Tag Archives: Sci-fi

Author Interview: ‘Dawn: Freedom Takes Fight’ by Weston Westmoreland

About the Book:

On a planet forsaken by a pan-stellar Empire in times long forgotten, old stories tell of an infamous day when swarms of imperial starships clouded the sky and abducted all able men and women. Nothing was ever known of them thereafter. The planet, known as Arweg, was left stranded, inhabited only by orphaned children, the unlearned elderly, and the helpless. Years went by, the old died, and the children grew to become adults in an ignorant world surrounded by crumbling technology they were unable to understand and much less operate. After ages of darkness, civilization reemerged to a point where a small portion of the little technology preserved in time could be worked.Two young Arwegians unearth a metallic capsule and trigger a chain-reaction. The strange pod will relay a signal into deep space and summon an immense octopus-shaped starship known as Goddess. The Empire is back, and it wants to restore Arweg to its former status as a full member of the Confederacy. It is the Dawn of a new Era. Or is it?

A voice from the past will warn the Arwegians the real purpose of the Empire is to modernize the planet only to make it suitable for a renewed colonization and slavery. Some will believe it and some will not. The Revolution has begun.

Dawn follows a small group of characters from both sides who will be drastically changed—those who survive—through war, love, loss, courage, hate, compassion, and friendship as the years go by, extreme events take place, and hope is almost the only thing left…

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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 had always seen writing as a means to express myself across the distance. I kept handwritten correspondence with several friends for years and thoroughly enjoyed both the intimacy it offered and the way writing allowed me to put my thoughts and feelings into words, thus giving me a better way to explain and therefore understand myself. I soon found out that thinking about something and explaining it in written words were two different things, and that I enjoyed the process, the extra reflective effort to dissect ideas, thoughts, feelings, and to finely define them with words. I have never stopped ever since.

The way I got into fiction writing, however, was purely coincidental. I was sitting one Sunday evening with an old friend on my porch stairs, and he started a game: a shared story. I said the first paragraph, he added a second, I added a third… the following day I simply started writing. I had never written a single short story before. It had never occurred to me. Seems like I thought I had something to tell, because it caught. Story making lets you write about anything while playing God at the same time. The power you have over your characters and their world is both exhilarating and terrible. I am always glad when my characters are doing fine, and I always have a hard time when they suffer. Even after having finished, re-reading certain paragraphs always comes at a price. I didn’t expect that. And I like it.

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

I write at any time and normally on my PC, but that’s incidental. I could write anywhere, provided I have an urge to. I never push it. When I feel I have something to say, I write. When I don’t, I do not. And when I do, neither the time of day, the place, or the distractions are a factor. Everything vanishes, the text flows, and something concrete is distilled from a general idea. It’s pretty nice.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

From everywhere? From nowhere? I don’t know. I blog about things that matter to me and write about these same things in my fiction work too, albeit metaphorically. I normally write about feelings, although I often disguise the message. In the end, I think many of us writers are just trying to fix our own worlds. I didn’t want to write a sci-fi novel, I wanted to write about the irreversible, about how we face and cope with those life-changing experiences that cannot be turned back. The characters who carried my hopes and fears just happened to live on another planet.

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?

More than a plan, I have a concept, a line of ideas or of feelings I want to explore, and a rough context in which to place it. When I started Dawn, I wrote the first part in two months. Then I stopped for five years. I had known what I wanted to say first and I had written it. I knew what was expected to happen then but I didn’t know how or why. It is like I knew the question, that was the first part, but not the answer. Took me five years to figure it out. Once I did, I wrote the second part in another two months.

The details, the little intertwinings that make the plot fresher and more interesting are the “chance” result of thinking about the story over and over again. Most of these big-little things come from the subconscious and are like tiny gifts that explode in your mind without warning. I enjoy those events quite a lot.

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

My first and only novel is Science Fiction. I have a non-fiction book almost finished and have started a third work, a prehistorical fiction novel. The reason why I picked sci-fi is quite simple. I wanted to tell a story, but I didn’t want to burden myself with the documentation effort it would take to properly fit it in any given time-period. Sci-fi allowed me to start from scratch. Later on it turned out I extremely enjoyed adding to the sci-fi part of the story, but that is something I didn’t expect in advance, although I do read sci-fi with certain frequency.

My next novel is all about documentation. It’s a long term project, hopefully to be finished. It’s yet to be determined if I will be up to the task.

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

Ha ha ha that’s a nice question. I do not know. All my characters have faces of their own, of course, but they do not always come from real people. Brod is a guy I know, Mara takes after a marvel comic hero called Longshot, Arlet might look like Marvel’s classic Dr. Strange (comic, not movie). Dunali comes from several women, Arzo Barr could be Rob Reiner with black hair, General Suwen could be Lee Van Cleef, or a short haired Dr. Gero from Dragon Ball.

If you push me, Jared Leto/Jake Gyllenhaal could be Brod, Eddie Redmayne/Tom Holland could be Mara, Marion Cotillard could be Dunali, James Franco could be Arlet, and Emma Stone could be Rora. I’d love to have Clint Eastwood for General Trop or the Pilgrim.

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

I don’t read much but I read all the time. I do not have favorite authors, I have favorite books. My top 30 books are probably from 25 different writers. I could name Patrick O’Bryan as the author of my most loved historical novel saga, I read all Stephen King in my youth, but not anymore.

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

Right now I am reading Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown. Just finished Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan and Two Westerns by Forrest Carter. I spent the winter and spring either aboard WW2 U-boats or in the Eastern Front, which I didn’t know much about.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

If I have to choose a novel, it would be Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey Maturin saga. There are so many reasons. I love the history period, absolutely love the main characters and how you accompany them as they get on in age along the 21 books. I find the way O’Brian depicts tall-ship warfare fascinating, and I love the kindness and the humor of the author’s tone. So much more than frigates shooting canon. It would be Frank Herbert for SF, Tolkien and Abercrombie for fantasy… I read a lot of non-fiction and the books and authors are simply unaccountable. You can learn more through my Goodreads page.

If you want an unfair list, apart from the mentioned ones, I could Add One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, To Kill a Mockingbird, Life of Pi, Flowers for Algernon, The Physician, Aztec, The Journeyer, Shogun, With the Old Breed, Russia’s War, Guns, Germs and Steel, Q, A higher Call, I am Legend, Gates of Fire, It, White Fang, The Hitchhicker’s guide to the galaxy, Cryptonomicon, Hyperion, Armor, Band of Brothers, The Chosen Species… and comics…

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

That’s pretty simple. Stop thinking and start writing. Go one step at a time, get your idea, put it down black on white, and finish it (the hardest part). If you enjoyed the process, repeat freely as often as you want. If you are asking about becoming a selling author, now that is a totally different issue that has not much to do with writing.

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

I am not a very dedicated social media inhabitant. I tweet now and then and I blog, or used to (always depending on me having something to say). I also have a web-page, but it is a store for my work as a freelance photographer, not to my writing. My FB is next to nonexistent.

Website: www.WestonWestmoreland.com

Blog: www.InspiringThoughtsAndImages.com

Twitter: @WWstmoreland

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/16893100.Weston_Westmoreland

 

 

 

About the Author:

Weston Westmoreland was born in the spring of 1972. He is married and father of two kids.

Weston earns a living working by himself as an engineer, teacher, and freelance photographer, but not from writing. In all honesty, even though he enjoys writing in different forums and used to blog every now and then, he does not see himself as a fiction writer. Dawn is his first work of this kind, which is the reason why he invested in it far more effort and love than it probably deserved.

Avid reader, lone traveler, slow trail-runner, passionate photographer, terrible guitarist and worse singer, amateur modeler, persistent sketcher, weekend trekker, occasional painter and sculptor, self-taught gardener, committed father and husband, and first of all, a curious man… you can learn more about the way Weston sees life through his old but still current blog.

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Author Interview: ‘Mr Either/Or’ by Aaron Poochigian

About the Book:

Aaron Poochigian’s Mr. Either/Or is an ingenious debut, a verse novel melding American mythology, noir thriller, and classical epic into gritty rhythms, foreboding overtones, and groovy jams surrounding the reader in a surreal atmosphere. Imagine Byron’s Don Juan on a high-stakes romp through a Raymond Chandler novel. Think Hamlet in Manhattan with a license to kill.

Aaron Poochigian earned a PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. His book of translations from Sappho, Stung With Love, was published in 2009. The Cosmic Purr, a book of original poetry, was published in 2012.

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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?

In high-school I was all about music—my band, musical theory, songwriting—but as soon as I took a poetry class in college, the rhythms and sounds of language re-focused my creative impulses. I had a sort of religious experience during my Freshman year. I was reading the opening lines of Vergil’s Aeneid in Latin—Arma virumqute cano. . . Though I didn’t know the language, I was so moved that the sky became brighter and everything became clear: I should learn the Classical Languages and spend the rest of my life writing poetry. That’s what I have done. No regrets. I guess I’m lucky in that I never had a phase when I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.

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

I write best in the morning at my favorite coffee shop. My mind is at its loosest and most open. The sentences arise on their own without any effort on my part. Writing full-time, I often have to push through afternoon doldrums with lots of caffeine and sugar. Sometimes evenings are productive for me as well but, ah, what would I do without those fertile mornings?

Yes, the words come easy sometimes but, of course, they often do not. Here’s some advice for writers—if you are committed, make yourself do it, even if you aren’t in the mood. Treat writing as an obligation, like any other job. You have to put your hours in. Breakthroughs can happen at any time, even during the dull, slow afternoon hours—don’t lose your chance to have one.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

A good question. Where do my ideas come from? Out of my curious mind and out of all that I have read, yes, those and out of daily experiences—the doppler sound of traffic passing in front of my house, the sheen the barista’s mop leaves on the floor at the coffee shop, out of the crazy junk in my backyard and backlot, out of the many, many places I have lived. You’ve got these lines from Yeats’ “The Circus Animals’ Desertion” running through my head:

A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.

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?

When writing poetry, I usually let the poem crystallize around phrases and rhythms I have put in a word.doc. I just play around until something happens. “Mr. Either/Or,” however, is narrative, so I took the time to story-board the entire plot. I then created one word.doc for each plot event and allowed myself to go crazy creatively in each file, so long as I also narrated that one plot event. I then fitted all the files together into the whole narrative and polished the transitions. That way, I found I was able to get the story told while still giving myself freedom for creativity.

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

“Mr. Either/Or” brings together all of my great loves—epic poetry, genre fiction (noir and thriller), action films and Americana. I really don’t know what to call it—sometimes I call it a thriller, sometimes urban fantasy, sometimes an epic poem. I guess I see “Mr. Either/Or” as reviving the genre of the verse adventure-story (à la Homer’s Odyssey and Byron’s Don Juan). It alternates between free-rhymed iambic pentameter and the pounding alliterative verse of Beowulf, so that the poetic rhythms cue the action like the soundtrack to a film. Yes, the book has its own soundtrack built in.

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

For the hero, “you,” Zach Berzinski superspy, Chris Pratt, who plays Star-Lord in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, would be perfect. I would love to see Lynn Chen from “Saving Face” playing the heroine Li-ling Levine. And, oh, for the old spy “handler,” Zero Zero One, please, please give me Jonathan Lithgow.

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

I do spend more time writing than reading nowadays. I’m trying to break myself of my habit of simply re-reading my favorite poets and writers—W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden, Raymond Chandler, P.G. Wodehouse. I find myself returning to their books as if they were so many Bibles to guide my career.

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

This week I am reading “Portnoy’s Complaint” by Philip Roth and a poetry collection by Adrianne Rich. I would be reading the new Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child (love that series) but I am cheap and thus waiting for it to come out in paperback.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

My favorite novel is Thomas Pynchon’s “The Crying of Lot 49.” It was another major model for “Mr. Either/Or.” It taught me that the needs of the plot need not restrict wild creativity. The writer should never be merely telling the story—he/she should do that, of course, and do it well but always at the same time be enjoying him/herself creatively. Pynchon’s novel is a mad whirlwind of a thing, a boundless conspiracy theory. I highly recommend it.

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

I’m afraid that I won’t be able to give anything more than boilerplate advice: craft, craft, craft. Work, work, work. Force yourself to know boring subjects like grammar backwards and forwards, so well, in fact, that you don’t have to think about them any longer. The time you spend early on studying grammar, for example, will pay off down the line, I promise, by making you a clearer and more efficient writer. Preachy, boring advice, I know, but it’s sincere as Hell.

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

I’m big on Facebook—I have 5,000 friends and quite a few people following me. Facebook has been very good at fostering literary communities at the local and national levels. It’s also a good place to learn about events such as readings and giveaways. I have even gotten in the habit of posting my most topical new poems on Facebook—my profile page has become its own literary venue.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aaron.poochigian

Website: www.mreitheror.com

About the Author:

Aaron Poochigian earned a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Minnesota in 2006 and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Columbia University in 2016. His book of translations from Sappho, Stung With Love, was published by Penguin Classics in 2009, and a translation of Apollonius’ Jason and the Argonauts was released October 2014. For this work in translation he was awarded a 2010-2011 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Cosmic Purr, (Able Muse Press), a book of original poetry was published in 2012, and many of the poems in it collectively won the New England Poetry Club’s Daniel Varoujan Prize. Poochigian’s work has appeared in such journals as The GuardianPoems Out Loud and POETRY.

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Author Interview: ‘The World Without Crows’ by Ben Lyle Bedard

About the Book:

In 1990, the world ended. A disease turned people into walking shells of themselves. Zombies. Most of them were harmless, but some were broken by the pressure of the disease. The cracked became ravenous killers whose bite infected. To escape the apocalypse, Eric, a young, overweight boy of 16, sets off on a journey across the United States. His plan is to hike from Ohio to an island in Maine, far from the ruins of cities, where the lake and the fierce winters will protect him from both Zombies and the gangs that roam the country. Along the way, Eric finds friends and enemies, hope and despair, love and hatred. The World Without Crows is the story of what he must become to survive. For him and the people he would come to love, the end is only the beginning.

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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’m from Buckfield, Maine, a small rural town in Maine, and somehow, I ended up in La Serena, Chile (Go figure). I think what got me into writing was great books. I love books and I’ve always wanted to create a really good one.

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

I like to write in the morning, at my desk. I always listen to music as I write, anything without lyrics. Lyrics distract me.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I get many ideas in that strange space between sleep and wakefulness. I also get many ideas while I’m writing. The story seems to lead places and I go there. I think ideas are pretty easy though. The real problem is working them out so that they are interesting and there’s a reason to be telling them. You can have the best idea for a novel in the world, but if you don’t write it well, no one will want to read it. And you can have a boring idea and be such a great writer that it doesn’t matter, it’s going to be a great book. Great stories are about people, not plots.

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?

Both. I plan out my story before I write. I do a lot of research. I do character sketches and back stories. I spend many weeks with the plot of story before I begin actually writing it. In my last book, “The World Without Crows,” my protagonist has to hike across the Northeast of the United States to escape the ravages of the apocalypse. By hiking, he hopes to avoid the gangs who own the roads. Before I began the book, I knew exactly where he’d be at the end of each chapter, how much he could hike each day, and even went on Google Street View to walk where he walked that day sometimes. So that book has a lot of detail that it might not have had if I just winged it. However, when I do finally start writing, I let the book take me where it wants to go. If it breaks the plan I had, I don’t mind.

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

I like many genres! My latest book is science fiction/post apocalypse. It’s set in the year 1990 when a disease called the Vaca Beber is introduced and spreads across the globe. But my last trilogy was pure science fiction, a kind of western set in the future on the distant planet of Damodara. I plan to write in other genres too. It really depends on my idea.

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

Great question! I think many of the characters should be unknown actors, but there is one character I would love to be played by John Goodman. His name is Carl Doyle and he’s an Ohio native with a fake English accent who drives around in a Land Rover and quotes Winston Churchill. John Goodman would nail Carl Doyle, I’m sure.

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

I read all the time, sometimes several books at once, though I don’t recommend it. I have so many favorite authors, it’s hard to start! I loved Tolkien as a child, but then I stopped reading fantasy. Lately I’ve started again, and I’m a big fan of Patrick Rothfuss, George RR Martin, and Joe Abercrombie. Other writers I really love are Cormac McCarthy, Isabel Allende, Jane Austen, and Stephen King. So many wonderful books!

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

Right now I’m reading “The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller, another post apocalypse book that I’m enjoying. There’s a very interesting relationship in the book that’s fascinating to follow. (I won’t ruin it.)

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I can’t say I have a favorite book. I love so many books. Lately, because of the new show on Netflix, I’ve been thinking about Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables.” I think that’s such a great book. It’s a good example of a book being all about character and not about story idea at all. There are a million stories of orphans, but that’s not why that book is a classic. It’s all about Anne Shirley. There’s a lot for a writer to learn from that book.

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

Read. Don’t fall into the trap of having one particular genre that you like. Read a lot of books from different genres. Every genre has its masterpiece. Try to read them, and don’t be afraid of being influenced. Being influenced means you’re learning. It’s a good thing. When you get down to writing, practice. A journal is a great way to practice writing.

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

You can read more about me and my books at my blog:

https://benlylebedard.wordpress.com/

You can follow me on Twitter here:

https://twitter.com/BenLyleBedard

You can follow my newest book here on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/The-World-Without-Crows

 

 

About the Author:

Ben Lyle Bedard was born in Buckfield, Maine. He enrolled in the University of Maine at Farmington in 1992 and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts. After a few years of waiting tables, he traveled across the country and eventually earned his Master’s Degree at Mills College in Oakland, California. Returning east, he decided to pursue his passion for literature at the University of Buffalo, where, in 2010, he was awarded his PhD. Following his wife to South America, he now lives and writes in La Serena, Chile.

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Author Interview: ‘Rarity from the Hollow’ by Robert Eggleton

About the Book:

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.

What people are saying:

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.” – Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.” – Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” – Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” – Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” – Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” – The Baryon Review

“…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” – Marcha’s Two-Cents Worth

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Lulu

Dog Horn Publishing

 

Author Interview:

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

I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist with over forty years in the field of children’s advocacy. I grew up in impoverished communities outside of Charleston, West Virginia. As my primary form of recreation, I’ve written stories ever since I learned how. As a child, I would share my stories with family members, store clerks, gas station attendants long before self-service became the model, peers, just about anybody that I could hook into reading them. In the eighth grade, I won our school’s short story writing competition. During the tumultuous decades of the civil rights and antiwar protests, I switched to poetry that I still dabble in. I earned a master’s degree in 1977 and began to focus on writing nonfiction in my field:

  • Therapeutic exercises for troubled youth involved in group psychotherapy;
  • Research into foster care drift – kids bouncing from one foster home to the next, never finding permanency;
  • Social service models, including one accepted into the Resource Library of the Child Welfare League of America and another distributed nationally by the U.S. Department of Justice;
  • Investigative reports on children’s institutions and legal systems of care published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where I worked from 1983 through 1997;
  • And, statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.

In 2006, I returned to writing fiction. Three short Lacy Dawn Adventures have been published in magazines and preceded the release of Rarity from the Hollow to Amazon on December 5, 2016.

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

I retired from my day job in May 2015. It was a very hard decision as my passion for helping needful kids runs deep. Since then, I’ve spent a great deal of time promoting Rarity…. After retirement, I ran on the same schedule. Today, I write at any times that strike, including after getting up from sleep and punching out a scene to polish later, sometimes based on a dream.  

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Most of what I write is more real than not and the ideas are based on everyday observations. Even the aspects of Rarity from the Hollow that several reviewers have described as zany actually came from watching Donald Trump on television, The Apprentice. For example, the long-standing feud between extreme capitalism and democratic socialism parodied in the story is actually little more than a civics lesson from junior high triggered by that show. The harsh realism, tragedy found in early chapters of the story – I lived those experiences in my personal life and through my work as a children’s advocate.

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?

Whether its nonfiction or fiction – a story, novel, poem, or essay – I always start with an outline. However, I’ve found it impossible to fight creative thought, so I regard the outline as adjustable. I then think about and fully consider any modifications to that outline leading to a final decision.

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

Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel. It is adult literary science fiction. I write adult fiction, not because of its sexual or violent content, although there may be a little here or there, less than in many YA novels, but because the themes, especially the satire, comedy, and social commentary, are for grown-ups.

In my opinion, the term “literary” refers to the type of story that doesn’t end after the last page of a novel has been read. I admire the writing of Charles Dickens in this regard. He felt that a novel should do more than merely entertain, but his did, very well. Rarity from the Hollow addresses child maltreatment, poverty, PTSD experienced by war veterans, substance abuse…. However, there is nothing preachy in the novel – I don’t take sides on issues and that leaves something up to the readers to contemplate about their own views and feelings. The novel has received some glowing book reviews and the one comment that has cause me to feel most proud has been: “…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humour without trivializing them… it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/

The term science fiction is well known and has two broad categories: hard and soft. In the 1970s, Ursula K. Le Guin coined the term “social science fiction” and Rarity from the Hollow may fall within that subgenre better than any other. The science fiction is used as a backdrop in the story. It is not hard science fiction that has a lot of technical details, but it is also not convoluted with lineage and unusual names for characters the way that some soft science fiction and fantasy books employ. It is written in colloquial adolescent voice comparable to The Color Purple or the well-known film, Precious that Oprah Winfrey backed into fame, and based upon the 1996 novel, Push by Sapphire (Ramona Lofton). However, again, the tragedy in Rarity from the Hollow is used to amplify subsequent satiric and comedic relief.

I selected the literary science fiction backdrop for this story because it was the best fit by process of elimination. The novel also has elements of horror, mystery, romance, self-help, and thriller. It is not a good example of the historical or western genres, although the social issues that we talked about before have been present throughout history, including in the Wild West.

In today’s reality the systems in place to help maltreated children are woefully inadequate. I felt that the literary, biographical, nonfiction genres wouldn’t work because the story would have been so depressing that only the most determined would have finished it.

I felt that the story had to be hopeful. I wanted it to inspire survivors of child maltreatment toward competitiveness within our existing economic structures, instead of folks using past victimization as an excuse for inactivity. I didn’t think that anybody would bite on the theme of a knight on a white stallion galloping off a hillside to swoop victims into safety, like in the traditional romance genre.  That almost never actually happens in real life, so that genre was too unrealistic as the primary. There was already enough horror in the story, so that genre was out too. What could be more horrific than child abuse?

The protagonist and her traumatized teammates needed fantastical elements to achieve empowerment. But, as in life, one cannot overcome barriers to the pursuit of happiness by simply imagining them away. That’s where the science fiction came into play. It provided a power source. I tied the science fiction to Capitalism because in today’s reality it will take significant financial investment by benefactors to significantly improve the welfare of children in the world. As exemplified by President Trump’s proposed cuts in domestic spending, our governments are unlikely to adequately address child welfare in the near future. Again, however, I don’t want to close my answer to this question by leaving your readers with an inaccurate impression. The political allegory in Rarity from the Hollow is parody of both, all, sides and doesn’t pick one side on any issue more so than any other.

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

I realize that she just got voted off of Dancing with the Stars, but, given her background as a foster child raised by her grandmother, I believe that Simone Biles would make an excellent Lacy Dawn in a movie. After winning all of those Gold Medals in the 2016 Olympics, I watched her being interviewed on television. I loved the way that she spoke colloquially and I felt that her talents exceed the physical. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her entering the field of acting in the future.

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

I love to read, but haven’t been doing as much as I’d like to. I have a list of books on my TBR pile, such as the newest release by Dr. Bob Rich, a prominent Australian psychologist turned fiction writer who is about my age. I’ve been working on rereading the Autobiography of Mark Twain because he’s one of my heroes. I also have a couple of Piers Anthony novels on my headboard that I pick up for a few paragraphs of puns before sleep. I read literary and in all genres, including romance. My list of favorites would be too long, so I’ll summarize by one: Kurt Vonnegut.

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

I’ve read and admired many self-published authors. IMO, some are as good as or better than Jeff VanderMeer or John Scalzi, since SciFi is prominent as I answer your questions. Unfortunately, and I don’t want to identify it, I’m struggling to finish what sounded like great novel that suffers from too much mainstream influence. It’s not the writing style, but this novel is so cookie-cutter that it sounds amateur and is boring. I’m determined to read it to the last word, and I won’t (ever) post a negative review. Instead, I will give my input to the author, and I’m hopeful that the story takes a turn for the avant garde. If it does, my review will become public record.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

The Color Purple is my favourite book. It’s a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker, but if you ask me this question ten seconds from now the answer would likely be different. I love it for its excellent application of colloquialism, a skill that some authors try to obscure with the overuse of adjectives and adverbs in their works.

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

My best advice to aspiring authors would be to find your own path. What worked for successful authors today might be a total flop, outdated for you tomorrow. This is a rapidly changing business with no hard and fast rules except to always change your underwear. I’m kidding. I recommend that aspiring authors start when they are young and don’t give up when it doesn’t feel fun anymore, and it will likely feel “not fun anymore” for many aspiring authors. The marketplace is highly competitive, possibly cutthroat, and if you sink to such a level your first keystroke of your first story may have been a mistake. Authorship is one of the most distinguished roles in society, and I believe that aspiring authors will find the balance between work and play when honouring the profession.

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

Website: www.lacydawnadventures.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures

Twitter: @roberteggleton1

Google plus:

plus.google.com/b/108662084126982201049/108662084126982201049/posts

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/robert-eggleton

 

 

Excerpt from Chapter 10, “One Moment, Please”

Scene Prologue: In this scene, Lacy Dawn stands up to her abusive father for the first time. Dwayne is a disabled Gulf War Vet who suffers from PTSD, night terrors and anger outbursts. Her mother, Jenny, is downtrodden and weak-willed. Lacy Dawn has just returned home from the android’s spaceship. At this point, her powers were evident but not fully matured. She had been negotiating extraterrestrial assistance to cure her parents of their mental disorders, but rushed home after sensing an emergency there…:

 

…Three minutes later, Lacy Dawn stood on the back porch. She was keen to hear a whisper. The yells could be heard half-way Roundabend. She peeked through the kitchen window. Her mother was on the floor with her back propped against the gasoline can that hid her GED study guide. Jenny’s nose bled.

“WHAT THE HELL ………GIVES YOU THE RIGHT ………………TO THINK ……….…………….that you can THROW AWAY …something that is MINE?” her father screamed.

Jenny adjusted her position. So did Lacy Dawn to get a better view through the window.

“Where’s my SWITCH?” Dwayne left the kitchen.

Lacy Dawn felt for her knife.

I hope Mommy runs for it.

Jenny moved the gasoline can to cover a corner of her study guide that stuck up. Dwayne had put the can in the kitchen two winters ago after he cut firewood. At the time, snow on the path to the shed had been deep. Jenny didn’t complain about the can in the kitchen because it turned into her best place to hide her GED book. It was convenient and the mice stayed away because of the smell. When her GED book was hid behind the refrigerator, it lost a corner to the nibbles. She repositioned her bra so that everything was contained.

If it’s okay with him, I’ll take it right here with my arms over my face. God, I wish I’d worn long pants today. If he finds that book he might kill me. Maybe that’d be better. I can’t handle anymore anyway. Welfare would take Lacy Dawn and put her in a group home. She’d have friends and stuff to do and decent clothes. That’s more than she’s got now. Who am I kidding? I’ll never get my GED or learn to drive. I’d be better off dead. She’d be better off. I ain’t no kind of decent mom anyway.

Jenny pulled out her GED study guide. Lacy Dawn burst into the kitchen and, at the same time, Dwayne appeared in the opposite doorway from the living room. Lacy Dawn and Dwayne stood face to face.

“She didn’t throw away those magazines, Dwayne. I burnt them all!” Lacy Dawn looked him in the eyes.

I’ve never called him Dwayne before.    

“Well, here’s my switch, little girl, and you can kiss your white ass goodbye because it’s gonna be red in a minute.”

“I told Grandma that you had pictures of naked little girls my age kissing old men like you.”

“Well, your grandma’s dead and gone now and it don’t make no difference.”

Dwayne grinned at Jenny and resumed eye contact with Lacy Dawn. Jenny did not move. The GED study guide was in the open. Lacy Dawn straightened her posture.

“Not that grandma — the other one — your mom. I tore out a page and showed her. She said the Devil must’ve made you have those pictures with naked girls way too young for you to look at. She told me to burn them to help save your soul before it was too late and you ended up in Hell.”

Dwayne raised the switch to waist level. Lacy Dawn took a step forward.

“I was sick of them being in the trunk under my bed anyway. I did what Grandma told me to and now they’re gone.”

“That was my Playboy collection from high school. I bought them when I used to work at the Amoco station before I joined the Army.”

Dwayne lowered the switch and leaned against the door frame. Jenny sat up straighter and slid her GED study guide back behind the gas can. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.

He’s starting to lose it. Where’s my new butcher knife?

Dwayne looked to the side and muttered something that she did not understand. He raised the switch and then lowered it.

“But, Mom knew I had them when I was in high school and never said nothing. Hell, those girls were older than me back then. I bet they’re all wrinkled now — with tits pointing straight to the ground, false teeth, and fat asses.”

Dwayne muttered again. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.

I must have hit a nerve. He always mutters when he’s thinking too hard.

“Anyway, you’re both still getting switched even if Mom told you to do it. But, I won’t make it too bad. She wouldn’t like it.”

He paused. The point of the switch lowered to the floor.

Damn. I can’t think of a new name.

“Tammy, bammy, bo mammy…” Dwayne sang. (Dwayne named all of the switched that he used on Lacy Dawn and Jenny to discipline them.)

“If you even touch me or Mommy with that thing, I’ll tell everybody about Tom’s garden. (Tom is a neighbor who grows marijuana.) I’ll tell Grandma, the mailman, my teacher after school starts, and the food stamp woman when she comes next week for our home visit. I’ll tell Tom that I’m gonna tell the men working on the road at the top of the hill. I’ll tell all your friends when they come by after the harvest. And, I’ll call that judge who put you in jail for a day for drunk driving if Grandpa will let me use the phone. I swear I’ll tell everybody.”

“Oh shit,” Dwayne said.

I knew this day would come — ever since she brought me those DARE to Keep Kids off Drugs stickers to cover up the rust holes on my truck….

“Lacy Dawn, drugs are bad. I don’t take drugs and hope you never will either.”

“Cut the crap, Dwayne. This ain’t about drugs. The only thing this is about is if you even think about switching me or Mommy, that garden has had it — period.”

“But smoking pot is not the same as taking drugs,” he let go of the switch. Thirty seconds later, Lacy Dawn picked it up and hung it in its proper place on her parents’ bedroom wall.

“I love you, Daddy,” she said on the way back to the kitchen.

Dwayne went out the back door and walked to his pick-up. The truck door slammed. It started, gravel crushed, and the muffler rumbled. He floored it up the hollow road.

Things will be forever different.

Lacy Dawn sat down on a kitchen chair, did her deep breathing exercise, smelled an underarm and said, “Yuck.”

Things will be forever the same unless DotCom can help me change them. (DotCom is the name of the android, a recurring pun in the story.)

Jenny got off the floor, sat on the other chair, scooted it closer beside her daughter, put an arm around her, and kissed the side of Lacy Dawn’s head.

The muffler rumbled to nonexistence.

“Asshole,” they screamed out the open kitchen window at the exact same time without cue.

“He used to be a good man,” Jenny giggled and hugged…. (This phrase is an intergenerational familial saying that Lacy Dawn turned into a chant and used to magically elevate above the ground, and to travel back and forth between her home and the spaceship without getting her tennis shoes muddy.)

About the Author:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency. Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

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Author Interview: ‘Monarchy’ by Laura Pritchard

About the Book:

In the times after the reformation, the leaders of the new world have created the perfect society. There is no exaggerated wealth or famishing poverty. There is no starvation or crime or disease. The citizens of the sectors are secure and well nourished, forever protected by the life the Monarchy have so gracefully afforded.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UKUS

 

Author Interview:

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

My name is Laura Pritchard and I am from a small town in the South Wales Valleys in the United Kingdom. I am a teacher by day and an author by night! I currently teach music to children who have been expelled from school. I have written for as long as I can remember! I have distinct memories of filling notebooks with stories from a very young age. The passion came from my love of reading but unfortunately, life got in the way, as it tends to do. I came up with the initial story for my novel about 2 years ago and have put all of my time and effort into perfecting it since then. Being a mum to 2 young children and a secondary school English teacher alongside means I have become a professional life juggler and I try to fit as much writing time as I can!

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

I tend to write in the evenings as my days are normally pretty full up. I love to sit at my desk and lose myself in writing and sometimes find myself sitting in the dark as I have been writing for so long without realizing.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

My main inspiration comes from my love of reading. I love losing myself in a book and using that as a reality escape allows me to lose myself in writing in a similar way. There are authors that inspire me which normally get the creative cogs rolling and my stories stem from there. I often have trouble coming up with an initial idea but once the seed has been planted I can churn out hundreds of linking ideas.

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 a basic structure but I have ideas of scenes in my head and fill those out as opposed to having fixed chapters defined. Some of the best ideas stem from me creatively moving on from a scene and I find that works better for me.

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

My first novel, Monarchy, is a young adult dystopia and is part of a trilogy that I plan to release next year and in 2019. I have always read young adult fiction as I found myself unable to move on from that genre. My favorite authors like John Marsden and JK Rowling are still firm additions to my bookshelves. Reading so much YA meant that my novels naturally fell into that genre.

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

What an amazing question! I can imagine Constance being played by a soft, willowy actress but with a firm mind. Someone like Emma Watson or Amanda Seyfried. For Calloway, someone quite self-assured who would be able to throw some power into the role. If we are talking ideal world then it would have to Ryan Gosling!

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

Since becoming a mum, I have had less and less time to read but I am one of those people who would rather settle down and read than watch television. I still have a soft spot in my heart for YA authors, my favorites being John Marsden and JK Rowling as mentioned above. An author that has definitely inspired me is Lesley Lokko, a Ghanaian/Scottish writer whose work I have followed since I read her first book almost 10 years ago. I love her ability to weave so many different plot lines together whilst throwing in political and world views. Her intricacy and depth makes for some beautiful stories and I find I could read each of her books over and over again.

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

I am currently reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson. It is one of those books that has been on my TBR list for a while and I was recently bought 3 of his books as a gift. His writing is very detailed and I like the imagery he is creating. He really manages to suck his readers into the story.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

What a difficult question. I would have to say The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Attwood. I was assigned this book for the reading section of my English Literature A Level and read it so many times during that time but always managed to find something different after each read. It is what introduced me to the idea of dystopia and how worlds can be controlled in so many ways and also taught me about the theme of rebellion. It is definitely something that has featured as a huge inspiration for Monarchy, my first novel.

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

Stay positive no matter what. This is such a tough industry to break into and you will be knocked down time and time again. The main thing is to have belief in what you are doing and to keep going as there will be so many points when everything seems worthless. Have passion in what you write and use that passion to drive you onward with your ideas.

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

Monarchy is now available to buy on worldwide amazon sites.

I am in the process of setting up my social media so keep an eye out for me soon!

Blog: www.laurajayne15.wixsite.com/laurapritchardbooks

 

 

About the Author:

Laura Pritchard was born and raised in a small town in the South Wales Valleys in the United Kingdom. She is a teacher by day and an author by night! She currently teaches music to children who have been expelled from mainstream school.

“I have written for as long as I can remember! I have distinct memories of filling notebooks with stories from a very young age. The passion for writing came from a love of reading!”

“I came up with the initial story for my novel, Monarchy, about 2 years ago and have put all of my time and effort into perfecting it since then. Being a mum to 2 young children and a secondary school Music teacher alongside means I have become a professional life juggler and I try to fit as much writing time as I can! I am currently penning the follow up to my first novel, Anarchy, to be released in 2018.”

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