly admire all these girls and women who actually have a very structured plan on what they want to do with their lives and what are they going to be in 3, 5, 7 years and how much it’s all going to cost. It amazes me what great accountants, managers and personal life coaches they are.”


 Twitter: @EllieMidwood