Abbigayle Grace

January 24th, 2020

I asked Abbigayle where she would like to chat:

So, Laura asked me to pick the place for our interview, and anybody who knows how indecisive I am—not to mention how in the middle of nowhere the town of Orangeboro is—knows I could only pick here: Benny’s Pizza. We’re sitting in the corner booth, right next to an inconspicuous closet door that’s painted the same beige as the walls. The door blends in so well you almost can’t see it. I only know it’s there because I know the owners of the pizza shop, two guys named Bob and Joe, personally. I even know that Joe happens to be an elf, coming from inside that door. No, he doesn’t live in a closet—that’s Harry Potter—no, the closet is actually a portal to a different world. I just call it the elf world, but it might have a different name. For now, let’s focus on the pizza shop. 

It’s a pretty homey sort of place, just what you would expect from this town. The booth is comfortable and the table is clean hardwood. The menus have an elvish word puzzle on the back, but you won’t want to mention that to anybody (It’s a secret). And I don’t recommend ordering anything—not if it has pizza sauce on it, anyway. Bob makes the worst sauce I’ve ever had and he’s the only one doing a lot of cooking since El’s gone and Julie went to college. In fact, we probably won’t want to have anything, unless Laura would like some coffee—that I know is good. I come here way too often for the coffee, and the stories, of course.


Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?

Abbigayle Grace: I pretty much grew up with it. My family has always been very into books, which nurtured my imagination and love for the written word. And when I finally grew “too old” to play games with my siblings and our imaginary friends, I decided to keep it all alive through writing.

L: How long have you been writing for?

A: I started writing very soon after I learned to read, which was when I was four, but it didn’t really take until I was about twelve, when my parents published their first kids’ book. That was when I decided I might actually like to try getting published too. 

L: What are you currently working on?

A: I’m currently working on a number of projects, but chiefly editing my second book, which is Book 2 of The Pizza Shop Chronicles, Goblinprince. If you’ve read Book 1, Elfboy, you’re probably wondering how the series can go on since I killed off one of the chief characters, but it does. There are about four more books left, and they will be worth reading.

L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?

A: I find that almost every book I read inspires me in some way or another, by at least giving me something new to think about.

L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?

A: Writing isn’t that hard, editing isn’t too horrible, the publishing process wasn’t that nerve-racking, but getting used to the fact that I am a published author and people actually like my writing? That is hard. I’m still not fully adjusted to that. 

L: What is your favorite writing trope?

A: Least favorite? I feel like I don’t know enough tropes to answer this question properly, but I’ve never cared much for love triangles (and, yes, I write them), and I do love me a well-written enemies-to-lovers.

L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?

A: I love to be outdoors, especially doing stuff like rock climbing, and I taught myself several varieties of needlework after learning to crochet from my mom’s cousin. I also enjoy doing some art now and again (I did my book cover in colored pencil).

L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?

A: That’s a tough question. I’m going to say The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. It took me over three months to read, but I really loved all the stories and characters. It gives you a new look at Middle Earth.

L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?

A: I think my biggest regret is forgetting to include the one character’s dog, Ollie, in the finished product. I feel like he would’ve given readers a better understanding of the character. But other than that, I try not to have regrets since I’ve found they weigh me down.

L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?

A: I’m self published and it’s been interesting. There was a bit of red tape just to set up my KDP account. Everything after was pretty easy though, and I’ve been doing fairly well sales-wise.

L: What are you currently reading?

A: I’m reading The Magician’s Sin by Alexander Thomas. It’s a fantastic book, and I’m really enjoying. I’m also beta reading for a few of my writer friends.

L: What genre do you read?

A: Even though I write a hundred percent fantasy, I tend to read pretty much anything from encyclopedias to fantasy novels and everything in between.

L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?

A: I’m pretty flexible about this sort of thing. I like to draft in my notebook and edit on the computer. Other than that, I pretty much write anytime, anyplace. 

L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?

A: I enjoy upbeat music that I can sing along to, but tend to tune out background noise of any kind while working. An especially handy talent when trying to read or write among younger siblings.

L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?

A: “Suddenly”. It’s the one adverb that I will try to avoid using at any costs because it often comes across as a lazy way to start a sentence. Suddenly, I ran out of coffee. “I ran out of coffee” just sounds better (except when it actually happens).

L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

A: I really have more of a favorite “type” of character. And they’re generally the ones that die. Examples are King Finrod Felagund from The Silmarillion, Prince/King Ninus from The Crown of Three by J.D. Rhineheart, and Dustfinger from Inkeart by Cornelia Funke.

L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?

A: I get a lot of my inspiration from dreams and random thoughts that occur throughout the day. Other times, it comes from challenges I set for myself, like “create a really awesome character in five minutes”.

L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?

A: A lot of times, I think new writers don’t really need advice. It’s definitely a good idea to learn as much as you can about the trade, but most of that learning comes from hands-on experience. The only way to get that is to write, and write a lot. 


Abbigayle Grace is an avid writer from Pennsylvania and currently lives in Kentucky where her writing is inspired by her beautiful surroundings. She has always been obsessed with books – both reading and writing, as well as actively spending time outdoors. Her magical love of nature is vividly captured within her stories. Her stories are adventurous, mysterious, magical and humorous, while her Christian faith is apparent in her characters as they face tragedy and turmoil.

You can find Abbigayle on Twitter, Goodreads and her website.

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Elfboy – After both his parents die, Chris is thrust into a new life with his widowed aunt and 14-year-old cousin, who live in a rural Kentucky town, where Chris has to start high school after being homeschooled his whole life. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a fellow student who everyone warns him to stay away from because of some terrible secret where eight people went missing.

But, no matter how Chris tries to avoid him, he ends up bumping into him and finds himself caught up in a murderous plot where he barely escapes being one of the next victims. He becomes swooped up in a mysterious adventure where the local pizza shop, and even the school’s weird principal, are all involved. Is anyone who they seem to be? What is going on in this little town, and, wait, where did you say we’re going next?

Buy it here!


Wanda Fischer

January 17th, 2020

I asked Wanda where she would like to interview:

Fenway Park, September, 1965. I know I have school tomorrow morning, but the Red Sox season is almost over, and my mother said I could go to this game. i love this team, even though they’re terrible. Loyal to the end. Red Sox forever! I’m alone in the bleachers, in the front row, with very few other spectators on this cool evening as the sun sets around this tired old ballpark with the manual scoreboard in left field. None of my friends could come tonight, but I don’t care. It’s the last gasp for this season. After buying my traditional Fenway Frank, I only have enough money left to buy tokens for train fare home. They’re my team, no matter how bad they are. They’re playing the Kansas City Athletics, whose crazy neon green-and-yellow uniforms, accented by shoes made from kangaroo leather, stand out like road signs in a construction zone. 
With my score card in one hand and stub of a pencil in the other, I’m keeping track of the game, as usual. It’s the sixth inning. The Red Sox are losing, and the bleacher bums around me are getting vocal about it, screaming things to baseball players who are so far away, they can’t hear a word of it. I look down into the visitors’ bullpen and see an old black man get up and begin to soft-toss a ball. Easy and slow. As he begins warming up, I notice his front leg kick gets higher and higher, his kangaroo-leather shoes glistening in the glow of powerful ballpark lights. I look up his number on my program. “It’s Satchel Paige!” I look at the security guard, who normally wouldn’t allow anyone to get close to the chicken-wire screen separating the bullpens from spectators. He looks as if he’s falling asleep. I get up from my seat and press my face against the barrier. “Mr. Paige?” “Yes, ma’am,” he replies. “Do you mind if I watch you?” “No, ma’am, be my guest.” My heart beats what seems like a million miles a minute. I am watching a legend. I stop keeping score. He lifts his leg high and throws, harder and harder, looking up at me, grinning, between every pitch. At age 15, my baseball life is complete. Or so I believe tonight.


Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?

Wanda Fischer: I have been a writer for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to elementary school. I’ve been inspired to write since I wrote my first “real” book (beyond the Dick and Jane books). I can remember writing short stories and poetry as far back as the second grade.

L: How long have you been writing for?

W: For more than 60 years.

L: What are you currently working on?

W: I wrote my first novel, “Empty Seats,” about three minor league baseball players. I received several requests from readers to write a sequel, because they wanted to know what happens to the three characters. I am working on that sequel. Originally, I began writing a sequel about the three characters when they were in their sixties, but I decided that I needed to write about them in their twenties. I don’t have a title for that yet. I’m also writing a memoir about my experiences in baseball, which will be called “Satch in the Bullpen and Other Baseball Memories,” which is an allusion to the fact that I had the chance to watch the legendary Satchel Paige pitch in the bullpen in Fenway Park in 1965.

L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?

W: I participated in a summer reading program when I was in the tenth grade (so long ago!). Our teachers had selected writers whose works focused on the immigrant experience, such as Sinclair Lewis, Willa Cather and others. Those books left a major imprint on my life. I also enjoy Edwin O’Connor’s “The Edge of Sadness” and a number of Irish writers, including those who write short stories and plays.

L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?

W: Trying to find a publisher and/or agent. I have written many query letters and approached countless publishers. I must be doing something wrong, because, despite the fact that I did public relations and marketing for 40 years, I can’t get a rise out of anyone.

L: What is your favorite writing trope? Least favorite?

W: Foreshadowing, and then making sure the hints I give in my story somehow come true. Least favorite? Trying to be too literal instead of using a solid metaphor.

L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?

W: I play competitive tennis. I’m also a singer/songwriter and have recorded one CD. I’ve done a folk music show on public radio for more than 40 years (37 on my current station, four at my previous station), and the Folk Alliance International inducted me into their Folk DJ Hall of Fame last February. I also love to read to inner-city first-grade students.

L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?

W: Right now, I’d have to say “The Given Day,” by Dennis LeHane. It contains so many intriguing elements. First, it talks about Babe Ruth and baseball, then it explores racism, immigration, Irish immigrants in Boston in the early 1900s (that’s when my ancestors came to Boston and essentially took over the police and fire departments), social justice issues, the founding of the NAACP, and historical facts.

L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?

W: I wish I’d known about beta readers. I wish I had given a draft of my novel to a few of my friends prior to using the “publish” button. I am normally a stickler for proofreading, and I hired a couple of people to proof my novel, and they still missed several misspellings. It was embarrassing.

L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?

W: I wish I had traditionally published, but I ended up self-publishing. I think I may have spent too much on an editor (she was a great editor), and on some other things associated with the publishing process. I think if I were to self-publish another book, I have learned a great deal and could save some money. However, I don’t really know how I would be able to finance another book, even though I have two others in the pipeline.

L: What are you currently reading?

W: “Walking Across Egypt,” by Clyde Edgerton. I have a record album that goes along with the book, and my husband picked this up at a used book sale. I’ve wanted to read this for a while.

L: What genre do you read?

W: I read baseball books and sports fiction, but I read general fiction as well. I do not read erotica and am not generally attracted to futuristic or fantasy novels. Every now and then, however, I will pick up a book in a genre I don’t normally read, and I’m pleasantly surprised at what I find.

L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?

W: I try to write a couple of hours every day except for Saturday, which is the day when I do my radio show. If it gets too crazy at my house, I pack up my laptop and go to the library. I would estimate that I wrote about about 75 percent of my first novel at my local library (can I tell you how much I love my local library while I’m at it?).

L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write? 

W: I don’t need to listen to any particular music when I write. However, sometimes I have a baseball game on in the background.

L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you? 

W: “Hopefully,” as in “hopefully, we’ll get this finished by the end of the day.” The other one that drives me crazy is when people use the word “criteria” when they mean “criterion” (plural vs. singular).

L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

W: Can’t answer this one. Too many.

L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?

W: I get most of my inspiration from life lessons–things I’ve done and/or experienced in life. I remember people I’ve met and conversations I’ve had over the seven decades of my life, and the conglomerations of those encounters, along with news stories and current events (I’m a news junkie), give me all the inspiration I need.

L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?

W: My ninth-grade English teacher, Edward White, who encouraged me to write, told me once, when I tried to do something crazy, “You have to learn to walk before you can run.” I’ve remembered that after all these years. I find myself repeating this to myself frequently, whether it’s vis-a-vis writing or other endeavors. I would advise writers to stick to the basics when they’re starting out. The other important thing for aspiring writers is to READ, READ, READ. You can pick up so much by reading the work of others. You won’t learn to write by reading tweets; you must read BOOKS, SHORT STORIES, even NEWSPAPERS.


When a young high schooler during the 1960s in Weymouth, Massachusetts, Wanda Fischer aspired to be a sportswriter; however, that career option was difficult at best for women at the time. After having to drop out of college for financial reasons, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Northeastern University while working full-time as a secretary at MIT. 

She broke into radio broadcasting as both a news journalist and a folk music DJ. She has continued as a folk DJ for more than 40 years; the Folk Alliance International inducted her into their Folk DJ Hall of Fame in February 2019, recognizing her dedication and contributions to folk radio. She’s been on WAMC-FM, the Albany National Public Radio affiliate, since 1982.

She retired in 2014 from a 40-year career in news, as well as public relations/marketing/media relations in government and not-for-profit organizations. After retirement, she parlayed her love for baseball into her debut novel, Empty Seats, which is not necessarily about her favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. Using baseball as a backdrop, the book explores coming-of-age issues and has received accolades from the Independent Press Association and New Apple Literary. 

You can find Wanda on Instagram, Twitter and her website.

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Empty Seats – What Little Leaguer doesn’t dream of taking to the mound and striking out one of his heroes? This novel follows three such dreamers who were were drafted to play minor league ball, thinking it would be an easy ride to playing in the big time. Little did they know that they’d be vying for a spot with every other talented kid who aspired to play professional baseball. Young, inexperienced, immature, and without the support of their families and friends, they’re often faced with split-second decisions. Not always on the baseball diamond.

Buy it here!

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Interview with Books by S.R.

Hey everyone! I had the amazing pleasure of being interviewed by a fellow author, Savannah Roberts! I got to talk to her about all of my books, including Vultures and sharing my experiences as an indie author. If you would like to check it out, just click HERE!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and I wish you all the best wishes this Christmas! ❤

Laura Mae

C. Casarico

November 22nd, 2019

I asked Corinne where she would like to talk:

The cafe is a small, quiet little place. The door creaks when it’s opened and customers enter the shop. A pleasant hum of conversation fills the air as people sip their coffee or lemonade. There are cupcakes with mounds of fluffy frosting and cookies that crumble at one touch behind the bakery display case. It’s a nice little bakery that separates the people from the busy outside world. Today sunlight streams through the many windows to light up the sitting areas, the tables set with small blue flowers in vases and tea candles to light when the sun sets in the evening. 

Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?

C. Casarico: I’d always had a creative imagination. I would make up stories even when I wasn’t writing them down. Eventually I began writing my ideas down, and never stopped.

L: How long have you been writing for?

C: I was about ten when I wrote a story called “The Magic Nightlight”, in 5th grade. I’m 24 years old now, so about 14 years.

L: What are you currently working on?

C: I’m currently working on the sequel to The Rose Petal, which is untitled, and that’s diving me crazy. The series title is called Rags and Riches.  

L: Are there any books or authors who inspired your work?

C: Samantha Shannon is one of my favorite authors, and a huge inspiration. I love her style and amazing detail. I’ve spoken to her over social media before and she gives great advice. She is the best selling author of The Bone Season series, and she recently published a monster of a book called Priory of the Orange Tree.

L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?

C: A challenging thing for me is getting my inner critique to shut up. I never mean to do it, but I’m always judging everything I write. I recently read The Rose Petal in its published book form. Half the time I was proud of myself, and the other half of the time I was wincing at my word choices.

L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?

C: Now that I’ve graduated college, writing is pretty much all I do. But I love reading as well – a teacher once told me that reading is studying for a writer. I also mess around on You Tube. I have a channel called roselucyking.

L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time and why?

C: I can never pick one favorite of anything. A stand-alone book that I love is called Gifts From the Sea by Natalie Kinsey Warnock. It’s a childhood favorite of mine. My favorite series ever is The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon.

L: Have you self published or traditionally published? What was your experience?

C: I self published. A friend knew I was looking to self publish and found an article in the newspaper about a local company. It was a long process, but worth it.

L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?

C: Don’t rush. Your writing is yours and will be ready when you are. I also wish I had done more research when going into my self publishing. Knowing more about it would have made the process easier.

L: What are you currently reading?

C: The Stand by Stephen King, The Wild Ones by Louise Czarnobai, and Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?

C: When I say, “I’m published!” and they go, “Well, self published, right?”  

L: Where do you get most of your inspiration?

C: Sometimes a sight or experience will inspire me. I got the basic idea for the third book in the Rags and Riches series when I was on a ride in Disney World a few years ago.

L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to while writing?

C: I like listening to calm music when I write. Sometimes instrumental, but I’m never opposed to adding some Panic! At the Disco to my writing playlist.

L: What genre do you read?

C: I’ll read anything that sounds interesting to me, but my favorites are Fantasy and Thriller.

L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

C: Claidi, from The Claidi Journals by Tanith Lee. Read it, if you like fantasy or science fiction!

L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or must-haves?

C: I write whenever I can, because I also have a part-time day job. I need to have music, and my curtain on my window needs to be drawn to let in any sunlight. I often have a drink (tea, water, hot chocolate) with me. I always try to write (or edit) in half-hour or hour-long sprints.

L: For aspiring writers, what would be the best advice you want them to know?

C: If you like to write, you are a writer. Don’t be afraid to talk to people about your projects, but don’t listen to people who will put you down. Listen to encouraging people – and keep writing!


C. Casarico is a pen name she uses for her novels. The Rose Petal is the first in a Young Adult Fantasy series, and her first book. She is a 24 year old New England author who enjoys writing and dreaming about magic. She published The Rose Petal with a local self publishing company, Onion River Press. Her book can be found online wherever books are sold. 

You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

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The Rose Petal – Rose lives in a world with magic. Spells. Vampires. Witches. All of this is normal, but she lacks magic ability of her own. She feels lost until one day, she falls into another world not unlike her own, except for one glaring, dark difference.

Buy it here!

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Are you an indie writer or author? Contact me to be featured in the Indie Go Interviews!

Vultures

Eeep! I just realized I never shared my third and final book on here! If you’re following me via social media though, you saw this a while ago. *wink wink* In case you haven’t witnessed it’s magnificence… ta da!

final

Vultures should be ready to the world sometime next year! I don’t have a date as I am not done with the first draft yet, but it’s over halfway done. If you haven’t read the first two books, I have just one question. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!

Here is a tiny snippet of the first chapter. Very tiny since it’s still in it’s infancy stage.

“Waves of electricity slowly made their way out of her system as she stuck to the floor like a paralyzed victim. Every minuscule thought infiltrated her mind leading up to that exact point. She thought she had been ahead of him, but the truth was, he was always ahead. Malik had too many eyes. As large as the Sparrows rebellion seemed, the Vultures tripled them. Was it always a losing battle, no matter what she did? She hated thinking that way, but her current position left her no alternative.”

Also, here are the links if you want to find out why this cover is so badass. 😉

Fliers – Book 1

Sparrows – Book 2

(Also, if you have read these already, please leave a review! I would love to hear what you thought!)

Happy Trails

Laura Mae ❤