Tea With…

I’ve always wondered about other authors. What do they enjoy? What makes them tick? So not too long ago, I got the idea to reach out to a few authors I admire and see if they would be willing to answer a few questions for us. Thankfully, they’ve been generous with their time. In a perfect world, I would be sitting down having a cup of tea with these talented folks, but with distance and a raging pandemic, email is safer.

I have been a fan of Kory Shrum for a few years now. She’s a brilliant author and a creative soul that is both entertaining and inspiring. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the bestselling Shadows in the Water and Dying for a Living series. She has loved books and words all her life. She reads almost every genre you can think of, but when she writes, she writes science fiction, fantasy, and thrillers, or often something that’s all of the above. This past year she launched a true-crime podcast “Who Killed My Mother?” under the name K.B. Marie, sharing the true story of her mother’s tragic death. You can find it on YouTube. When she’s not eating, reading, writing, or indulging in her true calling as a stay-at-home dog mom, she loves to plan her next adventure. She’s written both paranormal mysteries and now mysteries set in the future, and every book she writes is more gripping and compelling than the last! (Trust me on this, I spent all night reading her last book and got NO sleep, but it was SO worth it!) Pop over to her website and check it out. 

Kory was generous enough to answer a few questions I had for her about writing, comfort food and reading. If paranormal mysteries or science-fiction mysteries are your reading-jam, pop over to her website and check it out!

What do you think the most compelling elements of your current story are? 

Probably the characters. I don’t have clear good guys and bad guys most of the time. They’re just people, with a good mix of virtues and faults, but this makes them seem more real and compelling on the page. I hope the plot isn’t too bad either! 🙂

What is your favourite genre to read?

Oh gosh, I don’t know! It’s like naming a favorite child! I read everything from nonfiction to comics, to fantasy, and mysteries. To really weird stuff like how to lucid dream, which is on my bedside table right now 🙂

If you could give your younger writing-self a piece of advice, what would it be? 

**clears throat** This is going to take a lot longer than you think it will. Getting the first book published is only the start, so settle in. Get comfortable. And start thinking about what stories really matter to you—which ones will you regret not writing if you were to die this year. Focus on those.

Who are the authors who have made a difference in your life?

If not my life, certainly my writing…

For fiction: Ruth Ozeki, Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Robert Galbraith, Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Neil Gaiman and many others.  I also owe a debt of gratitude to the poets Mary Oliver, Maya Angelou, Wislawa Szymborska and Lucille Clifton and more. And to the meditation/dharma books of Pema Chodron as well.

What occupies your time when you’re not writing? 

Right now, it’s producing my podcast! For every 20-25 minute episode, it’s about thirteen hours of work. I also like to read, paint, play piano, study French, travel – though none of us are doing much of that at the moment.

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

Just two. 🙂 A werewolf novel and a novel about an 18-year-old demon-hunting witch.

What is your go-to comfort food?  

Macaroni and cheese. I also like a good hot tea.

What was the hardest scene you’ve ever written?

Well, the one that comes to mind, probably because I wrote it not that long ago, is from Episode 8 of my “Who Killed My Mother” podcast? In it, I was recounting a traumatic story of a doctor’s visit I had when I was six or seven, and it triggered some pretty intense emotions for me.

How do you choose the names of your characters? 

Usually they come to me along with the character, but then I check them using a baby name book online to make sure the meaning of the name matches the character.

 What challenges you the most about writing?

Showing up, honestly. I’ve published sixteen books and I can attest it hasn’t gotten any easier with time! But it’s important to show up and put words on the page every day, so I’m certainly trying my best.

Anything else you’d like us to know?  

I love interviews! This was fun. Thanks for having me! 🙂

Thank YOU, Kory!

As The Crow Flies

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I hardly know where to start gushing about this book!

I expected a typical run-of-the-mill romance. I got so, so much more than that.

Ms. Williams is a superb writer, a story-teller in the finest sense of the word. She understands the fine dance of engaging your reader, sucking them in, capturing their heart and their imagination, and does not let go until the final word.

One of the central characters is Bertha the Crow, shown on the front cover. She is unique, smart, generous and loyal. More than I can say about some people I know. Sam, Liz, Gwen, and Isabel are all so well written that I want to go and have dinner with them. They have such captivating and intelligent conversations – they discuss everything from art history, quantum physics, string theory, the multi-verse, even possession and auric attachments. Even though I already knew about multi-verse theories and auric cameras, I did learn a great deal about other topics, so rest assured, this is not romantic fluff!

The level of writing is top-notch. It’s not all seriousness either. Check out this passage,
“…Everything was fine in the straight world until, one day, while Ken was away on a business trip and Skipper was at camp, Midge came over for a swim and found Barbie by the pool. Midge made margaritas, Barbie put on music, one thing led to another – what can I say? – the whole Mattel household went to hell.”
You can’t help but laugh out loud!

The author’s skill at writing visually enchanting passages is at a level rarely seen. In fact, her words painted such vivid pictures that my heart broke more than once. (Read the book, you’ll see what I mean). There are books we read, others we are absorbed by – consumed by – but this novel drew me in until the world around me faded away and was replaced by one constructed of images painted by written words. I did not want to leave that world, and I was sorry to see the story end.
This is a rare and moving novel that will teach you, break your heart, and show you what true love is.

Get it. Read it. You won’t regret it.

Concerning A Grimoire…

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I don’t normally read paranormal tales of Shifters and Elves and assorted folk who populate some Other-World. The story has to have a promising premise for me to even read a few pages. There have been a few that I couldn’t possibly turn away from. My last piece is evidence of that. But now, another novel filled with Other-Worlds has crossed my path and I wanted to tell you about it.

“The Grimoire of Kensington Market” by Lauren B. Davis lauren-b-davis

It tells the story of an otherworldly drug crisis wherein the city becomes consumed by demand for elysium, a new drug that lets users literally transport to another world. 

Bookstore owner Maggie is one of the few holdouts to the drug, which has a nasty tendency to turn deadly. Unfortunately, her brother Kyle isn’t so lucky and Maggie finds herself on a dangerous mission to rescue him from the so-called Silver World. A dark fairy tale for Toronto (based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”)

I’m a sucker for tales set in Toronto, having spent a good deal of my formative youth there. Throw in damaged and all-too-human characters and I’m willing to give it another look. And for that book’s author to have such a seemingly keen understanding of the timelessness of fairy tales to include this comment by C.S. Lewis, “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again”, promises me something a little different. A glimpse at the author’s blog gives me a good idea of the woman behind the novel, and that just set the hook, so to speak.

So I’m in. I’ll be picking up this book just as soon as I can.

 

What are you reading these days? You are reading, right?

Under The Bones, A Review

 

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I loved this book even more than I loved #1, ‘Shadows In The Water’. It was fast paced, had a great human element, and did I mention Jabbers becomes a little more likable? Kory layers even more of Louie’s motivation and backstory into this novel, as well as her current…alliance (?) with Konstantine. There is action here, and a lot of it. There is justice, vengeance and near-perfect justice. This book, this series, is unlike anything else I have ever read. And in my 50 years of life, I’ve read a lot more than I’ve listed on Goodreads.

This series is listed as paranormal because of Louie’s gift. It is listed as action (or should be) because of Louie’s brand of justice. It should be considered a classic because of Kory’s ability to suck her readers in and not let go until the very end. To say her characters are realistic and well-drawn isn’t the whole truth. They are so real you feel like you could sit down and have coffee with them. Well…maybe not Louie. She’s not the type to sit down and swap gossip over a cup. You’d be best not to get her angry at you. Each important character in the Louie-verse, as I call it, has so much depth and so many nuances that you can’t help but form some sort of connection with them. Even Konstantine.

This book, this series, is multi-faceted, unforgettable and exquisite in its grip.
If you enjoy paranormal, YOU SHOULD READ THIS SERIES!

You can find it wherever you buy books, either in electronic form or the dead-tree kind.

Enjoy!

Shadows In The Water – A Review

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A disturbing, brilliant, magnetic book! I had a very hard time putting this one down, and the only thing that made me put it down was the stupid clock. I don’t normally read paranormals, let alone paranormal thrillers, but that blurb drew me in and wouldn’t leave me alone. Magnetic, like I said. It disturbed me, the mental picture I got of Jabbers…I saw it behind my eyes when I closed them at 4 AM, I saw it when I blinked…I shivered, really truly shivered. I haven’t done that in relation to a book since King’s IT came out.
I cannot wait to get the second book in this series. This one was free, but I’ll happily and excitedly cough up whatever the second one will cost in order to find out what happens now to Lucy, Lou and Konstantine.
Brilliant…just brilliant!

I recommend a visit to the author’s website to find out more.

You can get your copy of Shadows In The Water here