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Mystic Romance

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview With Erin Quinn

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part for me is cutting through the noise and focusing. I find that I often have to write by hand in order to quiet my inner perfectionist and keep myself off the Internet of Distractions. The drawback of writing by hand, of course, is that I need a secret decoder ring to decipher my awful penmanship.

At what point do you think someone should call themselves a writer?

That’s an easy one. At the point where they start taking themselves seriously as a writer. I would say that usually comes after a full-length manuscript is completed from start to finish, but everyone has their own gauge for determining their goals. It took me years and several published books before I began answering “what do you do?” with “I’m a writer.”

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

Quiet. Coffee. My three dogs sleeping nearby. Time. An added bonus is if I have stashed chocolate somewhere that my husband hasn’t found.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

It’s nearly impossible to build a career off one book. No matter what happens with the first book–loved by all, hated universally, published with fanfare, published and forgotten–it doesn’t matter.  Each new book gives you the chance to be better.


If you are a writer and you aren’t loving writing, you’re probably writing the wrong thing.

Both came from a wonderful friend and bestselling author Jennifer Ashely. So talented and wise.

If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be? 

I’ve been fortunate to have a wide circle of author friends so I already feel like I’ve been mentored by many famous authors and they all have my undying gratitude. 

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

I just finished a novella that is part of a series written with two of my besties. They are small-town holiday romances that revolve around a glitch in a dating app. It was so much fun to write and they are releasing this week exclusively on Kindle Unlimited.

Miss Taken, by Erin Quinn

Miss Behaving, by Calista Fox

Miss Matched, by Pepper Swan

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An interview with Julie Zantopoulos

How many hours a day do you write?

I love that the question assumes I write every day because I do. I spend at least two hours a day working on writing or author-related tasks. On weekends, I write the majority of the day on/off. Making writing a daily habit was really important to me. 

If you were a casting agent for the movie version of A Curse in Ash who would you cast for the main roles?

As an author with aphantasia (I don’t see pictures in my head), it’s hard to fan-cast my books. However, I do have picture inspiration for characters. You can see the book’s Pinterest board at That may give you the best idea of what I was picturing for my world and characters.

But I can say that Brynach has always been the model Brock O’Hurn and Riordan has always been close to Julian Morris from Pretty Little Liars. Aisling is more a Molly Quinn, but when she was on Castle as Nathan Fillian’s daughter-a feisty and independent redhead. 

What were some of your favorite books when you were growing up?

Young Julie was a voracious reader. I read a lot of Nancy Drew, The Babysitter’s Club, The Secret Garden, and Where the Red Fern Grows. Recently I reread a book I found at my parent’s house that I remember loving. It’s a middle-grade horror that is truly frightening (not to mention problematically sexist looking back on it). It was Christina’s Ghost by Betty Ren Wright-you’ve been warned-but it’s a great book for the spooky season.

What was your hardest scene to write?

There was a scene towards the end of the book that I can’t mention for spoiler reasons, that absolutely broke me. The hardest scenes for me are always the ones that require me to dig deep into emotions and put myself into a character’s shoes. This particular scene happened on the last of three rewrites (yes three) and I truly didn’t know it was going to happen. I was doing video chat sprints with a writer friend and they looked up and I was sobbing and just said, “Something just happened that makes the story so much better, but I’m not okay right now.” And I just let myself cry. So, yeah, that was hard.

Can you tell us all about Pages and Pens, your YouTube channel? 

It started as a passion project where I could discuss books and grow a community. I just wanted to rave about what I was reading, and for a long time, that’s all I did. Then I branched out into author-related content as I got more serious about my writing and querying process. My online community has seen A Curse in Ash from inception to completion. I have a lot less time for reading now that I’m focused on a writing career but the joy that comes from Pages and Pens hasn’t wavered at all. I’m very thankful for my bookish community, which is why A Curse in Ash is dedicated to them. It’s been incredible to be supported and encouraged the way they have. They truly are the best.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

There’s always something in the pipeline for me! I am currently nearing the end of the sequel to A Curse in Ash and will immediately move on to fast drafting book three (the conclusion-I think). Once they’re both finished I’ll go back and edit book two and get it ready for critique partners and editors. I also have two adult women’s fiction novels, one I’m querying for agents and another that still needs editing. I plan to indie publish the In Ash series of books and traditionally publish women’s fiction. But, who knows, things may change and I may indie publish them all. But, I definitely want to finish telling Aisling, Riordan, and Brynach’s story first. As far as teasers, I can promise the spice and the stakes both increase in future books, and considering how high they were in book one, that’s saying something.

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview with Lucy Smoke

If you could escape into one of the worlds you’ve created in your books, what character would you become and why?

It really depends. Haha. Unfortunately, the majority of my characters have some sort of internal damage and I don’t know if I’d want that. But I’d love their strength and fortitude. I think, though, I’d personally like to go in as just myself and see how I would adapt to a new world–contemporary or fantasy.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

I’m a night owl, so my work schedule generally starts late afternoon and moves into the early morning. I usually do my research, outlining, and admin duties in the afternoons, and anywhere between 7 pm-1 am I’ll find myself writing. I’m addicted to writing, so I generally write every day if I can help it.

Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?

I love all of my characters, but with that said, I do love some more than others. In my fantasy works, Barbie is my favorite (from the Barbie: The Vampire Hunter series). In my contemporary works, Avalon is my favorite (from Sick Boys). These two have a lot in common. They’re both brash and aggressive. They don’t back down from challenges, yet at the same time, they have flaws and wounds from their childhoods. They’re special to me because of those flaws of theirs. 

Characters who are perfect and always good don’t interest me because I can’t see them being real people, but these two, Barbie and Avalon, aren’t always likable, but just because they aren’t likable doesn’t mean they aren’t loveable. 

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Pretty much anything and everything. I draw inspiration from real life, from my own past and childhood, as well as stories I hear on the internet, on the radio, from friends and colleagues. I want to make my characters as human as possible with their wants and desires and dreams. They may be fictional to readers, but in my mind, there’s so much beneath the surface of their characterization and bringing them to life on the page. 

If you could ask one successful author three questions about their writing, writing process, or books, what would they be?

Well, first, I feel like “success” is in the eye of the beholder so that makes it hard for me to determine who I would ask and what I would ask because those questions would change depending on the author in question and their expertise. Generally, though, I might ask about the mental fortitude it takes to be an author and what they do to cope or harness the varying levels of their craft and how they are perceived by readers. 

I can only be who I am and they can only be who they are, but other authors will understand that working in the publishing industry isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be a “successful” author. We do it because we love it and I enjoy hearing people just talk about what makes them happy. So I’d ask what about this industry they love and why they keep writing. 

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

Currently, I’m working on the next book in the Sick Boys series. It’s become my most popular series to date under both my fantasy pen name (Lucinda Dark) and my contemporary pen name (Lucy Smoke). The original trilogy has been completed, but I have follow-up stories in standalone format for the side characters that everyone fell in love with. The expected release date is October 2021 (so next month!). 

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview with Amanda Ashley

What three qualities does an irresistible love interest have to have?

  • Sex Appeal
  • Humor
  • Kindness

How do you find new inspiration when you’re feeling stuck? 

I have no clue. New ideas just pop into my head. Sometimes it’s just a first line, which was the case with one of my old historicals. The line was, “He was dying, and he didn’t care”. (Midnight Fire) Well, that prompted a lot of questions. Why was he dying? Why didn’t he care?

What special challenges did you face making your story stand out from others in the genre?

I don’t really worry about that. When I write, I write mainly for myself and hope that what I like, my readers will like. I love writing paranormal stories because I can let my imagination run wild. Witches and werewolves, vampires, and time travel. There’s a whole world of possibilities.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Nothing. I’d just be a stay-at-home housewife.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?  

Joining the Orange Chapter of Romance Writers of America. I learned a lot at the monthly meetings, met a lot of published authors. Even got to meet Fabio, who was on the cover of one of my books.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

Just published is In the Dark of the Night, one of my fav stories. The back cover copy says:

In a time of desperation, Lorena Halliday’s father sells her into service to wealthy Lord Fairfield. After years of servitude and unwanted sexual advances, Lorena finds the courage to run away, only to be accosted by a man with a knife.

Standing on the roof of his home, Demetri witnesses the attack and goes to the young woman’s rescue. After dispatching her assailant, Demetri takes the unconscious woman to an inn and procures a room for her. After paying for a week in advance, he carries her up the stairs and tucks into bed. She is young and beautiful and her blood calls to him like no other.

Needing to see her again, Demetri returns to the inn and offers the lovely redhead a position in his home as his housekeeper. Desperate and with nowhere else to go, Lorena accepts. She soon discovers that her mysterious benefactor hides many secrets. Nevertheless, Lorena finds herself falling in love with a  man who lives In the Dark of the Night.

June 28th is the expected pub date for Surrender the Dawn. The back cover copy reads:

Angelina Rossi has always been fascinated with vampires. She loves the movies, the TV shows, the books. After reading a love story between a woman and a vampire, she finds herself yearning for a love like that. What if vampires really do exist?  

Determined to find out, she searches every Goth club in the city, ending up at a nightclub called Nick’s Nightmare. The attraction between Angie and Declan Nicolae, the club’s owner, is instant and undeniable.

Declan is an ancient vampire who, having once tasted Angie’s blood, is determined to never let her go. For a time, romance blooms and all is well, until Samantha, Angie’s best friend, becomes one of the Undead and Angie learns vampires do exist — and that the man she loves is one of them.

Travis and Sara would likely never have met if Travis hadn’t chosen her as his prey. Was it mere coincidence that brought the two of them to the same sleepy little town? Or the hand of Fate?

August 24th will see the publication of the last book in my Children of the Night series – Night’s Illusion. The cover copy reads:

Giovanni Lanzoni may just be the world’s oldest male virgin. Or at least, the oldest male virgin vampire. Giovanni has clung to the vows he made a thousand years ago as a mortal priest—yet he is no longer either of those things. Others of his kind have settled down since claiming immortality, finding love, even raising children. Sensing his loneliness, Mara, Queen of the Vampires, eagerly sets out to find Giovanni the perfect mate. But only one woman, met by chance on a dark night, truly tempts him . . Cassie Douglas has never met a man she trusts as much as Giovanni. Yet the shocking truth he reveals makes her question their deep connection. There are other urgent obstacles too. Giovanni’s sire, an ancient, dangerously powerful vampire, is awakening after centuries of slumber, with vengeance on his mind. And in the battle unfolding around them, everything is at risk—their lives, their loved ones, and a passionate eternity together . . .

These are all vampire romances.

I just finished a Western titled Kade, the first one I’ve written in a while. I’m really happy with it. I don’t have the cover copy yet, but it starts like this:

He stared up at the vast blue vault of the sky. He had always known this day would come. Any man who lived by the gun usually died that way. Even now, blood from the gunshot wound low in his left side was leaking through his fingers, soaking into the dirt beneath him.

         Only a matter of time, he thought. He might have had a chance of finding help if his horse hadn’t been shot out from under him. But maybe that was a good thing. When a warrior died, the People killed his favorite mount so the warrior’s spirit wouldn’t have to walk to the happy hunting ground. Kade grunted softly as he glanced at the dead mare. At least he had a good horse to carry him to the land of spirits.

         Resigned to his fate, he closed his eyes and waited for death.

Author Interviews

An Interview with Sandra Hill

Who is your favorite fictional couple?

Alexander and Tatiana from the Bronze Horseman series, or Jamie and Claire from Outlander

What three qualities does an irresistible love interest have to have?

Loyalty, sense of humor, an irresistible chemistry of attraction

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Just do it.  Like that saying attributed to Nora Roberts, “You can always fix a bad page.  You can’t fix a blank page.”  Also, I wish I had started writing novels earlier.  I’ve always been a writer, but I probably stayed with journalism longer than I should have.

If you could escape into one of the worlds you’ve created in your books, what character would you become and why?

There’s something to be said for all of them…Vangels, Cajuns, Outer Banks folks, Creole Louisiana, but I think I’d like to know some of the Viking Navy SEALs.  They’re outrageously sexy, and brave, and they know how to laugh at themselves.

How do you treat yourself? 

A good book.  Really.  There is nothing better than discovering a new-to-me author and glomming that author’s backlist.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date?

I just finished the second of my Tante Lulu Cajun prequels, Lulu’s Recipe For Cajun Sass.  And now I’ve returned to my Viking Navy SEALs series with The Caged Viking (or Viking in a Cage, not sure yet).  This book should have been done long ago, but what started as a long novella has gotten longer and longer so that it will end up at least a short novel.  
After that, I’d like to do a long Christmas novella in the Vangel series, though who knows how long it will be with my current record. This would be a reunion of the original vangels, plus some new characters.  My working title for this book is Vangels We Have Heard on High or Hark the Herald Vangels Sing.  I’m not happy with either of those.  Any suggestions?