Friday, 30 May 2014


Title: Stolen Gifts
Series: Gift Series
Author: Rasha Selim

Having a Gift is hard.  Keeping the ability to read and manipulate minds a secret from family and friends is torture.     
       Vanessa (Van) Lyons is terrified of her very powerful Gift of Mind, and has been hiding it from her family since she was a child.  Her Gift troubled her so much that she moved away from everything and everyone she knew to avoid the possibility of the truth being discovered.  She's stayed away for a long time, making excuses for staying put in her charming little cottage in a small town far enough away to be a comfortable buffer.  But an invitation to the wedding of her childhood best friend Kelley brings her back home...and forces her to confront all of her fears and emotions.  It also forces her to be face-to-face with the man she has loved since they were young.

        Caine Moore is a handsome journalist with a playboy reputation.  Seen frequently about town or in the tabloid pages with a different beautiful woman on his arm, he has become a completely different man from the boy Van grew up with.  Tension builds between them as he sends Van mixed messages throughout the pre-wedding festivities, confusing her and making her yearn for things she's spent a long time convincing herself she could never have. 

        Caine has been working on a story, and has seen things he shouldn't see.  In his desire to protect Van, he inadvertently pulls her into an intriguing but deadly case that puts her right into the killer's path...


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Rasha Selim and I was born in Cairo, Egypt. I live in Upstate New York right now.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always loved to write and made my own books as a kid.  I would create covers and staple it all together.  Then I would make an elaborate design around my name.  Unfortunately, I lost sight of my dream for a while and enjoyed a stint as a Forensic Psychologist.  I’m glad I didn’t hold onto that for too long though, and now I’m back to making the dream come true. 

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
Oh that’s easy.  I was five and I wrote a tale of two girls swimming in the ocean and then getting eaten by a shark.  I did all the illustrations myself.  Lots of red.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Stolen Gifts is my debut novel, and I went traditional for one year.  After lots of research and talking with friends in the industry, I decided to self-pub.  The whole process from starting to write again to publication took about a year and a half.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I work part-time in retail. Can’t beat the hours.  I work full-time as a mom, thus the retail job, so I can write during the day while the kids are in school.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Stolen Gifts. 

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
I keep my fingers crossed.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Depending on time available, about five months.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
I have completed Stolen Gifts, and the second in the series.  I’ve been writing off and on a second series, but force myself back to the Gift Series to stay on track.  My mind goes on tangents, so whichever direction it is going in, makes that book easy to write.  If it isn’t into that book at that moment, I find it harder to get my words on paper.  I give myself a few days off and usually can get right back into it.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I am an uber fan of urban fantasy and that’s where my mind tends to create stuff.  I have a werewolf series in plan, and it will be more Urban than the Gift Series.  More action versus the mystery.  I’m also planning on a few paranormal romance shorts.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
The second book is on its way.  The Gift Series is a trilogy.

What genre would you place your books into?
Paranormal mystery and romance

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
My love for the genre.  I love to read series versus stand-alones, so it only seemed natural to write the same way I read.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I love them all.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Van.  I love how she grows up and comes to accept who she is.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
Kate.  She’s portrayed after one of my closest friends.  Real Kate has recently undergone some medical stuff and her strength blows me away.  Book Kate is an unwavering friend.  She’s a subsidiary character, but she’s who I would model myself to be.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
Physically? The past two years.  Mentally?  My entire life.  I’ve always been afraid to share the stuff that goes on in my head.  As I got older, the fear left me, and I decided that if I didn’t get to it, I would never realize the dream.  Having kids brought out the adult that was hiding in me.  I couldn’t preach what I couldn’t practice.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
In the shower.  My mind wanders a lot and I hold onto all those ideas, write them down and make something from them.  People watching is one of my favorite past-times so I get a lot of ideas from that as well.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Not really.  I usually write after the kids go to bed, and the house is quiet.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
 I have a couple of really good friends who read for me.  One is a publisher, another is an editor, and the other is amazing at content work.  I’m really lucky in that aspect that I have close friends in the business.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I try not to, but yes I do.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I haven’t really had to suffer through any tough reviews yet.  So far so good.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  Reviews are for readers, so they should be honest. 

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Through much debate and reflection.  The genre I write has very stereotypical covers, so we scoured the internet looking at ideas and color schematics.  The name kind of came to me as the novel was written.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The title came through the process of writing.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Van and Caine have always been in my head.  I like different but not too different.  Growing up overseas my name was not so common, but common enough.  When I came across the pond, my name was, and still is, very different.  So I’ve always wanted something that stood out but not alienate my characters.

Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I picked them up before I even started writing.  It was part of the character development.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Yep.  I take a lot of time figuring out where my characters begin, the process they go through and where they will end up.  So I do all that prior to writing.  I might make small changes along the way, but I pretty much know all their flaws and strengths before hand.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I use a specific writing program and within it I plan and plot out the series through that.  Again I might make alterations as I’m writing but I follow the plan for the most part.

How do you market/promote your books?
Primarily through social media, blog tours and word of mouth. 

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
Characters.  A story could be great, but with under developed or unbelievable characters I wouldn’t enjoy the book. 

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I have, but not because of lack of ideas.  More because I’m not happy with how something is developing.  I end up calling a friend and I talk through the plot with her.  As we talk, ideas come forth on how to fix it and then I’m on the go again.

What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
I love to read.  A lot.  I love to hang out by a pool or ocean and enjoy the sun.  I love to play and craft with my kids.  Three active boys, so we run around the backyard a lot.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Yes, yes and then some more yeses.  Kate is based on a very good friend.  Names of some characters are really the names of some friends who helped me along the way.  I also incorporate some scenes from my own life or those around me.  In Stolen Gifts, the scene where Van jumps from a stone pier into the ocean, and breaks her arm was based on my own experience and doing the very same thing she did.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
No not really.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
I wouldn’t write what I write if it weren’t for great authors like Kim Harrison, Chloe Neill, Patricia Briggs or Devon Monk.  So in a way they have influenced my writing.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
Don’t care as long as it’s a good book.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
Tough question.  I love too many to state, but to name a few (I really can’t), Kim Harrison, Chloe Neill, Patricia Briggs, Devon Monk, C. E. Murphy, Darynda Jones, Anne Bishop, oh, and of course Illona Andrews.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
No.  I love the Lord of the Rings adaptations, and Harry Potter Deathly Hallows movies (but I enjoyed the books more.)

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
Hell bent by Devon Monk.  I’m a bit behind on my TBR list.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I hope not, but it seems almost inevitable.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
To read, yes.  To write creatively, no.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I always had a book in my hands.  Whether I was reading or writing it didn’t matter.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
George Orwell. I read Animal Farm and 1984 so many times, I had to buy several copies of each.

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Urban Fantasy

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
No, not really.  I’m open to any kind of book that is written well, however I do tend to stay in my favorite genre unless a novel is highly recommended.

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Michele Wolfe.  I got a sneak peak at her debut novel and it was great.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
Heck no.  It’s perfect the way it is.  Just kidding.  The only reason I look back is to help with going forward.  You can only edit so much before the novel ends up being completely different from where you started.  I wrote the story, I developed the characters and have set them up for the remainder of the series, so I’m very happy with the completed work.

What do you think about book trailers?
Fun to watch, but it’s like the movie thing.  I read to let my imagination wander, so seeing somebody else’s imagination at work kind of puts a damper on mine. 

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Don’t give up.  And have beta readers be honest with you, and listen to their feedback.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I write under my maiden name.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Can I have several dinner parties?  The list from before would be ideal.  I want them all in my house.  To name three – Kim Harrison, Darynda Jones, and Patricia Briggs.

Where can readers follow you?

Your Website?  
Your Facebook Page?
Your Twitter Details? 

And any other information you wish to supply?
I write reviews for Gliterary Girl

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