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Author Interview: Johanna Nield

Hey Guys!

I have had the most amazing pleasure to conduct an extended Quick Five interview with author Johanna Nield.

Author of the New Beginnings series, Ms. Nield is excited to share the re-release of her series, after self-publishing, with the UK publising company Cranthorpe Miller.

Y’all I cannot tell you how great this interview was. To be able to dig deep wth Ms. Nield about changing from self-publishing to sponsored publishing, to find out more about her as a writer and what she views as sucess was extremely exciting.

I hope you enjoy this very open interview.

You can find Johanna Nield on her website at Facebook and Goodreads.


Your book New Beginnings was originally published in 2010 but it looks like it is getting its own “new beginning” now. 😊 How do you feel about where your book is going, nine years later?

I’m delighted with its magnificent make-over! I self-published New Beginnings to please family and friends who wanted to read more than the extracts I’d been sharing, but I knew it needed a professional touch. The Cranthorpe Miller team have helped me improve and update my novel and I love the way it’s turned out.

Since the book was published nine years ago, how has the book and your writing changed since its original release?

The plot remains unchanged, but it has been updated to reflect current times, to clarify some events and references, and to shed some unnecessary passages. My writing has developed significantly over the years, particularly in terms of achieving more concise descriptions. The writing challenges presented by my university course helped me to cultivate my narrative voice and to identify my strengths and weaknesses as a writer but I view my development as a writer as an ongoing process because there’s always something new to learn.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a series?

For me, the most difficult thing is knowing when to stop! The second and third books in my series continue on from New Beginnings but I haven’t yet reached the end: books four and five are bubbling away on the mental backburner. It’s often difficult to remember who did what and when, so my character notes and plot timetable are extremely important for keeping me on track.

How do you balance being a reader and a writer when writing a book?

As a reader, I know what I like and dislike in a book and I bring that to my writing. If I don’t want to read something, then I’m less likely to write it. For example, a turn-off for me is stuttering dialogue, littered with “Um” and “Ah …” and long pauses. Yes, people do talk that way but for me it’s not an engaging way to present a conversation. Reading also lets me see how other tales are crafted, the best of which give me something to strive towards. I once put down a book and cried because the writing was so exquisite, and I almost gave up as a writer because I felt I couldn’t emulate that level of expertise. Thankfully, as many best-sellers have shown, writers are as different as the readers who enjoy their work.

Do you do any research for your books? If so, how does your research look like?

I needed to update my knowledge of NVQ modules for New Beginnings, and to ensure I used correct medical terms. Our local reference library is always my first option and I then supplement the information gained there with internet searches. I’m careful to only use reliable and certified sites to ensure the material I use is up-to-date and correct.

To change the subject slightly, what is it about literature or the overall the written word that drew you to becoming a writer?

Words have always fascinated me. I have loved reading from an early age and writing quickly became a joy. Words can be immeasurably powerful and the ability to express oneself with carefully chosen phrases is a gift of genius in some, in the same way as those who create beautiful artwork. I consider myself an eager apprentice, frequently enthralled by perfect prose.

How has the publishing world been for you? Is there any advice you would give a new author?

The publishing world has been instructive, challenging, supportive and developmental. Most of the rejections I’ve received over the years have been constructive and encouraging, and feedback from all quarters is always invaluable. I’m under no illusion that my life will change but I’m delighted that my life-long dream has come true. My advice to new authors is “Write. Don’t worry about how good it is, just write. Then read it, think about it, and write again. And never even think about giving up.”

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?

Writing has always been a spare time activity as I work full-time and have family commitments. If writing didn’t captivate me, I think I’d be an artist because I love to paint and draw. Creativity is extremely important to me: it’s my way of relaxing and switching off from the demands of the day.

Is there anything that you dislike about the process of becoming either a published author or writing?

No! Writing is an exciting, exhilarating, wonderful experience! There is always something to learn and there will always be opportunities to improve, to try new genres and styles, to experiment with different subjects and eras – there are worlds waiting to be written about. The process of becoming a published author is also exciting, exhilarating, wonderful … and a very steep learning curve! If I could change anything about that process, I would make myself better at self-promotion as that is a skill I lack.

Finally, what is your definition of success as a writer?

For me, success as a writer comes when a reader enjoys what I’ve written and understands what I’m trying to say. It’s not about sales or best-seller lists; for me, hearing that someone likes my work is far more important and rewarding than knowing I’ve sold a certain number of books. The opportunity to engage with readers – to hear their feedback (good and bad) and to learn from them what works and what doesn’t – is far more valuable than potential fame for out-selling another author.


Quick Five© with Joanna White

Courtesy of Joanna White

Name: Joanna White

Who is Joanna?  A lover of Stars Wars and a fan girl at heart.

Books: Hunter (Valiant #1), Forgotten (Valiant #0.5) and Shifter

Buy: Amazon and Barnes and Nobles

Sometimes great things just happen to fall into your hand. Such as an interview you didn’t know you wanted to do. Meet Joanna White, Christian author of the Valiant series. 

Joanna has been an author all her life and wrote her first book at 10 years old. Impressive work that only foreshadowed her career in writing.

When did you learned that language, specifically the written word had some

Ambassador International
Published April 30th, 2019
260 Pages


I don’t know if there was ever one specific moment, really. I used to write as a hobby for fun, but other than a few friends here and there, I was the only one enjoying them, and then it was more fun writing than reading them. It wasn’t until after high school that I learned how important my writing could be, that I could use it to encourage, inspire, and uplift people and give them good, clean books to delve into without worrying about bad things being involved.

Shifter is your third book. How has your mind set and/or writing style evolved since your first book?

Technically, even though Shifter is second in the Valiant Series, I actually wrote a few books before that, ones that became prequels to the series, so it wasn’t my third written. Plus, I had been writing many novels before that, ever since I was ten. My first book, when I was ten, was really good for my age, but it’s cringe-worthy now. My writing has matured a lot (we hope so anyway, haha) and my stories have obviously gotten deeper and filled with more meaning. I started off writing what I called Modern Christian Dramas where God helped a character through a real life issue, but the Valiant Series was my first Christian Fantasy. Ever since then, I started world and race building and I loved it and from there, I decided to try to branch into other genres for experience. Just recently, I wrote a Christian Biblical fiction romance, and Biblical fiction and romance were two genres I had never really written before.

Ambassador International
Published Feb. 19th, 2019
37 Pages

What does success in the book industry look to you? With your definition, are you successful?

I think it has many definitions. First and foremost, success comes from God. As long as I rely on God and use this gift, talent, and passion He gave me for Him, then I’m successful. Second, there’s my dream which is to become a best selling author with a lot of fans who love my books and were inspired and encouraged by them and enjoyed them. I have a few, but I still have a ways to go before I achieve that one. Then there’s the human definition of success which is money—still a ways to go before I hit that one, haha. And lastly, there’s how much I’m actually writing. When I first started the Valiant Series, I was young but I wanted to make an epic franchise like Star Wars only in book form. I didn’t think I could do it. In the end, I wrote a 17 book series and that in itself was a huge accomplishment. If you take into account all the other books I’ve written since I started—55 I believe, according to my last count—then, I’m definitely successful with that definition.

This is a bit of a controversial topic, but do you read your book reviews? If so, how do you handle bad reviews?

Ugh, I read carefully and nervously. I’m always excited for more book reviews because it means someone read my book, but there’s always going to be negative ones. When Hunter, Book One of the Valiant Series was self published, I had a troll come on and rate it a one star. Hunter was the only book this person had reviewed and they had a bunch of one star ratings on a ton of other products. They said it was a piece of crap and not worth reading. Even though I knew it was a spammer/troll, it broke my heart. I think a bad review will always hurt a writer, but you have to learn to take it and appreciate the positive ones or the ones that are sincerely trying to help you improve as a writer.

Finally, other of all the genres, why did you choose to write fantasy?

Create Space
Published August 1st, 2017
126 Pages

It’s not as boring as real life, haha. Honestly, I love that you can make anything happen that you want to, and in fantasy in makes sense. Even with sci-fi, you have to come up with all this technical or scientific stuff that I don’t really know or understand, but with fantasy, boom, magical explanation. Even that does have to make sense and fit into its own rules, but most of the times, it’s rules you invent yourself, so it makes it so much easier to understand. I just love making up worlds of my own and that fits better into a fantasy context. I would love sci-fi and I do love the whole traveling the galaxy thing, but I had to invent magical spaceships so I knew how they worked. Which gave me an excuse to build my own galaxy.




Goal Check: Mid Year

Back when the year first started, I wrote a post about my goals for the year. If you don’t remember it, you can take a look at it here.

Being that it is June which is halfway through the year, I wanted to touch base with those goals and hold myself accountable to them. And also provide you all some transparency :)

Instagram Goals

Back in January I had 242 followers. Six months later, I have 302 followers. My 2019 goal is to get 500 followers and I still plan on keeping that goal.

However, I know that I haven’t been putting in the effort or time to build that follower count, nor I have been posting twice a week or even books for that matter.

Instagram is still an abyss for me. But I am doing something right, so I just need to keep it up.

Motif by Tanya Goals

Back in January I had 152 followers. Now I have 327 followers! Super hype about this! Like you do not understand, I began engaging more on Twitter and blog hopping and joining chats and people started following. I am super happy with this.

The goal is still 500 followers. But now as compared to January, I feel like I can actually reach this goal.

Twitter Goals

If nothing else I have done a fantastic on Twitter this year. This statement still stands because in January I had 569 followers and now I am at 918 followers. And these followers are fairly active, so I am super pumped about that. My goal has changed. Instead of 1000, I want 1500 by the end of the year. The plan is to do a book giveaway when I hit that goal.

Book Goals

I had made mention that I wanted to read 3 books that I already own before I buy any new reads. Welp that did not work in the least. So that is out the window. *shrugs*


Beyond my bookish life, there are personals that I am still working on. There has been a lot of turning points in this six months and one thing I learn is consistency is everything and once that is gone it is so hard to get it back. But sometimes all it takes is deciding that you need to do it to get the ball rolling.

For anyone going through the motions with their goals,

adam sandler yes GIF

Seriously, you can.

“Sometimes progress comes inchmeal, but progression is progression”- Friend

Faeries and the Books that Stole My Heart

I love books about faeries. It is almost guaranteed that if your book is about faeries, be is a war, a romance, friendship I will read it. What sparked this post was actually a conversation I had with my sister. She thinks faeries are creepy and much more scary than the boogieman in your closet or the monster under the bed. And thinking about it she has a point.

We are talking changelings, goblins, tricks for giggles and just murder a lot of the times. However, there is something about this world that makes me excited but most importantly invested.

It could be the horror part of it as I am a fan of horror or it could be the fantasy aspect of it and how the fae world is broken down and built. Either way I love it.

Reading books about faeries is what brought me into the fantasy genre and opened up to reading other folklore and mythologies that I now crave to read. On that note, this post will break down my favorite fae books and why I love them.


Published June 12th, 2007
328 Pages

Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr

This is the series that started it all for me. My first book about faeries and the forbidden romance.

Aislinn sees faeries but follows a set of rules to keep her safe. Don’t stare, don’t speak and don’t attract attention from the faeries. It isn’t until Keenan the Summer King comes along and want Aislinn as his Queen.

I was sucked into this and it is one of the rare series I finished AND have all hardcover books for. As an adult (because I was 17/18 when I first read these books), I still enjoy them and Melissa Marr as an author.

When looking up this book cover on Goodreads, I noticed that a lot of reviewers compared this book to Twilight and generally hated Aislinn because she was boring. 1: I am going to ignore the Twilight part because any book that came out after Twilight that was about forbidden paranormal romances was compared to Twilight. 2: Aislinn is boring, which is the point. She chooses to live a boring life and existence to follow those specific rules.

Moral of the story, I ship this series and will foreva. If ya’ll can promote and ship abusive and toxic relationships between a fae and a human *cough* then I can ship this.

Faeriewalker series by Jenna Black

St. Martin’s Griffin
Published May 25th, 2010
294 Pages

If I remember correctly, I read this when it launched which was about 3 years after Wicked Lovely.

Dana’s mother is an alcoholic and a very public one. So at her wits end, Dana runs away to find her father Avalon; the only place where the human and fae world coexist. But the peace Dana was looking for doesn’t come as she is a faeriewalker, able to travel between both world and bring technology into the fae world.

Again, sucked in. The summary sounds cliche but the author was able to build a world that not only captivates you but makes sense if faeries were a real thing. As an adult, I may not read this again because there is a lot of cliche in the book.

However, its a solid novel that grows as your continue the series.

Random House Books for Young Readers
Published Jan 27th 2009
247 Pages

Bones of Faerie series by Janni Lee Simner

Funny story about this series. I wanted to read this book badly but I couldn’t find any copies at a local store so I forgot about it (this was pre-goodreads). Fast forward and I see the book available on BookOutlet, so I bought it.

15 year old Liza is living in the aftermaths of a war between fae and humans. Surrounded by a forest that threatens anyone that comes into it, Liza discovers that she is part fae and can see into the past.

What took me by surprise within this series was the romance. It is not heavy by any means and in the first book it is nonexistent. I actually liked that about this series because that means that the romance wasn’t the first priority in the story.

However, the book was slow and compared to the colors you see and feel from other fae novels, this was grey and a bit bland. I have always assumed this was intentional because ya know war. But it may not be liked. I enjoyed this read because it gave me a different outlook on the fae. Yes, I am well aware of the evilness of fae and how it can get dirty but from a book perspective, at the time that I read this book, this wasn’t common.

The Iron Witch series by Karen Mahoney, I believe, is one of the most underrated YA

Published Feb 8th, 2011

fae series that I have come across.

Donna’s father died when she was seven after a fey attack. Her mother went crazy and now after years of being bullied for her iron tattoos branding her arms, her best friend is kidnapped and now she must work with the fae to save her.

I feel like this book did not get the hype that it deserves because of timing. If you haven’t noticed, every 5 years there is craze where all that is published are the same type of books until something else comes along. Right now its witches and during the time of this book’s release it was fae. So a lot of people’s complaint is, its the same type of book. It really isn’t.

Donna is an idiot. She isn’t exactly the strong heroine that does what is right and owns to her mistakes. She is selfish and is willing to let the world die for those she loves. This is a problem throughout the entire series, however here is what I appreciate about this book. The story building is great. The author takes her time giving you a world that you are curious about. Yes, Donna is a tool, however, adding in alchemy to the story was a good call to push it along.

Although the series brought you the typical girl, willing to risk it all (literally all) for two people, the foundation was strong and I recommend it to young adults. NOT adults.

Say hello to my first introduction to Holly Black.

When Jared Grace finds their great uncle’s book, ‘Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastic World Around You’ they realize that they are not alone. The siblings use the field guide to discover what is truly around them.

Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published May 1st 2003
112 Pages

The Spiderwick Chronicles will always be a favorite to me and I was introduced to this by my older nephew.

You want details in a small compacted but enjoyable form? This is it. You want illustrations that will fascinate and creep you out? This is it.

As the series progresses it gets darker because the kids begin meeting the not so friendly faeries, which is to be expected. Because we all know that some faeries are mean and evil.

The best feature about this read is the illustrations. They are so very detailed and fit well with theme of field guide that you can’t help but purchase the companion book.

As this was the first book I read that featured Holly Black, I started reading her solo projects and got hooked. Overall, this is a good beginning into faeries.

Also I would like to say for those that didn’t like the book because this children’s book, not YA, CHILDREN’S BOOK, was too young for you, you might want to rethink some things.


But I can go on an on about faerie books. But I won’t :) What are some of your favorites?


Book Review: A Real Kind of Love by Bella Jay

Self Published
Published Feb 11th 2019
143 Pages

Avelyn Russell didn’t do love. Never did, never wanted to and as far as she was concerned, never would. She lives her life proud to hold the title as the ‘break up queen’ and for never letting love get her caught up in being an advocate of false hope fairytales. But her extreme methods to avoid love are put to the test by the one person able to tap into her cold little heart and Avelyn has no clue how to handle it.

Dasiah Stokes – charming, handsome, and not afraid of love. The complete opposite of Avelyn and the moment he reveals his true feelings for her, she bolts leaving him to fight for their love. He’s willing to do just that – until he’s not, leaving them both to figure out if it is or isn’t the end of their love story. – Goodreads

*rolls up sleeves* Let’s jump into this.

The beginning took my breath away and that is because I thought the author was going in a direction I wasn’t up for. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case but it was a huge visual and a metaphorical foreshadow for what was coming. What I mean by this is do you know when people talk about anxiety attacks and they describe it was drowning because they is how they visualize it? Yeah, that is what kinda happens with that opening.

Moving forward, I hated Avelyn. She didn’t know what she wanted and she was okay ruining someone else’s happiness, life or moments because she was an ass. Yes, she has some issues . . . some deep deep underlying issues but man if Avelyn was a man, there would be pitch forks and mobs trying to kill her off. Also Avelyn was just mean to anyone that came her way when she wasn’t in the mood. Not a good look at all. It makes you wonder what Dasiah sees in her.

Despite my strong dislike for Avelyn, I enjoyed the book. I liked how it flowed with a purpose. Avelyn wasn’t written where she would be accepted for who she was. There was a growth and it was realistic growth. This was something I appreciated. Do I wish there was more details in regards to the methods she used to become a better person? Yes; I feel that they were a bit glanced over.

The romance itself was alright. I didn’t feel a spark for Avelyn and Dasiah but it was good to look at ;) I wished that I was able to read his point of view but I also wish that we didn’t jump into the middle of their relationship. It would have been nice to see that heat grow.

Overall, its a solid first novel in the series. It was a quick read that could have been a bit longer if certain things took its time.

3 Pickles 

End of an Reading Era

it’s the end of an expensive and beautiful relationship.

Its truly a sad time for me.

And its completely you and just a slight bit of me.

So, I have decided to stop reading Sandra Brown books and to be honest it kind of hurts that I have made this decision because we have a long relationship. When I was, I would say 14 and reading Cosmopolitan magazines, behind my parents back, I came across my first Sandra Brown book.

It was called Crush.

If you have ever read anything book previews from Cosmopolitan magazine, you know It’s the juicy part. That was my first taste of Sandra Brown. From there, I read the following (not in particular order):

I was a die hard fan. Every time she came out with a new book, I was buying it hardcover during release week. I loved and (still do) her writing. Sandra Brown has a way of keeping your attention throughout the book and bringing you into the romance. But most importantly, she keeps you there. I loved it for years.

About 5 years ago, I hit a wall. Her books were starting to read the same. Successful woman or woman down on her luck gets caught up in something less favorable and meets the hard man with a rough pass, who is either some form of law enforcement, private eye, the ex military or the man who is just too good to be true and has no secrets.

I tried to push through because in my mind, you can’t keep writing the same book over and over right? I mean reading her past books, you see the differences and creativity in them but these recent books, can’t always be the same right? I was wrong. So very wrong.

So I took a break and with the recent novel Tailspin, I decided to take a stab at it. Finished the book but struggled from chapter three and on. I couldn’t get into it and I most certainly couldn’t love it. There were a lot of moments where I was cringing and just rolling my eyes and completely realized that nothing has changed from when the last time I read her books.

Her older titles such as The Rana Look, Slow Heat in Heaven and Mirror Image provide something different in the characters and the overall setting. They are some of my favorite reads that I enjoy going back to.

But as of late, I haven’t been able to get into her books and I think an era is over for me. For the past, 15 years, I have purchased hardcover copies, more than one to share, of Sandra Brown’s books and I think that was a good run. I read her books now knowing what is going to happen and in some form of way how it is going to happen and opposed to giving a crap rating over and over again, it is best if I just stop putting time into her books.

Will I always recommend someone to read Sandra Brown? Most definitely! She is a fantastic writer. However, I will always recommend her older books over the newer one. If you have never read a Sandra Brown book, like never even thought to pick up one, go ahead and read her latest works but you will find the passion for the story in the older titles.

Overall, I have to let this go. To save myself time and to save Ms. Brown from receiving low ratings on her books.

On to the next one!


2019 Goals

Alright. So I will bite.

Seeing everyone create their 2019 goals and their excitement may actually give me something to look forward to.

Instagram Goals

I currently have 242 followers. My 2019 goal is to get 500 followers. With that being said, I would need to post more. At this point in my life, I can committee to twice a week. Either on a Sunday, Weds or Saturday beginning the first week of Jan.

Instagram is an abyss for me. Its very easy to compare myself to others and it is very easy to keep scrolling. Interacting on Insta isn’t hard for me but what producing content is. So that is my goal.

Motif by Tanya Goals

I currently have 152 followers. This number seems low but this year was a form of breakout year for me. My follower count grew due to various interactions I made a goal to participate in on Twitter. I plan on keeping this up. Like Instagram, my goal is to increase my subscribers to 500.

Twitter Goals

If nothing else I have done a fantastic on Twitter this year. I currently have 569 followers and each month this year, I have grown despite some of the much needed hiatus I took. My goal is to hit 1000 followers.

Book Goals

There is nothing that is going to stop me from buying books. I have tried and it just is not working. So I am switching my goal this year to be more specific. Each month, I am to read at least 3 books that I have previously purchased but have not taken the time to read. 3 books before I begin any new reads.

Although I don’t feel I need to read every book I own, my collection is growing to a point where most of the books I own are not read and I want to lower that number.

Next book goal, is to only read what I own. No borrowing from the library or from friends. This includes Ebooks.


I was going to create a section for personal goals but I think this year I will keep them to myself. But . . .

2019, in sha allah, will be a year of growth, rebuilding my relationship with God, strengthening and taking care my family and new experiences.

In sha allah I will accomplish some things, big and small.

But overall, ’tis the year for something different.







Monday Vibes

Mondays although overwhelming at times, is really one of those times I take to reflect. As weird as that sounds, it isn’t for me. Mondays are my time to write out my lists for the work week, plan anything I want to talk about and read what I want/need to read.

I decided that on Mondays (Biweekly), I should write a write-up or a vibes post because two things have been happening for a while:

  1. I lack the motivation to write; therefore I am not writing
  2. I’m not speaking and reverting to hermit mode

So this weekly post is to make me accountable and push me to write more and most importantly give you an update on the books I have been reading. Because I have been reading. . .  a lot.

Let’s get to it :)

Book Read [Last Week]

Books TBR [This Week]


  • Post 3x a week. Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
  • As opposed to reposing everything on Twitter, create content specifically for Twitter
  • Reach out to authors to restart Quick Five© Interviews


  • Finishing painting my upstairs hallway
  • Purchase new bookshelf
  • Hurricane Prep as I live in NC and Hurricane Florence is on her way

Overall Vibe:

I am tired. But feeling productive.