13 episodes

Join writer and podcaster Luke Kerr as he forges these two passions into this, novel, book review and writing craft podcast. Follow along as he adventures into the realms and imaginations of today's authors. You never know who he'll meet or what you'll learn along the way. And when each episode is over, it's up to you whether or not to read beyond the First Five Chapters.

First Five Chapters First Five Chapters

    • Arts

Join writer and podcaster Luke Kerr as he forges these two passions into this, novel, book review and writing craft podcast. Follow along as he adventures into the realms and imaginations of today's authors. You never know who he'll meet or what you'll learn along the way. And when each episode is over, it's up to you whether or not to read beyond the First Five Chapters.

    Bianca Marais on The Witches of Moonshyne Manor

    Bianca Marais on The Witches of Moonshyne Manor

    On this week's First Five Chapters, Luke Kerr is joined by best selling author Bianca Marais to discuss her new book The Witches of Moonshyne Manor.

    She is the co-host of the writing craft podcast The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, teaches creative writing and has authored Hum If You Don't Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh as well as the Audible Original The Prynne Viper.

    With what can be described as a magical dash of Golden Girls, a twist of Steel Magnolias and a sprinkle of Sex Outside the City, The Witches of Moonshyne Manor follows a sisterhood of older witches whose manor and distillery are threatened by townsmen. What will happen when their long-absent coven member, Ruby, returns? Can a feisty TikToker, Persephone, help them save their home?

    On writing craft,

    Bianca shares what she believes to be the most important element to hooking readers and the importance of "curiosity seeds."

    As a long-time listener of The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, Luke was curious to see whether Bianca included a prologue in The Witches of Moonshyne Manor. She doesn't, but she figured out a clever way to introduce readers to her characters before Chapter 1.

    Why did Bianca choose to use a tarot deck to give readers additional details about each witch in Chapter 1 before focusing individually on each witch in the following chapters?

    How did Bianca ensure that each member of the sisterhood had equal stakes?

    She shares the most important character element for writers to include to ensure readers connect with their characters.

    On empowering future authors,

    Bianca shares how her passion for helping writers led to The Shit No One Tells You About Writing podcast. Family and friends are supposed to say nice things about a writers work, but sometimes an author needs to clear-eyed feedback to help them identify areas for opportunity to grow as a writer. That is what she and co-hosts CeCe Lyra and Carly Watters provide through their kind, but honest feedback on submitted queries.

    Find out how a personal connection led to her running the Eunice Ngogodo Own Voices Initiative. The organization empowers Black women in Africa to write their own stories while fundraising to help aid grandmothers in Soweto with caring for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

    You can find out more about Bianca Marais at BiancaMarais.com. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    First Five Chapters on Social Media: Twitter | Instagram |&n

    • 35 min
    Frederick Smith on Writing the Juicy Drama of Busy Ain't the Half of It with a Co-Author

    Frederick Smith on Writing the Juicy Drama of Busy Ain't the Half of It with a Co-Author

    On this week's First Five Chapters, Luke Kerr is joined by author Frederick Smith to chat about his latest novel, co-authored with Chaz Lamar Cruz, Busy Ain't the Half of It.

    The two talk about the differences between writing with a co-author vs penning a solo novel. How do the writing styles differ and how do Frederick and Chaz's writing styles complement each other? 

    Luke feels he can grow as a writer in crafting his villains' motivation, but what does Frederick feel is his greatest strength and opportunity for growth?  

    The two then dive into the first five chapters of Busy Ain't the Half of It, which follows the lives of Justin Monroe and his nephew Elijah Golden, both of whom are gay.  

    The lives of men in the gay community can be complicated by past encounters with other men. Frederick talked about he and Chaz were able to use that dynamic to create the foundation for their juicy story. 

    Will Justin end up with his long-time friend Trevor or the headmaster at his children's school, Jabari? 

    How will Elijah's boyfriend Zaire react when he finds out Elijah spent a night with Zaire's ex, Jordan. 

    What will happen when everyone ends up on a vacation trip to Miami? What kind of drama will go down?

    Did the original first chapter end up in their manuscript end up as the first chapter in the printed book?

    Smith has written or co-written five novels centering on the lives of Black and Latinx queer characters. Check out more details on In Case You Forgot, Play It Forward, Right Side of the Wrong Bed and Down for Whatever at FrederickLSmith.com. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram at @FSmith827.

    Only you can decide whether to read beyond the First Five Chapters!

    First Five Chapters on Social Media: Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | First Five Chapters Podcast Community.

    Listen on: iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music | Stitcher

    • 45 min
    My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey

    My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey

    On episode nine of First Five Chapters, Luke Kerr is joined by Casie Eckholm to wrap up the summer with a book review of My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey. 

    Is it a romance novel? Is it a murder mystery? We're not sure, but it's definitely a summer read for at the beach, the airport or on a lazy afternoon. 

    When Taylor discovers the dead body of her coastal rental house, she goes full-on "Jessica Fletcher" trying to discover the killer, much to the chagrin of the bounty hunter, Myles. He was hired the victim's sister to find the killer and doesn't need her distracting him.

    Only you can decide whether to read beyond the First Five Chapters!

    First Five Chapters on Social Media: Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | First Five Chapters Podcast Community.

    Listen on: iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music | Stitcher

    • 48 min
    Jennifer Brody / Vera Strange on Writing Great Villains for Disney Chills and Star Wars

    Jennifer Brody / Vera Strange on Writing Great Villains for Disney Chills and Star Wars

    On this week's First Five Chapters, Luke Kerr is joined by award winning author Jennifer Brody.

    The two dive into her latest projects Once Upon a Scream for the Disney Chills series and writing Star Wars' most iconic villain for Darth Vader in Blood Moon: Uprising - Stories of Jedi and Sith.

    Brody shares how, as Vera Strange, she never writes down to her Disney Chills readers. She teases that a seventh Disney Chills book is on the way and that its villain is not one she thought she'd be writing for.  She reveals how the Disney Chills series allows her to go much darker with Disney villains than she can for Star Wars allows Darth Vader. She feels that Vader is a very self-sufficient villain and Luke wonders if it's his Big Darth Energy.

    On writing craft,

    Luke reveals that creating villain motivation is one of the areas in writing he struggles with. Jennifer believes stories are only as strong as its villain and shares her advice for crafting villain motivation.

    The two also delve into the "plotting" vs. "pantsing" writer debate. Is "pantsing" disastrous for nearly every writer and does it trip up even publishing's most famous "pantser," Stephen King?

    How do new authors hook agents, publishers and eventually readers in their first pages? Jennifer says it comes down to getting strong voice on the page.

    She also shares what writers should be reading if they want to create great characters.

    Luke asks Jennifer to reflect on her querying journey when she was a new author and they discuss some of the obstacles to traditional publication.

    You can find out more about Jennifer Brody / Versa Strange at JenniferBrody.com. Follow her on Twitter,  Facebook and Instagram.

    First Five Chapters on Social Media: Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | First Five Chapters Podcast Community.

    Listen on: iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music | Stitcher

    • 1 hr
    A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

    A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

    On this week's First Five Chapters, Luke Kerr is joined by Bookstacked and Bookmarked podcast founder Saul Marquez to dive into A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin. 

    Volume 1 in The Book of Tea duology, A Magic Steeped in Poison entices readers with its rich imagery. Ning's motivation to save her sister is clear. Lin is a master of dropping breadcrumbs and beautifully succinct sentences , which keeps readers turning pages.

    If A Magic Steeped in Poison has one "fault," it is that its first five chapters seem too short and readers could have been given a deeper understanding into Ning's relationship with her father.

    The Book of Tea Volume 2, A Venom Dark and Sweet hits bookstores on August 23, 2022.

    Only you can decide whether to read beyond the First Five Chapters!

    First Five Chapters on Social Media: Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | First Five Chapters Podcast Community.

    Listen on: iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music | Stitcher

    • 43 min
    Odin's Child by Siri Pettersen

    Odin's Child by Siri Pettersen

    On this week's episode of First Five Chapters, Luke Kerr is joined by his writing partner and long-time friend Craig Peters, to dive into the world of Siri Pettersen's Odin's Child.

    The fates of an outsider, the ultimate insider and a tyrant are inextricably linked as every day brings them that much closer to the Rite-and perhaps the end of Ym itself. Will Hirka discover who she really is? Will Rime follow his destiny to rule? What will the cost be of Urd's pact with the devil? 

    These are the questions explored in this Odin's Child book review.

    Only you can decide whether to read beyond the First Five Chapters!

    First Five Chapters on Social Media: Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | First Five Chapters Podcast Community.

    Listen on: iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music | Stitcher

    • 1 hr 5 min

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