It is my pleasure to interview Onyinye Iwu today, who illustrates the covers of my books for Ankara Press. You’ll notice that they’re very different as romance covers go. Readers tell me that they really stand out. That’s because we’re a #newkindofromance!
Hi Onyinye, and thanks for chatting with me today –
Where do you live and how old are you?
I live in London UK and I am 26 years old.
Please tell us about the kind of work you do.
I do a variety of graphic work, from book covers, custom illustrations, to branding.
Who do you work for or are you freelance?
My day job is teaching, I teach design in a secondary school in London, so all my graphic design and illustration work is actually freelance. I have worked for many different clients, one of my main clients being Cassava Republic.
Where did you study or train?
I did a degree in Architecture at the University of Nottingham and PGCE in Design Technology, however I did study art and graphic design in secondary school.
What does your brief for Ankara entail?
I was lucky enough to be there at the very beginning of the Ankara press imprint, the brief was to create unapologetically strong African female protagonists for a series of romance novels. They needed to be confident, attractive and true to the amazing young women that populate the continent!
What is hard about doing romance covers and what do you like?
The hardest part of designing covers for romance novels is to capture such a rollercoaster of emotions in just one image, but I do love reading the stories and I adore dressing them in Ankara styles.
What is your favourite kind of work?
I have designed many book covers but my favourite work would be to create picture books and graphic novels which is something I am working on at the moment through personal and commissioned projects.
Please tell us about any awards you’ve won.
I won a CHUB award last year as best Graphic Designer.
What advice would you give illustrators starting out?
Find your illustration style, find the time to draw and don’t stop whatever anyone says. Illustration is such an amazing but competitive industry and you need the tenacity and resilience to overcome challenges!
Where can fans see more samples of your work?
You can follow me on Instagram @only_onyi
Where can future employers contact you?
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
From California! Bringing you news of an exciting new Irish-American love story by Kathleen Rowland – plus a tantalizing excerpt! Brought to you by my very own publisher, Tirgearr – leading the pack! Enjoy.
A decade ago, Tori Rourke, and her cousin, Vivienne, ran from the Irish mob after witnessing a brutal murder. Tori was framed by the mob, and while she served time in prison, she worried that the killer, Seamus McGinn, had kidnapped her missing cousin.
Attorney Grady D. Fletcher, defender of the wrongly condemned, appeals Tori’s case and wins her release. Now, going by Victoria Morningstar, she runs a food truck from a seedy waterfront neighborhood, hoping to find her cousin’s kidnapper.
When Grady agrees to defend a new client, Samuel Peterson, who’s been accused of beating to death the wife of a noted professor, the evidence mounts. The professor is missing, as well as his laptop that contains data dangerous to national security.
And Seamus McGinn is back, and rumors of a massive annihilation is about to begin. As they race to assist the FBI, the bonds between Grady and Tori are about to be tested. It becomes clear Grady and Tori are falling fast for each other, but what to do about it is a different story. He’s a divorced dad who wants more time with his kid. She brings danger to his front door.
Grady has questions of his own; Is Vivienne at the center of the mob’s operation? How much will it cost Tori before she learns the truth? All Grady knows is the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.
“Don’t let the anxiety of freedom consume you.” Attorney Grady Donahue Fletcher clenched his teeth and rehearsed what he’d say to his client, Victoria Morningstar. He’d won her appeal and drove to pick her up at Gladstone Penitentiary. “At least you won’t be placed in solitary.” That was worse.
Six months earlier Grady had phoned a reporter at the Los Angeles Globe. “Drew Barker. Grady Fletcher here.”
“Ah, the lawyer. Calling about a tip?”
“I am. Here’s something you can investigate. Tori Morningstar, did she murder Irene Brennan?”
“I wrote that story many years back,” the journalist had said. “I assume you have new discoveries.”
“Fraud, illegal testimony. Do you want the story first?” A second passed. “Otherwise, I’ll call the Orange County Guardian.”
“Okay, okay. We want it.”
Three days later Grady had a hand in writing the first article in Drew Barker’s column. “The public labeled Tori Morningstar as an undesirable. Not black and poor, but disfavored, accused, incarcerated, and wrongly condemned. Her cellphone has been recovered. Her call to 911 identified her voice and substantiated screams of the victim in the background. Could she have beaten someone while speaking to dispatch at the same time?”
The reporter had written the second article. “People who get their ideas about criminal lawyers from TV probably would be disappointed in Grady Fletcher. He lacks flash but stands up straight, his posture neither ramrod nor slouched. He doesn’t smoke, doesn’t wear thousand dollar suits. His voice is soft and low, one of his assets. He speaks truth with a voice inviting confidences.”
As nice as that was, Grady’s stomach cramped over pressure and strain from Drew Barker’s final article with the headline, Tori Morningstar, Released Today. Picked up by the online service, Newser, KTLA, and CBS Los Angeles, they planned to broadcast his arrival to escort his client from Gladstone.
Tori’s decade-long prison sentence ended today but with a sobering fear over tomorrow.
When was a July morning this hot? Grady balanced her release papers on his lap as he rolled up one sleeve then the other while gripping the damp steering wheel. Sweat blossomed on his throbbing forehead, wrapped like a python’s grip. He adjusted the dial for the AC and embraced the challenge of helping another client get back on track. Embrace and conquer. Or at least sound like it.
You will find all book links right here:
A little about Kathleen Rowland—
Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts. Writing a romantic suspense Irish American series for Tirgearr Publishing, Deadly Alliance is followed by Unholy Alliance with a release date of March 29, 2017. Keep an icy drink handy while reading these hot stories.
Other books are sweet new adult such as Lily’s Pad and the Intervenus Series: A Brand New Address and Betrayal at Crater’s Edge.
Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels. She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji. Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.
Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors. While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write. If you’d enjoy news, sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter at http://www.kathleenrowland.com/
I had the privilege of interviewing Amaka Azie, an exciting new author who writes contemporary romance fiction set in Africa, just like me! We met on Facebook. Yes, social media is amazing …
Please tell us something about yourself.
A: I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa. A middle child, with four siblings. I’m also a twin (I have a twin brother). I currently reside in England with my husband and daughters, where I practice as a part-time family doctor.
How did you get into writing?
A: It has always been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. I enjoyed reading a lot and would sometimes forget to eat because I was engrossed in a book, much to my mother’s irritation. My interests in writing intensified when I joined the press club in secondary school. I was responsible for putting up interesting news articles to read on assembly. This pushed me to also write short stories I passed around in class. I remember my classmates queuing up to read my stories.
I continued to ruminate about writing for a long time until I met a publisher last year, who encouraged me to follow my dreams. I have not looked back since then.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
A: I usually start off with an idea, write it down and then gradually work out how the plot progresses. I sometimes use flashbacks to give the characters depth. So that people can understand the characters more. A few times, the plot has taken a mind of its own and led me to a path very different from what I had originally planned. I guess sometimes, a story can take over the writer.
What inspires you to write?
A: Real life situations. I am a romance writer, but I like to integrate real life situations and struggles into my stories. I think everyday experiences of regular people are potential ideas for many stories.
I am a good listener, and I have found that people, even strangers, open up to me about their lives. Sometimes just seeing the emotions from people telling me their stories, puts an idea in my head.
Music is another inspiration. The song “I put a spell on you” by Nina Simone has filled my head with various ideas.
Who is your all-time favorite character (from your books) and why?
A: Chuma Obi, from Thorns and Roses. He is a complicated man, who has insight to his character flaws. He knows he is obsessive, manipulative and controlling. He sometimes tries to fight his natural obstinate behavior but fails most times.
He is also a kind, caring and loyal person, who will go all out to fight for people he cares about. I love that about his character. He never wants to see anyone he loves struggling.
Do you prefer coffee or tea?
What’s better than chocolate?
A: Cocktails… I’m a sucker for cocktails…
If you believed in this sort of thing and could channel an artist from the beyond, who would it be and why?
A: It would be Fela Kuti, a late Nigerian musician. He did not care what people thought about him. He spoke the truth about injustice through his music and was arrested by the Government multiple times.
I would channel his fearlessness and courage to speak the truth no matter what.
What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: Hopefully with a Nigerian Writers Award… hahaha. And more bestsellers under my belt of course!
Any advice for those aspiring novelists out there?
A: Keep writing. Don’t give up. No one will read your stories if you don’t write. Also, don’t start out thinking about money. Start out with a burning desire to share your story.
Thanks for your time, Amaka! I’ll be reading Thorns and Roses, that’s for sure!
How can your readers contact you?
You can interact with Amaka Azie on:
Every once in a while a truly special event comes along, and this is one of those. From Friday you can attend a wonderful Book Fair showcasing a host of authors from the comfort of your own home! Meet romance writers from the African continent, bringing you a range of wonderful love stories from sweet to hot to thrilling. Enjoy!
The Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books is a weekend event, featuring 12 authors and 1 interview with an aspiring romance author. Each day will have a certain amount of authors that will showcase their books and who they are.
The online book fair takes place on Facebook. Here’s a link to the event page. https://www.facebook.com/events/372063406523550/
Readers, you can come and go as you please since you don’t have to pay a ticket to enter or register. So come and meet your next favorite author! We’ll have discounted and free books, play games, you can win Amazon Gift Cards. Get a little bit closer to authors you want to chat with in real time and generally see what Africa’s got to offer for your romance taste buds.
There will be a Scavenger Hunt that you can enter and stand a chance to win a prize. You’ll have to go to every author’s post (“booth”) at the event and hunt for the number each author has “hidden” in one of their posts. At the end of the weekend you need to add up the amount and inbox co-host Kathy Bosman with your answer and she’ll draw a winner.
We are also running a sign up for our Newsletters competition that will start running with the Africa Online Book Fair blog tour from 17 to 31 May. You could win a 20$ Amazon Gift Card.
Sign up for as many newsletter as you want, each one is an entry: https://goo.gl/forms/uwdyuFB76kb67rqh2
The Winner will be announced after the fair.
Attending the online book fair and how it works is straightforward, especially for readers who’ve attended Facebook book parties. But also for readers who use the social network site daily.
All you need to do is go to our Event and click ‘Going’. It’s that easy!
The online book fair is for romance authors who are from Africa and authors who write romances set in Africa.
And don’t forget to invite your friends! Also join the group if you want updates on future book fairs from us.
Hope you have lots of fun and discover awesome reads.
Africa Online Book Fair Links:
Facebook Group Page: https://tinyurl.com/ka3ucvl
Hello everyone, bringing you news of a brand new release by a bestselling author and friend of mine in the States! Inside the yummy cover, you’ll find a gripping story line! It forms part of a fabulous anthology – even more to enjoy!
Saving His Wolf by Kerry Adrienne
USA Today bestselling author Kerry Adrienne’s exciting novella in the Shifter Wars series about a woman who is seeking her fate and a man determined to help her discover her true nature.
Title: Saving His Wolf
Author: Kerry Adrienne
Release Date: May 22, 2017
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Shifter Wars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 30,000
Synopsis: Olivia, born blind and without the ability to shift, yearns to seek her own fate away from her watchful and devoted wolf pack. Vulnerable and stuck in human form, she’s alone and at risk in the forest’s brutal winter when she’s rescued by a park ranger and taken to his cabin in Deep Creek. By the warmth of a crackling fire, she’s comforted by his presence. But it’s his rugged scent that stirs something in her she’s never felt before.
Bear shifter Powell sensed the instant he held her that Olivia was his mate. He also knew she had the untapped powers to discover her true shifting nature—if only he could convince her to trust in him, and to believe in herself. Now the one thing that stands to threaten their healing mating hunger is Olivia’s distrusting and vigilant pack. A pack prepared to do anything to get her back.
But there is no danger as strong, no desire so liberating as what Powell is bringing out in her—because Olivia can finally see where her destiny lies.
About Mated: A Paranormal Romance Shifter Anthology
One anthology. Three wolf shifter romances. Don’t miss this collection of stories from USA TODAY bestselling author Kerry Adrienne, Sionna Fox and Shari Mikels
A woman born blind and without the ability to shift yearns to seek her own fate away from her watchful, devoted wolf pack. Vulnerable and stuck in human form, she’s alone and at risk when she’s rescued by the bear shifter who is her destiny.
An accident forces a man to change the best friend he’s loved for years…or leave her for dead. There’s no reason to hide his true self anymore—but can she ever forgive him?
And a pack alpha finds that rescuing his fated mate from a violent confrontation with two wolf shifters is easy. Helping her move from fear to acceptance of the animals—and him—is a challenge.
About Kerry Adrienne:
USA Today bestselling author Kerry Adrienne is repped by Marisa Corvisiero at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Kerry writes in many sub-genres of romance including paranormal, science fiction, erotic, m/m, time travel, and many more. She loves history, science, music, and art and is the mom to three daughters, many cats, and various other small animals. She loves live music and traveling most anywhere.
In addition to being an author, she’s a college instructor, artist, costumer, editor, and bad guitar player.