Author Spotlight - HJ Marshall

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H.J. Marshall began her love of reading and writing at an early age and has always dreamed of being a writer full-time. A nomadic youth exposed her to different perspectives of life, community, and culture, resulting in a lifelong love of food, music, and history. When she is not writing, she enjoys the music of all generations and genres, writing full-time, and living in her quiet cabin in the woods. Currently landlocked, H.J. dreams of her beach house, salty air, and a life filled with laughter.





 


Skid: Death Hounds Excerpt


For ten years, I lived a dual existence. Half of it was spent with the Death Hounds, fulfilling the dream I had since the first time Uncle Mick took me for a ride on his motorcycle. The other half was spent in the employment of Devlin Callahan, the madman of the Flats. Or at least he used to be. I first pledged my loyalty to him for saving my little brother Jacob’s life and was thrust into a different dark and dangerous world.

Everyone assumed he was a killer without remorse, looking to grab power and money for his own benefit. His motivations were much deeper and profound than anyone, other than his brother James, could understand. The two men met as boys and were pulled into a world so twisted and sick; I’m shocked they had any sanity between the two of them. They survived, like most people in the Flats, by using their cunning and taking opportunities as they arose.

When Devlin took control of the area from Marco, a completely demented human being, everyone assumed it would be business as usual. Slowly, Devlin changed the Flats, running the pimps and drug dealers out of town, shutting down the rampant assaults and rapes that were commonplace, and showing the citizens compassion. He was still feared and spilled blood in the streets without remorse, but his reasons only became known years later, and only to a select few people.

He worked hard throughout the years, and I learned everything I could from him. Soaking up as much knowledge as he and James would give me, I became proficient in hacking, code writing, and cyber security. It was a far cry from the life I thought I’d lead and as I learned, their trust and loyalty in me grew. When the programs we had been working on for years to enhance facial recognition and voice print analysis were sold to the government for millions of dollars, suddenly the madman was respectable, and he started his master plan.

It wasn’t world domination, illegal activities, or anything for personal gain. His motivation for everything was a beautiful woman named Elise, who had become his obsession years before I met him. Every move he made and every deal he brokered was done with her in mind, even if she wasn’t aware of it for years.


 


Q&A With HJ Marshall


Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how became an author?

A: I’m 47 years old and spent years in retail and non-profit management, but always dreamed about being a full-time writer. At 43, I decided to take the plunge and began writing my first book. Four years later, I’m living my dreams and experiencing a new life that I always dreamed would come true.


Q: What is your writing process like?

A: I let the characters develop in my mind, seeing them come to life as I plot their story. When I begin a new story, I let the story unfold, oftentimes skewing greatly from my original plans, but if the characters dictate something, I usually let them lead.


Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

A: I love spending time at the beach, watching the waves batter the shore as I plan my next book/series, I am an avid reader, and love spending time with my family.


Q: If you have a pen name how did you choose it?

A: I use my real name, just in initial form, to give me a small amount of privacy.


Q: Do your family and friends know that you are an author?

A: My family and friends are extremely supportive and encouraging of my writing and a few of them enjoy my books, while others are cheerleaders who don’t read my genre(which is completely okay)


Q: How do you celebrate when you are finished writing a book?

A: I cook one of my favorite meals or go to dinner with my sisters to celebrate.


Q: How do you celebrate when your books are released?

A: Release day is spent promoting during the day and I enjoy a celebratory dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.


Q: Are any of your characters similar to real-life friends or family?

A: Most of my main characters, both male and female, are based loosely on people in my life.

There are a few characters who had huge impacts on me, that I have given a spotlight, though most have name changes to protect their privacy.


Q: What was the most challenging part of writing?

A: Blurb writing. It is the most difficult part of the writing process for me.


Q: What part of writing is the most fun for you?

A: I love writing painful letters when the drama hits a high point in the books. Not Dear John letters, but the kind that breaks your heart and brings tears to your eyes when you read the characters' pain and anguish.


Q: What Authors or other Books have inspired your writing?

A: There are too many to list but Patricia Cornwell and Iris Johansen's are two of my out of genre favorites. In romance, I have a list a mile long.


Q: If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be and what would you say to them?

A: I would like to meet Devlin Callahan, the hero in Embracing My Nightmare. I would thank him for showing me that in darkness, light and love can be found.


Q: Do you pick your book covers before or after you write your books?

A: My covers are sometimes designed six or more months before release in order to help me connect with the characters.


Q: Who would be your dream model to have on your covers?

A: Robert Kelly for Devlin Callahan


Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: Being able to live my dream and writing the stories that bounce around in my head in a dream come true and I want to thank every reader or enjoys my books and all my author friends forgive me the courage and guidance to publish.


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