Stepping back to 2016 to review this debut novel by Crystal Kirkham because it will always hold a special place in my heart. Road to Redemption was the first INDIE book I ever owned and read.
There is a good possibility that if I hadn’t come across @canuckclick on Twitter back in December 2016 this blog wouldn’t be happening.
Thank you Crystal!
YOU just know that you have a good book in your hands when opening scene does everything right, Road to Redemption does just that, just enough of a mystery by page two to peak my curiosity then by page four, I was hooked.
Road to Redemption has everything you could want a book to have. Interesting characters and a plot that is worthy of the big screen. The narrative description is spot on, details so clear that I could see the story playing in my head like a movie. In her debut novel Crystal has done everything right.
I first reviewed this book about three years ago, it’s worthy of a rehash. It’s that damn good!
The chemistry between Michel and Paige is PURE magic. Paige notices Michel while she’s stuck on a boring blind date, little does she know that a deal Michel made centuries ago would have such an effect on her life when she decided to pursue him and put a little adventure in her world.
This book will take you to hell and back.
I consider this a must read!I gave it⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on Goodreads and Amazon and I will forever by a fan of Crystal L Kirkham.
definitely a page turnerpardon the pun…
My one and only disappointment was that it had to end. Thank God for sequels because she wrote one!! 🎉
I loved this book as much now as I did when I first time i read it. Three times and each time is better than the last.
BUY ROAD TO REDEMPTION
DEPTHS OF DARKNESS made my TOP 10 Book List for 2019, it came in at number six, it is book 2 of the series. You will hear more about this in the near future.
At best, this book held my attention for the first couple of chapters due to the 70’s references seemed to be time period accurate and appropriate, another draw for me was the fact that this is loosely based off the 1975 merger of Fleetwood Mac with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
After that not so much.
To be fair to Taylor Jenkins Reid this book waswell written, definitely well researched which caused me to raise the rating to ⭐⭐⭐ instead of the two I had originally given it.
I don’t want to go so far as to say that this BOOK is a waste of time or money, but it just wasn’t for me.
This is my problem with Daisy Jones and The Six:
Everything in this book was easy, becoming a rock star, touring, recording an album, not to mention the rehab. ***kicking drug and alcohol addiction is not easy, anyone who has suffered through this living hell will almost be insulted at the thoughtlessness that went into this part of the story.
If you want to skip the book I’m sure it will be airing on Amazon soon, if you would like to read it there is a link to buy below.
After reading a couple of books by Barbara I’ve come to the realization that I will never know what to expect when I begin but when I finish I feel satisfied and wanting more…
I can’t say enough about this book or the characters that she has created in this world that she has invited us into, it’s hauntingly beautiful, no… it’s hauntingly sexy.
The sexual tension between James and Lina is addictive. The story of them is a total “Avon classic” tragedy in a sense that I am faced with this warning: be careful not to believe everything you read, things are not what they appear to be when Barbara is in control.
Barbara does this thing where she weaves the characters of her story to your heart then she intensifies the moment before ripping it away. It’s an art and it’s a thing of beauty!
I love her style, I love the sexiness of her writing, the way she can create a moment so hot 🔥 without going into explicit detail numbs my brain.
The mistress of storytelling has created a tale that has captured my heart then shocked my senses into submission.
This is a really good book!
I’M GIVE IT FIVE STARS ON AMAZON AND GOODREADS
BUY POSTSCRIPT HERE
Congratulations Barbara on a job well done. I love this book! It is beautiful!!
“We have a choice about how we take what happens to us in our life and whether or not we allow it to turn is. We can become consumed by hate and darkness, or we’re able to regain our humanity somehow, or come to terms with things and learn something about ourselves.” – Angelina Jolie
Johnny– Hi Jennifer! Thank you for taking the time to visit with me, when I first finished this book, I must admit I was a little taken back. Honestly, I finished this almost a week ago and I still am having a problem trying to classify it by genre, at first, I thought it might be chick-lit, suspense, adventure, romance, self-help, self-discovery, truth is, it’s all of them and more. It’s a great book, and it blew me away, however, when you first set out to write this book what genre did you have in mind? Or did you?
Jennifer– I originally set out to place the book in the contemporary fiction category but it has crossed over a few genres including YA because the story moves back and forth in time.
Johnny– Why did you write A Dress the Color of the Sky?
Jennifer– I have had this story in my head for a long time. The original idea spring boarded from a screenplay I wrote in college but I never felt I had the time or motivation to write the book. After my divorce, I wanted to dig deep into my past and try to heal from my childhood trauma. The process of writing this book helped me to better understand myself, come to grips with my past and tell a universal story of a woman’s journey to find self-love.
Johnny– Tell me about your researching for the rehab center, there is a lot of structure in your narrative, to what extent did you go about to collect this information?
Jennifer– I conducted a tremendous amount of research before writing this book. It was important to me that I depicted a realistic rehab milieu for my readers to better understand the recovery process. For research I read books on sex addiction, attended AA meetings, attended a retreat, and interviewed many recovering addicts.
Johnny– When you attended meetings, did the other people know you were there for research? If so, were they helpful?
Jennifer– No one knew I was there for research. I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable so I tried to blend in with the group.
Johnny– Having done the research then written this book how would you define a sex addict?
Jennifer– I would define a sex addict the same way I would any other addiction. When a person had an addiction it takes a toll on every aspect of their life. If what you’re doing is negatively affecting your job, relationships, and family then you have an addiction problem. There is a series of questions that you can find on the Alcoholics Anonymous website which can be applied to any substance abuse including sex addiction.
Johnny– Sadly, sexual assault being such a huge topic in the media, how difficult were some of these scenes to write? Especially when Prudence was a little girl, being gang-groped by the twins in the closet and later on sexually assaulted by Richard, as hard as it was to read, I’m guessing that it must have been hell to write.
Jennifer– It was difficult to write and there are many scenes in the book that I can’t read without crying. There was a balance I had to find when writing about such horrors in order to not turn off my readers while also keeping things as real as possible. I felt it was better to hint at things rather than spell them out blatantly. No one wants to read about such horrors but the general message was very important.
Johnny– You did a fantastic job, as hard as it was to read your narrative was quick and complete, I feel that that made it tolerable to digest as a reader. Let’s talk about some of your characters for a minute, what hole did those annoying twins of Marilyn’s crawl out of? lol
Jennifer– I’m glad to know my characters made you feel so deeply! Some of the characters were based on people I have known and things I have heard combined with a creative mind.
Johnny– Pat is such a dreadful person, great job btw, how did you come up with this character?
Jennifer– I actually had a step-sister who was a lot like Pat.
Johnny– Did you have a real-life muse when you created Richard?
Jennifer– Yes, I loosely based Richard on one of my step-fathers.
Johnny– After I read the book, I found it on Audible and decided to give it a listen during my daily commute, through the narration it appears that Prue’s mom is really a self-serving, self-indulgent individual. Is that fair to say?
Jennifer– Yes, I believe that a great deal of Prudence’s issues stem from her relationship with her mother. I’d say you nailed it with your description of Prue’s mother.
Johnny– Marnye Young narrated your book on Audible (and did a fantastic job BTW) did you have to give her any special direction? She seemed so in sync with the book.
Jennifer– Marnye is an incredibly seasoned and talented narrator. I was honored to have her be the voice for the audiobook version of Dress. She truly loved the story and found it both relatable and important. She had a clear grasp of the nuances of the story and characters so I only had to do some minor tweaking during final edits.
Johnny– In chapter 7 the is a moment that happens to Prudence while she’s with Alister:
“This can’t happen,” I said, pulling away. “I have no clue what I’m doing or how I will survive. I’m scared of losing my husband and terrified to stay. What about your girlfriend? You live in London.” The laundry list of excuses. “This is a fantasy. Nothing more.” My body shifted farther from him. I craved space, but a powerful force pulled me back.
Was this Prue’s “moment of clarity”?
Jennifer– I’d say it was a huge moment of clarity for Prue. She faced her weakness for male attention and was coming to grips with a dysfunctional marriage and the trail of destruction her addiction left behind.
Johnny– Tell me a little bit about Dr. Mike. One of my favorite lines from him is:
“You live on love crumbs. A nibble drops, you gobble up the morsel. The crumb sustains you until he gives you another. Don’t you believe you deserve the whole loaf?”
How do you go about writing dialog for Mike?
Jennifer– I absolutely adore Mike. He’s the one person who doesn’t sexualize Prue and supports her with understanding and tough love. As far as writing dialogue, I had a literary agent tell me I am gifted at writing dialogue which was a huge compliment! I try to put myself in the room and picture what is happening in that moment. The research I did helped me to write realistic therapy dialogue but I’m not a therapist so I’m sure it’s not perfect but I definitely gave it my all.
Johnny– I totally agree with the literary agent, your writing of dialog is incredible! Have you had any feedback from actual therapist or medical professionals since you written this book?
Jennifer– Thank you! And, yes, there have been several psychiatrists and therapists who have written reviews. They have all stated that my novel depicts a realistic therapeutic milieu.
Johnny– Tell me about your writing process, how did you go about creating and structuring A Dress the Color of the Sky? Do you journal?
Jennifer– There are two kinds of writers, those who outline the entire story and know where they are headed, and writers like myself who fly by the seat of their pants. Both work, both are correct but I don’t know how a story is going to end until I get there. I made a lot of mistakes while writing Dress and had no clue what I was doing. I’m still a neophyte in the writing world but definitely know more now than I did when I was writing Dress. A few things about my writing process – my brain is more creative in the afternoon, I need total silence, my house has to be tidy, I sit on an exercise ball at my dining room table which overlooks the Pacific Ocean, I light a Himalayan salt lamp, scented candle, and a diffuser with peppermint oil.
Johnny– How long did it take you to write this book?
Jennifer– From beginning to end it took me five years but the last two were when I really focused and did the most writing.
Johnny– Are you planning a sequel?
Jennifer– I’m working on the final draft of the stand-alone sequel, A Dress the Color of the Moon. It is my hope that Moon is worthy of being picked up by a big publisher.
Johnny– Can you give me a quick elevator pitch for A Dress the Color of the Moon?
Jennifer– The story will follow Prue in her post rehab journey and learn how she fares in the world after five weeks in Serenity Hills. There will be several characters continuing on with her to Los Angeles where they will gather for the funeral of Gloria who committed suicide in the first book. Prue and her comrades with face many trials, tribulations, and temptations in the real world.
Johnny– There seems to be a lot of healing taking place in this book, was this book therapeutic to write or tragic?
Jennifer– Definitely therapeutic.
Johnny– Reading through the reviews on Amazon, it seems like this touched a lot of people, how does that make you feel as a writer?
Jennifer– The reviews have been one of the most beautiful parts of my writing journey. I have been especially surprised by the number of men who have written reviews. The reviews have deeply touched my heart and been incredibly motivating for me to continue on as a writer.
Johnny– If you were casting this book for a movie, who would you pick as your cast?
Johnny– Wrapping up, what do you want your reading audience to take away from reading, A Dress the Color of the Sky?
Jennifer– It is possible to heal from childhood trauma, what it’s like in an inpatient rehab facility, the experience of following one woman’s journey to find self-love, to not live in the past and it’s never too late to make a change in your life.
Johnny– Jennifer I can not thank you enough for taking the time to talk with me. I think you’re awesome! You are remarkably talented and a phenomenal writer. Thank you! 🙏
My original review: I’m sitting here at 4am on a Saturday morning. I had just finished A Dress the Color of the Sky by Jennifer Irwin and I’m in awe. There is nothing I can say that will come close to giving this book the review that it deserves.
To think that this is the first novel that Jennifer has written Blowsmy mind.
I’m giving her 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐stars because this is quite possibly the best book I’ve ever read. Without a doubt A Dress the Color of the Sky is the best debut novel I had ever had the privilege of reviewing. Jennifer has done what few writers have ever done, she surprised me, she is an amazing and talented writer who has only begun to shine.
My original review STANDS: READ THIS BOOK!
It’s a smart, sexy, and captivating book to read. WARNING: once started this book is hard to put down.
If you only read one book in 2020 it needs to be A Dress the Color of the Sky by: Jennifer Irwin.
I promise, you will not be disappointed.
You can follow Jennifer on her website and social media pages:
“What all of us have to do is to make sure we are using AI in a way that is for the benefit of humanity, not to the detriment of humanity.” –Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Johnny– Hello Shaun, thank you for taking the time to talk with me about your book, where did the idea for Electric Blues come from?
Shaun– Ha! I don’t think I’ve admitted this before, but I wrote this story right after smartphones were coming into the mainstream. I had a little android phone that I adored, and I wondered what it would be like if it was sentient.
Johnny– LOL, that’s pretty cool. Did you by any chance hang on to it over the years?
Shaun– I did! In fact, even seven or so years later, it still works 😀
Johnny– That is awesome! And it still works… that’s pretty cool. The opening lines in your book reads: “I can’t love. That’s okay, if you ask me, most humans can’t either.” That is profound, what is Arty telling us in this opening line?
Shaun– Well, first, let’s all hope that Arty is wrong there. The world is a lonely enough place as it is! It’s a little hard to answer this question without dorking out completely, but essentially, I imagine Arty here is dealing with the fact that most people have a romanticized view of love—and even Arty can tell that the people around him don’t have that Romeo and Juliet stuff at their disposal. Like all of us, I hope, Arty, as he meets new people and sees more relationships, will grow in his understanding of what human love really is.
Johnny– Just so you know, dorking out is completely allowed, in-fact is very much encouraged here, lol. Tell me more about Arty, he seems interesting. He lives in a storage unit due to his unemployment circumstance; it sounds like he is improvising, adapting and overcoming his current situation, which is rather amazing since he seems to be running on a rather dated program.
Shaun– Well, to be fair, he’s running a pretty darn advanced program compared to what we have today 😀 It just depends on your perspective, I suppose.
Johnny– I’m constructing that question from Arty’s narration, I guess; he had mentioned that other A.I. models having a more updated programming than he. As a reader he just seemed like what he lacked in his program he made up through improvising. Was this intentional? Or is Arty pulling a Captain Kirk during his‘Kobayashi Maru’? (LOL)
Shaun– Ha! I don’t feel Arty is winning the unwinnable Kobayashi Maru scenario here. Certainly, a Denizen H could come up with the plan that Arty did, and perhaps even a more cost effective one. That being said, I did envision Arty’s AI as sufficiently complex to display a level of creativity. To use human beings as an analogy, the ability to succeed and be employable is more complex than just how good our pattern recognition (intelligence) is or how good our education is. Those things help, but they’re not the end all be all. So too, for an AI, I don’t think that processing power and updated software are always going to win the day. Maybe most days, but not all of them!
Johnny– There are so many good points to talk about in this book I’m having a hard time choosing one to start with, we know where the idea came from, what was your motivation to write Electric Blues?
Shaun– While I started with the idea of my phone, the story really is a reflection of a lot more than that. As a child who moved a lot, I’ve definitely lived the fish-out-of-water story, which, to an extent, Electric Blues is. And, as an analytical person, sometimes I find myself confused, or even occasionally estranged by the people around me who are more intuitive. Arty, as a robot, works as a pretty good vehicle for getting that estrangement, and the eventual catharsis of finding a way through the world, across. Social situations are hard, insanely complicated, and yet, people are expected to understand them perfectly. So, I think it’s easy for a lot of us to feel for Arty because so many of us have walked that same path.
Johnny– I love the dialog between Arty and the Veterinarian, is Arty starting to develop a personality or is he being logical?
Shaun– Oh yes! I don’t think you can really have intelligence as we think of it WITHOUT having personality or character. And, a lot of those character points are going to look like emotions. That may sound crazy to say about an AI, but hear me out! Our emotions serve certain purposes. Anger helps us keep boundaries for our emotional and physical safety, affection helps us treat our friends well, sadness helps us reflect on our life choices, etc. etc. Arty may not feel anger, but he has to develop habits which keep his boundaries. He may not feel sadness, but he has to look back on his choices, and his relationships, and see if he can learn better ways, he can handle his next set of choices and relationships. So, while Arty doesn’t feel like we do, it’s sort of a moot point because he’s thinking in the ways that are the root of our emotions. I think this is one of the reasons why people can empathize with how Arty feels, even though he isn’t really feeling. And THAT, I believe, gets back to the first line of the book where Arty says most people can’t love. What that’s really about is the misconception of what love is, and maybe we all have a bit of a misconception of what it means to feel.
Johnny– You seem like a pretty philosophical person so I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts, Knickers basically tells Arty to go help the underprivileged in order to keep his Government assistance, (how revolutionary is that?), do you consider that to be socialism or maybe, responsible, creative government? Or, is it something else?
Shaun– I wasn’t trying to make a point about governments there! For many people getting government assistance in the US, their assistance is contingent on them looking for work. I just updated our current laws as if a legislative body were to try and get them to encompass AI. BUT SINCE YOU ASKED, I think the fact that AI might be able to take jobs from us in a way that automation never could before, we really should be ready to transition to a universal basic income if the need arises 😀
Johnny– I read on your social media profile that you are a former MMA fighter? How did you get started in that? Was this something you did full-time?
Shaun– OH! Those were beautiful days 😀 The beginnings of that were pretty tragic though. I was nearly killed by an infection when I was 20. I was in a coma and hospitalized for two weeks. When I came out of it, I had trouble walking more than 100 yards. My Aunt and Uncle, Tori and Barry Polinitza, agreed to let me stay on their horse ranch during the day and train at their martial arts dojo in the nights. I fell in love with the puzzle of fighting, and eventually just had to try it out in practice.
I never did do MMA as a living/full time though. I think it’s entirely possible I could have opened up a studio and taught, but though I won all my fights, I don’t think I was good enough to live off of the purses.
Johnny– That an amazing story Shaun, thanks for sharing, very inspirational! What discipline did you practice?
Shaun– I studied quite a few disciplines! Shootfighting, Jiu jitsu, Wrestling, Boxing and Mui Thai were the arts which helped me the most. Almost everyone I was training and competing with had learned one art a youngster, so it was always a puzzle for me to make sure I had the skills to avoid or neutralize what my opponents were bringing to the table.
Johnny– Do you still train and/or compete?
Shaun– I do a little boxing, but I’m retired from fighting now! I play tournament chess to satisfy my competitive drive.
Johnny– Which is more vicious? I’ve heard chess tournaments can be downright brutal. Are they that competitive?
Shaun– Brutal is certainly the right word for competitive chess! Imagine taking the Bar to become a lawyer, but that the exam is taking you back. You’re thinking as hard as you can for over five hours at times, and the toll it takes is difficult to explain. The brain is a top calorie using organ in the human body, and when measured, it apparently eats up as much calories in a professional chess game as an NBA basketball player’s entire body will burn in their game. Which is more vicious? Definitely MMA! After a few days rest, you’re going to be recovered from almost any chess game. That’s not true for huge number of fights!
Johnny– What made you want to become a writer?
Shaun– I feel like I have a million answers to that question, and maybe they all come together into one giant answer! My father and grandfather told me stories growing up which lit my mind on fire. My mother would always find time to read to me. My friends and I would play make believe growing up, so storytelling was baked into my early socializing. I played a ton of dungeons and dragons and had to run and write the campaigns for my friends. I read the entire fiction section of my middle school library in sixth grade and it started to leak out of my ears in prose. There are ideas I experience which are so beautiful I feel like I have to share them with other people. I feel alive after I write.
But, if there’s anything the research on consciousness I did for Electric Blues has taught me, it’s that people are particularly terrible at giving the reasons for why they do things. So, who knows?
Johnny– Ha! Fair enough, have any of the stories told to you by your father and grandfather ever made it into any of your writing?
Shaun– Not the stories themselves, but my father’s world building and my grandfather’s way of building a character certainly come through a good bit in what I do.
Johnny– Was Electric Blues your first book?
Shaun– Not by a long shot! The first book I wrote was in seventh grade. I don’t know that anyone should read it though. My first full length novel that was published is Even Hell Has Knights.
Johnny– What writing plans have you got for
the upcoming year? Any projects in the works?
Shaun– Oh yes! Wasteland, a book in my Hellsong Universe, is in its final editing stage. It should be a beaut!
Johnny– Oh sweet, any release date ETS’s?
Shaun– We’re working on late first quarter next year! That gives you guys plenty of time to catch up! You can start the series here:
Johnny– Who inspires you?
Shaun– I have a ton of heroes! Some from the sports I’ve competed in. Garry Kasparov in Chess, who branched out to fight for fair elections in Russia and who helped move his home village to safety during regional unrest. Mirko Filipović, a fighter who got elected to the Croatian Parliament. Epicurus, who’s philosophy is so strangely modern! But it’s not just my heroes who inspire me! I have a friend who quit his job and gave up his dreams because he felt what he was being asked to do was unethical. And I have friends who are actually raising decent human beings! How the crap are they doing that? I could never do that!
Johnny– Who is your favorite author/writer?
Shaun– Frederik Pohl, I think, is amazing. I really think his material is right up there with Asimov and Bradbury, but he’s not as well known. I’d recommend Gateway to anyone looking to get into him.
Johnny– Do you have a sequel planned or written for Electric Blues?
Shaun– I do! There is a sequel out now for Arty called Binary Jazz. I have a third one planned, called Digital Muse, which is on the backburner. I feel that it wouldn’t be a good Arty story if the theme didn’t in some way tackle an emotion. Electric Blues deals with depression, while Binary Jazz is primarily about how positive and negative emotions build friendships. The third story will touch on the idea love and how human beings in love look from Arty’s perspective.
Johnny– I notice Electric Blues was on Audible, (Great performance by Gabrielle Olexa btw), are any other books been converted to audio?
Shaun– They’re not! Electric Blues is the only one so far! I agree that Gabe did a fabulous job on the audio. Getting someone to be monotone for that long and still keep the story exciting to listen to was no easy task!
Johnny– Absolutely! Her monotone was nothing short of phenomenal! (I’ve included a link above for anyone wanting to listen to this amazing performance). Shaun, what is your process when you begin writing a book from an idea?
Shaun– For me, it seems different for each story. Sometimes there’s an image or scene that burns its way into my consciousness, and I play the detective to see what came before it and after it. For the Hellsong series, the setting came first, and the story-lines emerged as I imagined how people would handle that particular damnation. At other times there’s a concept or emotion I have that I want to share, and the story is just the best way to communicate it with another person.
Johnny– Any advice for inspiring writers, cage fighters, or chess players?
Shaun– All three pursuits straddle the line between science and art. They require both phenomenal discipline and unfettered passion. Most people I meet have one of the two requirements down. My advice to anyone who is chasing one of these three endeavors is to find the area you are most lacking, whether it be discipline or passion, and feed the weaker of the two.
Electric Blues is a fun futuristic tale of an A.I. that is looking for his purpose. In doing so Arty teaches us all the possible meaning of life. To think that this whole story came about because of a smartphone blows me away, and so does this book.
of room for this franchise to grow I can hardly wait to see what Arties next
adventure will be.
Dynamic narration is necessary to make this book work for the reader. Logical and engaging dialog are entwined presenting a believe-ability that will easily hold your interest to the end. Shaun has done a wonderful job with Electric Blues.
Personally, I love the fact that coping with his current reality Artie is teaching me the basics principles of philosophy. While searching for his purpose in an ever advancing world, Artie has taught me that adapting is surviving, when one door closes another opens, it’s just depend on how one chooses to view it.
I’m giving Electric Blues five stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on bothGoodreads and Amazonbecause of it is original, humorous, and intelligent. I walk away from this book feeling both amused and charmed, but most importantly, entertained.
Shaun proves that sometimes the little things that come into our lives can provide some great opportunities. He also proved that with hard work and determination you can overcome adversity. Good luck 🍀 with all your endeavors Shaun, I’m a Fan! 🙏
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” –Benjamin Franklin
L.M. Gose is a writer, wife, mother, editor, (Horse whisperer lol) She can be found on Twitter @LaPetiteWolfe and her website www.authorlmgose.com She’s a busy lady who recently published her book titled Ascend.
Johnny– Hello Leia welcome and thank you for taking some time to talk with me, you recently released Ascend, was this your first book?
Leia– First published. I’ve written others that didn’t make it to this stage.
Johnny– That being said, the “others that didn’t make it to this stage” are you ever tempted to revisiting those earlier books and fine-tune them into something that works? or do you move on, possibly reviving and integrating them into other ventures later?
Leia– I’ll likely go back eventually but it’s not a concern at the moment. So far I’ve plenty of ideas before I need to recycle some.
Johnny– I noticed, at one time that you listed on your Twitter bio that you’re an editor… did you edit Ascend yourself?
Leia– I sent it to someone but I felt it wasn’t thorough enough so in the end, I did red ink everything myself. I have also edited three other books by other authors as well as a few Thesis papers and many graduate level papers.
Johnny– That is remarkable, and very well done might I add. Is it safe to say you’ll be editing your future books as well?
Leia– With the help of my BETA readers.
Leia– Yes, it was preferable to the defeatism in the industry.
Johnny– Would you recommend self-publication to somebody that is looking to get published?
Leia– Everyone needs to make their own choices. They have to be confident with the decision to publish however they feel is best for them. I prefer creative control so this works for me.
Johnny– I’m a huge fan of cover art, do you design your covers?
Leia– No, actually, my niece-in-law LeÁnne Pelletier did. You can find out how to contact her on my website.
Johnny– How fortunate to have that kind of talent in the family. When your picking your cover, did you go to her with a certain design or style in mind?
Leia– Yes, I knew exactly what I wanted but lack the skills necessary to create. She was able to make my vision come to life perfectly.
Johnny– This is really a fast-paced book that covers a lot of territory, Biblical, Gnostic, Mythology, Folklore, there are a lot of references / research that had to happen in order to prep for this book. How long did it take you to develop and write Ascend?
Leia– I honestly believe this book has been trying to come out in one way or another for years, but I did zero research specifically for Ascend. It took me about 5 months from start to finish to write, edit and publish.
Johnny- That’s astounding, has writing always been easy or “naturally” for you?
Leia– I’d say yes. Writing, and reading, has always been linked to my survival in this world.
Johnny– This book caught me by surprise. I really wasn’t expecting the “depth” that you brought with it. What inspired you to write Ascend? Was it an idea that just come to you out of nowhere?
Leia– I can’t say there was any one thing except this year, I took a really long trip and reconnected with family I’d long since lost touch with. It was healing and I think that healing helped inspire me.
Johnny– I’m a fan, please tell me that there is another book coming out in this series.
Leia– Yes, I’m currently working on Descend, which is the sequel to Ascend and picks up right where the first book ends.
Johnny– Do you have an ETA for Descend?
Leia– Spring 2020.
Johnny– “Ascend” has so many good characters, (descriptions for each is spectacular), do you have a favorite?
Leia– Madoc Weatherly. I love his personality and ever-changing beard.
Johnny– Defiantly one of my favorite characters as well. Was there a specific inspiration behind your creation of Madoc?
Leia– I had a German Teacher that was a bit unusual who inspired the depth of the character. His beard was Pride parade inspired. I loved the idea of an ever-changing mood beard.
Johnny– Do you use family or friends when you developed your characters? You’re a mother with four kids, (and two horse), was Arya and Xavier inspired by any of your children?
Leia– Yes and no. The relationship between a boy and girl twin was inspired by my older two children, who are Irish Twins (but honestly, everyone has mistaken them for twins for 11 years now so it counts). I wanted to have a story that wasn’t focused on romance or even had the kindling of a spark of romance between the Main Characters. Having siblings allowed me the freedom from that.
Johnny– How are your horses? They had to have inspired you in this book, lol. Especially when creating Persephone.
Leia– I love my horses, and yes, I have to admit, they did help, but more my connection with horses my entire life. In Canada, my uncle and auntie who helped raise me have a herd of 12 strong and I was able to spend a lot of time with them in early February. Persephone actually inspired me to get a horse. I adopted my mare, Molly, in early June, which was about a month before I finished Ascend. I adopted my gelding, Durango, right after.
Johnny– What is your process? When you have a story or idea and you decide you want to make it a book, do you journal it down, let it percolate, or go to your computer and start banging it out?
Leia– I am terrible about explaining my process, but I’ll try. I write when I’m inspired and I sit down for about an hour a day to try to write something, but that’s very structured and I’m not. I like to use guided dreams to help me sort out issues with my characters. It inspired the battle scene in Ascend.
Johnny– We you say “guided dreams” are you talking about meditation?
Leia– No, it’s a therapeutic technique I learned to help me cope with nightmares. I’ve learned to use it to explore ideas that needed more development before writing.
Johnny– I think you had mentioned earlier that you use beta readers as part of your writing process? are these friends of yours?
Leia– Yes and yes. I wouldn’t trust anyone I didn’t know with my brain-babies. They earned the right to be part of my group though because they’ve me such amazing feedback. I’ve included a few others in my group this time too, to help make Descend even better.
Johnny– Some writers say that they edit and/or send to beta readers in chunks during their writing process, others wait and do both after completion so not to interfere with their flow. How do you handle that?
Leia– I do a chapter at a time. This allows me to focus on the chapters as a whole. I don’t edit until after the book is halfway at the minimum though. Otherwise, you get stuck in a horrible habit of hating your work.
Johnny– Any advice for any young writers that might be looking up to you as a role model?
Leia– Be kind in your life, not only to others but to yourself and that includes how you rate your own writing.
Johnny– Great advise, what genre do you enjoy reading?
Leia– Fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction and dystopias are some of my favorites.
Johnny– In today’s world, how important is a “Social Media presence” for Indie writers?
Leia– It’s obviously very important. Social Media is a real aspect of this world.
Johnny– Very generic question, who inspires you?
Leia– It might be generic but it’s very difficult to answer. I’m inspired by so many different people. I’ve been gifted with an extraordinary life of travel and met so many incredible human beings on this planet, from different countries and from different cultures and backgrounds. I’m inspired by them all.
Johnny– Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Leia– In the house I’m about to move into and in my third series, maybe. I hope to be successful enough to pay the mortgage at least once a year.
Johnny– Thank you Leia, it has been a pleasure talking to you. Best of luck to you. I loved Ascend and anxiously awaiting Descend due out Spring of 2020. Hopefully you will come back and talk with me again…
This book has everything that is desired when digesting, the story flows like a river, I don’t remember it dragging once, descriptive characters, I felt like I knew everyone that was introduced in this book. In the beginning I remember thinking I would have liked a little more description about Morningstar, however, in the end it all worked out.
So why mention it?
I said that to say this, stick around, about every question I had was answered during her telling of the story.
Going down the list, Ascend has something for everybody. It contains Heroes, Villains, Damsel in distress, a King, a Queen, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Warlocks along with an assortment of mythical creatures, just an all-around good time and good read.
About my only complaint turned out to be my only regret and it was that it had to end. 😒
Que Sera, Sera, I suppose that’s why there are sequels. 😉
Great job Leia! 🎉 I can’t sing your praises loud enough. You captured my imagination and made me a FAN.
Written as YA Fiction, Ascend joins the ranks of mainstream novels that will be enjoyed by all ages.
I’m giving Ascend 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on both Amazon and Goodreads. **If you enjoy indie authors as much as I do please be sure to buy their books, leave reviews, share and retweet.
You’ve met the writer – Leia M Gose
Now read her book – Ascend: Children of Lilith Book One (you won’t regret it). ✌❤