In The Chair 43: Lauren Scharhag

Welcome, Lauren Scharhag.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Lauren: Disciplined. Evocative. Chameleonic.

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Lauren: Ha! What makes you think I don’t already? I feel like the story doesn’t come to life until the characters do. Most of the time, my characters dominate my head, which is okay. I kinda like their constant chatter. But if we’re talking about characters that I wish were living, breathing people, I’d have to say Christophe and Leopold, who first appear in the third book of The Order of the Four Sons series. They’re lifelong best friends. Basically, they have all the traits I admire: brilliant, kind, witty, resourceful, generous, courageous, loyal. Also, they can use magic. They could teach me.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Lauren: The Order of the Four Sons series is about a group of characters who get sucked through a series of interdimensional gates, so living in any one of those books would mean that it’s always possible to stumble into another world. Which appeals to the side of me that adores travel and novelty. But pretty much all of the characters in that story lead very dangerous lives. So am I a huge chicken for saying I think I’d prefer to watch from the sidelines? Of course, in my books, even that’s not necessarily a guarantee of safety. 

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

ScharhagLauren: Ooooh, I love to cook and entertain. I would throw a huge party and invite: Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, J.R.R. Tolkien, Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King. For hors d’oeuvres, there would be sardines on toast. There would be Cthulhu calamari, lobstrosity-stuffed mushrooms, mini mince pies and gunslinger burritos (carne asada wrapped in lettuce leaves). The main course would be would be simple and hardy roast chicken with carrots and potatoes (recipe approved by hobbits and house elves alike). There would be homemade breads with an assortment of jams and cheeses. There would be tea, of course, as well as absinthe, amontillado, Butterbeer and regular beer too. All the drinks would have “Drink Me” labels.

For dessert, all the cakes would be decorated with rose petals and have “Eat Me” iced on them. I would also have custards and trifles, blood orange sorbet, Turkish delight, Snow White candied apples, Snow Queen shaved ice cones and Harry Potter’s favorite treacle tart. After dinner, of course, I’d have pipe tobacco and hookahs ready for those who wish to partake…

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Lauren: Actually, I already write in multiple genres. So far, I’ve written children’s books, poetry, sci-fi/fantasy, horror and literary fiction. I’m an omnivore when it comes to reading too—I think that good literature transcends genre. It’s one of the best things about being an indie/small press author. There are no constraints. If I get an idea for a mystery, thriller, romance or anything else, I will write it. 

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Lauren: Marketing. I know I’m not alone on that—it’s so time-consuming, going out and plugging your work on social media, attending events, networking. I’d rather be writing.

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Lauren Scharhag was in the chair, author of: The Order of the Four Sons, Book One; releasing September 25th 2015

Web: http://www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com/

In The Chair 39: Mark Heath

Welcome, Mark Heath.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Mark: Detailed, evocative and immersive.

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Mark: Alyssia Thorne. She is the village herbalist and the gateway between the forest that encompasses the village and its inhabitants. She is fiercely intelligent and that is a major attraction. She exhibits great skill and demonstrates genuine empathy for others, again both attractive qualities. The fact she is part flower could result in an interesting outcome from any coupling !

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Mark: I would be Gabriel Vindicta who is a witch hunter. Think Dirty Harry with the might of the One True God backing him rather than a magnum .44 . Vindicta does good but with a ruthless efficiency.

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Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Mark: Iain Banks, Charles II, Uma Thurman and Eddie Izzard. I would serve a cheese and pineapple party hedgehog with Vimto.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Mark: Erotic literature. I would love to be able to write a sex scene without wanting to laugh.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Mark: Having to go to bed with scenes and plot lines whirring in my mind and consequently keeping slumber at bay.

Favourite word?

Mark: I love the word plinthe. It feels satisfying to say it. I also like verdant as my elder son surprised me by using it in a story when he was very young.51fQNAF7gHL._AA160_

Mark Heath was in the chair, author of: The Fragile Fall of Tallow Bridge.

Web: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00YD0JJ5A/

In The Chair 36: Wendy Steel

Welcome, Wendy Steele.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Wendy: Character-driven, inspirational and lyrical.

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Wendy: Aidan was the first male character I created and I love him. Confident but not brash, Aidan is happy cruising on a yacht in the Med or eating chips in a field in Glastonbury. As a landscape gardener he resonates with earth energy and is passionate and gentle. As an introverted writer, I’d be happy to go anywhere with this relaxed, fun loving man.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Wendy: As the Standing Stone book series is based in and around Lampeter, Wales I feel I’m already in these books! I would love to be in Angel’s circle of friends in the Lilith Trilogy, learning from her diverse magical experience.

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Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Wendy: Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman and Dion Fortune…sparks would fly! It would be vegetarian Indian cuisine, recipes and home made spices courtesy of my great friend Aditi.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Wendy: Science fiction would be my choice as I’m passionate about this planet and would love to write about earth’s future in the context of a diverse, accessible universe.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Wendy: I’m a typical writer, full of self doubt and rather shy so, marketing is tough. Sticking with the honest approach, I’ve recently started sharing my magic on my blog, helping readers identify the person behind the author of magical realism.

Favourite word?

Wendy: I love words! ‘Flibbertigibbet’ is a favourite, we even named our adopted feral cat Jibby and I’ve always liked ‘elbow’. For description, I love ‘cerulean’ and ‘susurration’.

Wendy Steele was in the chair: Author of The Standing Stone series (second book – Silence is broken – out today); The Lilith Trilogy & several short stories.

Web: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

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In The Chair 35: D.J.Bennett

Welcome, D. J. Bennett.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Debbie: Gritty, graphic, up-close-and-personal. Are hyphens cheating?

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Debbie: It’d have to be my bad-boy Lenny. He’s the only one I fancy. And since he’s as good with women as he is with guns, I suspect it would be a thrilling – if very dangerous – ride! I’d have to be thirty years younger, but since this is fiction, I don’t suppose it’d be a problem.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Debbie: All my crime books are set in contemporary England and mostly inner-city, or at least urban. Since I’m generally wallowing in the dregs of society, I don’t think I’d want to be a central character in any of my books, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be a minor character and risk being killed off. So I’d probably have to lurk – and interfere, of course. I’m good at interfering.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

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Debbie: I’ve been lucky enough to have eaten and/or got drunk with most of my favourite living authors already. People are never how you expect them to be, are they? So let’s go for dead ones. as they can’t talk back. Or am I bringing them to life for one night in some amazing feat of reincarnation? What about somebody like John Wyndham, maybe? With Robert Heinlein and Aldous Huxley. All hugely influential on my 11 year-old mind and set me off wanting to write stories too… What would we eat? A pub meal somewhere, nice and informal so we could concentrate on chatting. But there would have to be wine. Lots of wine.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Debbie: My writing roots are firmly set in fantasy – contemporary and epic. I’ve been involved in the fantasy scene for a couple of decades, dabbling in fiction and running conventions. If I wasn’t writing crime, I’d be back there playing with psychic stuff, world-jumping, telepathy and all that kind of thing. In fact I have an urban fantasy to finish when I’m done with my current crime project.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Debbie: Not having a life? Sometimes it’d be nice to not have anything to do. I’d love to sit down of an evening and watch television, without feeling the itch to put fingers to keyboard. Even when I’m not writing, I’m plotting. I’d be lovely to not feel that pressure.

 Favourite word?

Debbie: Love? No – that’s cheesy and nobody would believe it. What about Awesome? I say that a lot. But they don’t really mean anything do they? I use lots of words and I don’t have favourites as that wouldn’t be fair on the others. Can I have simply Bollocks? Or is that too rude? It just kind of sums up my attitude sometimes …

D. J. Bennett was in the chair: Author of  The Hamlin’s Child series, several short stories & a fantasy; Edge of Dreams.

Web: http://debbie-bennett.blogspot.co.uk/

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In The Chair 34: Sophie Croft

Welcome, Sophie Croft

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Sophie: Fantasy. Fairy tale. Absorbing.

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Sophie: The kraken; communicating non verbally with a cephalopod would be a fantastic experience!

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Sophie: Indigo’s Deep. I’d like to be the mysterious sea witch.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Sophie: Arthur C Clark, Maya Angelou, Heinrich Harrer, Isabel Allende, Oscar Wilde, Ursula Le Guin, Shakespeare, Anne Frank. Lots of vegetarian Indian dishes.

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If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Sophie: Historical. Bringing history alive through a good story is such a magical and worthwhile thing to do.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Sophie: What sitting at the keyboard does to my body.

Favourite word? Sophie: Believe

Sophie Croft was in the chair: Author of ‘Indigo’s Dragon, published by Accent Press.

Blog: https://croftdragon.wordpress.com/

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In The Chair 32: Matt Posner

Welcome, Matt Posner.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Matt: Dialogue-driven, efficient, ironic.

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Matt: Most of my characters are teenagers, and I am not, so there’s an obvious mismatch. But assuming ages could be equalized (I to hers, or she to mine) I would like to be with Simon’s fiancée in book 3 – Ana Vorkina, the Czech wizard. She is passionate and radiates a powerful life-force, and those things are a good contrast with my natural introversion.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Matt: I would absolutely like to live inside School of the Ages for a week. In fact, since the dean of the school looks exactly like me, maybe I DO live there. I am always the hero or the villain of my own story, but realistically I’m too timid to do more than watch the story unfold from the sidelines.

T.S. Eliot has stated my identity pretty precisely in “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”: No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; 

Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous…

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Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Matt: Colin Wilson, who recently died, is a man I bitterly regret never having met; I wish I had tried to write to him before he passed, but I was too timid. I would invite him first. Not that they would like each other, but I’d like to meet J.R.R. Tolkien and Ezra Pound, two writers who have blown me away with their style. And of course, I have many living writer friends I have never met in person with whom I would dearly love to break bread, beginning with a kind gentleman who has advised me well in the past: Andre Jute.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Matt: I hope that someday I will write thrillers. Not soon – I don’t have enough great ideas for them yet – but I think this is a genre in which I can connect to a larger readership than with my YA or my nonfiction.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Matt: I don’t like the commercial aspect of it. Though being self-published is preferable to being screwed by a publisher (which has also happened to me), I see the big disconnect between the trends in popular taste that control success, and the impulse to follow my own sense of what I would like to read and must therefore write. I don’t like seeing low-quality authors, like E.L. James, make massive sales because they have hit the trend jackpot. If I try to write what’s trendy, I’ll be insincere and the work will suck. If I write what my instincts tell me, I have the psychological torture of monitoring limp sales figures.

 Favourite word? 

Matt: I am digging lately the expression from Hamlet, “miching mallecho.” It means “sneaky evil-doing,” where “mallecho” is Shakespeare’s version of Spanish “mal hecho”. Sample sentence:
“James Patterson’s new ‘learn how to write’ online course is one more example of miching mallecho from the ex-marketing exec.”

Matt Posner was in the chair: Author of the YA series – School of the Ages and several non-fiction titles.

Web:http://schooloftheages.webs.com/

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In The Chair 2: John Hudspith

Welcome, John Hudspith

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

John: Imaginative. Tight. Irreverent.

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

John: Patina from the Kimi books. With eyes that change colour every two minutes and the ability to store 100 secretaries up her skirt, what’s not to love?

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

John: Kimi’s Fear – Heart is such a beautiful place, what with the talking monkeys and roast dodo on the menu. Oh, and I’d play God.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

John: Charles Dickens, Mark Gatiss, Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie. I’d serve suckling pig and sticky ribs with jam roly-poly in chocolate custard and yard-arms of raspberry cider. A grand hoot would be had.

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 If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

John: A few of my writers keep urging me to write erotica. You’d blow the rest away, they say. Maybe I would. Maybe I will.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

John: Writer’s arse.

Favourite word?

John: Discombobulated.

John Hudspith was in the chair: author of Kimi’s Secret, Kimi’s Fear. 

WEB: http://www.johnhudspith.co.uk/

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