By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Category: Author Interviews (Page 1 of 2)

Confessions of an Indie Author – Episode 2: EM Kaplan

  1. Confessions of an Indie Author – Episode 1: Dan Buri
  2. Confessions of an Indie Author – Episode 2: EM Kaplan
  3. Confessions of an Indie Author – Episode 3: Assaph Mehr


Today we have the wonderfully witty and fun EM Kaplan sharing her own writing confessions. Enjoy!




EM Kaplan is a multi-genre author—she writes snarky, humorous mysteries as well as epic fantasy adventures. She’s also a full-time office drone, mom, and dance fitness instructor. You can buy her books on Amazon, visit her website, or follow her on Twitter. You should do all of those things.


If you would like to be featured in an Episode of Confessions of an Indie Author, submit your unedited 3-6 minute video to danburi777 [at] gmail [dot] com. Please make sure the sound quality is clear and the video quality is high (HD preferably).


Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.


Author Interview with Keven Fletcher

Keven Fletcher Author Interview


I am pleased to have Keven Fletcher join us here at Nothing Any Good. Mr. Fletcher is a Chaplain and Faculty Mentor at St. Michaels University School in Victoria BC. His first book—When It Matters Most—is set to be released on June 7th and is currently available for pre-order. Welcome Keven!

Glad to be here.


I’m going to skip a softball opener and come out of the gates with a 90 MPH slider. You’ve written that the old adage, “You did the best you could,” can not only be misleading, (e.g. your best isn’t always good enough), but can also be detrimental. What you seem to theorize, if I can crassly distil it, is that sometimes our best actually has a negative impact, so simply saying that I tried my best is not enough. I need to reflect on where my best failed and learn to improve. (Correct me if I’m misrepresenting your thoughts.) If you will allow me to take your theory one step further, though, if my best has a negative impact, wouldn’t not trying at all have been better than trying and creating a negative?

Great slider! I have a totally satisfying answer:

It depends.

Okay, not very satisfying, but hear me out.

If you ask me to prepare pufferfish for dinner tonight and I’m not an expert, rather than trying my best, I should probably defer to someone who knows what they’re doing or offer you salmon in its place. In a high risk case such as this, doing my best isn’t necessarily the same as doing what’s right. It’s better to not try at all, period.

That being said, let’s assume that I’ve been trained in the preparation of fugu and you understand the poison risks. In this case, I’m in a position to offer you the pufferfish. Of course, I should offer my best work. Anything less courts disaster.

Now imagine that despite my best efforts tonight, you get sick from the meal (sorry). This happens, even in the world of master chefs. The popularity of the meal is partially connected to the risk – the foodie equivalent of bungee jumping.

My response to the situation is crucial. If I shrug my shoulders, ignore the outcome, and simply hope that you won’t get sick next time, I’m not really offering my best in its most important sense (even though I am doing my best in the moment). If this is the case, it would be more accurate to simply say that I’m doing the same as before.

Quite differently, doing my best in its fuller sense entails figuring out where I missed the mark and learning all I can to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. It’s ultimately about my willingness to learn and grow, rather than any single meal’s effort.

This being said, the stakes aren’t usually so high. Most often, we’re well positioned to (1) do our best in the moment, (2) learn from our subsequent successes/shortcomings, and (3) apply those learnings to the next rounds. My suggestion is that we can’t stop at step one and slap on a vacant approval statement. We are only truly at our best when we incorporate all three.

For the record, I’ve neither prepared nor eaten fugu. I avoid it for the same reason that I avoid bungee jumping – life is thrilling enough.


So it seems you’re more concerned with people not learning from their mistakes and being content. I’m a basketball fan and there are two quotes by two different coaching greats that I think apply. John Wooden, the UCLA coaching legend, once said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?” Another great coach and current president of the Miami Heat once wrote, “Anytime you stop striving to get better, you’re bound to get worse.” I love both of those.


[clickToTweet tweet=”I don’t know about worldviews w/o paradox. Must be wonderful, but not my experience – Keven Fletcher” quote=”I don’t know what to do with worldviews that don’t involve paradox. It must be wonderful, but it’s just not my experience. – Keven Fletcher”]


Now that we’ve gone from 0-100 in one question…Your website (, and I can only assume part of your pastoral mission as well, focuses on how to create a meaningful life. What does your inspiration for creating meaning in people’s lives come from? Is it from your own hard-learned failures to create meaning or the thrashing of others searching without finding meaning?

People fascinate me. Some seem compelled to create a deep sense of purpose in life, while others seldom move past the surface. We’re all scattered across this spectrum, seemingly without correlation to privilege, education, or health. When I come across people who are strong, vulnerable, and resilient, I wonder how it happens – what ways of thinking, what patterns of behaviour lead to lives that are so full of meaning?

It’s not that my own life has been marked by extraordinary challenges or that I’ve benefited from remarkable adventures. The gift I’ve received has been exposure to a wide cross-section of people at very significant moments in their lives.

Through these encounters, I’ve come to conclude that we both receive and offer the most in our lives when a sense of greater purpose and meaning guides our thoughts and actions.


Have you read “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl? Has it impacted your work at all?

Frankl is a personal hero. He influences my work whether I directly reference him or not. The book you mention is one of my favourites on two counts.

First, Frankl provides a powerful example as to how we always have a choice. I’ve spoken more than a few times about how I don’t draw this conviction regarding the enduring existence of choice from my own life. Mine has neither been particularly challenging nor adventurous. But Frankl, he talked about the existence of choice within the context of his personal experience of four concentration camps and the loss of his immediate family. He witnessed its power in both the guards and prisoners, and we, his readers, see it in him.

Second, Frankl concluded that people need a sense of meaning in their lives. What’s so important is that he wasn’t fixated on a particular meaning, such as a doctrinal stance or specific worldview. Rather, my understanding is that he believed that people need to find a meaning that reflects their individuality.

I was introduced to Frankl’s work by a dear friend who happened to be re-reading his favourite books as death neared. It’s an example of the gifts I’ve been handed by people whose paths I’ve been fortunate to cross. You meet my friend in the book, over a glass of Guiness.


[clickToTweet tweet=”Victor Frankl is personal hero. I was introduced by a dear friend nearing death. -Keven Fletcher” quote=”Victor Frankl is a personal hero. I was introduced to Frankl by a dear friend nearing death. -Keven Fletcher”]


Your first book—When It Matters Most—looks at creating purpose and acceptance in relationships by exploring the wisdom of Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and Taoism. What inspires you to explore the wisdom of all of those traditions?

I think that wisdom stories are powerful tools for stimulating reflection. They tend to be universal, transcending cultures and times. Because the tales usually offer several layers of understanding, the same story can offer different insights at different points in our lives. On top of this, the story format makes the wisdom memorable and accessible, which renders the messages easier to call upon when needed.

As for the breadth of stories used in the book, I think that we sometimes get caught up in our own traditions. More and more, though, we’re coming to understand and appreciate the global nature of the human endeavour. These stories allow us to dip into the full breadth of what that outlook offers.

The novel expresses this broader approach through more than the wisdom tales. Though set in a single location, its characters reflect a wide spectrum of humanity in terms of our ethnic, social, economic, gender, and sexual diversity. Again, it’s about the broader picture.


Were you afraid of the undertaking of exploring the wisdom of all these ancient traditions and religions? Did you ever find yourself saying, “Who cares what I think about this?”

I’m glad you care enough to offer this interview!

The initial drive to produce the novel stemmed from a desire to share the wisdom stories more widely. In my own speaking, they’ve generated the strongest, positive response. I have students and faculty who come to me years after leaving the school, who share the stories that stuck with them and made a difference.

Happily, this focus on the stories makes the novel less about what I think and mostly about the wisdom tales themselves. I’ve tried my best to set them into a concrete context that illustrates their power, but in the end, it’s not about what I think. In fact, my only responsibility is to share these narrative gifts from which I’ve benefited.

And best of all, those who don’t care aren’t required to read the book…


I may be projecting, but you seem to be someone that is not only comfortable with paradox, but embraces it. How do you account for the paradoxes that lie within your religious and personal worldviews?

Am I allowed an extended quote? Fritz Williams said:

I believe in cultivating opposite, but complementary views of life, and I believe in meeting life’s challenges with contradictory strategies. I believe in reckoning with the ultimate meaninglessness of our existence, even as we fall in love with the miracle of being alive. I believe in working passionately to make our lives count while never losing sight of our insignificance. I believe in caring deeply and being beyond caring. It is by encompassing these opposites, by being involved and vulnerable, but simultaneously transcendent and detached, that our lives are graced by resilience and joy.

I completely buy into this approach. So much of living a rich life is tied to our ability to choose which end of a paradox to emphasize at a given moment. Each of Fritz’ statements is true. Knowing which way to lean is a product of wisdom. Being able to follow that wisdom takes discipline and practice.

I’m really not sure what to do with worldviews that don’t involve paradox. In a way, it must be wonderful to see life as less complex. It’s just not my experience.


Your Amazon bi-line refers to your wife as “resilient.” Why did you choose this adjective to describe your spouse?

Jenn puts up with me. Not everyone would. But that’s not the full story.

Her family having been hit by a drunk driver when she was young, Jenn’s physical challenges and sheer number of surgeries would have caused lesser souls to crumble. For me and others, she’s an inspiration as to how our framing of events has greater impact than the events themselves. In many ways, she embodies the exercise of choice at the core of Frankl’s work.

She’s been an incredible influence in how I understand my own life and its meaning.


It sounds like you, like me, got too lucky. People say, “Behind every good man is a good woman.” In my case, my wife is miles ahead of me encouraging me to keep up.

I only allow this from time to time, but for your final question, I’m allowing you to interview yourself, but it can’t be a standard interview question that is pre-packaged.

Keven, you prattle on about finding one’s meaning in life. What’s yours?

At the school, we take our grade twelves through an exercise where they identify all the roles they fulfil (son/daughter, student, athlete, friend…). We then ask them to pick the five that they believe to be most significant. Once they’ve gone through that process, we get them to finish the sentence, “I exist in order to…” It’s a simple enough exercise and sets the stage for some deeper thinking.

Of course, what’s good for the participants is good for the leaders. Here’s how I filled in the blanks:

I, Keven Fletcher, am a citizen, spouse/father, chaplain, friend, and writer. I exist in order to cultivate and celebrate growth in others and myself.

It’s the sort of bookmark exercise that one can return to every few years. After all, our understandings grow over time.

Did you notice that I cheated by combining two roles? Perhaps we can chat about my moral failings next time.

Thanks so much for the chance to share!


Thank you, Keven! I am grateful for your time. You seem to have a kind and generous heart. The world needs more men like you.



Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.





About the Author

Drawing on a background in corporate leadership, mediation, and religious thought, Keven Fletcher currently speaks, facilitates, and mentors within a globally diverse, academic community that represents twenty-five countries and five continents. His recent book, When It Matters Mostreflects a distillation of all these roles.






Interview with R.L. Baxter

The Blue WitchI am pleased to have another UK indie author—R.L. Baxter—join us here at Nothing Any Good. R.L. is the author of Gideon and the Crimson Samurai, Mother Gaia, A Sinless Horizon, and The Worst Death. He is an avid blogger and speaker, giving advice and thoughts to fellow creators from all walks of life. Welcome Ricky! 


Let’s jump right in. You’ve said before, “Believe in your work. Believe in you.” What did you mean by this?

I said this after I woke one morning and saw a great review for my title: Gideon and the Crimson samurai. The review was so accurate, and I could tell the reader captured the message and intention within the book. As such I was thankful to myself that I never gave up on my title, as it took many years to complete. When you’re a making a piece of work, it’s hard to know what others will think of it – which is why sometimes we discard a piece of work, out of fear others will reject it. Because I never gave up on my title (even though I wanted to at times), I was able to witness what other people thought about it. This is why it’s importance to believe in your work and you. You just might have a diamond waiting to be revealed.


That is a great ideology to hold close to the heart. You say that your titles highlight concepts of race, religion, war, and poverty. Do you mean literally the titles or the content within the books? 

 I would say a bit of both, as it depends on the title. For example, Gideon and the Crimson Samurai as a title doesn’t bring to mind anything along the lines of: Race, religion, war and poverty. However once read, these concepts slowly show themselves throughout the story. On the other hand, my novella: The Worst Death clearly warns the reader that the story will contain some hard-hitting things. Based on many reader’s thoughts, I will happily concede that my stories reflect the society we live in.


Race seems to be an important issue for you. Here in the states, Ta-Nehisi Coates has made some waves in recent years with his articles in the New York Times and the Atlantic, and his two published books The Beautiful Struggle (a memoir) and the fantastically powerful (and #1 New York Times Bestseller) Between the World and Me. Have his works made a impact on discussions surrounding race in the UK?


Unfortunately I haven’t read any of his works, but they seem very intriguing. I would say that the issue of race has always been a concern with me. Not only because of my own experiences, but the experiences and cultures around the world. Thanks to social media, we no longer need to listen to a narrative portrayed by the media. Now we can see for ourselves the type of issues many others face around the world. This offers an endless pool for writers to discuss and voice through their work. After all, my work (like many others) is a portrayal of this world and the many possibilities it may take. This could be told either idealistically or pessimistically of course.


“Thanks to social media, we no longer need to listen to a narrative portrayed by the media. Now we can see for ourselves the type of issues many others face around the world. This offers an endless pool for writers to discuss and voice through their work.”

Personally, I’m drawn to your idealistic approach to the world. You seem to look at the world, not as it is, but as it could be. Where did that belief that the world can be better than most people believe it is come from?

I think it’s because I am naturally an idealistic person, who’s always been quite a dreamer. As I got older, I observed much of the things in society and realized that many of the rules and regulations we follow are made by an unfair system. As such I have always been optimistic things could get better. Don’t get me wrong; I am aware that this world will never be the way many of us would like for it to be; however, that doesn’t stop me from hoping. In my stories, this ‘hope’ comes in the form of many things. In Mother Gaia, I used the spirit of earth as the ‘hope’ to bring change. The same theme runs through my other novellas, which basically portray an intervention as a way to affect mankind.


You seem ambitious and driven. Being completely vulnerable and open, where would you hope to see this secondary career be in 10 years? Again, be completely honest. I won’t accept a fluffy everything is great and what happens will happen answer. What’s the dream with your writing career?

In all honesty, I would love to achieve a loyal and conscious fan base where I can dedicate my writing to. That would be perfect! I used to be a composer for short films a while back, and would create many scores for indie directors. However, as much as I enjoyed composition, I couldn’t quite tell my own story with just that. Since being a writer and author, I have the tools to put a piece of myself in the literature. In doing this I am able to communicate my views and stories in a way that I’ve never achieved before.


“Self-publishing has been a test of endurance and patience which gradually reaps benefits.”


What’s your YouTube Channel about?

Oh… that, hahaha. Well just before I started drafting Gideon and the Crimson Samurai, I created a visual novel for youtube. It’s called: Colours of Destiny, and it’s a mixture of my compositions and creative writing. Told in episodic form, Colours of Destiny is about the imaginary people within our dreams and ‘what if’ they had real feelings, knowing that once the dreamer wakes up, they would cease to exist. I did it for purely arts sake, as I thoroughly enjoyed the process from start to finish. It’s mind blowing, that’s for sure!


While uncustomary and at the risk of being a rude host, I am taking the last question myself, and it’s not even a question, it’s a quote…from you:

“Self-publishing has been a test of endurance and patience which gradually reaps benefits.”

Truer words about self-publishing have not been spoken.


Thank you, Ricky! I am grateful for your time. Please visit us often. You have tremendous creative talent and we wish you all the success in the world!

Thank you so much for interviewing me!



Ricky Baxter InterviewAbout the Author

Ricky Baxter is a writer and author to many novels and novellas for your reading pleasure. His titles are a reflection of our own society; highlighting concepts of race, religion, war and poverty. His most notable work is Gideon and the Crimson Samurai. Born and bred in London, Ricky has always been an inspired lover of weird and wonderful concepts, and his work is no exception. Also an avid blogger and speaker, Ricky Baxter’s message is one of awareness of ourself and the world around us.




Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

The Blue WitchAbout The Blue Witch

The Blue Witch is R.L. Baxter’s latest book and was released on February 14th. Growing up in the city of London, a young lady has reached her limit living in the hustle and bustle of the UK’s capital. Living with a shameless mother, adulterer father and working at a dead end job, Ophelia has just about given up on life in the big smoke. That is until she is transported to the magical world of Pecopia – a land where she is tasked with overthrowing an evil witch queen. However unlike most girls, who learn a valuable lesson of love and hope by the end of their journey – Ophelia’s only thought is one of revenge.

Interview with Amy Metz



I am delighted to have Amy Metz join us here at Nothing Any Good. Amy is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction humorous southern mystery series: Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, Heroes & Hooligans in Good Pimple Junction, and Short & Tall Tales in Good Pimple Junction. She is a tireless supporter of indie authors. Welcome Amy!

Thank you so much for having me, Dan!


Let’s start here. You have started a campaign called “Authors Are Weird Too.” What is this about?

As an indie author, I know how hard it is to get your name and your book out there. So I started my blog, A Blue Million Books, in the hopes of helping other authors promote their work. I live in Louisville, Kentucky, where we have a campaign called, “Keep Louisville Weird.” It was started with the intention of supporting local business. McDonald’s and Applebee’s are everywhere, but it’s the local businesses that give a city uniqueness and flavor. Local businesses are usually small, with limited capital and resources; not unlike indie authors. So I started my own campaign (“Authors Are Weird Too.”) to support indie authors.


I live in Portland, Oregon and there is a similar campaign called, “Keep Portland Weird.” In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that Portlanders would be up in arms if they knew another city was doing a similar things.  I have travelled enough in my life already to know that there are weirdos everywhere. Hell, I’m one of them. Most authors are, so your campaign sounds perfect!

You used to teach first graders. Do you find your time with the imagination of young kids inspired your writing?

No, although there was once a principal I would have liked to kill off. 🙂

My two sons inspired the children’s book I wrote, but it’s still in need of illustration and is currently living in my computer.


Anyone out there an illustrator that’s looking to collaborate? It sounds like you have an opportunity here.

Do you miss the classroom at all?

I really don’t. Teaching is a demanding profession in so many ways. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person, which is why I stopped teaching when my first son was born. If I were teaching now, there’s no way I would have time or inclination to write. I enjoyed teaching, but I’ve said that being a mom was my dream job, and it was. Now that my sons are grown, writing is my dream job.


As an indie author, I know how hard it is to get your name and your book out there. So I started my blog, A Blue Million Books, …[and] I started my own campaign, “Authors Are Weird Too,” to support indie authors in the hopes of helping other authors promote their work.


I am the product of teachers, so I applaud you. My mother is a junior high teacher and my father is a high school professor. My sister teaches 5th grade and I have three sisters-in-law that teach grade school or have taught grade school at one time. Teachers give us so much of themselves and as a society, at least here in the States, we tend to give them so little back. It’s really sad. So on behalf of all the children you taught, thank you.

Thanks, Dan. You’re right, teachers deserve more support than society gives them.


You’re from Louisville, Kentucky. I’ve seen you use a number of southern phrases and my curiosity is piqued on a few of them. Can you explain each of these that you’ve used?

Sure, although Goose Pimple Juntionians use these phrases more than Louisvillians!


  • Well shave my legs and call me smoothy—This phrase would be uttered by someone who was surprised or startled at something and might be accompanied with a slack jaw.


  • Get your straw out of my Kool-Aid—I love that one. It means to mind your own business!


  • He’s handier than a pocket on a shirt—A pocket on a shirt can come in very handy, so if someone is very helpful, he might be handier than a pocket on a shirt.


  • You can put a porcupine in a wood chipper, but you will not make maple syrup—Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. Or it might mean you can go ahead and try it that way, but it won’t have the results you want.


  • You can just get glad in the same pants you got mad in—This means the person will just have to get over whatever it is that made them mad, and they’d better get over it quick. You got mad wearing those pants, and you can just as easily get glad – even before you have a chance to change clothes.


These two need no explanation, but I loved them and needed to share them.

  • “If it has tires or testicles, it’s gonna give you trouble—That’s one of my favorites.
  • That went over like a pregnant pole vaulter—Yep, that’s a good ‘un!


You once said you would like to go to The Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport, Maine more than anywhere else in the entire world. Really? Why don’t you just go? What’s stopping you?

The Colony Hotel is definitely is one of my favorite places to visit. But there are several reasons I don’t just go. 1) Kennebunkport is about 15 and a half hours by car from where I live. 2) One night at The Colony Hotel is around $380. If you want to stay more than one nightwhich , believe me, you will want to do – that adds up quickly and is hard to do with what I make as an indie author. But when I’m rich and famous, you better believe I’m going there!


You heard her people! Help Amy out! Buy her book so she can live her dream. It’s a modest dream!


“You can put a porcupine in a wood chipper, but you will not make maple syrup”Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. Or it might mean you can go ahead and try it that way, but it won’t have the results you want.


I’m a huge basketball fan. Since you’re from Kentucky, I know you’re required to like basketball too. It’s part of the citizenship test I believe. I have to ask. Do you support Rick Pitino? What do you think of the one-year postseason ban that was recently imposed?

Oh boy. You’re going to get me in trouble! You’re right. B-ball is very serious business in Kentucky. My daughter-in-law teaches at U of L, but I graduated from the University of Kentucky, so I’m more of a Cats fan than a University of Louisville Cards fan. I do root for the Cards as long as they’re not playing UK, though. To answer your question, I think Pitino is a good college basketball coach and he’s doing the best he can with the hand that he’s been dealt. The one-year ban is heartbreaking for the U of L seniors, and really for the whole team. They’re paying for someone else’s mistakes, and that’s tough luck. What’s fair in this situation? That question is for someone who’s a whole lot smarter than I am. But I think Pitino is handling it with class.


Boom! Mind blown! A Cats and a Cards fan?!?! What is happening? I have about 1,000 follow up questions and I know most readers are bored with the one I asked already. I feel we need to sit on a porch swing somewhere and have a nice long summer discussion sometime. Just know, that I am a Minnesota fan watching Richard Pitino currently struggle, I miss Clem Haskins (from Campbellsville, KY), we had Tubby Smith as our coach right after the Cats did, I still feel a little bit robbed by Kentucky of Minnesota’s only Final Four appearance in 1997, and (brace yourself) two of my older brothers are huge Duke fans and, well… We could talk for hours.


For your final question, I’m allowing you to interview yourself, but it can’t be a standard interview question that is pre-packaged.

I joke a lot on social media about killing off people that cross me. I even have a sign at my back door that says, “Please do not annoy the writer. She may put you in a book and kill you off.” Someone once asked me if I’ve ever really done that.

The answer is not really really, but kind of. I’m usually a very nice person who tries not to let the little things get to me – but I’m no pushover. Let’s just say that book 4, Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction, features a hitwoman who kills off a whole list of people who have irritated me in the last few years. If the “victims” should happen to read the book, they won’t have any trouble figuring out my feelings for them. And I’ve already started a new list. (evil grin)


I take back anything mean I have ever said! Please don’t put me in one of your books and kill me off. I have a young daughter!

Thank you, Amy! It is always a delight!

Thank you, Dan. I appreciate the opportunity and hope you’ll come back to A Blue Million Books soon!



Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.


About Amy Metz

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction humorous southern mystery series: Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple JunctionHeroes & Hooligans in Good Pimple Junction, and Short & Tall Tales in Good Pimple Junction. As an indie author, she knows how hard it is to get your name and your book out there, so she started A Blue Million Books  and “Authors Are Weird Too” in the hopes of helping other authors promote their work. She lives in Lousville, Kentucky. You can follow Amy on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter.


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