What was the hardest book for you to write?
Exposed, my next release. The first two books in my series (Burned and Deceived) had characters that were challenging to write because they are so unlike me. Fiona, the main character in Exposed was the opposite, having a character embody several elements of my personality—my weird quirks, my issues—was difficult. Fiona suffers from extreme anxiety, to the point that she is unable to leave her home until there is no other choice. My anxiety isn’t near as severe as hers, thankfully, but every time I’d write a scene where she had an anxiety attack, I’d trigger one. It made the process slow and the book is releasing almost a year after I anticipated.
You’re heading for an exotic island vacation…which of your characters would you choose to come to life and go with you?
I like that you said characters so I can pick more than one! Daniel, first and foremost because he is my absolute favorite character, ever. Despite growing up on the streets and being a lacky for a despicable guy, he’s got an innocence about him. He’s full of laughter and brings light and fun to any situation. He’d be a blast to hang out with. I’d also choose Spencer. In many ways he’s the exact opposite of Daniel—straight-laced and law-abiding—but he has a huge heart and would do anything to help someone in need. He’d balance us out and keep us from getting into too much trouble—or using his connections to get us out of it.
Would you rather live in endless summer or endless winter?
Endless summer. I moved to Florida and I’m basically living out that fantasy. I would be fine if I never saw snow again.
What book changed your life?
Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale. I first read it as a requirement for an undergraduate literature course. It was a far cry from anything I’d read up to that point for school—all male authors I might add. Having a woman’s voice, and such a gut-wrenching, reflection on how our lives could be, was eye-opening for me. I was shocked with the reactions of the other students in the class because most of them despised the book—everything they hated about it, I loved. The disturbing mirror to our lives, the examination of religion and its subjugation of women, the ambiguous ending, I love it all.
Who is your author hero—someone you dream of being like?
Rachel Vincent. I picked up her first book, Stray, and was hooked from the first line: “The moment the door opened I knew an ass-kicking was inevitable.” I mean, really, how could you pass that up? I devoured every book since. She was the first author I ever emailed (she wrote back!) and I followed her blog and the board (this was pre-Facebook) she was on with a bunch of other Urban Fantasy writers. She shared writing and publishing tips and the nitty gritty realities of being a published author. I finally realized my dream of meeting her at a book con in Orlando and she was just as nice in person as she was online! I had brought a huge stack of books with me and she graciously signed each one…and the books that I purchased there! Her writing has influenced me more than any other author—strong, capable women juggling some supernatural element (shifter, banshee, exorcist), a thread of romance weaved expertly throughout, angst, drama. I mean, what’s not to love?
J. Nichole Parkins loves drama – as long as it’s fictional. She twists the real and unreal, weaving elements found in folklore and myth to create emotional reads with a punch.
Mother of three and full-time maternal health advocate, Jamee lives in a state of organized chaos. She fled south to escape the snow, although she spends the majority of her time avoiding the sun. Head in the clouds as often as it is behind a screen, she is never without a story brewing or a book (or three) in her purse. She can be found in quiet places, which is her natural habitat. Approach cautiously, she tends to run.
Social Media links:
What was the hardest book for you to write?
In all honesty, it would have to be The Crimson Tree. It’s a paranormal suspense inspired by true events. The challenge was to not be repetitive with the paranormal occurrences happening to my main character. Hauntings can sometimes be repetitive in nature. If you live in a haunted house, you may always hear footsteps on the stairs and nothing more. Creepy as it is, that alone is not quite enough to fill the pages of a novel. I dedicated this book to my sister who shared with me a slew of paranormal activity she encountered in the places she’s lived and visited. Many of her experiences helped inspire the contents of The Crimson Tree. My own paranormal experiences will have to wait for another book….
If you had the choice, which supernatural/paranormal character would you want to become?
I would want to become a vampire. It would be so fascinating to live indefinitely and see the world change and evolve. I wouldn’t mind only being able to go outside at night; the night sky is so captivating. I would want to live in a large city such as Paris, because the city lights are incredible there. Every night would have an amazing light show. Who knows, maybe I’d even be able to turn into a bat and be able to fly. That’s a two for one!
Mountains or ocean?
I live in Florida a stone’s throw away from the Gulf of Mexico and yet I prefer mountains. There’s something so majestic about the mountains with their trees, caves and caverns, rivers and waterfalls, and the wildlife living amongst it all. I have never seen anything as beautiful as the mountains in fall. The once green trees and foliage turn into a tapestry of incredible colors as bright and bold as a sunset.
Favorite scary movie of all time?
The Shining. The psychological thriller aspect of the film is most intriguing. Having visited the Stanley hotel where Stephen King stayed and got the inspiration for The Shining makes me like the moving even more.
What author inspires you?
Ken Follet. He writes quite lengthy historical fiction novels. He is a master at creating a world you become completely immersed in and understand fully as if you lived during the time period his novels are set in. His characters grow on you and you become attached as if they are your personal friends or relatives. I feel that by reading his works, I become a better author. When I read his novels, I can see the story playing out like a proper moving in my mind. When I write my stories, I try and do the same for my readers. The best way to grow as an author is to keep writing and keep reading great stories.
Valerie Puri – Author Bio
Valerie Puri has always had a lifelong interest in all forms of artistic expression. She has tried her hand at many things, yet she always finds her way back to reading and writing. With inspiration everywhere, Valerie finally put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard) with the intent of publishing her stories.
Writing has always come naturally to Valerie and, for a time, she even worked as a technical writer. This experience and her current day job of project manager helps Valerie continue to hone her writing skills. Her true passion lies in the freedom that comes with writing the stories that pour from her imagination and real life inspiration.
Valerie believes that the experiences we have in life are just stories waiting to be written.
- What was the hardest book for you to write?
- The hardest book to write was my first, Beauty of Fear. There were a lot of personal elements in it I don’t think I was prepared for. I actually did not like my main character until I finally acknowledged there was a bit of me in there. The story is a thriller, with a serial killer and ends with a hope of romance at the the end.
- If you had the choice, which supernatural/paranormal character would you want to become?
- Now it would be a Reaper, along the lines of my character Alex Dante. I made her much sexier than I thought I could and her swagger rocks.
- What sports team might inspire you to paint your face their team colors? NY GIANTS!!!!
- Favorite romantic movie of all time? It’s a Wonderful Life. Mary was his life as Maria is mine.
- What author inspires you? So many, but David Weber-His character Honor Harrington struck a nerve with me years ago. So much so that for over 28 years now it’s been the name I use for email, and now fanfic and twitter. Honorcpt. He created a flawed female character who identified solutions to problems and solved them. Love the Honor Harrington series.
Laura Perez aka L.E. Perez is a lover of all genres; Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Steampunk, etc and loves stories with amazing fight scenes that make you cheer, scream and cry before they lift you up and dust you off. She publishes under her press, Palmas Publishing. She spent fifteen years working in Corrections and Victim Services while privately working on several novels. In 2010 she was given the opportunity to pursue two passions in life, writing and martial arts. She is a 4th degree black belt who loves to write fight scenes and act them out for realism. Through Palmas Publishing she has published three full length novels under her pseudonym, L.E.Perez, has spearheaded three thriller anthologies with a group of Indie Authors called The Thrill of the Hunt Anthologies which was born at IBF. The next installment is due out just in time for IBF 2018 called Urban Legends-Reimagined. and she has helped her mother achieve her dreams of publication.
- You’re offered the choice to spend a week with any Marvel superhero you choose. Which one gets the pleasure of your company? As a married man, Captain America; we can talk history and tactics. If I was single, Black Widow.
- Football, baseball, hockey or basketball? Baseball-Played Little league and have many fond memories as a pitcher and catcher. I’ll never forget my fist hit (a double) and my first homerun.
- The man or woman of your dreams invites you to design your dream date with her/him. Is it a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant or a down-home meal around a campfire under the stars? Since the woman of my dreams is my wife, she would definitely want the fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant.
- If you could time travel back to any period in history, when would you go? For the category, “Never been,” the Civil War period, as long as I survived without injuries. Otherwise, I’d like to relive the eighties again.
- What book changed your life? The Bible and “The Green Beret” by Robin Moore, both of which set the course for what I became and am today.
Major (Ret.) Scott Meehan (1958-), born in Baltimore, Maryland, joined the U.S. Army in 1980 and in the ensuing twenty-five years served as an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer. His first book, “Stone in a Sling,” is his memoirs covering a three-year tour to Berlin and four tours to the Middle East where he was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in Iraq.
Scott is a graduate of Webster (MA) and Capella (MBA) University and is the Business Department Lead at City College in Altamonte Springs, Florida. A passionate educator and writer, he believes strongly in the importance of instilling strong ethical principles in today’s millennial generation.
In addition to his memoirs, Scott has published seven other books, Duty Recall, Love in the House of War, The Hawkins: Army of One, Millennial Girl, Crossroads, The Cold War in Berlin, and Girl Alone. Scott writes non-fiction, fiction novels, novellas, short stories, and flash fiction. He has embarked on a project with his writings to open a comic book series based on his book and character, Millennial Girl.
Scott writes based on his worldwide (true) living experiences (Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Berlin, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq) and direct encounters with leftist terrorists (Colombia), tribal groups (Ecuador and Mexico), KGB (Berlin), Iraqi prisoners of war; Saudi royalty (Saudi Arabia), and daily contingency business encounters with the Sunni’s, Shi’s and Kurds (Iraq). In his autobiography, Stone in a Sling and All I Could Be, he shares my experiences of nearly dying at the hands of Colombian terrorists, being approached by a KGB agent during the Cold War, encounters with interrogating prisoners of war during Desert Storm, and finally, connections with local Iraqi’s that led to the capture of Saddam Hussein. There are business lessons as well for organizations interested in successful global business practices.
With twenty-five years of military service and an additional twelve years traveling the world growing up as a missionary kid, Scott’s writings reflect his experiences from a worldwide diverse culture. Exciting, real-life multi-cultural characters emerge in a dynamic world of good versus evil through romance, intrigue, mystery, and suspense.
Young Adult (YA) and military veteran readers can identify with the coming of age themes of men, women and their families—when a father, mother, sister, or brother are deployed across the globe in harm’s way. Readers can relate to the challenges faced overseas and at home when separated from a loved one while facing such perils as war, human trafficking, famine, disasters, and many other dangers. Through his writings, Scott offers hope in a world of despair; light in places of darkness.
Seven basic principles guide Scott’s writing mission statement. These principles seek to safeguard the special features that give the books its character while embracing appropriate spiritual guidance from God’s word. They are:
- Spiritual truths based on God’s Word from the Bible.
- The element of love being the primary factor in overcoming the forces of evil.
- Divine deliverance for the main characters, usually against insurmountable odds.
- Flowing action and entertainment involving all elements of human emotions, including humor, pain, suffering, celebration, temptation, victory, peace, and joy.
- Realism and relevance to current times and issues and future projections.
- An appeal to followers of all genres, such as romance, action, drama, and paranormal.
- An overarching understanding of global multiculturalism.
The purpose of Scott’s writings is to foster spiritual truths from the word of God as experienced by the author. He chooses a pen, rather than a sword to assimilate the message with dramatic stories relevant for today. The military historic, sometimes speculative fiction mixture of love, romance, suspense, thriller, and family results in a unique blend of an original style and vitality gained from twenty-five years of experience serving the U.S. army. These are his 21st Century parables to bring Gods word to a diverse global population to fulfill the great commission as stated in Matthew 28:19. Scott donates proceeds from his book sales revenue to several charitable non-profit organizations.
It is Scott’s goal for the veteran reader and family members to identify with many of the trials, tribulations, and victories associated with Army life and family separations, especially when one of the parents deploys for long periods away from their family members—often times in grave danger.
The non-veteran reader can become enlightened and educated towards the plight of veterans and their families with a better understanding of what they face with the military lifestyle. Likewise, politicians and multi-cultural people could gain an understanding of a common theme that would essentially eliminated future wars and conflicts.