Author Interview: Laurell Galindo

Author Interview, Misc.

Meet Laurell Galindo.

Laurell GalindoSocial media links


The Interview.

Hi Laurell! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was raised in Meridian, Texas, and graduated from Meridian I.S.D. in 2003. In 2004, I enlisted in the United States Army Reserve to serve as a Public Affairs Broadcast Specialist. I was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005 to 2006. There, I completed multiple missions to create broadcast news stories and anchored the Baghdad based program, Freedom Journal Iraq for the American Forces Network. I separated honorably in 2012. I was prompted to write VET-ONATION because of a personal goal I’d set for myself. In May 2016, I began writing. I wrote several chapters but had to put the book on hold due to my late husband’s illness. He passed away on April 1, 2017. Afterward, I took some time to re-evaluate my life moving forward as a widow and single mother of three. Then I took a deep breath and recommenced writing. I did not want to write a book about war. It has been done. I’ve read several. In my opinion, war should never be glorified. In many of these types of novels, it is. War is a misogynistic and challenging endeavor. War changes a person dramatically. I wanted to address the internal aspect of war, but more specifically, military sexual trauma. I wanted to provide a narrative women could relate to in VET-ONATION.


How did you feel while writing your first broadcast?

One of my first broadcast stories was about the Iraqi referendum which took place on October 15, 2005. The threat of terrorist attacks did not phase the Iraqi people. They took advantage of the historic political process by voting in record numbers. At that time, approximately 15.6 million of Iraq’s 26 million people were eligible to vote. On that day, election officials confirmed as many as 65% of those people made their way to polling stations throughout Iraq, surpassing the 58% recorded in the previous January elections. The high voter turnout caused several polling stations to run out of ballots. Iraqi police and election officials rushed to re-supply these stations so voting could continue. It was an amazing day to witness and document. The Iraqi people made a great stride toward democracy. Their determination to vote showed they were open to a new way of combating violence and political problems in Iraq. It truly was an honor to be able to cover this historic event.


Was there a story at any point in your life that really struck you; that then you needed to tell people about?

A story that I was fortunate to be a part of and like to share is that of the Ibn Sina Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq. This hospital took Yugoslavian architects and Iraqi engineers nearly two years to build.  In 1964 the hospital opened, meeting Iraq’s need for a medical facility in Baghdad. The aim of the founders was to provide a hospital giving the highest standards of medical care and attention to its patients.

During his reign, Saddam Hussein took over the hospital using it as his own private medical facility for his family and the Baath Party elite shutting it off to the Iraqi people. After the U.S. invasion, the hospital became the referral hospital providing medical care to the majority of U.S. Troops, Coalition Forces, and resuming care of the Iraqi people.

Dr. Kadhim Shubber was one of the founders of this facility. I was able to document the day his children, Anisah Shubber and Dr. Jawad Shubber, toured the hospital for the first time in many years. Their visit brought back many memories which they shared as they posed to take pictures in front of their father’s old office. It was touching to see how proud they were to see their father’s hospital. Dr. Jawad Shubber shared that he was very proud of his father’s legacy and added it was a privilege to tour the hospital and to see the work of the U.S. forces in its mission to restore the facility. He added that he felt his father’s hospital was in good hands. I was privileged to be a part of many different stories. While some were happy occasions, others were somber ones. I feel blessed every day to have gotten to experience as many stories as I did.


Are there any characters or scenes in VET-ONATION that are influenced by real life experiences?

A scene that is influenced by a real-life experience is that of the sexual assault in chapter seven. I am a survivor of a military sexual trauma (M.S.T.) which took place in Baghdad, Iraq. I chose to remain a silent survivor for many years due to shame much to the dismay of my sanity. That choice almost destroyed me. Even after I disclosed the event through the proper channels, this information was on a need to know basis as far as I was concerned. I then wrote a book which discussed sexual assault. Unfortunately, I erroneously thought I would be able to skirt the issue and not address my own experience with inquiring minds. I was wrong. It’s difficult to talk about something you’ve kept a secret for so long.

Since VET-ONATION’s release, I have had a lot of tough, anxiety-inducing, emotionally exhausting conversations. I’m still working through the lasting effects of M.S.T. within myself. I hope others who have been affected by sexual assault will read VET-ONATION and be inspired to continue working on their recovery as well.


What is your writing process?

My writing process isn’t too technical. I start by contemplating the topic I’d like to write about. Then I work on a general outline. I try to have at least five main points I’d like to cover within each chapter but keep these general as to allow the characters to grow and change through a natural progression. I don’t give myself deadlines because I don’t want my writing to read like it’s forced. The most important thing is to start writing. The first draft is not going to be great, but at least it’s out of your head and on paper. I never write hungry. I don’t beat myself up over writer’s block. I am patient with my characters and myself. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how VET-ONATION would end until the morning I sat down and wrote the last chapter. It had been two months since I’d written anything. I needed to give myself and my character, Lauren, time to decide what was best for her. It came to me unexpectedly, and I knew without a doubt it was exactly how the book should end. When I read the ending now, I’m so glad I gave myself time.


From VET-ONATION, what is the main thing you want readers to take away from the novel?

Although the protagonist, Lauren Mayer, is a veteran, she’s still just an average woman struggling with her journey. She faces many tests along the way. While she doesn’t navigate them all well, she’s determined to confront her failures and overcome her obstacles. Her life is a tangled mess of romance, sweet memories, painful moments, and regrets. Lauren’s strength demonstrates what’s possible when we shine a light on our demons and embrace the changes in ourselves.

VET-ONATION is a fictional story. I wrote it with the hope that the protagonist would resonate with any woman who has struggled with a life-changing event and difficult circumstances. It is a book that is close to my heart.


What to you makes a strong storyline?

A strong storyline is made through storytelling and creating believable characters whom the reader truly cares for.


Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

VET-ONATION, which is derived from Veteran’s Detonation, talks about relationships, service in Iraq, military sexual trauma, mental health, and recovery from a female veteran’s perspective. VET-ONATION is an excellent book for female Veterans or any women who has struggled with aspects of service and life following this type of traumatic event, including addressing sexual assault and mental health.

Picture Us In The Light Tour

Blog Tour


Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But when he discovers a taped-up box in his father’s closet filled with old letters and a file on a powerful Silicon Valley family, he realizes there’s much more to his family’s past than he ever imagined.

Danny has been an artist for as long as he can remember and it seems his path is set, with a scholarship to RISD and his family’s blessing to pursue the career he’s always dreamed of. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words. Harry and Danny’s lives are deeply intertwined and as they approach the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core, Danny can’t stop asking himself if Harry is truly in love with his girlfriend, Regina Chan.

When Danny digs deeper into his parents’ past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed facade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.

Creative Post

Photo shoot time! Had a blast!

Author Kelly Loy.jpgAuthor Bio:

Kelly Loy Gilbert believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. She is the author of Conviction, a William C. Morris Award finalist, and lives in the SF Bay Area. She would be thrilled to hear from you on Twitter @KellyLoyGilbert or at

Social Media:

Join us on the tour! Stops below!


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Guest Review: Tormented Path

Book Reviews, Guest reviewer
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and are not represented by any other reviewers or A New Look on Books in accordance.

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“In the end, everything we do is just everything that we have done.”
– Adriana Fox, Devil of the Knight Skies within Tormented Path

Tormented Path – A Book of Poems by Adriana Fox
Reviewer: Marianne Caesar

Her first self-published work of poetry, Tormented Path presents a collection of Adriana Fox’s experiences and her transition of darker times into words of poetry. Providing a group of 15 poems, Fox presents the ways in which dark times can cause dark and light thoughts. She shares the ways in which reactions of sadness and despair can show a glimmer of hope, though sometimes causing thoughts of extreme desperation and a means for escape.
Many of the poems are dark in nature but serve as a reminder that there are other options when times push people to look for escape by occasionally negative means. By publishing her book, Fox not only serves as a symbol of hope to others but also as proof of success in overcoming challenges of abuse, be they emotional, physical, mental etc. Fox shares her experiences of poor relationships, neglect, fears, and many other emotions relatable to any age.
In addition to the poems focusing on the dark times, Fox also highlights the importance and value in meaningful relationships and interactions with others, and the ways in which we count upon others we care for and support. This can be seen especially in her poems Losing the Other Half of Your Soul Mate, and The Fallen Angel. From reading this book, it is evident that there was a struggle for Fox present between herself and the everyday battle which we call life; i.e. having to go through the motions while fighting questions of her purpose in life, how to determine the goodness of a person despite their actions and finding the inner strength to move above and beyond the sadness and thoughts of suicide.
One poem which exhibits this best is Tiger Rider, in which Fox expresses the power of a character who rides a tiger that has been in the dark waiting to break free and face their challenges. Painted as a weathered and worn creature, the Tiger is ready for what comes its way, protecting the rider. Working through this metaphor, we are able to see the strength which Fox held at the moment of writing, ready to go beyond the darkness presented in her other works, and to be the victor rather than victim.
A further degree of expression shared by Fox is the concept of illusion and the meaning of reality, expressed in the works Escaping Reality and Lamenting Dreams. While exploring different ranges of the illusionary concept, the first work permits the reader to understand that the author’s reality was composed at a time loneliness and solitude. Through her words, she shares having felt unnoticed and wants to find herself anew, able to begin again. Battling the invisible monster that is depression, she aims for hope and a chance to fight back rather than giving in to the despair felt within. Coupled with this poem comes Lamenting Dreams, in which Fox presents an image of surrealism where her use of vivid description again brings the reader to a place of unknown creatures and a sense of disorientation. As the journey for the character continues, we come to question the meaning of reality and dreams, and thus self-reflect on that which we view as our own dreams and reality.
On the whole, I would recommend the reading of this text not only for those interested in sharing the works of other artists but for all those who may be in a dark placing needing a symbol of hope. To share one’s innermost thoughts at the hardest times can be a large challenge in itself, and Fox accomplishes this and shows that nobody is truly alone, no matter how it may feel that way.

“These are very touching poems that make people think about many things.”

– Timothy on Amazon

Adriana Fox:
Black Fox Creations:
Written Rock Publishing:


Ratings: 3/5

The Color Project Promo + Interview

Author Interview, Blog Tour

Book Cover(1).jpgTitle of The Book: The Color Project

Author: Sierra Abrams

Release Date: July 18th, 2017

Publisher: Gatekeeper Press

Links to buy the book:

Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Book Depository  

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Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

For fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson, THE COLOR PROJECT is a story about the three great loves of life—family, friendship, and romance—and the bonds that withstand tragedy.

Author Pic(2).JPGBiography:

At 7 years old, Sierra Abrams decided that one day she would publish a book. For over a decade, in between exploring other career options, she kept coming back to that very first dream. Now her life consists of writing books of all kinds… Kissing books, angsty books, killing books, whimsical books, and sometimes books that are all of the above. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, traveling, consuming sushi, or daydreaming about Henry Cavill.

Social Media links.






Right away I was caught by your website intro “Sierra & the Quest to Write Everything.” How did you come up with that? How do you see writing as a quest?

Thank you so much! I think this title fits me as a writer in every way. Everything I do in life is a conquerable quest – there’s always more to learn, see, and understand. And I want to write in every genre to exist. I currently have 60 individual ideas that could at any moment sprout into books, and they’re spread over many different genres/age groups. I only have so many years to write all these things, so I best get a head start now, eh?

 How did your exploration of other career options shape you are a writer and later shape your stories?

Oooh good question! I wanted to be an architect and an English teacher (among other things) in between wanting to write. It’s interesting because the first taught me I didn’t want to do anything math related, and the second taught me that unless I was going to really try to do something with it, a degree is just a piece of paper. And I didn’t really want to be an English teacher – I just thought I did. I really wanted to be a story teller. These decisions haven’t shaped my books much yet, but they will in some of the stories I have yet to tell, and they definitely made me the person I am today.

In your bio I can’t help by admire the trust you have in your characters, “they always pull through” when it comes to completing an entire novel or even a sentence. Do you think writing this way, with trust in your characters, is your favorite aspect of storytelling?

I’m not sure I would call it my favorite aspect, because it’s definitely terrifying to trust fictional characters enough to give them the reins. I do think, however, that it is the mostimportant aspect of storytelling. I want my stories to be completely character driven; those have always been the strongest stories to read. Plot often forces the characters to do something that might not be in their nature, but if the characters are at the wheel, the plot falls into place naturally. There are other complications to this, of course, but it’s worth it for the sake of a smooth, realistic butterfly effect.

Out of, and I quote from your bio again, “7 salvageable stories,” are any of them future works in progress?

They are indeed! I’m working on two of them right now, and one of them is coming out next fall! You can add it to Goodreads here.

In one word, describe your debut novel, The Color Project?


Tell us a little bit about The Color Project. How did it change you? How did it grow from an idea to a published novel? Etc.

The Color Project was my very first contemporary idea and quickly became the first contemporary I ever wrote. It took 5-6 weeks to pen that first draft, which shocked me, because I’d never had a novel finished in such a concentrated amount of time. It went through a few minor changes and lots of line edits, but it was basically born as a fully formed idea. Shocking, because most of my ideas morph over time. And it changed me the most by helping me overcome some very serious fears and struggles I’d developed over my teen years. I wrote it and promoted it during my darkest years of depression, so coming out of that on the other side with a finished, published book amazes me. The hard work is paying off!

I gushed a little… okay a lot… over Levi. How did he come to live?

Levi is probably my only wish fulfillment book boy, and kind of a mixture of all sorts of people I know in real life. He kind of just….sprang to life. His personality, his wild hair, his name, his sweet heart, his determination to be everything his dad wasn’t, his involvement with cars…. He just suddenly existed and I knew I had to write him. I’m so glad people are loving him as much as I do.

When naming characters, shaping them, do you use real life people or actors or other fictional characters to help in the creation process?

It depends on the character, actually! Sometimes I instantly see the face of someone I’m familiar with. Sometimes I write faceless until one day BAM! I see someone (an actor or model or random person on Pinterest) and I’m like “Yes. This is that person.” Sometimes I see a face and go “YOU NEED TO BE A CHARACTER.” And as for naming, I use aaalllll sorts of baby naming tools. If the character doesn’t ring the doorbell of my mind fully equipped with a name, I spend hours finding the right name for them. I’ll ask for recommendations, I’ll scour the letter I think their name should start with, I’ll ask around, I’ll take notes while meeting new people, etc. Sometimes I’ll know the character has purple hair and tattoos and likes coffee, so I’ll search for names that remind me of that. Or sometimes I’ll see a name that reminds me of gardening and long car rides and the color pink, so I’ll create a character who does/likes all those things. I really never know. 😉

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

You asked amazing questions and I had so much fun answering them!! Thank you soooo much for having me, Rae!



A Tote from The Life of a Booknerd Addict tours
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Blog Tour:

Monday June 19
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Interview – Brittany´sBookRambles

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST – Review – ReadsandThoughts

Tuesday June 20
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Excerpt of The Color Project – TheYABookTraveler

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST – Review – TheHermitLibrarian

Wednesday June 21
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Review – YAandWine

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST -Guest Post – LimeLightLiterature

Thursday June 22
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Review – AvdReader

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST – DIY: The Color Project Bookmarks – LoisReadsBooks

Friday June 23
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Excerpt of The Color Project – TheReader&The Chef

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST – Mini Review & Favorite Quotes – TheLifeOfABookNerdAddict

Saturday June 24
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Interview – CurlyHairBibliophile  

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST – Mood Board – WonderfullyBookish

Sunday June 25
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Review – MorrissaReads

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST – Guest Post – AThousandWordsAMillionBooks

Monday June 26

In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Ways To Support Your Favorite Causes – TalesOfTheRavenousReader

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST – Review – InkDin

Tuesday June 27

In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Review – ILoveBooksGirl

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST –  Interview – Brooke-Reports

Wednesday June 28

In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Book Hangover  – FablesandFae

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST –  Guest Post – Tiffthebooknerd

Thursday June 29

In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Review – BookWyrmingThoughts

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST – Excerpt – SimplyNicollette

Friday June 30

In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Review – LittleRedsReviews

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST –  Creative Post – LostInEverAfter

Saturday July 1st

In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST – Review – Biscottos Books

In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST –  Interview – ANewLookOnBooks


Meet Lisa Manterfield.

Author Interview, Misc.

Meet Lisa Manterfield.

LM Headshot-crop.jpeg

Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author of I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today. Originally from northern England, she now lives in Southern California with her husband and over-indulged cat. A Strange Companion is her first novel. Learn more at

Author Links:
Twitter: @lisamanterfield
Facebook: AuthorLisaManterfield
Instagram: @lmanterfield
Goodreads: LisaManterfield

Now onto the interview!

How tricky was it to adapt your ideas of reincarnation into A Strange Companion? What worked? What didn’t?
The idea for this book began with the premise of “What if the people we love always come back to us?” I wanted to make Kat a skeptic, rather than a true believer, so she’d have to learn about the topic and challenge her own beliefs. As the story evolved, it became clear that it was really about love, loss, and how people deal with grief, and not about reincarnation at all. That said, I did a lot of research to make sure I adhered to the “rules” of reincarnation. The great thing was, the research gave me lots of ideas for the story, such as Mai’s recognition of people and places, and Gabe’s scar.

On your homepage this quote immediately grabbed my interest, “Curiosity didn’t kill the cat; it gave her material for stories.” What was the first instance where something curious inspired you to write a story?
I’m curious about a lot of things, and often read or hear something interesting and think, “That would make a great story.” Most of the time, the idea peters out, but I end up with a tasty nugget to use in another story. The first story I remember writing was about a group of friends who go off on a bicycle adventure. (I think I was about nine at the time.) I wrote a very vivid scene of them riding through a long, damp tunnel and then finding something mysterious on the other side. I was really curious to discover what that was. Sadly, I didn’t quite have the stamina to keep writing for long enough to find out.

Please explain your writing process. “When I’m writing, I like to “see” my story…” Has visual story plotting ever hindered you from getting your point across?
I think plotting, visual or otherwise, hindered this story for a long time. I was always trying to fit it into a standard idea of what a plot should look like. I’ve learned that I need to play around with characters and ideas before I try to form a story. I need to really understand what I’m trying to say before thinking about how to say it. For example, it took me a lot of drafts to realize that A Strange Companion was about grief, not reincarnation. Once I knew that, I was able to build the story around it. I also have a tendency to “ramp up” my stories, so being able to lay out the whole thing visually helps me see where things need to move faster. It also helps me to make sure characters and subplots don’t disappear for chapters at a time.

Walk us through your writing journey and the challenges, and joys of course, that followed you along the way.
This is the story I used to learn how to write. Honestly, it’s taken me about 15 years, on or off, to go from original idea to finished book. I don’t ever plan to take this long again, by the way. I first thought it would be a screenplay, but I never enjoyed writing in that medium. Once I started writing it as a novel, I knew I was on the right path.

That first attempt was a horrible mess and it took several complete rewrites to even get what I considered to be a usable first draft. I’d keep throwing up my hands and abandoning the story to work on something else. I wrote two non-fiction books and another novel in the time it took me to get this story to work. But this story always kept calling me back, so I knew there was something there. I don’t consider any of this process wasted time. I now have so much experience with broken stories that I can recognize one pretty quickly. My second novel took about three years from idea to completion, so you see I’m getting better every time!

Do you have any other stories in the works, that you can share with us?
I’m in the final editing stages of my next book, The Smallest Thing, which comes out later this summer. It’s the story of a 17-year-old girl, with big plans to escape her boring English village, who find herself trapped there by a government-imposed quarantine. It’s a story about friendship, community, and what it means to become an adult—and fall in love—in the midst of tragedy. It was inspired by the true story of the village of Eyam, whose residents chose to quarantine themselves to prevent the spread of the plague in the 1600s. This is a very contemporary version, of course.

Is there anything you want to tell the readers about A Strange Companion that they may not know about?
Although the story is completely fictional, I tapped into a lot of my own experiences to tell Kat’s story. My father died when I was 15 and I was not at all prepared to handle that grief. It took me a long time to understand that grief affects people in unusual ways and that you don’t ever “get over” a big loss, you just figure out how to live with it. I don’t think that’s something we acknowledge in our culture.

Is there anything else you’d like to share or say?
Just to say how much I appreciate bloggers like yourself and readers who love books. We writers spend a lot of time alone in our own little worlds, and our books are how we connect with other human beings. There’s something very special about emptying the contents of your brain onto a page and having someone you’ve never met read your words and recognize a little bit of themselves in your characters. So, thank you.

Thank you Lisa for stopping by A New Look On Books!

Lisa Manterfield’s debut novel A Strange Companion is out now!

Go check it out!

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