DA Kentner writes the column THE READERS' WRITERS for the (Freeport) Journal-Standard and GateHouse News Service. My alter ego KevaD lives under a stairway of dreams where he writes stories and grumbles about everything. Click the pic to visit KevaD's blog.
Drop me a line at dakentner@yahoo.com

I invite you to read my award-winning short story posted on Calliope Magazine's web site.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Author KB Cutter


New York state’s KB Cutter is a relatively new author still looking to make his mark. What first snagged my attention is that KB is an active duty police officer who writes romance – edgy, sometimes erotic, always entertaining romance. Next came the realization that the man is a gifted storyteller and avid student of the written word. Add to that an ever-growing fan base, a recent partnering with award-winning author Margie Church, and I knew that I had to ask KB a few questions. 

KB isn’t shy about what genres he’s willing to explore. “The Darker Side of Heaven” is a paranormal tale about the clash of light and dark, the reuniting of former lovers (a vampire and an unworldly woman warrior), and a mysterious force behind the scenes. “Undead Reflections” is a short story surrounding a woman filled with a mistrust of life and a nearly uncontrollable need to find love before the zombie horde surrounding the diner she’s trapped in fill their bellies. “Killing Apathy” is the author’s twist of a serial killer with a unique perspective of life in suburbia. 

However, it is KB’s collaboration with Margie Church that has produced a story being talked about in many circles. “Razor” follows the desire of a married couple to reconnect in the bedroom. The bondage, domination, and submission play may have started as fun, but husband Bryce is taking his domination role a little too far, and wife Amy has had enough. But Amy doesn’t want to lose her marriage. So, she reaches out for help. Her solution is to bring in a female dominant named Raine to tame Bryce and his growing needs for exploration. And this is where KB and Margie’s partnership excels. The authors took what could have been a trite sexual fantasy and created a psychological tale of questionable motives, mental sparring, and an atmosphere of erotic suspense that keeps the reader on (pardon the pun) a razor’s edge of anticipation with love the ultimate prize. 

What’s next for the New York cop known as KB Cutter? We’ll have to impatiently wait and see.

Q) What prompted you to write romance? 

A) Strange happenstance, for it never crossed my mind I would some day write almost exclusively in this genre, until I began to participate in an online creative writing group a few years ago. Most of my writing partners were female, so each story contained an element of romance, no matter what the plot or setting. Eventually, I figured I might have a modicum of talent and felt comfortable enough to submit a story to a publisher.  I was fortunate enough to have my submission accepted and a few days later, I was signing a contract with Noble Romance. 

Q) Obviously, your co-workers aren’t aware of your writing. Are you prepared for the day they catch on? 

A) I recently let the gremlin out of the bag when I spied a paperback copy of Fifty shades of Grey in a female co-worker's gym bag. I made mention I dabbled in romance fiction and directed her to my author web page. I have not heard a peep since. Good or bad, I can't say, however, sometimes there is the quiet before the storm, so yes, I'm girding myself for the potential lambasting. 

The job can be like going to middle school-except with mace and night sticks. 

Q) How did your collaboration with Margie Church come about? 

A) Margie and I became fast friends, so I think an eventual collaboration on a writing project was inevitable.  Margie conjured up this fascinating psycho-sexual tale about a dominant male who meets his match with an equally dominant woman. We had an exchange of emails, each taking part in crafting the next scene and we immediately knew it begged to be shown to a wider audience. Through her contacts, Razor began a short story in a BDSM themed anthology produced by Sizzler Publications. The publisher wanted us to work Razor into a full-length stand-alone novel. Encouraged by the positive reader response to Razor, Sizzler Publications has asked us to make Razor into a trilogy. Margie and I are currently working on book two- Razor: Love's Storm. 

Yeah, Margie Church is riding my coattails, but I can't blame her one bit. When you're a shooting star . . . the faster they burn out!  All kidding aside, I'm exceedingly grateful to count Margie as a mentor and true friend.  

Q) You’re married. How did your wife take to the decision to write a story as sexually complex as “Razor”? 

A) She was on board as long as I found the real life counterpart to Bryce and bring him home so she could assist in reenactments of key scenes. She told it me it’s crucial 'visual creative research.'  I'm not sure what that means, but I'm grateful for her support.  

It certainly has the potential to be a thorny problem; however, my wife is supportive of my writing, although admittedly, she is not a 100%.  Mathematically, she informed me it is more like 97.4%.  There is the social stigma of writing erotic romance, especially if one is a male. I understand her reservations and her wishes for me to write 'something else', however, it keeps me home and there is hope that one day my royalty checks will pay the mortgage. For now, she's content with them covering the cost of Star Buck's house blend. 

Q) Have you considered writing a suspense/thriller like we readers tend to expect from authors with law enforcement experience? 

A) I have. I often day dreamed of being the next Wambaugh or following in the footsteps of Ed McBain. It's a tough, crowded market.  I may go retro and take a page from Mickey Spillaine's body of work and combine the fists and .45 of Mike Hammer's hard-boiled detective persona and work that concept into a uniquely K.B. Cutter romantic thriller.

Maybe I'll throw in a zombie or two . . . 

Q) Any parting comments for fans and those yet to read your work? 

A) For those who have yet to view my work, please do. You may be pleasantly surprised or disturbed, either way, it stay with you, because I do so enjoy bucking convention. 

For my fans, thank you. Without you, dear readers, there would be no joy in my words.
 
DA Kentner is the author of the award-winning novel Whistle Pass  http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/ 
 
 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Debut Author Ellen Marie Wiseman


Ellen Marie Wiseman didn’t exactly choose a light period of history for her first novel “The Plum Tree.” In fact, I was a bit cautious when I saw a portion of the story takes place in the Nazi killing factory of Dachau. I’ve been there and experienced firsthand the overwhelming sadness exuding from the ground and very air visitors breathe. Then I read where the inspiration for “The Plum Tree” are the real-life experiences of Wiseman’s mother and grandfather, German citizens who had been caught up in events not of their making or support and just tried to survive while millions around them died. Suddenly, Wiseman’s novel took on a life beyond the pages. 

“The Plum Tree” is a romantic suspense tale set against the backdrop of WWII Germany, cleated boots on cobblestones, and the nightmare of the Nazis. The author isn’t afraid to grapple the horror of the period, and yet, at the same time, peels away the layers of fear and disparity to reveal a core of love and hope. The story itself is one of courage and promise as we follow Christine Bolz, a young German working for a wealthy Jewish family. The son, Isaac Bauerman, opens her eyes to a world of music, literature, and the magical beauty of love. This is the compelling story of Christine’s journey from innocence, to awareness, and, ultimately, to a voice that refuses to be silenced. 

Wiseman has captured the terror-ridden experiences of the era and interwoven a very believable love story through a combination of superb prose, attention to detail, and memorable characters. A wife, mother, and grandmother living on the shores of Lake Ontario in Three Mile Bay, NY, Ellen Wiseman is an author we’ll need to make room for on our bookshelves.

Q) Most writers say they’ve been telling stories as long as they can remember. Still, there’s a huge canyon to cross from the comfort of anonymity to becoming published. What caused you to make the leap? 

A) Once I discovered my love of writing, I started daydreaming about being published. But making up stories was more of a hobby, a luxury I afforded myself whenever I had time. Then the idea for The Plum Tree came to me, and I knew it was the novel I had to write. From the very first paragraph, my intention was to try to get it published. I felt like it was a story that needed to be told. Thankfully, my dream came true! 

Q) Your personal world is changing as you learn how being an author isn’t a part-time job. It’s demanding and at times exhausting work, sweeping away the hours in a day like a clock ticks seconds. How have you prepared for the tours and conventions, as well as the time you need for writing, that will take you away from your husband and tranquil home life? 

A) I'm doing my best to keep a schedule, and that includes making time to do the things I've always done, like having people over for dinner and spending time with family. It would be easy to say I have too much on my to-do list, but those everyday things make me feel normal and recharge my batteries. As for tours and conventions, luckily, even though I love my tranquil home life, I love people too. I'm looking forward to getting out in the world, meeting readers, and talking about my book! 

Q) You have a rescued yellow lab as well as two Shih-Tzus. How did you and the lab meet? 

A) I've always had dogs, most of which were rescued in one way or another. Some were drop offs, some were given to me by friends who came across unwanted dogs. About nine years ago, my thirteen year-old beagle, Molly, died of cancer. I knew I needed to fill the hole in my heart and have always felt that people looking for a pet should go to the local pound or humane society first. I went to the county pound and met Sophie, a four year-old yellow lab, the day before she was supposed to be euthanized. There was an immediate connection between us. When I took her home, she was ecstatic, wagging her tail so hard it started to bleed. She's thirteen now, blind from diabetes, and I have to give her insulin twice a day. But she still looks and acts like a puppy. She's been one of the best dogs I've ever had. 

Q) How did your mother react when you told her you were writing a book inspired in part by her life? 

A) She was surprised because she doesn't think she's that interesting. But once I started asking more questions, I think she started to recognize how extraordinary her experiences were. When she read The Plum Tree, she said it was overwhelming, like reliving everything. I think it made her realize how strong she was, and still is. Unfortunately, her life after the war has been extraordinarily hard too. But she's really proud of me for getting my novel published, and it makes me beyond happy to bring some joy into her life. 

Q) We readers can be a finicky lot. You’ve debuted with a historical novel. Will your next book stay in the historical genre, or will you switch gears? 

A) I love history, so I think my novels will always have a touch of the past. Right now I'm working on a story that goes back and forth in time, from the mid 1990s to the late 1920s. I think fiction that incorporates history it a great way to ask ourselves how we would have reacted under challenging conditions, be it WWII or the Great Depression. 

Q) Any parting thoughts for potential readers and fans? 

A) I'm thrilled and honored to have The Plum Tree out in the world, and I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know there are millions of books to chose from, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for picking mine. I hope The Plum Tree will remind everyone that although at times it may seem as though fate conspires to break us, our only true destiny is that which we create for ourselves. Also, one of the best parts of this journey is hearing from readers, so please write. I'd love to hear from you!
DA Kentner is the author of the award-winning novel Whistle Pass http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/

 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Transformational Leaders Dr. Judith Wright and Dr. Bob Wright


Dr. Judith and Dr. Bob Wright founded the Chicago-based Wright, a transformative education organization, and the Wright Foundation for Transformational Leadership. Traditional (transactional) leadership utilizes the concept of an exchange of effort (activity) for value (reward). Transformational leadership is designed to empower and develop the follower’s (employee/participant) interest and desire to achieve the organization’s (be it a business, family, or community) goals, thereby having a positive effect on the parties involved and, ultimately, the world around them. 

To this end, Wright provides ongoing education to empower the individual to live the most empowered and contributory life possible, and the Wright Foundation funds graduate research, leadership awards, educational loans and scholarships, as well as symposia in an attempt to promote forward-thinking performance, philosophy, and methodology. Key in both is the development of the individual and that person’s awareness of their role in the family, society, and business. Once that awareness and understanding is attained, the individual can begin to encourage and guide (lead) others toward setting, developing, and achieving imperative goals. 

While Wright has worked with participants from corporate giants including Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, and Neiman Marcus, it is important to remember that the emphasis is on the individual and the benefit to be gained from inspiring and encouraging leadership within followers. 

“Transformed!: The Science of Spectacular Living” is a book co-written by the Wrights designed to bring the organization’s beliefs and methods into the home and, thusly, our daily lives. To be honest, I expected loads of unfamiliar jargon interspersed with complicated theories unfamiliar to me and a difficult reading experience. Was I ever wrong. What I found was an enjoyable learning experience centered on the very common ideal of turning idle dreams and ideas into reality. 

In “Transformed!,” the Wrights effectively turn self-improvement into an event that transcends business to sit at our kitchen table. Childhood development is likened to “watching the image of a photograph emerge during processing.” I loved that comparison. The authors openly discuss the differences in mental attitudes of children and adults in order for the reader to understand that the methods used to enhance growth must follow different paths. What’s good for the goose may be great for the gander, but the goslings require an entirely different mindset to promote change.

One area frequently glossed over in self-improvement books is the effect the individual’s transformation will have on those around them. Ideally, positive energy will elicit positive energy from others. That’s not always the case. Reality consists of the not-so-complimentary comment, “You’ve changed,” with the unspoken ending of “and not for the better.” The Wrights take great care to discuss how to handle these situations and use them to our benefit. The goal is leadership by developing the “self,” and leadership means leading, not leaving others behind. Whether the reader is interested in self, family, or business improvement, “Transformed!” is a book well worth your time.

Q) Both of you are bestselling authors and life coaches. What do you believe “Transformed!” provides readers your other books don’t? 

A) We have developed our curriculum over time in response to research into customer desire and satisfaction. You could say that the programs developed organically as our clients and students were moving into their next area of focus and development. Our first books really focused on different components of those trainings. 

The in-depth research we conducted since then revealed and named the core process to all learning, development, and transformation. The process runs through and is the foundation of the other books, but wasn’t named and described specifically. For the first-time ever, we have put this core process into one book in a powerful but easy to understand way so that everyone can the fundamental process by which human beings learn, grow, and transform. This understanding has powerful impacts for not only breaking through persistent barriers in their lives but also being able to have the results they have longed for. 

Q) I always have to ask this question: Why should a working mother on a tight budget buy this book?

A) The tighter the budget, the more we need to squeeze out of every second—more productivity, care for the kids, enjoyment, and fulfillment. Transformed does this. 

And frankly, the same holds true for a non-budget focused executive or business owner, their time is valuable and they need to squeeze the most out of that time. 

Q) When you began writing “Transformed!,” who were your targeted readers, and did your own goals change as the book took life? 

A) It’s funny because, I think ‘target readers’ is where we always get stumped. We have segments of individuals who are very much attracted to what we do—business owners, young emerging professionals, boomers-in-transition—but when we look at the makeup of our courses, the individuals are so diverse. It’s not uncommon to have a high level executive sitting next to an artist sitting next to a single mom sitting next to a small business owner. Even the ages are diverse from 14 to 86 years old. 

Despite the remarkable success of all these different segments of students, certain students excelled even further. They transformed, but we did not know the secret to their success. We wanted to discover this to improve our teaching. The book followed. As we worked to report the results of the research, we were amazed by how it put into context everything from behavioral economics to positive psychology, neuroscience, and eudaimonics. 

So I don’t think we had target readers, demographically, when we started this book. What we did focus on was writing to the heart of the success we had experienced in the people whom we had met over many years. 

Q) In “Transformed!” you touch on the detriments of ‘overthinking.’ How dangerous is overthinking to a person’s attempts to expand their personal world? 

A) Analysis paralysis is a result of overthinking. We are built to balance thought and action—over-thinking is a sign of fear-oriented failure to move forward in life. 

Overthinking can literally stop any potential forward progress. It’s like sitting in your room thinking about what it would be to live a spectacular life vs. going out and doing it. Many of us use our thinking as a way to avoid doing. We are unconscious about how threatened we feel to making real change in our life and we use our smarts to justify it. We think once we really get it figured out then we’ll do something about it. But that’s not how learning works. True learning comes from trying and also from failing. 

Q) Many will say, “I’m happy with who I am.” How can a person be convinced to look beyond the comfort of routine and see the unexplored daily world around them? 

A) Human beings are built to progress, learn, grow, and transform. If we are honest with ourselves, the best result we could honestly declare is being satisfied with our progress. 

No high accomplishing human being has ever been happy with who they were. In fact, it is this divine dissatisfaction that drives high achievers and Transformers. Respecting one’s self and feeling fulfilled are much more compelling qualities. 

We’d be better off considering what brought the person to say “I’m happy with who I am”? Were they faced with a personal development opportunity? “I’m happy with who I am” is essentially a defensive statement, and the interesting opportunity is to see why we are orienting to that in the moment. Shakespeare addressed this in his comment “the lady doth protest too much”! 

Q) Any parting comments for those not familiar with your work? 

A) We are excited to share this discovery of the core process of learning and growing that leads to transformation. The way it brings together current and past research on human emergence is powerful and we are looking forward to hearing how others apply it.
DA Kentner is the author of the award-winning novel Whistle Pass http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/

 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Award-Winning Author Alan Chin


Books are categorized into “genres” for purposes of identifying the type of story or subject matter for readers. Well, that and so librarians and book sellers know what shelf to put the book on. And there lies the difficulty with author Alan Chin. 

Alan is one of a rare breed who instills literary artistry into everything he writes. Whether a historical, romance, or a story told just for the fun of it, Alan paints vivid images that float our imaginations into every scene. We hear the ocean’s waves, feel the breeze on our faces, smell the airborne brine. And when, as in the stirring novel “Simple Treasures,” a Shoshone Indian attempts to free a diseased man’s embittered soul, we share the pain and beauty of the moment. “Simple Treasures” exemplifies how a book may be classified as a ‘romance,’ but transcends the obvious and leads the reader on a journey of life’s magnificence and devastation amidst the characters’ self-discovery. 

Former Navy jet mechanic Alan worked for twenty years in the field of software engineering. He also obtained a degree in economics and a Masters in Creative Writing. After retiring, Alan decided to enjoy his hobbies of tennis, traveling, and writing. But for many authors, writing refuses to remain a hobby for long, and such was the case for Alan. He’s now poised to see his sixth novel “Daddy’s Money” published, with the seventh to follow in June 2013. 

“Daddy’s Money” is a complex contemporary tale of love threatened by family secrets. It is the story of sexual confusion, one man’s need to possess those around him regardless of the cost, and how what is right must sometimes be fought for against those we never viewed as our enemy. 

I need to mention “The Lonely War.” In this novel Alan takes on the military’s former stance of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” as well as enlisted/officer relationships, the horrors of a WWII Japanese POW camp, and the torturous extremes a person will submit to in order to protect those he loves, even at the risk of being branded a traitor to his country. This is a seriously good book. 

In all fairness, I’ll admit that not everyone may find Alan’s subject matter to their liking. However, anyone who enjoys literary eloquence, masterful storytelling, and tightly woven plots should definitely give an Alan Chin book a try.

Q) I have to ask, what inspired you to place “The Lonely War” in a POW camp and subject the lead character to such personal extremes? 

A) In TLW, my aim was to make a very personal statement about love relationships between men, affairs both plutonic and physical. To do that, I chose to juxtapose plutonic love (Andrew’s relationship with his commanding officer) with a passionate, physical love (Andrew’s affair with the commandant.) 

I chose a POW camp because that is one place where the military rules of behavior are turned on its head. Like “Brokeback Mountain,” the camp, Changi, was the one place where Andrew and Mitchell could express and explore their love for one another. It was also an environment so brutal that it would also test the extreme depths of their bond. Andrew swings from one lover to the other—like a pendulum—days with Mitchel and nights with Tattori. It is by this comparison, that I state my views on male love, which is to say, a rather heroic adoration. This is a story of love, idealistic, passionate, and also of brotherly love for comrades caught in a horrific situation. 

Q) With writing demanding so much of your time, how’s the tennis game? 

A) A few years ago I stopped playing amateur tournaments. It wasn’t a matter of time, so much as my old body slowing down. I simply can’t compete with these twenty-somethings anymore. These days, I get together with friends a few times a week for sociable games of doubles. I still enjoy the game as much as ever, perhaps more so that I’m no longer so competitive. 

I must admit, however, writing is a time-suck. No matter how much time and energy I devote to it, it always demands more. The better writer I become, the more difficult it is to write, and the more effort it takes to be satisfied with my work. I believe that is a curse for any artist’s life, no matter what the media. 

Q) At some point you made the decision to have your stories published. What was that deciding factor? 

A) Great question. I had three driving reasons for wanting to be published. The first was because I wanted to be taken seriously as a writer, and nobody I know grants unpublished writers any credibility. These days, even published writers have difficulty commanding respect from a reading public, let alone friends and family. 

The second reason had to do with a determination for excellence. You see, if I have no plans for publishing a manuscript, then I have no need to spend an extra six months of time and effort refining that story. Preparing a work for publication forces me that extra mile (it seems more like a million miles) to not only improve the manuscript, but also to develop my writing skills and grow as an artist. At the time, I needed that motivation to push myself and my work. I still need it. 

My last reason to be published was to share my work with a reading public. I am aware my stories are not for everyone, and that’s fine. But judging from the fan mail I have received, my stories have touched peoples’ lives and they seem to enjoy my work. There are few things more gratifying to a writer than knowing you have brought joy into a person’s life, that you have inflamed peoples’ imaginations. 

Q) In your work you tackle deep subjects such as moving on after loss, dual sexuality, the dangers of thwarting societal expectations, and many more. Though your stories explore love, you inspire the reader to examine the world with a fresh eye. In other words, you make us think. Why is this so important to you? 

A) Those are very kind words, and I’m grateful. For me, that is the point in writing. If it’s not important, if the characters are not struggling with deep issues that the readers can identify with, then why write it? That is what art does, it makes us evaluate our life, our reality, and our dignity as human beings, and hopefully it shines a light on our values and goals and moral behavior. It is through art that we learn to live meaningful lives. 

And you hit on exactly why fiction can do this. It puts the reader (and the writer) in an alien situation so that they can experience these life concerns from a different perspective, new eyes. That is the power and beauty of storytelling. 

Q) When the time comes to lay down your pen, how do you hope your work will be remembered? 

A) I’ll be happy if it is remembered. ;) But seriously, my goal is to tell unforgettable stories featuring unforgettable characters. If I can do that, then I will bring pleasure to readers. That is how I would like my work to be remembered, as a collection of stories that are a pleasure to read. If they also inspire readers to question their reality, that’s the icing. 

Q) Any parting thoughts for fans and potential new readers? 

A) Yes. If you read a book that you really enjoy, please take the time and effort to email the author and let them know what you thought of their work. Nothing encourages writers as much as hearing from an appreciative reader. We spend many months, sometimes years, creating work for you to enjoy. So please take a few minutes to lookup the author’s website and leave a message. It really means the world to us. 

Also, if anyone should care to read more about me or my work, I have a website http://alanchin.net/ and a writer’s blog http://alanchinwriter.blogspot.com/ Please look me up.
DA Kentner is the author of the award-winning novel Whistle Pass. http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/

 

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bestselling Fiction Author Sara York


Sara York is a writing machine. The woman produces book after book, and every single one of them a quality tale worthy of reader attention. In fact, it isn’t unusual to find her stories located in one or more Top One Hundred bestselling categories on Amazon.com. With such a strong readership and following, it would be easy for Sara to settle into a comfort zone and focus on one style of writing or genre. But Sara is a writer not content to limit her interests. 

Residing in the southern U.S. with her family and dogs, Sara began her writing career as Sara Thacker during her first pregnancy and a break from her job in statistics. She soon discovered the passion dwelling inside her for storytelling and hasn’t looked back. While Sara’s books cover a broad range of reader interest, we’ll focus on a few of her thrillers. 

“Red Skhye” is an exciting story set on what should be an island paradise. Unfortunately for Delanie Skhye, paradise becomes a serial killer’s hunting grounds, and her life may well depend on an embittered cop dealing with his own problems of a philandering wife bent on finding her own version of bliss. In this story, Sara’s strong prose pulls the reader into each scene and detail, creating a vivid picture in the reader’s mind. “Red Skhye” offers readers a fresh take on suspense and the pleasure of the south seas. 

“Murder Stalks” presents a unique situation all its own. Tired of being alone, Detective Tony Santos’s wife Marissa leaves him. What Tony couldn’t have anticipated is the dead body filling the empty spot in their bed. A killer has left a calling card of death, and a clear indicator Marissa is on the ever-growing list of homicides the detective is being pressured to stop. Somehow, Tony has to find a murderer while protecting the woman he loves who wants nothing to do with him. Marissa on the other hand needs to prove to herself she can stand on her own, and Tony’s raw energy and passion to keep her safe isn’t helping to keep her sensual interests in check. Meanwhile, a killer has plans to make Marissa his crowning achievement. 

Whether readers enjoy romance, suspense, humor, or dramatic thrillers, Sara York has a story waiting.

Q) The obvious question: Why do you write in a variety of genres? 

A) I think it's in part because of ADHD. Really. I think in multiple genres with random burst of inspiration. I live in visually rich environment, on the beach, just south of Parris Island, there's love, intrigue, excitement and even the possibility for a little bit of paranormal activity. Inspiration is all around me and when I get an idea, it swirls for a while and comes out. Thrillers are my deepest love in writing. No matter how random my ideas get, thoughts of danger are always at the back of my mind, trying to twist the stories into a fast paced action adventure with guns, murder and a good guy to save the day. 

Q) Being so prolific, how do you keep your stories and characters fresh and original? 

A) I hope they are fresh and original. I know some of my themes this year are a bit more on the 'put the character through the wringer' type of stuff, but that will change because I feel a comedy coming on. One thing I love to do is people watch. I also have been known to eavesdrop a little. I pay attention to what goes on around me and I think about what separates one person from another and how does that relate to my characters. There are so many different possibilities and when you throw in the randomness of life, your characters are unique. 

Q) I’m curious: Why did you change from Sara Thacker to Sara York, and did this cause any problems for your many fans? 

A) It really was out of laziness. I'm switching my name slowly from Sara Thacker to Sara York so I don't have to maintain two identities. It's exhausting trying to be two people in the public eye. I believe my non-erotic readers can figure out which of my Sara York novels are non-erotic by reading the blurb. Many of my erotic readers had no idea I had thrillers and once I started the switch over, they were excited to find a different side of my writing, one filled with excitement and danger. 

Q) Bowing to your success with romance novels, what do you think you bring readers that sets your stories apart from the pack? 

A) Mark Twain says it best—There is no such thing as a new idea. I hope that I make my characters interesting enough, my action fast enough, and my plot thick enough that the reader finds some entertainment. Creating characters with many facets is key to creating a good story. The deeper you make your character, the better the story becomes. When I flesh out a novel, or a series, I have a questionnaire for each character. It's long, in depth and much of what I come up with for my character will never show up in print, but the background is thick with details. It's the little idiosyncrasies that create believable characters which in turn makes them unique and gets the reader to cheer for them, hoping for a good out come in desperate situations. I believe that's what makes a difference in my writing. 

Q) Any parting thoughts for your fans and those yet to read your work? 

A) I love my fans and love hearing from them. It's overwhelming sometimes, like when I kill off a favorite character, but all of the notes, even the ones from fans yelling because they couldn’t believe what I made my characters do, are good to get. If you haven't read my work, Murder Stalks is a good place to start. It's my first published book, the one that started it all for me. I hope you enjoy the thrill.
DA Kentner is the author of the award-winning novel Whistle Pass. http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/