I have long admired Maria Savva, for both her writing and her willingness to support other authors. I have witnessed her on many occasions give her time and knowledge with kindness and generosity. I am honored and excited that she agreed to let me interview her on my blog today.
I am thrilled to welcome her to my blog today.
I loved both, Haunted and Coincidences and I am looking forward to reading more of your work. Would you tell us whether your books are inspired by real events or real people?
I would go as far as to say that all of my short stories and novels are inspired by real events and real people. Of course, I don’t just write someone’s life into my stories, but I have a mixing pot of lots of things I have heard and lots of things I have seen. Many of the events in my novels and stories are things that have in some way actually happened to me. Other events are things that I've heard maybe on the news, or from listening in to a random stranger’s conversation as I walk past them in the street. That sort of thing. For example, when I create characters, their personalities might be inspired by someone I know, or someone I knew briefly in the past. None of my characters have ever been solely based on one person, but have been a mix of different people. I like to think I am a collector of stories from our lifetime, and I fictionalize them and document them for future generations to read. That’s a fiction writer’s job.
There are similarities in Coincidences and Haunted, in that they both deal with emotions and secrets, yet are very different novels. Would you tell us what you wanted the differences to be between the two and whether you believe you accomplished this?
I don’t think about things like that when I write. I wrote Coincidences in 1997, and was not thinking about that book at all when I wrote Haunted. I don’t ever plan to make my next book different to the last or similar to the last, but I have noticed similar themes running through all my work, even though they are different genres. When I’ve written a book, I leave it behind me and move on to the next project. I write about things that inspire me to write. Inspiration comes in many forms, and different things that happen in my life will inspire me to write something. So, for example, Haunted was mainly inspired by a news story I heard in about 2004, and a road rage incident I witnessed in early 2011. Those things sparked my imagination and I had to write the book.
I read in one of your interviews that if you were trapped in an elevator you wouldn’t like it to be with someone who didn’t like your books. Would you mind telling us why?
I suppose because if someone doesn’t like my books they probably wouldn’t like me much either. There’s a whole lot of me that goes into my books. My philosophy about life, my values, dreams, etc. So being stuck in an elevator with someone who I didn’t have anything in common with would not be nice. Also, it would give me less to talk about... I do like to talk about my books LOL
How did it feel to have Coincidences land on the top 10 list of Susan Buchanan’s blog Sooz’s Top 10 Books of 2012?
That was wonderful. Especially because I really enjoyed both of Susan’s books. She’s a talented writer, so for someone like that to choose my book in her top 10, that means a lot. She reads loads of books, too, so it’s even more amazing she chose mine. I’m very grateful and thankful.
You grew up reading at a remarkably young age. What would you say was the most notable thing that kept you on your path to learning to read?
I was very young when I started reading, maybe about three. I think it’s because I had an older brother who was already at school and he was learning to read, and I am obsessed with the written word, so I probably wanted to read too. Or probably just wanted to do whatever he was doing. I’m sure curiosity played a big part in my learning to read so young. We used to live in one of those old houses that had three floors, and each room was occupied by a different family. That’s quite typical of rental accommodation in the UK in the ‘70s. There was an old woman who lived upstairs. She didn't have a family of her own, and used to look after me and my brother sometimes. I’m told she used to teach us things, so maybe she had a hand in teaching me to read so young.
I understand that you thought a bit of the reason you didn't feel like you fit into the life of a working lawyer was your love of human nature. Do you still believe that was a large factor?
I was actually quite successful as a lawyer, and enjoyed my job for the most part. I was made redundant in 2008 in the big housing crash, and as I was specializing in conveyancing it has been hard to get back into work as a lawyer. I would probably do that again though if the opportunity arose. I think what I might have said in the past was that I didn't like the way some of the lawyers I came into contact with behaved. In my novel, Second Chances, two of the characters are partners of a law firm, and they basically reflect the type of people that I didn't like working with. I am the sort of person who won’t step on someone else just to climb the ladder, but unfortunately, there are many people out there who will, and maybe what I have alluded to in interviews in the past is that due to my nature, maybe I didn't fit in that kind of dog-eat-dog environment.
It seems today that we all need to have an online presence. Do you have one that you prefer or find the most effective?
I’m mainly on Bestsellerbound, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook. I’m not of the generation that grew up with computers, and in general, I would prefer not to be online so much, but as you say, it seems we have to have an online presence these days. I try to use those sites as a way to connect with people, especially authors and readers, as more of a support network for my writing really. It can get lonely being a writer, especially when you’re working on a project like a novel, so sometimes it’s fun to be able to chat with people online as a distraction. My favorite site is BestsellerBound.com because I have met some very supportive authors there, and people that I feel I can call my friends, even though I’ve never met most of them.
I find that each time I believe I am getting a handle on social networking a new site pops up. Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with it all?
Constantly. I try to limit myself to a few sites, as mentioned in the last question. I have accounts with other sites, but rarely use them.
If one of your books were chosen to be made into a movie, which would you like it to be and why?
Only one? I want them all to be made into movies. It’s a childhood dream of mine. But if you twisted my arm and I had to choose, I would choose Haunted. I was asked this question recently for The Next Big Thing blog, and I mentioned that I would like Robin Williams to play Nigel (he’s such a versatile actor), and Kate Winslet to play Emily. That would be such a great film. It’s very dark, very chilling, and would be perfect for the big screen. Of course, I may be biased.
Is there one word that others who know you well would use to describe you? Do you agree with them?
Yes. They would say I’m quiet. That’s the most common thing they say. I agree. Most of the time I’m thinking up plots for my novels, or daydreaming about other stuff. My mind is not very quiet.
Where can readers find you and your books? The best place to start is my website: http://www.mariasavva.com There are links there to my Facebook page, Twitter, and various other sites. There are excerpts from most of my books on there too, and my book trailers. My Goodreads blog is linked to the site. You can also click through from there to buy my books from the various online retailers.
Thanks so much for inviting me to your website, Marta!
Maria thank you so much, it has been wonderful having you on my blog. I am a big fan of your writing. BTW I agree Kate Winslet would make a fabulous Emily.
You can find Maria's books on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and other retailers.
Each person you meet or interact with makes their own mark in our lives. There are a few whose generosity, wit, talent, and supportive human spirit touch you to the core. In my opinion, one of those people is Sammy Sutton. Those of you who know her, understand exactly what I mean. To those who have not yet met Sammy, I think you will find in her and her writing a tremendous talent, and a remarkable woman.
Thank you Sammy for taking the time and energy to join me today, I am blessed, and honored to know you.
1.) Where did you get the idea for the Dominguez Adventures?
Marta that is an interesting thought to ponder, but ultimately, it came from my fascination with being human and how we came to be who we are as individuals and as a society.
2.) I understand you have a love of history, religions, and spirituality, what do you find most fascinating about these things?
Boy do I, primarily, it is the declaration of truth that most fascinates me. People have a love hate relationship with truth. On one hand, they yearn for facts, yet, on the other hand, they refuse to accept any reality that doesn’t fit into an ideal.
My journey began back in college. One semester I had a very odd schedule heavily weighted in humanities. I had Anthropology, Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, and Sociology each claimed a sort of truth within their discipline, nevertheless each defied the other. It was at this point I became intrigued to the point of near obsession and began trying to understand man and his ancient past.
3.) Antonio and Amanda face many challenges, emotionally, mentally, and physically on their road to self-healing and discovery. Is there a back story behind this?
LOL Yes, the two are challenged on many levels. Antonio and Amanda are a compilation of my personal history and the history of others I have encountered throughout my life. Both professionally and personally many people and events have left a lasting impression and I am compelled to share this through my fictional characters.
In King Solomon’s Journey and Hidden Mountain this has manifested into a sort of adventuress saga as the story moves into The Reliquary of Dimensions and the next three books it becomes more specific and event based.
4.) Amanda has a very close relationship with her sons. I understand you have a son with Epilepsy and are a great advocate for both epilepsy awareness and finding a cure. Do you have any suggestions for those who either suffer from epilepsy or have a loved one who does?
Many thanks Marta for this question as it is very important to me and many others…Hang in there! To compare it to a roller coaster ride is an understatement. My son’s epilepsy and the disability it has created have taught me more than anything else in my life. Through him and his illness I have learned the true meaning of unconditional and rewarding love. He is an amazing young man untainted by bitterness despite the hand that was dealt him at birth. He is my hero and I am very lucky to be his mother. He is adopted therefore I take great joy in the belief that we were brought together by fate.
More specifically to address the illness, our lives are a testament to the idea of never giving up. Many times we have been told by professionals “there is nothing more we can do.” Never have we accepted this and never have we been completely defeated. Keep searching!
5.) You are a lover of poetry, but do not write it. Is there a reason you do not?
Unlike you Marta with brilliant poetic talent, I am simply not very good at it. Poetry and music are areas that bring me great joy, I like keeping the beauty in context.
6.) You are an advocate for children who are caught in the social system; do you have any suggestions that might make it easier for us as a society to do better by these children?
Oh yes, in the past I have asserted many opinions about children and their perpetrators, but in consideration of time and space I will remind everyone that each and every child on this planet is the responsibility of each and every adult on this planet.
As a tireless advocate for the challenged Marta I think you will agree with me, if a child turns out “Bad” somewhere along the way an adult contributed. The adult is not always the parent, and everyone should keep that thought in mind and strive to protect children, our future.
7.) How valuable do you believe knowing and learning history is to our progress as a species?
I love this question and the irony in the answer. Understanding the past is imperative; we must learn from our history, and keep in mind there has never been a civilization that did not fall. We must also look at the past through unclouded vision; evidence suggests our ancestors were pretty smart, too.
8.) So far to date you have written two books in the Dominguez Adventure series, King Solomon’s Journey and Hidden Mountain. At the end of Hidden Mountain, it was clear that this was only the beginning of another journey. How many books do you believe will be in this series?
Marta, you are very observant. Well, I’m not sure exactly when it will end. Reliquary of Dimensions is an explosive end to the trilogy based on King Solomon’s journey. After this the characters move on into the fourth adventure, which is very politically charged and based on events unrelated to the scrolls.
A little tease; Reliquary of Dimensions also introduces the reader to a new character that ultimately becomes the main character in another novel, which is not one of The Dominguez Adventures.
9.) When you do research for your writing, do you do it in one lump or as you go along?
Actually, the stories are based upon my research. Still through the process the story often births ideas that need further clarification. Rarely a day passes that I do not find myself researching a topic.
10.) You are one of the most supportive and loving people I have met online, and in your book Hidden Mountain, Antonio says, “After all, trust is greater than love, and to truly trust another human being is rare. Love can exist without trust, but trust cannot exist without love.” Do you believe this quote personally?
Thank you Marta, I’m flattered. You are incredibly supportive and a wonderful advocate for the craft of writing.
I believe this quote with all my heart. The problem with understanding resides within the limitations of the English language. There are many kinds of love, yet we are only afforded one word. I find this truly limits our ability to express affection. Keeping this in mind, trust is greater than love…it simply demands affection we must call love in the English language.
11.) Where do you want to be in your life a year from now?
Funny, I have not pondered that too much in the recent past. I guess a better and more experienced version of who I am now. I want to write and form a relationship with readers who find value in my stories.
12.) You write so gloriously, does it come easily to you, or do you struggle with some aspects? If so which?
WOW, thank you Marta. When it comes to writing, I am an unbridled wild child; luckily I have Kathy, my editor to reel in my story. I am thankful for her direct approach as I love writing from this perspective and do not want to change.
13.) What is your most successful marketing tool?
Currently, my Blog, without it there would not be a lot of reason to publish. Recently, I have updated and separated the components and this is really looking like an idea that was well worth the time. My Blog has received a lot of traffic and interest this has often resulted in sales on Amazon as well as other outlets.
I also find getting out and socializing is great for local print sales. Still, I am constantly reading and exploring ideas for promotion.
14.) How and why did you decide to give Amanda Messenger a brain tumor?
Marta, I’m sure you’ve heard of writing “what you know” well, I often take it literally. I lived for more than four years with the knowledge of a tumor in my head (not actually on my brain, but penetrating it) in February of 2012 a team of surgeons did an exploratory surgery and removed six tumors from the left region.
Since I wrote much of these books while I was dealing with immortality I think it was a bit of a coping mechanism. It also adds a certain level of complexity to Amanda, her abilities, and most importantly to her relationship with Antonio.
I first met Cyrus on Facebook about six am one morning. We had been aquaintances on Facebook and I had read many of his posts but we hadn't really communicated at that point.
Well that day he posted something that was of particular interest to me and I did make a comment.
That began our communication and he invited me to be a guest on his radio show "Conversations."
I had a great time and found him to be gracious and professional. He has an interest in everything as far as I know.
Cyrus Webb holds a belief in reading, writing, and education that is not uncommon. But what he is doing with it is.
Thank you Cyrus for allowing me the pleasure of interviewing you and sharing my space with you.
What made you decide on the name Conversations which you use in most of your projects?
Marta, I know what it's like to feel like dialogue is one-sided. When I started with the radio show back in 2003 I knew that I didn't just want to talk at others. I wanted to engage them, get to know more about them and ultimately let them share their voice as well. This, to me, is a true conversation. From there it just began the way I saw my mission, next with the magazine and then with the book club. It's all about bringing people together.
What led you down the path of promoting literacy and education?
It's ironic in a way, because I am not really the poster child of what education is shown to be. I didn't go to college, so I have no degrees are letters after my name. What I do have, however, is a love of learning and sharing with others the power of words. This led me early on to read all I could and then find creative ways to let others know what was available through books. I know the power they have. It's helped me get to where I am in life. That is what I share with people. You don't have to be a doctor, lawyer or media personality to be successful. All you have to be is the best you that you can be.
How do you decidew what event or feature you are going to promote on Cyrus Webb Presents?
Like so many part of my business and the brand I am building it has gone through some changes. I have never wanted to make things just about me. I have been very careful in trying to deflect attention from me in fear of over saturating the market with Cyrus Webb. What I have found over the past few years, however, is that people want to know what I think, what I
like and how I feel about certain issues. This is how Cyrus Webb Presents came about. I've been able to do it not just on blogs, on the radio show or in tv presentations but now through movies that I have presented as well. It's my way of saying I know there is a story out there that will help a larger audience, and this is my way of bringing attention to it.
You are an artist,columnist, radio and television show host. Which do you prefer?
Marta, this is always difficult to even think about as I see them all as inter-related. If I had to choose, however, I would say that the radio show has given me not only my largest platform but an ability to make the most difference. Whether it's through a radio affiliate or just the online side of the program I treat each and every guest as if they are the most important to me, because they are.
You are also an accomplished poet. I loved your poems, To My Sister, Responsibility 101 and I Can’t Be Stopped, spoke volumes to me. Where do you get your inspiration?
Poetry is really one of the most intimate part of my life. I write about what I am going through, what I hear about and those I know. Over the past decade I have accomplished a great deal. I've done a lot of good, however, not everything I touch has turned to gold or been well-received. I use the written word to put it all in context. Living a life of purpose is something I take very serious, so I try and use that gift when I am writing to help others appreciate their own purpose as well.
You have interviewed many famous people as well as the not so famous like me. Who inspired you most?
It's like I said earlier, everyone to me is equally important. I have been fortunate to interview people with name recognition, however, what is more enjoyable for me is talking with someone who has life lessons we can all glean something from. I've interviewed celebrities who fit that bill, as well as everyday individuals like you and me who are finding their place in the world. As long as I can share that part of their story, I am inspired and happy because I know others will be inspired, too.
What things surprise you most in life?
Great question. It has amazed me how much I benefit from disappointments and challenges in life. May sound crazy, but that has been how all of my successes have been birthed. There would be no radio show if I didn't see an opportunity for every day individuals to get attention for the great things they were doing in life. There would be no magazine if I didn't see non-celebrities getting their much-needed praise and opportunity to share their stories and successes. There wouldn't be a book club if I found reading groups that encouraged men as well as women to come together and discuss books of all genres. That is what I hope I can get others to see. A closed door or window is
an opportunity for you to open up a new way for others to see the world.
How did you come to start the project Hip Hop and Books?
I actually came to Hip Hop late in my life, like around 2005. Never really understood it until that point. When I started listening to some of the lyrics, however, I began to hear the story that some of them were telling and how I could relate to it. I was introduced to Platinum-selling recording artist/author Corey “C-Murder” Miller in late 2006 after discovering his book DEATH AROUND THE CORNER. I was so impressed by it that I invited him to partner with me in sharing the book and its message with a larger area. I started Hip Hop and Books to bring lovers of that genre of music to books that showcased the struggle and journey that the music talked about. To date we have hosted events across the South with more planned later this year.
What is your next project?
I want to begin a road series under Cyrus Webb Presents where I am traveling around the country and interviewing people for a web series. It will be called “Conversation Pieces”, and if everything goes well it will begin this summer. Other than that, I will be self-publishing book one of my serialized novel BLESSED which is called IN THE BEGINNING. Details about it can be found at www.blessedbycawebb.com.
What do you want your life to stand for?
Another great question, Marta, and I thank you for it. I want my life to show what is possible for all of us, regardless of where you live, what you look like and who you believe yourself to be. The only thing that I believe is impossible are the things you dare not do.
Where can people find out more about you Cyrus?
Cyrus A. Webb, http://www.cyruswebbpresents.com
Conversations Radio http://www.conversationsliveradio.com
Conversations Book Club, http://conversationsbookclub.blogspot.com
Conversations Magazine, http://www.conversationsmag.com
Thank you Cyrus for taking the time to speak a bit about you, your dreams, and your projects. I hope when you take your tour we will get a chance to meet.
It is a pleasure to welcome Lori A. Moore.
1. )What book are you reading now? Great Expectations
5.What fact about your life would you like to share with your readers? This middle-age woman likes rap music.
6.If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be, and why? Although I’ve visited all 50 states in the USA as well as 30 other countries, there are dozens of additional places I’d like to see.
Right off the top of my head I’d say Germany because it’s the only other language I can speak.
7.Do you have any hobbies (other than writing)? As I mentioned before, I love to travel. I’m also getting pretty good at photography, which I enjoy immensely.
8.Are you working on any other books? Tell us about them. Yes, my children’s book is releasing soon, so now I’m writing a thriller fiction with a female serial killer.
9.What do you enjoy most about writing? Writing is like traveling, it takes you away from your everyday routine.
10.What other authors have inspired you? Liz Curtis Higgs, Andy Andrews.
11.Do you have a link where we can purchase your books or read more about you? http://www.LoriBooks.com
Thank you Lori for taking the time to answer a few questions. I wish you much success.
Books by Lori Moore
Grady the Gray Cat Gets Adopted
Hannah the Hedgehog Goes to Heaven
From Zero to Christian in Just 35 Years
Missing Andy: The Journey From Grief to Joy
LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF HIDDEN NEW JERSEY.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It is a wonderfully illustrated trip through both the history and the sites of New Jersey.
When Hazel Mitchell agreed to let me feature her and her new book on my website I was honored. I was even more thrilled when she agreed to answer a few questions.
1.) Are you and Linda considering doing all fifty states?
Two states have been done previously (Ohio and Michigan) and these were by different authors and illustrators, sot hat would be totally up to the publisher. Would be fun though!
2.) What made you decide upon New Jersey?
I was approached by the publisher at Mackinac Island Press, so the choice had nothing to do with me I am afraid. My hubby is from NJ though, so that helped along the way when I had questions to ask.
3.) How long did it take you to decide on the proper Illustration to go in each group on each page?
I received the manuscript with all the different facts for each page as researched by the author Linda Barth. I then looked at hundreds of pictures for the elements and made sketches as to how I could put all the elements together. I didn't have the time or resources to visit them all! The publisher approved my notes and sketches and then I drew the final images and coloured them. Each page took about 2 weeks.
4.) Where do you see the biggest market for Hidden New Jersey?
Well, definitely in New Jersey .. but this is a book that will be useful to all children in the USA and worldwide to teach them more about the history and the
geography of the third state.
5.) Do you believe as I do that it can be used in teaching the elementary
history of the state?
Absolutely! It's full of great facts!
I had the delight of being able to read. I must say even as an adult I enjoyed this little book. Hidden New Jersey by Linda J. Barth and Illustrated by Hazell Mitchell take the reader and the child on a magical trip to the shores of New Jersey. Teaching both the history and the ambience of the state. It taught me some really wonderful things about New Jersey, that I didn't know. I may need to take a trip and explore the many things it has to offer.
Each page holds a treasure trove to delight the young reader. It also gives them games to play making the book even more entertaining.
There are little rhyming verses that help to keep a child continually thrilled to return to this little gem.
Hazel Mitchell's beautiful color Illustrations are true works of art. They bring the history and wondrous joys that are New Jersey to life.
To say that Hazel Mitchell's Illustrations are just that is an understatement. The Illustrations are a delight to the eye and to the mind as you wander through each page learning about the history and what you can see and do in the state.So come on down and paddle your way through the joys.
You can find out more about Hazel at the following links.
my website - hazelmitchell.com
my blog - hazelmitchell.blogspot.com
on twitter @TheWackyBrit
the book trailer -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuXJfjc-Dgo
Or you can find her on Facebook and Google +.
Available @ Amazon.com
I am privileged to share a guest blog with you from my friend Robert Walker. I first met Robert on Facebook a couple of year ago.
Since then I have read and enjoyed his wisdom, insights, humor and books. He is a warm and delightful, man as well as a talented author. He shares freely his wisdom, kindness and knowledge with all who wish to partake of his words.
His books are a delight to read full of twists, turns and suspense. I consider myBravo to my friend and thank you for taking the time to join me.
I am privileged to share a guest blog with you from my friend Robert Walker. I first met Robert on Facebook a couple of year ago. Since then I have read and enjoyed his wisdom, insights, humor and books. He is a warm and delightful, man as well as a talented author. He shares freely his wisdom, kindness and knowledge with all who wish to partake of his words.
His books are a delight to read full of twists, turns and suspense. Bravo to my friend and thank you for taking the time to join me.
Great FICTION Can Be Stranger & Stronger Than FACT…or: Can a Story be More Useful than the Truth?
It slays me every time on the news or talk shows some bozo uses a trite phrase, but in particular this one – "Aww…that's just fiction." or "We're talking fiction here" and always with disdain for fiction and story and storytellers, when in fact there are few things on the planet as powerful as a story example to prove a truth. The same attitude is three-fold in academic circles when your colleagues learn that you not only write fiction but OMG – genre fiction. If it isn’t what they consider to be “literature” (which is in the eye of the beholder) then your colleagues and even your bosses diminish your fiction titles with such phrases as, “Oh, yeah, he’s published a novel, but it’s just genre fiction—one of Rob’s types of books, likely just a fluff-piece mystery.”
I have gotten this sort of response at every college or school I’ve ever worked at rather than gaining support in such circles, and sadly, in a teaching career spanning over 30+ years, I have heard this kind of put-down of my fiction for a long, long time now. Honestly, this attitude toward genre fiction in particular is not unusual. There is an unspoken belief on the part of academics that if they wished to waste their time any one of them could do what I do in terms of writing a horror or suspense novel.
A professor across the corridor from me writes a novel based on the life of Jane Austen and it is given high praise among our peers, and instantly stamped “literature”; I write a fast-paced historical thriller set in Chicago in 1893 and it is just another novel to throw on the stack. Admittedly, I have a large stack, some fifty published works to the single title about Jane
Austen, so I am surely looking like the ‘hack’ writer of the department, but I will tell you this: it takes an enormous amount of research, writing, editing, proofing, rewriting, more research, more editing, more writing to craft any novel, and we who write genre fiction, we work like dogs.
We work as hard if not harder than the person who labors for ten years over a so-called “literary work of genius” conceived first as a thesis.
In our own way, we successful genre authors are also creating works of genius in the sense that we know our tools and use them with skill unmatched by so many “classics” that are in fact chockfull of boredom, books with what I call a straight line to nowhere like the straight line you find on the monitor hooked to a dead patient. We genre authors know our field, we know what moves people, what prompts a reader to turn pages and even finish the book, no matter its length. We know how to create a real seismograph of action, no straight line dead chapter after chapter of inner monologue or passive descriptions that lose sight of actors
and action on the page or ‘stage’ if you will.
I cannot tell you how many so-called “literary classics” are read via Clift Notes and the book itself remains unfinished. This is certainly the case with Moby Dick, most of the works of Dickens, especially Bleak House (what a bleak book). Even my hero and spiritual mentor and guru, Mark Twain’s most famous novel failed to have a proper ending, classic that it is. But then Twain in his day was closer to a ‘genre’ author than he is today in hindsight. Academics love him now but they hated him during his lifetime, and Huckleberry Finn was banned from the outset of its publication not for the word nigger but for the fact his heroes were the
uneducated orphan and the runaway slave—the vulgarity of the whole of it, just SHOCKING to the sentiments of the day. Twain, Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Alexander Dumas, Shakespeare,Victor Hugo even wrote the ‘genre’ fiction of their day.
Simple as that. These writers wrote for the masses in their own time and not for academics or newscasters who may not have a clue as to what the world of fiction really, truly conveys; people who actually do not know what the word even means.
Getting back to the TV pundits and their flippant use of the word “fiction”. How can they use it as if it was interchangeable with the word LIE. Let me tell you that every honest TRUTH about the human condition and our bondage of the flesh, as well as our mental state is found in Shakespeare’s plays—his “fiction”. Fiction that predates Sigmund Freud yet is chockfull of psychoanalysis in Hamlet alone. All that we know of the human condition is found in FICTION – which is by many defined as ‘a pack of lies to prove a truth’. It comes from the Spanish word ficciones. Look it up some time.
What do you think? For me, fiction is art, and good fiction, entertaining fiction is a work of art that has taken perfect shape whether a gem of a short story, a novella, a novel, a film script, or a play. A shapely work of art which the careful author takes pains shaping—many pains over a
long-suffering time period but not ten years long-suffering, I would hope! I have taken four months to create a simple, straightforward horror novel, and on and off, I have taken years to complete other novels. Every project dictates its own time, it seems to me.
My most recent ‘horrible’ genre novel is a sequel to my Dr. Abraham Stroud, archeology meets the supernatural trilogy which I penned back in the 90s with a character I enjoy spending time with. Here in what others often consider a “schlocky” horror series, I do my utmost to make it shapely and artistic in its delivery to the reader, which is all we can hope from an author. Below is an excerpt with annotations on what I am thinking/doing at each point of the 300 word excerpt, opening pages of Bayou Wulf. The annotated opening I feel could be eye-opening and instructive of how this art of the novel works in my mind but certainly not everyone else’s.
Excerpted opening of BAYOU WULF by Robert W. Walker O N E Oasis Bayou, Oasis County, Louisiana 3:10 AM, March 14,2011 **establish setting, place, time, date immediately or as soon as possible.
There came a strange sound to Dr. Abraham Stroud’s ear, but then Stroud’s ear was always to the ground—two grounds in fact. Where he slept atop the Louisiana bayou earth made one
ground. The second came of that pesky steel plate in his head, which ‘grounded’ him in two worlds. It kept him alive in the reality other humans enjoyed, the so-called normal world, yes, but it also kept him attuned and in touch. It acted as his private, built-in, high-frequency radio to the paranormal world.**
** start in the middle of things going on NOW…establish crisis moment of drama as opening; if you can string along a metaphor (groundings in this case), do so.
K. Dawn Byrd, a talented writer. K. Dawn Byrd has several books already published. I am pleased to have her announce her new book and plans for her next ones on my blog. Thank you Dawn.
Title: This Time for Keeps
India McGuire's peaceful life is shattered when on the night of her engagement to David Richards, she comes face to face with Chase Porter, a long lost love.
India must come to terms with her overpowering feelings for Chase and choose
between David, the neighbor who says he loves her, and Chase, the man who broke her heart.
Chase's plans of leaving quietly turn to disaster when he finds that it's impossible to disappear without seeing India one last time. Feelings begin to surface that he believed buried forever and he finds himself fighting to win her back even as David struggles to hold onto her.
India longs to follow her heart, but she's been hurt too deeply. Who will she choose? The neighbor who can provide stability or the man she vowed to love forever who may once again heed to the call of the open road?
1) How did this story come to you? This story actually started as a post-WWII story about a man who goes away to war and returns many years later to find his ex-girlfriend engaged to someone else. Once I began writing, the WWII era just didn't feel right and the story became a modern day romance.
2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published. I had already published several books with Desert Breeze Publishing and when they reopened submissions, I pitched it and they reserved a spot.
3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers. 1) I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs.
2) I love sour things....pickles, lemons, sour candy.
3) I used to ride a Harley, but gave it up in order to have more time to write. (My husband always wanted to stay out way too long and take the scenic route home. He still has his bike, but I don't miss mine at all.)
4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?I'm writing the sequel to my first young adult romance, Mistaken Identity, which released in June.
Future releases are:
January 2012- Zoe
Mack and the Secret of the Love Letters (the first book in a college-age mystery
series that's heavy on the romance)
April 2012- Shattered Identity (young adult sequel to Mistaken Identity)
June 2012- Zoe Mack and the Case of Fatal Attraction
December 2012- Zoe Mack (Book #3- not yet titled)
5) Parting comments? Thank you for hosting me! For those of you who love Christian fiction, please
check my blog for weekly book giveaways. I interview 3-5 authors a week who give away their books. www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com
6) Where can fans find you on the internet? Links:
I'm also on Twitter (kdawnbyrd) and facebook (K
Dawn Byrd.) I am the moderator of the Christian Fiction Gathering facebook group
Thank you I have enjoyed having you visit. I wish you continued success.
With the greatest pleasure, I'm introducing you to one of the most compassionate, tolerant and wonderful women I know, Elle Amberley.
Since reading her first blog post, I have known that Elle is a woman that I will never forget. She has added to and changed my life.
Thank you for taking the time and honoring me with this interview. Hugs
1.) I understand you have lived in several countries, which countries did you live in?
I have lived in almost every Western European country there is, America and Australia.
2.) Is there one thing you liked about particular country more than another or something you learned by living in different places?
I love France and never quite understood why we kept moving around when it my was my mother’s favourite country. I loved the language and the culture which I assimilitated very quickly. I also love Italy, it’s such a wonderful country and its inhabitants are so friendly and welcoming. Australia wooed me as a twenty-something.
America was a big turning point, provided an escape. It was also a culture shock. I loved the friendliness of Californians even if I didn’t always like what I saw, especially how some viewed homeless people. My stint in California inspired my latest novel.
3.) When writing about women’s and children’s issues what do you like to focus on? Is there a particular thing you like to bring attention to?
General injustice and anything related to abuse. I’m a firm believer in equality, so yes I am a feminist in the sense I believe women and men should have the same opportunities and rights.
4.) I too love all different styles and types of music, from the classics, big bands to today’s new
artists. What kind of music moves you the most and do you use music when you write?
I’m an intense type of person, I like big emotions. I like to be surprised, a dramatic change of rhythms for example. I always say two things saved me while growing up; books and music.
I love different styles but a few years ago I found the whole package. We have a program on the British radio called “Desert Island Disc” in which a celebrity discusses music tastes and what they would take with them if stranded on a desert island. No hesitation for me.
5.) I understand you write in both French and English, what do you find to be the main difference between writing a story in French or English?
Writing in French came as a shock to me. It followed a trauma and a new person coming into my life, the person who understands me the most.
I had not managed to talk to anybody about this. This happened on a particularly dark day when I was torn between decisions; he simply sat at me his desk and placed a pen in my hand. The whole sorry tale poured out in minutes, in French and through tears, and in the form of poems. I stared at it afterwards, shocked but liberated.
I love writing in French, I’ve developed a whole
new style which I suppose is fitting since I like variety.
6.) Most people hide something about themselves from others and many write under an assumed name. Is there a particular meaning behind your pen name?
There is a rather personal one. I’ve heard a lot of pros and cons regarding pen names, sometimes people judge without knowing the full reasons. Noms de plume are nothing new, it’s a choice we make. Sometimes we have to hide for good reasons; living in fear is never fun.
7.) Will you tell us a bit about your new novel“Nowhere Left to Hide,” when it will be available and where we can find it?
Signed copies will be available through my
website. Otherwise all usual channels and Amazon of course, either in paperback or as an ebook.
The story follows Natasha Parker, a British
student, as she is offered the opportunity to study in California. She jumps at the chance to leave her childhood ghosts behind her and once in America finds friendship and love. The question is: can she really let go? And what happens when her visa runs out?
8.) If you could change one thing about the world or how we deal with each other what would it be?
Injustice would cover it, people going hungry, homeless, racism and abuse of any kind. How to deal with? Good question! More tolerance, more awareness, better education, more fairness.
9.) After reading so many of your posts on various blogs, your website, and The Women on the Verge I am
intrigued and astounded by your ability to show such compassion and knowledge of people. What helped you most in learning how to be so compassionate of others?
I have no idea; I am hypersensitive, same as my
children. Perhaps certain experiences have reinforced my compassion. You have a choice, always, to react to whatever happens to you. You can go into victim mode or pick yourself up.
I’m not always as tolerant as I’d like though. I also have a short temper.
I suppose I’m good at seeing things from a different angle and all too often put myself in other people’s shoes. Empathy is good, there is a lack of it in our society, and too much can be emotionally shattering. Sometimes I get too angry in reaction to what I see or read, or I cry. That’s when I know I need a break and need to refocus.
10.) Where can people read your writing or contact you?
I love hearing from readers and they’re always welcome to follow me on Twitter and Facebook or email me.
There is a contact form on my website www.elleamberley.co.uk
I also regularly blog on Women On The Verge, a wonderful community where I found my voice and have shared many very personal experiences.
Thank you so much Marta, I’ve loved taking part in this interview and answering your very thoughtful questions, such a pleasure and honor. Thank you for your friendship, I hope we meet in person one day.
Elle, that would be a joy for me. I hope also to meet you in person one day. Thank you for your friendship. You honor me and I have grown since knowing you. I am looking forward to reading your book.
I have the pleasure of introducing the lovely Robbie Kaye. Robbie’s love of beauty and ability to find it in the most unusual places;
brings joy and color into our lives. Her Beauty of Wisdom project is a tribute to all of life.
Thank you Robbie for sharing your spirit and joy with us.
1.) In your interview with FabafterFifty you talk about your Beauty of Wisdom project finding you. Can you tell us a little more about what captured your imagination when you took your first photograph in the series?
The first photograph I took was “Jenny” and that orange background was amazing, along with her black turtleneck and face. I went in there thinking I would photograph something humorous. But in fact, I found that these women had more integrity that anyone could imagine. As I continued photographing I realized that what I wanted to convey was just that, their integrity… with themselves and their connection to self-care, and connection with others. And… I was looking in the mirror, if I’m lucky to get to their age and if I do, if I’m lucky enough to be as courageous and wise as they are.
2.) I have never been one to think of myself or anyone else as being a particular age. Yet I do find myself missing the days when people dressed a bit. Do you believe we as a society are
losing something by our casual attitudes toward each other, life and ourselves?
I try not to speak for an entire society; I can only speak for myself. I really feel on the fence about this, because there are days when I would really like to get dressed up and days when I would really like to dress “casually.” I would have to think about the presence of formality that is equated with dressing up… and if that represents a sense of “respect” or not… it’s all so subjective really…and probably somewhat generational… generally speaking.
3.) What have you gained by talking to these women as you were photographing them?
I’ve gained an increase in respect and admiration for them and the road they have paved. They also, keep me connected to the memories of my own grandmothers. They were very special in my life…
4.) You also write music which is heartrending, loving, and tender. Your music covers a gamut of emotions, where do you find your inspiration when writing a piece?
I find my inspiration in so many places… inside myself, in relationship to others,sometimes even politics or social issues…But mostly, I just let whatever inspires me go through me… and out of me musically… hoping to offer relatable music and poetry.
5.) I understand that you studied music; can you tell us where you studied and what is your favorite genre?
I was trained classically on piano then studied music at Georgia College and then jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I concentrated on piano and composition. I don’t really have one favorite genre… I have several… classical, jazz, blues and rock.
6.) Your photography speaks to the soul as if it was visualized music. How do you pick your subjects when not photographing for the Beauty of Wisdom project?
I’d have to say that as with Beauty and Wisdom. The subjects pick me… by intriguing me, sometimes it’s about content, or color, and many times about light… light shining in unexpected places…
7.) You have said that Georgia O’Keefe has been an influence on your work. What aspects of her work inspire yours?
I love her fearlessness in her work, her boldness and grace all at the same time... I love that while she liked to paint big, she was not precocious or ostentatious. She was humble and bold all at once, attributes I aspire to.
8.) Be it in your music, photography or your writing there is a sense of compassion, beauty and joy that shines through. What helps you most to keep this sense of wonder, joy, beauty
and compassion alive?
I suppose it is like a flower that grows out of the mud… and it remembers where it came from and how beautiful it feels to bloom in the sun and above the mud…. So in essence, remembering that I have a choice as to where I want to be helps me... In the mud or in the sun, filled with joy and love and happiness. I practice the law of attraction and read text about it and listen to excerpts of talks about it… I have been blessed with attracting mentors that teach me how to get closer to the mastery of life and being. Beautiful comrades like you, who share the journey with me and remind me of all the joy that is present in life if, I just choose to see it.
9.) Would you tell us about your dreams for the Beauty of Wisdom project?That’s easy! My dreams for Beauty and Wisdom are that I get to exhibit the photos in museums and galleries, while also having a wonderful book to accompany it. And… perhaps a documentary. Ultimately, that this work will aid in the changing of the perceptions about age and beauty. That it will offer an alternative way of thinking. So that we all can embrace the process with ease and compassion… and at the same time, creating a visibility and honoring for our elders who are already there.
10.) Where would people find your work and learn more about you? My work can be found at www.robbiekaye.com for Beauty and Wisdom and 2 other series. More work can be found at www.robbiekayegallery.com - that’s where my portraits and landscapes are as well as other work.
I am honored to introduce one of my favorite women. Ana Lewis, the founder of Women on the Verge.
Ana is an inspiration to women everywhere, bringing women together to help and support each other. Her love, joy of life and care for all those she touches shines light on us all.
On this the second anniversary of WOMEN ON THE VERGE, we are celebrating the diversity and courage of women everywhere. Thank you Ana.
Click on badge to join or visit Women on the Verge
1.) What prompted you to start Women on the Verge?
I believe in women - as nurturers, as friends, as sisters. We typically nurture and support the important people in our lives: husbands, children, parents, etc.. What happens when we nurture each other? Women on the Verge happens. We blossom, we grow and we are fed - in the same ways that we have been feeding others. It busts the stereotype of women in the competitive settings all to shreds - and I love that!
2.) Two years ago when you began Women on the Verge did you believe that it would grow to include so many women from all walks of life and all cultures?
Yes, actually I did. And I also believe that we have only begun to scratch the surface. Women thrive in a supportive atmosphere with other women. The Internet is a physical example on how we are all connected. When we exercise and feel that connection, we thrive.
3.) Did you grow up surrounded with what is the best in women, seeing firsthand that women could be nurturing to each other?
I would say yes and no to this. My mother and her sister were very close and supportive - and I always yearned for a sister for myself to have that kind of connection. My mother was also very, very good at nurturing other people, but quite frankly, she continually put herself in last place. I would have liked to see her supported in the same way she supported others. I think that it may have even lengthened her too short life (she died at the age of 46 years old).
4.) Do you see women in today’s culture being able to maintain their competitiveness while still sustaining their natural nurturing abilities?
This is such a tough question. I think we have to really, really try to remember who we are as women. We are still trying to gather our bearings in a male dominated world. What works for men is not necessarily what works for women. I think that as long as we accept ourselves and focus what makes us grow in the world, we will be able to balance support and competition. That will be a beautiful time for us and will open avenues to us that we had no idea existed before as they will be brand new.
5.) Your belief that women can be more nurturing of each other has made a decided impact on thousands of women. What helped you to understand that this was what women’s true nature could become in the face of today’s society?
I simply listen to what it feels like when I nurture and when I am nurtured by others. Simple things, such as knitting a prayer shawl for one of my closest friends in celebration of being a grandmother, is a two-fold love experience: I felt love for her while doing it, she felt love in return. I think that kind of simplicity in doing what feels right, is where we need to be and put our energies.
6.) When you have your monthly radio show what message are you trying to bring to others?
We are digger deeper into our monthly topic. Plus, it's really fun for me to be able to talk to these phenomenal women. They are fearless in their opinions, they make me laugh and I admire them so much.
7.) Women on the Verge has over the last year made me laugh, cry, learn and find a keener understanding of other women’s successes trials, tribulations and joys. Each topic is geared
toward helping all women find a deeper knowledge not only of others but of themselves. How do you pick your topic of the month?
Most of the topics have been emailed to me by women in the membership. And, I agree with you so much. It seems like when we focus on a topic, I see it everywhere. The learning process has transformed me and my life.
8.) In the last two years has there been anything you would have liked done differently?
I think that my comfort zone has typically been staying in the background, quietly working by
myself and my dog at my side. Women on the Verge has been helping me come out of that comfort zone - which has been a little bit of a challenge for me. I think a couple of years ago, I put a little bit of pressure on myself to act like I am okay being "out there", when I am not always. This past year, I have learned that I can simply be myself - some days I am quiet and some days I am noisy - and the community is still going to be here - not only for me, but most
beautifully for each other. I guess it's my own lesson in self-acceptance.
9.) If you had one wish for Women on the Verge what would it be?
That we bust the ugly stereotypes to smithereens. That the daughters of tomorrow are told stories of how we actually used to compete against each other in a non-productive manner - and look how far we have grown! I hope that supporting each other through our ups and downs in life become the norm and not an exception.
10.) Where would you like the movement to be year or two from now?
I would like to meet every single member in person. I would like for each of us to have our messages spread in ways that showcase how each of us can have success - not by competition, but by sisterhood. I would like for us to live our talk out loud and bask in the light of our connection and feel the strength of it every day.
Thank you Marta! You have truly made me think. :)