• Amy's Bookshelf Reviews

Featured Author: Kirsten Stewart

Q: In three words, describe yourself.

A: Clumsy; complicated; determined.

Q: How many books have you written? How many of those are published?

A: I have written three books; one for myself and two that have been published.

Q: Do you have an upcoming release? If yes, tell me the title and impending release date.

A: No upcoming releases.

Q: Tell me about how you come up with your titles for your stories. Do you create the title before or after you write the book, and does it ever change from the initial title?

A: My titles usually come in a lightning bolt moment. I have an idea of the word/s I want to use and then play with combinations until the right one jumps out at me.

Q: Out of all your characters in all of your books, who/what (sometimes a setting can also be an important “character”) do you think is the most interesting and why?

A: Apart from my main protagonist, Gina Palumbo, I would say the Blue Mountains is a character in and of itself, lending my stories an eerie and ‘other-worldly’ atmosphere that plays a vital role in its development.

Q: If you could “create” your own genre of what you write, what would you call your books?

A: Psycho-Lit.

Q: Without quoting your back cover blurb, tell me about the last book you published.

A: The Captive in the Tale is the sequel to The Spinster and the Madman. It is the continuing story of Detective Constable Gina Palumbo, whose pursuit of a serial killer operating in Sydney, Australia, takes a dangerous and personal turn when the murderer strikes close to home.

Q: Quote your favorite line from one of your stories. Indicate the line, and then the book title.

A: “I sat in the passenger seat as the kilometres flitted past, in a silence reminiscent of death. Apt, as I had all but killed the person who’d arrived at the prison this morning; the only thing left to do was conduct the burial. I was a corpse wearing a cheap sun dress.” – The Spinster and the Madman.

Q: Tell me something about yourself that is separate from writing.

A: I am the mother of two children; a son aged 10 and a daughter aged 28. So, yes, I am a masochist with a Peter Pan syndrome!

Q: Who are your top THREE favorite authors?

A: Anne Rice; Raymond E. Feist; Margaret Atwood.

Q: What is the last book that you read? (Not counting anything you wrote)

A: Becoming – Michelle Obama.

Q: When writing, do you have a system or something you plan, or do you just write?

A: I firstly develop a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the story that acts as a roadmap for when I write it.

Q: Why do you write?

A: I have always been a voracious reader, using books as a way to escape a sometimes-difficult childhood. When I started writing, I fell in love with the power of the written word, the ways in which language can be manipulated to communicate and connect with other people.

Q: Do you currently have a WIP? If yes, what’s the title, and is it part of a series or standalone?

A: I am currently working on book three of the ‘Gina Palumbo series’, the final installment that will link back to the first, The Spinster and the Madman, and will provide answers and fill in gaps readers are left with at the end of the novel.

Q: Do you read your own work a lot? If so, what does it do for you?

A: I usually take a break from my own books once they’re published as by then, I’ve lived and breathed the story and need some time and distance from them. When I do read my own work, I am filled with pride and satisfaction that I’ve never given up on my dream, despite life’s best efforts to derail it. Reading my previous book/s also helps me identify issues with the craft I need to work on going forward.

Q: I play music when I write, and depending on the setting or mood of the story depends on what I listen to. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what genre or artist/band do you listen to?

A: It depends on my mood and how easily (or not) the words are coming to me. If the writing is flowing, I enjoy listening to up-beat EDM (electronic dance music).

Q: As an author, I find that the hardest thing to write (for me) is the blurb that will be on the back cover or book’s description. When you write, what is the hardest line to write, the first line, the last line or the synopsis for the book?

A: The synopsis, hands down, without doubt!

Q: If you could sit down and have a coffee (or your favorite beverage) with anyone, living or dead, from any era, any time, who would it be and why? (You can pick up to 3 persons).

A: Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein – I have always been fascinated by her life story, as well as the unique challenges she faced as a female writer of horror at a time when this was unheard of.

Hannah Gadsby, Australian comedian – Hannah’s show ‘Nanette’ touched me deeply, her story one I connected, and identified, with and in particular, her need to share it.

J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter series – Her story, apart from the prolific success, feels like my own; single mother, poverty, determination.

Q: What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

A: I think a ‘successful’ writer is one who has found their own distinct and unique voice, used to tell their story/stories.

Q: What do you want to accomplish, so when you look back at your life, you can say “I did that”?

A: I am building and developing my writing skills to a level where I feel confident to tackle a story based (loosely) on my own experiences, a story I believe some readers will connect with and may draw comfort from. If I can help even one person going through similar hardships, I will be extremely proud and satisfied.

Q: Any final thoughts that you want to give to your fans or even future authors?

A: I enjoy writing novels which involve a level of unpredictability and insight into the human psyche. I hope readers are intrigued by my stories and characters and are driven by a ‘need to know what happens next’ compulsion that takes them right to the final page.

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