Featured Author · Featured Author Wednesday · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author K.M. Hodge

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Suspense, Speculative Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Publication Date: April 2017
Pages: 245
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Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am from Detroit, Michigan and I am a huge Detroit Tigers fan. My degrees are all in social work and I have dedicated the last fifteen years to promoting social change. I advocate for women’s rights, hunger, and autism. live in Texas now with my husband and two boys, one of which is on the spectrum. I incorporate all of these things into my writing. I even have a character with autism for my Book Cellar Series.

What inspired you to write?

Okay, you’re going to laugh at this one. Twenty years ago, I was hard core obsessed with the show The X-Files. I loved the writing and wanted to write my own FBI book, but without the paranormal twist. So I started what is now called, Red on the Run, my award winning first in Trilogy book.

What inspired your novel?

The last book in my Trilogy was inspired by medical mysteries, which I have always been a fan of. I enjoy writing about doctors and nurses. I even have a nurse that I collaborate with to make sure that all of my information is correct. Dr. Zander Ride is nothing like his parents, but is still one of my favorite characters.

Here’s the blurb:

The Son—born to save them all.

Dr. Zander Ride grew up a son of The Syndicate, his fate as a career criminal all but sealed. With the help of his mother, he escaped a life of crime… until the night he heard The Syndicate had shot his mother in cold blood.

Zander soon finds refuge in the hands of his mother’s hacktivist group, who want his help bringing down the notorious group once and for all. But it comes with a cost. Managed by a different leader and guided by a new deadly mission, the hacktivists force Zander to confront the truth about his parents and the sacrifices they made for the cause.

In the end, Zander must decide how far he’s willing to go and what he’s willing to sacrifice. Can a child born of The Syndicate bring it all down, or will he be another pointless sacrifice in their struggle for money and power?

Fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, and Robin Cook will be thrilled with this fast paced Trilogy.

What is the genre?

The genre for this series is Suspense. Because it takes place in the future it also has a touch of speculative in it as well as romantic elements. But at its core it is suspense.

What draws you to this genre?

I love writing stories that have my readers on the edge of their seat. It’s what I have always enjoyed reading, too.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

The main characters in my series have all been inspired by strangers I meet or from TV shows, like the X-Files. The main man of the first book in series is loosely based off of Mulder from the X-Files. So I start off with a basic idea of the characters and then I map out their progression through each book with a kind of bell curve diagram.

What inspired your protagonist?

I wanted to have a “normal” character to offset the tragically flawed ones that I have written previously. I enjoy the idea of having two wild parents having a cool, calm, and collective kid. I have a background in psychology and have always been interested in nature vs. nurture. I also wanted to have the majority of the story take place in a hospital and thought it would be fun to have a doctor character.

What inspired your antagonist?

I have two antagonist. One that is the obvious bad guy, who feels justified in his actions. He wants to take everyone down and do it in a very scary way. The other antagonist is the vigilante justice guy. The one who wants to stop the bad guy, but doesn’t always want to do things within the letter of the law. It’s fun to have a gradation of bad and touch of the question of what is justified and what isn’t.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

The hardest part for me is always the 30k word mark. I always struggle with all of my books at this point.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I love to write the end. I usually write the end scene first and work backwards.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I am a full time mom, part time fundraiser, and part time writer. I am always on the go.

What are you currently reading?

My nine year old and I are reading all things Rick Riordan. We just finished the Percy Jackson series. Sooo good!

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

My all time favorite author, and awesome human is Joyce Maynard. She works really hard, writes brilliant stories, and is one of the nicest people. She inspires me to keep going. I also love all things Margaret Atwood, Ann Patchett, and Barbara Kiingsolver. Old school authors would be: Stienbeck, Austen, and Alcott.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

This is such a hard question. Off the top of my head, here is the list:

  1. East of Eden

  2. Pride and Prejudice

  3. Truth & Beauty

  4. The Poisonwood Bible

  5. Blind Assassin

What are your future projects, if any?

I am working on a 1970’s romantic thriller trilogy that will come out at the end of the year. I am also working on the Syndicate-born Trilogy prequel.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

My email, Facebook Page, and my website.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Take your time and don’t rush to get your work out there. Make sure it has a professional (to market) cover and make sure it has been edited by a person who has experience editing your specific genre. Also, read as many craft books and belong to as many groups of authors as you can. No one gets there alone. Your fellow authors can be a big help to you and a wonderful resource to learn from. Slow and steady wins the race. Remember that. 🙂

Where readers and bloggers can find me:

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/kmhodgeauthor

Facebook Review Team: www.facebook.com/groups/518538554970744/833215726836357

Twitter Author Page: www.twitter.com/kmhodgeauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kmhodgeauthor/

Website: www.kmhodge.com

Sign-up for my mailing list and get a FREE book: www.kmhodge.com/subscribe

FREE SAMPLE of Red on the Run: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/tBBZH
Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Michael Bray

daze

 
Genre: 
Horror, Thriller, Zombies
Publisher: Magnum Books
Publication Date: December 22, 2015
Pages: 461
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Buy Links: Amazon CA*Amazon US*Audio Book

About the Book:

What if man’s thirst for knowledge resulted in it’s own destruction?

Richard Draven is a scientist interested in the healing properties of primates and transferring them to humans. When he discovers a new species of monkey with amazing regenerative powers, he has no idea that his report will set off a chain of events with dire consequences.
Six years later, and Draven’s research has been put into practice. The government has engineered a virus which has begun human trials. It’s job – to make the armed forces of the world better, stronger, faster in their numerous conflicts across the globe. Something, however is not right. Disturbing reports about the behaviour of those modified by the virus are growing in number raising concerns amongst those in charge that something has gone wrong. As the Apex teams go dark and stop responding to orders, the government discover that there is a much more sinister force at work.
Joshua Cook is the alpha male, the first man to be administered the virus and bond with it successfully. Joshua is tired of the human race, tired of their self-destructive nature. He has a plan, one which involves wiping the slate clean of the ‘lesser’ edition of the human machine and repopulating the earth with his own kind. As the full and devastating scale of Joshua’s plan begins to unfold before the eyes of the world, the government are forced to turn back to Richard Draven in an effort to find a way to stop Joshua and his growing army before he can eradicate humanity from the planet.
A tense, global thriller taking place across multiple countries, from the government-centric streets of Washington to the slums of Mumbai and the burning heat of the Iraq desert, Project Apex features a rich and varied cast of characters each with their own motivations and sub plots through the main narrative as they tell the very human story of a disaster on an unprecedented global scale where people are forced to do things they never imagined possible, and in some cases revert back to the instinctive savagery long repressed by our species as society starts to crumble the world over.

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Of course! My name is Michael and I was born and raised in Leeds in the UK. I’m married and have one daughter. Background wise, I’ve always loved writing and reading, although for some reason or another I didn’t really start considering doing it seriously until 2012. At the time, the indie/rock band I was playing in was doing quite well. We were recording and touring, getting our names out there and that was the potential career focus. However as often happens, creative differences on the direction of the band meant that we split, and suddenly with no creative output I was craving something to focus on. It had always been in the back of my mind to have a serious attempt at the whole writing thing and had been mulling over the idea of doing a collection of interlinked short stories so decided to give it a go, unsure how far I would get or if it would even be any good. To my surprise, the whole thing came naturally to me and within a month or so I had just over ninety thousand words and a completed project. Unsure what to do next, I did a little research and found a couple of potential publishers and decided to send some tentative queries. Within a couple of days, I received a reply from one offering to publish the book! Here we are four and a half years later with the crazy situation of having a couple of amazon bestselling titles under my belt and having just sold movie rights to another book (MEAT 2013) to a Los Angeles-based production company. I find it humbling and crazy in equal measure and can’t believe how fortunate I am.

What inspired you to write?

There was one very distinct moment that I remember when I was growing up. I must have only been eleven or twelve at the time and came home and my eye was caught by a huge hardback book on the dining room table. Curious I went to take a closer look. It was my sister’s copy of Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew. I was drawn in by the artwork and picked it up (even though the bookmark inside said she was currently reading it) and turned the page to the first story and started to read. Long story short, I devoured that book. I remember the feeling it gave me, the way the prose was able to take me away and deliver a really visual experience. In the back of my mind, I wondered what it would be like to be able to be the one delivering that feeling. To write something that gave the reader that sense of separation and take them somewhere new, even if those places were frightening and uncomfortable. I suppose that stuck with me for years until I made a serious stab at trying to see if I could pull it off.

What inspired your novel?

The idea for Project Apex came together from a few different things. It was conceived in 2013 although it wasn’t actually written until much later. It was a time when every time I switched on the news there were reports of wars, suicide bomber attacks. I always wondered how it was for the innocent people caught in the middle, how a regular person might try to survive amid a catastrophic event that changed their lives forever. A couple of other things I had been toying with at the time was writing a fresh take on the whole zombie attack angle but grounding it in reality and science. I had been reading some Michael Crichton at the time and loved the scientific spin he used to put on his books. I came up with the idea of creating a world where something so catastrophic and devastating happens but instead of following the exploits of a muscle bound action hero as he tries to resolve it, I would use very real, very ordinary people. There is no main protagonist as such in Project Apex. The story follows several different people and groups from different walks of life as they try to deal with this devastation. There is a young boy and his disabled brother trying to survive the death of their parents in the attack. We also follow an Indian aid worker who had escaped the poverty of her old life and had returned as an aid worker when everything happens. We have a scientist who feels responsible for the situation but is neither strong or brave enough to fight, relying instead on his female companion assigned by the military to protect him as he tries to find a way to help. We also follow a heavily funded church in Texas which looks to exploit the world events and transcend into a cult-like entity. The most polarising relationship of all though is between an American Special Forces soldier and one of the terrorists he had captured. Forced to work together when the global catastrophe happens, the story really digs into the idea of putting aside preconceptions and prejudice in the face of a bigger threat. They transcend from bitter hatred to respectful if uneasy allies as the three books play out, which for me was a really interesting dynamic. Finally, tying all together we have our villain of the piece, a man called Joshua who is essentially like the second coming of Hitler. He is maniacal and ruthless, yet a flawed villain. Readers have said they drift from hatred to seeing his point and finding themselves siding with him until I throw in something particularly horrible to sway them back over to the hatred side of the fence!

What is the genre?

Pinning down a specific genre for this was hard as it dips into several areas. It’s part thriller, part horror part science fiction. It’s a huge global scale story and even now I can’t nail it down to one over the other.

What draws you to this genre?

Although I started out and make my living in horror, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn towards doing some high concept commercial thriller type things. Although I enjoy writing the supernatural stuff, I also love working in the real world and crafting stories which more people would relate to. It’s definitely an area I’ll be exploring going forward. After the project Apex series is complete, the next couple of novels I have planned are also leaning more towards the thriller genre than outright horror.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I’m a plotter at heart for long fiction. I like to bullet point my story chapter by chapter to give me a rough skeleton of a story. Often it will change along the way but I like to go in knowing I have a beginning, middle and end. For this one, the initial intention was to just do one book, but it became apparent early on that the plot was too complex for one book so I made the decision to split it into three which was the right call.

As for characters, I’ve always hated working in black and white. For me, there is nothing more boring than having characters who are fully good or fully bad. For me, the most interesting ones have always been somewhere in the middle. It’s those grey shades I like to work within. I like the balance and how it flits from one to the other. If you have several characters like that who are flawed in some way, it really opens up the scope of the story.

What inspired your protagonist?

During the initial thought process of putting this together, one thing I wanted to do was not to have one specific protagonist. I had watched Quentin Tarantino’s movie Pulp Fiction and loved the idea of all these storylines taking place at once. In that move, you would be hard pressed to pick out a lead character. All the plots feel as important as the next. I wanted to translate that to the book. The concurrent plotlines are all of equal importance and it was important to me to really develop each character or group to the best of my ability so that each time the reader goes back to a given situation they are still invested. Sure enough, it was a risk and logistically a nightmare to make sure everything felt relevant without overwhelming the reader. I like to think the balance is good though and all the plot threads which unravel across the trilogy will be as satisfying as each other.

What inspired your antagonist?

I was thinking about the idea of power, and how depending on who wields it the outcome can potentially be very different. As mentioned earlier I love working with flawed characters, so I took a guy, a good guy. An upstanding citizen from an upper middle class family who was raised the right way and taught good values. A man who, after seeing the World Trade Centre attacks joins the army as he feels he has to protect his country. The problem is, the army sees his benefits more in using his brain. He’s physically weak but mentally strong, so they tie him to a desk job and don’t let him fight. Even though he is frustrated by this, he does his job. When an opportunity comes up to volunteer for a new genetic modification program to aid the soldiers in the field but nobody volunteers, he does, feeling he owes his country. When this proves to be brilliantly successful and he becomes all those things he never thought he could be and more, I was interested in exploring what would happen if that mindset changed. If he suddenly felt that he was now superior to those around him and looked at a world full of hatred and people killing each other as something he finally had the power to fix. I wanted to explore how that twisted superiority complex would change a man and warp him into doing unspeakable things and in turn becoming the very thing he joined the army to protect his country from. Joshua is a very complex character and most readers like and detest him in equal measure!

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

There were a lot of difficulties in this one. The research was a test as it broke the flow of writing. I wanted to make it accurate, so, for example, when I was writing the scenes in Mumbai, I had Google maps open and doing a virtual street walk on there to really make sure the locations and atmosphere were right. There is also a pretty harrowing scene in there where there is an attempted rape. It was difficult to write although I felt it was vital to the plot, especially in regards to where the character goes next in her character development. That situation, however brutal and nasty shapes who she will later become.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

There are certain moments – certain scenes where when you finish writing it you sit back in the chair and smile to yourself and can’t wait for the reader to get to that particular part. It might just be something simple, a plot twist of the way a particular passage is written. It is those moments that for me are the joys of the job.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do
besides write?

I’m fortunate enough to make a living from my writing so this is my only job. I resigned from my day job in October 2015 and have never looked back. I feel so fortunate that writing has given me this opportunity and will do whatever I can to give back.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading David Morell’s First Blood. The Movie is one of my favourites, but the book is vastly different. The Rambo character in the book is brutal and violent in ways the film doesn’t get close to.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Stephen King (of course!) is up there. I also like the works of Shaun Hutson, Brian Lumley, Michael Crichton, Adam Nevill, James Patterson, and Paul Tremblay. Far too many to mention here. I’m actually fortunate enough to be appearing in a couple of anthologies this year with Hutson, Lumley and Nevill which is crazy and exciting.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

Hmmm, this is tricky. In reverse order it would have to be:

5. Apartment 16 – Adam Nevill

4. Jurassic park – Michael Crichton

3. A head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay

2. MEG – Steve Alten

1. Skeleton Crew – Stephen King

What are your future projects, if any?

It’s actually a really busy time right now. I just finished a novel called FEED for Severed press which should be getting a release date soon. There is the third and final book in the Project Apex trilogy to write then another novel called THE WITCH. Even though it’s not written yet I already have a couple of publishers vying to purchase that one which is nice. The biggest upcoming project by far, though, is the movie adaptation of my novel, MEAT! I recently sold the rights to it and the script is being written. I’m lucky enough to be getting involved with the writing process a little to ensure the story stays true to the original, but the whole process is incredibly exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops going forward and hope it opens the door to more adaptations. I had a little interest in adapting the Project apex books too, but I really need to make sure that any deal for that one is right. Hey, if anyone is reading this and is interested in buying the rights, get in touch! I’m confident there is money to be made there. 😀

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your
books?

I make a point of being open and approachable at all times so am more than happy to talk either via email or Facebook or via my website. Whichever method is preferred I always like to hear from you so don’t be shy and get in touch. I’ve left some handy contact links here:

Email: Darkcornersbook@gmail.com

Official website: www.michaelbrayauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/michaelbrayauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaelbrayauth

Instagram: www.instagram.com/michaelbrayauthor

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

A couple of things that I’ve picked up along the way. First, never give up. This is a hard business and the road is rarely straight. Chances are you will take a few twists and turns before you get to where you want to be.

Second, get a thick skin! The writing world is one where there is a lot of options and as such a lot of readers with varying tastes. Just because a reader might not like your work, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. All it means is that it wasn’t suited to that particular individual.

Third, get in the habit of writing every day, even if it’s only a few hundred words. You’ll be surprised how quickly the word count will grow if you do a little each day.

 

Other Books in Series:

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Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Mehreen Ahmed

daze

 
Genre: 
Historical Fiction
Publisher: Cosmic Teapot Publishing
Publication Date: May 11, 2017
Pages: 300 pages
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Buy At:
Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | iTunes
B&N

 

 

 

 

About the Book

In 1866, Peter Baxter’s misfortune ends the day he leaves Badgerys Creek orphanage. Unsure of what to do next, Peter finds himself on a farm run by Mr. Brown. An aging man, Brown needs help and is happy to give Peter a place to live in exchange for his labor. Unbeknownst to Peter, Brown’s past is riddled with dark secrets tied to the same orphanage, which he has documented in a red folder.

During a chance encounter, Peter meets Rose. Peter cannot help but fall in love with her beauty, grace, and wit but fears that his affection will go unrequited as a result of his crippling poverty. But fate changes when Peter joins the search for gold in Hill End, New South Wales. Striking it rich, he returns to Rose a wealthy man. Peter is changed by his new found affluence, heading towards the mire of greed. Will Rose regret her relationship with Peter?

Meanwhile, Rose has her own troubled history. One that is deeply entwined with Brown’s past and Peter’s future.

Interview:

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I have always been attracted to reading and writing. Before I went into publishing, I maintained a regular diary. I didn’t publish until 1987 in Canada. A few journalistic write ups for the campus newspaper at the University of Saskatchewan, The Sheaf set me off. I embarked on a writing career, as I published academic articles and reviews in peer review journals. Since 2011, I decided to become a fiction writer. I have two MA degrees, one in English Literature and the other in Applied Linguistics.

What inspired you to write?
When ideas pop into my mind I feel like writing them down. Nothing inspires me so much as does nature. The sound of the winds move me as much as a sunset on the beach or the falling of rain. Every object in nature inspires me.

What inspired your novel?
I was drawn by the adventure of the gold rush period in Australia. I find this era really romantic and worth talking about. That people had poured in from so many countries throughout Europe and Asia to strike it rich, to give it a go. There was a madness for gold collection. But it wasn’t until I had gone to see a lighthouse in Cape Byron that I was truly moved to write this story. That beacon forced me to reflect on the cape’s history. That’s really what started it.

What is the genre?
Historical fiction.

What draws you to this genre?
The magic of the past pulls me towards this genre. I am very fond of history.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
I have a few ideas about what I want to write and I jot a few notes down but for me, the creative process is quite messy. I delve into the first draft almost right away and see where the story takes me. Same with the characters, they speak to me when a situation arises. I get to discover them as the story develops.

What inspired your protagonist?
The corporate world. I observed how the corporate world operates and drew inspiration from that.

What inspired your antagonist?
I also observed how the vulnerable are exploited by institutions. I imagined a typical situation where such tortures could take place. I created my antagonist based on that.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest part was to make sure that the historical accounts were accurate. I had do thorough research on many aspects of that era to make the details authentic. It was not just the gold rush period, but other facets of life such as food, clothing, utensils, bathrooms, architecture, the pay structure and their livelihood, in general. Everything had to be minutely researched before they could be pieced together.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?
The dreams and the wavering thoughts were my favourite segments. Presenting them as they occurred in the characters’ minds.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
I am a full time writer.

What are you currently reading?
Tender is the Night by Fitzgerald.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?
I like many authors but if I had to choose, I’d say Virginia Woolf. I was deeply moved by Mrs. Dalloway.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
Generally speaking, I like introspective books and those written in a stream of consciousness style. I’m going to skip this one because I can’t narrow it down to five.

What are your future projects, if any?
I am writing a novella at the moment. It’s very early in development, so there isn’t much to talk about yet.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
People can contact me through Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. They can also send email through Cosmic Teapot Publishing. I’m always happy to hear from readers.

Contact Links:
FB: https://www.facebook.com/mehreen.ahmed.3551
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MehreenAhmed2
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5267169.Mehreen_Ahmed
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mehreen-Ahmed/e/B005L6HMHM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Website: http://www.cosmicteapot.net

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Read a lot first and then create your own. Because one learns about the craft of writing through reading other books.

 

Featured Author Wednesday · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Marie Lavender

Wednesday Spotlight


Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Pages: 200 pages
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1) Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Sure! I’ve been writing stories since the age of nine; it seems there was always some of kind of tale playing out in my head, and I wanted to be an author from a young age. I pursued the dream from then on, taking writing classes or studying up on the elements of fiction. I also read voraciously. In college, I pursued Creative Writing as a major. About five years after graduating, I decided to finally try to publish a book. I am an indie author, in a sense, because I have self-published as well as used traditional publishing. In 2012, I was picked up by Solstice Publishing, and through them I released my first historical romance, Upon Your Return, book one of the Heiresses in Love Series. The rest, as they say, is history.

2) What inspired you to write?
The muse inspired me, the voices in my head, the characters that drove me to tell their stories.

3) What inspired your novel?
With Blue Vision, I wanted to tell an entirely new story, a different approach to meeting a stranger. Through some unusual circumstances in this tale, the main character encounters a mysterious man.

4) What is the genre?
The genre is science fiction romance.

5) What draws you to this genre?
Although I’ve always been drawn to the romance genre in most of its forms – at the core, we’re all human and I think we’re all meant to find that special person – I actually got to try something new with this novel. Blue Vision is my first published foray into sci-fi. I like playing around with unique characters; with this one, I just let my imagination soar. I had to think beyond the world we see.

6) How did you develop your plot and your characters?
Though one character isn’t exactly human, I had to try to make him relatable to readers. I think they’ll connect with his struggles. And with Brooke’s character, she’s a blend of various traits. She’s braver than she realizes. As for the plot, once I had the seed, it just exploded forward. I even found myself planning the second book in the series.

7) What inspired your protagonist?
As both main characters share the novel equally, I’ll address the question for them. With Colin, I just tried to imagine someone who reluctantly follows his people, though deep down I think readers will realize he isn’t exactly like them. As for Brooke, she evolved on her own. I began with her speech patterns, her mannerisms, delved into her history, then discovered even more about her in the process of writing the story.

8) What inspired your antagonist?
The antagonist in the book is a combination of elements that make up one main entity. I’d say I just imagined the most power-hungry people in the world, changed a few things and went on from there.

9) What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest parts for me were the technical aspects, the sci-fi portion of the novel. Well, the advanced technology, you know? I didn’t want the book to sound juvenile. I had a friend who was a science fiction geek, and he gave me some really good advice. “Use your imagination; that will take you all the way…” So, after I got over my initial anxieties, I let the story and the characters speak for themselves.

10) What was your favourite part of your book to write?
My favorite part? Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’m divided between what it was like to write about an alien as a male character (would I have said ‘no’ if a strange blue, sexy man kissed me?…ah, probably not), or just writing about his home planet, imagining the way his world looked. That was actually pretty fun!

11) Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
I write part-time for now. When I’m not writing, I do two things. I am a designer at Ambrosia Innovations, where I design book covers, graphic teasers, social media banners, and make book trailers/marketing videos. The rest of the time? I work at a call center.

12) What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward.

13) Who would you say are your favourite authors?
Among others, a few of my favorites are J.R. Ward, Nora Roberts, Chloe Neill, Kris Tualla and P.C. Cast.

14) How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
1. The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward
2. The Chicagoland Vampires Series by Chloe Neill
3. The House of Night Series by P.C. Cast
4. The Discreet Gentlemen Series by Kris Tualla
5. Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts

15) What are your future projects, if any?
Right now, I’m editing a contemporary romance/romantic drama collection, which is titled Directions of the Heart. I hope to have that out in early 2017. I am also writing the second book in the Blood at First Sight Series. It’s called Blood Instincts, and the novel is a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy.

16) What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
Readers can connect with me on social media. They can also subscribe to my author website, and my monthly newsletter. I host three blogs as well: Writing in the Modern Age, Marie Lavender’s Books! blog, and the I Love Romance Blog. They can find a full list of my published books here, or just follow my Amazon author page for updates.

17) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Patience is a big thing to remember. The journey is rough, and it will take as long as it takes. However, if you want this bad enough, if you wake up and most days all you can think about is when you can get back to writing, if the story and the characters guide you, then don’t worry. You have a good handle on what’s important. Be persistent with your dreams, and be patient. At least have a nice balance between the two, and you’ll come out the other side published and working on a lifetime writing career. Think about it like you’re launching a new business. It takes time and effort, but in the end you’ll be rewarded in numerous ways, the most imperative being that you preserved your dream and saw it through.

Featured Author Wednesday · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Alan J. Field

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Thriller, Romance
Publisher: ThrillRide Media
Publication Date: July 24, 2016
Pages: 340 pages
Buy on Amazon
Add to Good Reads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’ve always lived in New Jersey, except during a four-year stint at James Madison University and a few years living Manhattan. I transitioned from South Jersey to North Jersey after college and never moved back I had studied music to be a film score composer but ended up working in the music business before graduating from law school. I published a handful of newspaper articles and scholarly works about entertainment and intellectual property law issues. I married my lovely wife in 1998 and we now have one house, two cars and four children. After twenty years of practicing law, I knew it was time to try something new, and well, here I am.

What inspired you to write?

I had–what I thought–was this compelling idea for a story percolating inside my head for more than a couple of years prior to ever putting pen to paper. The Song of Ice and Fire series showed me how to write from multiple POVs, which was the way I wanted to tell this story. However, it was my teen aged daughter who ultimately encouraged me to dive head first into it. It happened right after Christmas day in 2013, when I told her about my plot idea which she adored.

What inspired your novel?

I’m a big fan of nostalgic spy shows from the 1960s, so I wanted to bring some elements of those into my story. One particular quote by Shalom Alechem that lamented the fact that “all scientists do is sell their ideas to murders”.

What is the genre?

I’m touting this as an espionage thriller. But actually, I first thought about this as chick lit! Yes, you heard that right. I front-loaded this tale with so many female characters, I would have liked nothing better than to market it to women. After the first draft, I even had to add male characters to balance it out, having ignored those guys’ character development altogether. I mean, a major plot point exposes the cosmetics industry so it makes sense. However, the dark and militaristic elements of the plot pulled me back to the y chromosome side. So I’d have to say that it’s an espionage/military/psychological/ urban thriller all rolled up into one.

What draws you to this genre?

I revel in all the betrayal, cat and mouse games and slights of hand that occur in these stories. The challenge for a new writer is to make all of these elements feel fresh, rather than like just another cliché.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

During the initial stage, I focused on two or three critical scenes between the two primary female characters in the story, then built all the other characters, plot and subplots around them. While writing about the characters, I had specific Hollywood actors in mind for most of them.

What inspired your protagonist?

It’s funny you should ask that, because in the story’s original conception, the chemist herself, was the lead protagonist. However, after the first draft, I decided that Daniel Strong should be the primary one, mainly because I felt he would have more sequel potential than any other character.

What inspired your antagonist?

The question really is: which one are you talking about? There are several antagonists in this story who give Daniel trouble, but each one shifts in importance as the plot progresses. So let’s go through them. First, there is Sabir, who I wanted to be “Middle Eastern”, but not an Islamic Terrorist ala ISIS. This was my goal in making him a terrorist with a specific goal, one who had a legitimate beef with a people/country: Israel. Vanessa is a mashup of a few female bosses I’ve had throughout my career. Of course, none of them were as awful as she was, except maybe… . And then there is Joanne, another boss of a different kind. With her, I looked to other male versions of characters in her position from other spy novels I have had the pleasure of reading.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

Romantic encounters and dialogue to go with it were challenging, to be sure. Mostly it was my attempt to attain an acceptable level of authenticity with the subject of chemistry, as well as in the military chapters that took the most extensive research to get right. I hope I came close.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I enjoyed a certain chase on foot chapter that took place underground in the Times Square subway station, an endless maze of tunnels and multiple levels and platforms that I’m most familiar with. The inspiration of this scene is two-fold. First, I had always adored the Audrey Hepburn/Carey Grant movie, Charade, where he chases her through a Paris Metro station. I wanted to attain that level of intensity in the prose. Second, I made a self- imposed pledge to my daughter that I would work in a subway station chase chapter. After all, it is New York City.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

Part-time for now. Raising four children and practicing law require a significant time commitment.

What are you currently reading?

The Tomb, by F. Paul Wilson. Next, I’ll move on to The Assassination Complex by Jeremy Scahill. Then, I’ll read The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas. I always like to sprinkle in an old classic or a comtemporary work that’s outside the thriller genre, like YA or middle grade stuff my kids are reading.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

I consciously avoid reading too many books by any one author, for fear of starting to write like them.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

The Godfather
War and Peace
To Kill a Mockingbird
Storm of Swords (book three of The Song of Ice and Fire series)
The Patient

What are your future projects, if any?

I’m on to writing the second and third installments of the Daniel Strong trilogy. Meanwhile, I’m also drafting a screenplay for The Chemist. I also have an idea for another trilogy about an FBI agent in the future who has to deal with an international assassin as well as her own addiction of an unusual kind.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

Email is best for now: contact@alanjfieldbooks.com or through goodreads.com

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Learn about and utilize all the tools out there on how to promote yourself and your book, start your own publishing company, write what you like, and never, ever give up. It is so worth it!

***Now available in audio book***
***Instafreebie Giveaway ***

Featured Author · Featured Author Wednesday · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with Mr. Ben

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Young Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Revival Waves of Glory Ministries
Publication Date: August 31, 2016
Pages: 116 pages
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Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a writer, an internationally represented and a published author, a poet, playwright, speaker and voice-over artist.I currently stay in where I was born and raised—Lagos, Nigeria

What inspired you to write?
The happenings around me and in general, as portrayed by the media, all happenings around the world

What inspired your novel?
The success motivation from being involved with the underworld activities to being a great benefit upon mankind inspired the book, ‘Maya Initiate 39: The Long Walk To Destiny’

What is the genre?
‘Maya Initiate 39: The Long Walk To Destiny’  is a  cross-genre of fiction interests: Fantasy, Young adult, Contemporary, Urban andThriller

What draws you to this genre?
Various life situations in the form of stories

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
I thought of the happening in my ‘head’ like a movie being watched and through creativity, I was able to pen it down—the conceptualizations of the plot and characters.

What inspired your protagonist?
The need to discover who she, Maya, really was

What inspired your antagonist?
Craig’s awkward background. He was the most active antagonist

What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Getting to the climax of it, The Long Walk To Destiny, having established ‘Maya Initiate 39’

What was your favourite part of your book to write?
The protagonist formative years

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
I’m a part-time writer. Speaking and voice-overs are my other endeavors

What are you currently reading?
The Three Musketeers by Alex Dumas

Who would you say are your favourite authors?
John Grisham
JK Rowling
Stephen King
William Shakespeare

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The 360 Leader by John C Maxwell

The Art of War by Tsung Zu

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

What are your future projects, if any?

Currently working on a project that would encompass all human endeavours—-known and the ones to come as having one name—Engi(O)sophy. This would be aimed at changing the perception of people about what they are already familiar with towards creating a better appreciation and more reliable ways to tackling problems. More of this still to come!

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
Readers can get in touch with me via my email address at: mrbenisreal@gmail.com

Maya Initiate 39: The Long Walk to Destiny can be ordered through Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/MAYA-Initiate-39-Long-Destiny-ebook/dp/B01JBNR7UW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8.

It is also avaiable on Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Nook, Kindle and other digital outlets

For bulk copies (wholesale and distribution) of Maya Initiate 39: The Long Walk to Destiny, the publisher can be contacted at:

Bill Vincent

Publisher, Revival Waves of Glory Books and Publishing, Litchfield, Illinois, USA

bill.vincent@yahoo.com

For more of my works, please visit www.amazon.com/author/mrben

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

(Grins) Well, the literary industry is a sentiment-driven one. Your book being accepted for publication doesn’t mean you’re a prolific writer (vice versa).As an aspiring author, prepare your mind for countless rejections. See it as part of the process of being an eventual success in the authoring venture. Keep improving your writing skill and more important, take heed to Winston Churchill’s words ”Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up!”
Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Stacy Hoff

daze

 
Genre: 
Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: September 28, 2016
Pages: 160 pages
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Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a full-time attorney, wife, and mother of two boys (ages eleven and fourteen). My only chance to write is late at night, when the rest of my household is fast asleep. Not surprisingly, coffee is my best friend.

JOCKEYING FOR YOU will be my forth novel with Soul Mate Publishing, Inc. I have two more complete manuscripts under contract with Soul Mate. Those two books will start a new series.

What inspired you to write?
Who knows how my quirky mind works? I’ve always had a strong creative side. I’ve been writing and drawing since I was little.

What inspired your novel?
JOCKEYING FOR YOU was inspired by the 2015 Triple Crown. I was truly wowed by American Pharoah.

What is the genre?
JOCKEYING FOR YOU is a contemporary romance. It could also be considered “sports romance,” with one major exception–the heroine is the athlete instead of the hero.

What draws you to this genre?
I write the type of book I like to read. Contemporary romance has been my favorite genre for as long as I can remember.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
They developed organically. I am a true “pantser” (someone who writes “by the seat of their pants”). Sometimes I write a whole book with nothing planned out, other than a vague sense of the “tag line.” This may sound like a creative freefall, but I like not knowing what happens next. It’s the exact opposite part of my brain I use when I’m in lawyer-mode.

What inspired your protagonist?
I wanted a character who had an emotional journey as dramatic as the storyline itself.

What inspired your antagonist?
I always conjure up the antidote to my hero and/or heroine, and then begin to flesh the villain out. The villain in this book is motivated by greed and control.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Accurate sports details. I always sweat when it comes to getting details right. Precision is important to me.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?
My favourite part was writing the sections where I had conducted real-life research. I had visited the New York Racing Association’s famous race tracks, Belmont Park and the Saratoga Race Course. I also spent time at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. After my trip, I wrote these sections in mere days.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
As an attorney, I draft and review business contracts all day. I recently celebrated my twentieth year in practice.

What are you currently reading?
Because my younger son has dyslexia, I read his assigned books along with him. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry is the book we’re reading now.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?
Kristan Higgins, Diana Gabaldon and Charlaine Harris.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
It seems that every time I pick up a romance book, it becomes my new favorite. But right now I’m focusing on series, since I’m in the process of writing a trilogy myself. Some of my favorite series are: J. Kenner’s “Release Me,” Chloe Neill’s “Chicagoland Vampires,” and Vanessa Kelly’s “The Renegade Royals.”

What are your future projects, if any?
The series I’m currently working on is BUILDING LOVE. Book 1 is BUILDING LOVE IN VEGAS and book 2 is BUILDING LOVE IN THE CARIBBEAN. This series is set in the construction industry, and is jammed packed with family drama, secrets and lies. Not to mention plenty of passion!

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
I love to hear from readers! They can connect with me the following ways:
Website: https://www.stacyhoff.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorStacyHoff
Amazon author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/Stacy-Hoff/e/B00NN0HCW8
Twitter: @authorStacyHoff

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Yes. Join a writing organization. I joined a chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and it changed my life.

Featured Author Wednesday · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Francis Mills

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Sword & Sorcery
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Pages: 143 pages
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Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Francis Mills. I grew up in the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus (former British Colony). I have mostly Northern English ancestry. I have dark blonde hair and brown eyes and I like cats.

What inspired you to write?

All the 80’s and 90’s cartoons I watched when I was a kid.

What inspired your novel?

All the 80’s and 90’s cartoons I watched as a kid and  a need to escape from the constraints of this reality.

What is the genre?

Sword & Sorcery

What draws you to this genre?

Epic landscapes, Battles involving sword and sorcery, Hot women and sex

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

The first prototypes I created didn’t include character names. I just used generic names like Hero, Sorcerer, Hot Babe, Dinosaur, Wizard. I slowly made the characters more individual and eventually started naming them.

The plot once again stemmed from the characters. There is a clear division between good and evil characters. The clash between the two in all shapes and forms creates the plot for my books.

What inspired your protagonist?

As you may guess, my protagonist, Xanthus, is actually me, but he can do everything I want to do and can’t because of the constraints of this world.

What inspired your antagonist?

The antagonist again is a form of me, but he embodies my evil thoughts and desires. He was also created as the antithesis to Xanthus.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

The hardest part is finding the right methods to create. The first book I typed straight into the computer. Then for the second and third I wrote them by hand and then types them into the computer. By the time I wrote the fourth book I further split the chapters into scenes. I really think that the fourth book is an advancement over the first three. The flow and pacing is vastly improved.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I especially enjoy the sex scenes and the violence scenes.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

Right now it’s full time. The other thing I do and love is jogging and running.

What are you currently reading?

The last book I read was Fire And Ice(Icefire trilogy) Book 1 by Patty Jensen.

You can find the book review on my webpage.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

The team who wrote the ‘Transformers’ cartoon, the ‘He-Man cartoon’, the ‘Thundercats’ cartoon, the ‘X-Men’ cartoon. As for individual authors; Robert E.Howard who wrote the ‘Conan’ series and also Marion Zimmer Bradley who wrote the ‘Mists Of Avalon’.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

I’ll give you my five favourite movies instead:

1. Transformers 1986 Cartoon Movie

2. He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe 1987 Movie

3. Terminator 2 (1991 movie)

4. Back To The Future 2 (1989 movie)

5. Hackers (1995 movie)

What are your future projects, if any?

The Adventures Of Xanthus – Book 5

Look out for it on Amazon

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

E-mail. francismills959@gmail.com

Francis Mills Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Francis-Mills/e/B01KJMD6C2/

Francis Mills Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/francismills959

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Yeah. Writing a book is only the beginning. The promotion is difficult. Make sure you keep promoting your book in every way possible. Interivews, reviews, socialising. If you don’t keep promoting your books they will die.

Featured Author Wednesday · Spotlight Interview

Today’s Featured Author: Nath Jones

Wednesday Spotlight


Genre: Short Story, Poems
Publisher: Life List Press
Publication Date: September 17, 2016
Pages: 242 pages
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Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Sure, I’m from a small town but I spent summers at a family cottage on Long Island. That balance of having a very poor rural upbringing with a few weeks each year on a private beach taught me more than anything about the breadth of privilege and opportunity in this world. I also randomly joined the army once, which really developed my understanding of more a more conservative point of view. This culture is so divided right now. It’s painful to witness. I’ve also worked in an area of Chicago called Back of the Yards, about six blocks from an AK-47 shooting on a playground. We must find ways to communicate clearly, peacefully.

What inspired you to write?
The Brothers Karamazov, my mother, my grandmother who took classes from Robert Frost

What inspired your novel?
This is a collection of short works. It is the culmination of a series that began as a joke on Facebook. I was making fun of Kindle books in 2010 and a friend challenged me to write one. Another friend said I couldn’t just call it Nath’s Kindle Bundle Number 1, to see how the IT side worked with the reflowable content on these new devices. So, right then in a mess of a thread of comments with friends from high school, the On Impulse series began.

What is the genre?
Literary fiction

What draws you to this genre?
The truth, the beauty, the inescapable nature of reality, the striving, the pain, the suffering, the hope, the will, the humanity, and the life

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
I’m still getting my footing with plot. It’s so simple on a diagram but very complex to make happen on the page. Characters, omg. Characters insist upon revelation. So I just sit back, meld into the space–the setting–and let them do their thing, transcribe what I can.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest story to write in the series was, “How to Cherish the Grief-Stricken“. I don’t think it made the cut for this book. It’s in Acquainted with Squalor.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?
Hollace and Some Girl” is pretty funny and everyone’s favorite.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
Full time, but I also have another full time job as a clinical intervention pharmacist.

What are you currently reading?
The Melville-Hawthorne Connection: A Study of the Literary Friendship by Erik Hage

The Glass Blowers by Daphne du Maurier

City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence

Evicted: Property and Profit in The American City by Matthew Desmond

American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation by Jon Meacham

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

and Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar

Who would you say are your favourite authors?
John McPhee, Henry Miller (though I sort of hate to admit it), and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who really doesn’t make it fair for any of the rest of us.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Anything–make that everything by John McPhee

And Lauren Groff’s Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories

What are your future projects, if any?
I’m working on the third draft of a novel about a woman who runs up against herself and two great loves.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
My personal Facebook page is pretty much open season and everyone is welcome. For those who’d like a little more decorum, there’s the author site.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Write


Nath Jones
Best New American Voices nominee Nath Jones received an MFA in creative writing from Northwestern University. Her publishing credits include PANK Magazine, There Are No Rules, and Sailing World. She lives and writes in Chicago.

Links:
WebsiteGood ReadsInstagramFacebook

Featured Author Wednesday · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with J.G. Źymbalist

Wednesday Spotlight

Welcome Readers, I have a wonderful interview with author J.G. Źymbalist and his novel Song of the Oceanides. Enjoy!

 
Genre: 
Fantasy
Date of Release: January 13, 2016
Pages: 574 pages
Where to Buy: AmazoniTunesBarnes & Noble

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Song of the Oceanides is a quirky but poignant coming-of-age tale about children, Martians, freaky Martian hummingbird moths, and alluring sea nymphs.

The first thread relates the suspenseful tale of a Martian girl, Emmylou, stranded in Maine where she is relentlessly pursued by the Pinkerton Detective Agency’s Extraterrestrial-Enigma Service.  The second thread concerns her favorite Earthling comic-book artist, Giacomo Venable, and all his misadventures and failed romances.  The final thread deals with a tragic young lad, Rory Slocum, who, like Emmylou, loves Giacomo’s comic books and sees them as a refuge from the sea nymphs or Oceanides incessantly taunting and tormenting him.

As much as anything, the triple narrative serves to show how art may bring together disparate pariahs and misfits—and give them a fulcrum for friendship and sense of communal belonging in a cruel world.

Interview:

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Hmm.  What should I say?  I hold a ritzy M.F.A. degree in poetry.  The problem is that by the time I completed the degree, I had already gravitated toward fiction.  I do think people who read my stuff will be able to discern my poetry background.  My writing is poetic, slow, imagistic, and rather atmospheric.  I’m always just as much concerned about the subtle evolutions and vagaries of emotion as I am about plot. 

What inspired you to write?

Wow, that’s actually a rather heavy question.  As simplistic as this might sound, I would say that it was only really my unconscious mind itself that inspired me to write.  I think of that great quote by Carl Sagan:  “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”  Perhaps the laws of nature just simply intend for some people to write about the human condition and its place in the world.

What inspired your novel?

My own childhood depression and my own experiences with school bullying.  Those are the two biggest, heaviest thematic topics that come up in Song of the Oceanides.  Hopefully I added enough humor and quirkiness to balance out the grim stuff.

What is the genre?

I don’t know.  Transgenre?  There are elements of historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk.  A little bit of everything.

What draws you to this genre?

I love transgenre because it is experimental, and I think there is merit in trying to do something different.  Also blending science fiction with ancient Greek myth (or any kind of myth) serves as the perfect metaphor for the never-ending struggle between civilization and primitivism.

How did you develop your plot and characters?

I very carefully constructed three symmetrical narrative threads, each with its own separate point-of-view character and narrative arc.  The threads interweave, and everything is very meticulously balanced—even if the reader doesn’t think so.  I suppose the structure is a bit like one of those really gargantuan Mahler symphonies where the music seems to have no form because there’s so much going on, but as a matter of fact, there is structure all throughout.

What inspired your protagonist?

There are three rather ignoble protagonists in Song of the Oceanides, and they are all inspired by the tragic misfits who tended to be my friends in school and well into adult life. 

What inspired your antagonist?

Academia.  All my villains are based on people from school:  Unfriendly teachers, bullies, mean girls, and sadistic little boys who take joy in ridiculing others.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

Hmm.  If I am to be honest, I would say that the hardest parts were the scenes in which someone is getting beat up.  All of those scenes were inspired by my own schoolyard memories.  It’s unpleasant to relive a memory of someone beating you up.  In addition, it’s unpleasant to relive a memory of standing there watching a friend or sibling get beat up.  Childhood can be so animalistic.

Are you a full time or part time writer?  If part time, what do you do besides write?

Full time.  I’m always in the page.  When I was younger and worked a million different jobs, one could say I was part time then.  But in truth, I wasn’t.  Even when I was younger and working here or there or wherever, I was always thinking and jotting down notes in my idea books.  I was a very unreliable employee.

What are you currently reading?

I just started Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust.  I’m glad too because it has a strong narrative voice, though the text meanders through different key scenes.  Anyway it’s a good feeling to read a piece written in that traditional style.  Song of the Oceanides is built up out of nothing but highly-specific scenes with almost no real narrative voice.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Ray Bradbury would have to be on the list.  Maybe Robert Heinlein too.  And I’ve always loved the poetry of Mary Oliver. 

How about your favourite books?  What would be your top 5?

I can name three:  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, and Magnus Merriman by Eric Linklater.  I also read poetry, and I especially love Japanese haikus in English translation.  Isn’t that peculiar? 

What are your future projects, if any?

Hmm.  I must confess that I am reluctant to answer this question.  I plan to self-publish another ebook, but I’ll use a different pseudonym.  It’s very different than Song of the Oceanides.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

I have a website that features a big exhibit on Song of the Oceanides.  http://jgzymbalist.com  I can also be contacted via the website.  The email address is:  info@jgzymbalist.com

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Wow, that’s another really heavy question.  My advice is as follows.  Don’t go to school or writing programs of any sort.  Just work one on one with a published author who writes the sort of thing you yourself write.  Let that person provide vigorous critiques until your material really begins to click.  It’s like an apprenticeship, and there’s no better way to learn.  For example, if you want to be a really good blacksmith, nothing can beat doing an actual apprenticeship with a blacksmith who can actually have you doing something rather than just sitting around talking about it.

 

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J.G. Źymbalist is the pseudonym of a very reclusive author who grew up in Ohio and West Germany.  He began writing Song of the Oceanides as a child when his family summered in Castine, Maine where they rented out Robert Lowell’s house.  There, inspired by his own experiences with school bullying and childhood depression, the budding author began to conceive the tale.

For several years, J.G. Źymbalist lived in the Old City of Jerusalem where he night clerked at a series of Palestinian youth hostels.  There he wrote the early draft of an as yet unpublished Middle-Eastern NA fantasy.  Returning from the Middle East, he completed an M.F.A. in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College.

The author returned to Song of the Oceanides while working for the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society, May-September, 2005.  He completed the full draft in Ellsworth, Maine later that year.

He has only recently decided to self-publish a few of his previous works.  Foreword Reviews has called his writing “innovative fiction with depth,” and Kirkus Indie has called his style “a lovely, highly descriptive prose that luxuriates in the details and curios of his setting.”

Many thanks to J.G. for providing such an in depth and wonderful interview about his novel The Song of Oceanides. – Leticia