Archive for the ‘Author / Character Interviews’ Category

You Read It Here First


A Conversation with Sara Wiseman

Drawing from her own experiences, and the wisdom of her teaching experiences with many others, Ms. Sara Wiseman crafted an eloquent description of a life cycle from a spiritual perspective with her book Living a Life of Gratitude: Your Journey to Grace, Joy and Healing.

I had the pleasure of conversing with her on the subject of her awakening, her teachings, and the subtle ways we are part of a beautiful, spiritual community that is rarely seen but often felt. She has an innate care and elegance of expression that reflects her work.

Interviewer: Joanna Celeste


Q: Your training, podcasts, and series of mini e-books (Soul Immersion Mini Series) seem geared to help people achieve their own spiritual awakening. What was the moment of your awakening?

A: In 2000, I had a near death experience, and that was when my life began to shift…

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    With some people, conversation flows very easily and due to our current need to keep things short, I had to edit out some of our interview. Here are some of the highlights that I wanted to share:

    For more information on Loulou, please check out her website. Her son also has a website, and he is currently seeking a publisher (at the age of 17!) I think it’s awesome that she encouraged him to write, and now he is encouraging her to find a traditional publisher.

    Loulou is currently working on revising some of her romances, and fans of her work will be happy to know that she has the sequel to The Diary of Arnmore all worked out in her head. Now, if she can only find the time to write it down…🙂 Her short story, a true tale about her father in law, may be published sooner.

    At the moment, she can’t write full time because she is teaching full time but the stories are all in her head, “safe and waiting to be put into the written or typed word, which I look forward to doing” she says.

    Something she does that may be useful to other teachers: “One thing I loved to do as a teacher was rewrite fairy tales with the kids, or get the whole class to write a story, adding one line each, then illustrating it and stapling it together.”

    Loulou also encouraged her children to keep a diary of their day during their extensive travels.

You Read It Here First


Loulou Szal, a teacher and homeschooling mother, is passionate about advancing the vocabulary of children and teenagers, and inspiring the same love of reading that has been part of her life through a wide range of experiences. She makes a point to personalize the books she signs, to engage young readers in the story from the first page. She believes that “as adults, we should show children how precious books are” and she follows through on that philosophy in many ways. It was a pleasure to talk with her and discover her perspective.

Interviewer: Joanna Celeste


Q: What inspired you to self-publish The Diary of Arnmore?

A: I had had my writing published in my high school newspapers and university papers. I loved having my work out there. After I graduated I went straight into teaching and so was busy.  I didn’t write as much ‘till my husband and I…

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Last year, around this time, I learned that authors are expected to do a lot of their own marketing. As a shy person, this went against the grain, but I discovered I could learn how to promote myself by finding other authors whom I was equally passionate about and sharing their works. By promoting them, I have come to learn what will be expected of me when my turn comes, and I get to organize a book blog tour for my fiction or poetry.

Among these books that I love as much as my own is Blackmoore.

Blackmoore Cover

My interview with the author, Julianne Donaldson, is published on You Read It Here First.

My reviews were published at:


[Reprint] Seattle PI.

[Reprint] The Compulsive Reader

The Romance Reviews.

(Ms. Donaldson’s debut novel Edenbrooke is also lovely, in the event people read Blackmoore and want more.)

If, in a paragraph, I had to summarize what I specifically love about Blackmoore enough to organize a mini-book blog tour*, I would say that Ms. Donaldson writes a romance that has everything I want in a love story, and she keeps it clean–no language, no violence, no bedroom scenes. The language is rich, the world alive in the regency era, and I connected with the characters in a deep way. I could see their choices, and I understood the pull of what we want versus what is dictated before we are born (not that I’ve had to deal with arranged marriages, or the trouble of inheriting what is due with conditions). My favorite stories, the ones that inspire me to write, are the ones that speak to me on an almost spiritual level, and that are so beautiful no matter what else is going on, I am swept away and, in my own way, happy. Even when I’m crying, it’s a communion of sorts and in understanding someone else, I understand something new about myself. I find friends I never knew I could have.

*For the purposes of clarity, the publisher’s publicist organized a 100-blog book tour, and I coordinated with her on this. I proposed where I would post my reviews and interview, and I organized my own portion, but the author had a seriously awesome book blog tour from her publisher already and I just joined the party.

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The last couple weeks, I have had the following reviews published, and a lovely interview with Janet Edwards for You Read It Here First. (My book review for her sequel, Earth Star, was published on Blogcritics and reprinted on Seattle PI.)

I have a TV review for a British mystery drama series from the BBC (“Broadchurch”, published on Blogcritics. You can watch the episodes on Amazon Instant Video if you want to catch up. I only reviewed the first episode.)

I recently discovered Ava Miles, whose Dare Valley series is a lovely romance trilogy (with two upcoming novellas). My review for her debut novel, Nora Roberts Land was published on Blogcritics and reprinted by Seattle PI and Seattle News. (Her sequel, French Roast, is recently out. I published my review through Blogcritics and it was also reprinted by Seattle PI and Seattle News.)

YA/NA fantasy romance series “The Chronicles of Elantra” by Michelle Sagara marked its ninth novel (tenth book, counting its novella prequel) with
Cast in Sorrow. My review was published on Blogcritics and reprinted on Seattle PI. A second review for the book was published on The Romance Reviews

Romance novelist Nadine Christian released her first book (Quintal’s Return) in her series, “The Bounty’s Retreat”. My review was published on The Romance Reviews.

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My interview with Catherine Ryan Hyde was posted earlier on You Read It Here First. We talk about her new book, The Long Steep Path: Everyday Inspiration from the Author of Pay It Forward, the writing process, her approach as a mentor and a sponsor, the pros and cons of celebrity, and her latest fiction, Always Chloe and Other Stories.

You Read It Here First


Catherine Ryan Hyde was one of my heroes growing up; I learned about her book, Pay It Forward, when I was 17 and a new writer trying to work out if I wanted to pursue my writing or if I might do something else. Seeing what Catherine accomplished with her book, and then having the joy of meeting her in person and discovering it was possible to achieve the level of influence she did without it changing who she was—I realized I could become the writer I wanted to be, without having to give up the aspects of myself that I was sure would get compromised if I ever became a public figure (at the time I thought you either were a nobody or a celebrity in the artistic fields).

Catherine was exceptionally down to earth, and she encouraged me to pursue my writing. That someone “like her” could…

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Original article (originally posted on my blog, first official publication): “What Does it Mean to be Successful?” on How to Tell a Great Story.

Reprint of my review on the nonfiction anthology about shame, freedom, bittersweet moments, and hope: “Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small, edited by Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter” on The Compulsive Reader.

Reprint of my interview with Amy Friedman, who contributed to the anthology: Interview Amy Friedman on Shame, the Power of Memoir, and Inner Truths on The Compulsive Reader.

Reprint of my review of my Reviewer’s Bible: “The Art of Assessment: How to Review Anything” by Magdalena Ball in the “Reviewer’s Choice” column of “Reviewer’s Bookwatch”, Midwest Book Review.

My review of the adult fairy tale/fable/myth that weaves passages from Scripture, the story of Perseus and Medusa, and bits of Shakespeare with an original flair: “The Crystal Scepter” by C.S. Lakin on Blogcritics Reviews in Brief.

Reprint of “The Crystal Scepter” on Seattle PI.

My second low-rated review (in case anyone thought I only do glowing reviews), of the audiobook for the contemporary romance with a mildly western twist “City Girl” by Judy Griffith Gill for The Romance Reviews. (Please note this is not a review of the actual book, which I can’t accurately gauge from the audio experience.)

My third low review, of the sweet romance retelling of Cinderella that had very little to do with Cinderella: “The Cinderella Substitute” by Nell Dixon for The Romance Reviews.

My review of the wildly fun and different time-travel romance novel “The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl” by Gina Lamm (the cover’s a giveaway for Hot rating) a Top Pick for The Romance Reviews.


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Anne R Allen[Anne R. Allen]How to be a writerCatherine Ryan Hyde[Catherine Ryan Hyde]

I had the honor and joy to interview Catherine Ryan Hyde and Anne R. Allen about their book, How to be a Writer in the E-Age… And Keep Your E-Sanity! for You Read It Here First.

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