Lynne Stringer – Verindon

In the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, some of us have too much time, others are run of our feet. We all have a part to play. With so many of our normal entertainments no longer accessible – it’s a great time to read, read, read. Over the next couple weeks or months, I plan to interview a number of fantasy or science fiction authors to help you discover some fabulous new reads.

From dragons and elves to space ships and blasters, our second interview is with YA science fiction author, Lynne Stringer.

Interview with Lynne Stringer

Share three things that people may not already know about you.

I didn’t finish high school. This is the one that surprises people the most. School and I didn’t gel. I learn better on the job, so to speak.

I don’t like sport or games. I never have. I just don’t find them interesting.

I like big, unusual words like sesquipedalian and slubberdegullion. A sesquipedalian is someone who uses long words. A slubberdegullion is a slovenly person.

Those two words are beauties. I might just be a sesquipedalian too, lol, though pronouncing either of them might be a challenge ;). What favourite books, movies TV shows have inspired or influenced your writing. In what ways? 

I grew up watching Star Wars and Doctor Who, and both inspired my love of science fiction. I love superhero movies. E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial is my favourite movie ever. More recently, the Twilight saga inspired me to take up the pen after many years away from writing fiction. I enjoy stories that take me away from everyday experiences.

Doctor Who and Star Wars were childhood staples, along with Star Trek for me as well. Which (perhaps little-known) authors were your best reads in the last couple of years?

Juliet Marillier is one. She writes fantastic fantasy books. Veronica Rossi is another. I love her Under the Never Sky trilogy. Another one is Jeanette O’Hagan! If you haven’t read her books yet, they’re great. 🙂

Ooh, I like your choices. I will definitely check Mariller and Rossi out. You have a YA romantic space opera series, the Verindon Trilogy, published by Wombat Books/Rhiza Press. What do you love about writing in this genre? Are there any challenges?

I love the young adult genre because the characters in that age group are going through a lot emotionally which I find interesting to write about. I also love science fiction and anything that pushes the boundaries of the normal. It’s more interesting for me than reading a contemporary work of fiction.

There is something fresh and immediate about young adult stories. Both YA and speculative fiction explore exciting new frontiers. The first novel of the Verindon trilogy has an interesting premise. How did you come up with the idea of the trilogy?

I got the idea when my husband and I went on a holiday to the Sunshine Coast here in Queensland, Australia, where I live. For some strange reason, he loves laughing over cheesy pickup lines, and he was telling me some new favourites he’d heard. I was trying desperately to think of one, but the only one I could think of was a guy saying to a girl, ‘You are the only reason I was put on this planet’. Not exactly a brilliant one!

While I was thinking about it, I imagined a guy saying this to a girl, and she said, ‘Yeah, right!’ Then, to my surprise, he turned to her and said, ‘No, you are the only reason I was put on this planet.’ And I realised he meant it literally. I started to think, ‘Why is that? Why would he be here only for her?’ I spent all the time on our holiday starting to develop the story that became The Heir.

Brilliant. You have also written a New Adult Contemporary drama, Once Confronted.  How did writing this book differ from writing the Verindon Trilogy?  Would you consider writing other genres or for other age groups?

I had to do a lot more research for Once Confronted as I had to make sure it conformed to reality, particularly in the areas of social work and working with at-risk children, as I had no experience with this. The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder element wasn’t a stretch for me, as I’ve suffered from it myself as the result of an armed robbery, so I could write about that from my own experience. But the other elements required a lot of work. I’m not much of a person for research. I find it hard.

There are constraints writing about the real world. I think your research paid off. You mention that Madison in Once Confronted had a similar and confronting life experience. Are any of your characters like you? In what way and how are they different from you?

Sarah Fenhardt from my trilogy is probably the most like me. She has similar insecurities and strengths and looks like me as well. All my characters, particularly my female protagonists, share something of me, though. Vashta, the protagonist in my latest book, The Verindon Alliance, tends to react without thinking at times. I definitely have this tendency.

What have been the joys and challenges in being a writer? Could you imagine not being a writer? If so, what would you do?

I love putting worlds I have created out there for people to enjoy. It’s especially wonderful to hear from them when they love them as much as I do. That’s the greatest thing about it. The hardest thing is trying to get word out about my books, as well as dealing with bad reviews, which are always hard. 

I’m a professional editor, which means I get to help people improve their books, so I would devote my professional time solely to that if I didn’t write.

It is hard to get our books seen by a wider audience, but so worth it when fans get in touch. Patience and persistence are great qualities in writers. And helping others improve their writing is a worthy goal.

The exciting news is your upcoming release, the Verindon Alliance from Rhiza Press. Tell us more about it and when it will be launched. 

The Verindon Alliance will be released on Friday 1st May 2020. I am holding a book launch on Facebook Live on Saturday 2nd May 2020. The video will be on my Facebook author page after that date if you can’t tune in to watch it on the day, so make sure you check it out.

The Verindon Alliance is set several hundred years before my trilogy, back when the planet Verindon didn’t have much more technology than we do on Earth. In the story, the two humanoid species on the planet, the Verindal and the Vendel, are at war and have been for centuries, but Princess Vashta of the Vendel realises that there is a new threat that comes from somewhere else. When members of her race won’t listen, she allies with Brandonin, the heir to the Verindal throne. Together they have to fight against their own races and against time to defeat this new enemy.

Sounds exciting. I love your cover and I’m really looking forward to reading a new book set in the Verindon world. Thanks Lynne for talking about your fabulous books today.

Why not check out Lynne and her books on her author page or on Facebook, Twitter,  Amazon and YouTube etc. And don’t forget the launch party on 7am, 2 May (Brisbane time).

And There’s More

And just before I go – a quick reminder that the Under the Mountain boxed set will be at low, low price of 99c USD for just one more day. And as a special treat, I’ve reduced the next book in the series, Shadow Crystals to 99c USD. Grab the both while you can. 🙂

See you soon with another author interview.

Jeanette



Kasper Beaumont – Hunters of Reloria

In the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, some of us have too much time, others are run of our feet. We all have a part to play. With so many of our normal entertainments no longer accessible – it’s a great time to read, read, read. Over the next couple weeks or months, I plan to interview a number of fantasy or science fiction authors to help you discover some fabulous new reads.

Interview with Kasper

The first interview is with Kasper Beaumont, the wonderful author of the Hunters of Reloria fantasy series, and the Hidden Angel paranormal series. Not only does Kasper write cracking good books – by day she is a superhero working tirelessly in Infection Control to keep us safe from the dreaded virus.

Welcome Kasper. Good to have you on Jeanette O’Hagan Writers. Can you share with us three things that people may not already know about you.

  1. I don’t like beans, more precisely, they don’t like me.  Don’t worry, I make up for a darth of beans with an oversupply of chocolate.
  2. Two of my children have red hair, the other one must have been switched at birth  (just kidding, she’s a super cute lil blondie).
  3. I like to crochet in my spare time.  Spare time is a rare commodity, so that’s on the odd occasion I’m in a waiting room.

Hmm I wonder where the red hair comes from. 😉 So , what were your favourite books, movies and TV shows as you were growing up, and how have they influenced your writing?

Is this so you can guess my age?  Ok I’ll bite.

  • Gilligan’s Island, M*A*S*H, Transformers and He-Man
  • The Neverending Story, The Princess Bride, Star Wars, and The Goonies
  • The Famous Five, Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, and Nancy Drew

I guess it has helped my hone my sense of adventure, cracking wit and modesty LOL

LOL, Kasper, I can see that sense of humour bubbling over. And the sense of adventure and wit are evident in your stories.

Which (perhaps little-known) authors were your best reads in the last couple of years?

Hmmm…that’s a tough one.  I’ll go Marsha A Moore with the Enchanted Bookstore; and Cat Spydell Faeries of Fellyan.  Also did an audio recording from an extract of the Chronocar by Steve Bellinger.  Awesome prologue.  I can’t wait to read the rest.

Fantastic – new authors and books to add to the to-read list.

You have several children’s fantasy stories published now. What do you love about writing in this genre? And have you ever considered exploring another genre or writing for other age groups?

Thanks, yes I have 4 books in the Hunters of Reloria trilogy  (yes, I can’t count).  I think writing children’s stories keeps me young and also connects me with my own children.  They have co-authored a book and also done some paintings for the stories.

I have recently released an angel and demon paranormal book for an adult audience, Captive of the Darkness, which is a fun change for me.  It’s set in a strip club (shh, don’t tell the kiddies).

I’m also doing a vampire flash fiction, and have had a short sci-fi published in an anthology.

Terry Prachett has a four book trilogy, so you are in good company.

I must say, I think one of my favourite characters in the Hunters of Reloria series is Ash. Do you have any favourite characters from your books or do you think it’s best not to play favourites? And if you do, what do you like about them?

Hmm…oh it’s hard not to have a favourite or two.  I like Ash for his devil-may-care attitude and the fact that a dragon sometimes appears when he’s around.  Might just be a coincidence, but hey, he’s quite secretive.

I like Sienna the Huntress for her bravery and archery skills.  She does have plenty of character development which is fun to write.

I also like the dwarven brothers for their drinking prowess and badass fighting.  They’re just the right height to bash the kneecaps of the invaders.

All great characters 🙂 How did you come up with the idea of Hunters of Reloria? What have been the joys and challenges in writing the series?

The first idea I had was definitely of the halflings and fairies being bonded together in a symbiotic relationship.  I wanted to explore things like how their lifespans would mirror each other and what benefits each would gain from their bond.

Throw in an Elven Jewel which sustained the land’s protective forcefield, and then invaders on a mission to steal it.  A novel was born.

The link between the halflings and the bond fairies was one of my favourite things about Hunters of Reloria. I also love the fan art that you include in your covers and on your social media and pages. I curious to know how that came about? 

I had an idea that a way to attract readers would be to give them a chance to have their artwork in the finished book.  After four art competitions over the years, I now have a great catalogue of character pictures to illustrate my fantasy worlds. Seems to be working so far and they came in handy when I published my Choose Your Hunters of Reloria story which has artwork on every page.  I love it.

Yay, the exciting news is your recent release last year – Choose Your Hunters of Reloria story. Tell us about it 😊

Choose Your Hunters of Reloria story is my take on the Classic Choose Your Own Adventure books from my childhood.  I had a whole bunch of them and liked to borrow others from the local library.  I had test readers on this one from age 8 to adult and great feedback that it has broad appeal to all the family.

My version is set in Reloria, in the time of the Elven Jewel novel.  First you do a quiz on personality types, what fighting costume you would wear and your choice of weapon.

Once you have your character, you are thrust into a chase across the lands to recapture the stolen Elven Jewel.  You journey through many perilous places and encounter the invaders along the way.  Only one path leads to success, so you will need to choose wisely and possibly back-track or read again to complete your quest.

The Choose Your Hunters of Reloria story is a fun read. My first foray was rather short after a few bad choices but I made it in the end.

Thanks Kasper for a fun review and also for entertaining, high-octane fantasy adventures in your Hunters of Reloria series.

Why not check out Kasper’s books or her author page on Amazon or Goodreads.

And There’s More

And just before I go, a quick plug for my latest release 🙂

Yet to start reading about Zadeki, Retza & Delvina’s adventures under the mountain and across the sea? Now’s the perfect time. the first three novellas of my Under the Mountain series are now available as a boxed set – Under the Mountain Boxed Set 1-3 at a steal of 99cUSD – but only to the end of the month (30 April 2020).

And to see some other great bargains – check out the SFF Bonzana 99c for April

See you soon with another author interview.

Jeanette

2019 in review

If you had three words, how would you describe 2019?

Eventful, Stressful, Hopeful

It’s certainly been eventful and often stressful (especially on the world stage and also locally). Here in Australia the unprecedented bushfires, the smoke haze in many of our major cities but especially Sydney, and the drought has dominated the news. And of course, then there is Brexit, Trump and the revival of old political rivalries to keep us on our toes. So many issues to face and to take a stand on (whichever way that might be), that sometimes the good news can become lost in all the furore.

But if it all gets too much, why not escape into another world with a good book (or movie) to replenish and revision for a more positive future? With that in mind – how was your 2019 for books read, books written?

Recap of my 2019 literary adventures.

New Books and Stories

Under the Mountain Series complete

With the publication of Shadows Crystals & Shadows of the Deep – the Under the Mountain series is now complete. Currently, the first four novellas are available in print, and fifth soon will be.

Five Anthologies

Four my short stories & a poem have been published in five anthologies in 2019

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Recent releases & deals

Interviewed – by Altered Instincts

Altered Instincts aka author Leo McBride recently interviewed me following the recent release of Caverns of the Deep .and also Wolf Scout, in the Inklings Press latest anthology, Tales of Magic and Destiny. He asked some great questions.

What inspired the story [Caverns of the Deep]?
The first book in the series – Heart of the Mountain – which started as a short story on the theme glimpses of light (for the Glimpses of Light anthology). I set the story in an underground realm in which the power and lights were failing. But, as often happens to me, the story grew too long, so I submitted another story instead (Ruhanna’s Flight). Heart of the Mountain became a short novella which birthed the Under the Mountain series.


As a writer, have you ever had a character grow to be a much bigger part of the story than you expected? Who was the character and what was it about them that made them emerge from the sidelights?
Yes. Dinnis in Akrad’s Children started off as a side-kick to Mannok.  I loved his snarky, cynical view on life and, as the story developed, his wrenching back-story, difficult circumstances and motivations gave him a strong presence, until it became obvious that the first book in the series was, in fact, his story.


What are your favourite genres to read – and what is it about those genres that draws you in?

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Interview with Zadeki

Welcome Zadeki

Jeanette: Zadeki, Welcome. We’re chuffed you could take time to fly into today to enlighten us a bit more about yourself. We’ve been following your adventures Under the Mountain and also across the ocean in the Lonely Isles. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun). Coughs Please, please pull up a seat and make yourself welcome.

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Zadeki:  My thanks, daughter of the pen. (Brushes a small feather from his hair, and jumps up onto a tree branch.) I’m glad you decided to have the interview outside. Sometimes I think I’ve been in more tunnels than anyone should in a life time.

Jeanette:  I can understand that. The last few days most have been particularly harrowing. Can you tell us a bit about how your association with the twins, Delvina and Retza, came about?

Zadeki: Ah, well, that’s a bit embarrassing. I wanted to prove to the Kinleader that I was ready to be a Pathfinder. So I decided to fly over the mountains to show my skill at shape-shifting. Instead, I ended up being caught in a snow storm and colliding with a mountain and breaking a wing … er arm. That’s when the twins found me and took me into the mountain caverns.

Jeanette: Your time with the twins and their people has been fraught with danger and difficulties. Even now things are in the balance, yet I’m sure the twins have been very glad of your help and that of your Kin.

Zadeki nods.

Jeanette: Lets talk a bit more about you. In our world, people are often divided between ‘cat’ people and ‘dog’ people.  Do you have a particular preference between the two?

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Crystals and Easter Eggs

What a busy couple of months it’s been.

Omega Writers Book Fair

I had a great time at the Omega Writers Book Fair with an exciting range of other authors, workshops and giveaways. Looking forward to the Book Fair next year.

Supernova Gold Coast

Young Adult Spec Fic authors Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones and I were at Gold Coast Supernova last weekend – under the Rendered Realms banner.

Lynne looked particularly dashing in her Verindon Overlord dress and tiara (the Verindon trilogy).  I went as Delvina (Under the Mountain series) and also as Kupanna Mara (Akrad’s Children).

I was excited to have Stone of the Sea the third book in the Under the Mountain series available. I also managed to snag an amethyst crystal that fits in nicely with my Under the Mountain series and hopefully enhances the display.  And Lynne had copies of Challenge Accepted available – a charity anthology for the Special Olympics with awesome speculative fiction stories, including one by me, Lynne and Adam Collings.

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February Round-up

What a month February has been –  a month of extremes of weather for one thing. I’m glad to escaped the worst of it here in steaming hot Brisbane, but feel for everyone who has suffered loss from bushfires or wildfires, the Sahara-dessert levels of heat south of the border or Antarctic cold of the polar vortex across the Pacific, from earthquakes, storms, drought and other disasters.

It’s been something of a deluge on the publishing scene for me in much more pleasant ways – frantic, crazy and fantastic -with four new books due for release in February-March, several events both online and in person, and two promotions.

New Releases

Shadow Crystals

Shadow Crystals – Book 4 in the Under the Mountain series

She will do anything to save her people.

Delvina, Zadeki and the delegation lead by Danel must seek answers from the haughty Vaane, but they find the Lonely Isles in turmoil. Will Delvina find the way to open the Gate in time to prevent her people from starving? Will she be reunited with her twin, Retza? And why are the Forest Folk so secretive? As tensions increase, Delvina must discern friend from foe and defeat the shadows in her own heart.

Join Delvina and her friends on their quest to save the Glittering Realm under the mountain.

Set in the world of Nardva, Shadow Crystals is the fourth and penultimate novella in the Under the Mountain series.

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Disability in the Fictional World of Gryphendale

Today, as part of a blog tour, we have a post by Lara Lee, author of fantasy novels Gryphondale,  Shadow of the GryphonThe Gryphon’s Handmaiden.

Jeanette: Welcome Lara. It’s great to have you on Jeanette O’Hagan writes. I enjoyed reading Shadow of the Gryphon and look forward to reading the sequel. Tell me, has writing always been easy for you?

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My Spec-Fic Faves for 2018


2018 was a great year for reading. I smashed my Goodreads Reader’s Challenge goal and just scrapped to finishing the 2018 Popsugar Challenge. Once again this year, my reading included a selection from the classics, big names and several indie authors. While not all are 5 star reads, each of the books chosen for my 15 picks intrigued me and/or left me thinking about the characters, the plot or the world long after I’d put the book down.

What were my best spec-fic reads for 2018?

1. The Bright Empires series by Stephen Lawhead

This science-fantasy series by Stephen Lawhead consists of five book: The Skin Map, The Bone House, The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, The Fatal Tree.   The series follows the adventures of 17th century Arthur Flinders-Petrie, present day Kit Livingston, his erstwhile girl friend Mina, and the villainous Lord Burleigh, as they each seek to explore the mysteries of ley travel between an expanding number of alternative earths.  Each transfer to an alternative world is at a different time as well as place – from 17th century London and Prague, to China, to both Middle Kingdom and early twentieth century Egypt, ancient Tuscany, the paleolithic, early twentieth century Jordan, or north American desert.  Like the Doctor and Riversong – people can met out of synch with each other which results in some interesting plot points. New characters are added along the way and the stakes grow more serious with each book until it encompasses the whole cosmos. And while the final book didn’t quite live up to the rest,  I enjoyed the complexity of the plot, the immersive and detailed nature of each setting, the interplay of the characters, the redemptive arc and transcendence in this brilliant series.

2. Children of the Furnace by Brin Murray

Children of the Furnace is a YA dystopia set in a world devastated by global warming, with only the polar regions suitable for human habitation. Will, brought up by his step-father in Sekkerland (Greenland) is sheltered from the realities of the world until he is discovered by the Revouts and sent to Ferule – a re-education camp for boys – as a hated Heater.  The book is narrated by both Will and Leah (a girl from the south) with strong world-building and characterisation. Though, at times I found the violence quite harrowing and was disappointed the trope of religious fanaticism, I really did like the originality of setting and that Will seeks another way than ‘the way of the strong’.   Here’s my full review.

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Interview – Adam David Collings


In today’s post, I speak with sci-fi author Adam David Collings. Adam has stories published in Medieval Mars and Victorian Venus anthologies, as well as in Glimpses of Light and Superheroes: The Crossover Alliance Anthology V3. Last year Adam published the first episode of his Space Opera series, Jewel of the Stars (you can read my review here.)

I asked Adam a number of questions about his writing process and plans earlier this year.

Jeanette: Share three things that people may not already know about you.

Adam:

1)      My favourite thing to eat, in the world, is chicken schnitzel, served with chips and gravy.

2)      I’m both an author and a computer programmer, and I’ve managed to make it 18 years into my career without becoming a coffee drinker. I just don’t like the taste.

3)      In my late teens and early twenties, I was toying between being a writer and being an amateur film-maker, as my primary hobby. (It never occurred to me that either could be an actual career.) I settled on writing prose because it’s easier to achieve as a ‘one-man-band’. Either way, storytelling has always been in my blood. I ended up expressing the film-making desire through my Vlogging. What would I have done had YouTube not been invented?

Jeanette: That’s a good question.  What were your favourite books, movies and TV shows as you were growing up, and how have they influenced your writing?

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