Category Archives: Author Interviews

Helen Hipp Author Interview

Helen Hipp Author PhotoA few questions for author Helen Hipp:

Q: Your children’s adventure books are based on some unusual true-life experiences, please explain and give a brief description of your books.

A: While on Safari in Africa during 2001, my family witnessed something few get to see – a pink hippo. Separated from the pod and barely tolerated due to her differences, my son Ray, who has been diagnosed with autism, felt an instant affinity to the hippo and he named her Rosie.

Rosie – the Pink Hippo knows a lot about being different, and her adventures offer up lighthearted, ever-changing perspectives that transform personal challenges into opportunities.

Q: What vision do you have for your books and where do you want it to take you? 

A: My adventure books have already taken me on a journey’s that has given me the opportunity to meet a large number of wonderful people, all of which I refer to as my “Safari Family”. I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than bringing more of Rosie’s adventures and their powerful message onto the stage and into schools to create an atmosphere of enjoyment, understanding, acceptance and awareness.

Q: What appeals to you most about children’s books?

A: I find the presence of innocence, imagination and creativity that is woven into many of the children’s books very captivating. I guess you can say I am a child at heart.

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ABOUT HELEN HIPP

Helen Hipp has had her own kind of safari through the land of a large family. She was always exploring new ways to define herself. There are many ways to navigate the waters of life says Helen. “You may ride in a canoe, sailboat, motorboat, or you may find yourself on the back of a pink hippo!”

With a mindset that centered on creating opportunities out of obstacles, Helen explored career opportunities, by connecting her personal experiences (parenting a child with special needs) with her beliefs, professional skills, and aspirations.

Helen received her M.A. in counseling and began her career as a psychotherapist to help people find answers for their life problems. Her work eventually evolved into a coaching practice, WithinU Life Coaching, focusing on individuals with special needs and their families.

Helen has authored articles for Family Works and Washington Family Magazine and written multiple self-help articles published by ezine.com where she is viewed as an expert in her field. She has been a contributor as a special needs consultant to FOX44 News in Burlington, Vermont.

In addition to her work, Helen has written two children’s books creating a very effective way to motivate kids of all ages to meet their challenges with self-acceptance, confidence and understanding.

Her debut children’s book, A Different Kind of Safari, released in 2013 addresses the many questions life asks by offering up lighthearted, ever-changing perspectives that transform personal challenges into opportunities. Once again, the engaging safari family, led by Rosie the Pink Hippo inspires, and help you see your life differently in her new book, Rosie and Friends Positively Different. With a cast characters experiencing real-life issues such as anxiety, fear, physical differences and poor self-esteem, Helen Hipp’s adventure books provide children with the opportunity to identify, understand and feel supported by the characters handling of similar fears, interests, and concerns.

Readers can connect with Helen Hipp on her website and on Twitter.

Rosie and Friends Positively Different by Helen Hipp Book Tour Banner

Author Interview with Rebecca J. Hubbard Author of The Gift

eBook Review Gal read and reviewed The Gift by Rebecca Hubbard and we LOVED the book so much we knew we had to have a chat with the author!

eBook Review Gal Author Interview with Rebecca Hubbard, Author The Gift

Hi Rebecca! Thanks for joining us on the eBook Review Gal Blog. Can you please tell readers a little about your book The Gift?

“The Gift” is a story about a young girl, Pip, who receives a horse for her birthday and her desire to have a best friend. She believes that the horse she names Buck should be her best friend because he was given to her. She learns that in order to have a friend she has to develop a friendship. She struggles with how to do this and misinterprets Buck’s behavior. From her father she learns how to understand Buck’s perspective and how to develop a friendship with him. The story is told from the perspective of Pip and the perspective of Buck. From Buck, we learn how he interprets Pip’s behavior and how he feels about the things she does to try to make friends with him. We also learn about the things that bring him joy and what causes him to feel afraid. It is a story about understanding one another, patience and developing a true friendship.

What motivated you to write The Gift?

The seed of the idea came from an interaction that I witnessed between a girl who desperately wanted to be friends with a horse and the horse completely ignored her existence. Something about that interaction and the heartbreak the girl felt played over and over in my mind. My business partner at the time kept asking me to write a story about a kid and a horse but I felt I didn’t write those types of stories so I tried to ignore her request. She, however, would not allow me to ignore it. She asked me frequently when I would write the story, keeping the idea of a story about a child and a horse in the forefront of my mind. So when my muse struck, the interaction between the girl and the horse became my template for The Gift.

 I love the idea of splitting the book into two separate POVs – first from Pip’s POV and then from Buck’s. What made you decide to write the book this way?

This is going to sound silly but I never considered telling the story any other way. I feel that in order to fully understand the story you must hear from both characters. If you only hear Pip’s side of the story, then Buck appears ornery, belligerent and maybe even snobbish. When you hear Buck’s side of the story, you have compassion for him and understand his behavior and may feel that Pip is selfish and ungrateful. Having both points of view makes you appreciate the dynamic that occurs between the two of them. In addition, telling the story from two points of view gave me the flexibility to help children understand that things are not always the way we think they are, and that there are many reasons for the behaviors of others. It also opened up the ability to help children with learning perspective taking and understanding from another’s point of view, allowing for increased sensitivity and compassion.

The Gift is much more than a story about a girl and a horse. It’s a valuable lesson about friendship, trust and love, which will appeal to a wide variety of readers. Can you share some information about the book’s many therapeutic benefits?

“The Gift” has been used in many different ways. A parent told me that he uses the concepts in the book with his teenage daughter every day. He explained that it helped to have Buck discuss his fears and this allowed for him and his daughter to have a conversation about what would happen if Buck had not known to be afraid of snakes or wolves. His daughter replied that Pip would have to keep Buck in the barn to keep him safe. The father said that his daughter does not see the dangers around her and through this conversation she was able to understand how he tries to keep her safe. He also told me that he helps his daughter understand when she is being overbearing or interacting with too much energy. He says to his daughter, “You are Pippin’.” This helps his daughter know she needs to regulate herself and approach a situation or others with calmer energy. He noted that reading “The Gift” gave them numerous ways to discuss how her behavior impacts her relationships.

A teacher related that she used the story in her class to help her class understand perspective taking. She explained that until she found “The Gift” she did not have an effective manner to do this. Her class had a very in-depth conversation about how Pip’s thoughts about Buck’s behavior were very different than why Buck was making the decisions he was making. She said that this led to her class discussing other situations where it was important to listen or pay attention to someone else’s perspective and feelings.

Some of my therapist friends use this book to teach their clients about the impact of thoughts on behavior and feelings and how thoughts can become distorted. Other therapists use this book to help families understand the principles of Natural Lifemanship, a trauma-focused equine assisted psychotherapy model.

I like to use “The Gift” for helping adults understand the importance of being compassionate while helping a child through a difficult situation. I think one of the most powerful relationships in the book is the relationship between Pip and her father. Though the father is a minor character, he is the glue that holds the story together. He is also the glue in Pip’s life. Without him she would not be able to navigate developing a friendship with Buck. I felt it was important to represent an attuned relationship between a father and a daughter because often in the media, it is the mother who is the most attuned and compassionate.

Lastly, this book can help children learn about perseverance and the importance of working for what you truly want. Friendships are a beautiful part of life. They also present many joys and challenges. It is difficult to learn how to develop a healthy friendship, to value another for who they are and not who we want them to be, and how to learn to work through problems. As Pip learns, friends are not ready-made and seeing someone for who they truly are is an amazing gift.

It’s clear that The Gift has a great deal of wonderfully beneficial qualities! I’d love to see it become a favorite among readers. Marketing becomes the key to achieving this. What are some of your methods for self-promotion and book marketing?

Being shy I struggle with self-promotion. It would be much easier for me if all I had to do was write the books and somehow they sold themselves. But promotion is important to do so I use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I developed a blog, had a book trailer made, and talk about my book at events when asked. I also write guest blogs for Natural Lifemanship.

Do you think most authors understand the importance of marketing their own work?

No, I don’t think we do. I know I didn’t understand it. In August my book will have been out a year and I feel like over the last six months I have just begun to better understand the importance of marketing and how to do it. I think marketing is actually an art that develops with mentoring, time and experience. It takes an enormous amount of time and effort.

Working as a family therapist must be challenging at times. What kinds of things do you like to do to decompress?

I love to write; it’s a wonderful decompression technique. I love to ride my horse Cash and to spend time with him and my other horse Cloud. I like to take pictures and to paint. I love to listen to music and to garden. And I love to take long naps!

I’d love to see a series of Pip and Buck books. Is there any chance this will happen soon?  

When I wrote “The Gift” I did not intend for it to be a series. But after completing “The Gift” Pip and Buck continued to stay with me. I am working on the second book now, “Pip and Buck: Saddle Up!” I am considering adding to this book the point of view of the father. This book focuses on the importance of relationships over tasks and things.

Where can readers connect with you?

I am on Twitter. My Facebook page is Rebecca J Hubbard. . I love connecting with readers on my website and on my blog. I also write guest blog posts for Natural Lifemanship.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

The best advice I could give is to write often, write about things you are interested in, things that make you wonder, things that make you think, and things you dream of. Practice describing what you see, what you feel and what you think. Practice perspective taking, spend time observing people and things around you and allow yourself to just feel those things in the moment. Read as much as you can. Every moment in which you are truly present makes your life richer and in turn will make your writing richer too.

 

eBook Review Gal Author Interview with Rebecca Hubbard ABOUT REBECCA HUBBARD

Rebecca J. Hubbard is a master’s level Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over twenty years of experience working with children and their families. She began writing short stories as a child for her own amusement and enjoyment. Rebecca discovered that she could facilitate the healing of her young clients by writing stories for them.

Currently, Rebecca works at Spirit Reins as a clinician and as the clinical supervisor where she practices Natural Lifemanship, ™ a Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy™ model.

Rebecca is a native Texan, who enjoys spending time with friends and family, including her two dogs, Idgie and Sully, and her two horses, Cash and Cloud. She also loves to read, paint and garden. Rebecca encourages readers to connect with her via her website and Amazon Author Page.

*Interview by Susan Barton, eBook Review Gal/My Book Tour

The Gift People's Book Prize

The Gift is currently a finalist in The People’s Book Prize Contest. You can submit your vote here. 

Stacy Harshman Author Interview

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 16, 2016 – Artist, musician and author Stacy Harshman will be releasing her first book, Crowning Glory, on June 26, 2016.

Crowning Glory by Stacy Harshman Book Cover Photo

What began as one woman’s attempt to bring herself out of a deep depression has turned into a valuable lesson for just about anyone. True to the book’s subtitle, Crowning Glory is indeed an “Experiment in Self-Discovery through Disguise”. A compelling social experiment, Crowning Glory reveals a great deal about human nature and perceived beauty.

Donning a fiery red wig, Ms. Harshman knew she’d found a way to collect some valuable research when passersby began taking immediate notice. Fueled with a sudden confidence as well as an intense curiosity, Stacy went on to don several subsequent wigs throughout a 5-week period. What she learned about herself as well as others was quite surprising. The full details are documented in Crowning Glory and we have the interview with the author here!

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Please tell readers a bit about your new book, Crowning Glory:

Crowning glory is a book that is a social experiment combined with a memoir. It started when I bought a long, red wig one late night on eBay. When I put the wig on, I felt transformed into a fiery, sexy and bold woman. When I wore the wig out into the world, people reacted to me very differently. Men and women both stared. One man threw his briefcase down on the ground, kneeled and asked me to take him home with him. I got a lot of attention. And I admit I loved it. I started wondering what it would be like if I had the same long hair, but different colors. How would I feel as a blond or brunette? How would people react to me?

I decided to find out and concocted a 5-week long experiment where I would live the life of a redhead, a blond, a raven-tressed woman and brunette, plus the last week was me with my own hair. I even hired an accomplice/spy to accompany me at all times and record data, like stare stats. The book is about the experiment and the adventures my spy and I have along the way, plus it is the story of my struggles with bipolar disorder and how the experiment helped me heal in ways I couldn’t have predicted.

Your book is certainly a unique one! How did you come up with the idea?

Wearing the initial red wig out and about in Manhattan and getting so much attention gave me the start of the idea.  I was amazed at how different I felt — fiery, confident, and fun – which was a huge change from how I had been feeling.  I had been fighting a long bout of depression and this wig wearing was a weird miracle.  It helped me feel good and gave me energy.   I decided to do the experiment out of curiosity and also give myself a steady structure and focus.

I was wondering about how I would feel and how people would react to me wearing the same wig but with different hair colors.  As I pondered the idea of doing some big hair experiment and writing about it, I walked under David Letterman’s “Late Night” marquee and realized that people do “Stupid Human Tricks.”  That was all the encouragement I needed!

What would you say was the most important thing you learned from your experiment?

To avoid comparisons with other people.  That’s a hard thing to do.  It’s cliché, but if you are jealous of someone then try to improve yourself in those areas you covet, but do it for yourself.

I’m proud of myself for doing the experiment.  At the time, I was in a deep depression and experiencing a great deal of social anxiety.  I needed something drastic to pull me out of it.  I was isolating and stuck in my apartment and head.  The experiment and spending so much time with my spy/assistant was a big challenge for me.  It might sound like a simple thing to do, but it took guts on my part.  I had to go against all the internal messages of “No way! I can’t!  I won’t …”   I found out I was stronger than I thought.  I needed the support, structure and friendship I found in the experiment.  That helped me heal.

So, sometimes throwing yourself into something new and scary, even playing dress up for a month straight, can lead to unforgettable adventures and experiences that show you who you really are.

What did you learn about other people?

Other people are affected by your appearance.  You are judged by your appearance.  I think once someone gets to know you that judgement lessens as they see the bigger/deeper picture of who you are.

What did you learn about yourself?

I’m affected by my own appearance!  I judge other people by their appearance, at first, too. I think we all do, on some level. I try to drop that judgement as soon as I have it and have an open mind.

During the experiment, I judged people less and opened up to others much more when I started to feel better and more confident about myself.   I think any negativity or criticism I felt towards others stemmed from the fact I wasn’t happy with, and didn’t have confidence within, myself.  I was afraid of being judged “unworthy’ or deemed “unwanted.”

I see from your website that you’re not only an author; you’re an interior designer, an artist and a musician. Tell us a little about each of these aspects of your life: 

Well, the writing manifested in “Crowning Glory.”  I also have a play called “Portraits of Vivienne” which is right on the verge of being finished. I just have to dive back in and figure out the ending!  I also have a children’s book in the works, called “Blub Blub the Baby Blue Whale.”  Bulb’s quest is to let the world know about the noise pollution in the ocean, which severely hurts whales and other aquatic mammals.

My music adventures began when I first arrived in NYC, back in 2002.  I wrote, played and recorded five albums of music.  I mainly sang, but also accompanied myself on keys, which I played out with my guitar player.  I had many fun and challenging experiences.

During my interior design career, I sold antique tribal rugs and also created a lighting design company.  Sourcing the rugs and then selling them was so much fun for me.  I really appreciate, admire and love handmade beauty that has a history.  My love of it and enthusiasm carried over into my customers.  They were thrilled with there finds and grateful to learn about the history and stories their new pieces of fiber art contained.

I also started a lighting company, called, Andarina Designs.   I was inspired by the antique, colorful glass swizzle sticks that I would see in vintage stores.  One day, I saw sunlight shining through a bunch of them and though, “I want to make a lamp out of that.”  So, I started to experiment and came up with two different lines of lighting.  That was a lot of fun for me.   The first lamps were made with original vintage swizzle sticks.  Then I discovered that a huge glass rod color palette was already available.  Combining colors and making my own palettes was heavenly!

My art is a current part of my life.  I paint on glass with special glass paints, encaustic wax and dried pressed flowers.  Again, color rules my world.  The depth and brightness of color I can bring out with these materials, grounded with the organic dried pressed flowers, truly makes me happy.

Where the heck do you find the time to do all these things?

I’ve actually taken a break from living in Manhattan and doing all these things.  I’m in Vermont now.  I volunteer on a therapeutic farm/ranch.  For example, today I’ve been planting onions in the garden, and tomorrow I will be taking care of llamas.  I still paint and teach people my multi-media technique here at the ranch.

You’re clearly driven. Where does your ambition and drive come from?

I want to make meaningful art and and have a meaningful connection with people.  I think that desire to connect fuels my drive and ambition.  Sometimes, I don’t feel connected and that is a painful place to be.

Living in NYC must have been exciting, since it put you right in the center of the arts, fashion and entertainment industry. 

Well, my life is very different now since I live in Vermont and work on a farm.   I was having a hard time with depression last year, and I decided I needed to move and get help.  So, I came to Vermont, and lived and worked on a Therapeutic Farm called Spring Lake Ranch.  I don’t live there anymore, but I do volunteer during the week.

How much has your life changed since moving from your hometown in Illinois?

Wow.  I’ve had so many lifetimes since then.  I’ve lived in Central America, Europe, Canada, New York and now Vermont.

In Illinois, I lived in a very secluded community and didn’t have much news from or dealings with the outside world.  Obviously, this has completely changed.   I do feel like my explorations have led me to a small, working community here in Vermont where I feel more comfortable.  So maybe I’m still a country girl after all.

Do you have any new books in the works?

I want to finish my play, “Portraits of Vivienne.”  It deserves to be finished.   I’d also love to find someone to help me with “Blub Blub the Baby Blue Whale.”  I really feel strongly about educating kids about the noise pollution in the ocean and what it does to whales and dolphins.

What advice would you give other writers who may be sitting on the fence about publishing their book?

Well, I would first work with an experienced, professional editor before you publish.  At first, I didn’t want to do it.  I thought my book didn’t need it.  My book was well-served by doing this.  It gives me reassurance that grammatical issues aren’t going to get in the way.

I really wanted an agent to pick up my book.  I was disappointed when that didn’t happen, but I think going ahead and self-publishing is the way to go.  I think you should get it out there, in whatever way that works best for you.  You’ve worked this long and hard – you and your book deserve to be heard!

 

eBook Review Gal Author Interview with Stacy Harshman ABOUT STACY HARSHMAN:

Stacy Harshman recently relocated from NYC to Vermont where she currently works on a therapeutic farm.  After a Midwestern childhood in a family of designers, antique dealers, and equestrians, Stacy traveled extensively before finding a home in New York City, which she still maintains.

Always driven toward creative expression, Stacy writes fiction, memoir and essays, and has written and recorded five albums of original music.

Her passion for color and pattern led to the launch of Andarina Designs, a custom lighting design company. Stacy is inspired by women all over the world, working in community partnerships to produce beautiful and sustainable work. Currently, her favored form of expression is mixed media painting-collages. She devotes her time to animals and to the healing arts.

Stacy invites readers to connect with her on her website and on Facebook.

“CROWNING GLORY” IS SET FOR RELEASE ON JUNE 26, 2016, BUT YOU CAN PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY HERE.

 

Interview with Blake Gardner, Author of Inhuman Emergence: Innocence

Blake Gardner Author Photo 1

In anticipation of Blake Gardner’s upcoming Virtual Book Tour for “Inhuman Emergence: Innocence” (November 30th thru December 4th) via My Book Tour, I took the opportunity to interview the author. Blake had some interesting things to say about the first book in his new series and about writing in general.

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Q. Tell us a little about your new book, “Inhuman Emergence: Innocence”.

A. The book is a statement about the human condition. Society is so connected and intertwined. This is the opening book, an introduction to a world where the boundaries between the minds of people’s separate conscious and subconscious minds are grayed.

Q. What book genre would you say your book falls under?

A. The premise of the book is paranormal. Portions of it could be called science fiction, and some would agree that it is a science fiction novel but I tend to think of it as a paranormal one.

Q. Your main character, Owen, is a teenager. Will “Inhuman Emergence: Innocence” still appeal to readers of any age? Why?

A. It will, I know this from the ages of people I have sold the book to. Why would an older person want to read a book for a younger crowd? One thing for me stands out: it’s more family friendly. An adult might want to read a children’s book for the same reason they wouldn’t want their child to read Fifty Shades of Grey. Not that it’s a terribly written book but some things you just can’t unread.

Q. Did you always want to be an author?

A. There’s no simple way to answer that. I have always had an ability to write. The important thing is I want to be an author now. People have always encouraged me to write, some even suggested that I become an author before it occurred to me. It happened shortly after college that I decided I wanted to. I felt like the profession was calling me.

Q. How long did it take you to complete “Innocence”?

A. It took me over a year to complete. It was slow working on it at first. I didn’t know quite where I wanted to take the novel. It was just a hobby then, I had a day job and I would come home and write at night.

Q. Who are some of your favorite authors?

A. I enjoy many different authors. Tolkien, Rand, and Rowling just to name a few.

Q. If you could spend the day with any famous person – past, present or future – who would it be and what would you do together?

A. I would spend a day with Homer. There may be a language barrier, so I would study his native tongue before I visited him. His work was an inspiration to not only me, but many others over the centuries. I would have many questions about his work. After I ask him about the Iliad and the Odyssey, we’d enjoy a nice drink and a meal.

Q. When will the next installment of the “Inhuman Series” be out?

A. I hope it will be out next year, which means I will have to complete it soon. But don’t worry I’ve been busy working on it.

-END OF INTERVIEW-

Blake Gardner Author Photo 2

ABOUT BLAKE GARDNER

Blake Gardner is a debut author from Michigan. He has always had a love of reading. Writing interested him from a young age. For a short period, Blake found himself without a driver’s license and decided to write a book with all his spare time. “You can think of a great number of imaginative things while waiting,” Blake says.

He loves sharing his work with readers. Blake encourages readers to connect with him via his website, and on Twitter and Facebook.

*My Book Tour will be hosting Blake’s upcoming book tour for “Inhuman Emergence: Innocence” from November 30th thru December 4th. Blake is generously giving away FIVE signed copies of his book, so please stop by to say hello and enter the giveaway.

PURCHASE “INHUMAN EMERGENCE: INNOCENCE” ON AMAZON

*AUTHOR INTERVIEW AND MEDIA KIT PREPARED BY SUSAN BARTON, MY BOOK TOUR.

Why Bad Things Happen to Round Characters

It was a pleasure chatting with Shannon!

Shannon A Thompson

Announcements:

In my latest interview with eBook Review Gal, I discuss my favorite types of self-promotion, my novels, and more! A small excerpt is below, but you can read the full interview by clicking here.

“What would readers be surprised to know about you?

I quit publishing for five years. I honestly gave up all hope, and it took me a long time to gain confidence in myself and in my writing life again. If it weren’t for the encouraging readers on Wattpad, I don’t know if I would’ve found the courage to return. Readers are powerful. They are the best friends of authors, so I’m eternally grateful for every person who has taken even one minute to check out my work or email me.”

Why Bad Things Happen to Round Characters:

I spend a lot of time on the blogosphere. I read book reviews, comment on discussions…

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Interview with me at eBook Review Gal

WHAT THE HELL

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There’s a new interview with me at eBook Review Gal, a site that provides a terrific marketing platform for indie authors. Many of the options are free of charge — such as author interviews — so run over there and have a look if you’re a self-publisher looking for new avenues for reaching readers.

Thanks, Susan!

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Pie: An Old Brown Horse – Interview With the Author

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo, author of Pie: An Old Brown Horse. For more information on Kandy Kay’s book, please view the sweet and touching video below: