Behind the Book: What Are Friends For? By Sarah Sutton

Thank you for agreeing to a Behind the Book interview about your novel What Are Friends For?

Blurb: What Are Friends For?

This is your first published novel but what’s the first story you remember writing?

If we want to go wayyyyy back, I remember that the first story that I ever wrote was a Gingerbread Man spin-off. We’d just finished the book in my first grade class, but I wanted to read more of the Gingerbread Man’s adventures, so I went home and wrote it!

Why did you decide to self publish?

I tried the querying route, but I quickly found that it wasn’t for me. I spent over a year going back and forth between one publishing company, editing my book, before they ultimately passed on the project. To say I was devastated would be an understatement! I didn’t want to wait any longer, so I decided that I would be self-publishing.

This novel is a Friends to Lovers Romance – I fell in love with my best friend and married him. Have you ever crushed on a friend?

Oh, I love that so much! And I actually haven’t, not anything major anyway. I absolutely love the idea, though—a friendship turning into something romantic is soooo adorable to me!

Can you name any books similar to yours?

Kasie West’s book On the Fence was really similar, and very adorable!

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Sarah Sutton?

I’m such a homebody. Especially lately. Usually I’ll do professional related things in the morning—like finish some client work, manage the business side of things. I’ll take a nap about mid-day so I can stay up late and write my heart out! Sometimes I won’t go to bed until four in the morning, which makes for a rough wake-up the next day!

Do you have a book boyfriend crush – who is he?

Ooh, ever since I read Clockwork Angel, I have been so in love with William Herondale. Total babe!

Please share a snippet of your story, What Are Friends For?

Elijah was still picking at his fingernails, trying to scrub away the last speck of glitter. It was good that he wasn’t looking at me—he didn’t notice my staring. “You know, Sav agreed to do the double date thing. I texted Jer and he was thinking tomorrow could be a good day. We could all just come over and do some arts and crafts together.”
I was a bottle of mixed emotions; every time someone shook me, a new one surfaced. “This is news to me.”
“I thought Jeremy would’ve called you.”
A part of me really, really wanted to start gushing about Jeremy, but for the wrong reasons. But making Elijah jealous would be impossible. And my soul felt too weary to even try. “I’m sure he’ll mention it tomorrow.”
“Do I have to say again the part where we don’t keep secrets from each other?” Elijah asked, nudging his knee against mine underneath the table.
“We keep secrets,” I corrected him this time, laying my head against my folded arms. I could smell the cleaner Mom used on the wooden surface with my nose so close, and also the lingering smell of glue. “You have yours and I have mine and we don’t talk about them.”
Elijah didn’t answer, at least not right away. From the corner of my vision, through the little sliver open near the crook of my elbow, I saw him pull his chair closer to me. Our knees connected again, but this time he didn’t move his away, allowing it to rest against mine. I felt his fingers walk their way up my skin, a tickle of a touch, barely there.
“You can tell me your secrets if you want to,” he said quietly, his voice soothing and soft near my ear. “I’ll always want to keep them.”

Where can we go to discover more and buy What Are Friends For?

You can buy What Are Friends For? on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo—here’s a universal link to where all that can be found!

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate shop link.


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Behind the Book: World for the Broken by Elexis Bell

Elexis recently released World for the Broken. Doing another interview was a wonderful way to end our series on interviews. And, Elexis agreed.

How are your coping during C19?

I feel guilty, but I’ve been enjoying this. I get to stay home from a dangerous job that I don’t exactly enjoy, with a built in excuse not to socialize and tons of time to work on my books.

At first, it was nerve-wracking, because it took three weeks to get an unemployment check and money is a huge stressor for me. But we finally got it sorted, and now I can relax on that front.

What inspired World for the Broken?

The trailer for a high end, medieval erotic film. Lol. Which is ironic, since it includes nearly every trigger except a sex scene, even though part of the plot revolves around a brothel.

What’s your top post-apocalyptic book or film?

This one is hard to narrow down, so here’s a few favorites.

  • Book series: The “Partials” series by Dan Wells
  • Standalone book: “The Pulse” by Scott B. Williams (This may be a series, but I read it as a standalone.)
  • Short story: “The End of the Whole Mess” by Stephen King
  • Video game: Fallout 4. I’ve been getting into Fallout 76 since they added NPCs, though.

What three things could you not live without?

As far as apocalypse survival is concerned, food, water, and warmth. Not in that order. Lol. Otherwise…since we’re talking things and not people…idk. I’m fairly adaptable and can usually make do. I have habits and things I prefer to surround myself with, but if it comes down to what I can and can’t do without… I can make do with what I have. My imagination is usually enough to get me through a rough patch.

Could you survive in your broken world?

If the apocalyptic situation were similar to the one in my book, probably. I mean, I can’t say yes, without a doubt, because there’s always the chance for some unknown, but my husband and I have bug out bags, food stores, weapons, and a pretty decent ammo cache.

We live near a nature preserve, so hunting and fishing wouldn’t be a problem. And we’re in a small town. Fewer people means fewer people that could be terrible. It also reduces mob mentality.

Plus, I’m at a decent build/weight for the apocalypse. Strong with decent stamina. A bit of insulation to carry me through between meals, but not so much as to slow me down if I need to move.

I may have thought this through a bit too much.

Tell us a little about the three main characters?

Well, Chloe is a survivor. She’s independent (sometimes to a fault) and resourceful. She’s skilled in combat and handy with a gun. Growing up on a farm showed her the value of hard work, but tragedy pushed her away from other people. Now, after the apocalypse, she has to decide if she can let someone new in.

Christian grew up in a broken home. He tried to spare his brother pain at the hands of their parents, and now beats himself up over the monster his brother turned into. And his death.

Karen was once a bright, optimistic preschool teacher. She had a happy home as a child, and wanted to provide a similar life for her own son. But then, the apocalypse saw her forced into a brothel and beaten by the husband she once adored. And her spirit started to break.

Can you share a snippet?

“So, you’re just giving those antibiotics to me? And helping me…without expecting anything in return?” I ask, allowing some of my skepticism to show through.
“No. I’m asking for something.”
Chloe’s response unsettles me and eases my mind at the same time. After all, it is the end of the world. Everyone expects something in return. For some reason, I’d just been hoping she was better than that.
Somewhat wary, I ask, “What do you want?”
“Don’t make me regret this.”
Five very simple words, ordinary in every way and wholly within reason. But something in her eyes makes me believe she’s taking a much bigger chance on me than just helping out a stranger in the apocalypse.
Where can we find out more and buy your book?

My website has information and links for all my published works, as well as little tidbits about my WIPs. My blog is chock full of (blunt) writing advice and updates on all my work.  


All my books are available on Amazon, and can be found on my Amazon author page.


Universal amazon link:

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Behind the Book: Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert by Pagan Malcolm

I am so excited to do this interview with the talented Pagan Malcom. She’s a best selling author of both indie and traditional books and shares her wisdom to support others.

Today’s Behind the Book is on her debut novel Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert.

What inspired you to write this contemporary romance?

I went on a week long holiday to an island resort in my hometown area back in 2012. During my stay, I wasn’t really enjoying myself—so I began to fantasize about what would make the holiday more interesting. The setting around me inspired me, and my fantasies developed into proper characters and a plot. By the time I left the island resort, I had a whole story idea ready to be written.

How hard was it to self-publish your first book?

Not that hard, actually. That’s not to say that I did everything right (hence why I relaunched the book two years later), but in terms of researching and going through the actions, it was quite easy. Platforms such as Createspace (which is what I used originally) and Amazon KDP make the process SUPER easy.

It’s not the publishing part that’s difficult—it’s the launching part, because a launch is more marketing than anything else. That’s why I created my course Storyseller Academy (now that I’m more versed in publishing and launching), which dives into all that sort of stuff.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

Back then, it was building my readership. I was from a small regional town in Australia of just over 3,000 people. I didn’t have an online presence. I didn’t live near any big cities so I couldn’t just head over to a writer’s festival or attend a panel to listen to experts. I didn’t know how to find my ideal readers, or market my book, or anything like that. Because of this, my first launch flopped and I think the most discouraging thing was feeling isolated—like I didn’t have anyone to reach out to for help because I didn’t know anyone.

What is the earliest story you can remember writing?

It was a 10 page, illustrated book called “The Adventures Of Sandy Island” and it was a rip off of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. I replaced all the characters, changed Willy Wonka into a pirate, and added an evil lion (???). I was like, in Grade 4, and my parents had to educate me on what copyright was. I soon felt embarrassed and threw it in the bin—and my mum has never forgiven me because she wanted to preserve it for later years.

Can you name any similar books to Stuck on Vacation?

Quite a few—none of them are exactly alike but a lot of these share similar themes of love-hate relationships, boys next door, being stuck in places you don’t want to be and adorable romance:

  • Magnolia by Kristi Cook.
  • My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
  • The Boy I Hate by Taylor Sullivan.
  • Faking Delinquency by Ashley Winters.

Please share a snippet or teaser from Stuck on Vacation?

He pulled me into the room as I reached out to drag in my suitcase. I dropped it on the floor as he shut the door behind us.
And then he had me pressed against the wall, breathing in my scent, holding me in his embrace. “I can’t stand the thought of you slipping through my fingers again,” he whispered.

“I’m not going anywhere,” I promised. His intense gaze was driving me a little crazy—in a good way. I hadn’t realised how much I wanted him around me. I’d been so focused on the thought of him betraying me that I’d ignored the raw pain I felt in his absence.

He pressed his lips to mine. His kiss was soft and gentle, like he was afraid I might yell at him again. His fear of losing me was evident in his touch. He was treating me delicately, as though I was fragile, like he was afraid to cause another fight.

Have you ever had a holiday romance?

snorts I wish! That’s why I just write about my fantasies instead. Hahaha!

Who is your book crush love interest?

Okay at first I thought you meant the person I based Ryan Rupert off of (which is a secret I will NEVER tell—mwahahaha) but my book crush love interest?


What a question.

How does one even narrow that down?


I’m going to have to go with Wes from Clouded by Envy, by Candace Robinson. There are a LOT of great book boyfriends out there, and Wes isn’t really dramatically special when you take them all into account (I’m perfectly aware I could be claiming stake on a supernatural boyfriend right now—trust me). But I like his humour and he seemed attractive and he was a good big brother. All big brownie points in my book.

What project are you currently working on?

Quite a few. I’m writing 3 books right now that are all due… like, now—lol. I also just launched a membership site for my readers to access bonus bookish content, and I’m working on a ~secret project~ that I can’t say much about yet, but it involves tea. wink

Where can we find out more about your coaching, courses and buy your books?

For my books, check out (you can also find the membership site there—but you have to be a Patreon supporter of mine for access).

For my coaching and courses, check out

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate shop link.


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Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

What inspired you to write Sorceress of Truth?

From being around 12 years old I’ve had a love for books, which evolved to fantasy. From as far as I can remember, my dream has been to see my very own book on the shelves of Waterstones and WHSmiths, etc.

Way back in 2006/7 my now husband and I went to visit Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. The huge cliff faces of the gorge cutting through the earth and the story of the Wookey Hole Witch are what sparked the beginnings of Sorceress of Truth.

How long did it take to write and publish from the first idea?

From my initial idea, I spent a year or so on a fact finding mission. I really wanted to lay down the foundations of my characters back stories and origins of the races, though there have still been a number of surprises along the way.

Up until November 2015 I’d written no more than 20,000 words. I had a lot of other things happening in my life, so writing became something that I picked up every now and again. That is until I discovered NaNoWriMo.

It gave me the boost I needed to write ‘The End’ and I finally published in November 2019.

What genre is Sorceress of Truth and can you name any similar books?

I class Sorceress of Truth as a YA urban fantasy with a hint of paranormal romance.

I’m massively inspired by Richelle Mead, Cassandra Clare, and P.C. and Kristin Cast. Collectively their works fill the majority of my bookshelves. I guess you could say that Sorceress of Truth deals with a similar discovery journey as the House of Night series. At the same time, the different races are a lot more integrated into normal society, like the Vampire Academy books.

Where is the novel set and do you have a personal connection to the location?

The novel is set in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and the surrounding area. The small town of Springs is loosely based around somewhere I lived whilst completing my own Alevel’s, with a few artistic differences.

Why did you choose to self publish?

I would say self publishing chose me!

Initially I wanted to go with traditional publishing, although I wasn’t keen of having an agent. That massively reduced the already short list of publishing houses who would accept my submission.

I did everything right. I read the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, wrote a synopsis and short bio, batched everything up as per the publishers requirements, hit send, and waited. And waited.

Eventually I had a few replies, ‘Thank you, but no thank you.’, and I found myself at a crossroads.Should I continue pursuing the golden ticket, or should I re-evaluate what I wanted out of my writing?

There were many factors when it came to my decision, one of those being reaching the top 250 out of 3112 entries in the UK Novel Writing Competition with an early, poorly edited, version.

Self publishing won.

That’s not to say it’s been the easier option. From my experience, and from stories I’ve heard, self publishing can often be a much harder and braver option. Though, in some ways, the rewards are so much sweeter.

Please share a snippet or teaser from the book?

“So, I’m going to wake up in two months time and be able to shoot bolts of lightning from my fingers? Or, is this your way of telling me I’m being shipped off to some school for magic?” I glared at Ky with my fists by my side, the nails digging into my fleshy palms. It was the only way I could think of to make me feel something, to make sure this wasn’t all some twisted dream.

“Your family seems to have eluded The Guard for many years.”

“The Guard?” That piqued my interest, and not in a good way. I still didn’t know much about them, and an uneasy feeling churned within my stomach.

“The Guard was formed hundreds of years ago. There’s a prophecy that, one day, a powerful sorceress will cast a demon, Belial, into the mouth of hell.”

Belial? Hell? Was everyone here crazy?

I pushed myself from the tree and began striding back towards the house. There was no way I was going to get caught up in all of this. Next, they’re going to tell me that there are unicorns roaming the woods and mermaids living in the lake.

There are two love interests in your novel, which is most like your man?

This is really hard because all of my characters are an amalgamation of friends, family, acquaintances, even characters from books I’ve read and films I’ve seen.
My husband is a great dad, and very supportive of me and my many crazy ideas, so he definitely has a lot of Kylan in him. On the other hand, as a gamer and anime watcher, he does tend to have a soft spot for the darker and more troubled characters.

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Jodie Groom.

To be honest, in my eyes, my day is pretty boring to anybody looking in.

I start my day with my phone alarm going off several times before I eventually crawl out of bed and wake my daughter for school. Once the school run is out the way I try and do half an hour or so of exercise in the living room followed by breakfast and coffee.

Begrudgingly I try to fit in an hour or two of housework, or related tasks, then turn to the computer to deal with email and social media posts. If I’m feeling creative I will try to write, but it’s rare.

After lunch, I’ll do more housework and jobs that have built up, before picking my daughter up from school again. Sometimes she has clubs etc so I act as taxi, and once home, we cook and eat dinner.

This normally brings me to about 7pm when my husband takes over and does the whole bedtime routine, allowing me to get on with whatever I need to be doing on the computer. Sometimes that’s writing, sometimes it’s creating video’s and trailers, and sometimes it’s updating my website.

Time seems to fly pretty quickly then. I’m at my most creative at night and, if I’m having a really good writing session, I have been known to stay up past 3am. Which is another reason why I loathe my alarm clock and the morning school run.

Some day’s I spend a lot of time up at school helping with the PTA activities, and other day’s I can be quite involved with tasks for World Indie Warriors. Every day is different and comes with its own challenges. For now, I may be a stay at home mom, but I definitely don’t see myself fitting into any of the regular stereotypes.

What project are you currently working on?

I always have many pies on the go, I can’t help it. I learned very early on that I get fed up easily so have to be able to switch to something else. It’s not just in my writing, it seems to be in most things.

I’ve recently turned my focus back to Sorceress of Flame, the second instalment of the Divine Prophecy Series. We continue Tory’s journey but this time it will be NA rather than YA. It wasn’t intentional but Tory is growing up, maturing, and so it felt fitting that he story followed the same path.

In the background I’m also writing a 3 book series, whose working title is The Don of Avery, which I can’t wait to unleash. It’s a dark mafia romance set in Leeds that definitely isn’t YA.

Where can we find out more and buy Sorceress of Truth?

Sorceress of Truth is available in print and ebook from all good book shops, such as Warterstones, Barnes & Nobel, Apple etc. Or you can purchase direct from Amazon.

I try to post regularly on my website, , where there is information about upcoming events that I’m attending. Alternatively, Instagram is where I mostly hang out.

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Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

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World Indie Warriors Brochure (1st edition)

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.


Who runs the world?

Lunch with Hayley Long and Virginia Bergin

This was the second event of the 2018 Felixstowe Book Festival that I chose to attend.

It was hosted at Felixstowe Library and they put on a selection of nibbles.  The sandwiches were really good and I got a glass of fresh orange juice in a wine glass (very sophisticated).  Not so sophisticated was trying to juggle my paper plate, glass, mobile phone, notebook and pen but I somehow managed.

The format of the event was Hayley interviewing Virginia about her book and chatting a little about her own too – like they were two authors hanging out.  It was very informal between the pair.  It made the event very personal as they told us about their books and what inspired them to write these stories.

Afterwards, we got to mingle and I had a wonderful inspiring chat with Virginia.

More about Hayley and her new book “Being a girl”.

Hayley Long - Author profile.png

Hayley was inspired to write a book that gives teen girls advice on how to survive puberty, however, there are lots of useful tips that would benefit women of all ages.  She describes her book at ‘How to make life easier’.

Hayley showed us some pages from her book with illustrations by Gemma Correll (famous for Pugs, not Thugs) and that some text is small like a whisper and some text is big and loud.  It looks like a fun book by about an awkward subject.

I was delighted to hear that Hayley is a local girl and went to school here.  It is really inspiring to hear that someone with similar roots made it and that it is possible.

Writing about such a personal topic was quite scary to publish as she wasn’t sure what reaction she would get.  Of all the complaints she envisioned, she had not anticipated people would complain about a tampon on the cover.

I didn’t buy her book today but if it is still around when my little girl is starting high school it sounds like the kind of empowering book I would want her to read.  She has also written other stories that are based around the Suffolk area that sound really good.  

More about Virginia and her new book “Who Runs The World”.

Virginia Bergin - Author profile.png

Virginia is a very passionate woman who talked about how much the world has changed in the past 100 years for women, like being able to vote and how she feels there is still more to be achieved. She discussed the recent equal pay success but that she thinks the next step is to change the culture and is supportive of the ‘me too’ movement.  It’s not just about changing the law but about changing the way we think towards each other about what is right and wrong.

The idea for this book was sparked whilst chatting to someone studying Tess of the d’Urbervilles at school.  She has also studied this book 30 years ago.  I’ve never read the book so I had to try to follow what it was about by what she was saying but it sounds as if the main character is repressed by a man and although she liked it in school she now looks back and sees how wrong it is.  

Virginia’s imagination then began exploring the idea of a world where women were in control and how this comes about.  She didn’t want to simply switch society over, she wanted to create something new.  Then she came up with the idea of a virus that only affects those with the Y chromosome.

Never wrong a writer (1).png

Killing off all the men made me giggle.  It made me think about a warning I read once about why you should never piss off a writer.  I couldn’t find the quote online so I made my own (see image above) which captures the gist of it. Virginia doesn’t want men to die but this quote makes me feel there are few men that may have made her virus deserving list.

Virginia is very animated when she speaks, especially doing typing hands when talking about writing.  It made her a very likeable person to listen to.  She told us about how difficult writing this novel was as she kept worrying about what people would think and if she has portrayed women without men’s influence in their life correctly.

She questions how gender is portrayed and spoke about how strong women are always made out to be masculine and asks why this is. Why can’t women be allowed to be strong and still accepted as a woman?

Virginia likes to make people think “How do you want the world to be different” and is often impressed at school visits how much the children are aware of what is wrong with the world and how they want to change it.

She recommended reading The Power by Naomi Alderman.

Mingling afterwards

After the interview there was time for us to eat some more food, buy the books and chat to the authors.

I waited patiently and then had a lovely chat with Virginia.  I asked her about whether people had judged her for writing SciFi.  Most people I know, judge me for writing fantasy.  She was very encouraging about writing what you love and never giving up.

I asked her about how long it took her to find the right agent.  She told me that a few years ago she had been writing scripts and had an agent but when she wrote The Rain she found a publisher quickly and was picked up by an agent too.  She told me never to take rejections personally and to keep trying. She also pointed out that self publishing has come a long way and especially for Sci-Fi and Fantasy it can really expand the market for writers.

She encouraged me to find local writers groups as these can be really useful to critique your work.  Another lady overheard us talking and introduced herself.  She does a leisure learning course at a local college on Creative Writing and encouraged me to come along and meet the other students who often form their own group once the course is complete.

I bought Who Runs The World and Virginia signed it and wrote a nice message to me inside to encourage me to never give up.

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