Josh Matthews - Drop and Give me 20! 20 Hard Questions for Hard Authors




Josh Matthews

Pre Question - So, who are you? 

I’m a former New Englander, born and raised right outside of Boston, who now lives in north Florida with my wife, teenage step-daughter, and four lovable but exasperating pets. I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for twenty-three years, which provided me the opportunity to travel around the world and be exposed to numerous cultures, many of which will appear in the Hell Gate saga. I’ve always been a fan of horror novels and monster movies, and the Hell Gate saga is my way of sharing that love with a new generation of fans.


1. Are you “An Author” -or- “A Writer”? What’s the difference? A writer. To me, the word author conjures up negative images of self-absorbed people bragging about their book that will change the world, like Brain Griffin on Family Guy. I consider myself a story teller. I’m not attempting to portray the human condition or make some brilliant political statement with Hell Gate. All I’m trying to do is tell the story of a sixteen-year-old boy attempting to save the world by closing down the gates to Hell that his mother inadvertently opened. 


2. What is your biggest failure? Not having my own biological children. I am blessed to have a step-daughter who I consider my own child, and who sees me as her dad. The woman I was previously married to for twenty years never wanted children; because I stayed with her for so long, I deprived myself of the chance of being a biological father. 


3. What is the worst lie you ever told? 

You’re right – these are tough questions. When I was younger, I used to date several women at the same time and not tell the others about each other. I’ve matured since then. 

Josh the Lothario??

Josh the Lothario??


4. Do you Google yourself? 

Not often. I have Google Alert and Alert Talker that daily search the web and inform me when my name or the title of my book is picked up. When I do Google myself, it’s only to see if websites have posted reviews of Hell Gate that I’m not aware of. 


5. How would your friends describe you? And what about your worst enemy?  

The two words most of my friends would use to describe me are loyal and fun. I stand by people who are good to me, sometimes to my own detriment (although, the older I get the more likely I am not to hang around people who refuse to help themselves).  I’m the type of guy who makes the inappropriate joke at the inappropriate time, but since most of my friends think the way I do, they usually try and stifle their laughter rather than glare at me disapprovingly. 

As for my enemies, I don’t care how they would describe me as long as they’re not bad-mouthing me on social media, and even then I only care because I have my reputation as a writer to protect. These people are enemies for a reason. 


6. What is your creative Kryptonite? 

Since I work full-time as a writer, I often put in ten-hour days six or seven days a week either writing, editing, or marketing. After a few months I develop mental gridlock. My remedy is to put aside the writing and spend time with the family, binge watch TV, read a few books from my massive “to read” list, and play video games until I reach that boss fight I can’t beat. I find that after a few days the creative ideas start coming back to me and I want to go back and continue writing. 


7. What popular movie/book/music, which others adore, do you secretly despise? 

Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t despise the series because I’m jealous of her fame and fortune (okay, maybe I’m a little jealous). Stephanie brilliantly found a niche in the young adult market and tapped into it. My complaint is that everyone talks about what a great vampire novel she wrote. She didn’t. Stephanie wrote a very popular young adult romance that happened to be quirky and caught the audience’s imagination because she made the male character a sparkling teenage vampire. It’s how she portrayed vampires that turned me off. Maybe I despise the saga because I’m old school – I grew up watching vampires that didn’t date teenage girls but drank their blood and turned them into minions of the undead. 


8. What is the worst criticism you ever received? How did it make you feel? 

I’m a writer, which means I have an enlarged ego and think everything I write is the most brilliant work published since Hemingway or, in my case, Lovecraft. When a reader doesn’t give me a five-star review and eight paragraphs of praise on Amazon, my self-esteem gets slightly bruised. But truthfully, I don’t take to heart criticism of my work as long as it’s legitimate. (I had one person post on Amazon that he did not like my genre but decided to give my book a chance, became bored by the plot because it didn’t appeal to him, then gave me A three-star review but said the book was well written). I understand that everyone’s tastes are different, so if one or two people out of fifty don’t like my novel, I accept that. Now, if twenty-five people don’t like it, then I have to ask myself what’s wrong with it.  


9. What is secret you’ve never told anyone? 

Other than classified information I obtained while working for the CIA (and please don’t ask me about the Roswell aliens because then I’d have to kill you), my wife and close family know everything about me.   

We're here for your butts...Josh knew the whole time

We're here for your butts...Josh knew the whole time


10. How long/how many rejections did you get before someone gave you your shot? 

I started writing horror back in 2003 (under a different name) when the publishing market was the same as it had been for the past fifty years. Back then there were the five or six mainstream publishers from New York that you needed a literary agent to even contact, a handful of independent publishing houses, and dozens of “vanity” self-publishers; if you self-published your book it was the kiss of death because the prevailing thought was if your manuscript was any good, one of the big houses would have picked it up. It took me six years to get my first novel published, and I was told by many established writers to be grateful because the average wait time was ten years. 

At that time, I followed the “traditional” path to success. I published short stories for free on various web-based anthologies, and then used those creds to sell short stories to anthologies being put out by independent publishers. It still took several years before I found a publisher willing to take a chance on my novel. However, once that first novel was in print, finding publishers for the rest of my work was easy.

Everything has changed, however. A writer can get his/her novel published a few weeks after completing the manuscript and, if they are excellent at marketing, can do as well on line as if they had gone with a mainstream publisher.  Self-publishing no longer has the stigma it once did, although now the problem lies in so many writers releasing poorly-edited and poorly-formatted works that readers are getting nervous about trying new talent. And a new trend is that many readers feel the writers should give away their books for free. This has led to a number of independent publishers closing down or cutting back on operations, which makes it more difficult for writers who want to be published traditionally. It will be interesting to see where the market is in ten years. 


11. What was the last movie/book which made you cry? The election night coverage, and not because of who won or loss. My best friend, whom I have known since elementary school, was a huge political junkie like me. Every election night we would chat on the phone for hours, waiting for each state to announce the winner, and yelping or whining depending on which candidate won. He died last summer of a super-infection. While watching this year’s election results, I couldn’t help but cry because he was not there to share the night. 


12. Can you describe a single, personal moment in your life which made you, you? 

It was when I was a senior in high school. I had this awesome astronomy teacher, Mr. Ferguson, an anti-Vietnam protestor from the 1960s. At the time, I was thinking of going to law school. He said to me: “Choose your path wisely. You can either be incredibly wealthy or incredibly happy, but rarely will you have both.” I chose the latter. If I hadn’t, I probably never would have worked for the CIA or become a writer. No regrets. 


13. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your writer’s ego? 

It’s a sliding scale, but I would say it defaults to 8. When I go to a convention and someone brings a bunch of my books to sign because they bought them on Amazon and fell in love with them, the ego meter hits 10. When I go to a convention the next week and sell only 1 book, then it drops to 3 and I begin wondering if I should change careers and become a Walmart greeter. 


14. What is your first dream you can remember? 

I snuck into the living room when I was seven and watched King Kong with my parents. (It wasn’t really sneaking. I “hid” under a TV tray. My covert skills were less developed back then.) We lived in a second-floor apartment. That night, I dreamed that Kong was looking at me through my window the same way he looked through the window at Fay Wray during his rampage in New York. I made my mother pull down the curtain at night for months after that.   


15. Have you ever been in a fight/punched in the face? How did/would you react? 

Never, surprisingly. 


16. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? 

Getting the mindset correct, and that is not meant to be insulting. Men and women think differently about certain concepts, especially when it comes to love, loyalty, and honor. Although Hell Gate is told from Jason’s point of view, the two other main characters are Sasha and Jeanette. I want to attract female readers, but that will never happen if I have Sasha and Jeanette think and act like a sixteen-year-old boy. 


17. Who/what was your favorite, and least favorite, character to write? Why? 

I don’t have a least favorite character. All the characters in my books are necessary, even if only to serve as cannon fodder to crank up the death toll. If I include a character in my books, I have as much fun with them as I can. 

My favorite characters are Jason, Andre, and Sasha. Jason undergoes such a massive transformation in Hell Gate I can’t help but love his character. Andre is the perfect foil for Jason, a tough no-nonsense leader who pushes Jason to be better than he is; I love writing a character who is an asshole one moment and a hero the next. Sasha is an incredible female warrior, beautiful yet as tough as anyone else on the team, and still torn between seeing Jason as a brother-like figure or as a love interest.

My least likable characters are Jacque and Bishop Fiorello. They represent what’s wrong with today’s world and what will sadly carry over into any post-apocalyptic society—those who will struggle to retain power and privilege no matter how much those around them suffer. They’re villains in a sense, and I love creating despicable bad guys.


18. I see you are a New Englander. From my time in the military I’ve had a lot of friends from the region. What are some of the pet peeves you have concerning the stereotypes of people from New England? Follow up, do you have a life-sized Tom Brady cut out? 

Sorry, no Tom Brady cut outs, partly because my wife (a good ole southern gal and a Gators fan) despises him. 

I don’t get bothered by the stereotypes because so many of them are true. (Have you ever driven in Boston?) I do get frustrated when people constantly make fun of my accent or the way I talk, although sometimes it’s well deserved. My wife was driving somewhere and asked for directions. She needed to make a U-turn, so I told her “bang a U-ey here.” She stared at me as if I had just spoken in an ancient alien dialect.


19. Waking from a hard night of rowdiness with some friends, you quickly discover the world has been taken over by 7-foot tall cats who can speak and have advanced weaponry. You can have one weapon of your choice, three books and one luxury item ...what do you do? 

As a CIA officer I’ve been trained to adapt and overcome. Since I refuse to accept my new cat overlords (I am not cleaning the litter box used by a seven-foot cat), I will fight back. So my choices are:

Weapon: A 50-caliber rifle with a silencer and a sniper scope

Books:  Final Exit for Cats: A Feline Suicide Guide (for use as anti-cat propaganda)

Think Like a Cat (part of my know-your-enemy program)

Any book on how to make catnip (we must break the enemy’s morale)

Luxury item: The largest laser pointer I can find to distract my enemies


20. What would you like fans and potential fans to know about you as a person? 

I love my fans. As I said earlier, I consider myself a story teller, but what good is that if no one is listening to the tales I spin. If you have a question about my book, or a comment or criticism, feel free to drop me a line at I answer all my mail, although depending on my workload it may take a few days.


Thanks so much Josh! For more information about him check out the following links!




FB Hell Gate: 


Hell Gate on Amazon:    

Edd Sowder - Drop and Give Me 20! 20 Hard Questions for Hard Writers

Drop and Give me 20! 20 Hard Questions for Hard Writers

Alright, we’re breaking from the norm here (it’s anarchy up in here!). I’d like to introduce Edd Sowder! Co-owner, publisher, editor, and VP at Burning Willows Press. 


Pre-Question - So, who are you? 

I am the flunky that runs Burning Willow Press. Most of the authors there know to call on me and I will get it done…if I remember we spoke about it, that is. Additionally, I am the Executive Vice President, controlling interests partner, spokesman, public speaker, panel giving, convention going, all around everywhere person who loves his job at BWP even though I do not always know what I am doing. I was born in the Detroit area of Michigan and am a country boy at heart with a family farm in Tennessee. I am a father, a husband, a semi-writer, a less than perfect person and partial robot. I am well educated and see myself as remotely intelligent. I am an overachiever and a Virgo. My eyes are blue, hair is brown, I am a multitasker and work well under pressure…. Did I get the job? Can we speak about benefits and salary yet? I need a few days off every week to run my other jobs. 



1. Softball question for you: Why did you want to become a Publisher? 

The Cliff’s Notes are easy. My wife said I was going to be one. The long version is most of my family and friends know I am an amputee. Left lower leg is missing. Longer story, another time. But I was recovering from that surgery in the hospital and Kindra (CEO/President of BWP/Author extraordinaire with BWP, Vamptasy, and CHBB) came to me and said she wanted to start her own publishing company. I thought sure when I get back on my proverbial feet, I will help bankroll it and help with consultation and business advice…thinking about three months later. Well, no, she meant right now. So, the very next week, I was a publisher. That was October 2014.  


2. What is your biggest failure?

Well, if BWP does not make it, that will be my biggest. So far, my biggest to date was not being a better father to my son. Or to all the kids I kind of adopted as he was growing up. He, as well as the others, will tell you differently but I always feel like I was not good enough when he was younger. That I could have done more or something. Otherwise, not caring enough for someone I cared for when it mattered and now they are no longer with us. I failed there and it will haunt me for the rest of my life. 


3. What was the worst lie you ever told?

I am a writer. Telling lies is kind of what we do, isn’t it? Seriously, I think back to my high school days now and remember all the bullshit I used to say to get away with stuff. Wow, I was horrible. Glad, I finally grew up…a little. 


4. Editing, Publishing, Art... you are a fountain of creativity! What was the hardest project you’ve worked on? 

       Building a brand called Burning Willow Press is by far my hardest but also my most rewarding. I am        very passionate about what I do. Some days are better than others but I can honestly say, I do it as a          labor of love. 


5. How would your friends describe you? And what about your worst enemy?

My friends most likely will say I am a dick, asshole, mean, honest, jerk. All at the same time. They are friends, right? They will also tell you that I am always there to lend an ear and advice to them if I can. That I will bend over backwards to make them feel important. I am generous when I have a chance to be. My enemies will say the same but they will add words like, “nothing without me”, “Cannot ever do anything right”, “Loser,” or “Does not pay what he owes.” Which all my staff will tell you if I owe them, I pay them. I will make sure my authors get what they earned. And I try to give a few extras to them when I can as well. 


6. What is your creative Kryptonite?

Most likely, my phone. I can work with distractions. I can work with music or the TV playing in the background. I cannot work if I have seventy phone calls to make or take or if I am responding to Private messenger on FB all day. Not that I mind but that is why I have not written much in the last two years. I must cater to my authors and that is more important to me than my own needs, or desires. 


7. What popular movie/book/music which others adore, do you secretly despise?

Movie: V for Vendetta. Sorry, never liked it. I just could not get into it. Not my style I suppose. I do understand it but I did not get all the hype, that one or the Babadook. Which was the most boring supposed horror movie I can say I ever watched. 

Book: Probably not a good idea for a publisher to say which ones he hated even if it is a bad one. I will pass on that one. Regardless of what I stated about the above-mentioned movies, I am sure the books were most likely tons better. 

Music: Nirvana. Jesus Christ man, Kurt Cobain had zero talent and was being paid millions for it. Anyone who thinks Courtney Love was intelligent enough to pull of killing him, well, fall off the planet now. She was just as much a junkie then as she is now. Additionally, Fall Out Boy. Thirty Seconds to Mars, One Direction, Lady Gaga. I will give this section a thought though, “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga is done a helluva lot better by Halestorm than by her. Props to Lizzy Hale for giving it the much-needed rawness it needed. Additionally, when I say Lady Gaga is trying to be this decades Madonna, you should not dispute that. It is true. Madonna not only paved the way, she chewed it up and spit it out for Spears, Gaga, Shakira, Aguilera and others like them. 


8. What is the worst criticism you ever received? How did it make you feel?

A family member told me once that I would never make it in my chosen profession at the time. I then got so far into the field that I took my awards to her office and threw them on her desk and walked out. At the time, I was a mechanic, ASE certified, L1 Master tech and the service manager of a very profitable repair facility. I did it just to prove them wrong. I still do daily in everything I do, as well. 


9. If you could have one “do-over” in your life, what would it be?

As in doing it right this time around? Honestly, I have a degree in physics and part of that carries a weight in quantum mechanics where we got to study theories such as string theory in which the movie, “Mr. Destiny” was derived partially from. In this movie, there is a scene outside a bar, where the lead character must decide and he is then explained that if he decides one way, it affects all the outcomes from then on. So, if I went back and never moved from Georgia and stayed there and did what the right thing would have been at the time instead of taking the road less travelled, I would not be where I am today or married to Kindra, or have my son, or my business. So, the answer would have to be…nothing. I am happy with where my future is heading. I control my destiny, nothing else does. 


10. What was the last movie/book which made you cry?

In all actuality, I can only think of one movie that makes me cry every time I watch it. Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith. I have something very much in common with the persona he is portraying. I am a transplant recipient who did not think he deserved it when he got it. Kidney and pancreas, Dec 2007. 

The book I most recently cried while reading was one of our own. “We Will Gain Our Fury” by Nicole Thorn and Sarah Hall. I really felt compassion for the one main character, Kezia. She has such a hard time dealing with her past and I feel that she deserves my love as well as the love she desires from her would-be boyfriend in the story. It is a mythological series with demi-gods and seers, also a hint of fantasy in today’s realm. Well worth the read. Check it out. 


11. Which creative trope are you the sickest of...and possibly caught yourself doing?

I tend to be wordy when I write. This is apparent by the length of my answers. I feel I must explain things to the letter of the question. At one time, I was studying to be a teacher and they tend to be wordy in explanations. I find myself in my writing going back and trying to make things more concise if it is to be read by others. Not so in interviews though. Sorry guys! 


12. Do you have any scars (mental or physical)? Which one(s) is/are your most memorable? 

Both. The physical ones remind me of the pain and the fact that I made it through whatever was trying to kill me at that moment. Mental scars, I hide well enough to keep others from noticing them right off. But they are there. The physical ones, are easily seen. Let’s just say I lived a rough life and leave it at that…


13. Have you ever been in a fight/punched in the face? How did/would you react?

When I was a teenager, I kickboxed for competition. It is safe to say I have been punched and kicked in the face. Most of my opponents did not walk out of the ring. Today, I react much differently. My wife tells everyone I do not have a flight reflex. I only have a fight. So, when I am presented with dangerous situations, I become dangerous too. Do not let the missing leg fool you. I can still hold my own. I guess Kindra would know as she has multiple degrees in psychology. I kind of wonder if she has ever psychoanalyzed me…hmmm.


14. What’s the most difficult thing about being married to a writer? 

Easy. Time for us alone when she is on a deadline. But we make it work. I am running her company with her and I tend to spend a tremendous amount of time working right behind her as she is typing, so am I. We do what we must. I do get to meet a lot of interesting individuals due to the invites to conventions and panels and book signings. We have a great working relationship outside the office as well as inside it. When it gets to a point that we need time together, we let each other know. Then make plans. 


15. What do you find the most rewarding about conventions/appearances? And, what do you HATE about them?

I never go to a convention for a profit. On the contrary, we usually only go with the intention to meet people. Networking is the most rewarding aspect of going to conventions. I usually meet a bunch of great people, become fast friends with them and make long term goals with connections we have made. On the other side, a convention that is poorly run will make for a bad experience too. We went to one that was not ADA compliant. I am missing a leg. Kind of hard for me to carry in supplies on day two when I must park in vendor parking, a quarter of a mile away. Overall, we make it work. I am not a stranger to hard work nor am I one to allow a pissy attitude of someone else get me in an uproar for too long. I will try to remedy it and find a solution first. 


16. Which of the characters you’ve published do you most empathize with? Which character do you least empathize with? Why?

This is a loaded question, you know that, right? Okay I will give a couple of examples here. Mark Reefe’s, “Road to Jericho” has a character named Finn in which I felt needed a break and a good stiff drink by the end of the first journey he took. I have already told you I had an extreme love for Kezia in “We Will Gain Our Fury” by Nicole Thorn and Sarah Hall. Additionally, we have a story coming out by TJ Weeks called, “Obsessed with the Kill: Abdul Uncut” that I empathized with the main character, Allison, quite a bit. Her trials and tribulations she had to endure were horrible and unhuman. Also, R’hale in the upcoming novel by Charles Lee Mullenix titled, “The Future is Built on Ashes” is a strong character who will only take enough crap from others until he has no choice left. I can certainly attest to being much like him. Honestly, every published book we have, I have a character, or two, I feel like I need to empathize with. The one character recently that I have read that I feel no remorse for at all is Victor Van Danz in Kerry Alan Denney’s December 3rd release of, “A Mighty Rolling Thunder.” That guy is beyond terrible. Additionally, Abdul Ahab in TJ Weeks’ release as well. I would say, Simone in David Owain Hughes’, “Wind Up Toy” but I loved his twisted mind, not that I empathized with him, he was severely misunderstood, and neglected as a child so he has his reasons, it was more sympathy than empathy I think. But again, that Abdul, is just sadistically, brutal. 


17. You mentioned to me, you’ve written/created some interesting ideas which have not been published. Would you like to share one of those ideas?

For a while I have been toying with the idea of a mysterious energy felt under the basement of an abandoned mansion where a lawyer killed his wife and four children nearly 100 years ago. That is one idea I have in development. Another idea I have been playing with a bit is a romance novel in which I was writing while in my second year of college. It has an air of mystery to it and will make a good thriller if I can pull it out and get started on it. I have a dual book of Poetry nearly ready to publish if I can ever get it finished and subbed out called “Mirrors.” I also have a short story idea of sorts that I am working on where our main character awakens in a well. Another idea I have is more X-men meets Repo Men, where it is discovered that a certain genome allows certain individuals to replicate replacement organs if they are surgically removed or otherwise, immediately. Of course, the US government wants control over these people. I will leave it there. As the speculation can grow fast on it. 


18. My wife is a freelance editor on the side (only reason my own work isn’t a bigger bucket of crap). And, while she works, I’ve heard her grumble a time or two about a project she is editing. What do you find most and least rewarding, about editing? Follow up, has anyone ever been adamant against your edits?

I will explain this in the best way I can. It was explained to me once by a friend who is an actor as to why a book is always better than the movie. In the movie, the Director must take the image he sees and create a marketable idea for the masses. In which he will then cut it up, edit it, remove scenes, and use HIS imagination to make it profitable to the masses and producers. An editor is the same way in a sense. We edit out the over used words, the sentences that make no sense and the scenes that are redundant or not necessary…even find the plot holes in the story or the misinformation. So yes, I have grumbled a time or two over an edit I was working on. There was one time I spoke aloud to nobody and sounded like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. “English, Do You Speak It!?!” The most rewarding part of this is that I have a hand in making the story better, more refined, flow better. The least rewarding is that we are unsung heroes of the publishing world. We should know rules that some writers do not seem to understand. We should try to make it work in a way that they did not envision and we take the brunt of the criticism if the copy uploaded was not edited correctly when authors should make damned sure it is ready for print by going through it themselves as well before it goes back to the printer or publisher after edits. Some do, others do not and we get the blame for it. Have I ever had a writer tell me no? You had better believe it. I had to take a long hard look at a story once that I could not get the author to even consider revising and eventually had to let them out of the contract. The idea was sound, but the story needed edits badly. It happens. 


19. While visiting a museum, you are looking at a particular painting which has entranced you. Something about just can’t stop looking at. Without warning, you are sucked into the painting itself! You are now in the shadow realm, one which looks through the portals of mirrors and paintings into the real world. Try as you might, you are stuck. Behind you, the denizens of the shadow realm are moving about, curious about the living, warm, delicious mortal who has entered their domain. You can have one weapon of your choice, three books and one luxury item...what do you take? 

First thing I do is kiss my ass goodbye. One weapon, I would think that a flashlight would be in order with unlimited battery power. But for a weapon, I am going with something equally as ancient as these creatures, some kind of a very old knife or sword. Reason why, is that if it was forged then, it will kill them too. Three books, hmmm…that one is tough. My guess is that I will not have much time to read but in the event that I do, “Dante’s Inferno” Since I am clearly in the middle of the circles of hell now, I think the “Old Testament” would be the best bet to bring down some old school God Wrath on these bastards, and will likely, may need, “Malleus Maleficarum” in which I will need some serious witchcraft to get out of this one alive. My luxury item would be, Sam and Dean Winchester. Why? Hell nothing kills them so it would be awesome to have them with me on this excursion, too. 


20. What would you like fans and potential fans to know about you as a person?

I am not always an asshole. I must be pushed to be that person. If I seem short with you, it is likely not your fault. My tones do not always reflect my inner thoughts and I am working on that. I give way too many second chances. There is an end to my rope too. Just like everyone else. Oh, and this one is for Lynn and Mikey. I am not a machine. Daniel, I am a cyborg. 


Thank you for interviewing me Michael. I enjoyed the questions and hope that we can do it again sometime. 


My please Edd! If you would like to know more about Edd check out his contact information below!

       On Facebook: Edd Sowder

       On Twitter: @EddSowder, @Burning_willow

       On Instagram: @EddSowder, @bwpllc


Veronica Smith - Drop and Give Me 20! 20 Hard Questions for Hard Authors

Drop and Give me 20: 20 Hard Questions for Hard Authors



Veronica Smith


 Pre Question - So, who are you? 

I’m Veronica Smith. I’m 51 years old and I live in Katy, Texas (it’s a suburb west of Houston). I’ve been married to my husband for 27 years and we have a son who just finished college who also writes. I am a computer drafter for an engineering company for over 25 years. I do both 2D and 3D drafting. I love horror of all kinds, especially the kind with that unexpected twist.

1. Are you “An Author” -or- “A Writer”? What’s the difference?

I believe I’m an author. To me a writer is someone who writes but not necessarily tells a story. A journalist for the news is also writer. They tell stories but they are telling the news, not making stuff up. At least they aren’t supposed to but it’s the news so who knows what you are getting! I like to tell a story; I want to entertain.

2. What is your biggest failure?

Waiting until I was almost 50 years old to actually try to get anything published. I’ve written stories and poems since I was about 13 but never did anything with any of it. Of course, self publishing nowadays makes that much more possible than back then.

3. What is the worse lie you ever told?

I’m a terrible liar. I don’t have a poker face at all, so everyone can tell if I’m not telling the truth. So the worst lie I would probably be telling someone I wasn’t going to be home so they wouldn’t come over.

4. Do you Google yourself?

Haha! I hadn’t thought of that yet but now I’m going to before I’m done with this interview. 

5. How would your friends describe you? And what about your worst enemy?

My friends see me as more outgoing than I really am. I don’t like crowds or to be the center of attention. Honestly social media is great. I can let people see only the parts of me that I want. My worst enemy is myself. I constantly berate myself if I get a rejection or don’t have time to promote my writing. Working full time with an hour commute each way kind of cuts into the time of what I really want to do – write.

6. What is your creative Kryptonite?

Writing at home when my husband is home. He wants to watch TV and there is a lot of shows in the DVR that we haven’t even started. I can’t get hardly any writing done while he’s home.

7. What popular movie/book/music which others adore, do you secretly despise?

Oh god, anything with Will Ferrell. I don’t know why but I can’t stand that guy. The only thing he’s done that I like is Zoolander. Everyone loves that guy and I just don’t get it. 

8. What is the worst criticism you ever received? How did it make you feel?

That I can be a cold hearted bitch sometimes. I can read a sad part in a book or watch it on TV and bawl my eyes out but other times I put myself apart from it. I appear cold but it’s really just a defense thing.

9. What is a secret you’ve never told anyone?

Shh. It’s a secret. If I told you then I’d have to kill you. Haha. Actually, (and I know I’ll get bashed for this one) but I really don’t like pets. Animals smell and leave me “presents” around the house. I don’t have patience for an animal that trashes my house but my husband has forgiveness overflowing. So naturally the dog is “his” dog, not “ours”.

10. How long/how many rejections did you get before someone gave you your shot?

My first short story was accepted on the first submission but I think it was one of those that took anyone. Still didn’t dampen the thrill of it. After that I’ve had a lot of stories that got rejections then accepted somewhere else. I have one story that has been rejected four times. I’m giving it one more shot then I think it’s time for a re-write. Update! That story has now been rejected for the fifth time. Goes to show that just because I think it’s good, doesn’t mean it really is. Re-write time.

 11. What was the last movie/book which made you cry?

The Green Mile – both book and movie make me bawl, no matter how many times I read or watch it. Armageddon too. 

12. Can you describe a single, personal moment in your life which made you, you?

When I was young and read Nancy Drew books, I had grand plans of being a cop. I had already researched the police academy and courses. I was writing even then though, making my own version of teenage detective stories. When I was 15 I worked at Baskin Robbins and got held up at gunpoint. Yeah, I know, who robs an ice cream shop? He only got about $50 but he took more than money that night. He took my plans in law enforcement. That scared me more than anything I’d ever gone through and I decided that very night I didn’t have what it took to be a cop. I know, a little hard on myself considering I was only 15 but it changed me completely. I really had no clue what I planned to do with my life until I graduated high school and got a job. I’ve been working, started a family, still wrote, and now my life is what it is. I still wonder what it would be like if that man with a gun hadn’t come into my life.

13. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your writer’s ego?

If 1 is the lowest I’d have to say 3. I think I’m a pretty good author. Someone must like my writing for my stories to get accepted. But I just feel wrong actually saying it, like I’m being too cocky. If I ever won an award I don’t know if I’d post about it. I’d think to myself that I sound conceited.

14. Have you ever been in a fight/punched in the face? How did/would you react?

Not unless you count my husband rolling over in his sleep and whacking me in the eye. Haha. But if someone did it on purpose I’d hit back. I don’t take shit from people (oh can I say shit? If not, just swap it out for another word – haha)

15. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters with sexual identity different from your own?

Imagine what they are thinking. I try to imagine my husband, son, or other guys I know in those places and that helps me write from a man’s perspective.

16. What do you feel the most pride in? And what makes you feel the most shame?

Pride: I’m organized as hell. Maybe I’m OCD but I like lists and references. I used One Note when I wrote Salvation and it made it so easy. I even created a spreadsheet with columns set up like the aisles at our grocery store. It really does make for faster shopping but I’ve never heard of anyone else doing this so I think that makes me a little weird. 

Shame: That I am so organized but messy and a horrible housekeeper. You would think that being OCD like that would make me clean my house constantly but I never have time and I can’t keep up with family as well as the two cats and a dog. 

17. I see you are from Texas. During my time in the military I was stationed there for 6-months. What are some of the pet peeves you have concerning the Texas stereotype? 

Now this one brings back memories. When I visited my grandmother in Buffalo, NY many years ago my cousin used to tease me about my accent, saying y’all, and all claimed I looked like Daisy Duke. They assumed that I lived on a ranch and I should be awestruck at the “big city” that was Buffalo. A lot of people hear Texas and think it’s all farmland and oil rigs. They just didn’t believe me when I told them I lived in a city much larger than theirs.

18. How comfortable are you with writing sex/sensual scenes??

Actually I've never written anything explicit. I have a romance going on in my novella, Chalk Outline, but everything is subtle and assumed. That might be something to try on my next project. I'd be comfortable with it, just never tried it.

19. You are driving down the street when something SMASHES into your car, knocking you onto the side of the road and the airbags go off knocking you unconscious. When you wake up it is night and getting out of your car you see things flying through the air. The creatures land 20 feet away and you see they are people. Or were. Their skin is pale, their teeth are pointy and you get a severe vampire vibe. Then you realize you have a lot of blood on your face from the airbags and the vamps look hungry. You can have one weapon of your choice, three books and one luxury item...what do you do?

Sit them down for an interview? Just Kidding! I wouldn’t give in (that not taking shit thing again). If I was allowed a weapon of choice I’d get a short sword made of silver (we are talking about vamps after all). I don’t think my gun or taser would do jack against that. Three books? Harder to choose. I’d have to pick one for reading pleasure, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, a book map (do they still have road atlas’ anymore), and a book with survival skills. Luxury item is easy – toilet paper, better yet, toilet cleansing wipes. Imagine life without either of those in a couple of years, even if you aren’t a blood donation by that time.

20. What would you like fans and potential fans to know about you as a person?

I love European metal and listen to it while I write. I like American metal too but prefer European. I read and watch any kind of horror but my favorites are post apoc, and not usually zombie related. 


Thank you so much Veronica! To know more about her, please check out her links below!



Kindra Sowder - Drop and Give me 20! 20 hard Questions for Hard Writers

Slogan: Bringing darkness into light….

I would like to introduce Kindra Sowder, author of Hello, My Name is...: A Miss Hyde NovellaThe Executioner Trilogy and more! I had the pleasure of meeting her when we were part of the same publishing house. After a small kerfuffle within said house, Kindra had the vision and strength to form Burning Willows Press, an independent publishing house with a stable of fantastic authors. 

Well, enough gilding the lily, on to the interview!!


1. Are you “An Author” -or- “A Writer”? What’s the difference?

Well, since they both really mean the same thing, I think author sounds a lot better. When I hear people call me a writer I automatically make a face. No idea why I would prefer not to be called a writer. Author just feels so….official, I guess is the word. 


2. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I haven’t….yet. I am an open book (pun intended). I am completely open about anything from political beliefs to religious, etc. 


3. What is your biggest failure?

Does failing at life count? Seriously, though, my biggest failure has a lot to do with family matters. I am a very busy person with an extremely packed schedule. I don’t get to call or see them as often as I would like, but I do make the effort when the opportunity presents itself. 


4. What is the worst lie you ever told?

You’d have to read my work to find out. After all, I do lie for a living.


5. What literary character is most like you?

Since I couldn’t come up with an answer myself, I asked my husband. He says I’m like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” He states it’s because I will do what I have to to get through my trials and hardships to make it back home.


6. What secret talents do you have?

Only people that went to school with me know this, but I do have quite the awesome singing voice. I was in chorus all through school and took voice lessons from my senior year chorus teacher to have better control over certain vocal talents. Now I reserve it for car karaoke. I’m also deadly accurate with my 1964 Makarov. 


7. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Fair warning, I make most feel inadequate when they ask me this question. In total, I have 200 started novels and ideas in a folder on my laptop. Yes, you read that right. 200! I’ll be writing till I die, if not after. This is my opportunity to tell Mark Tufo I’m sorry lol. 


8. Do you Google yourself?

I have on occasion but don’t typically find anything new about myself I didn’t already know. 


9. What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

One thing I can’t stand is a vanity press. They are some of the most crooked businesses in this industry. I tell everyone to run away as fast as they can when they mention one.


10. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Cat videos on YouTube….and Facebook.


11. What popular movie/book/music which others adore, do you secretly despise?

I should let everyone know now that I don’t secretly despise anything. But, since you asked, I very outwardly despise Twilight (movies) and Justin Bieber. 


12. What is the worst criticism you ever received? How did it make you feel?

I was told, for years, that my writing would get me nowhere. It was what I was least talented at and I should focus on my art and design work. Those words were drilled into me since 15 when I started writing. It made me feel horrible, but gave me drive to prove them wrong. With 8 published novels and so many short stories, I think I won.


13. If you were to die tomorrow, which book of yours would you want people to remember you by?

At this point in time, while I would love to be remembered for all of them, I’d say “The Harvested” would be it. It’s one of my favorites and is rather ground-breaking according to some of my readers. 


14. How long/how many rejections did you get before someone gave you your shot?

Countless. I’d have to go back into my email and count each one. I’d rather not relive it lol.


15. No bullshit, what is your favorite thing you’ve written?

My series “The Permutation Archives.” I adore it. Shameless plug, book 2 “The Pursuit” comes out December 3rd.


16. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your writer’s ego?

One. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I write because I love to but I don’t think I’m the most amazing out there. And I continue to grow.


17. How comfortable are you with writing sex/sensual scenes?

This is a great question. When I first began writing The Miss Hyde Novellas, it felt awkward. The first chapter in the first volume “Hello, My Name is…” was the first I had ever written and that didn’t even go nearly as far as the others since then. Now I’m so used to it I can write a good one in my sleep. 


18. Have you ever been in a fight/punched in the face? How did/would you react?

Well, without going into detail because that’s just too difficult to relive, I have been. I can tell you that I don’t react well to violence or pain. 


19. You’re stranded on a tropical island with no hope of rescue. There is fresh water, fruit, wild veggies and animals if you happen to be a meat-eater. But there are also roaming tribes of mutant undead cannibals who hunt at night. You can have one weapon of your choice, three books and one luxury item...what do you do?

My weapon of choice would be my Makarov as long as I somehow have unlimited ammunition. My three books of choice would be “The Cure” by Tania Hagan, “Sabriel” by Garth Nix, and “1984” by George Orwell. My luxury item would have to be my laptop if there is some way for me to have electricity. I just can’t live if I can’t write. 


20. What would you like fans and potential fans to know about you as a person?

So many things, but one in particular. I say this to my girlfriends a lot, especially those that are struggling. I’ve been there. I’ve dealt with those that didn’t believe in me, took me for granted, or have done me wrong. Also, unfaithful partners and emotionally abusive ones, etc. I tell them “Be your own hero.” Why do I say this? Because, sometimes, you have to. No one else is going to fight for your life but you. This is one reason I write strong female leads in my work and put them in the situations that I do. So they can save themselves, teaching young girls and women everywhere that we are fully capable. “Be your own hero.” 


If you would like to know more about Kindra and the awesome books from Burning Willow Press, please check out her info!