Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Author Interview: ‘They Lived They Were at Brighton Beach’ by Iván Brave

About the Book:

Amid loss, hope, and despair, They Lived They Were . . . is a story about the power to move on.

It begins with a show at Brighton Beach, New York, where Ilya Gagarin performs a set of original dance music to a crowd of loyal fans. They know him as a rising internet star, only 22 years old, and the resident DJ at one of Brooklyn’s sauciest nightclubs. And yet, at the apex of this performance, a text comes in from his girlfriend who just happened to find his stash of coke and crushed prescription pills. Feeling betrayed for the last time, she leaves him. Deletes him. And goes on to have her own successful career as a blues guitarist.

The rest of the summer becomes a struggle to get her back.

The best way and only way Ilya knows how is to launch the debut EP he has been putting off. Unfortunately for the DJ, the club where he works at teeters on fiscal collapse, plus the security manager is a jerk, blocking his every chance for a release party. Only a has-been, mentor-type DJ, encourages Ilya to finish the project, and share it with the world.

As he works towards his dream, the pressure to succeed, paired with the growing pains of a professional artist, reveals a dark truth: the loss of his mother. Soon, recurring nightmares haunt the DJ, alongside distant childhood memories. Only the power of music, together with an urge to regain his abandoned Russian heritage, both of which are described passionately in his journal, keep him afloat week after week.

Soon, Ilya meets a real life guardian angel. Someone twice his age, and Russian, too: the ethereal yet grounded Julia Levina, a celebrated news anchor with her own troubled past. She inspires him to finish the album and land a date for the launch. By midsummer, her pity turns to empathy, which itself turns into something more. An affair ensues. A smart one, they convince themselves, since it doesn’t implicate her 6 year old child, nor pull Ilya astray from the path he believes will win back his ex-girlfriend’s heart.

Close to the date of the show, however, the DJ suffers a relapse, this time with dire consequences. He isn’t able to finish the album in time for the launch party, which comes and goes, and culminates in even more tragedy. Though things look gloomy, it does serve as the reality check that concludes the misguided affair and ends his substance abuse. But not before one final twist.

 

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Purchase Links:

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Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

It’s easy to look back and make sense of things in retrospect. Yet this remains a particularly poignant question for all writers. That’s probably why it is number one, no? My answer: it was during a quiet night in the fall of 2013, in Austin, Texas, bored and with nothing going for me in life, that I put together a one-page story about a father and a son. And everything feel into place. I felt so good after writing that page that I saw myself doing it the rest of my life.

Surely, for one ridiculous spark of creativity to have determined the course of my life, should tell you a little about who I am J

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Currently it’s the hour between breakfast and starting my full-time job. It’s untouchable, and non-negotiable. I would say, in general, those are always my favorite times to write: quiet hours that no one can take away from me. Writing is sacred to me. As for “place” I have always preferred my bedroom. Cafes and libraries don’t really do it for me. I suspect this is for the same reason as “time,” because my writing place must be wholly mine.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Well, to paraphrase the fantasy author Ms Riley (www.readingnook84.wordpress.com/2020/02/24/author-interview-secrets-of-the-sanctuary-by-octavia-j-riley), who you interviewed earlier this year, I would say the majority of my ideas just come to me. It’s like a little voice in my head or heart, that I trust more than I trust myself sometimes. “Try this,” it says. I reply, Uh ok, and go for it. It might be a small image or a loud first line that comes. Other times it is a whole character. Rarely is the idea a whole book. Except when it is, like with my current writing project, then I must begin from the big picture and work my way down, painfully seeking sentences, chapters, ideas, which may or may not come.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

My guiding rule is to try something different every time I embark on a new story. So I’ve done it both ways. Why not? I certainly don’t feel like I’ve nailed the perfect recipe down, so I am still apprenticing in a lot of ways. But, think of it this way, even if we did stumble upon the ultra-formula, why would we stick to it? I would get bored cooking the same food in the same way every night. So it is with preparing a story, and enjoying it too.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Ahem! Literary Realism, something like that. Now, look, I know the Reading Nook finds its origins in Romance, Paranormal, and Fantasy . . . and I quietly whisper that those are not my forte so to speak. Nevertheless, I have always been drawn to the fantastical, to the para-freaky, and to love. The type of fiction that draws me, then, is the one which borrow elements from Genre and employs them in a General Fiction way. For example, instead of a school of wizards with a wand-wielding professor, I prefer a normal university setting with a professor whose lessons are so honest they pierce you like a lightning bolt. Instead of a werewolf who tears his victim to shreds in the middle of the night, I am haunted by the image of a hairy chested stud who breaks a young girl’s heart with his words on the night of a full moon. Etc.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I always told myself that I would want to ask the production house to hire fresh, never before seen actors, like first-time stars. The thought that my book launches someone’s career is just too attractive :). But heck, since we’re at it, in my latest book there are a ton of celebrity artists, so book them all for the script! And because I recently found out about her living in Romania, for the female true love interest at the end of the book, let’s hire Antonia Iacobescu. She would really make the audience hate the protagonist for ignoring her the whole story!

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Do I read much huh? Even if I didn’t I wouldn’t be caught dead in the Nook saying something as deplorable as “I don’t read”!!! In fact, I can’t read enough!! Between writing, a full-time job, and spending quality time with my wife, it is an absolute necessity to carve out those quit 30 mins here and there to read. So yes, I do. On top of trying! In the most ideal of situations, however, I am able to go cover-to-cover on a normal book in 4-5 days if non-fiction, or 6-7 days if fiction. While a Gone With The Wind type novel may take 4-5 weeks.

Favor authors, in order of when they captivated me are Bukowski, Cortázar, and Tolstoy.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m currently reading Natsume Soseki’s I Am a Cat, the story of a nameless cat living with a middle-class family during early 1900s Japan, which if you may recall was a wild time for the country. The early chapters are kind of slow, but by the middle the book really, really picks up (isn’t that rare?). So good. I highly recommend it for anyone who find cats interesting, and would thus find their thoughts on humans hilarious.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I’m kind of like the kid from Perks of Being a Wall Flower who says his favorite book is the one he’s currently reading. But if I were pressed to pick just one, that had a huge impact on me and which I reread over and over, then I would say The Little Prince. So realistic, right?

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I had to read your question like three times to come up with an answer. And it is this: “Stop thinking. Start writing.”

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Down below are all the links I use, but my favorite right now is my own blog. It used to be Instagram, because I loved making picture collages and wordplaying descriptions . . . but for now my blog is the best place to keep up with me and find out more.

Website: www.ivanbrave.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ivan.brave.author

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ivanbrave_

About the Author:

Iván Brave lives in Bucharest, Romania, where he writes poetry, reviews and novels, as well as promotes language learning in multinational corporations. He graduated from The New School in NYC with an MFA in Creative Writing, after earning a Bachelor in Philosophy from The University of Texas at Austin. Language, multiculturalism, and love, or anything that connects, are the themes dearest to his heart. In addition to winning prizes, such as the Writing Award from The Vera List Center for Arts and Politics, his writings have appeared in literary publications like The American Scholar and The Acentos Review. Iván’s second novel, They Lived They Were at Brighton Beach, is out June 16th 2020.

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Author Interview: ‘Faces of Villain’ by Zachary Yaple

About the Book:

A hallucinatory and multifaceted novella, that uses rhyme and near rhyme, metaphor and surrealism to bring forth a story where each layer reveals an underlying tale of cognitive dissonance.

A melding of two juxtaposed stories, we first meet Jack Trade. Rejecting his late father’s desires for him to become a carpenter, Jack Trade becomes a thief instead. On more than one occasion, Trade is caught but always manages to escape. Although he is a thief, the townspeople grow to love him for his evasion of the law, even to his almost inevitable and inescapable end. In the second strand, John Teefer, a personification of Trade’s consciousness, wakes up on an island. Teefer is rescued by a reclusive old man and meets other characters; each one representing different personifications of Jack Trade. As the adventure proceeds, Teefer slowly discovers his true identity.

With deep subtext, Faces of Villain allows the reader to further understand the characters’ mindscape by solving puzzles between chapters.

 

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I wasn’t always interested in writing. Early in life I daydreamed quite a bit. I could spend hours daydreaming with no people or objects to keep me occupied. This perspective would later be the foundation of my stream-of-consciousness approach to writing. Fast forward to my early adulthood: I discovered how to make people laugh by making assumptions about what people expect in given contexts. This method gave me confidence in my assumptions about how people think. It was during my master’s degree in which I started to write. I purchased a blank book and decided to note particular assumptions about people or about my own emotions towards people. I then extrapolated these assumptions to create archetypes, which accumulated into characters. By amalgamating phrases, assumptions and attitudes stories began to form. This was and still is my process of planning a story. My writing style had a different development altogether.

During my PhD I partnered up with a musician and created a music duo “dogplaydead”. It was during this time that I developed lyrical writing. Whether it was to explore, experiment or develop my lyrical abilities, I began a practice to free write while ending in rhyme. By discovering this fondness to rhyme, I combined creative writing with lyrical writing.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Not a particular place or time but usually when I am alone. At times I find that working away from home in my office helps me obtain motivation. A lot of thinking and planning happens before I write. This thinking/planning occurs in between events, such as travelling to/from work.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

The best ideas come naturally and passively; from the subconscious. Either in a dream, daydream, during an emotional outburst, in a meditative trance or an altered states of consciousness. Free writing is another way and can also lead you to strange places. Idea formation is not a problem for me. I would say that getting the motivation to start writing, the application of the ideas, is the most cumbersome part of writing.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

This question is similar to an analogy I recently heard to describe two forms of writing. The architect approach is a method that involves planning each and every step while the gardener approach allows the story to write itself. I prefer the former method in the beginning of planning a story, but as new ideas come I adopt to the latter. Sometimes initial ideas can impede with new ideas along the way, so it is important to be open minded and not hesitate to edit the content of the story. Many times, I’ve had to merge and split stories or remove characters simply because I thought of a better ending or decided that a character was no longer needed. This is something, I imagine, most writers avoid because the time and effort spent seems wasted when deciding to remove large sections of a manuscript. Although much slower, using this method allows you to be flexible and reduces writers block. Too much planning can lead to obstacles further down the road.

Another point is that I try to give depth to a story. My method is that I try to make connections between chapters, but not necessary in a linear order. This gives excerpts a sense of meaning when referred to in multiple chapters (or books). Familiarity as well as novelty are equally important for creating subtext. Otherwise, why on earth would anyone want to re-read a novel?

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I would argue that Faces of Villain is literary fiction, as opposed to genre fiction, although some have labelled it as speculative or contemporary fiction, a combination of genres (i.e. satire, fantasy, and historical fiction, etc.). I am not partial to a particular genre. In addition to potential sequels to Faces of Villain, I am concurrently working on a fantasy and a horror novel.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

For a film? Tom Hardy would be a good fit for John Teefer.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I don’t read too much and I don’t have a particular favourite author. I find inspiration in lyrical writing. I think Ian Dury and Trent Raznor are very talented lyricists.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

A Storm of Swords, by George RR Martin

9: What is your favourite book and why?

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Burgess spent a short time in Russia and created his own dialect by combining Russian vocabulary with Shakespearean syntax, structured in a London cockney manner. The idea itself as well as the sound of the language is cheeky and rebellious. I read the book while living in Moscow so it was the perfect book to read at that time. This book inspired Faces of Villain, and I’m very tempted to reproduce my own story using Nadsat, perhaps later down the road.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Explore the boundaries of humanity. Ask what those boundaries are. Use your imagination when those boundaries become illegal.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

You can explore my music on soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/dogplaydead

 

About the Author:

Raised in the UK, Zachary Yaple’s writing style developed during his PhD within Cognitive Neuroscience. He has published multiple non-fiction manuscripts and now lives and works in Singapore.

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Author Interview: ‘The Seventh Train’ by Jackie Carreira

About the Book:

What if you can’t stand where you are because there s nothing there? What if you don t want to end up anywhere else in case that s empty too? When life has lost its road map, sometimes the only way to get back on track is to get back on the rails.

The Seventh Train is a ride – a road movie on the railways. It’s a journey that Elizabeth invented; the only original thought she has ever had in her previously uneventful life. Unbeknown to her, she is not travelling alone. If only she d pretended that the spare seat was taken.

With a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters, The Seventh Train takes its passengers on a journey from the tragic to the strange, arriving finally at hope. By turns heart-breaking, thought-provoking and hilarious, this tale is a life-affirming exploration of the human spirit via the British railway timetable!

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I grew up in the East End of London with one older brother and Portuguese parents. Times were pretty tough, and we couldn’t afford books at home. Luckily, I was taken to a public library when I was six years old, and there I discovered a whole other universe. I had no idea there was so many books in the whole world, and my local library soon became my favourite place. My first short story was published when I was still at primary school in an anthology written by Inner City children.

I continued writing, just for my own pleasure, but didn’t think of taking it up seriously at first. I didn’t really believe that working-class kids like me could ever be ‘proper’ writers. Then, I accidentally spent my twenties and early thirties as a professional musician, retiring at 32 after playing double bass for Take That at the Brit Awards (true story!). After that, I put down my bass guitar and picked up a pen. First I focused on writing plays for theatre (which I still do) because I guess I always loved the buzz of a live audience. Then I thought I would challenge myself to write a novel. This was a whole other experience, but a very satisfying one. My first novel ‘Sleeping Through War’ was published last year and received great reviews. That gave me the confidence to write a second one, and that brings us right up to date!

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Any time is a good time to write, if you’ve got something to write about! When I’m in the grip of an idea, I cannot not write, whatever time it is. My favourite places to write are cafes – preferably busy ones. ‘The Seventh Train’ was, in fact, born in a coffee shop at Paddington station in London.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere! I’m a real people watcher (and listener), so sometimes I get inspired by snatches of conversations I hear in coffee shops. Often ideas just pop into my head and I have no idea where they came from at all. I often wonder about this!

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I usually have only a rough idea of where a story is going to end up. My strength is more in writing characters than plot, so I tend to start with a character, give them a life and then see where they might want to go. Sometimes, when it’s all going really well, a character will take you somewhere that you never expected. It’s wonderful when that happens.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I’ve been told that I write ‘accessible literary fiction.’ In other words, the kind of literary fiction that you don’t need a dictionary for! The truth is, I just write stories about people. Especially ‘ordinary’ people who are really ‘extraordinary.’

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Ooh, I love this question! I fantasize about this a lot, and the cast changes from week to week, but today it would be as follows: Elizabeth played by a brilliant actress called Ann Bryson (who’s currently in a short play of mine, ‘Invisible Irene’, which is on at the Tristan Bates theatre in London in May); Ray played by David Tennant; Daniel played by Ricky Whittle; Ellie played by Sheridan Smith; and Barney played my actor husband, AJ Deane. It will probably all change by tomorrow (apart from my husband!)

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Yes, I read a lot. I think it’s very important for writers to read as widely as possible. My most favourite authors are John Steinbeck, Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut, Doris Lessing, Tove Jansson, Lewis Carroll, Neil Gaiman and Jose Saramago. Quite an eclectic mix!

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Right now I’m reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – another author that I admire for his imaginative stories.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

‘Through the Looking Glass’ by Lewis Carroll. This has been my favourite book since I was about nine years old, and I’ve read it every couple of years since. I just love how clever it is and how deliciously original his use of language was.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

The best advice I ever got was many years ago from another writer, and it is this: If you want to be a writer, you’ve got to write and write and write and write. And when you’re not writing – read! This might sound simple but it’s not easy, and it’s absolutely true. There is no shortcut. You’ve simply got to write as much as possible!

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

You can find me on Facebook: @JackieCarreiraWriter

On Twitter: @JCarreiraWriter

And on my website: www.jackiecarreira.co.uk

 

About the Author:

Jackie Carreira is a writer, musician, designer and co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre. She has twice been a winner of the Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama. Her favourite place to write is in railway cafés. The Seventh Train was born over several cappuccinos at Paddington station. This is her second novel.

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Author Interview: ‘Kaitlin’s Mooring’ by Carey V. Azzara

About the Book:

Nothing is more horrific than losing a child, nothing more joyous than the birth of one. When grief intertwines with joy, it throws the Deveau family into turmoil.

Pregnant twenty-year-old Kaitlin Deveau leaves Boston University in a hurry when Henry, her grandfather, calls from Maine with devastating news. Bereft of hope, Kaitlin’s son, Christopher, becomes a life preserver, keeping the family buoyant. Henry, now Chris’s only male role model, teaches him lessons he uses throughout life. In the end, Chris and his adopted sister, Susan, must save their parents from the fate that took his grandparents—but the outcome is uncertain.

 

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Purchase Links:

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Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

Author of four published novels, a children’s book Ready or Not, Here We Come! and numerous stories. The most recent release is the novel Kaitlin’s Mooring, a story spanning five generations of the Deveau family. The story begins with a double challenge. Nothing is more horrific than losing a child, nothing more joyous than the birth of one. When grief intertwines with joy, it throws the Deveau family into turmoil.

I think of myself as the “accidental author,” that is, while I had written countless reports and technical articles as well as a book on questionnaire design, my forte into fiction was not intentional. It grew from writing a few car stories into my first book, a collection of those stories titled: Uncommon Heroes and Cars. From there I had the bug. I am fortunate be retired and spending full time writing and speaking.

Currently, I am working on two new projects. First, a series of books for children with seven related stories for grades four and up under the title Heidi’s Hounds. Book 1: The Sick Puppy tells the story of a girl nearly eight years old and a puppy slated for the needle. She copes with moving to a new home in a new state in part by the fostering a sick puppy. Subsequent books in the series deal with her adjustment to her new community, volunteering at an animal shelter, and facing down a group of bullies. What happens next might surprise you.

The second project is a series of books for grades 6 and above, working title: The Power of Ittinidi Piishii (Apache for Lightning-Nighthawk), the tail of a young wizard, Halley, with extraordinary powers who protects New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness and its inhabitants.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Mornings and evenings are my best writing times in the quiet of my study with my dog close by. The rest of the day is spent interacting with fans, working with my editor, publicist, illustrator and publisher.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

There is no one place. Often it’s from an unexpected place, a conversation, a news report, or my life experiences. Sometimes it’s an inspiration I’ll have while sitting on my deck sipping tequila.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

At times yes and as often no, I like the characters to tell me what the story will be about and how they will behave. At other times I have a plan. I like it when I have an idea and it takes shape all in a rush as if the muse were sitting alongside me. Often that entails a beginning and on occasion and ending leaving only the work to connect the two.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I write fiction, but not in one exclusive genre. My books are about heroes, people struggling against the odds or social stigmas, and romantic involvements. I like to write about families, kids, and dogs. But I have written about lottery winners, and fantasy books about people with extraordinary powers (i.e., Halley’s Gift).

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Oh that’s a tough one; I’m not much of a casting director. If I were fortunate enough to land a movie contract I think I would leave that task to the professionals.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read when I am not writing. Reading is the best teacher. I love Mr. Twain and have reread his books especially Huckleberry Finn multiple times. I also like Curt Vonnegut and the non-fiction writer David Gaub McCullough, his book The Wright Brothers is fabulous. Recently on a whim I read Colin Cotterill’s book The Merry Misogynist and found him to be a talent writer. There are so many great authors. Too many to list here.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I started two books, Term Limits by a new author Steve Powell and Queen of Broken Hearts, by Cassandra King.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

As mentioned Huckleberry Finn has long been my favorite book, in part because the story is about justice, “the good lie” and friendship.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Writers write, so write. Write anything, just write. Beyond that make sure you employ a good editor and do not fall into the trap of thinking you can be your own editor – you cannot!

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work? 

Well of course the big ones, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Folks will also want to look at my Amazon page and my website.

Here are the links.

Website: www.careyazzara.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/carey.azzara.author

Twitter: @Carey_Azzara

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/careyvazzara

YouTube: https://youtu.be/hlA7bMa0NmI

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Carey-V.-Azzara/e/B00JCUO50A/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

About the Author:

Life is not a straight path and Azzara has had many a twist and turn during his life, losing his younger sister when he was sixteen and struggling to regain direction. Since then he has accomplished a number of goals such as the pursuit of two graduate degrees, a career in public health, VP of market research, President of a marketing company AtHeath, LLC, raising a family, and rescuing a few dogs. He has published numerous articles, reports, and books. Along the way he has had experiences that have inspired him to author the short stories in this collection. They say writers write. Azzara writes for the joy of sharing his ideas and stories with you.

Mr. Azzara is the author of three books The Lottery Curse; Halley’s Gift and Eight Other Extraordinary Tales; and Uncommon Heroes and Cars. He also has authored short stories published in Storiacous and the Anthology Swallowed by the Beast. In addition he authored the text Questionnaire Design for Business Research a technical book on marketing research practices.

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Author Interview: ‘The Quelling’ by Barbara Barrow

About the Book:

Addie and Dorian have always been together. They’re clever, beautiful–and hopelessly violent. Diagnosed with a rare psychiatric condition and accused of murder at age six, the sisters have spent most of their lives in a locked ward under the supervision of eccentric researcher Dr. Lark. Now on the cusp of adulthood, Addie has a plan: start a new family, to replace the one she lost. Dorian struggles to quell her violent tendencies in time to help raise her sister’s child.

But Dr. Lark sees these patients as key to the completion of his revolutionary cure, and he will not allow Addie’s absurd ideas to get in the way. As his “treatments” become increasingly bizarre, they put Addie and Dorian’s safety at risk. The girls’ only lifeline may be Ellie, a ward nurse with troubles of her own, who’s never felt the need to protect anyone–until now.

Harrowing and bittersweet, at times claustrophobic, this gritty debut explores the fragility of familial bonds and the sometimes intractable tension between freedom and safety.

 

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Purchase Links:

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Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I grew up in Atlanta and lived in Germany, New York, and St. Louis before moving to Pittsburgh where I work as an English professor. My dad was a taxi driver and used to take me out on rides where I used to meet interesting characters and see the city. I think this is where my love of writing started: hearing other people talk about themselves and tell stories in the taxi.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I write early in the mornings, usually from 6-8 A.M., before I take the bus to work. My desk is near the kitchen so that I can stress-eat if a scene isn’t going well.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

They come from so many places! Sometimes it’s just a conversation I have or overhear somewhere. I get a lot of inspiration from talking to people. I take public transportation and walk a lot, so I get material from being fully present in a city. I also get ideas from listening to other people’s work. My debut novel was inspired by an episode of This American Life that I heard once while I was folding laundry.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I have general ideas for characters and conflict but I am a big drafter and reviser. I usually write at least two very messy, meandering drafts before a clear plot starts to gradually take shape.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Literary fiction with a Gothic twist. I love to read and teach novels like Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea. They’re about women and hysteria and repression and madhouses, and they have these strange psychological atmospheres that I find completely eerie and fascinating and that I tried to pay homage to in the book.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I really admire Janicza Bravo’s work so basically any cast she would pick because she would be my dream director!

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read a ton. I admire so many authors but among them are Zadie Smith, J.M. Coetzee, Octavia Butler, Lorrie Moore, Sandra Cisneros, and Joy Williams.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Charlie J. Eskew’s Tales of the Astonishing Black Spark.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

This is hard for me because I have so many favourite books and whatever my current favourite is seems to change with my life circumstances. But I will name three works that make me cry every single time I read them: Leo Tolstoy’s Family Happiness, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Charlotte Brontë’s Villette.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Go for it! Establish a routine that will allow you to have a regular writing schedule of some kind. Try and become comfortable with rejection – it’s not pleasant, but it’s a part of the process. Be patient and read a lot. Build a writing community: this could mean going to readings, supporting local authors and bookstores, and/or joining or starting a writing group. I also find it helpful to read writers on writing. Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird are both wonderful.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Come say hello!

Website: www.barbarabarrow.com

Twitter: @dustyoldbagz

Facebook: www.facebook.com/barbarabarrowauthor

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/18120407.Barbara_Barrow

 

About the Author:

Barbara Barrow is a fiction writer and literary critic who adores all things feminist, fabulist, and surreal. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Cimarron Review, The Forge Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. She is Assistant Professor of English at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Follow her online at barbarabarrow.com.

 

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