Behind the Screens: Tuesday Author Interview

Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.

Thicker than Water Cover

Sabitha: Laura Quinn is here! She’s written a sweeping historical novel about family and love set in the time of World War One. Laura, can you introduce us to your book?

Laura: Titanic meets Boardwalk Empire in this historical fiction set against the picturesque shore town of Cape May, NJ, at the onset of World War One. Siblings Danny and Shannon Culligan are trapped under the thumb of their alcoholic father. Danny’s been in love with his childhood sweetheart, Jennie Martin- a wealthy cottager from Philadelphia- for as long as he can remember while her cousin, Hugh, is smitten with his sister.

As the foursome struggles to surmount the class differences between them, the nation is plunged into the Great War, changing all of their lives forever. Danny is drafted into the Army and Hugh enlists in the Navy- defending the home front as a lieutenant at Cape May Section Base Number 9. While Jennie works tirelessly on the Liberty Loans campaign in Philadelphia, Shannon finds herself ensnared in a rum ring operation as the temperance movement ebbs closer to its goal of Prohibition.

A sweeping saga of betrayal, lies, and loss on all sides, Thicker Than Water, marries the historically accurate world building of Ellen Marie Wiseman’s The Orphan Collector with the emotional resonance of Renee Rosen’s works.

Sabitha: What inspired you to write this book?

Laura: I grew up going “down the shore” every summer during childhood, and have a deep love of the area. The idea for Thicker Than Water came to me shortly after becoming a parent myself. My oldest was a terrible sleeper, and the story of one of the pairings (Danny and Jennie) was one I’d tell myself in my head while rocking him at night. 

Sabitha: That’s a lovely story! What was your favourite thing to write in the book?

Laura: I love being able to give readers a peek into yesteryear. The Christmas scenes (at John Wanamaker’s Department store) are particularly endearing to me. 

Sabitha: What advice would you give to someone who’s writing or querying?

Laura: Get it down. Whether handwritten in a notebook, typed up on a laptop, or texted from your phone when you can’t sleep. Tell your story. Be authentic and don’t hold back. 

Sabitha: What do you most want your readers to take away from reading your book?

Laura: The idea that people aren’t their parents. Change is possible, as is love, if you’re able to open your heart and let it in. 

Sabitha: That’s a really lovely sentiment. In your novel, which character do you relate to the most and why?

Laura: Shannon shares my snark and guarded nature. I’m an #ACoA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) myself, so portraying her and Danny’s home environment accurately was very important to me. 

Sabitha: Thank you so much for sharing a story that comes from such a deeply personal place. It sounds like a great read! Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?

Laura: It is available in both eBook and paperback at a variety of bookstores. Those visiting Cape May can find it in stores at Exit Zero and Ferry Park. You can find me on my website, Instagram, Facebook (either my author page or my private fan group), Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Laura at a book signing

Another Sad Bastard Cookbook Cover Teaser

Ever have one of those days? You know you need to cook dinner, but you can’t stop thinking. About the climate apocalypse. About the friend you lost in middle school. About the Eldritch abomination at the bottom of the ocean that neither speaks nor sleeps, only waits. The Sad Bastard Cookbook might help you — at least with dinner.

Sad Bastard Cookbook Cover Teaser 2

Want early access? Sign up to beta test our recipes, or to get a free advance e-book. Plus, stay tuned for Wednesday when we reveal the full cover. Because sometimes one of those days turns into one of those lifetimes. And even sad bastards have to eat.

Joel’s Thai Sweet-Potato Soup

The team at Night Beats Productions is working night and day on The Sad Bastard Cookbook. An essential element of this cookbook is community—sharing recipes and learning new meals. This suggestion from Joel Troster sounded so good that Rohan O’Duill had to make it for himself!

We won’t be including this particular meal in the cookbook—it’s a bit more effort than we personally can manage when we’re in the depths of depression. But it is delicious. So we decided to share the recipe with everyone on this blog. Enjoy!

A bowl of soup
Continue reading

Behind the Screens: Tuesday Author Interview

Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.

The Art of Becoming a Traitor cover

Sabitha: Andrea Bougiouklis, author of the delightfully titled The Art of Becoming a Traitor, joins us to talk about her military thriller novel. Tell us a bit about your book, Andrea!

Andrea: A young woman with a larger-than-life legacy and an incredible sense of self truly believed that what she was doing was right. With all of her being, she thought that she was helping to serve a long-overdue justice.

When Eleri learns that she had been used as a pawn in a larger, evil plot, she has to find it in herself to right her wrongs – even if it means going against everything and everyone she ever loved. The war had been raging since she was a young child, and she had never thought to question it.

When Eleri and her best friend Fyodor discover that their leaders have been doctoring and altering history and are planning to disintegrate an entire population, they realize that they may be the only two who can prevent this atrocity.

In a race against time, power, and their own morals, they can only hope that their willpower and strength are enough to overturn a war that has already begun.

 Sabitha: How do you come up with story ideas? Character ideas? Setting ideas?

Andrea: I don’t think of myself as a very conventional writer, in the sense that there is not one specific way that I come up with story ideas, and most times, it has nothing to do with me conceiving a plot. Oftentimes there is inspiration drawn from anything in my life – whether or not it is other media, world events, personal experiences, or anything else – and this inspiration will lead to a single piece of dialogue, a single scene, or perhaps even a character. I then tend to build around that one concept. I don’t storyboard or pre-determine an outline for what I write. Instead, I just write and see where the story goes on its own. Obviously, when I re-read or revise my work, I fix any plot holes or inconsistencies that I overlooked as I was writing, but in general terms of my process or how I create ideas, there is no real answer!

.Sabitha: That’s a pretty loose process. Do you have any self-imposed writing rules? How do they help
your writing?

Andrea: There was something that I saw a long time ago, I can’t remember where or who to credit for it, but it said that to make your characters come to life, write out five or ten things about them (personality, interests, fears, etc.) and try to never explicitly mention it in your work. It helps to make them seem fuller and more well-rounded and adds dimension to the characters. Beyond that, there isn’t any one thing that I do when I’m writing. As I mentioned before, I do not have a linear or conventional writing style. I like to make themed playlists or sometimes find visual references, especially when worldbuilding, but those only enhance ideas that I already have.

Sabitha: Thanks for sharing your story and your process. We’re looking forward to reading! Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?

Andrea: You can get my book here, and find out more about me here. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Behind the Screens: Tuesday Author Interview

Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.

The Lonesome Road Cover

Sabitha: Today we’ll talk to Londoner Harisson Shaws about his debut novel, The Lonesome Road. Henry, can you introduce us to your book?

Harrison: Life as we know is gone. The once vivid city now stands abandoned. Earth became a wasteland, stripped of all life. Broken, confused, and in a desperate search for answers, one person still roams its desolate remains. The Wanderer has no memories, no recollection of the events that led to the end of the world. All he sees are deserted buildings and the smoke that covers the sun. While taking shelter in an abandoned house one night, the last man on Earth gets a knock on his door. He finds an unexpected guide in a woman who feels familiar.

Will he choose to keep traversing these lands, lost as before, or will he take her guidance to find the answers his heart so deeply desires?

Sabitha: Does your book touch on any social issues or topics?

Harrison: The main topics that are sprung throughout The Lonesome Road are mental health, mortality, and morality. In today;s age, it is ridiculous that mental health issues still carry a certain stigma. As someone who suffers from severe depression and anxiety, I felt obligated to write about these certain issues.

People are left in fear of opening up to even those closest to them. Without the ability to share the burden, it burrows even deeper inside of them, rotting their core as they become even more hurt, desperate, and confused. Without a helping hand, we are forced, same as our main protagonist, to wander the world searching for answers that are on the end of a hard and difficult road. To get to them, we are at risk of corrupting the image of the world we hold and the image of our own self, our own worth, and our ideals. With someone who would dare to understand, the world would seem less grim.

There are questions of morality and mortality, what really is evil and what is good, are there such things, or is the world much more complicated, as both are mere matters of perspective?

The book also touches on topics of humanity and moral compass, are we bound to do good within the borders of set norms? If those who are higher do not abide, how can we be judged by someone who has the same or even worse sins than ourselves? One of the final questions that the book tries to ask is the question of destiny and hope. What is destiny, really? If destiny is real, does anything we do really matter? The Wanderer presents a curious take on it, saying that destiny is two points in time, one set and final we can’t affect (our birth) and the other ever-changing (our death). The path in between as we walk determines how our death will be, further saying that the point of life is a good death. But can we really rely on an opinion of a cynical narcissist that is our main protagonist?

Sabitha: What are some interesting facts about you that others might not know?

Harrison: I speak five languages. I spent some time of my childhood in Hamburg, Germany. I started writing at the age of 9, and I still remember parts of that fantasy I created, even though who knows where that notebook I wrote in is. Fitting that after all, I’ve been through, I am here, as a writer, feeling that this is my true calling. Before writing, I spent some time working as a video editor, but my love of writing was bigger than the one for editing.

Sabitha: Thanks for sharing your story and your values. We’re looking forward to reading! Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?

Harrison: You can find my book here. You can find information about me here, or follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Night Beats Betas?

We run a feature in our newsletter called Night Beats Betas. Authors submit 500 words of their work in progress, and we respond by cheerleading the parts we love about it. We also offer any suggestions they’ve asked for, whether that’s big picture comments or grammatical edits. And of course we send our comments to the author to approve before anything goes in the newsletter.

Photograph of a person typing on a typewriters.

Our newsletter subscribers love it—they love being exposed to lots of different writers’ work and seeing the writing process. Our authors love it—they get comments from an supportive editor, and we include their socials so they can promote the works to our newsletter subs.

The only thing is, we’re out of things to beta read! We need more!

This is a plea for you to submit 500 whatever you’re working on to us right now. Or later! We won’t be able to keep running this feature without you, and we really love this. So … please submit?

Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

Book Report Corner

by Zilla N.

When the climate apocalypse awakens monsters and magic, a group of misfit Canadian activists try to prevent catastrophe by working inside the system. Can the master’s tools dismantle the master’s house before the second wave of supernatural devastation?

If you’ve lived in this world for any length of time, you can probably guess the answer, even without Ian’s precognition. But you still reach for hope. You debate trash television with good friends, you raise an aloe vera plant or a child, you fall in love. You march or write or teach or–you try, in your own way, to navigate your way through the labyrinth to a happy ending.

Cascade is a very hard book for me to review because I’ve been on a journey with this novel. When I met Rachel A Rosen, Cascade was unfinished. I read along as she wrote it, laughing at the jokes, wincing at the truths, decimating the semi colons. And more than that. In many ways, the character arcs of the novel mirror journeys I’ve been on in my own life. It’s a hard thing to read the climate science and know I’m living in the end days. It’s hard to look at a world where so much has already been lost and know the devastation is only beginning. Cascade holds a mirror to our world, and I see myself reflected back.

Rachel A Rosen is a very good writer, and Cascade is a very good book. I don’t know what else to say, but I’m excited to talk about it with you when you finish reading it.

Order a paperback copy on Amazon, or a digital copy on the BumblePuppy Press or your favourite digital retailer.