Friday, October 28, 2011

Interview with Traci Harding

Welcome to Strange Candy Reviews, Traci. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions.

My pleasure, Jo-Anne.  Thank you for promoting Australian books and authors J

For readers who haven’t heard of you, can you give us a quick overview of your books?
Gosh, I hope you mean the titles and not the storylines!

I’m an Australian science-fantasy author, who has fifteen books in publication on the Voyager label of HarperCollins Publishers (four trilogies and three stand alone novels). My next book ‘The Light-field’ will be released in Feb 2012, with another trilogy ‘The Timekeepers’ to follow.

My first book The Ancient Future has featured regularly on the Dymocks’ Top 101 Books.  It also made the ABC’s Lists, ‘Most Loved Books of All Time’, ‘Favourite Australian Book’ and has been reprinted over 35 times.  Along with my stand alone novel The Alchemist's Key, The Ancient Future has been published in Complex Chinese.  The Mystique Trilogy is published in Russian, Czech, Slavic, and Romanian.

The Ancient Future Trilogy, Mystique Trilogy and the Triad of Being have been published in E-book format, and my second Trilogy The Celestial Triad and the stand alone novels will be released on E-book in 2012.

The Ancient Future, Gene of Isis and Being of the Field are released in Audio Book format through Bolinda Audio and are available through iTunes and Amazon as a Digital download.

The Alchemist’s Key is currently optioned to ‘Dragonlight Productions’ and is being developed as a feature film project. 


Have you ever had to do any kind of research for your books?
I have had to do all kinds of research for my books, everything from the ancient mysteries, esoteric, occult, and various religious doctrines, (including the Australian aboriginal dreamtime).  I’ve also researched the ancient cultures of the Celts of Britain, the legends of Atlantis, ancient Egypt, Rome, Sumeria and most recently … well, I can’t really say as that would be a spoiler.  All this research is due primarily to the reincarnating and time traveling tendencies of my characters.  Most of my books are set, or visit, other dimensions, galaxies, universes, the future and levels of consciousness, so there is also a huge amount of scientific research involved, particularly quantum physics.

What’s your favourite genre to write about? 
Time travel is a theme I toy with often in my tales, and as I cannot seem to stay on this planet in the present day, science-fantasy is the only genre for me!  When a reader opens one of my books they expect to be swept away on an adventure to another time and place entirely, have their concept of life and reality broadened by the experience, and have a frolicking good time in the bargain - I aim to deliver just that.

In your opinion what makes for great lead characters? 
Given that my books have a spiritual undertone, I need a lead character who leads by example.  Someone with good moral fiber, an open mind, respect for others and the heart and belief in themselves, to follow their personal life quest, no matter how challenging.
What, for you, determines a characters personality? Are they ever inspired by people you know or meet?
My characters are nearly always inspired by people I know, have known, or wish to know.  Their personality is determined by their past really, and many of my characters have a very long history.

Is there a certain type of music you listen to when writing?
Always!  When I was in Celtic Britain it was Clannad and Loreena McKennitt – for Atlantis it was the Dead Can Dance - in space it was Pink Floyd and Brian Eno and for the future, just about anything chill.  In my forthcoming book, ‘the Light-field’ I was actually granted permission to use lyrics from a song by Lindsay Tomasic called ‘Starman’, who is one the characters in the book.  We think this the first time a music artist and an author have collaborated at the book stage of a story!  I say collaborated as Lindsay’s song actually influenced my storyline, so I had to use it J  At present, I am listening to loads of … well, I can’t really tell you that either, as that would be a spoiler too!

NOTE :  I listen to music to formulate the story – when I’m in my car etc – but when I actually write I prefer silence.  I find music invokes the story, so if I forget where the story was going, I’ll go back and listen to the music and that will remind me.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The most amazing thing my characters have taught me is that I create my own reality. Not only that, but they taught me how to create a better life for myself, and according to my readers I am not the only one they have influenced to make changes to their attitude, beliefs, job, religion, partner, life path etc for the better – my characters are a very inspiring lot.

How did you feel the first time your book was accepted for publishing?
It was of course very exciting, but as the late and very great Steve Jobs advised, “Never dwell on any of your successes too long – always be looking to the next project.”  That is me to a T.  When HarperCollins accepted my first book for publication, it was a one book deal; so for me there was a real sense that it was ‘game on’ if I washed to make a career out of writing.  I was already halfway through writing the next book by the time HarperCollins were asking me for more, and I haven’t stopped writing since!  To make it as a writer in this country you have to have that kind of dedication, but then I do LOVE my work.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Well, I don’t know how many writers strike up conversations with their characters, but I do it all the time.  Much like a clairvoyant would invoke a spirit, I’ll call in one of my characters for a chat, and roll play a scene or conversation that I think needs to take place, or ask the character questions that might help sort out the plot.  Obviously, this is a practice best left for when you are alone J

What do you like to do when your not writing?
Outside of writing I spend as much time as I can with my children, doing the family thing.  To keep fit I do a Pilates routine, at least three times a week, that was put together for me by a dear friend – thanks Lisa!  The trouble with being self-employed is that you never really stop working – well, me anyway.  As I mentioned above, no sooner have I finished one story than I am starting on the next one - or at least heavily researching for it - so I don’t get to do much pleasure reading either!  Still, when I do, I like to read books by local Aussie authors.  Some of those I’ve read most recently are Kim Wilkins aka Kimberley Freemen, Belinda Alexandra, Grant Hyde, Christopher Ride, Jessica Shirvington and Kate Morton.  I do manage to get a bit of socializing into my schedule, and there is nothing I enjoy more than like together with a few friends over Strawberry Margaritas!

Thanks for the chance to chat, Jo-Anne.  If your readers would like to know more about me they can visit my new website :
Or the Traci Harding Message Boards at Trazling Castle :
Or my Face book Pages -
Traci Harding Fans :
Trazling on Facebook
The Alchemist’s Key Movie

I do have some special things happening over Xmas this year in the lead up to the release of the third book of the Triad of Being - ‘The Light-field’ in February 2012 – so if readers will check in with any of the above sites they won’t miss out on any of the excitement!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Interview & giveaway with M.J Scott

Welcome to Strange Candy Reviews, M.J. Thanks for joining us!

Thanks for having me on your blog!

For those who have not yet heard about your book, can you tell us a bit about it?

Shadow Kin is a dark fantasy. It’s about a half-Fae assassin who botches her current assignment. Because of that her world begins to fall apart.

How did you feel when your book had been picked for publishing?

Thrilled! I was at work and got an email from my agent that said we had an offer. I had to casually stroll off to a meeting room so I wouldn’t start jumping up in down in the middle of the office. Though by the time I got the final offer it was more thrilled and exhausted as it was a two week process that involved many sleepless nights!

What has been the most exciting thing that has happened to you since your book was released?

Having a book launch a few weeks ago was lots of fun—there was a queue of people to get a signed copy. But really, just knowing that people are reading and liking the book is the most exciting part.

I love the world and characters you have created in Shadow Kin. How did the idea for it come about?

It was one of those books that sprang up from nowhere. I’d written two books in an urban fantasy series that was being shopped by my agent and another more futuristic urban fantasy and was trying to figure out what to write next, playing with a few ideas. Then one night I was lying in bed, almost falling asleep and a voice in my head literally said “revenge is silent”. At first I almost ignored it but then the voice said it again and I started thinking “why is revenge silent?” and started to get the first scene and had to get up and write for an hour or so. By the time I’d finished that scene I had my heroine and hero and the basics of the world. Which is a longwinded way of saying “I don’t really know with this one”.

Is there one place you'd love to go but have never been before?

I’d love to go to Tuscany. Whenever I see pictures of that region in magazines or movies, it just looks beautiful. I want to live in a villa in Tuscany and eat great food for a few months.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote my first stories when I was quite young…around seven or eight. I wrote stuff off and on throughout high school but then did the sensible thing and picked a sensible career. Because working writers were sort of fabled mythical creatures. But the stories never really went away and I decided I really wanted to give it another go about ten years ago.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I still have a part time day job, so it varies. On day job days I write after work (and sometimes on the train or at lunch if I really need the time). I try and do four pages or so on those days. On non day job days, I tend to write in the afternoons (and sometimes at night). My muse, like me, is not a morning person. I aim for more pages on those days.

What do you think makes a good story?

For me, it’s the characters. Give me interesting characters doing interesting things and make me care about them. Make them real and flawed and entertaining. If you do that and have good world building, I don’t mind the odd plot hole and will read away happily. But if you have a brilliant plot but boring characters (or worse boring characters and boring plot) chances are that book is not going to be finished.

If you could tell aspiring writers one thing, what would it be?

Listen to your stories to find what you really want to write, write a LOT, read a LOT, do whatever you can do to learn about writing and publishing and don’t give up.

Name five things you can't live without.

Books, my cat, my iPod, dark chocolate and a computer.

M.J Scott is an unrepentant bookworm. Luckily she grew up in a family that fed her a properly varied diet of books and these days is surrounded by people who are understanding of her story addiction. When not wrestling one of her own stories to the ground, she can generally be found reading someone else’s. Her other distractions include yarn, cat butlering, dark chocolate and fabric. She lives in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is

Leave a comment with your email to win a copy of Shadow Kin from The Book Depository! Giveaway is international and ends 21st October! Just for fun, what are five things you can't live without?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Montana Wildfire by Rebecca Sinclair

Title: Montana Wildfire
Author: Rebecca Sinclair
Release date: June 9th 2011
Publisher: ePublishing Works
Available from: Amazon - Kindle edition
Amazon UK - Kindle edition
I received this book from the author.

After her father's sudden death, lovely Amanda Lennox had no money for the long trip from Boston to the ranch she'd inherited in faraway Seattle. When she sawa the advertisement for a "wilderness expert" to escort eleven-year-old Roger Bannister III to Montana, the adventure-loving beauty jumped at the chance, never guessing that she'd end up lost in the wilds of Idaho...with a twisted ankle. Then an arrogant halfbreed on a palomino stallion came to her rescue and comforted her with his healing touch. Amanda offered him a chaste kiss in gratitude, but the savage's sensuous gaze and rippling muscles aroused her maidenly passion. Tomorrow she'd be back in the saddle, but tonight she'd surrender to his fiery caresses and let him carry her over the threshhold of ecstasy, lost in his wild, rapturous embrace!

Rugged ranchhand Jacob Blackhawk Chandler knew from past experience that prissy white princesses meant trouble. He'd seen Amanda Lennox's type before-haughty and citified and utterly unequipped to survive in the wide open country. He couldn't just ride off and leave the lovely minx alone and hurt, but he sure wouldn't be taken in by that sweet come-hither smile! Then he lifted her from her horse, laid her on the soft ground to tend her swollen ankle, and felt a jolt of desire. Tomorrow he'd point her in the direction of Montana, but tonight he'd kiss that luscious body from head to toe, capture her heart in a storm of passionate caresses, and show the Boston belle a night of ecstasy she'd never matter what state she was in!

Montana Wildfire is a little slow to start off, but don't give up or you will be missing out on a great read. Jake and Amanda have serious chemistry right from the get go, but they spend most of the book dancing around each other. You can almost cut the air with the tension these two generate. I loved Amanda's spunk and stubborn streak, although it gets her into a bit of trouble. She's not afraid to stand up for herself and has a tendency to speak before she thinks. Jake is majorly swoon worthy. His character is a force to be reckoned with, but as much as he tries to hide it, you get to see his vulnerability and it adds to his appeal. He is sex on legs and Amanda has a hard time dealing with him. Montana Wildfire is such and apt name for this book as these two set the pages alight! I think my Kindle almost short circuited! The setting is a great backdrop and conjured images of the wild west for me. I'm not a huge fan of historical romances, but if there are more like this then I'll definitely be reading them! So if you are after a steamy, sexy read grab a copy of Montana Wildfire.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Win a signed copy of the Goblin King by Shona Husk!

I am meeting Shona Husk this Saturday, so I thought I'd have a giveaway. To win a personalised signed copy of the Goblin King just leave your name and email in a comment. It's international and ends midnight Friday my time. You won't get any extra entries, but I would be grateful if you helped spread the word!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

BBA host for October

This month at the Book Bloggers Anonymous Goodreads group we are reading Working Stiff by Rachel Caine. If you'd like to join in, click on the BBA button on my sidebar that will take you directly to the Goodreads group. We will be reading Working Stiff from 1st - 15th October, then we have chapter discussions at BBA. As I am hosting this months BBA on my blog here, I'm hoping to have some fun stuff up over the next month, so stop by and I hope you'll join in!