Spotlight on Scott Cairns – Interview with Author of ‘Silver’

Scott Cairns is a new author that was recommended by Yvvette Edwards when I interviewed her a while ago. This is a tremendous recommendation, let me tell you.

His debut novel, ‘Silver’ has made it through to the quarter finals (final 500 of 10000) of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award this week.

So, let’s learn more about him and his work!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Scott CAuthor Shotairns and I am a self published author from Wokingham. I am married with one daughter. My first novel, ‘Silver’ was published with Createspace in August 2012 and has been shortlisted for the Historical Novel Society Award and is currently one of the quarter final entrants for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013.  I have also written some short stories for teenagers (‘Hogwash & Hooey’) and compiled two further anthologies of Drama Games and Seventeenth Century Comedy Plays.. The book has some high profile fans including Yvette Edwards, Booker Shortlisted author of ‘A Cupboard Full of Coats’. I chose to self publish after receiving some rather positive but narrow minded reviews from agents. ‘Silver’ centres on the story of a transgendered man (Avery Silver) in Victorian England and how, when his secret is revealed, it devastates but does not destroy his family and reputation. One or two agents where of the opinion that, having read ‘Trumper’ by Jackie Kay, there could not be room for another novel dealing with a transgendered character. By this token, is there no room for Andrea Levy’s ‘The Long Song’ because slavery has already been written about, if ‘Schindlers Ark’ is the pinnacle of Holocaust writing then why did John Boyne write ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas‘? At first, this feedback got me down and I shelved my manuscript but I decided to take the plunge last year and self publish because I really felt that the story of Avery is one that deserved an audience. Inspired by a true story of a Tammany Hall politician who, it was revealed on his death bed in 1901, had been ‘masquerading’ as a woman, the plot is tantalising and the era allows the reader some distance to really see a different side to what is a very contemporary issue.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I can remember and always dreamed of being able to call myself a novelist. ‘Silver’ is my first completed novel but I have many projects on the go and am currently completing Book 2.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

The very first story I recall writing was in my junior school for a lovely teacher called Mrs Hallett, it was a fantasy story about an island which had a gauntlet of exciting areas which needed to be surmounted before a glorious prize could be claimed. I was really pleased with it and she was too. It won an award and she tried to get me to send it off to someone but I never did. I was embarrassed about my illustrations!

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourself?

Try as I might, I cannot write without a soft covered, lined, large Moleskine notebook. I have a collection of over fifty notebooks in various shapes, sizes, covers and papers but I just prefer a Moleskine. This is eccentric as I type all of my work but need a notepad to keep track of family trees, character notes and images I collect to inspire me.

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

I heard from a reader who chose ‘Silver’ as her Book Club read. The all-female group met in February this year and they all dressed as men to discuss the book. As well as enjoying the book and being very complementary about the writing, I was thrilled to hear that the book had sparked a debate about heritage, gender, sexuality and identity – all key themes from the book. I really felt as if they had got it.

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

To my chagrin, I haven’t read any independent authors recently. I have been chairing two book clubs and have been reading traditionally published novels. My favourite has been by ‘The Visitation’ by Jenny Erpenbeck, a german writer whose work has been translated recently so I am unsure of the publisher. The book’s central character is a house and the novel follows the lives of its various occupants whilst within the house’s four walls. Its a chilling and compelling piece of work that touches on the horror of Nazi germany from an entirely new angle. This was a book which I jealously admired and learned from.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

I am a huge fan of Sarah Waters, Margarat Atwood and Alice Walker and they are a source of great inspiration to many writers. Most of my favourite novels are written by women. I don’t know why this is but they seem to feel more real somehow. My mum, my wife, my Nanna and my daughter are my own network of support and inspiration, all of whom are immensely proud of my modest achievements and encourage me daily to get on with the next project. I secretly think that they want ‘Silver’ to be made into a film so they can go to the premiere. Who would play Avery? Someone like Jude Law, I think.

Do you have a WIP (Work in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

I am working on a very contemporary novel at the moment. It is a thriller and that is a huge departure for me as I much prefer the historical novel; both  to read and to write. The central character is a hoarder and I have found it fascinating to research why people become compelled to hoard on such a scale that it becomes an obsession; a dangerous one for my character…!

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

That’s easy as I only have one novel so ‘Silver’ it is!

Silver_Cover_for_Kindle

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

I have a huge soft spot for Elizabeth Greenwood. She is feisty, hedonistic and, in some ways, quite a charmless creature but she was the easiest character to write. Her dialogue crackles with a fiery quick wit that I am jealous of and she was a pleasure to write. I have often heard writers who say that sometimes characters write themselves or that they find their stories going in directions they had not imagined and I wondered how this could happen. Well, this happened to me every time I sat down to write Elizabeth.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

 I love Facebook and find it hard to ‘disconnect’. It is a horrible distraction sometimes and one that writers can ill afford. I do tweet but find it hard to find the point to Twitter.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

This has been an uphill learning curve but an essential one. As a self-published author, there is no marketing department to do this part of the job for you. If you want your book  to be read, then you have to promote it. It’s not terribly British to place yourself on a platform and give people reasons why you think they should spend money on your work. It doesn’t come naturally to me but I am learning about the art of Self Promotion all the time.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

‘Silver’ is available from Amazon in Paperback or in eBook format for Kindle.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Silver-ebook/dp/B008X9P37A

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Silver-Scott-Cairns/dp/1479132284/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363367303&sr=8-1

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Scott! Wishing you the best of luck with the Amazon Breakthrough Novel!!

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for the next interview.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!
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No guilt, eh? That must be nice… :)

I was watching an episode of ‘The Middle’, one of my favorite TV shows, the other day. It was a rerun, where the family decided to give the mother a different Mother’s Day gift: left her alone to have an entire day just for her.

She wastes the whole day in ordinary tasks, while the family has a marvelous day without her. At the end, Frankie, the mother, says to Mike, the father, how being a mother is to be always feeling guilty. If she’s with the children and wants to be alone…guilty; if she’s alone, she wants to be with them, so…guilty!

I can understand that. As a mother, I have to be away from my daughter most of the day, to work and commute. The entire day I miss her. Then when I get home, there’s always a lot to do, and there’s writing related stuff too. So I try to stay with her in the middle of all that, but it never seems like enough time.

I’m sure all parents understand that, actually. Kids grow up so fast, every day they’re slipping through our fingers, and all we can do is try to capture every minute, the feeling in them (yes, I love ABBA! Do you know that song?)…

So…how can we live with all that guilty? If I’m so tired that all I can think of doing is to take a nap, but my baby wants to chat; or if I have got to promote my book for a while, but she wants to play something; or if I just want to stay quiet for a moment, because I have a headache, and she wants to show me the new stop motion video she made…?

You know what I think? There’s no way to win. It’s just like Frankie says; a mother is always feeling guilty. You’ll never believe you’re doing enough, you’re always thinking you should do more. Now, for example…I’m writing this, because I wanted to share my thoughts, while my daughter is by my side, finding new dolls she wants to have on the internet, and I’m thinking I should be doing something with her. 🙂

The funniest part of the show is that when Frankie says it, Mike, the husband, states that he doesn’t understand, because he never feels guilty. Her answer? ‘No guilt. That must be nice.’ It might be…but I think it’s part of the ‘fun’ of being a parent. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Well, in my family things were quite the opposite. My father played the role of Frankie. He cared, and tried his best, so I’m sure he felt guilty a lot, J. How about you, fathers and mothers? How do you deal with that feeling? How do you arrange things to spend enough quality time with your children?

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Sara’s Promise – Book Release Blog Tour & Giveaway

I’m so happy to present you this new release today! Deanna is a great, bestselling author, and a wonderful person.

Her new book is Sara’s Promise. The cover looks absolutely gorgeous. Plus, there’s a Giveaway!!!

Sara’s Promise – Deanna Lynn Sletten

 Book Release Button Saras Promise

Book Description:

 

Do you believe in soul mates?

 William Grafton had the perfect life with his lovely wife, Sara, and two teenaged children. But one day his perfect forever was shattered when Sara died suddenly, leaving him alone to raise his children and wonder how he would ever get through life without his soul mate. Five years later, he finds himself looking into a familiar pair of blue-green eyes that remind him of Sara. The woman is the exact opposite of his late wife, yet he finds he is drawn to her. But after a few strange occurrences, he begins to wonder–are these just coincidences or has his Sara come back to him as she once promised in the form of this new woman?

Annie Paxton doesn’t believe in soul mates or fate. She had watched her father die of a broken heart after her mother passed away and has since cast away any fairy tale ideas of love. Then she meets the man who has been haunting her dreams and she begins to see love in a whole new light. But her dream man is still tied to his deceased wife, and Annie doesn’t know if he will ever be able to break away from his past. As strange occurrences unfold, Annie wonders if William could ever truly love her for herself and not for the traits that remind him of Sara.

 Were William and Annie brought together by fate, coincidence or by Sara keeping her promise?

***

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 Book Excerpt:

     During dinner, Sara felt the pressure in her side begin to grow again, but she said nothing. As she loaded the dishwasher, William came into the kitchen to tell her that he and Sammy were going to the driving range to hit a few balls. He didn’t notice how flushed she looked as they rushed out the kitchen door. Only Sammy looked her over twice before reluctantly following his dad.

     Sandy tried one more time to get her mom to agree to allow her to get her nose pierced, but Sara raised her hand in warning and shook her head.

     “Not tonight,” Sara told her. Angry, Sandy stormed up to her room, the words “I hate you” rushing down the stairs at Sara before Sandy slammed her door. But by now, Sara didn’t care. She put the last of the dishes in the dishwasher and practically crawled to the living room sofa, and dropped onto it. The pain had become unbearable again, even worse than it had been before, and she felt completely drained. She was pale with bright spots of red on her cheeks, and her breathing had become increasingly labored.

     This was how Sammy found her when they came home, curled up on the couch, her blue-green eyes glassy in her stark white face. William had gone directly into his den to work, but Sammy wanted to see if his mom was feeling better. Seeing her this way frightened him, and he ran directly to his father’s den.

     “Mom’s really sick. You have to come,” he said, his eyes wide with fear.

     William looked up from his drawing board, frowning in confusion. Sara was fine at dinnertime, surely Sammy was exaggerating. “I’m sure your mother’s fine,” he said calmly. “She’s probably just tired.”

     But Sammy wouldn’t listen to his dad’s excuses. “She’s been sick all day, and she’s really sick now,” he insisted. “Come on!”

     William had no choice but to follow his son into the living room, and when he got there, the site of Sara’s pale, limp form unnerved him.

     “Sara?” he asked gently, crouching down beside the sofa. She turned to him but said nothing. He placed a hand on her forehead and pressed lightly. She was burning up. Panic swelled inside him.

     “I hurt,” Sara said weakly, but the pain was so overwhelming, even talking was excruciating.

     William had never seen his wife so sick before. For one long minute he wavered, debating what to do. Sara took care of them, not the other way around. When Sandy had her tonsils out at age six, it was Sara who’d sat beside her hospital bed all night. When Sammy fell off the swing set when he was three and lay unconscious, it was Sara who had calmly rushed him to the emergency room. She handled all the colds, flus, and illnesses. She was the one who doled out the medications, kept the children’s shots current, and handled all doctor, dentist, and orthodontist appointments. He felt completely lost.

Buy Sara’s Promise on Amazon in Kindle, Paperback and on Barnes & Noble Nook

http://www.deannalynnsletten.com/p/saras-promise.html

 About Deanna Lynn Sletten:

Deanna 9Deanna Lynn Sletten writes women’s fiction novels that go beyond the basic romance novel. Her stories dig deeply into the lives of the characters, giving the reader an in-depth look into their hearts and souls. Deanna has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime.

Deanna started her writing career in the early 1990s writing articles for parenting publications and local newspapers. Over time she transitioned to writing for blogs and websites and was a contributing writer for the women’s website, She Knows. In November 2011, she changed course and put all her energy into novel writing and hasn’t looked back since.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her northern Minnesota home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd or relaxing in the boat on the lake in the summer.

Connect with Deanna:

Blog   http://www.deannalynnsletten.com

Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/#!/DeannaLSletten

Twitter     https://twitter.com/DeannaLSletten

 Goodreads   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/555634.Deanna_Lynn_Sletten

Amazon Author Page  http://www.amazon.com/Deanna-Lynn-Sletten/e/B00683SQYK/

Giveaway!

In celebration of Deanna’s new book release she is having a giveaway! Leave a comment on this site to have your name entered in the drawing for one of four prizes: Two $25 Amazon Gift Cards and 2 paperback copies of Sara’s Promise. Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you. You can enter at each site of the blog tour for more chances to win! Giveaway starts December 10th and ends December 17th at midnight. Winners will be contacted December 18th after noon.

Follow the tour schedule here: www.deannalynnsletten.com

My 4 star Review of ‘The Fragile Lion’, by Mark Darley

**Reviewed by Renata F. Barcelos for Readers Favorite**

The Fragile Lion is a very different, unique story. It has drama, suspense, mystery and literary elements.

It starts with Justine, an apparently simple schoolteacher in another school day. Soon we realize that this is not an ordinary day; she was not supposed to be working. A tragedy had occurred and she should be home, recovering. Justine, however, has no recollection of what happened and has to rely on what people tell her to unfold her misfortune.

Confused and lonely, she thinks a trip might help. Then she meets an interesting pair: a mother and her child, a girl who simply refuses to eat. Trying to help them, another tragic accident changes their lives forever.

It’s a very different tale. Justine is quite a character; it’s hard to define her in one sentence, since she is not exactly who she seems to be. As her relationship with Sonya, the Sioux child she desperately wants to help, gets stronger, we have the opportunity to learn more about her. Her life has not been easy; she’s almost used to misfortune. As we get to know her past better, it becomes somehow easier to understand her actions.

Her quest to help Sonya is also a quest to help herself. To find purpose to her own life, to find reason to carry on. She thought she had lost everything, but she has a lot to find out; people to reconcile with, guilty to overcome, old debts to pay.

It’s basically a tale of redemption. Justine acts without thinking, without looking back to do what she believes is her obligation, her mission. But meanwhile, she goes learning from point to point.

The dialogue is well written, and a bit enigmatic. The child’s stubbornness is almost annoying and I think I wouldn’t have the patience Justine had. But she’s almost as stubborn as Sonya, which makes them the perfect pair.

I don’t know much about the Sioux Indians, but it seems like Mark Darley did his homework about the Indian culture. The descriptions are very well done, to the point you can easily visualize the scenes.

So much happens in such a short period of time, and still the book flows softly, unrushed.

The ending is very poignant and, even though it lets questions unanswered, it gives the reader reason to hope for a better future.

Overall, a beautiful, touching book that I’d recommend to all drama readers.