Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Monday, February 29, 2016

#Interview With Neil & Elizabeth Newton!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

We're going to switch things up a bit today with an interview of not just a couple of writers, but of two writers who are a couple! ;-)  Elizabeth Horton-Newton and Neil Douglas Newton are joining us today!  Elizabeth, Neil, can you tell us about yourselves?

Neil:  I grew up in New York City with a bunch of over-educated New Yorkers. My parents were both teachers, my father a university professor and my mother a high school teacher. There was also a lot of music; my mother was a first-rate soprano and I have been singing and playing the guitar for many years and a few of my friends were also musicians. I’ve been writing since I was a child but only published my first book in 2012. I have a few short stories in addition in some anthologies.

Elizabeth:  Although I’ve been writing since I was a child, I didn’t publish my first book until I retired a couple of years ago. I have two full-length books out right now and am working on my third book. In addition, I have short stories in two anthologies with two more due out this spring in different anthologies. Although my books are romantic thrillers that tend to touch on social issues, my short stories are horror stories.

Me:  Sounds like you've both been involved with the arts for quite some time! :-)  What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Neil:  The book is called The Railroad. Just before I left New York I made an unwise decision. The day was September 11, 2001 and I saw the north tower burning. There is an old story about a B-52 that actually crashed into the Empire State Building in the fifties. I figured that, statistically, it was reasonable that a plane would hit a skyscraper every fifty years or so.
Flash forward: I am in a subway that I don’t want to be in to help a frightened co-worker get home. Just as we come south of Fulton Street, which is where the twin towers were, the train lurches to a stop. I was in the subway, not moving, for about half an hour. People were praying, talking about God and just about anything you can think of. Finally, we actually ended up backing up into the previous station, Wall Street. After a few minutes in the false night of 911 all of us who’d come up to the street were called by a custodian in one of the buildings to come inside.
What happened to New York after that is a whole story in itself and is documented in The Railroad in semi-fictional form. Those few weeks inspired The Railroad, creating a foundation for change and transformation that are the basis of the book.

Elizabeth:  My most recent release is Riddle, the story of a young Native man, Kort Eriksen, who was imprisoned for the murder of his high school girlfriend. When he is released from prison he returns to his hometown where some believe he was unjustly convicted and others don’t think he was punished severely enough. Kort was actually kidnapped as an infant and raised by an abusive white family in the town of Riddle. Meanwhile a young woman, Grace Donahue, is stranded in Riddle when her car breaks down. Fleeing an abusive ex-fiance she develops a relationship with Kort. This is a story of people trapped by their pasts, surviving abuse, and dealing with uncertain futures. The story was actually inspired by the early life of actor/artist/activist Eric Schweig who I had the pleasure of getting to know several years ago. He was adopted as an infant by an abusive white family against his mother’s will.

Me:  Wow! Neil, as you know, I've read your book, and I thought that part of it seemed exceptionally detailed.  I think most of us have our 9/11 memories, but that one's a doozy.  Elizabeth, I've read your book too, and I really liked how "real" Kort seemed.  Basing him on an actual person worked! :-)  What are you two working on now?

Neil:  It’s a book that takes place in modern times on a tropical island. Greedy developers are gouging low-income inhabitants of the island for electric power. A physics genius from New York (yes always New York ) fights back by bringing updated versions of the wireless technology of Nikola Tesla to provide free power. There, is of course, a conflict between the powers that be on the island the scientist. It’s about justice but also a cautionary tale about power.

Elizabeth:  I’m currently completing work on my third full-length book, Stolen. This story is about a young girl who learns the people who raised her were not her parents. She soon finds out her real parents were Gypsies and she was under the protection of The Witness Protection Program when her mother was murdered and she was essentially lost. Now someone is trying to kill her. Befriended by a local man she struggles to come to grips with the realities of her life while developing romantic feelings for her rescuer. It’s a story about American Gypsies, the American justice system, drug cartels, and enough romance to warm things up.

Me:  Both those sound really exciting! :-)  What authors, or books, have influenced you?

Neil:  Jack Vance, who is a little known but amazing science fiction author. He invents cultures with amazing skill.  Jean Shepard who is best known for the movie A Christmas Story, which is an amalgam of two of his books. His humor seems to come out in my writing.

Elizabeth:  My short horror stories are definitely influenced by Stephen King who I think is a master short story teller. My full-length books have probably been influenced by writers like Linda Fairstein, Greg Olsen, and James Patterson. These are writer’s who can combine good mysteries, some romance, and contemporary situations in their books.

Me:  There are some amazing talents in those lists! :-)  What are you guys reading now?

Neil:  Well this is convenient. I'm reading your book Captivated By The Winter King and am enjoying it. I’m also trying to fit in some reading about Nikola Tesla at lunch at work as research for the book I’m currently writing.

Elizabeth:  I just finished a book by Indie author Paul White, The Abduction of Rupert DeVille. I’ve just started Daddy’s Girl: The Campbell Murder Case: A Saga of Texas Justice by Clifford Irving. This is a true crime/legal thriller.

Me:  Aw, thank you, Neil!  I'm glad you're enjoying it! :-)  Elizabeth, those sound awesome! I'll have to check them out. :-)  For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

Elizabeth:  Readers of Riddle will find a story about two young people that fate has brought together. They develop a somewhat unlikely relationship. It also speaks of the trauma of abuse, insanity, and injustice.

Neil:  I’ve had to address this several times recently. The book is not graphic or sensational in any way. However it does involve 911, child abuse, and PTSD topics that, in my experience, cause people’s eyes to glaze over. It is a mystery and can be seen as entertaining but it also deals with some upsetting issues. It leans more towards the serious than the purely entertaining.

Me:  I've read both your books, and I have to say I thought they were fantastic! :-)  What are your favorite parts of being an author?

Elizabeth:  I love writing because I have so many stories in my head. I like to share those stories with others. Hearing from readers who have enjoyed my books is extremely rewarding. It also gives me the opportunity to address real life issues in fictional situations.

Neil:  I think we all have conflicts in our minds that we try to resolve. Being an author allows you to exercise those demons by creating metaphors for the situations and people that bother you. You can set up a “fairytale” version of your demons and resolve them. It’s cathartic. At least for me.

Me:  I agree with both of you! :-)  Do you have day jobs as well?

Elizabeth:  I actually took early retirement in 2014. Up until then I was a social worker/counselor working closely with individuals who were trying to get their lives together.

Neil:  I do. I’ve been a computer programmer for a long time. The current term for the job is “Developer”. So I develop. It has its good points: it can be very creative and appeals to those who like to puzzle through things. On the other hand, because IT is so high profile and high dollar, there is a lot of politics involved, mostly from the people who are not technical.

Me:  Elizabeth, that sounds like a hard job! I hope you're enjoying your well-earned retirement. :-)  Neil, it sounds like your job is tough too!  Good luck navigating the political rapids! ;-) What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Elizabeth:  The easiest part of being a writer is having a story to tell. The hardest part is sitting down to put them on paper and then the dreaded editing process.

Neil:  What I’ve found most difficult is coming up with an overview of the story before you start and quickly finding that the overview, which seems complete, breaks down and you hit obstructions. In many ways the book writes itself as you go along. At that point, you are in uncharted territory and have to ride the rollercoaster as you write the story and it changes before your eyes.  The easiest part of writing is when the book is fully edited and up on the sales site and you can market it. Of course marketing is isn’t that easy either.

Me:  Ha!  Yeah, sometimes stories just won't cooperate, no matter what you do! What genres do you place your books in?

Elizabeth:  My full-length books are definitely romantic thrillers. However, my short stories are undeniably horror stories. Someday I may write a full-length horror book.

Neil:  It would best be described as a Romantic Thriller.

Me:  Cool!  Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

Elizabeth:  My husband, Neil Douglas Newton, is also a writer. We are currently working on a romantic mystery that we hope will be the first in a series. In addition, we are compiling several of our short stories into an anthology.

Neil:  I would like to thank all the people who’ve supported me, especially the incredibly supportive indie writer movement. I’ll also mention that indie writers live by their reviews; if you read a book and can find time to put a review on Amazon and Goodreads, it would be greatly appreciated.

Me:   Elizabeth, those sound like awesome projects! :-)  Neil, amen!  Keep those reviews coming! :-)  Are there any links you'd like me to post?

Author Website: http://www.elizabethhorton-newtonauthor.com/
Twitter: @redqueenliz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Horton-Newton/368956446609506
View: https://www.facebook.com/LeeOswaldView
Riddle: https://www.facebook.com/Riddlenovel
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/authornewliz
Stumble Upon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/newliz0201/likes
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/elizabeth-newton/8/105/766
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHBFtuhuqUw
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi78rbM_Tlg
Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Horton-Newton/e/B00NSET8JY/
Amazon Books: http://www.amazon.com/View-Sixth-Floor-Oswald-Tale-ebook/dp/B0196XBMA8/
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5010415
Stolen: https://www.facebook.com/Stolen-1411175705857509/timeline/


Me:  Wonderful!!  Thank you both so much for stopping by!  If anyone would like to read my reviews of these wonderful stories, you can find them here:

View From The Sixth Floor:  http://www.amazon.com/review/R32UYI5OXJOS7P/
Riddle:  http://www.amazon.com/review/R2C57BOWKGU5A4/
The Railroad: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3RHQUYIV1YLWP/

Thank you to everyone who joined us today, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)


  1. Thanks so much for this great interview. It was a lot of fun. Neil and I both love your books. Bound by the Summer Prince is next on my list.

    1. Thank you!! I'm glad you enjoyed them, yours are awesome as well! <3