Tag: author interview

Author Interview – F. R. Jameson

I was recently contacted by Mr Jameson with a request to review Diana Christmas, his first of a series of screen siren noir books. The book was published in March this year – and it is a completely new genre for me to explore. I gladly accepted!
Firstly I’d like to say a huge thank you to anyone that has already taken the time to check out that post (and if you haven’t already, you can do so here!)
So, now you’ve had the opportunity to read my thoughts about the book, it’s time to introduce you to the author himself. Sharing his answers to my questions about the novel, he tells us a little of what inspired the story:-
 

Tell us all a little about yourself and give a brief summary of the book.

I’ve written for a long time, for most of my life in fact, but there was a period of a few years when I drifted away from it. That period was when I met my wife and we bought our house and had our daughter, so there was a lot going on, but it was still a source of annoyance and frustration that I couldn’t get my words to flow. However, maybe I just needed that time for the creativity within me to percolate.
‘Diana Christmas’ is the first novel of this new period of inspiration. It’s a Noir set in 1979, but harking back to a more prosperous age of British cinema. A young film journalist meets a glamorous older actress and, smitten, can’t resist becoming her knight in shining armour. However, his desire to help her swiftly has terrible consequences.

What or who inspired you to write Diana Christmas?

I love L.A. Noir novels and books about the sordid underside of Hollywood. (I’m a big fan of the ‘You Must Remember This’ podcast.) I think, ideally, I’d have written a Hollywood-set story myself. But since I’ve only been to the place once and very briefly, there’s no way I could realistically become a chronicler of it. Then one day the idea occurred to me that Britain had a film industry as well. Smaller and more parochial, but there it was with its own studios and stars. From there, everything fell into place.

Do you have any fellow authors you look up to? If so, why?

Raymond Chandler has always been a touchstone of mine, and even though I’ve not read any of his books for years, I still think of them constantly and can even quote them. Given my love of Hollywood Noir, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m a fan of both Megan Abbott and James Ellroy; both of whom influenced this novel – Megan Abbott in particular. While from the British crime writers, I’ll always champion Barbara Vine – which was what Ruth Rendell called herself when she was having her darker and more weird moments. She produced a number of underrated, but must-read books.

What was the most challenging thing about writing the book?

It’s a period piece, so I suppose like anyone writing something in bygone years, I was constantly worried about capturing the period correctly; about not putting in some dreadful anachronism. But I also had sleepless nights about capturing the characters properly. The character of Diana, in particular. I wanted to make her convincing all the way through, and a lot of time was spent thinking about her psychology. Hopefully I’ve succeeded, or – at least – got pretty close to succeeding.

Are there any other future novels in progress?

Absolutely, the second in the ‘Silver Screen Noir’ series, ‘Eden St. Michel’, is now available for pre- order on Amazon and I am also working on the follow-up to that. Once that’s done, then I have the first draft for the first book in a different series that I want to get back to. That’s something much more in the epic horror genre. So there’s a lot of writing ahead and a lot of work ahead, but I’m enjoying myself immensely, so why not?
 


F. R. Jameson

Husband, father, author, goodreads reviewer, blogger and man who seems capable of holding seven streams of nonsense in his mind at any one moment.

F. R. Jameson
Source: Goodreads

I read a lot, have a passion for cinema and am greatly enjoying living through this golden age of television. (To think, there was a time where I never watched TV). I like to tell myself I have an array of different interests, but I might be lying to myself about that and am really just exploring different facets of the same interests. I am attempting to improve myself though, trying to grow as a human being by pushing my boundaries, finding out new things and then seeing what happens.
 
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Author Interview: Susan Sage

Good morning everyone – I hope you are all having a lovely day!
Some of you may know that I shared my review of A Mentor and Her Muse, written by Susan Sage yesterday. Thank you to those that have had the opportunity to read the review. If you haven’t checked that out already and want to take a look, you can find that post (HERE)!
As always, I like to give authors a chance to have their own time to talk about their book; I think it is only fair, in fact. Susan has kindly dedicated some time to just that purpose, so thank you very much!
So, without further ado, I’ll hand over to Susan, and what her thoughts are in reply to some questions I had after reading A Mentor and Her Muse:-
 

What or who was your greatest influence in terms of inspiration for the book?

Somewhere I read that a good way to write a book is to ask yourself a question of the ‘what if’ variety. Ever since seeing Thelma & Louise, I’ve enjoyed imagining various road trips. What if I wrote about one? Who would I select for the journey? I thought of a student at a school where I once worked. She was the impetus for Taezha. I didn’t know the student well, but she used to tell me about how she loved writing and wanted nothing more than to become an author when she grew up. Her future was a promising one. I’ve always wondered what became of her and can’t help but think that books and writing are still an important part of her life. That I was able to help foster her interest in literature helped me get up every morning and go to a stressful job in a public school in a poverty-stricken district. Also, my oldest sister was a teacher in the inner city of Detroit back in the late 1960s. I was very impressed by her caring and compassionate nature. She was the sort who went above and beyond with students. However, I don’t think she ever took a student on a road trip – at least not of the sort that Maggie took Tae on. More than half the fun of writing fiction is in taking biographical bits of those you know and transforming them into your own creations.
 

What is your Ideal time and place to write? Do you have a routine?

An ideal time and place would be to write in a large, book-lined home library/office while seated at a large mahogany desk. My ideal time would be after midnight. However, I’m a morning person, so in actuality, that’s when I get my best writing done. I do write in my home office, but it’s a small one. Lately, I only seem to be able to write in my somewhat broken down reclining chair. It overlooks a lovely, large Maple tree. Seems like I’ve always needed to be near a window when I write… I wish I had a better writing routine! Four days a week during the 9-month school year, I try to write in the evenings – usually for an hour or so. Doesn’t always happen…On my mornings off work, I spend the mornings writing and afternoons revising (that’s always my plan, anyway). I’ve always been the most productive in the summer.
 

Which character do I relate to the most and why?

It would have to be Maggie. Like me, she longs to spend most of her time writing, doesn’t like driving in traffic, and has insomnia. But she’s got way more issues than I do: she is haunted by her past. She doesn’t mind her life so much when she is mentoring and maybe imagining herself as a muse. While I enjoy mentoring, I don’t consciously think about becoming anyone’s muse! Also, her relationships with family and others are way different from my own. She felt way more judged by her parents and older sister than I ever did. She tries to lead a quiet life, but it doesn’t work out for her. What I like about my life right now is that it is a quiet one…Still, like Maggie, I need the stimulation of travel, of fully embracing life, even if that means having to feel all the bumps and potholes! The most autobiographical parts in the book are depicted in Maggie’s journals from her years growing up in Detroit.
 

Both Maggie and Tae are complex characters. What do you think is Maggie’s main motivation for taking Tae under her wing?

Maggie wants to rescue Tae from a life which she’s certain will not allow Tae to develop as a writer. She meets Tae at an incredibly lonely, difficult time in her life. Relationships with men haven’t worked out, she doesn’t have children, plus she’s going through menopause. Tae makes her feel alive like few others are able to, so Maggie is hardly an altruistic mentor. Still, she truly enjoys taking Tae places, especially to Tae’s first poetry reading or an art gallery. She doesn’t have any children, and as you find out later in the book, she discovers the pros and cons that go along with the role of parenting. At times I felt like Maggie had more to learn from Tae than Tae did from her. Hard to say who the real mentor was – who the real muse!
 

There are sensitive issues touched upon in the book, in particular the racial inequality and discrimination experienced in the not-too-distant past. What impact do you think this subject has on the book and on the characters within?

While Maggie was raised in Detroit, she went to a school where integration was forced: black students were bussed to the all-white school she attended. As a girl, she didn’t understand why blacks didn’t frequent an upscale department store. She lived a mile away from the Detroit riots. Although Maggie always lived near blacks, she was never a part of their world. She saw through the particular lens of white privilege. Decades pass and she finds herself trying to immerse herself in a world she thinks she understands. She is saddened by the poverty of the segregated area where she works in Flint. Maggie would like nothing better than to rescue Tae from feeling the slightest hint of discrimination, and of course, she can’t. She struggles with being a privileged, liberal white woman. Her journal entries show not only her awareness of racial inequality but her attempt to deal with white guilt which carries over into Flint in 2012: she has naïve hopes that by taking Tae on a summer road trip she’ll be able to release herself from the burden. She is surprised by the looks she and Tae get in restaurants; she hasn’t thought through how Tae will feel in the all-white lodge in Hocking Hills. She doesn’t understand Quintana very well, nor Quintana’s reaction to her. Early on, Tae has little regard for Quintana or her ‘sisters’ (except the sickly Tamala). She wants to be free of the difficulties of living in poverty, of being bi-racial. When she realizes the cost of being controlled by Maggie, both on the road and even once they are living with Tyler, Tae re-evaluates her relationship with Quintana and realizes some of the positives. Quintana wants to place her trust in Maggie, but Maggie betrays her by absconding with Tae. You wonder when or if she’ll ever open her door again to a white woman!
 
A Mentor and Her Muse is an enjoyable journey with an array of complex, but equally relatable characters.
For anyone interested in obtaining a copy of the book, you can find the required links below:-
A Mentor and Her Muse
 

Open Books

Amazon

 

Author Interview: Steve Campitelli

Hi everyone!!!
As you may know, I recently undertook reading The Fall as a part of my January TBR, and I am excited to be bringing you my thoughts and review of the book tomorrow!
I always like to give authors a chance to talk about their own books, and today is no exception. Steve has very kindly taken the time to answer some questions I had after reading The Fall:-

Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, the setting for the book. I’ve lived most of my life here, apart from a 6-year stint living and working in Japan. I’ve been involved in education for 30-odd years in a few forms, and have also been working with text and editing work for about 15 of those years. I’ve always been a movie and reading junkie – the sort of idiot who likes catching the train to work as it gives me reading time. I am open to most genres but reserve a special place for post-apocalyptic, and I always knew that when it came to writing a book, it was going to be post-apoc!
 

What inspired you to write The Fall?

What inspired me to write The Fall? I grew up in the 70s and that era gave us some classics in post-apocalyptic, sci-fi and disaster movies like Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, The Poseidon Adventure, Rollerball, Logan’s Run, Soylent Green – these movies influenced me hugely. Later on, came George Miller’s Mad Max 1 and the second instalment in that series, Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior, was a pivotal movie for me, a real turning point. I found it visually stunning with a classic storyline, and it was significant as it was also an Australian movie – it showed we could make these types of stories too and, perhaps subconsciously, I took something out of that. I thought then, as I do now, it is almost the perfect movie, and it planted a seed around post-apoc stories that influenced The Fall some 30 years later. That notion of the last people standing, island of calm in a sea of danger that Mad Max 2 portrayed so beautifully, I tried to echo in The Fall with Kulin Wallcom, an oasis of safety in the nightmare wasteland. The Omega Man remake I am Legend was another influence. I’ve always been drawn to the faster and for me more terrifying quick infected beings, such as those found in I am Legend and 28 Days/Weeks Later, as opposed to slow, shuffling zombies. I wanted to write something which combined those elements. I hope I got it right!
 

Do you think it’s possible that some of the technology available becomes a reality?

This is great question and the answer is yes, absolutely, some of the tech in the story will be a reality and in fact, already is. I wanted to write a close-future story that contained elements of the recognisable and known to us, plus future tech, but I didn’t want it to be ‘magical’ and to dominate the story. I wanted it to be grounded in reality, to just be there and almost taken for granted, like we do the tech we have now, so I needed it to be very believable and logical and used in an everyday way. The BACC suit body armour and the ultra-strong materials it’s made of already exist and are being used, not quite as presented in the book. Other things such as coagulant spray, the tech portrayed by the ‘medeval’ (early ID of illness, remote diagnosis), driverless transports, virtual keyboards all exist and are being used now. The highlight tech piece in The Fall is the 360, featuring the virtual wrap-around screen in front of the face, which doesn’t exist as yet, but the technological basis for it does. I had this notion that future communications technology would transition from the hand-held phone to wearable tech positioned around the head and activated in front of the face. I drew on the tactile-virtual objects featured in movies such as Minority Report and Ironman, and essentially fused that with app technology of mobile phones. The technology for ultrasound-based tactile or touchable virtual objects exists now, so it seems a logical step for communications tech to go in that direction – it’s augmented/virtual reality. Another one which exists now is nano technology – the future of that is very exciting and real.
 

In terms of the infected and the mutations, was any research required before you wrote the book? If so, what did you look into?

In terms of the infected and what the virus might do, yes, I did quite a fair bit of research. I was presenting an unreal viral agent (the Jackson Virus) but I wanted to write things supporting it which would hold up and be believable as part of the world I was trying to establish. So I did a fair bit of reading on science, tech and medical websites and government CDC-type sites, on viruses, contagion, pandemics, procedures, nomenclature, physiology, emotional contagion, aggression, addictive drugs, ‘turning’ off infection at the cellular level – the types of things I have written about in the book are grounded in the things I have read and then taken up a few levels with a few liberties, health, tech and reality-wise. It was also important for me to write at least partially from the infected ‘perspective’ – to explain them and to make them more real as opposed to just being targets for the non-infected. I wanted them and the discussion around them to be more nuanced, so it was important to really ground the whole thing in believability.
 

The setting of the book is a post-apocalyptic Australia – why did you choose this setting?

Why did I choose post-apocalyptic Australia? I’ve probably already partially answered this in question 2 with the influence and appeal of Mad Max 2; I just love that dusty, wasteland setting. The Prologue of the book is set in The Mallee, a dry, hot wheat farming area hundreds of kilometres from Melbourne in north-west Victoria, much like the setting for MM2 in many respects. It’s a place I visited a few times as a child as my mother had good friends who had a farm there, and to get there we had to take an overnight train – it just felt like the end of the world; an appropriate place to start the apocalypse! When I first started writing the book, the Prologue was set in China at the base of a shale mountain and I was doing all this reading on it and I suddenly stopped and asked myself why was I setting the story in a place I knew nothing about? I then resolved to stick to what I know, so the Prologue transferred to rural Victoria, and the main part of the book, which was always going to be Australia not China, I set in an area familiar to me, south-east Melbourne. That notion of using familiarity also explains the Japanese angle: my wife is Japanese, I lived there, and the language peppered through the book is a reflection of that. There’s a lot you can do with research, but there’s also a lot to be gained from who you are and your experiences.
 

I get the distinct impression that The Fall is to be a part of a series. Any news on a next book?

Yes, The Fall Conversion is the first in what I intend to be a three part series. I am working on book 2 now, Reversion, which rewinds back to 2050 at ground zero with the virus’ namesake Dr Riley Jackson, before coming back to 2052 in the second half with John Bradley again as the feature. I hope to get it out mid-2018, but realistically, it’s probably going to be later in the second half of the year. The third part, Redemption, will be the resolution of the story. I hope you can be there for the ride.
The Fall
S.T. Campitelli
@stcampitelli
http://thefall-book.weebly.com/ 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0762XCH57
 

A huge thank you to Steve for his time with the interview! If you’d like to find out more about the book, then please keep an eye out for my review, which is being posted tomorrow! I hope to see you there!

Author Interview: Zach Baynes

Today, I am pleased to introduce you to Zach Baynes. He very kindly approached me with a request to review his book, My Life As Steve Keller, in exchange for a free copy. You too could get your hands on a copy – tune in to tomorrow’s review for details!!
My Life as Steve Keller

Goodreads

Ahead of my review of his book,  Zach took the time to answer a few questions about what inspired him to write about the life of Steve, a man finding his place in an ever-changing and advancing world:-
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First and foremost, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you for having me Rebecca, appreciate the offer and taking the time to have a conversation with me.
I studied Political Science for 5 years, founded a think-tank with some colleagues and had some fun with that for a few years. I then started working with technology and that’s where I am now. I work in Digital Transformation, working with companies to assess the state of their IT Infrastructure, or Digitization maturity level, and how they can improve it to gain competitive advantages.
I love reading books, in almost any genres, although for the past years I focused a lot more on non-fiction books. In particular, non-fiction novels – books that have a storytelling side to them. Besides that, I’m passionate about geopolitics, I like to stay on top of what is happening in the world. This also helps when building stories that are grounded in reality, driven by a chronic curiosity about anything. I love travelling, getting in touch with other cultures and people.
 

Just who is Steve Keller, and what inspired you to write about his life?

The book is written from his perspective, so I had to imagine how his life would be, while taking into account my own experiences. I guess it makes him an alter ego of sorts. But in many ways Steve Keller is a placeholder.
He lives his life in very similar ways to most of the people in the Western world. The book focuses on his view on the world and his relationships with the people around him. I love stories with morally gray areas, I’m not a big fan of clear cut storytelling with a hero and anti-hero. I feel that the reader should decide for himself if some questions are worth asking and if the answers that comes along are important. I don’t think it’s up to the writer to tell the reader what to think. Steve sometimes is morally ambiguous because he is supposed to be a normal person, most importantly, he reflects and doubts his own actions. The infamous “What if?” that keeps people awake at night.
 

Steve travels to a number of countries throughout the book, including HK, Paris, Argentina. Are Steve’s experiences linked to your own? If so, how?

Many of those locations are places I enjoyed in the past. I wanted the scenes to have a unique identity of their own and giving them a different setting helps with that.
Sometimes they add a lot in terms of world building; sometimes they tie pieces of Steve’s stories together. They aren’t different for the sake of being different. They are part of the scenes, they either build the dialogue or they bring into focus some other topics that might have felt random without a specific setting. As a literary device, it shaped the future into a coherent timeline, while providing the reader with a positive escape from some of the world building elements that might be overwhelming.
The locations change in each chapter because I like travelling and exploring new places. It was also a chance to imagine how those places might be different in the future – it was too irresistible of an opportunity.
I am a generally a visual person, I enjoy colors, art, nature and looking at things. Writing a specific location made it easier to imagine how certain elements of technology and climate change will blend together.
 

One of the intriguing things about the book is the time frame. Did you have any particular purpose in setting a larger portion of this book in the future?

I think when looking at the past century, each generation had its own self-induced paranoia about particular topics – most of them shaped by world events that people in those decades felt were tremendously impactful on them.
Our generation has its own challenges that shape the dialogue for this particular period. Climate change, with all the perils it might have; employment and its relation to automation; robotics and so on. We have CEOs telling us they will let go of 20%, 30% or even 50% of their employees in the next decade or so. And last, but not least, our relationship with the environment, which at times feels very impersonal. Specifically to ecosystems — animals and plants that are in a fragile state with each year.
I always enjoyed books or movies that have an element of time within them – how it impacts the relationships between people, how people change, the missed encounters, how people adapt to different stress factors in their life and so on.
I wanted to imagine what a person today would look like in 2025. Then in 2030 and 2040. We know how the world would look like, more or less. We have projections on how the weather will change, what cities will be impacted. We know when elephants will become extinct in the wild based on analysis of changes in their numbers; we know when the ice caps will melt. We know that we will be out of a job in 15 years. Soon we’ll have driverless cars, maybe robots walking around.
But what will my life be in that scenario? I would still have the same family around me, the same friends. Hopefully I will be able to fulfill my dreams, my dreams will surely change over time, but will I be happy? What challenges will I face on a personal level, while at the same time trying to cope with the ever changing nature of the world around me.
This feeling of inevitability, time marches forward kind of vibe, and everything that comes with it makes it in a way a character in itself. Time doesn’t care about the characters in the book, about the drama they go through, about what keeps them awake at night.
This quote always stayed with me while writing the book: “It’s funny how day by day, nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” I think the book has a similar feel to it.
 

What is the most important thing you would like a reader to take away from reading “My Life as Steve Keller”?

I think the book is a neutral journey into the future, a “what if” introspection and invitation for the reader to feel free to think about whatever he/she wants. It offers the possibility of drawing whichever conclusion fits the reader’s values, without forcing any explanation or justification onto them. Reading a book is a personal journey. So are our impressions of the story. I wanted the book to be exactly like this.
 

Having spoken with you I know that you continue to write. What can we expect the next book; can you give us any hints?

I have more ideas than I have time to write them. But given that I’m a pretty methodical person usually, I have a pipeline of books and plan to get with them one at a time.
The next book I plan to write is The Mermaid from Bastille. It is about an unexpected duo that stumble upon an industry-wide cover up in the fishing business. I want it to be a bit tongue in cheek, it’s a mystery book, and like any other of the kind, the pacing, characters and setting are sometimes more important than the actual mystery itself.
I also enjoy reading about the environment, it wasn’t until recently that I found out there isn’t any wild salmon left in Europe, only farmed. Then I wondered – what else did we lose? The world that I know is now is much different to even my parents’ generation. So I read some books around the topic, about how people are working to revolutionize cuisine in the Old Continent, farm to table kind of stuff. They experiment with cheese, with free-range animals, self-sufficient fish farms and so on. I feel the topic can be dry, but I also know it is extremely important.
Who wants to wake up one day and all you can find on the shelves of a supermarket is powder? I still care about having healthy, fresh ingredients available. So the book is a mystery book, but the overall theme is – there’s a lot more to this industry than we know, a lot of amazing things happening and it’s good if we take a break sometime and entertain the thought of having everything on our plate coming from sustainable, waste free, healthy sources. It will be a humorous and exciting read, while at a same time having a serious undertone about a pretty interesting topic.
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Thank you to Zach for taking the time to talk to us about his book!
If you’re interested in my view of the book, please check out my review, being posted tomorrow. As I mentioned above, there will be a chance to get your hands on a copy… so stay tuned for the details and maybe you could be a winner!
Rebecca mono