In Conversation with E.B. Roshan

I have the pleasure of introducing E.B. Roshan on the blog. Her latest book Last Chance was released on the 4th of July.

Read on to know more about her and her book.

1.  Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello, I’m E.B. Roshan and I’m delighted to be able to share a little bit about me and my books with you all today. In addition to being an author, I’m wife to an exceptional man and mother to two sons. After spending several years living in the Middle East and Asia, our family has settled in Missouri. I’m a Goodreads Author, so please do check out my profile there and leave me a note, or ask me a question: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20265632.E_B_Roshan As a new author, I’d love to connect with more readers. I want to to hear from the people who loved my stories, and the ones who didn’t, since obviously I can’t learn and improve without feedback.

2. What prompted you to start writing?

I’ve been writing nearly all my life. When I was very young, I would write letters that were really just wobbly scribbles to my great-grandmother telling her about what I was doing. Writing runs in my family, I think. Nearly everyone seems to enjoy doing it on some level. However, it wasn’t until relatively recently I decided to take the plunge and write a series for publication. Two books in, three to go…

3. Tell us about your latest book?

          My latest book, Final Chance, is suspense with some romantic elements. It’s about a young woman’s search for her estranged and missing husband, and the trouble she gets into because she’s convinced she’s the only one who can           save him. I like to give as many people as possible the opportunity to read my books, so Final Chance is available on Kobo, Barnes&Noble, and Apple Books as well as Amazon.

4. How much research went into the writing of this book?

To be honest, I haven’t done any research for my current series. The settings and characters are based on imagination and personal experience rather than research. Though I’ve spent time in some of this world’s most troubled places, for the Shards of Sevia series, I’ve chosen to create my own setting, inspired, but not based on, any place I’ve actually lived. This is partly because I loved the challenge of creating a whole world from scratch, but mainly because some of the major themes in this story, like war and racial hatred, are very sensitive topics. I did not wish to entangle my fiction with real-world conflicts or political issues. I would like any reader, regardless of background, to be able to enjoy these stories.

5. How easy/difficult was it to write this book and create the characters for it?

My latest book, Final Chance, was actually not as easy or enjoyable to write as some of the others, because it’s the story of a difficult person going through an incredibly difficult situation. I really wanted to write the story, and I felt it had to be told the way I chose to tell it, but when I sat down with my computer and a cup of tea I didn’t say, “Ahhh, now I get to write!” The protagonist of Final Chance is a young girl named Preen.  Everyone (including her) believes her husband, Rama, is dead, but when Preen realizes he isn’t she goes against her family’s wishes, leaves her young daughter behind, and returns back to the city where he’d been living to find him. An early reader of the story summed up Preen very well: “She’s not mean-spirited, but she’s too self-focused in a way, even though she’s doing it for someone else. She also lets her common sense be blinded innumerable times in pursuit of her goal. She could be a really strong character, if she could just get over herself…”

6. How much does your day to day life inspire your characters?

Certainly I’ve gained inspiration for plots and characters from my daily life, but since I am writing fiction I take care not to use details in a way that would be offensive, making someone I know who reads the story wonder, “Yikes, is she writing about me?”

7. What do you do when you aren’t writing?

Actually, the majority of my life comes under the heading of “Not Writing,” though I really enjoy the times I have a quiet hour or two to capture the next scene in a story. As a housewife and mother, I’m usually busy with cooking, cleaning, and taking care of my boys. We have a small house and sometimes things get a little wild, but I can always settle them down by reading a good story.

8. How much time do you spend on your writing on average per day?

That really depends—some days I have time to write a lot, other days hardly at all. Since I’m not trying to make a living off my books, that takes away a great deal of pressure, I think. Writing stories is a relaxing, creative activity.

9. What do you like best about writing a story?

I love the satisfaction that comes from creating anything new, and I really love it when other people read my stories and for a short time find themselves living in the world I created.

10. What kind of impact do your stories have on you?

Writing keeps my brain fresh and active in a way that washing muddy shoes or picking grains of rice out of the rug just doesn’t. You other moms/authors out there know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

11. Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?

          Thanks for reading! Writing wouldn’t be much fun for me if I didn’t know there were people out there who really enjoy my stories. And thank you, Namrata, for giving me the opportunity to share this interview.

Introducing Author Roy Huff on the blog!

I am delighted to host Author Roy Huff on the blog. Roy has also contributed a guest post on Time Travel!

Read on to know more about the author: his thoughts, his books and the genre of SF/Fantasy!

Author Bio:
Roy Huff is a Hawaii-based best-selling author, peer-reviewed research scientist, and teacher. After overcoming significant childhood adversity, he moved to the islands and hasn’t looked back. He’s since earned five degrees, trained on geostationary satellites for NASA’s GOES-R Proving Ground, and written numerous bestsellers. He stumbled into writing, but what he didn’t stumble into is his love for all things science fiction and fantasy. Later, he contributed a series of fiction and non-fiction books as well as widely shared posts on how to design life on your terms. Despite early challenges, he embraces optimism, science, and creativity. He makes Hawaii his home, where he creates new worlds with the stroke of a pen and hopes you’ll come along for the amazing ride. You can download Roy Huff’s free sci-fi short at https://www.royhuff.net/salvationship or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram @realroyhuff
Follow Links:
Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook @realroyhuff
In conversation with Roy Huff:

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in the South very poor. My family suffered through many challenges, and I lost my father when I was 21 to HIV/AIDS. Mental illness inflicted and continues to inflict pain on many immediate family members, but I’ve personally been fortunate. I moved to Hawaii to go to college, and after a delay and initial financial hardships, I was able to complete five degrees. I’ve had the privilege to work on some amazing projects including a grant for NASA/NOAA related to geostationary satellites (GOES-R). I’ve since begun writing and teaching.

What prompted you to start writing?

I’ve always been an academic, so nonfiction and academic writing was something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. That accelerated in college. In my early 30’s, I began writing fiction, in part inspired by a professor Jayson Chun and UH West Oahu.

How did the series ‘Everville’ happen?

I was working concurrently on my fourth and fifth degrees, writing a creative paper titled Everville for an English class. We had to share the paper with other students in the class, and one student commented she wanted to read an entire book on Everville. The rest is history.

What inspired you to write SF/Fantasy?

I’ve always loved science, so there is a natural love for imagining how technology will evolve from science in the future. In both science fiction and fantasy, I find an element of both escapism and wonder. They offer an avenue to plan new ideas and revisit societal constructs that aren’t always possible in the present environment. Speculative fiction can also be therapeutic, a place to go to recharge one’s mind and separate oneself from anxiety, abuse, or the realities of a harsh life. Of course, you have to come back to reality at some point, but fiction can provide an outlet in an often unforgiving world.

How much research went into the writing of this series?

The amount of research just depends on the topic. I have some level of background knowledge, but there are always times when I have to sketch an idea or thought and jump onto a search engine to find what I need. It’s usually not an awful lot, but research is still necessary from time to time.

How easy/difficult was it to write this series and create the characters for it?

Super easy, but the real challenge is making those characters compelling and the story engaging. Doing that requires asking the right questions and adding interesting flaws and motivations. How long that takes depends on a host of factors that can span hours or months.

How much does your day to day life inspire your characters?

All of it.

What do you do when you aren’t writing?

I love traveling, hiking, movies, and fiction on both the screen and in books and audio. I enjoy walks, spending time with family, learning, and good conversation with interesting and kind people.

How much time do you spend on your writing on average per day?

It varies widely. I’ve tended recently to write between 30-90 minutes daily if possible, or about 2-10 pages. But I used to be more of a marathon writer with 8-12 days of up to 45 pages a day. I wrote book three in the Everville series in six days. Recently, I feel more comfortable with 3-4 weeks for a rough draft if that’s my sole focus. But I’ve tended to stretch that out over months to gather a more sustainable routine within life’s other constraints. I’ve always done more traveling recently (the current pandemic excluded) which aligns to a more moderate but consistent pace.

What do you like best about writing a story?

There is no one thing. But, I like leaving a legacy behind. I enjoy creating new worlds and exploring ideas that haven’t been fleshed out by other works of fiction.

What kind of impact do your stories have on you?

Writing encourages me to grow, pay attention, and listen. It forces me to consider reasons and motivation but also to question the effectiveness and validity of societal expectations and rules. I usually write more optimistic fiction, so my own stories can give me reasons to hope and make me feel like I’m leaving something constructive behind to positively impact other people.

How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences, with respect to plot, characters etc?

All of it. Every thought, experience, feeling, or emotion provides subconscious or explicit inspiration for every part of the story.

Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?

I wish to inspire my readers and give them a glimmer of hope for a brighter future. It may not seem like it, especially in trying times, but the arc of humanity has moved towards greater tolerance, reduced poverty, less violence, and longer life spans. Expect this trend to continue. I’ve woven that belief in my writing.

Additionally, I’m launching Seven Rules of Time Travel mid-July. You can find it on Goodreads here https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54130441-seven-rules-of-time-travel

I’m also giving away a free space opera short at https://www.royhuff.net/salvationship

Guest Post by Author Roy Huff

So why write about time travel? Fiction is a great way to explore what could be and what might have been. Time travel in particular allows the writer to fix mistakes as an individual and as a society. Who hasn’t thought about changing something in the past? Why not take advantage of that?

And what about the future? Why not imagine seeing the future and steering it in a direction that benefits you? In essence, it’s the most direct way to blend the benefits of fiction with real human desires and emotions. It’s escapism combined with the ultimate reality check. It forces you to confront your demons and develop a solution to vanquish them.

Time travel takes on many flavors. Writers can use the paradox trope as a literary tool to show character growth, forcing them to face reality instead of fantasy. I generally don’t like the paradox because it takes some of the fun out of the genre, and there are other more intriguing options to show growth that is unique to time travel.

Lifting time travel constraints allows the writer to explore those human conditions that usually don’t get explored. It forces the writer to find compelling motivations and character growth to engage readers.

Depending on the mechanism of time travel, one unexplored prospect is immortality. Humans, and all creatures, are limited by a finite lifespan which provides a sense of urgency. What happens when that urgency is removed.

And what about power? They don’t call Doctor Who a Time Lord for nothing. If you were immortal and could manipulate time, what would you do? What would your story look like? This is mine.

In conversation with Uday Mukerji

Dead Man Dreaming by Uday Mukerji will release on 25th September 2019.

I have had the privilege of interviewing him. Read on to know more about Uday.

 

Paperback: 252 pages
Publishing date: September 25, 2019
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1-951214-46-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-951214-46-3
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches

Price: $19.60 (paperback) $7.99 (e-book)

Pre-order at: https://adelaidebooks.org/dead_man_dreaming.html

 

 

Advance praise for Dead Man Dreaming

“Part love story and part life story, Dead Man Dreaming does an outstanding job of capturing the dilemmas posed by advance knowledge of the future in general and medical conundrums in particular. Uday Mukerji excels at closely examining confrontation’s roots in ideology and clashing belief systems. . . .

How characters handle what circumstance gives them—even life-threatening diseases—is one mark of a good read if the story is done right. Dead Man Dreaming is particularly thorough and poignant in its discussions of life, death, and the choices that lie in-between.

It’s a solid, absorbing read highly recommended for readers interested in the foundations of choice in navigating the pitfalls of life and medical challenges—one that superbly examines the foundations of good choices that stem from bad situations.”

— Midwest Book Review (Diane Donovan)

 

Author Interview

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in India, and I had worked as a creative director in advertising agencies in Singapore for nearly twenty years. However, in 2009, I left all that to pursue my long-time dream—a career in writing.

My first literary fiction—a 2017 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner—Love, Life, and Logic was published by Harvard Square Editions, NY, in November 2016.

My next book, Dead Man Dreaming, published by Adelaide Books, NY, is due out in September this year.

I’m also an ardent nature lover, and I am very passionate about environment protection, pollution control, and the developing technologies in the field. So much so that I was given the full responsibility to run the Singapore Environmental Technology Yearbook—a pet project of the Singapore Ministry of Environment—for eight years.

2. What prompted you to start writing?

Frankly, I never thought I could be a writer. I had always been more of a reader. Although I didn’t major in literature, I always loved reading classics. Some of my all-time favorite books are Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Castle, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and The Outsider. I worked all my life in Advertising. But all that had suddenly changed a couple of years ago when I was vacationing in New Zealand. Throughout my whole life, one question had always haunted me: Why am I here? And during those few days, the peace and serenity all around amplified that voice in my head. But instead of jumping on to Google for an answer, I decided to dig deep inside and explore. Soon I started writing, and that’s how it all started in 2009.

3. How did the book “Dead Man Dreaming” happen?

In 2016, Shivani Nazareth, a genetic counselor in New York, published a piece in the US News: ‘Genetic testing before pregnancy should be as common as taking folic acid’. She wrote, while medical societies agree that preconception is the ideal time to offer carrier screening, a recent study showed that only 1 in 6 family physicians or OB/GYN providers offered carrier screening in preconception care. She also wrote that many parents learned they were carriers of rare diseases only after their child was born.

To me, parenting is undoubtedly the hardest job in the universe. Her writing got me thinking why the would-be parents weren’t doing their part before giving birth? Why do we make innocent kids suffer? Was it the lack of information or something else? …I wanted to find out more, and I jumped in.

And that’s how Dead Man Dreaming came about.

4. Why did you base your book on genetic diseases?

Genetic disease is a worldwide problem. Many of those diseases have no cure till date, and thousands of people are dying every day. But I strongly believe it’s avoidable in most cases. Maybe, gene editing isn’t legal yet in many countries, also, kind of expensive for many, but a carrier screening test is legal, and it’s right here. With awareness, maybe, someday we will be able to completely remove many of these single-gene diseases from our gene pool.

5. How much research went into the writing of this book?

Well, I needed quite a fair bit of research for this book, including gathering some personal experiences from victims and their families.

6. How easy/difficult was it to write this book and create the characters for it?

Writing this book has been an emotional journey for me. In spite of having a carrier screening test in place, why weren’t people taking the test? I had to get close to some of the victims to understand the issues. Talking to people who are suffering from irreversible diseases isn’t easy. Basically, I wasn’t offering them anything, except for taking their sufferings to my readers. I’m ever grateful to everyone I came in touch with in this process, and I wish them the best. Their smile, strength, and their support kept me going.

7. How much does your day to day life inspire your character sketches?

How about—almost all? Of course, with some additions and alterations. We experience high-voltage drama 24/7 in our daily life. And like our thumbprints, each person’s life is so different from the next person. Capturing any one of those has the potential of a great novel.

8. What do you do when you aren’t writing?

Just the regular things, I guess—reading a book, listening to music or an audiobook, going out with friends, and stuff like that. But more importantly, I love traveling and nature gazing, so if there’s an opportunity, I’ll be out in the hills or on a beach, chilling.

9. How much time do you spend on your writing on average per day?

I usually write about three/four hours in the morning and again two to three hours after lunch.

10. What do you like best about writing a story?

I can escape to my own world, and every time, it’s a new place with new surroundings.

11. Are you working on any new book now?

I have just started writing another novel exploring—a metaphysical view on life—how everything isn’t like what it seems to be.

12. Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?

I would love everyone to take a carrier screening test before having children. A positive result isn’t really the end of the world. We can then sit down and discuss our options: sperm or egg donation, gene editing, or even adoption. …Why let the kids suffer? If we all stop transmitting the disease, maybe, someday, those diseases will be totally out of our system. Wouldn’t that be nice?

In conversation with Roland Colton, author of Forever Gentleman

Forever Gentleman by Roland Colton

ISBN: 978-1681142296

Publisher: Anaphora Literary Press

Release Date: July 11, 2016

$29.99

http://www.amazon.com

http://www.rolandcolton.com

http://www.anaphoraliterary.com

In Conversation with Roland Colton

  1. At the beginning of Forever Gentleman, struggling architect and pianist, Nathan Sinclair, encounters the glamourous and beautiful heiress, Jocelyn Charlesworth. What draws Nathan to Jocelyn, and how does she respond to him when they first meet?

Although he has no expectation of an introduction, Nathan is intrigued enough to see if Ms. Charlesworth’s beauty is as extraordinary as the Sunday Times portrays it. Despite his protestations, the mistress of the estate insists on introducing Nathan to Jocelyn.  Once he observes her beauty firsthand, an intoxication of senses sweeps over him—never before has he seen a woman of such unimaginable beauty. Jocelyn’s reaction to Nathan is one of boredom, having endured countless stares from past star-struck suitors. She toys with him, looking for any opportunity to end the interview. Once she believes him to be a common servant, she rebukes him publicly, appalled that a servant would have the audacity to seek her acquaintance.

  1. Nathan also meets the simple and plain social worker, Regina Lancaster. What’s special about Regina, and why does Nathan feel such a deep connection to her?

Though her outward appearance is ordinary, Nathan initially feels a strong attraction to Regina’s eyes and senses a kindred spirit.  Her dark brown eyes convey a journey through unspeakable tragedy, resulting in a deep appreciation for life and depth of character. Nathan is also attracted to Regina’s modesty, simplicity and inner beauty, qualities he admired in his mother. Once he learns of Regina’s selfless service to London orphans, he wonders if any man could possibly be worthy of her.

  1. Music plays an important role in the story and in Nathan’s life. How do the musical elements in the novel tie together the themes in Forever Gentleman?

Nathan’s life has been steeped in music since his operatic mother gave birth to him. His pianistic bravado opens the door of London Society, and he becomes comfortable in a world far different than his humble abode. The music in Forever Gentleman accompanies the story as a soundtrack does a movie, enhancing both drama and mood. Women are attracted to Nathan’s musical genius, fostering love and romance in the story.

  1. The Victorian Era was a time of contradictory wealth and poverty, along with great change, in England. What drew you to write a story set in this time period in history?

I’ve always been intrigued by a world where great beauty and brilliance could exist in the midst of poverty and misery.  While writing the story, I imagined what it would have been like to have lived in both worlds, as does Nathan in the story.  Also interesting is the sanitation miracle that occurred in the 1860’s, pulling London literally out of the squalor and stench of rotting pipes and sewer overflow into a world free of cholera and other dread diseases. And I wanted the timing of my story to coincide with the advent of the modern piano and creation of some of my favorite compositions.

5. How would you describe your writing process? And can you tell us about some of the research you did when you were writing Forever Gentleman?

My writing recipe involves equal amounts of struggle and ease. Sometimes the words flow in abundance; other times, I labor over every word in a sentence. I try not to let my writing get in the way of the story, and my goal was to have the reader lose himself or herself in Victorian London.  Many hundreds of hours were spent in research in my attempt to evoke the sights, sounds and smells of that bygone time. I strove for authenticity in events and venues, including authentic references to concerts, plays, performers and other events depicted in the book. I wanted to capture the times as they were, which is no small task when we live in a world far removed from that melancholy era.

  1. Are you working on another novel? If so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes, I’m writing a new novel that highlights another passion of mine—my love for the sport of baseball. The book begins in 1911, highlighting the exploits of the wonder of the baseball world, Ty Cobb. Using newspaper reports from the time, the reader experiences some of the most incredible sports feats ever accomplished, usually thanks to the genius and skill of Mr. Cobb. After the opening chapters, a hit-and-run accident victim is discovered in modern times (with a face damaged beyond recognition), who purports to be Ty Cobb, mysteriously transported into the future. As the plot continues, this mystery man eventually shows exceptional baseball talent and ultimately plays a brand of baseball unlike anything in modern times, turning the sports world on its head. Is it possible that this baseball ace is truly Ty Cobb, or is it some imposter who has taken upon his attributes?  Only time will tell.

In Conversation with Dane Cobain

Here at redpillows, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with author and poet, Dane Cobain.

Dane Cobain

His work is quite diverse and spans fiction, non-fiction and poetry. His first work No Rest for the Wicked was released in the summer of 2015.

Read on to know what Dane would like to share!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Dane! I’m a British writer who works across all sorts of genres, from horror and literary fiction to non-fiction and poetry. You can check out my work over here: www.danecobain.com/amazon

  1. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I suppose it all started when I was six or seven years old, singing parodies of popular songs with my own lyrics. When I was a teenager, I started to take it a lot more seriously, and the rest if history (and sweat, a lot of that too).

  1. You write such diverse things, novels and poetry, how do you manage that?

Honestly, I just don’t stop. I constantly work on finding ways to optimise my time and to cram as much productivity in as possible. I write a poem a day during the week, and I work on them while on cigarette breaks. Because my poems aren’t too long, I usually also get to spend a little time outlining stories, novels, marketing plans and other things that are stuck in my head. I write longer form things at the computer, while switching between other activities in a ridiculously specific routine I call ‘The Schedule’.

  1. Where do you find inspiration for your poetry?

Life, mainly. But my poetry is unique in that I only include maybe 5% of the poems that I write in the published collections. Sometimes, there isn’t much inspiration, but I still write poems – I just don’t share them.

  1. What are your favourite genres and your favourite books?

I like to read modern classics and ‘alternative’ books, as well as plenty of indie books and new releases thanks to my book blog (SocialBookshelves.com). Some of my favourite writers include Graham Greene, Charles Bukowski, Phillip Pullman, Terry Pratchett and, lately, Stephen King.

  1. Which kind of writing (genre) do you prefer?

They all have their pros and cons and, to be honest, when I’m writing, I don’t usually have a genre in mind. That comes when I get to the marketing stage. I don’t think I can answer this – sorry!

  1. Tell us a little about your research process while working on a novel.

It totally depends upon the novel, but I’m trying to carry out quite a lot for a current project. Unfortunately, the project itself is a bit of a secret, but it involves interviewing subject matter specialists from charities, reading books and documentaries and spending a hell of a lot of time looking at photos and videos that I’d much rather not look at.

  1. Who is your favourite character among those you have created and why?

Hmmm. It’s a tough one to call, but it’s probably Maile O’Hara from my upcoming series of detective novels. She’s basically me, if I was a woman and had specialised in computer stuff instead of writing.

  1. Describe a perfect writing day for you.

I wake up whenever I wake up and stay at home, working until I go to sleep while watching Netflix and chillin’ with my girlfriend. She’s only able to put up with me because she’ll quite happily play Skyrim while I’m working and we both have good taste in documentaries.

  1. What do you find most difficult while writing a novel?

Getting started during the planning stage. The more you plan, the more it all starts to come together, but the early days can be overwhelming. Once you’ve got a plan in place, it just becomes a case of endurance. You just need to stick with it.

  1. What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

There are no rules. It’s just you and a blank piece of paper. It’s liberating, but it’s also terrifying – especially if you’re like me and you hate rhyming poetry

  1. Do you have any advice to share about writing a novel/poetry?

You just need to be prepared for heartbreak, do your best and stick at it. And you’d better make sure that you work with a decent editor if you want your book to be at its best.

Connect with the author:

Goodreads, Twitter

Author Website

In Conversation with E.S. Ready

We have had the pleasure of talking to E.S. Ready about the author’s life, writing and interests. Read on to know more.

Find my review of Until Someday on the blog. The review is also available on Goodreads and Amazon.com

The next book by the author, titled Crywood, is expected to be released in July this year!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

         I graduated from the University of New Haven in 2011 (A lifetime ago it seems) with a degree in Criminal Justice. Back when I was searching for colleges I wanted to be an English major. I was convinced the pursuit would be fruitless. The Criminal Justice major was ultimately fruitless so I wrote Until Someday. Funny how the world works. I wanted to become a cop and I became a plumbing apprentice for my father’s business and a writer of stories people seem to enjoy.

  1. How did you get into writing?

         I didn’t really get into writing, writing got into me. Don’t worry… it was consensual. Writing has been a part of me ever since I can remember. I always had a fondness and appreciation for stories and telling them, whether it was with a pen or in a social setting. I unfortunately ignored it for a huge chunk of my life and then Until Someday arrived like an overdue baby.

  1. What are your favorite genres and your favorite books?

          My favorite genres are mystery, crime, historical, action/adventure and some horror. I’m a sucker for a realistic romantic subplot. I’ll read just about anything accept fantasy or BDSM crap.

          My favorite author is Dennis Lehane. I’m also pretty fond of Richard Matheson and Charles Bukowski, two very different writers. I of course admire guys like Stephen King and Dan Brown. Its important to read a variety, you grow more as a writer that way. Some of my favorite books include the Kenzie/Gennaro series by Lehane, I Am Legend by Matheson, and Women by Bukowski.

  1. How did you get the idea for Until Someday?

       I’ve always been fascinated by the first half of the 20th Century. The 1920s, 30s and 40s were an especially interesting and tough time to be alive. The roaring twenties gave us the splendor of The Great Gatspy. Two of my favorite movies growing up were Key Largo and Die Hard. I guess you could say Until Someday is a sort of the oddball offspring of Gatspy, Die Hard and Key Largo.

  1. Tell us about your research process into the year the book is set in.

       Thank God for the internet. I found everything that I needed to find far faster than I would if I’d written this book even fifteen years ago. Having said that, that doesn’t mean it was easy. I had to get everything accurate or as damn close to accurate as possible. This meant materialistic things such as cars, clothing, guns and décor, but also language/ dialect. I wanted it to feel real an immersive. I wanted the reader to be right there in the action.

  1. Who is your favorite character among those you have created and why?

       I won’t include Emmett as an option for favorite. I don’t think its fair to include the main character of anything in a favorites contest since the reader spends more time with that person than anyone else. If my arm was being twisted I would have to say that Luther Irvin was the most fun to write. Actors often say its more fun to play a villain and now I see why. Unfortunately, the creation of Irvin’s character was bittersweet for me because I already knew how he would end up before I put him on the page.

  1. What do you find most difficult while writing a novel?

       Not much was difficult about actually writing it. Stories flow out of me pretty easily. Finding the time and place of peace to execute it wasn’t always easy. It will be harder in the future since I’m now working full time. But where there’s a will there’s a way.

  1. Do you have any advice to share about writing a novel?

       My best advice to anyone wishing to write a novel is to read a lot of novels. When you actually do write, start small with poems or short stories. If you do want to dive into writing a novel, try and keep it under 300 pages. Think shorter but dream big. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 

In Conversation with Dan Malakin

We have had the pleasure of talking to Dan Malakin about his writing and his life. Read on to know what he had to say:

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.
    Hi Namrata, thanks for having me on your website. My name’s Dan
    Malakin, as you know, and I’m a writer living in London with my wife,
    daughter and Boddington the dog. I’m also one of the fiction editors
    at The Forge literary magazine.

2.       What prompted you to start writing?

I guess I’ve always been drawn to writing. Even as a kid I’d scribble
stories down and hand them up to my confused mum, who wouldn’t be able
to read my illegible handwriting. In my teens I wrote lots of terrible
poems, and ran this photocopied magazine called Fluffy Dice, which had
a readership of about ten people, most of whom probably never opened
the first page. It didn’t matter; I enjoyed the process.

3.       How did the book “SMILING EXERCISES, AND OTHER STORIES” happen?

I’m fortunate to have been pretty widely published – over a hundred
stories and counting. I’ve also got a little soft spot for flash
fiction; both of my Bridport prize shortlists were in the flash
fiction category. So when putting together a collection, that seemed
to obvious way to go.

4.       Where did the ideas for each story come from?

All the stories in the collection originated from prompts, and all
were written – the first draft anyway – in under an hour. I find
putting myself under that kind of pressure helps me to come up with
something original.

5.       How much does your day to day life inspire you?

Quite a lot in fact. I’m a new father, so my daughter has started
appearing in my stories (under various guises), plus my own parents
are getting old – and that has started to appear in new stuff.
Everything’s bubbling away inside. I guess writing is a way for me to
work through some of it.

6.       What do you do when you aren’t writing?

Thinking about writing. Really, I’m a bit obsessed. My wife tells me I
get this glazed look when I’m thinking about a story I’m working on.
She worries that I’m having a stroke.

7.       If you had to write a short story, in one paragraph now, what
would it be about?

It would probably be a fairly meta story about a writer writing about
writing. Kind of like a funhouse of mirrors, but with words, and me
screaming in the middle.

8.       How much time do you spend to write each short story?

That depends. For flashes, an hour for the first draft, then however
long it takes for subsequent drafts. A long story, say 5k words, I’ll
try and get the first draft down in two days (again, keeping myself
under pressure). The final draft will probably take a couple of
months. I’ve just finished the final draft of a novel though – and
I’ve been working on that for 2 years!

9.       If you had to pick a career that was not writing, what would
you choose and why?

I would love to work with dogs. They’re such wonderful affectionate
creatures. So much better than humans in so many ways.

10.   Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?

Always read what you want to read, not what you think you should.
That, I believe, is the biggest reason why people don’t read more.
There’s such a range of books out there – especially now that people
can self-publish what they themselves would want to read – so don’t
settle for what others tell you.

Check out Dan’s website: www.danmalakin.com
Twitter handle: @danmalakin

In conversation with Roy M. Griffis

We have had the pleasure of talking to Roy Griffis, author of the series ‘By the Hand of Men’ among others. We would like to take this opportunity to thank him for taking time out for the same. Read on to know what he has to say.

Griff Biking Author Photo

So, please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an American writer, currently living in California.   Born in Texas City, TX, the son of a career Air Force meteorologist. Attended a variety of schools at all of the hot spots of the nation, such as Abilene, Texas and Bellevue, Nebraska.  I was the new kid at something like ten different schools while I was growing up.

I’ve written poems, short stories (twice runner-up in the Playboy college fiction contest), plays (winning some regional awards back East and a collegiate Historical Play-writing Award), and screenplays. I’m a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, West, with one unproduced screenplay sold to Fox Television. Along the way, I’ve done the usual starving artist jobs. Been a janitor, a waiter, a clerk in a bookstore. I was the 61st Aviation Rescue Swimmer in the Coast Guard (all that Tarzan reading wasn’t wasted). I’m also not a bad cook, come to think of it. Currently, I’m a husband, father, and cat-owner. I’m an avid bicyclist and former EMT.

I live in Southern California with my lovely wife. My friends call me “Griff,” my parents call me “Roy,” and my college-age son calls me “Dadman.” It’s a good life.   By the Hands of Men, Book Three: “The Wrath of a Righteous Man” will be released in May, 2016.

What prompted you to start writing?

When I was ten, I was sent to my grandparent’s house in Tucson, Arizona when things were tough at home. I was pretty damn lost, as my grandparents were largely strangers to me. My older brother, a more taciturn type, refused to discuss what was going on. Fortunately, like so many kids before me, I was rescued by literature. Or, at least, by fiction.

In a tiny used bookstore that was just one block up from a dirt road, I discovered that some good soul had unloaded his entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series in Ballantine Paperback. Moved by some impulse, I spent my RC Cola money on the first book, “A Princess of Mars.”

           I think what struck me was how these books were possessed of magic: they were able to transport me far from this dusty land of relatives who I didn’t know and relatives pretended not to know me to another dusty land of adventure, heroism, nobility, and even love. It was the first magic I’d encountered that wasn’t a patent fraud, and when I closed the stiff paperback with the lurid images on the cover, I decided it was the kind of magic I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to mastering. And, thus, I was saved.

Since then, I’ve never looked back.

Tell us about the books you have written so far.

First professionally published novel: “The Big Bang, Volume One of The Lonesome George Chronicles

In this page-turning post-apocalyptic thriller, Roy M. Griffis explores an alternate timeline in which America falls victim to a coordinated attack by Islamic jihadists and Chinese Communists. It’s 2008 and George W. Bush is still president. Three years later, the man called “Lonesome George” is in hiding, leading the resistance from a secret location. Multiple plot lines skillfully braid the tales of resistance fighters in various parts of the country. Whistler is the hard-bitten commander of a military unit in Texas. Karen, a former congressional aide, stumbles through the radioactive rubble of Washington DC. Griffis also entertainingly works in real-life liberal celebrities and pundits whose eyes are finally opened to threats they once discounted as obsessions of the right. “Molly,” a left-wing columnist in San Francisco, finally puts her talents to good use on the underground radio as the voice of the resistance. “Alec,” a famous actor and liberal gadfly, loses his wife and daughter in the nuclear attack on Los Angeles and becomes a legendary fighter, inventing the gun that bears his name. A vivid imagining of an America gone horribly wrong, written in gripping detail.

Self-published:

The first two books in a four-volume Historical Fiction series (Book Three coming out in May), called “By the Hands of Men.”  The series begins in the trenches of France during The Great War, and will conclude in California in the mid-thirties.

 Book One: The Old World

Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald has managed to retain his sanity, his humanity, and his honor during the hell of WWI’s trench warfare. Charlotte Braninov fled the shifting storm of the impending Russian Revolution for the less-threatening world of field camp medicine, serving as a nurse in the most hopeless of fronts. Their friendship creates a sanctuary both could cling to in the most desperate of times. Historical fiction about life, loss, and love, By the Hands of Men explores the power that lies within each of us to harm – or to heal – all those we touch.

 Book Two:  Into the Flames

Charlotte Braninov, traumatized by loss and her service as a frontline nurse, returns to war-torn Russia to find her family. Captured by the Red Army, she exchanges one hell for another. Her still-loyal Lieutenant, Robert Fitzgerald, believing the woman he loves is dead, struggles to recover from the ravages of combat and typhus. In a desperate bid to rediscover himself, he commits to serve his country as a pawn in distant Shanghai. Forging their destinies in a world reeling after The Great War, Charlotte and Robert will learn anew the horror and the beauty the hands of men can create when they descend into the flames.

How much does your day to day life contribute to the stories you write? How much of what you write is inspired by people you have encountered along the way?

Day to day events form part of what one creates, even if it’s only an interesting clay that contributes to the final qualities of the fired pot. Since I’m writing historical fiction, or “a history of events that have not yet taken place,” there is a little one-to-one cause/effect to what appears on the page. However, larger parallels can make themselves known, and those will appear in in what I write.

            People who know me and my history well might be able to pick out one or two characters clearly inspired by individuals known to me, but for the most part, very little of the characters are consciously designed.

            This is going to sound fatuous – or moderately deranged – but once a story makes itself known to me (almost like a religious vision, typically I can both see and hear some important moment of the story), at a certain point, I’m merely recording the story I hear and see in my head. Characters are not planned, they show up. “Orlando Pyle,” in By the Hands of Men, is a prime example of this…in fact, most of the characters in that book are. So I am often as surprised by what they do and say as I hope the reader is. It very often feels as if I am writing a true story that no one has ever heard before.

Would you describe a perfect writing day for your readers?

Up early (4am – 6am or so), quick check of email while the coffee is brewing. Then get started on original creative work, picking up where I left off the day before.   Write for about two hours, get breakfast. Refill the coffee work until about lunch time. That leaves a good portion of the day left for chores (like editing or marketing), housework, play with the cats, bike ride. I like it because it balances the writing/creative life with the ordinary “stuff that’s got to be done” parts of life.

If you had to pick a career that was not writing, what would you choose and why?

Probably something helping animals. I find cruelty to children and animals abhorrent, as they are innocents who cannot make other choices for themselves. The individual who abuses either is the worst kind of scum.

Which author (other than yourself of course) is your favourite? Who would you say inspires you?

Wow, that almost depends on genre or the work itself. In fiction, either Richard Adams or Harper Lee. Both took us to fictional worlds, made them rich and full and enveloping (which is one of my goals), but since much of Ms. Lee’s work was based on her own young life, I’d have to give the hat tip to Richards Adams. Anyone who suggested it was possible to write a thrilling, timeless, and ultimately moving novel about rabbits would have sounded insane. But he pulled it off in a tremendous act of imagination. I hope someday to write something as good.

How much field work do you do as research, since your novels are historically inclined and set?

Most of my research has been book-based, although I did visit London, France, and Brussels before beginning By the Hands of Men. Some of my contemporary novels used bits of my own hands-on experience. I will be doing some on-scene research for BTHOM4, as it is set in Central California in the 1930s.

Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?

Personally, I am weary of books with the theme “Life is awful and people are horrible.”  I might write books about people going through trials, but I, and the novels, am ultimately hopeful because of the actions of individuals.

We can always make a choice, if we are willing to pay what it will cost us. Everything has a cost (even Salvation: Somebody had to pay for that). As in my books, I believe it is up to each of us to make God real. We are His hands and feet. Our actions every day are how God manifests in the world. And every day, we can make a choice for good or evil.

Thanks for taking the time to interview me. As I note above, By the Hands of Men, Book Three: The Wrath of a Righteous Man will be out in November, with a Lonesome George sequel shortly after that.

In Conversation with Lola Smirnova

We had the pleasure of speaking with Lola Smirnova, author of the books titled Twisted and Craved. Twisted is reviewed on our blog already. The review for Craved will be up soon. In the meantime, here is what Lola has to share:

  • What inspired you to start writing?

I had a story to tell that maybe could help to change peoples’ often ignorant attitude towards problems of the sex industry, victims of which usually are young inexperienced women. I wanted the reader to realize that those working girls are humans… They dream, love or suffer the same way as anyone’s girlfriend, sister or daughter.

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and bred in Ukraine. By the end of 90’s, due to the difficult economical situation there, I started travelling around the world in the search of a better life. For the last decade I’ve been living in South Africa, where four years ago I started writing full time.

  • Tell us about your books.

Twisted series is about three sisters from the post-Soviet Ukraine, who together with their family as well as the rest of the country, struggle in its corrupt and faulty economy and decide to go to Europe to work in the sex trade. In the second book the girls end up working in South Africa.

It took me 3 years to write and self-publish my debut novel Twisted, which was released in January 2014. A year and a half later in July 2015 I released the sequel to Twisted – Craved – which is the second book in the trilogy. Currently I’m working on the third book.

  • How easy/difficult was it to pen down your thoughts in your books?

       Most of the times not easy at all, considering that English is not my native language.

  • Which is the best part of writing a story?

The writing process is some kind of escape for me. I create a world where I can be anyone or experience anything… You know, my job is actually to dream or fantasize. For example, on Monday I can live a life of a modern day’s woman that can perfectly manage her kids, career and a twenty years old marriage, when by Thursday, I dive into a life of a vulnerable teenager who discovers all thrills and downs of her first love.

  • Describe a perfect writing day for you.

I wake up in the morning, make myself a cup of coffee and start writing. Words, thoughts, ideas are pouring out of me like there is no tomorrow.

There is no distraction, nothing around me – just my imagination and a laptop.

I have a quick bite in the noon time and carry on writing in the same flowing and effortless way…

Then late afternoon comes and I go for a run with my dog, come back, have a dinner and make myself comfortable on the couch with some riveting read for the evening.

  • What message would you like to share with your readers?

       As Richard Bach once said: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

Note: Please do share your thoughts or hit the like button if you enjoyed reading this post. We would love to hear your thoughts!

In Conversation with Norma Jennings

Passenger from Greece is Jamaican author Norma Jennings latest romantic mystery novel.

About the Book:

Passenger From Greece - Cover

A cross-genre work of fiction that combines exotic locations and international romance, Passenger from Greece touches on drug trafficking in the Caribbean islands and the serious economic issues in Greece that fuel this trade. The novel’s main character, Olivia Reid, is a feisty yet innocent international flight attendant from the islands, who embarks on a dangerous adventure and a seductive affair that spans the Caribbean, New York City, and Crete. Eventually, as the flames of desire that consume Olivia are fanned by deception, lust, and greed, she painfully finds her way back to her ancestral home.

About the Author:

Norma Jennings - Author Photo

Norma Jennings is an ex-international flight attendant and current corporate executive with a passion for writing. Now residing in Florida, she was born and raised in the Caribbean and has traveled and explored many countries, including those featured in Passenger from Greece. From an exotic multi-ethnic background of black, white, and East Indian descent, Jennings credits her strong and dynamic mother and grandmother, and a remarkably intelligent and adventurous father, as her main influences. Jennings earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Angelo State University and graduated from the Management Development Program at Harvard Graduate School. She has authored a previous novel, Daughter of the Caribbean, and is currently working on a historical romance set in Jamaica. Jennings has three grown children, and enjoys dual citizenship in both Jamaica and the United States. She visits her grandmother’s Caribbean home, Twickenham, as often as she can.

We have had the pleasure of talking to her and the following are some of the common questions that she has been asked. Read on to see what she has to say.

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about the storyline for Passenger from Greece?

A classic tale of love, lust, and criminal behavior, Passenger from Greece tells the story of Olivia Reid, a feisty, resourceful international flight attendant who falls in love with a handsome Greek olive oil tycoon. Olivia gets caught up in a seductive affair that spans the Caribbean, New York City, Crete, and ocean voyages on a yacht called The Adonis.

  1. The book opens with a movie-worthy crash. What did you base these opening scenes on?

I was a flight attendant, and some of my dear colleagues were involved in a plane crash (a mere scheduling conflict kept me off that flight). I went back to them and asked them for descriptions of feelings, thoughts, and misery of crashing into a swamp, which really happened. They described the terror of first experiencing an aircraft crash, followed by the horror of being trapped in a swamp until rescue. So, when I set up a story about international romance and mystery, I thought, what would be more captivating than to introduce the characters to each other in such an intense and terrifying situation?

  1. The book addresses family relationships, infidelity, and mother/father influences. Why did you weave in these themes?

Motivations. I wanted to create flawed characters whose motives and desires were rooted in their familial relationships: a daughter’s desire to please her mother, a son’s desire to please his mother, and a grandmother betrayed by her spouse. I asked myself: What lessons could be learned? What understandings reached? How could I write relatable situations that would draw in readers? Based on the core foundation of any person’s experience, one always comes back to his/her family beliefs, morals, and values.

  1. How are drug trafficking and cultural issues central to the plotlines and themes in your novels?

The illicit drug trade is affecting my native homeland, Jamaica. I wanted to also dispel prejudice and ideas about Jamaicans and other Caribbean islanders. My books always deal with cultural differences though depictions of my own childhood experiences growing up at Twickenham with my grandmother, Sedith, who’s featured in both of my books. She was our family’s matriarch and had a tremendous influence on her children and grandchildren. I brought the stories she told and the lessons I learned in my own life to the pages of Passenger from Greece.

  1. Are you working on a new novel and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

I’ve made good progress on a third book, which is an action-packed historical fiction novel about the brutal colonization of Jamaica by the British, and the barbaric guerilla warfare staged by the Maroons (runaway slaves) against the planters. Raw sexual moments between planter and mulatto slave mistresses, and a sizzling romance between a rescued concubine and a young guerilla chief are weaved into the novel, as it chronicles how ferocious and unrelenting resistance by Maroon men and women led to the abolition of slavery on the island, and ultimately to the country’s independence.

Note: Please do not hesitate to let us know what you think! 🙂