Carolina Dias/Carol Dias: author & graphic designer

Interview with Carolina Dias/Carol Dias

© Jane Harvey-Berrick, 2019

 

Carolina Dias is one talented woman: a writer, a graphic designer, an amazing singer who sings with her church, and she has serious moves on the dance floor (even though she totally failed to get me dancing samba, despite two trips to Brazil, but here’s hoping!). She also speaks English fluently, among her many achievements, and is always smiling and laughing.

In the UK, we’d call her ‘a pocket rocket’, a petite woman with bags of energy and a sense of non-stop fun. She’s like sunshine wrapped up in a person.

 

Q You’re a writer, but you’re all part of the Gift Box Publishing team. In the UK, we’d say that you’re both ‘poacher’ and ‘gamekeeper’. Is it hard being on both sides of the publishing process?

It’s quite hard. I like working at the Gift Box, but I also love writing, so it’s hard to find time for both. I love both of my professions. Gift Box is a full-time job, so my writing is at the weekends and in the evening. I probably spend about two hours a day, so maybe ten hours a week writing.

So I guess it takes me one month or six months to write a book! It really depends.

 

Q What is other jobs have you done?

I graduated as a marketing professional, so I worked with an agency on publicity and social media, but I was also in sales promotions. At the Gift Box, I do the cover design and all the social media.

Of course, my favourite cover model is Manu Yanes! He’s been on my books.

 

Q Can you remember where and when you were when you started to write your first book?

I can’t! I was really young when I started my writing. My sister was really inquisitive; she’d always be asking me, what are you doing?!

My first published was in 2015, Cliché, and I wrote three other books with that publisher. They’re all New Adult romances, like my books now.

Clichê (Portuguese Edition) ~ U.S | U.K | BRAZIL | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

 

Q How many books have you written, and which are you most proud of?

I’ll have to count! Four books, plus one in an anthology. I’m most proud of the last one, Wait For Me/Espere Por Mim. I wrote this two years ago, but I put it aside because I wasn’t happy with it. But then Roberta [Teixeira – the Gift Box Publisher] asked me if I wanted to publish it. I looked at it again. It was hard, but I feel like I’ve improved it so much, I’m really proud of it.

It’s about an MMA fighter who has a girlfriend, but he’s a violent person, although not with her. She discovers that she’s pregnant, but when he beats up another guy, she gets scared, afraid that one day he would be violent with her or the children.

When she leaves him, he turns his life around.

Espere Por Mim (Portuguese Edition) ~ U.S | U.K | BRAZIL | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

 

Q What is the most rewarding part of being a writer?

To meet people! I can meet readers and become friends with them. I love meeting new authors, too. They become part of my life, and I’ve accomplished a lot of things as a writer. I’m so happy.

 

Q What is the hardest part of being a writer?

To be a publisher and an author is difficult. Being a writer takes a lot of time—to write, to promote, to go to events. But at the same time, I have to be responsible for other writers at the events. It’s hard.

 

Q Do you ever get writers’ block? How do you cope with it?

Yes! When I was writing, Espere Por Mim, for the first time I had writer’s block. I was also finishing my final project at college, and trying to write at the same time. I was so furious that I couldn’t write! It was the biggest block of my entire life. But other times, maybe a block lasts just a day or a week.

When I was feeling blocked before, I used to try and write something else or do another creative project, like a book cover because I’m a designer. But now, sometimes I’ll just relax and watch a movie—and it gets better.

 

Q If you had a child and they said that they wanted to be a writer, what would you say?

I’d be happy because I know how important it is for me and for my life. It was important to go after my dream—I’d try to my best for the child.

 

Q What do you want to achieve as a writer?

Two things!

One is to be a full-time writer without another job. The other is to have one of my books turned into a movie or shown in a theatre or as a TV series.

[Jane nods, very much agreeing with those goals. Dreams are free!]

 

Q What is your favourite reader experience, either in messages or at a Gift Box event?

One time at a book fair here in Brazil, I went had to leave my table for a minute, and when I came back to the stand, a friend told me, “Oh there was another reader who came here to buy your book but you weren’t here! She says she’s going to come back.”

When she came back, she started crying! She was so sweet. It’s a moment that always stays in my mind.

 

Q What is your philosophy of life?

Let me think. Hmm.

Stay true to yourself because when you start to feel that you’re not yourself anymore, you start to lose part of yourself. So stay true to yourself.

 

Q Describe yourself in three words.

Oh, jeez, Jane!

I think, um, creative, happy, and … decisive.

 

Q How would your best friend describe you?

I don’t know! That’s difficult. Probably something like … loyal, because I am. Happy, because I’m happy with my best friend. Also, somebody who’s always on time, never late. Yes, I’m punctual.

[Jane nods. I’m the same. I HATE being late! I have a chronic dislike of keeping people waiting or being late to arrive somewhere.]

 

Q If you were an animal, what would you be?

Probably a fish because I like to swim! I could swim for my whole life.

 

Q Most likely to say…

Let me think…

Justo! It means ‘fair’, ‘fair enough’, ‘that’s okay’.

 

Q Least likely to say…

Something that might offend someone. I try not to offend people. I’d rather find a way to say it nicely, more politely.

If I say something that offends someone, it’s not because I want to!

 

Q What is your favourite colour and why?

Purple! My room is purple! I have clothes that are purple, too.

When I was a kid, my mom always gave me pink clothes and I got fed up wearing pink. The stores had some purple clothes for girls, so I started wearing that instead. It became one of my favourite colours.

 

Q When you’re having a bad day, what cheers you up?

I like to listen to music that makes me dance, and then I’m not in a bad mood anymore. Or my best friend, she always knows the right things to say to me to cheer me up.

 

Q What would be your ideal day? Where would you be? Who would you be with?

I think I’d be writing on a beach and drinking! Or reading a book, something like this. My friends would be there, too.

In real life, I can’t have anyone talk to me when I’m writing, but this is my perfect day so it would be okay.

 

Q Mountains and snow, or beaches and sunshine?

I live in Rio! So the beaches are right outside. I don’t like feeling cold. I’d rather have sunshine—although it’s 40oC outside right now and sooooo hot. But if I’m at the beach, I can swim in the sea or be under an umbrella.

 

Q Do you think writers are different to other people? Are we observers? Creators?

We’re all different. And writers are different other writers, because we all have our own way of writing. But we observe more and use other people’s stories, perhaps. We’re the kind of people who are always looking for new stories, or the reactions of people to give to our characters.

 

Q Have you ever written with a friend? What was the experience like? How did it differ from writing by yourself? What were the pros and cons?

I did once, but it wasn’t a great experience. I was finishing my college degree and I had no time to write, so when I had a little bit of time and I sat with her, I thought I could be studying or doing my final project. It felt like something I had to do.

But I’d probably consider it in the future. I have a friend who’s really talented and I want to write with him, but I don’t have time yet, maybe later this year.

His name is Marlon Soua, he’s also a romance writer.

 

Q Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Probably with a family. I don’t know if I’m going to get married, I’m leaving this to God! But I do want kids. I’ll definitely still be a writer!

 

Q What message would you like to give to the people who read your books?

Thank you so much! Every day if I think about giving up, I remember you, and I remember that my stories can touch you. So thank you for reading my books and staying with me.

 

At just 22 years of age, I think this lovely lady is going to go a long way. Watch this space! This firecracker is going to fly high.

Find Carol on Instagram

 

M S Fayes: author

 

Interview with Brazilian author M S Fayes
© Jane Harvey-Berrick, 2019

 

I first met Martinha in the summer of 2018 at my first Gift Day event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She spoke really good English, which was great as my Portuguese was limited to ‘Hello/Olà’ and ‘Hey, handsome!/Oi, lindo!’ (don’t ask).

She was expecting me to be very serious and straitlaced (because that’s how British are known the world over), but we realised we had the same sense of humour and love of the ridiculous.

On our latest trip, she was my roommate, and we became even closer friends. I was also a great admirer of her night attire (Snow White and Wonder Woman, complete with phosphorescent stars).

 

Q Describe yourself in three words.

Crazy, funny, friendly.

 

 

Q What do you like most about being a writer?

I like to write happy endings and I like to create. I like to put my thoughts into my writing, all the stories I have in my head. I love the friendships I’ve made with readers, the affection that they demonstrate to me is good for my self-confidence.

 

Q How has being a writer changed you?

I think I became more of a dreamer, to see the good things in the small picture, in the little things in life. I think it made me more of an observer. I certainly became happier, being able to let my thoughts flow, and to share them with the world, that readers can be made happy by my stories or become involved with them.

 

 

Q What does your mother-in-law think of your romantic writing?

She’s been supported from the beginning, so has my father-in-law. She reads all my books and although she’s religious, she keeps my bookmark in her Bible and shows it to all her friends in church! My father-in-law even paid for me to go to some book events. My mother hates that I’m a writer.

 

Q Does your mother hate that you’re a writer or that you write romance?

I’ve wanted to be creative since I was a kid. I like drawing, singing, dancing, I play the piano, and I wrote romance stories in cartoon format. I think she thought I was writing erotic  novels like Fifty Shades of Grey. My children were younger then, and she said to my husband that she wouldn’t help out with them when I was travelling to book fairs. My first signing in Brasilia was a big success, and several of my family went and phoned her to say how good it was. Then she was more proud. But she’d be happier if I stopped. She doesn’t like the artistic life.

 

Q Tell me about your tattoos.

I love artistic things so I’ve always drawn. As a kid, I drew roses on my arms with crayons. When I was 24, I told my mum that I was going to have a tattoo. I was still living at home. She didn’t speak to me for a week. I said it wasn’t about being a rebel or being fashionable, I just like being a living painting. Everywhere, I take the art with me. It’s true that they’re addictive. They’re painful, but now I have 19.

 

Q Will you get some more?

Some have meaning, some because I like the design. The butterfly on my shoulder is the same as Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. It was a bad time in my life and my mother said I was bringing shame on the family. “You look like a rocker girl with purple hair, piercings and tattoos – I’m not proud to have a daughter like you.” I felt like a butterfly with fragile wings, but one side of the tattoo is tribal, which is strong.

 

Q What’s your philosophy in life?

Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. It will show up as fake.

 

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

If I could, I would have been an actress. I really love the arts.

 

Q What do you want to achieve?

Basically, I want to pay the bills, live comfortably, travel a lot, win an Oscar (kidding!), be a bestseller. I want to do everything! But the writing especially.

 

Q What advice would you give to a first-time writer?

Just open your laptop, your Word program, and let your fingers do the job. Release your mind and imagination. Let yourself try, because you only know if you can if you really try. Don’t be afraid or ashamed by what your mind can create. It’s a part of you.

 

Q Out of your own books, do you have a favourite?

OMG, that’s hard. But maybe Rainbow?

Rainbow Walker has always felt different from the girls her age. With a peculiar name and a strange family, she has never been able to establish bonds or maintain many friendships. Now, in a new city, she will have to adapt to a new school and routine, at the same time she needs to leave her introspection aside.

But Rainbow is not alone on this journey, as an unexpected person gets in her way, causing her to revisit all the old prejudices towards others, forcing herself to let people into her life.

Turnarounds, family conflicts, and all sorts of misadventures typical of a teenager in high school cannot compete with what she least expected to find: love and self-discovery.

Rainbow ~ Only available in Portuguese 

 

Q What’s your favourite experience with a reader?

I think my favourite experiences are when they cry or get nervous around me. Usually teenage readers act like this, and I get stunned, like, “What?! Hey why are you crying? It’s just me! I’m normal!”

That’s the time when I feel the power of writing. That my words can touch other people, can make them appreciate who created that fictional universe.

I love my readers with all my heart. And when they show me the same feeling, it’s magical. And it proves to me that all the tears to be right here, right now, were worth it.

Oh, and I really like candies, too! Chocolates and little gifts, given from the heart. That’s the best part. I keep them all. (The candies and chocolates are kept in my stomach!)

 

 

Q What would you like to say to your readers?

Books are made to dream about. Every story is an author who has something to say to the reader. But also, just enjoy it!

Website | Blog

 

Touch My Soul – a novella

Jane Harvey-Berrick & Stewart Reardon

A heart-breaking love story from the bestselling authors of ‘Undefeated’ and ‘Model Boyfriend’

Ben Richards is a professional rugby player, successful and single. He has everything he wants in life, except for the health of his younger brother who suffers from a life-limiting illness.

When fun and feisty physiotherapist Brunina comes into both their lives, he realizes that love is a precious gift—and that a little love can last a lifetime.

ADD TO GOODREADS

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UK 12.00
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BOMBSHELL — The EOD Series


BOMBSHELL, 1 March 2019
By Jane Harvey-Berrick

Sergeant James Spears isn’t heartbroken because he doesn’t have one. His heart was ripped from his body when the love of his life was killed in an IED attack in Syria.

Ironic, since James is an elite soldier whose specialty is neutralizing bombs.

Explosive…
Ordnance…
Disposal…

Other bomb disposal officers say EOD stands for ‘Every One’s Divorced’, but to James, all he can hear is ‘Every One’s Dead’.

When he meets the flighty, shallow socialite, Lady Arabella Forsythe, he detests her on sight. She’s everything he despises, and the complete opposite of the woman who stole his heart and buried it with her.

Arabella is sleepwalking through her life. Nothing holds her interest for long, not bingeing on champagne and cocaine, sleeping with princes and peers of the realm, not even her own family who are desperate to rehabilitate her.

When two lost souls meet in the grim underbelly of a world that most people avoid, they recognize each other’s shattered reflections. And maybe hatred is the other side of love.

Codename: Sleeping Beauty

Book 2 in the EOD Series #standalone

BOMBSHELL is the powerful new military romance from best-selling author Jane Harvey-Berrick

 

 

Available in KindleUnlimited

 

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© 2019 Jane Harvey-Berrick
All rights reserved

 

Prologue

James

The first time I tried to kill myself, I failed.

Obviously.

The gun misfired. I kept pulling the trigger and nothing happened, just empty clicks and a cosmic frustration.

But next time, I’ll do it right, no mistakes. I have it all planned out. There’s a bottle of 25 year old Irish whiskey with my name on it, a handful of sleeping pills, and a plastic bag over my head. It will be a quiet end, peaceful. Which is ironic really, and nothing like the way I’ve lived my life.

So with everything in place, the last thing I want is to find a reason for living.

 

 

© 2019 Jane Harvey-Berrick
All rights reserved

EXCERPT

 

Arabella

I leaned against the police sergeant’s desk, my head spinning. God, I was drunk. I’d lost count of the glasses of champagne I’d knocked back.

“Name?”

“What?”

“What’s your name, luv?”

“It’s Harry,” smirked my best friend Alastair, his eyes glassy as he lolled in the uncomfortable plastic seat next to me.

“It’s not really Harry” I said, giving a confidential smile. “He’s just being silly.”

The policeman sighed, looking bored.

“Name?”

“Arabella Forsythe,” I said, although it probably sounded more like ‘Ar’bell Forzuth.’

I was smashed, totally bladdered. And there was no way I could manage my full name.

“The Right Honourable Lady Arabella Elizabeth Roecaster Forsythe,” grinned Alastair, winking at me.

“Ah, yes. I always forget that bit,” I smiled. “Such a mouthful.”

Trust Alastair. He never could keep a secret.

The policeman rubbed his cheek tiredly.

“Welcome to Paddington nick, your ladyship. Empty the contents of your pockets.”


 

© 2019 Jane Harvey-Berrick
All rights reserved

EXCERPT

 

Arabella

I’d never heard of a ski resort in Azerbaijan, but I suppose the former Communists had to ski somewhere other than Klosters.I loved being on the slopes with freshly fallen snow, and the mountain air sharp and clean. Off piste was my favourite type of skiing.Maybe this trip was looking up after all.

So the next morning, I dressed in coral pink salopettes with matching jacket, and sashayed down to the car.

“Good morning, Ivan!” I trilled to the surly Slav.

His name wasn’t Ivan but it seemed to irritate him, so I said it every morning.

My mood took a dive when Dad appeared—no change there then.

He glanced at my outfit then climbed into the car without a word and we started another long, silent drive.

The scenery began to close in, the hillsides thickly covered with towering fir trees that shut out the light. I saw piles of dirty snow at the sides of the road and glimpses of brilliant white on the distant peaks, until finally, we approached an ugly straggle of prison-like huts. With a sinking sensation, I knew that skiing was not going to be on the schedule for today.

Barbed wire circled the huts, making it look like a Siberian stalag. The only things missing were the machine guns.

A tall black guy wearing jeans, heavy boots and a thick jacket came striding across the muddy forecourt outside the desolate concrete block buildings. He had the look of someone ex-military and walked towards us, extending his hand to my father.

Rather incongruously, an acid yellow lollipop was sticking out of his jacket pocket.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir. Your generous donation will enable us to continue our work for many months to come.”

Now I understood. This must be the base for one of those landmine demining places, whatever they were called. Although this was a lot more squalid and grey than the videos I’d seen of Princess Diana wearing body armour in bright African sunshine.

As Dad soaked up the words, spoken with an American accent, I longed to tell this man that my father’s donation wasn’t selfless or altruistic—it was a down payment to the Azerbaijan government, an unspoken agreement that my father would be in pole position to exploit the coal beneath our feet.

“And this must be Miss Arabella Forsythe,” said the man with a friendly smile. “We’re honoured that you’re here—we certainly need all the volunteers we can get. I’m Clay Williams, Head of Operations.”

I smiled politely, wondering if this American was getting me confused with someone else.

“My daughter is a true humanitarian,” Dad replied with a reptilian smile.

His words were perplexing, and we shook hands in silence. It was also the first time that one of my father’s business associates had known my name in advance. An uneasy sensation trickled through me, a sense of dread that I couldn’t identify.

“The accommodation is limited,” said Clay, his smile more wry now. “But the welcome is warm. I’m sorry my wife isn’t here to welcome you. She’s in the village, helping out at the health centre. You’ll see her later. Let me take your bags.”

Panic flashed through me.

“Dad? Are we staying here?”

Clay’s smile slipped entirely, his questioning gaze flipping between us. But Dad spoke first.

“Yes, Arabella, you are staying here. Mr. Williams requested volunteers and I volunteered you. You’ll make yourself useful and work under him for the next three months.”

“Three months!” I shrieked. “No way! I won’t do it!”

My father grabbed my arm and dragged me out of earshot.

“Did you think that your punishment would be gadding about, accompanying me to a few business meetings? Do you think that makes up for the £37,000 restaurant bill you ran up? The tradesmen’s bills all over London? The shame you’ve brought on our family? Do you think I’ll put up with bailing you out of the drunk tank again? No! It’s enough, Arabella. You will volunteer here, where no one knows you or cares about you. You will do this. You will not embarrass the family ever again. Do you hear me? Do you hear me?” he hissed, shaking me until my teeth rattled.



© 2019 Jane Harvey-Berrick
All rights reserved

EXCERPT

 

James

As we approached the motley collection of ugly buildings that I currently called home, a wave of tiredness came over me. It was always the same at the end of an op, the relief of surviving another one, the letting go of all the awareness, all the tension of responsibility to not get anyone killed.

But before I could do anything else, I had to report to Clay and decide what to do about Yad.

I dragged my weary arse toward the prefab building that was the Trust’s office, and stopped.

Why do we want what we can’t have?

That was my first thought when the woman walked into the prefab hut ahead of me.

My second thought was, what the fuck is she doing in a flea-infested shithole like this?

I was in the armpit of the world, one of the most dangerous and corrupt territories to come out of the ex-Soviet Union, and she was wearing a luminous pink ski suit, with blonde hair tumbling over her shoulders.

Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone completely crazy?

But if not, what the hell was she doing in the middle of landmine country, with Russia to the north, Iran to the south, and hell on earth all around?

I knew what I was doing here.

Penance. I was doing penance.

But this woman?

My head started to swivel when I saw her, and if I’d been a cartoon character, my tongue would have been drooling on my mud-caked boots.

She was stunning. No other word for it. A real bombshell. Tiny waist, nice tits, rounded hips, and long, long legs. Her hair was waist-length, curling in silky blonde waves. It seemed unreal against the backdrop of mud and grey.

But when she turned and her eyes caught me looking at her, there was no light of triumph, no recognition that she was God’s gift to man. Instead, the dark blue irises were emotionless. Her gaze flicked up and down my tatty, dirt-stained clothes without interest, her expression of weary resignation and an untouchable, impenetrable isolation.

There was something old in her eyes, something that said she’d seen enough, even though she couldn’t have been more than twenty-five. For the first time in a long while, I wanted to understand, wanted to know what she’d seen, what she’d experienced—and that was a scary thought. I didn’t like being scared and I didn’t like feeling guilty—it made me angry. I should stay the hell away from her.

But I got it, I did. She was the kind of woman that men fought over. She probably started wars. She was a goddam Helen of Troy.

And you know what happened to the Trojans…

 


QUICK QUOTES

 

James

You need money, advice, or an alibi? Because I’m stony-broke, give shitty advice, and couldn’t give an alibi to a nun.

Why do we want what we can’t have?

My worst wounds were on the inside.

It was a godforsaken country, but God had forsaken me long ago.

Me and hope weren’t what you’d call close friends.

We all have scars: some we can see, some we can’t.

Don’t envy me. It’s lonely.

I did have some morals. Well, maybe one.

She came from money and I came from the gutter.

A man who spoke less than most people, but who meant more when he did.

James carried his service like a weight on his shoulders; Clay wore his like a badge of honour.

‘Forever’ sometimes meant a few shared moments and the long, echoing silence of death.

I had nothing, I had no one. I was no one.

A storm was coming.

Somehow, when you’ve been a soldier, when you’ve faced death, that’s not where it ends, because I don’t think the living ever get to go home. Not really.

Arabella

I looked cheap. Cheap and worn out and sad.

His silence held so many secrets.

What is it about women that make us want to fix men who are broken?

Why be sober when life is so shit?

You don’t need anyone’s permission to smile again, James.

I’d always preferred fairytales to real life.

Why do we hurt the people we love the most?

I’d fallen in love with him. What a stupid, stupid, careless thing to do.

We lay side by side and a million miles apart.

Tears leaked from my eyes as we lay side by side and a million miles apart. It felt like someone was scorching the earth around me. Would I burn with it? Or would I be frozen by the coldness of the man I loved.

Our bodies shared the emotions that our lips would never speak

I was just an ordinary working woman, doing my best, not always getting it right, but trying hard.

My heart twisted with love, then cracked open a little wider for this brave, broken man.

He was the wrong man at the wrong time. Could I forgive him?

 


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UK 12.00
EU (Airmail 2-weeks) 15.00
World (Airmail 3-weeks) 19.00



 

Book Bash Does Brighton, November 2018

              

Poseurs!

 

Gergo’s first signing – and he meets a unicorn!

 

               

Gergo hard at work

 

Gergo Jonas, cover model for TICK TOCK

 

               

With Sheena Lumsden

 

Gergo and his lovely girlfriend, Vivien

 

 

 

Festival of New Romance, Paris, October 2018

Festival of New Romance, Paris, October 2018

Meeting readers and hard at work

 

             “You’re not the only one who can pose like a cover model”

At the Louvre with Stu and his gorgeous fiancee, Emma

Dublin – October 2017

I’d never been to Ireland before, and it was a flying visit in October, but I met so many lovely people at #Claddagh16. I certainly enjoyed ‘the creic’!

Stalking Angels

Meeting just a few of my reader group, the Stalking Angels: Mary, Jade, Selma, Rose and Sejla.

Rose

The wonderful Rose, who acted as my assistant and Girl Friday

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