Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway with J.J. Bidell

Please welcome J. J. Bidell to Short & Sweet reviews. J.J. Bidell’s In the Shadow of the Moonlight- The Awakening (e-book) was released August 21, 2011.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I love traveling to America (North and South) and enjoy meeting people. I was very upset not being able to speak to Spanish speaking people during my tours so I went to Venezuela to study Spanish ten years ago. Without knowing a word of this language I felt lonely and without friends. Nobody spoke English or German. There I start writing. I wrote to my family and friends the adventures I lived there and got hooked on writing. After beginning I never stopped, took classes in creative writing as well as screenplay writing. 
Describe “In the Shadow of the Moonlight- The Awakening” in 140 words or less.
Naomi has grown up overprotected due to a big family secret and her only wish to break out and start living her own live without the observant eyes of her grandma. After receiving a scholarship abroad in Maine her granny tell her the secret. Naomi will soon be transformed into a panther. But who could believe a story like that? 

Once she arrives to the University she makes new friends.  But strange things start to happen to Naomi, she learns that her grandmother wasn't making up stories. Things start getting worse and Naomi doesn't know who to trust. Were-panther can't have human lovers, but if they do they must never find out their partner's secret. Those are the rules, but Naomi refuses to abide by it which leads to more conflicts, not only for her but for her love Roman.

What inspired you to write In the Shadow of the Moonlight?

Well, my nieces are not interested in crime stories not even in my ones. Kids are cruel and honest and I love this. But they asked me why I am not writing something for them like an urban fantasy story without werewolves and vampires and I promised them to consider it. 
I wrote this story under the name J. J. Bidell. (The name comes from my nieces Jessica and Janine and the maiden name of my beloved mother Bidell)
My nieces love the story and other readers in Germany like the story too. So I asked a professional translator in Washington to translate the first part for English readers. Some people asked me, why English spoken people should read a novel of an unknown German author and I was not able to answer. But I nor know the answer why German readers are reading the stories of authors from other countries … maybe it is only while the story sounds interesting? I will see if they like the story. The time will show.

What sort of research did you do for In the Shadow of the Moonlight?

As I traveled to Mexico before I remembered a legend of jaguar people in the Maya era and I started thinking: What will happen, when a young woman in present time will be transformed into a panther in a foreign country living there by her own? What if she fell in love and this love will be in danger? Slowly the plot grew up. I traveled to Maine for finding the right place for the US setting and after a year the first part of novel has been done. I love the nature and the people there.

I think it is important to now the place of the setting. The second part is taking place in London and Barcelona. Two cities I love very much. For the movement of the panthers I looked a lot of documentaries as my black long-haired cat at home is nice and funny but not a real panther.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a plotter but often my figures are going their own way. I keep the main plot but the ways to go to the end of the story is very open.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I am working in the marketing department in a real estate company on Mallorca. I work only three days a week and use the other days for working in my novels. My boss is a really nice lady and her support is great. For Christmas she made me a very nice gift. The perfume “One Million” with the message “I wish you will sell the same amount in books”.  Isn`t she great?

 What project are you working on now?
At the moment I am working in the third and last part of the series. 

Will you have a new book coming out soon?

The second part “The Trail” of the series came out in January this year in Germany and a book with short stories with the setting of Mallorca came out in November as an e-book. The translation for both is planned. The short stories will be out as a print edition at the end of February and the publisher told me it will be out in English within this year.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism has been a reader of the first part of this series. For her it was not sufficient to tell me on amazon that she hate the story (that could happen and I can handle all kinds of opinion, I am aware that not everyone will like it) but she googled me and wrote me via homepage-email a three-page-letter how she hate my story and my style of writing and my way of living!, like an author and person. It was a very bad and hateful read but I know some people make things like that to feel better themselves. I deleted the message without answering. The best compliment has been that a book-blogger told me after reading the first and the second part of the series that I am her favorite fantasy author and she chose it series of the year. That was a very great feeling.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Believe in your dreams and work every day on your novel. Read and write a lot and never give up.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you very much for reading an unknown author from abroad. I hope you have enjoyed reading the story and I feel really sorry for not offering a perfect translation till now. Another translator is overworking it for offering a better read. 
My only intention is to entertain the reader for some hours. Nothing more, nothing less. If I achieve this I am very happy and if not I try to achieve this next time as far as I gain it.

Thank you for joining us at Short & Sweet Reviews! 

Thank you for the possibility to present myself to your readers :) 

My review of In the Shadow of the Moonlight: The Awakening can be found here.

In the Shadow of the Moonlight: The Awakening


 Naomi Roberts finally receives a scholarship for a semester abroad in Maine. When Naomi’s grandmother suddenly claims that Naomi will soon be transformed into a panther, like her great grandmother Romina, Naomi believes it is a final and desperate attempt to keep her from departing to the USA.

Having arrived in Maine, Naomi enjoys her student life with new friends and her first love, Roman. Even though she feels magically drawn to a mysterious clearing in the woods, believes she is being watched and begins to sleepwalk, she does not remember the prophecy of her grandmother. Until her very first transformation. And - Naomi is not alone, which not only exposes her to mortal danger, but also Roman.


J. J. Bidell grew up in the country-bred of Southern Germany with an older sister and a younger brother. Since she was 18 years old she travelled every year like a backpacker thru the North and South America as she never felt comfortable in her native country. She considers herself like a cosmopolitan with German roots.  After living in Venezuela and in the Dominican Republic she moved to Spain. Since 2005 she lives on Mallorca with her older sister and her fifteen year old black cat, which is more than happy that she never has to set paw in another airplane again. 

Under the name Elke Becker she published several short stories with Amnesty International, in anthologies, a short story book the pmachinery Publishing House and a novel with Schenk Publishing House. Her script of a short movie “Marie´s voice” has been running in several international film festivals like in the UK and Colombia.

 Want to learn more about J.J. Bidell?
Twitter: @JJBidell

 J.J. Bidell has generously offered to give away (1) one copy of In the Shadow of the Moonlight: The Awakening to one lucky winner! To enter please leave a comment along with your e-mail address. Open Internationally! Winner will be chosen on March 2, 2012. 



  1. The book sounds really nice! It's good to find new authros! And the nasty email you got was really horribile, I don't know why people do such things

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  2. Sounds interesting! :)

  3. This book sounds really good!


  4. That's the best line I've seen today, "read and write a lot and never give up". I'm very motivated to start on a new book now :D

    Thank you for this interview and giveaway! AT gmail DOT com

  5. Thanks for such a great review and for your giveaway. I would love to win this.

    I also love your blog!!