Monday, March 30, 2015

Interview with Children’s Author John Briggs

John Briggs is a former nationally syndicated children’s TV critic who enjoys sharing old movies and music with his two children. He is the author of several middle-grade biographies, including Judy Garland: Little Woman, Big Talent and Mary Dyer, Friend of Freedom. He is also the author of an upcoming picture book, Leaping Lemmings, from Sterling Publishing. A native of Pennsylvania, he currently calls New York’s Capital District home, where he makes his living as a freelance book editor. In addition to writing, John likes baseball, tea, and lecturing his preteen son on just about everything.

Welcome to my blog, John. This children’s biography, Judy Garland: Little Woman, Big Talent, tells the story of Judy’s struggles in landing the role that most children absolutely adore: The Wizard of Oz. Please tell us about your book.

The book covers Judy’s life from her time as a little girl in Minnesota singing Jingle Bells in her parents’ theater to her time as a superstar in movies and on stage. Most of the book focuses on her rise to fame in Hollywood, from her first movie at the age of seven until she landed the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Of course, The Wizard of Oz gets its own chapter because, after all, it is the most watched movie of all time.

I am a Judy Garland fan. I have seen so many of her films. One of my favorite movies is In the Good Old Summer Time, which has little Liza Minnelli at the very end of the movie. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I was hired to write a children’s article about any celebrity from Hollywood’s Golden Age (my choice), and the one celebrity from that era kids still know is Judy Garland. At a time when they’ve largely forgotten Mickey Rooney or think of Shirley Temple as a drink, they still know Judy thanks to The Wizard of Oz. Of course, like most writers, I way over-researched the topic and realized I had enough for a book. I talked to my publisher, and they loved the idea, particularly after we realized there had never been – and this is amazing to me – a kid-friendly book about Judy Garland. But we didn’t forget about Liza. There’s a great picture in the book of Judy holding up Liza as a baby, and I tell the story of Judy reading the script for Liza’s first starring role in a film, even though Judy never got to see the movie. Talk about a talented family! 

I learned that Judy was 17 when she got the role of Dorothy. What kind of research did you have to do?

Tons. I read several books, and utilized great websites like the Judy Garland Database and others. I watched several TV interviews with her from Barbara Walters and Mike Douglas to get stories directly from Judy. I also watched old footage of Judy from the Oscars and movie premiers to add flavor to some of the stories in the book. Then there was research on the three dozen photos we used, and so on. It was a lot of work, but getting Judy’s life right for young readers – so that they realize just how talented and driven she was – was absolutely worth it. I wanted her to be as real as possible to kids and not just ‘the girl who played Dorothy.’

Now since you have learned so much about Judy Garland, please tell us your thoughts about her.

I am absolutely amazed at her determination to keep going after suffering one failed audition after another. She just didn’t give up. She came so close so many times only to have a door slammed in her face. I think kids can learn a lot from her. Judy was told she was too short, too heavy, not pretty enough, etc., but she had talent and she knew it. We talk a lot these days about helping kids with their self-esteem, and Judy is proof that you have to believe in yourself first and foremost. Work hard, keep trying, and eventually you’re going to succeed. I tried to bring that out in this book because it seemed to be an underlying theme to her life.

Judy Garland sounds like a great example for everyone. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania in a place so remote we couldn’t get TV reception. I actually didn’t see The Wizard of Oz until I was twenty-eight. To this day I don’t watch a lot of TV, but boy, do I love to read. I have no doubt that led to my life as a writer and editor, and I’m sure glad it did. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have written Judy Garland: Little Woman, Big Talent!

No TV? So you didn’t watch cartoons on a Saturday morning? Haha. Thank you for this interview, John. Visit John at Remember to stop by each week and read a new interview with a book giveaway. Here is a bit of trivia from John's website.

A few facts about the 1939 movie: The Wizard of Oz:
  1. It’s the most watched movie of all time.
  2. Over the Rainbow is ranked as the number one movie song of all time.
  3. MGM wanted Over the Rainbow cut from the film.
  4. Judy Garland wasn’t the first choice to play Dorothy. She wasn’t even second. She was third.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Interview with Inspirational Romance Author Jewel Adams

J. Adams has written books in different genres, but her main focus is inspirational interracial romance. She is a motivational speaker to both youth and adult audiences. In her spare time (when she has any) you can find her curled up with a good book and a healthy stash of orange Tic Tacs. She and her family reside in Utah.

Welcome back to my blog, Jewel. Please tell us about your new romance.

Til You Come Back to Me is about an attractive and affluent young man who finds himself alone in the world and finally finds love for the first time. When he thinks life can be no better, he experienced some painful trials before experiencing one that is so great, he wonders if he will make it through it. It is a love story that is both tragic and beautiful – a love that spans the ages.

I love your book cover. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

This is a story I dreamed about a few years ago and it kept coming back to me (no pun intended), and it is the first story I have ever written from the hero’s point of view. I had to sort of put myself inside a guy’s head, which was interesting as far as emotion.

Yes, that is very true. I often times talk to my husband about a man’s emotions or personal feelings and that helps me in my writing. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Not much. I used to live in Winter Park, Florida, the setting for the story, and Angelo is Italian, and of course, I love everything Italian.

You love to write sweet romances. What intrigues you most about writing this genre?

I just love being able to create a story that is emotional and passionate without all the unnecessary content so many mainstream romance writers add to their stories. Some scenes are better left behind closed doors.

I totally agree. Where can my readers find you online?

I created a fun website for Til You Come Back to Me Again:
All my books are available at

Thank you, Jewel, for this awesome interview. I hope my readers will check out your book.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Interview with Humorous Author Kersten Campbell

Kersten Campbell is the author of two motherhood humor books, “Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother” and “Don’t put lipstick on the Cat.” She lives in Washington with her husband, five children, a wary cat, and a dog who is smarter than all of them. She also enjoys writing freelance articles supporting motherhood and families.

Welcome back to my blog, Kersten. Please tell us about your new book.

Thank you! “Don’t Put Lipstick on the Cat” is a compilation of humorous essays about motherhood and raising a family. From finding underwear in the freezer, to cleaning spaghetti off your pets, life is full of interesting moments. As a mother, there are times when life just doesn’t go the way you expect, and sometimes you just have to laugh and enjoy the wild ride of being a parent.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

The idea began years ago, when I noticed many mothers feeling inferior and comparing themselves to each other. I thought: someone needs to write a book about what it’s “really” like in a perfect home. I thought humor would be the best way to do this.

You are right. Listing humorous situations can make a mother feel as if her child is no different from others. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Well, they are all stories based on true happenings within my own family, so I guess you can say my children were the research. But I also researched how to write humor, which is not as easy or as intuitive as you think. There is a real science to it.

You love to write humorous stories. What intrigues you most about writing this genre?

I like to make people laugh. I think it’s healing. It brings life into the proper perspective. Life is stressful when you take yourself too seriously. If you can laugh about life’s ups and downs, your life will be a lot richer.

I love to laugh and this book sounds like a fun one to read. Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, Kersten. Where can my readers find you online?

I have a humor blog called, “Life on the Funny Farm,” and a more serious parenting blog called, “A Passion for Parenting.” My author website is

Don't forget to stop by often because I have a new interview and book giveaway every week.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Interview with Romantic Suspense Author Marie Higgins

Marie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of Christian and sweet romance novels; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. She’s been with a Christian publisher since 2010. Between those and her others, she’s published 30 heartwarming, on-the-edge-of-your-seat stories and broadened her readership by writing mystery/suspense, humor, time-travel, paranormal, along with her love for historical romances. Her readers have dubbed her "Queen of Tease", because of all her twists, turns, and unexpected endings. 

Welcome back to my blog, Marie. This book sounds like it has mystery, suspense, and romance all tied into one. How intriguing! Please tell us about your new book.

Nicole Bastian is a Secret Agent—as her father and brother—working for President Grant in 1875. She loves her job, and she’s great at hiding secrets. When a string of train robberies occur, she and her family are placed on the assignment, eager to catch the thief stealing money the government is sending to help repair the old South. But when the man of her dreams, Ashton Lee, turns out to be their top suspect, she’s devastated. Desperate to remain cool and impartial, Nicole strives to keep her suspicions quiet until she learns what he’s keeping from her. At the same time, she’s determined to keep her own secrets from being exposed.

See my book trailer -

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

The inspiration for this story is quite comical, I think. I’ll start out the tale by confessing that I have an addiction. I LOVE historical romance book covers, especially the ones my cover artist Sheri McGathy creates. One day I was looking at her premade covers (big mistake!) and I saw one I knew I had to buy…even though I didn’t have a story for it. So I bought it anyway and put the cover on Facebook. I asked my FB friends to tell me what they thought the story behind the cover was about. I turned it into a contest. I told my FB friends that if I liked their ideas, I would make them characters in my book. I had a handful of comments, and some I really liked. Just reading what people were thinking started my creative juices flowing, and pretty soon a story idea popped into my head.

A guy I’ve known since junior high—Lee Parry—made a great comment, which eventually became my tagline. Her love for the man of her dreams wasn’t the only thing she was hiding… Because I loved the tagline so much, I told Lee that he could pick the first name of my hero and the last name would be Lee. He picked the name Ashton. Another online friend of mine, Nicole Laverdure, gave me several suggestions, so I made her my heroine, Nicole. Another lady I’ve known since she was a teenager is also a character in my book, and I used her full maiden name Emily Thornock (I even used Emily’s parents as the character’s parents). A guy I’ve known since I was 17, Steve Larson, is also one of my characters, as well as my coworker, Glen Nickerson. The more I write the story, the more the plot thickens. I’m loving it!

That is so interesting to find out that the motivation of this story was from a book cover. What kind of research did you do for this book?

I love doing research for my historical stories. For this one, I researched the train lines that ran through New York going South to Georgia. That’s why I used Conrail Railroad. I also researched the history of Secret Agents and discovered the organization was started in Washington D.C., 1865. Another little bit of research I did was about gunshot wounds and what the doctors back in those days used to stop the bleeding. In my research, I learned that the name Lee was not used as a first name, which is why that’s the hero’s last name. And my coworker Glen…I had to change the spelling for his name to Glynn because Glen was not used, either.

Wow! You did some great research. You love to write clean sweet romances. What intrigues you most about writing this genre?

Writing sensual romance takes away the reader’s imagination, in my opinion. When I write a romance, I write just enough to tease the reader, but still leave the rest to their imagination. Not only that, but when people read my stories, they know they are going to get an interesting plot with twists and turns, but without swear words or sex scenes. Readers tell me all the time how refreshing it is to read a story for the plot – and not the sex.

That’s exactly how I feel, too. It’s refreshing to find authors who write “sweet romances.” Where can my readers find you online?

Facebook –
Twitter – @mariehigginsxox

Remember, to enter this contest, you must tell us why you like to read romance books. Don’t forget to leave your email. Thank you for visiting my blog, Marie.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Interview with Author Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Kathryn Elizabeth Jones has been a reader even before she could read. She has always loved books and would pretend to read even before the skill to read sunk in. She has loved to write for almost the same amount of time. Kathryn has published 7 books to date. Two mysteries, two Christian fiction books, two nonfiction books and one middle reader. She has also published short stories and articles for newspapers and magazines throughout her 20+ years as an author.

Welcome back to my blog, Kathryn. You have a book that helps authors market their books. Please tell us about Marketing Your Book on a Budget and give us some examples.

Marketing Your Book on a Budget is an easy guide to use in navigating the marketing world. And because I update the book every year (usually in January) the writer receives the most up-to-date information on reviews, blog interviews, book trailers, contests, and more. For example, book trailers using are easy and pretty pain free. Any video under 30 seconds will not cost the writer a penny, and anything above that will cost them very little. I pay $30 for an entire year of use. And this use includes video, photos, music and text. After your trailer is created you can share it on your blog, on YouTube, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

Each and every idea in the book has been tried out and tested in the "Kathryn Jones Factory" of market testing. That means I won't include something in my book that hasn't worked for me. If it doesn't work, if I see no results, the idea gets booted. You will notice that there's not a chapter on creating a news release or getting your books in libraries, and that's because I have found little to no success in these arenas. What I have found successful is found in the book along with direct links to places to market your book for free. Most of these ways are found online, but some of them are 'old school' and still very effective.

It sounds like a perfect book for authors. What kind of research did you have to do before writing this book?

My first book was published in 2002. Since that time I have done all of my own marketing, and have weeded and pruned. The research came about as I was trying things out. Once I could see success, whether that success was new readers or new sales, I counted the idea a success and included it in the book.

At the end of every year I go through the book and take out links, sites, and so forth that no longer produce results for me. And I add new things that I have since discovered that have increased interest.

It is good to know that you update your book. Here is a question that I love asking authors on my blog. It’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

The real me... hmmmm... I love chocolate and will eat it along with every meal of the day if it's in the house. The good news is that I exercise every morning doing Wii Dance to ward off the pounds. :)

What a perfect routine for eating sweets! Thank you, Kathryn, for visiting my blog. I think it’s time for all authors to consider this book because it may help you spread the word about your novels.