books, ness talks about life

hold the phone … i have a guest. A GUEST!

This evening, I have a guest on my blog. Grab a cuppa, a blanket (because winter has been rude and the chill has arrived early. TOO EARLY, I TELL YOU!) and settle down as Hazel West tells me of Sutcliff, spiders and sequels.

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What has your writing journey been like?

Well, I started writing at a very young age (my first stories were about my pets actually) but I’ve been writing steadily for about the last 12 years or so, and surprisingly come up with a few novels that people seem to enjoy reading 😉 Among that time has been bad ideas, writer’s block, and stories that go no where, but that’s a writer’s life, right?

Coffee or tea?

Coffee, hands down. Coffee is life.

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If you could go back in time, what author would you have a dinner with?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. I think Arthur Conan Doyle would be on top of my list though. Not only did he write one of my favorite literary characters ever (even though he hated Holmes himself, haha) but he was just such an interesting person. Coincidentally, Doyle believed in Faeries 😉

Name one of your inspirations

I think an author who has inspired me most in recent years has been Rosemary Sutcliff. Her books are beautiful and often tragic, but are so true to life and I think reading her really taught me how to craft both historical stories with meaning and how to write epic mythological retellings.

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High five, fellow Sutcliff fan!

How did the experience of writing An Earthly King differ from writing Blood Ties?

Sequels are hard. You’d think they would be easy since you know the story and characters, but they’re actually really hard sometimes. Getting back into a story but this time with a different storyline is sometimes difficult. Thankfully, AEK wasn’t quite asearthlykingcoverpic2-copy hard as other sequels I have *tried* to write. I think the main difference was that I had to do a lot more research for this one. In the first book, I was mainly creating a world based off of one already there, but apart from that, I took major leeway with my version of the Goblins you see in the story. However, I wanted to take a more traditional approach in AEK when it came to the Faery Courts because there is so much awesome stuff in the lore you can use, so I did a lot of research into Fae lore and all that. AEK is also a loose retelling of the Tam Lin story, while Blood Ties wasn’t based off of anything in particular apart from the Fianna legends.

Which are worse – spiders or snakes?

I’m actually not truly opposed to either. I quite like my spider (minions) who live in the house as they eat any other bugs who come in. As long as they stay on the ceiling we don’t bother each other. Snakes I’m not so happy about. I don’t mind non-poisonous ones but deadly snakes will be hunted down with extreme prejudice. So I guess snakes is my answer haha 😉

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me too, my friend, me too

If you could snap your fingers and have any book – from any time or place – with you now, which book would it be?

Any of the Rosemary Sutcliff books I don’t have. Some are so hard to find copies of. Also, an original hardback copy of Patricia C. Wrede’s Calling on Dragons to complete my collection.

Writing on paper or on the computer?

I used to write all my stories on paper and then transcribe them, but I just can’t do that anymore. Number one, I can’t read my own handwriting, for some reason, it has only gotten worse over the years haha. Plus I can type so much faster, and it doesn’t give you cramps when you’re trying to get an idea down fast. Me and my laptop (whose name is Spencer) make a good team.

Thank you for stopping by, Hazel!

Hazel West lives in Purgatory, er, Florida, with her books and her hedgehog Horatio. When she’s not writing, she’s reading other people’s books, studying folklore, or binge-watching something on Netflix—drinking coffee is also a given.

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A Chat with C.B. Cook

Grab the beverage of your choice and settle down for a visit with C.B. Cook, debut author of Paralyzed Dreams, in which I cross-examine her on her favourite authors and on the always Very Important question of: tea or coffee?

This question will never not be important.

Are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of writer, or do you prefer to plan everything out?
I’m kind of both, actually. I have to have an outline of some sort, but I have trouble writing if it gets too detailed. I like to know where I’m going, but be able to dive in and just play around with the story as I go.
Tea or coffee?
Neither, really. But I’d have to say I think coffee would be better, as long as there’s lots of cream or sugar in it.
Do you have any favourite authors, if so – who?
The only question harder than this is the favorite book question. 😉 C.S. Lewis is definitely one of my favorites, along with H.G. Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My favorite modern authors include Ashlee Willis, Lisa Bergren, Melanie Dickerson, Marissa Meyer… the list goes on and on. 😉 You’re on there, too!
Aw, thank you! Now, what is your favourite genre to write in?
That’s a hard one, for me, at least. I’ve written in fantasy, contemporary, and a little science fiction. Contemporary is a lot of fun, but I’d definitely say fantasy is my favorite. But I really want to write a mystery, too.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs, definitely. We have a super adorable crazy dog, and I wouldn’t give her up for anything. 😀
Tell me a little bit about your brand-new book:
I wrote this book for my mom for Christmas a few years ago. I honestly don’t know how I came up with the idea, other than just trying to torture my characters. *sigh* But it’s a story about a volleyball player, Pam, who gets in a car accident. Her entire life has centered around playing volleyball, so when she finds out that she’s paralyzed, she gets angry at everyone… including God. Her whole life seems ruined, and her dreams are now paralyzed, just like she is.
Thank you very much for stopping by, and all the very best : )

C.B. Cook is a teen author with many short stories under her belt, and now a published novella, Paralyzed Dreams. She has been blogging for over a year and is working on writing a middle grade fantasy series. When she’s not balancing homework or writing, she can often be found messing around in Photoshop or talking to her dog. You can visit her at