Hello there everyone.
Today, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce author Courtney Williamson Milford to speak with us about her books.
Before we start the interview, it is worth mentioning that Courtney’s second book Graced 1943 (The Grace Family Chronicles Vol 1) has been selected for the Amazon Kindle Scout Program.
There are still 17 days left before the voting period runs out to be able to nominate the book.
So if you are a fan of historical fantasy literature and enjoy this interview then please do click on the link below to preview the book and vote for Courtney’s Graced novel. If the book receives enough votes and is subsequently published on Kindle Press then for voting you will receive a free digital copy courtesy of Amazon for supporting the author!
And now for the interview.
Hi there Courtney, it is an absolute pleasure to be chatting to you today on my blog.
Hello, David. Thanks for taking the time to ask me these questions.
Let’s start with your debut novel “Shell’s Amazing App”. What genre would you classify your book as sitting in? Tell us more about Shell, the setting and the conflicts/challenges that she faces.
Shell’s Amazing App is a middle grade book that is classified either as fantasy of speculative fiction. Sixth grader Shell Bailey is a writer. When her mom puts her in a summer coding camp, she finds that she is a genius at writing apps. She writes several, including one called “Pathway” that allows her to “technoport” (teleport using technology) anywhere she wants to go, including into fictional settings and her own stories. Physically, she is challenged by a condition she has called Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. She has flare ups when her joints, and sometimes her eyes, swell, and at times she has to use a wheelchair. Still, she is able run the school’s student web site, work as a model, and keep up a fun relationship with her best / boy friend Tommy.
You have also released a novel called “Graced 1943 (The Grace Family Chronicles) (Volume 1)”. This sounds completely different to your novel about Shell in both time and place! Please fill us in on the genre and background behind this particular saga, who we should be rooting for and what we will encounter when we delve into it?
Graced 1943 is an historical fantasy novel that takes place during WW2. Much of the action takes place in Miami Beach where the Grace family has its luxury compound called “Gracestone.” The family members, and most of their friends, have special traits called “Graces” that vary by person and give them special powers, which they use to meet challenges, both war-related and closer to home. There are a few Graces, such as one that enables its bearer to multiply wealth, that attract kidnappers, so the characters are frequently organizing rescue missions. I did quite a bit of research relating to events that were going on during 1943, such as the siege of Leningrad, so the history in the book is authentic.
The second book, which is called The Atherlings 1944, is written and will probably come out in December. The series will go through the end of World War 2, then jump ahead to the 1950’s. A number of the characters are children, and I think they will more interesting to write about when they are a little older, hence the time hop.
What is the hardest thing that you find about writing? And what do you find is the easiest thing?
Hardest part: Revising and working with editors.
My editor helped me a lot by telling me Shell’s Amazing App should be classified as Middle Grade, not YA.
She caused me extra work by correcting every instance in Graced 1943 in which I capitalized the name of a Grace (super power). I had done it intentionally, and had to reject every one of those corrections. It was thousands of times and it took forever.
Easiest part: Thinking of ideas.
Good idea (in my opinion): Combining fantasy with historical fiction. Diane Gabaldon does this very well with her Outlander series. I think I do, too, in The Grace Family Chronicles, not that I’m on par with Diane Gabaldon.
When bad ideas that can still be useful: The 2015 book Dead Stars by Bruce Wagner is about a number of cringe-inducing topics. One character, for a living, tries to get candid shots of female celebrities not wearing underwear. Another photographs women posing formally with their deceased children. These are both terrible ideas to write about – I wouldn’t touch either – but the book totally works.
Who are some of the authors in general that inspire you?
I’ll stick with ten: C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia), Madeleine L’Engle, Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials), Libba Bray (Gemma Doyle Trilogy), Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games Trilogy), Stephen King, Diane Gabaldon (Outlander Series), George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones), Joe Hill. Oh, and I’ll add Tolkien. That’s ten.
Oh, and I’ll add the Walking Dead graphic novels by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. I am hoping to write graphic novels myself one day.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
For Shell’s Amazing App, I had to mainly research Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have worked charity galas for a non-profit that provides prescription drugs and treatment for clients with this condition who cannot afford them, so that’s where I started for that book. For historical fantasy books like Graced 1943, I do a lot internet research. Also, sometimes I read other peoples’ books on topics that I need to know about. When I was writing Graced 1943, I read The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit to get an idea of what it was like to live and work in the area that contained J. Robert Oppenheimer’s lab.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always loved to read to the point that, as a child, I would get in trouble with my mother for staying inside and reading too much. I was always a good writer as well, and started as a journalism major in college, although I jumped to English. After 25 years of working in the car business while raising three children, who are currently 18, 15, and 8, I finally got to the point where my work and family schedule to permitted to me put some time into fiction writing.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
I don’t have creative slumps or writers’ block. My problem is that I’m too prolific, at least so far.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
Working out every day, traveling, reading, driving my kids around. Oh, and working in the car business.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline? Can we expect more from Shell and/or the Grace Family in the near future?
As I mentioned, the second book in The Grace Family Chronicles is ready to come out later this year. The third book is called Turn Back the Horses and covers the period from about February 1944 through D-Day. These books are relatively long, a little over 100,000 words, so it takes a couple of months to write one.
There is no follow up to Shell’s Amazing App, but I do have a middle grade chapter book coming out called Christmas Tree Acres about a 13 year-old girl who runs away from her foster home and ends up in a good situation. I also have a number of children’s books coming out, including one that is part of my Bark Story series called The Christmas Extravaganza: A Bark Story.
I have just started a blog that will eventually be a chapter book for third and fourth graders. It is called Tales of Mermaid Haven and can be found here at TALES OF MERMAID HAVEN and on Wattpad.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
The writing part is easy. The hard part is marketing, unless you have the patience to try to find a traditional publisher. Even then, I would think you still have to spend a lot of time on social media, updating your author page, etc…So, basically, being a writer is hard work, but the learning process that goes along with it is fun.
Your books do sound like a lot of fun. Thank you for participating in this interview.
Courtney Williamson Milford lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and three children. She has been publishing books since the beginning of January 2016. She has degrees from the University of Florida in English and secondary education, and has owned a whole vehicle fleet leasing business called Courtney Leasing, Inc. since 1991.
She is a passionate reader and can be found on Goodreads here:-
You can also buy Courtney’s books here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Both of Courtney’s books are about growing up through childhood with extraordinary abilities. There is also a ‘Childhood’ prompt over at The Daily Post. For more blog posts from my colleagues on this particular theme, check out the links below:-
1. debooWORKS – Joy
2. Childhood (1969-1979) – Raincoastgirlpdx
3. Browsing The Atlas – Color Me Happy
4. Memories 🙂 – Luminous Feathers
5. Childhood Summers – The Anxious Canadian
6. Do what scares you most – my one life. today
7. I never had a childhood – mySestina
8. WHERE’D YOU GO? I MISS YOU SO.. – The Quiet Girl Blogger
9. Hey You, Shorty – June 20
10. The Man that Never Showed – stephentotheplate
11. Table – inbluerhapsody
12. LM Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables – onturningpages
13. Smooth – Angry
14. Loving Craft from Childhood – originalkingstonmade blog
15. HoPe&AnChOr – Childhood
16. Laurel Grove loves… – Dance Lessons with the beautiful Ms Von Tresky
17. Willow – Words in Oddities
18. debooWORKS – Fray?
19. kindergartenknowledge.com – Childhood. A Gift Open to All.
20. Victorias’ Secrets – Scent of a Woman… (my life in perfume)
21. Faith of a child – My life…or so I think
22. Jeff Cann – Ring Dings
23. theblackwallblog – Once I Was… and Now I Am…
24. Childhood : Always Remembered by Younger and Elder – Embedded J@ck
25. Childhood – The Lounge
26. Prompt: Childhood – LMTP Journey
27. Marble and Sand – StrangeLander2015
28. Childhood – Staying the Course
29. Childhood Memories. – maliahsmommy1010
30. Childhood memories – ramblinglibelula
31. The Daily Post – Espiritu en Fuego/A Fiery Spirit – Childhood
32. Musin’ With Susan – Cutie!
33. “Childhood” – A Pre-Published Indie Author
34. Backwater Lullaby – Jennifer Nichole Wells
35. Last Day on Holiday for Daughter – This Pilgrim’s Progress
36. Childhood – Escape Alaska
37. BreatheShellyGirl – I love you. Have a cookie.
38. Purposive Writer – A Typical But Unforgettable Day: A Walk Down Memory Lane
39. Set in StoriesSet in Stories – Finding The Little Prince in Singapore
40. Olive These Words – Childhood is…
41. Do Not Annoy The Writer – Carlisle! – A Childhood Odyssey
42. Childhood. – damseldrudge
43. tuckedintoacorner – iron + childhood
44. AZRYL ALI – S-s-tutter
45. stepping in2 lyfe – Motherhood: Overwelmed with Life and Childhood
46. Mysteries from Childhood – itsjamxii
47. Growing A Peaceful World – ring4peace
48. Smart and Happy – Childhood
49. The New 3 Rs: Retire, Recharge, Reconnect – Childhood
50. Reminiscences my childhood – Explore with Mafaza
51. Revert Back to the Basics of Childhood
52. 5 Minute JournalingKayllisti’s Quill – Writing With The Senses
53. I Wish I Could Remember – This Pilgrim’s Progress
54. concealedshadow – A little late childhood.. what can I say? I was a late bloomer
55. Random Penning of a confused mind – If only we could remain a Child
56. Childhood – changefulseasons
57. Mitigating Circumstances – Childhood
58. Daily post–childhood – GM1123
59. Vampire Maman – Vampire Diary: In My Youth
60. samanthastanleyblog – Childhood is…
61. Cage Dunn: Writer and Author – Childhood
62. The Child inside of Us – Kristoffe Tries to Explain It All
63. Childhood – wordsareallihavesite
64. ideas and culture – Mind of a Child
65. Word Of The Day: “Childhood” – thelifeofsue
66. simply.cindy – Listen With Your Eyes
67. The Hunt – TO THE LEFT OF THE RISING SUN
68. XingfuMama – Back to the days of Christopher Robin
69. Chasing Butterflies and Memories… – PTSD – The Long Journey Home
70. Uplifting Stories – Treasure
71. Sacrificial Chain Breaker – CHILDHOOD
72. Reborn – Kuma House
73. An Oak tree – aehouseblog
74. Musings of a Random Mind – remembering nana talia
75. A Childhood Wish – THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
76. A Little of This and a Little of That – Missing Out on the Joys of Childhood
77. Amanda H’s Blog – Childhood
78. gudtowrite – Happy birthday!
79. Saying the word goodbye – withlovefromshannon
80. kwesi – childhood blues
81. Who Is the Real Child? – Whispers in the Wind
82. Village life in China exhibition – Cassie’s Stories
83. Random…Yet Not So Random Thoughts Of Mine – I Remember A Day
84. Fluffy Pool – Childhood
85. cascading waterfalls – Childhood Memories
86. The Lost Archives – Dreamer’s Paradise
87. Blessed Moments -n- Memories – Childhood Happiness or Not
88. ihaveknowclue – The Imperfections of Perfect
89. This is Another Story – Piano Progress #2
90. When I Was A Child- Reflections on our decade – La Case D’Anna
91. liberté – onthevirg
92. coldhandswarmheartsblog – The Childhood Games
93. somawrites – She was only Ten…
94. Jolly Joys and Perpetual Pleasures – Unebelle’s Musings
95. Faith Unlocked – The Child Must Become Man
96. End of Innocence – Caillen James –Author
97. Wife and Mother – A childhood wish list
98. Poem: Wrapped Refrain – “Relationships and Childhood”– Mandibelle16
99. childhood – Lisa Jill Singh
100. Awkward Account of a Coffee Shimmered, Crappy Crimped Childhood – Team Sequoia at Lifetree World
101. akulasharvani – Childhood…
102. B_ up to date – Possible … if not …
103. Childhood – carolandsite
104. I miss her, sometimes.
105. Marcin’s Corner – Childhood
106. The Child within us: – Stokespeare
107. Childhood – One More Shot Please
108. A Bedtime Story – MISSLIGHT
109. tornin2’s Blog – Childhood Memories
110. Stories Of Country Childhood – HOLY ADDICTION
111. When I Was Young ( And Not 22)- Daily Post – Kendi Tiara
112. How do we learn? – Magic of this moment
113. Willow’s Corner – Happy are those…
114. The Diamond in the rut – Diary of fantastic discoveries
115. CHILDHOOD AS A KOBE FAN – SpeedHawks TV
116. Childhood – Writer in Progress
117. Mr. Johnson’s Blog – Childhood Programming
118. To Wear A Rainbow – childhood friends
119. They, You and Me – growing old…haiku
120. SarahButcherauthor – Daily Post Prompt: Childhood
121. A Child at Heart – Fantasy Raconteur
122. Jibber Jabber with Sue – Where Has Childhood Gone? (Society’s Lost Investment)
123. Would you live in a Tiny House? – The Inquisitive Writer
124. Misadventures Of An Angel – The Divine Feminine
125. Apparently I’m Funny – Can You Grow Teeth?
126. Prompt for the Day: “Childhood” – saintpblogging BlogJob site
127. Coloring Outside the Lines – Childhood
128. Prompt for the Day: “Childhood” – Saint P. Blogging
129. Age of Happiness – Aasma Kamran
130. Mark V. Bettencourt Writer/Producer – A Theory on Kids, Imagination And The Stick
131. Zombie Flamingos – Well, well, well. It’s nice to see you, Saturday!
132. Nostalgia – Paperplanes and Dreams
133. Journey to Heal: Seven Essential Steps of Recovery for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Review – Reflections
134. Childhood – citse
135. The Oldsmobile – Life In My Tin Can
136. Books and Childhood – The Two Decade Mind
137. Relax – Maybe some need a leper colony
138. Childhood! – pins & ashes
139. Mama’s Talking Stick – My childhood – a nostalgic revisit
140. agony and ecstasy of childhood ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
141. Write Tribe: Recalling Memories “Festival of Words” Day 1 – pins & ashes
142. Family Tradition – HOLY ADDICTION
143. Shail’s Nest – Cheekiness, lost and found
144. Hot White Snow – The Trauma of First Grade
145. Childhood – littlemissmishap
146. That Good Ol’ Taste – yuling li
147. MC’s Whispers – The benefits of expecting nothing
148. Musicals of my Childhood – Meg’s Musings
149. Innocent youth – mindofaflowerblog
150. Your Nibbled News (c) 2016 – Time to grow, explore, share and fit in
151. Second Childhood – Eloraquence
152. Forgiving Your Childhood – My Dilemma’s – All About Change
153. A Sunken Thought – Splendid Christmas
154. The Reluctant Scribbler – I HATE Having My Photograph Taken
155. Uncle Sam’s Children – There’s Life Here
156. Childhood – littlemissmishap
157. HEARD ON THE THIRD – A lot from Lydia
158. Snail – Jennifer Nichole Wells
159. Flowers and Breezes – The Wonders of Childhood
160. Time – thepoeticturk
161. Sandmanjazz – Blue Remembered Town Park
162. Childhood – The Footloose Translator
163. Mature Premature – Weirdly Wired
164. Writer Sanctuary – How to Achieve Your Dreams of Being a Writer
165. Mermaids, Anyone? – HemmingPlay
166. Mr. Johnson’s Blog – Childhood Best Friend
167. SERENDIPITY – BUT THAT WAS LONG AGO
168. The Gad About Town – The Woods
169. Hi India – Slowly to Kaza
170. Bob’s Blog – Daily Prompt “Childhood”
171. Should you be honest with your children?
172. Light & life – Tender little Hearts
173. Childhood in One Word – Art NOT Apathy
174. debooWORKS – Fray?
175. Little Girl Lost – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
176. shame – Scream boys, scream
177. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Every Child’s a Child of All
178. La Tour Abolie – The curious incident of the blancmange at the school gates
179. Le Drake Noir – Childhood
180. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Kittenhood
181. Daily Prompt; Childhood – tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
182. Ladyhawk – Childhood
183. “What do you want to do?” – I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
184. Fireflies – dogsviewoftheworld.com
185. Childhood – It’s time to Smile Again
186. Childhood Take II – Image & Word
187. Crossing Colorado – Recapturing Youth Through Fitness
188. When we were Little … – purpleorangesite
189. Childhood – Barely Right of Center
190. I Came From A Place of Fireflies – HemmingPlay
191. Poem-When I Was Young – jotabouts
192. God- My Constant – writealineblog
193. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – The Lost Days of Childhood
194. Only Yesterday – a nomad in cyberspace
195. Childhood; the sweet days of life – Devious Words
196. 83 Unsung Heroes – Childhood Lessons From A Great : Ali
197. A WISH – atrangizindagieksafar
198. The happy Quitter! – Once upon a Time
199. And I Quote… – SUCCESS STRATEGIES
200. Sweet Reveries – erhynireh
201. debooWORKS – Joy
202. DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society – The Tree is Gone, But Not Entirely
203. Escape of the scape – zorazebic
204. Sure Scribbles – A TRIBUTE TO A LEGEND
205. A Bit of My Childhood – onwardupwardweb
206. “From Childhood to Teenhood” – shonessa
207. When we were all childish – rakhioverhere
208. A Time Yo Play – Thirty by Thirty
209. Childhood – fssther
210. Of Minds & Music – A Kid Again
211. Writing The Girl – Saturday: I Was Little
212. LOVE WHAT YOU DO – Chidhood
213. CHILDHOOD : MISS THOSE DAYS – curiousitygotmecom
214. Childhood – Jane Dougherty Writes
215. Hawk’s Happenings – Childhood Then and Now
216. kStan(ly) kSays – …grab a stick and join me
217. the beespeak – Numbers Game
218. My Superhero – Cassie’s Journey to Love
219. Childhood (The Daily Prompt) – NJSays
220. Childhood – Dave’s (almost) Daily Drivel
221. yellowgalblog – Childhoood
222. Let there be light – I don’t even know what ‘normal’ is anymore
223. Childhood – Image & Word
224. “I never had a Childhood” – mySestina
225. Travel Much? – Tokyo much? Matcha Tea and Vintage Toys
226. Hot Dogs and Marmalade – Graceball
227. ….on pets and prisoners….. – daily prompt: childhood
228. Higher Road Society – Childhood
229. Childhood Great Memories – The Learnify
230. Jaellekatz – J wie Jetzt: Magic Letters
231. Childhood Adventures – newlifeduringmidlife
232. Nostalgia – MyBlog
233. Being a child while still a child – Geek Ergo Sum
234. Designer Sophisticate – Kids today are too old.
235. Childhood – nomdeplume
236. Lantern Words – Growing From Childhood