Updates and Upcoming News
Hello my dear friends!
I know it's been a while between posts, but I'm doing my best to finish up the rough draft of the new Evans series. Yes, they are not done yet! Yay! I received so many requests to keep it going that I couldn't find the heart to put my beloved friends away forever. I'm just about done with the rough draft of the Evans Domination Series, Book One. As the readers of Sunshine Rising learned, there was a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, and sure enough, they have not finished their battle with the Mexican cartels.
So, what's the new book about? Well, without giving away the entire plot, I will say that they are searching for El Padrino (who, by the way, is not the real El Padrino who was arrested some time ago. I did not base my character on him at all, and I had never heard of him until I began researching this new book. I wanted to put that out there, just in case, LOL). Book One will be introducing some new characters who will be relevant in future books, but our favorite Evans characters do make an appearance. Zach is trying his hardest to handle El Padrino the legal way while Hayden, Andrew, and Ian are planning to go rogue. When Zach is called into a human trafficking case based in Tucson, he works hard to tie it back to El Padrino. Stay tuned for a frightening, yet very real, story to come.
With that being said, please watch out this summer for the new book, Hope Is Calling, The Evans Domination, Book One. We're looking at a late-June release date, but I'll post once it's ready to go.
I hope all of my friends are doing well, and thank you for your patience with me last year. I know I was only able to release two books instead of three, but I'm trying hard to make up for that this year. If only I could fix my back! Ugh.
Don't forget to stay tuned. I'm sending the information to my cover artist today, and hopefully she'll be working her magic in time for the June release.
Hugs to my readers out there! Take care.
I have been offline for quite some time, and I apologize for that. My second surgery in June took quite a bit out of me physically. What they found when they went in was a misplaced screw that was pushing on the herniated L4/L5, and a lot of scar tissue had built up around my sciatic nerves (ouch, I'll tell you). The damage has brought out some herniation at L3 and bulging at L2 and L1, although that's not too bad at all. I hope by continuing to use the inversion table, I can fix that. I just need to wait for clearance to hang upside down again.
At any rate, those first few months were agonizing. When I saw my surgeon in October, I was sobbing so hard by the time I reached his office that he sent me home and said, "come back next month and we'll see about starting PT then." I had to see my pain management doctor, and we tried a Flector patch for the fusion site itself. I did not find that useful at all, but it might work for others. What I have found was a website. I did a Google search in desperation and stumbled upon the McKenzie Method. It's an institute based out of New Zealand, and he runs a PT program specifically designed for us with extreme back problems. He also has a set for neck issues too. I mentioned him to my pain doc when I saw him, and he was surprised that I found him. He said that in his opinion, McKenzie is the best way to manage severe back problems, and I agree with him. The exercises are simple, and I saw an improvement almost immediately. It hurt at first, and my range of motion is nowhere near that of those in the videos, but I'm getting there little by little. I can now move forward and backward more than a half inch, and I can lean forward and backward a little. My biggest problem right now is the tightness of my muscles. I believe that if they would stop with the spasms and loosen up a little bit more, I'd be in much better shape. But I still do the exercises multiple times a day, especially after I have to run errands or drive for any distance, and I stretch every chance I get. My kids find it hysterical when I walk in the door and immediately get down on the floor. But I have found something that works for me, and I hope it continues to help. Thank you McKenzie Institute!
So Sunshine Rising was very delayed. For that, I apologize, too. I have finally finished it, and it's a long novel. Since it has characters from the entire series in it, there is a cast of characters, and I highly recommend using it so you don't get confused. Now that Sunshine Rising is complete, I'll be working right away on my next novel. I hope this year to publish four to make up for last year (barring any further back surgeries). Please keep your fingers crossed! I have several ideas popping in my head already, and I'm anxious to get them down on paper to keep you all busy. In the meantime, I do hope you all enjoy the new book, and I thank you again for your support and patience!
Most importantly, remember to take care of your back! You only have one, and it is completely devastating when you lose it.
Scenes from Eyes on Tango
Although a little late in posting, here is my continuing series of scenes from my books. I've chosen Eyes on Tango, one of my favorites to feature next. A jungle adventure, a vacation gone awry, and the beginning of the mystery is falling into place.
Please enjoy seeing some of the scenes where Dani and Hayden began their road to love, where Rocky and Micaela reveal their plans, and where Zach begins to find the information he needs to catch the bad guys he and Ian have been hunting for months.
From the ruins in Tulum, Mexico, up the Mayan Riviera to Playa del Carmen and finally Cancun, Mexico, the two lovers run for their lives in search of escape from a beautiful land turned deadly.
I hope you have a fun time exploring the sites with Dani and Hayden!
Nine Months Post Surgery
It’s been a very long time since I posted an update, but I do have good reasons for it.
After the busyness of the holidays, I began moving house. Remember the doctors warned me not to lift more than 5-10 pounds, right? Well, with no other choice in the matter, I did lift more than I was supposed to. It took me over a month moving very slowly to transfer everything – three kids and eight years of stuff… isn’t it amazing how much we accumulate? :o)
At any rate, starting in February, I noticed I was deteriorating. I took to bed first, thinking I had strained something. A few days later, there wasn’t much change, so I went back to my doctor for a stern lecture and some oral steroids. He referred me back to my surgeon, who reminded me firmly that I should not have done so much. He ordered a new set of x-rays and a CT-Scan. Three rounds of oral steroids and two exams later, I returned to my surgeon, and here are the results:
The fusion is healing. Although we feared I damaged the new bone, it held up and is growing. That was a relief – I can’t even begin to tell you – especially after that horrible surgery. However, it’s come to light that more of my discs have deteriorated. I’m back at square one again with degeneration, stenosis, nerve compression, etc., and that just about broke my heart. L2 and L3 are bulging, and the herniation at L4 has progressed further. It’s a different set of problems now, where I can’t move the toes much in my left leg, and it’s very weak, so “heavy” at times that I have to use my cane. I had to increase my dose of Percocet again (that was such a bummer after I had started weaning off all the medications), and the tears started coming daily again.
So after feeling this overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and teetering on the edge of depression, I did an Internet search and found this terrific website called Spine-Health. They have a bunch of forums in there, and many of the stories I read were so similar to mine that I felt better. I guess it's true when they say misery loves company, LOL. I haven’t posted in any yet, but just reading through them has helped.
I’m sure many of you in the same situation can relate when I say it’s difficult when people don’t understand exactly what you’re going through. You look somewhat normal (unless you’re trying to move, LOL), so they have a tough time sympathizing with the pain you’re in. Friends want to know why you can’t hang out and don’t understand how sitting for more than five minutes at a time is excruciating. Family doesn’t understand why you can’t just pick up a laundry basket and carry it into the bedroom for folding when it only weighs a few pounds, etc. etc. They feel bad but can’t fully comprehend. So this website is a must visit if you’re in a situation like mine. It will help, trust me!
Anyway, so being back to square one means another round of injections. I had my first one last week and will have the second one tomorrow. It hasn’t helped much. I’ve also begun to use the inversion table again (boy, does it hurt!) in the hopes of sucking those bulging discs back in. I'm still doing the exercises daily, and I love the pool! Just dangling there is like heaven. My pain management doc believes that all those discs will have to be fused eventually, and that was a hard blow, but I’m trying hard to stay away from that. Time will tell, I suppose. I’ll be back to the surgeon again next month, so we’ll see if surgery is coming...
How is the writing coming along?
I’ve had so many emails asking about book six. It’s a huge honor to hear of everyone’s excitement for the next release, so please write away! I promise, I’m still planning on having it ready this summer. With everything else going on, it’s been hard to keep up, but I already sent the cover information to my cover artist, I’ve done a read-through, and next will be final edits and beta-readings. I’ve also started working on Cher’s story and the culmination of the Evans series. Book seven might end up being a bit longer, but it will have closure. Whoo hoo! Everyone will make an appearance in that story, and I’m hoping to have an exciting and suspenseful adventure bringing the bad guys to justice. If I can stay out of surgery, I’m aiming to have that ready to go this fall. I usually have my books done a year in advance, so I’ll be cutting it close this time. If that’s the case, I might postpone at the risk of quality. I want the final installment to be perfect! I’m sure you all understand. :o)
Thank you to everyone for keeping in touch. I love hearing from you, and it keeps me motivated to continue working. For those who follow my back progression, I hope you’ll continue to keep positive, no matter how overwhelming it all feels. You are not alone. There are others like us who feel the same way we do. Check out that website and maybe you can find some helpful tips and more hope.
Here it is, six weeks following surgery, and it's just one week to go before Kat's Last Chance is released. I'm down to the wire and still doing my best not to overdo things at home. I had my X-rays completed and saw my wonderful surgeon yesterday, so let's start there with a quick health update.
So, six weeks later and I'm still using the walker on occasion. I've had two more spills since my last entry, both times coming out of bed. The sciatica that started the Friday (day 9 post-surgery) behind my knees is still present, and I was concerned about that. At times I feel as though my ankle is twisted, and if I crouch, I can't get back up because the pain is so intense. I discussed this with my surgeon yesterday, and he made a lot of sense. After all, for a year-and-a-half, I worked primarily from my bed, with pillows beneath my knees bending my legs. It was impossible to straighten them without pain. He so wisely informed me that those nerves are now being stretched, pulled on and realigned. It will take time for them to heal, especially since they were inflamed for so long. That gave me hope. He also mentioned that physical therapy will probably help that heal up, so I'm now screaming, "Get me in PT!" ☺
With that being said, I should be receiving a phone call next week to start, yippee! I'm eager to get going, for I still feel weak and tired at times. I know a lot of that is the busy-ness of life and having a family to take care of, but I also feel as though much of that is because I have lost a lot of my muscle tone over this period.
Pain-wise, I feel a lot better and am weaning off my medication. I still get twinges in my back complete with muscle spasms, especially in the morning, but overall I'm already feeling so much better than prior to surgery (THANK YOU, DOC!) If it was not for the sciatica behind my knees going down to my toes, I think I'd be so much more active (energy depending). I am walking every day, and plan to keep extending the distance as much as I can.
I've been given the approval to start driving up to half-hour increments. I must start off slowly and work my way up. From my residential location, that's a huge help. Everything seems to be so far away. I have been driving now for over a week, and at first it was very painful. I never realized just how much you use your abdominal muscles until I first got behind the wheel that day. Also, twisting is a bit difficult, and I'm not all that comfortable relying solely on mirrors, so I have my daughter keep an eye out for me as well. Once again, my surgeon was so wise when he told me to heed the signals of my body. I'm taking it slow to be safe. I carry precious cargo!
Both incisions have closed completely, and I'm using a cream called Revitol to see if that helps fade it a little. I found that online through a Google search of the best scar removal creams. It came in second before Mederma, so I hopped on Amazon and bought a jar. I've been using it twice a day, so we'll see how that goes. After everything I've been through, I don't even mind if the scars stay - they're BATTLE SCARS, baby!
The muscles around my abdomen are still very tender, and they are hard along the incision line. I've heard from others who have had c-sections that it's normal and will eventually go away. That was a relief, for Oscar hit me square on in the stomach with his popped basketball (crazy dog), and I buckled in two. Ouch!
Before I move on to Kat's book, I just want to shout again to my friends and family for helping me out so much. Kathy has been a godsend to me, driving from a half-hour away to take me into Phoenix for my appointments, and I can't thank her enough (even though this book is hers, coincidentally, LOL). Also to Shannon for being my rock these days. My two girls are working so hard to help me that it brings tears to my eyes. With my oldest in college now, I call us the Terrific Trio. And to all my online friends, thank you for the emotional support. You have been there through the tough times, and I will NEVER forget that.
Now on to Kat! Seven days left. I'm cleaning up the final draft and using the physical proof to do so. It will be released on time, I promise. It's been very busy, but I'm determined to put in whatever hours it takes to finish up. I will have it available right on October 25th via Amazon and Smashwords. Barnes and Noble may take up to a week or so after, but iTunes and Sony I believe are almost instantaneous these days. I'll add the links to my site as they appear and announce on my Facebook page when it's present at the various sites. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I still recommend the surgery for those in my position, even though the recovery time is so long. It is worth a few months of weakness to live a pain-free and relatively normal lifestyle. Just make sure you don't do too much or your body will let you know.
Until next time! Hugs, everyone!!
Update on Surgery, One Month Later
September 5, 2012, I went in for an ALIF and TLIF surgical procedure on my back. You can review the entire story in the posts below, but this is to be my one month update. As you can see from the photo, I am still using the walker, but I am up and moving around - yay!
I mentioned before that on my first weekend home I developed sciatica in my calves and behind my knees. Yes, I know, that's a very strange spot to have it, especially since I have very little pain in my buttocks and thighs. I hardly notice it there. But that has continued now two weeks later. (I'm sincerely wishing it would heal up, but I'll continue to keep you posted on that.)
I can say that the sciatica has eased. It's not quite as intense as it was at first unless I stand for too long or sit for too long. You can see in the photo attached that I am standing with my left leg bent. That is the most painful leg, and the pain can escalate quickly. When standing, I must continue to move from side to side or the pain becomes so incredible that I am forced to my knees. At one point, I had to crawl out of my closet until my daughter, Shannon, could help me climb back into bed. The same thing has happened from sitting too long. One time following a trip to the restroom, I almost 'lunged' (would have if physically strong enough, haha) back to my bed. I immediately lie flat when this happens and wait for the pain to lighten up. That is the worst problem that I'm facing at this point in time, and I plan to speak with my surgeon and pain management doctor in the next couple of weeks when I go in for my follow ups.
Drivers beware! I am back on the road!
No need to run for the hills; I am just teasing. I'm not dangerous, I promise.
I drove for the first time following surgery on Wednesday of this week, just a quick half-mile journey to a doctor's office down the street from us. The appointment was for my daughter, and I made her stop texting and put down her phone and help me with an extra pair of eyes and ears because of my limited motion. I never truly realized how much you use your abdominal muscles when you drive. Perhaps it was because I was nervous or perhaps because I drive a BMW ("the man and car are one" is right ,sheesh!), but I found it to be a bit more difficult than I thought. My surgeon had told me to heed my instincts on driving, so for now I will only drive when necessary and follow his instructions to keep my journeys to 10-15 minute trips on local streets only. This is not one thing I will be daring about.
Following the doctor's appointment, we had to make a quick stop to drop off her prescription, and by the time I was done I had to take a pain pill and lie down. It was exhausting, which is such a strange feeling because I'm so used to being active and busy. You can really tell that your body is not quite ready to go full-steam ahead, and I am constantly reminded when I do "too much".
Minor Surgical Complication
When you come out of surgery, the hospital staff is very insistent that you monitor your 'movements'. Since my appetite still has not returned completely, I had been resorting to drinking shakes, eating fruits and having a light dinner. I ended up having a blockage that almost sent me to the ER. That was a miserable time, and probably the worst part of my recovery so far. So for those who find themselves not following orders to a "T" and slacking off a bit, please make sure you're taking care of business! It took me a couple of days afterwards to feel better, and I'm still feeling nauseous at times.
After all my frightening news, I do have some icing to go on the cake! The good news is that both incisions are healing up very well. The back incision is completely closed and now a long, pink scar. I still have two steri-strips left on my abdomen out of six, and one spot where one had fallen off is still slightly open, but they are not giving me any trouble at all. If it wasn't for the sciatica in my calves right now, I don't think I would need any pain pills at all. Every now and then, it seems as though I can "feel" the rods in my back. They ache a bit. I also have a tender spot in my stomach, but I believe it's just muscle pain where they're coming back together.
I am very excited to get to the point where I no longer need medications at all. Going back to just a multivitamin is my goal, and I'm determined to get there sooner or later. I would be a lot more active with my walking if not for the sciatica, but again I believe part of that is my body telling me not to do too much. I run an active household with children and pets, so the bending, twisting, lifting and household chores that I'm not supposed to be doing sometimes have me doing more than I should. I know, I know, I must take it easy. It's just easier said than done when there's no one else around at the time to help.
My Next Steps
Of course I must get back to work! I have been online a little bit here and there, but I am mostly keeping my hours limited. I still have some sleepless, uncomfortable nights, so I try to rest during the day. However, I have finalized the cover for Kat's Last Chance, The Evans Family, Book Four and still plan to release it this month. My official date for release will be October 25th, barring any further complications.
I hope this pleases everyone! I know a lot of you have been waiting for the arrival, and I promise you that even though I've been out of the loop for some time I am still preparing to have an on-time release.
This is my first reveal of the new cover. I hope you love it as much as I do. A special thanks goes out to An Author's Art once again for taking my words and turning them into magic for me. Thank you Laura!
Physically, I will continue to focus on recovery. I will see my surgeon again on the 16th, and we will then determine when I can start physical therapy. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to get moving again. It's been a long road, and it feels as though the end is in sight.
Lastly, I really must put out a giant thank you for all the cards, flowers, well wishes and best hopes that I've received from you all. I plan to frame all the get well cards and mount them on the wall in my office. Every time I open the PO Box, I have been brought to tears by the kindness you all have shown me. (Ask Shannon on our blog if you don't believe me, haha). You are the best readers out there, and I can't say thank you enough! It has helped me remain optimistic in times of pain, and it has warmed my heart to know that so many people care. Thank you all so much!
Scenes from Hannah's Blessing
Does anyone else ever Google images of scenes where books they’ve read take place? I admit I do sometimes no matter how detailed the description is. Although I’m not necessarily a visual learner, there’s just something to be said about being able to see with your own eyes where a particular scene took place.
With that being said, I’ve gone through some of my old photo albums to locate photos of places I’ve visited that appear in my books. I decided to post them here in the hopes some of you may take as great pleasure in seeing the locations as I do. So let's start with lovely Hannah's Blessing. Although I haven't been lucky enough to tour the islands from a luxurious yacht, I've been down there a few times and have to say it truly is a magical place.
I hope you enjoy this series of posts!
In Hannah's Blessing, the main characters are fortunate enough to take a tour of the Hawaiian Islands via a luxurious yacht. There was some snorkeling, swimming, a day at one of the beaches, of course sightseeing of the islands and naturally a luau. From the ship, these photos could very well be some of the views our characters saw, enjoyed and stored away for a lifetime of memories.
This blog post originally appeared on January 16, 2012 on http://collettescott.blogspot.com.
I am proud to feature one of the hardest working and helpful authors I have had the pleasure to meet. Patti Roberts is the author of the hugely popular and fantastic young adult fantasy/paranormal series, Paradox. Between researching her descriptive settings, writing her colorful and captivating stories and marketing her wonderful work, Patti is always very helpful, friendly and supportive. She is the true definition of gracious and caring, and I am so happy to have her appear on my blog again to discuss her new release, the second book in her Paradox Series, Progeny of Innocence. Thank you, Patti, for joining me today. It's great to have you back!
Collette: So let's start with the basics. Tell us a little about your background. When did you start writing?
Patti: I started writing with the intent of publishing in 2009. I was feeling very down and misplaced after a failed relationship, and I wanted to do something positive…. I needed to do something positive. I wanted to herd up all my unresolved emotions and put them to good use. So I went out and bought a new laptop computer and started writing. Hence the reason Paradox – The Angels Are Here is a little bit EMO! Writing has been the best therapy and I have never been happier or more fulfilled! I highly recommend writing to anyone that finds themselves in a similar predicament. That is when I started writing and how the Paradox Series was born. Out of the ashes…
Collette: I agree completely! I often say that writing is cathartic. So where do you get your ideas?
Patti: For every warp of life imaginable. Awake or asleep. And a creative and overworked imagination.
Collette: What is your writing process?
Patti: I run different scenarios around for particular chapters in my head. I give the characters dialogue to see were it leads. It is one thing to have an idea for a story line but it isn’t until I bring in the characters to see how their personalities would react in particular circumstances that I really know how it has to be written.
Collette: Do you write full-time now?
Patti: I do pretty much. However, much of that time is also spent planning marketing and promoting.
Collette: That's for sure. A full-time job in itself!
Collette: The Paradox Series is well under way with the recent release of the second installment. Can you tell us a little bit about Paradox, Progeny of Innocence?
Patti: Two Worlds. One Ancient and One New. An immortal enemy still driven by the desire of being the One supreme power of an ancient kingdom. The prize he seeks to fulfill his desires - A young girl, Grace, trapped in the middle between Heaven and Hell. But who can Grace trust? There are those around her that live and die to protect and those that want only to destroy. Who could you trust when the enemy hides in plain sight and looks just like you. Were could you run when your enemy is faster, smarter, stronger…
Collette: How long did it take you to complete?
Patti: Progeny took eleven months to research and write.
Collette: Your settings and descriptions were very detailed. Can you describe your research into your
subject this time around?
Patti: Same as always. Hours of research into ancient civilizations, myths and legends. From the tiniest red shiny bead found in the blistering Utopia desert to the magical realm of ancient forest trees. And of course a vivid
Colette: And you obviously have that! Okay, so can we talk a little bit about Grace? She's a young woman coming of age in this story, and she is certainly growing. Can you tell us about her inner motivation and how Juliette influences her?
Patti: Grace knows she is different even though she isn't ready to accept that fact just yet. She senses a danger in knowing who she really is so she keeps most of those thoughts to herself by writing in a hidden journal. She has visions of a girl named Juliette. But she doesn't quite understand why or who this Juliette is. Through Grace, Juliette is also starting to come to terms with a past that she thought was long gone and buried.
Collette: You have also introduced some new characters, most notably Damon….Hmmm. Is Grace developing a love interest for the future installments?
Patti: Grace is certainly at an age where love is a priority of any "normal" teenage girl. And Grace so badly wants to be normal. So when Damon Draco comes along she is instantly drawn to his boyish good looks and mysterious charm. But is there more to it than just a teenage crush…
Collette: Another favorite is Keyla. Will she be playing a prominent role in the series?
Patti: Most certainly. Keyla is everything precious and pure. Within her she holds powerful abilities pasted down from an almost extinct race of people that stretches back to the time before time. The ancient Bakhna Rakhna People from the southern mountains.
Collette: Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?
Patti: I name some of my characters after friends that have inspired me. Sometimes I will take a friend's personality and blend it with one of my characters to make them become more real. More dimensional. I give all of my characters birthdates, favorite colors, particular things they like or dislike. Imagine what their parents are like. Even if I never write about those things. It makes my characters more real.
Collette: Do you ever incorporate yourself into your characters?
Patti: My thoughts and feelings most certainly.
Collette: Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself?
Patti: Yes, I chose three covers for Progeny and then I submitted them to the public to vote on. The cover that came in second (girl in purple mask) I made into a Special Edition that comprises of the first 2 books in the series. I source the cover art (Dreamstime) and then design the titles and fonts. I love cover art – I do judge a book by the cover!!!
Collette: Where did you get the inspiration for your cover?
Patti: I can spend hours looking at pictures online. For my covers, locations and my characters. I have to have faces for my characters when I am writing dialogue for them. I search until I find a face that matches my character. Then I print it out and have it on a corkboard in front of me. I feel I can be more consistent with my characters traits and dialogue if I have a firm image of them to look at.
Collette: Are you still writing the series? If so, what will your future projects entail?
Patti: Next on the agenda is book 3.that is due to be released this year (2012).I will know in the next few months about how I want the 4th book in the series to go.
Collette: Does your reading inspire you and your work?
Patti: Most certainly. It puts my head in the right place. When I wrote for the ancient world I read the Game of Thrones. So does artwork. Finding the right artwork for my ancient world is just as important to finding the right face for my characters. Let's face it. We are not talking about an everyday world here.
Where can we find you online?
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb_jTh7rj38
What formats are your books available in? ebook and paperback
Where are your paperback books available for purchase?Amazon and Createspace.
Patti, as always, thank you for stopping by my blog. It's always a pleasure! I wish you all the continued
success with your imaginative and fantastic writing projects!
My teenage daughter is a huge fan of Patti's series Paradox. Eagerly awaiting Book Two of the series, she read it in just two sittings and happily posted a review. Though brief, I think her words say it all:
"This book was so hard to put down, it was SO good. It was even better than the first. I found that it explained some things that were left unanswered in the first, and I loved how it went more into detail in the past. I'm SO excited to read her next one!"
This post was originally published on November 30,2011 on my blog, collettescott.blogspot.com.
With the passing of the Patriot Act in what seems a lifetime ago, I think many Americans thought everything would be okay. However, Linda Hawley presents a different spin on the invasion of government into the private sector. What if the government was monitoring us via microchip inserted in our driver's licenses? What if the government was listening to every word we said at every time? Ms. Hawley has taken that line of thought one step further with the first book in her series, Dreams Unleashed. I am very pleased to announce that the lovely Linda Hawley is here to share a little more about her spine-tingling, edge-of-your-seat thriller, the first in her series The Prophecies.
Collette: Welcome, Linda. I’m so happy to have you here. Can we start with the basics? Tell us a little about your background. How was The Prophecies Series born?
Linda: I was an executive on a plane flying from Dallas to Seattle when, upon landing, the plane nearly crashed.(I have flown all over the world in all kinds of weather, and it was the very worst experience on a plane that I'd had.) In the airport later, I wrote down the experience while it was fresh in my mind, amazed that I was alive. I then emailed it to my assistant. When I got back in my office the next day, my assistant said, "That was incredible; you should write a book. "I was shocked by his words, but let them marinate in my mind. Not long after, Ann Torgeson (my protagonist) was born.The final chapter in Dreams Unleashed (book 1 of The Prophecies) was inspired by my experience.
Collette: That’s some scary stuff. What is your writing process?
Linda: I'm a night writer. Some of my best scenes I wrote at one in the morning. I pretty much write every day. I usually know the first and last chapter of every book, and often write them first. For the rest of the novel, I write down 12 phrases of milestones in the story, and then write to them chronologically. I never get more detailed than that, because I need to keep it open to activate my creative juices. For the most part, I fly off the seat of my pants when writing stories.
Collette: Do you write full-time now?
Collette: Were you inspired by someone/something to write the genre you’re writing in?
Linda: Dystopian thrillers are what I love; both in books and movies. Nothing could be more exciting for me.
Collette: How long have you been working on the series?
Linda: I started Dreams Unleashed (book one) three years ago, but in March 2011, I discarded all but 1/8 of the book, and rewrote it; it was published two months later. I wrote Guardian of Time (book two) in three months; it was published Oct 2011.I am writing book three now; it's the final book in the series. I'm comfortable writing three novels per year.
Collette: Can you describe your research into your subject?
Linda: I'm a news junky; I read about five news sources every day. I understand what's going on in the world. I look for trends of discord to use in my dystopian thrillers. I research like crazy, because most of the technology, locations, and historical information are real. In The Prophecies, the fiction includes the characters and the things that they do. However, Remote Viewing, Project Stargate, RFID tracking, and many other things are real --all of them discovered in my research.
Collette: Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?
Linda: All except Chow Lai, and a couple of new characters in Guardian of Time.
Collette: Do you ever incorporate yourself into your characters?
Linda: Ann's character includes the best parts of me.
Collette: That’s pretty cool, Linda.
Moving on to Dreams Unleashed. Here’s the blurb for the story:
Book 1, The Prophecies, A Dystopian Thriller Series
It’s the near future, and society is government controlled. Technology tracks everyone, and personal privacy does not exist. The hope for freedom lies in the operations of an underground organization, GOG, which fights against worldwide oppression. Their most powerful weapon is Ann Torgeson, a paranormally-gifted operative. When her powers release the seal of The Prophecies, she becomes a weapon against the government, which relentlessly pursues her.
Question everything is the theme of Dreams Unleashed.
Collette: Your series is a mixture of adventure and intrigue, yet Ann still manages to remain a ‘woman’. She’s a female Jason Bourne but also a mother who loves her daughter and a wife who loves her husband. Can you tell us how you managed to balance her tough and soft sides?
Linda: I think women are amazing--smart, intuitive, joyful, spiritual, thoughtful, aware, loyal, sensual, funny, etc. In movies, however, women are rarely multidimensional, especially with their sensuality. I wanted to create a powerful, feminine woman who did not wear high heels, stockings, or a little black dress, but who was not a tomboy. I wanted her to be a thinking woman who considered the state of the world, and for her to be a warrior who was willing to risk her own life to fight for what she knows to be right. With all this intensity, I softened her character by making her laugh at her boyfriend's jokes, and to be enticed by compliments from her boss.
Collette: Yes, she is a multi-dimensional character, for sure. One of my favorite things about Ann is that she’s a tough and capable character with a strong sense of what is right. Can you tell us a little about Ann’s message?
Linda: Ann's message is to open your eyes and look around. Take something mentioned in one of the books, and Google it to find out what's happening in your own country. You're likely to be surprised. In The Prophecies, I'm not trying to scare you, but it's likely that I will do just that if you consider that most of the technologies in the book are real--right now.
Collette: What's the biggest surprise readers can expect from reading this series?
Linda: Adventure. Ann travels all over the globe, and I've described these adventures visually, so the reader can see it in their mind's eye. It's an armchair traveler's delight.
Collette: Without giving away too much of your story, can you tell us what’s in the works for Ann in later installments of The Prophecies Series?
Linda: I can't answer this one very well [without giving too much away], but I'll give you a little teaser. The final book in The Prophecies series (yet untitled) will answer all of the open questions from Dreams Unleashed and
Guardian of Time (books 1 and 2).The ending is quite spectacular; I suspect readers will be thrilled.
Collette: Do you have plans to continue writing following Ann’s final chapter? If so, what will your future projects entail?
Linda: I have a stand-alone novel I'm writing. My dad's father (my grandfather) died a hero in a notorious battle in Germany right before the end of WWII. The first scene in the novel is the final battle scene, and as he's dying, his life flashes before his eyes. Since it's historical fiction, I'm working hard to present a visual story (like all my writing).It's called 'An American Orphan.' It's a surprise for my dad. I expect to be finished in March 2012.
Collette: Ok, so make sure you don’t tell him we’ve posted this interview. Where can we find you
Book Trailer on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctR4NDgwSSc&feature=youtu.be
Author Website: http://www.lindahawley.com/
Facebook Fan Page:http://www.facebook.com/ThePropheciesSeries
Collette: What formats are your books available in?
Linda: All eBook formats and of course Print.
Collette: Thank you so much, Linda! I wish you all the best with your writing projects!
Featuring some of the author interviews I've had the pleasure of participating in and a series of posts with updates, announcements and fun stuff.