Category: News

The Two Minute Interview: Author Starr Gardinier

I’m very pleased to welcome fellow legal professional, Starr Gardinier, to tell us about her latest novel: The Other Side: Trent’s Story

Who are you, Starr?

I’m a workaholic, who is a paralegal during the day, and wife and author my night and weekend.

I can so relate. It takes a lot of discipline to carve out time to write. Please share your book blurb with us.

Melinda James is finally out of Skyview Haven—an asylum where she was confined for years—and is living her life, free at last. However, things are not going as planned; harassed by unexplained paranormal experiences, she doesn’t feel safe in her own home. And when she turns to her best friend Trent for help and support, she is surprised to find her feelings for him have grown far beyond a simple friendship.

Trent Miller isn’t prepared to fight evil, but he will do whatever it takes to save Melinda from an evil entity that is seeking revenge for past events. Armed with knowledge gleaned from television shows, a team of paranormal investigators, and the prayers of family and friends, he is ready to face anything.

The question is, does he tell her about his feelings for her before or after he fights a battle with evil for Melinda’s very soul?

That’s heavy, Starr. You have me on the edge of my seat! When is the moment that matters most in your book?

When Trent decides that he has no option but to fight evil, to take matters into his own hands and descend into what seems like hell.

Trent sounds like a hero of tremendous courage. Where is the setting?

This book is centered in Beaumont, California. It’s a small town north of Palm Springs.

Beaumont seems like the perfect locale for a battle between good and evil. How did you come to write this book?

I love the paranormal. I watch the shows on television and am a believer. However, please note that the Other Side series is over-exaggerated. Even I don’t believe that could happen.

Which character is your favorite (as if I don’t know)?

Trent Miller. He is willing to fight for love and for what he believes in, even if it costs him his life.

Why should I (or any reader) read your lovely creation?

The Other Side: Trent’s Story and the series, bring the reader into a world that we all would love to know more about. The Other Side is a fictionalized parallel universe. This book entertains and allows you to forget your own life while another couple battle to live.

Sounds like a terrific read! Thanks for joining me, Starr!

View the Book Trailer

Tagline: Those wretched souls will seek retaliation on the murderous.

“Melinda, what are you looking at?”
She doesn’t answer, so I repeat my question.
She finally looks at me and says in a voice not hers, “You will pay for your father’s sins.”
I’m so shocked I almost fall over. Her voice…its voice…whatever…sounds like a man’s and it definitely sounds mean.
“You will die,” the voice says.
My mouth is hanging open and I’m unable to do anything but stare at Melinda…or whoever or whatever has taken over her body. I glance around the room to see if another spirit is present. My heart is beating rapidly and my insides are shaking. My hands are trembling and my fingers are cold and I’m having difficulty breathing. I want to run from this room, but know that’s the last thing I can do. It takes me a few minutes to realize that something must be possessing Melinda. I try to call out again to her, but can’t find my voice. I have to do something. I finally find the floor beneath my feet and quickly dart the few steps to her bedside.
“Melinda,” I’m shaking her. “Leave her alone! Whoever you are, leave her alone!”
“Die,” it whispers and Melinda’s hands reach up to my throat.

The Wild Rose Press

A paralegal by day, Starr Gardinier is an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story “Cut,” Starr has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich series and now her Other Side series.
Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works’ distinctive voice, making every character stand out.
She’s the founder and owner of Editing by Starr. She’s also the former executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.
Starr is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged weekend-long events to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Starr has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.
Learn more about her editing service, read more about her at, and/or visit her blog.

Mind Over Criticism

Criticism is to writers what rubbing alcohol is to a flesh wound: sometimes necessary but painful. I don’t just mean random, directionless criticism, comments such as, “This makes no sense” or “This is boring,” which may also be painful and oh-so-unhelpful. Best to tie a heavy stone to that type and toss it down a bottomless well. I’m referring to constructive criticism that may guide the author to improvement and ultimately a higher quality read. Criticism of any kind is hard to swallow after months or years spent cultivating characters and plots. A lot of blood, sweat and tears pour into that first manuscript. We may feel offended at being critiqued. The same feelings arise when facing criticism’s close and equally unappealing sister, rejection.

Authors may be rejected by editors, publishers, reviewers, bookstores, libraries and other gatekeepers. And then there’s the public, equally available to reject or criticize. We authors are not alone. Entrepreneurs and business people face rejection and criticism by partners, investors, customers. And the list goes on and on. So what’s the best way to handle these irritating, nearly identical twins, Criticism and Rejection? I use a little story:

An ambitious student went to a Greek philosopher and asked to be his disciple. “I want to learn and to acquire all the wisdom I can,” said the young man.
“Good,” said the philosopher. “But first you must go live in the city for three years. Any time any one offends you, either through word or action, you must pay them. Take some coins and say, ‘Thank you. Kindly accept this money from me.'”

For three years, the young student faithfully fulfilled his teacher’s orders. The philosopher was pleased and told the youngster, “Now you may go to Athens, and the great masters will teach you wisdom.”

So the young man went to Athens and found, sitting at the entry gates, an old man who scolded and offended everyone going in and out of the city. When the elder man laid eyes on the young seeker, he hurled insults nonstop. The student burst out laughing. This enraged the old man who yelled, “Why do you laugh in the face of such abuse?” “Because,” the young man said. “For three years I had to pay people who offended me. Now you’re abusing me and I don’t have to pay you for it.” “Young man,” said the gatekeeper. “Come in. You are ripe to receive wisdom.”

Every time I feel even mildly offended by a remark or action directed at me or my book or my anything, any time I’m rattled, in my mind, I set a price and ask myself if I really want to pay the offender for the insult. And the answer is always no. In the beginning, I kept a written running tally of how much I’d have to pay based on just how offended I felt. Sometimes it ran on the high side. This practice was amusing enough to keep me from dwelling on the offense. I learned I’d rather keep my “coins” to spend on something worthwhile and enjoyable. It takes a little practice, but turning one’s focus to things that really matter and that promote progress is far more gratifying than pondering perceived offenses, don’t you think?

Rustling Up Characters

I’m often asked where I find my characters. Are they based on people I know? Nope. But they are based on people I don’t know. For instance, in a subplot, heroine Corrie Locke is hired by basketball superstar, Ty Calvin, to find his missing lucky charm. I’ve never known any professional sports stars. But I did have a brief encounter, a brush with one. It was enough for me to want to base a character on him.

A few years ago, I waited on the first tee of a local golf course with my junior golfer child. Superstar Alonzo Mourning approached us from behind and asked if he could play through. In golf speak, that’s, “Mind if I go first? I’m in a little bit of a rush.” He asked so politely, so kindly, that he left me with a lasting impression. Of someone who treated others well, of an animal lover, a gentle role model, one who was bent on doing the right thing. I have no idea what Mr. Mourning is really like. But I had a strong notion of what my basketball player creation would be like. Kind, thoughtful, generous, and yes, an animal lover who would go to great lengths for his animal and human friends. Would I have created the character without that brief encounter? Probably not.

In another brief meet-up, I had a brush with an actor that inspired me to create Corrie’s best friend and possible love interest, Michael. This actor was one I already admired. Meeting him in person only solidified that admiration.

I was in Westwood Village, home to my alma mater UCLA and Stan’s donuts (my favorite donut shop and Corrie’s as well). I spotted Zachary Levi going into a coffee store. I hopped out of the car and struck up a conversation with Mr. Levi. I can’t remember the content, but let’s just say he was marvelous, and again, the impression was unforgettable. Of an intelligent, personable, and energetic individual with a ready smile. And yes, he too was kindly. He made a point of introducing his companions and, well, for those of you who’ve read my book, you know what Michael is like. Many readers have listed him as their favorite character. Every time I wrote the Michael parts, I thought of Zachary Levi.

Not all of my characters are based on brief encounters. But they are based on impressions. From real life and photos…in magazines. My favorite photos appear in the French publication, Point de Vue, because they feature European royalty, well dressed and expressive. I can almost hear them speaking. The perfect ingredients to conjuring up characters.