Category Archives: Author & Artist Interviews

Eden’s Exchange talks to @TobyWNeal #author #interview

Toby Neal is a very busy woman living amongst the lush palms and beautiful sand and sea of Hawaii. She’s the author of close to a dozen books and counting. Learn more about this fascinating woman and her books.

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Aloha, Toby, so lovely to have you here all the way from Hawaii. Tell readers how your best friend would describe you in 20 words or less.

She has described me as kind, funny, disciplined, passionate and creative! (She’s a writer too, so we’re never short on words!)

Ha! I know what you mean. Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job? 

I am a clinical social worker in private practice as well as a writer. I am doing well enough as a writer to leave my practice, but I worked very hard to get all my degrees, and I LOVE helping people heal and overcome, so I doubt I’ll ever leave my therapy work entirely, though I may cut back—because right now I have too many clients!

I work on my writing business in the mornings and see clients in afternoon/evenings.

You are busy. Do you have time for any extravagances?

Art. Yeah, I know, that’s a thing for rich people, right? But I’m also a creative person myself, and my husband is a full time photographer/artist, so we love to support fellow artists. I’ve been collecting paintings and other art as we could trade/haggle/payment plan since we got married in 1986, and I love to be surrounded by gorgeous art.

Aww, that’s wonderful. I love art too and galleries are regular stomping grounds for me. Do you have any favorite curse words?

“Son of a beehive!” and “Shozbot!” Sometimes I will indulge in the occasional F bomb, like when I stub my toe really bad.

;) How about a motto you live by?

I enjoy mottoes and slogans and use them all the time in my therapy practice to help clients. For myself, I use “Anything worth doing, is worth doing excellently” and “the best revenge for a dysfunctional childhood is a life filled with joy” I also like “it is what it is” to help accept things that can’t be changed.

All good ones! Let’s talk about your writing. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My clients, Hawaii, nature, interesting news articles/investigation pieces I read.

What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

Stephen King’s On Writing: “ideas are like fossils and the writer just uncovers them.” I also like his formula of putting interesting characters in a situation and letting them fight it out. He emphasizes discipline and writing every day, which I do.

Great book and agree about writing every day. How would you define your style of writing?

Cinematic, fast-paced, dialogue driven, with lyrical bits

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I enjoy writing love and friendship scenes, setting description, and action. I hate writing departmental meetings reviewing a case (which is a part of police work)

Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

I outline about ¾ of the book and let the last fourth be filled with surprises (even to me) and I write character bios and a logline before I start a new book.

Interesting about the 3/4 formula. What is the genre of your book?

Police procedural mystery with romantic twist.

Yes, I featured Shattered Palms here back in March. Why do you think people should read it?

For fun, to get away to a little-known part of Hawaii (cloud forest on Haleakala) and to be engrossed in a powerful story.

SHATTERED PALMS COVER2I love the cover and I know that Shattered Palms is the 6th book in your popular LEI CRIME SERIES. Here is the blurb:

Maui is lush mountains, cloud forest and exquisite birdsong—but for Detective Lei Texeira, arrows break that peace.

Someone is stalking poachers that are capturing Maui’s rarest birds, and Lei pursues the case with her usual leap-first, look-later style—but will she be able to catch a killer, save the birds, and still make it to her own wedding? Shattered Palms is a roller coaster ride from the top of Haleakala to the beach and back again, with extinction at stake.

Toby Neal creates a captivating balance of the beauty of the islands contrasted with the ugliness of murder, and complicated by the trials of Lei’s personal life. A must-read for Neal fans.” —Thomas K. Matthews, author of Rejection.

 Sold via Amazon

How long did it take for you to write Shattered Palms?

Four months (first draft).

What was the inspiration behind it?

My husband’s work for Nature Conservancy on Haleakala and his work with endangered native Hawaii birds. I fell in love with them!

How are you marketing your book?

My email list, KDP select, my fan base, exposure on other blogs/etc

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Share it with others!

dark lavaAbsolutely. And since submitting your interview to me, you’ve released Book 7 of the Lei Crime Series called Dark Lava. It’s receiving excellent reviews! Here is the cover and blurb.

Maui is sacred places, ancient artifacts, and the dark lava of deepest passions.

Nothing ever goes easy for detectives Lei Texeira and Michael Stevens. An investigation into heiau desecrations must take a back seat to the emergence of an enemy who targets those closest to them, leaving shrouds as a calling card. Lei and Stevens face challenges of the body, mind and heart in this seventh in the bestselling Lei Crime Series.

“Neal is a powerful writer, and her prose is often effortless and elegant.” Kirkus Reviews 

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Toby, let’s have a quick lightning round to finish off.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My paintings and jewelry!

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? Italy. I’ve been three times. I love just about everything about Italy and have some relatives by marriage. Ah, la dolce vita! They really know how to live—wine, lovemaking, great art, afternoon naps, affectionate family life…what’s not to love?

Name a food you can eat everyday. Apples.

Favorite style of music? Classic rock and any kind of guitar music.

The best gift you’ve ever received? My husband gave me a Kari McCarthy painting this year for my birthday. Best present ever! Mike gave me a tiny painting the size of a matchbox all wrapped up and said, “all I can afford of her work, honey” and I was in raptures, and had to hit him when he was just teasing and he’d bought a much bigger piece and I could pick it out at her studio. We met, and it ends up she’s painting one of my own photographs. I’m so thrilled with the whole experience. She’s expensive and only getting more so, so I’m going to have a real treasure that I’ll enjoy every day feasting my eyes on.

That’s an amazing story, Toby. You are a lucky woman! Name something you cannot go a day without. Hugs and smiles from the ones I love!

Sweet :D Thanks so much for coming by Eden’s Exchange, Toby. I wish you continued success and look forward to more of your books.

Readers, please find Toby at all her virtual homes below.

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Connect To Toby

Toby Neal

Facebook Page for the Lei Crime Series | WebsiteFacebook

 Twitter @tobywneal | Amazon Author Page (for all Toby’s books)

Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. After a few “stretches of exile” to pursue education, the islands have been home for the last fifteen years. Toby is a mental health therapist, a career that has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her books. Outside of work and writing, Toby volunteers in a nonprofit for children and enjoys life in Hawaii through beach walking, body boarding, scuba diving, photography and hiking.



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Eden’s Exchange talks to @C_W_Schultz #author #interview

C. W. Schultz is the pseudonym for American writer Calen Sifferman, and we met on Twitter just before he was heading overseas. I liked his bio and invited him for an interview.

Please give Calen a warm welcome and add him to your networks. Continue reading


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Eden’s Exchange talks to John Anstie (@PoetJanstie) #author #interview

I remember the exact moment when I met John. It was on twitter August 2011. I was having a conversation with another Englishman about the London riots, and John interjected and suggested I read his article on the matter.

I did.

The rest is history, really. We’ve been friends ever since, and have discussed numerous topics ranging from poetry to politics to music to the Royal Mail system. He’s helped me in a fundraiser for a fellow author, and he’s been a constant source of friendship.

For all these reasons, it’s my privilege to highlight John and his writing.

Please give a very warm welcome to poet/writer and consummate thinker, John Anstie. Continue reading


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Eden’s Exchange talks to @CPBialois #Author #interview

I love when relationships develop organically, as they are the ones that usually stick. CP Bialois is an author I met sometime ago, and he’s been a constant source of optimism and encouragement. He’s an extremely diligent and hard-working author, and I’m happy to offer him space to tell you more about himself.

Please give a warm welcome to fantasy author,  CP Bialois. Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author @NedHickson #interview #humor

Ned Hickson is a terrific writer, and he does it with a sense of humor. On more than one occasion, I’ve done a spit-take while reading one of his blog posts.

It’s my great pleasure to introduce him to you, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed so much conducting an author interview. Thanks Ned, I need to clean my computer screen again! That’s the last time I drink expensive scotch while I’m reading your stuff!

Please give a warm welcome to Jurnalist and funny man, Ned Hickson. Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author Britt Skrabanek (@brittskrabanek)

I’ve met many authors via comments they left on my blog. That is how Britt and I connected. Of course, then I discovered we had friends in common, so I’m thrilled to showcase her and her work.

She was a lot of fun to interview and I’m sure you will enjoy reading more about her. Please welcome Britt Skrabanek to Eden’s Exchange. Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author Anthony McManus (@Deepcaster)

Anthony McManus (Tony, I call him ) is an author who lives in Chiang Mai, a beautiful part of northern Thailand I had the pleasure of visiting years ago.

We connected after he read one of my books, and have been friends since. As in the serendipitous world of the social network, he also happens to come from my provincial birthplace of Quebec. Small world.

Please welcome Tony—a diligent writer, a man of many talents, and someone worth knowing. Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author Angus Vieira

Angus Vieira is an author I met by way of mutual friend, screenwriter/poet Wally Lane. We read each other’s books and connected on Facebook. To say that he is an ‘interesting’ man would not do him justice. He is a unique blend of sexy and sassy, raunchy and sagely, and someone who does not mince words.

See what I mean by reading more about the one and only, Angus Vieira. Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author E.N. De Choudens (@ENDechoudens)

Author E.N. De Choudens, whom I call Efrain, connected with me some years ago when he fanned my Facebook page. We chatted about so many things, including books. I learned he wrote in numerous genres: erotica; poetry; science fiction; and horror.

Coming from a Spanish background, I knew English was not his first language, but that never stopped us from having the most charming conversations. You will discover that for yourself in his responses.

Please welcome Efrain and find out more about this dedicated and talented man. Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author Laurie Smith (@L27wsmithSmith)

Laurie and I connected via our blogs sometime ago, probably through our love of music.

Having worked as a police officer and in the prison system, he’s the writer of three novels (so far) in the “Death” series.

All the way from the land down under, please give a warm welcome to Laurie Smith. Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author Bill Kirton (@carver22)

Bill Kirton and I met via RB Wood’s Word Count Podcast a few years ago.

How time flies. Bill is fun to know, and he’s a terrific writer and storyteller.

Please find out more about this talented man, and his wicked, dry sense of humour. Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author Fiona Quinn (@FionaQuinnBooks)

I am so excited to have author, Fiona Quinn, on my blog. I’m a huge fan of her and her writing.

When I set out to write a mystery, her wisdom and experience were invaluable to me. In this interview, you’ll find out how she shares her knowledge with authors.

Now, let’s learn more about this fascinating woman and her book, Virginia is for Mysteries.

Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author @RaymondBolton

Raymond, welcome to Eden’s Exchange, so thrilled to reconnect after writing with you as part of the collective Black Ink, White Paper. Recently, I had the pleasure of picking up your book, Awakening, The Ydron Saga.

Now we get to learn more about you and your writing.

Readers, please sit back and enjoy!

Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author @DiBartoloJoseph

Serendipity played a role in my connection to Joseph DiBartolo, or Joey, as he has asked me to call him. I’m happy to share my space, so you can learn more about him.

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Read an Exchange with author @MWeidenbenner1

I love discovering new authors. When I put a call out for mystery/thriller writers to interview, Michelle answered the request, so here she is. In reading her responses, I discovered we had one odd thing in common. She loves oatmeal! I can’t think of many people who would say that. Let’s find out more about Michelle and her writing. Continue reading


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Read an Exchange with Author Christoph Fischer (@cffbooks)

Christoph, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. You’re a generous author who conducts many interviews on your own site, which makes me especially happy to have you as the first author interviewed under my new format. I hope you have fun, and thanks for bringing a drink along too. :) Continue reading


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My Author Interview Series gets a Makeover

Inside the Author’s Mind was an interview series I started Dec. 10, 2010 to highlight indie authors and their work. It also provided insight into different writers’ minds.

It’s been one of my most popular posts and is run on Fridays.

I’m streamlining the series to give it a fresh look. The questions will focus on the author as a person, while providing a platform to sell their work. I realize how important it is for writers to make connections via the networks, and the interview format is a great way to do it.

As I’m moving into the genre of psychological mystery/thriller with my new book, I invite authors of this genre to be interviewed. Feel free to leave a comment with your contact information if you wish to participate.

Of course, I will continue to feature writers of all genres, as I’ve done from the beginning. I will contact them directly.

Since this is a makeover, I thought it would be nice to give the series a new name. I’d like to introduce:

eden’s exchange

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Like a conversation …

the conversation

No, not THAT type of conversation!

More like this, by the fireplace, an exchange of ideas … fun, relaxed, and informative. We can even roast marshmallows if you like. ;)

Screen shot 2014-01-28 at 6.52.33 PM

Photo courtesy of SquarEstate

Look for the new format next month, and feel free to visit previous years’ interviews. It’s been a privilege to interview these wonderful writers, and I encourage you to connect to them.

Interviews of: 2010/2011 | 2012 | 2013



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Props to the people I interviewed in 2013

I hosted 47 authors in 2011, the first complete year of my blog.

I expanded the segment to other creatives with 44 interviews in 2012.

In 2013, I continued to share amazing talent on my blog. Read them if you missed their interviews initially. They’re wonderful people to have as part of your social network.

 Click on the name for the interview. 

 Profession and/or Genre  Name
 Mystery/Thriller/Humour  John Dolan
 Crime/Paranormal  Tim Dittmer
 YA Fantasy/Romance  Raine Thomas
 Editor and author of poetry  Loren Kleinman
 Women’s fiction  Erin Cawood
 Romance/Contemporary fiction/Short stories  Cameron Garriepy
 Memoir/Crime thriller/Romance  Billy Ray Chitwood
 Paranormal Romance/Celtic  Shannon Macleod
 Contemporary Fiction  Lance Burson
 Erotica/Romance  Layna Pimentel
 Editor and author of urban fantasy/Flash fiction  Annetta Ribken
 Thriller/Suspense  Everett Powers
 Historical fiction/Humour  Nicole Chardenet
 Paranormal/Suspense  Sheilagh G. Lee
 Filmmaker and author of non-fiction/Poetry  John T. Trigonis
 Satire/Politics/Humour  Christoph Paul
 Literary Podcaster/Social media brand manager  Lydia Aswolf
 Actor/Producer/Biographer  Gregor Collins
 Science fiction/Fantasy  Matthew Bryan
 Editor and author of short stories/novellas  Jennifer Wingard
 Publicist and author of multiple genres  Anne Chaconas
 Speculative fiction/Horror/YA  Jessica McHugh
 Urban paranormal/Epic fantasy  J.H. Sked
 Short stories/Aspiring novelist  Timothy Bryant Smith
 Victorianesque fantasy/Science fiction  MeiLin Miranda
 Noir crime/Personal development non-fiction  Joe Hefferon
 Instructional non-fiction/Science fiction/Fantasy  Matt Posner
 Historical Fiction  Mary Ann Bernal

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Get Inside the Mind of author Mary Ann Bernal (@BritonandDane)

Social media and serendipity connected me to Mary Ann Bernal, and I’m proud to say she’s my final author interview of 2013.

I knew little about her until now, but I loved discovering her work. You will too.

Please welcome Mary Ann and learn more about her and her books. Continue reading


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Get Inside the Mind of author Matt Posner (@Schooloftheages)

I met Matt through mutual friend and author, Junying Kirk. He was kind enough to interview me earlier this year, and I’m delighted to return the favor.

Matt is a diligent writer with passionate views. He doesn’t pull his punches as you will find out from his interview. He’s written a new book entitled How to Write Dialogue, and I’m happy to spotlight it.

Please welcome a man of many talents, author Matt Posner.

Continue reading


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