Interview – Lisa Burton (Wild Concept)

Wild_Concept

 

 

Dear readers,

please welcome today’s interview guest Lisa Burton (famous character of C. S. Boyack‘s book ‘Wild Concept‘ – Craig’s website: https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/)! You may also know her from my ‘FF: Neighbors!’ series (http://inasmallcompass.wordpress.com/)

This interview is my way of celebrating my favourite book character of the year 2014.  🙂

 

 


Lisa Burton walks into the interview room and sits down. She wears a chequered flag print leather jacket, a black knee-length skirt, and white pumps. She scrunches her strawberry blonde victory rolls and crosses her tattooed leg over the un-inked one.


 

Thanks for coming to our video conference today, Lisa. Nice jacket.

Isn’t it cute? I picked it up in Vegas.

So what did you think of Whitelyn?

I liked it. The desert is so picturesque, and the people are all friendly.

Did you enjoy working on the case with Sheriff Jim?

I really missed police work. It’s hard having all this high-tech gear and not being able to use it. I had to keep some of my abilities under wraps, but that’s nothing new. I’m glad I didn’t have to shoot anyone.

What was the most unusual piece of evidence in this case?

I’m upset about the poor monkey. Luckily, they have found him a new home in the meantime. I suppose the most interesting was the business card that used lenticular printing.

So it changed images depending on how you looked at it?

Right. Dumb and dumber thought it magically meant only Steve could dial the right number.

So did Craig like the story?

Lisa leans forward and winks.

He’s still crowing about being a character in a story.

She lowers her voice and wobbles her head to mock.

‘I even got dialog in episode 39.’

She leans back in her chair.

He has no idea what it’s like to be a character in a story. Let him try getting shot with a Taser, or finding your friend completely disassembled.”

So what do you think of Jim Burrell?

He’s such a nice man, and he really cares about justice. He cares for Lester and the other people in Whitelyn. He also seems like the kind who would be good to work for. He’s a little bit blind to other things around him though.

What kind of things?

Well, it’s kind of obvious Trudy has feelings for him. I think he likes her too, but he’s embarrassed to act on them. She would be a good match for Jim, and he ought to wake up to that fact.

If you received another call for support, would you do it?

I suppose that all depends. I’d love to help, but I have responsibilities too. If I didn’t need to be gone too long, and Craig would watch Bunny, I’d do it.

So when are you heading back to the Writing Cabin?

I’ll probably leave today. I took several casinos for a lot of money.

She leans her head to the side and speaks out the side of her mouth.

A lot of money.

She uncrosses her legs and sits straight.

They won’t rest until I leave town. I’ll drain my tear reservoir before leaving so it doesn’t freeze. There’s a big storm over central Nevada.

You have a lot of high-tech equipment. Can you tell me if there are really aliens in Whitelyn?

No. I mean, I am capable, but I just can’t tell you.

Oh, come on. It will be our little secret.

Lisa stands up and makes a locking motion over her lips.

Sorry. Thanks for hosting me; gotta ride.

Thank you very much for joining me here today, Lisa!


 

More about C. S. Boyack, Wild Concept and his other works

Website

Review – Wild Concept

Review – Arson

10 Statements – C. S. Boyack

C. S. Boyack on Amazon

 

Interview – Ali Isaac on Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing

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Dear readers,

please welcome today’s interview guest Ali Isaac (website: http://aliisaacstoryteller.com/)!

This interview is part of Ali’s blog tour to celebrate the publication of the second book in the Conor Kelly trilogy: Conor Kelly and the Fenian King.

Ali, thank you very much for stopping by and talking about the very important topic of self-publishing vs traditional publishing.  🙂

 


 

You self published your first two books, Conor Kelly and The Four Treasures of Eirean, and Conor Kelly and The Fenian King. Why did you choose the self publishing route over traditional publishing?

I was impatient, plain and simple! I wanted people to start reading my book straight away. I did try querying agents and publishers, but it’s such a subjective process. I was proud of my new book-baby, and I got sick of all the rejections, even though I knew everyone, even the most famous authors, gets them. The independent publishing scene was just starting to take off at the time. I watched it with interest, and after reading an article about Amanda Hocking’s success, I decided I wanted to be a part of this brave new wave of Indie authors.

What is the hardest aspect of self publishing?

Well, you have to be able to fulfil so many different roles within the publishing process, that you begin to feel like a jack-of-all-trades and a master-of-none! It’s hard to find the time in the day to fit it all in without neglecting your other real roles, ie employee, mother, housekeeper, dog-walker, children’s taxi-service, you get the picture. So most of my writing and publishing work gets done in the morning while the kids are at school, and late in the evening when they are in bed. I am not at my most alert at these times, it has to be said! But writers are driven to do what they do, I don’t know why. It’s hard to be effective in such a wide variety of roles, too; we’re not all cut out to be great at editing, or marketing. Artistic, creative types are usually rubbish at the business end… all we want to do is carry on writing, not spend time formatting and tweeting.

Which aspect of self publishing do you enjoy most?

Of course I enjoy the creative side of what I do, the writing. It is pure escapism from real life for me. But there are other creative elements I have had to work on, too, such as designing book covers, and making trailers. I had never done anything like this before. It was quite daunting, but I surprised myself by really enjoying this side of my work. Of course I have a lot to learn still, but I’m heading in the right direction. There have been some unexpected pleasures, too. For example, I set up my blog to support my books, but in actual fact, my blog has taken on a life of its own, which I really love! And through blogging and the use of social media, I have come into contact with some really lovely people who have become friends, even though we’ve never met.

If a Big Six publisher came along tomorrow and offered you a contract, would you take it?

Ooooh, that’s a hard one! I’m sure I’d be very flattered and excited that a Big Six publisher found my books good enough to be willing to invest in me. I should probably jump at the chance, but I have worked so hard to achieve so much on my own… I’d hate to give that up and lose it. It would depend very much on the terms and conditions. If the offer was good enough to provide financial security for my family, I’d be mad to refuse! But the reality is, big publishers are not willing to take a risk on an unknown author in the current publishing climate. I may find myself with an editor, and an in house cover designer, but I’d lose all autonomy, and whilst it would be fabulous to see my books in print on the shelves in every book shop in Ireland, if the first print run failed to bring in enough dosh, my books would never again see the light of day. I’d still end up doing all my own publicity and marketing, and be handing over most of the income to the publisher for my troubles. On the other hand, having a smaller share of larger sales might be better than earning a larger share of not much at all, lol! At this stage, it’s not about money for me; it’s about my books being read.

So, what have you learned along the way on your self publishing journey, and what would you have done differently?

I learned that I did everything wrong with the first book! I hit the ‘publish’ button with absolutely no author platform to support me whatsoever, and the only people who bought my book were my friends and family! Now I have a blog with a clear message, a presence across social media, a mini blog tour, and a small following… my platform is petite but perfectly formed and growing. I’m in a much better place for the launch of the second book… did I tell you it’s available on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Apple from Monday 14th July, lol! With hindsight, I would have waited until all three books in the trilogy were ready at once, before publishing, rather than release them years apart. Indie success seems to come from keeping your head down and getting on with producing a catalogue of good quality writing, not by getting hung up on marketing or distracted by social media, and that’s just what I intend to do.

Thank you very much for joining me here today, Ali!


 

More about The Tir Na Nog Trilogy

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Blurb for Book 1 – Conor Kelly and the Four Treasures of Eirean
Conor Kelly is not your average hero. Trapped inside a body he can’t control, Conor’s mind is as active and alert as that of any teenage boy. On the outside, however, he’s about as interactive as a lump of wood.

Then he meets Annalee. She claims to be a Sidhe Princess, some kind of fairy royalty, apparently. She offers to take him into the magical realm, where her people wield the power to help him. 

But is she just some child-snatching lunatic psychopath, or can she be trusted? On the other hand, what’s he got to lose? 

He soon discovers that Tir na Nog is not the benign, dreamy land of legend. Nor are its inhabitants, the Sidhe, the benevolent fairy folk of Irish mythology. To accept their help has a cost, but for someone who doesn’t value his life, death is a risk worth taking. 

With the blood of Lugh, God of Lightning, tingling in his veins, the boy in the wheelchair must dig deep, if he is to unlock the inherited powers dormant within him. Only he can defy disgraced Sidhe-King, Bres, who seeks to avenge himself on his brethren, and subject all mankind to his tyranny. 

In the race to recover the legendary lost talismans of power, the Four Treasures of Eirean, before Bres gets his hands on them and becomes invincible, Conor begins to wonder just whose side Annalee is on, as her chequered past comes to light. 

There are other obstacles, too; Ruairi, the Chieftain’s son, and worse, his own crippling self-doubt. Not that anything’s going to stop him. For the first time in his life, Conor finds he is not restricted by his physical limitations. Still, it’s not going to be easy. 

Nothing worth fighting for ever is. 
 
Book One of The Tir na Nog Trilogy begins an epic fantasy adventure which takes us back in time to the shadowy past of Ireland’s long lost legend, where fairy kings and Gods walk amongst mortals, and where feats of magic, swordsmanship and courage were customary.
 

Blurb for Book 2 – Conor Kelly and the Fenian King
 
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It’s happened again. Somehow, Sidhe-Princess Annalee has embroiled Conor in another hopeless quest on behalf of her people, Ireland’s fairy folk, the Sidhe. Last time, he very nearly got himself killed. This time, things look even worse. 

For a start, Annalee can’t help him. She’s been imprisoned, accused of murdering her own father. The people of the magical realm are at war amongst themselves, whilst Tir na Nog crumbles into the sea and disaster strikes.

The sacred sisterhood of the Morrigan has arisen, wreaking havoc and destruction which threatens not only the future of the magical realm, but the world of mortals too. The Morrigan must be stopped, but how? The heroes of old are all long gone. 

Conor Kelly is just a boy in a wheelchair, but with the help of feisty side-kick Ciara, his drop-out cousin, Conor sets out in search of the mysterious Fenian King, prophecied of old to awake from his slumber beneath the green hills of Ireland, and ride to the aid of his people in their hour of greatest need. 

Along the way, Conor unearths a personal secret which undermines all he has believed about his own identity, throwing him deep into confusion. Floundering in the darkness of uncertainty and fear, the mortal boy must dig deep if he is to overcome his demons and save his friends. 

However, the search for the Fenian King is anything but easy. Known by the name of Fionn mac Cumhall, his exploits as leader of legendary war-band, the Fianna, are still told with awe today. 

So just where do you start your search for Ireland’s greatest hero? Well, first you google it, of course. Then you ask the cat…

Book Two of The Tir na Nog Trilogy continues this epic fantasy adventure which takes us back in time to the shadowy past of Ireland’s long lost legend, where fairy kings and Gods walk amongst mortals, and where feats of magic, swordsmanship and courage were customary.
 

 

Interview – David Coles

DavidColes

 

Dear readers,

a little while ago – on 2013-10-05 – I introduced British author David Coles to you by providing his 10 Statements (10 Statements – David Coles). On Friday, 2014-03-07, my husband and I had the great pleasure to meet him and his wife Jan at the National Railway Museum in York for a short interview.



David, you and your partner in writing, Jack Everett, have written awesome books for different genres. What is your favourite genre?

My favourite genre is definitely fantasy and science fiction, perhaps favouring fantasy slightly more. Like Jack, we grew up when UK libraries were stocking f&sf from Victor Gollancz – we didn’t know each other then, of course but we both used to wander round the shelves looking at all the yellow jackets: VG’s trade mark.

Researching for a story – do you enjoy it that much that you are already inspired for another book?

I enjoy researching, I think Jack finds it less enjoyable but in both cases, it can lead to another book. Since Jack is often the initiator of a particular book, my research goes on at the same time as writing, thank goodness for the Internet and Google maps.

How do you and Jack split your work on a book?

This has changed over the years. At the start of our partnership, we used to write alternate chapters and try to leave the hero in big trouble so the other had to get him/her out of it before continuing in the same way. Nowadays, Jack has graduated to thrillers at which he is better at coming up with ideas; so now, I follow along behind checking facts as I go and adding further ideas to the plot. A case in point is our forthcoming DI White novel: “Damaged Souls” (ms has just gone to the publishers last week) where I added a full preliminary chapter following the villain’s service in the Bosnian conflict and setting the scene for his subsequent activities in the UK.

What about post-processing – how much time does it normally take?

Post-processing, I assume you refer to editing and polishing; takes some months. Jack & I will read and polish the manuscript twice, sometimes more and then divide it into separate chapters to be dealt with by our editor at the publishers – Barking Rain Press. Ti Locke is an editorial director and fantastic editor and I count her very much as a friend. She queries words or phrases not used in America: … parked on the verge – no such thing: parked on the roadside grass. Just one example of how a common language separates our two countries. She also suggests connections or possibilities we haven’t noticed. That process takes at least 6 weeks: two checks through the manuscript with each chapter being returned each time with the queries and a final check once the manuscript is ready for printing and eBook conversion. Turning the edited work into print-ready copy is no small task either and must take its turn in the queue.

What is your next project – would you like to provide a little teaser?

We’re contemplating a fourth outing for our DI White – a more light-hearted Agatha Christie type of thing and just possibly, a third sf volume in the “Arcady” series, though not with Gyle Meredon this time (as far as we know). Adele has already started a second in the “Amaranthines” series; she wants to write 3 or 4 books, each one narrated by a different character; this one by ‘Uncle Max’ is set at the turn of the 12th century in Rome – now there’s a job and a half of research.

Preview – Prologue

Amaranthines series - preview:  Prologue

Amaranthines series – preview: Prologue

 

Thank you very much for these amazing insights, David!

 

Dear readers,

for more information on David Coles, Jack Everett, Adele Abbot, and their works, please refer to the following related articles. Further reviews are upcoming, among others Postponing Armageddon by Adele Abbot.

Related articles:

Review – 1/1: Jihad-Britain

Review – The Diamond Seekers

10 Statements – Jack Everett

10 Statements – David Coles

http://www.davidbcoles.co.uk/

http://www.archimedespresseuk.com/

http://archimedespresseuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/at-national-railway-museum.html

 

Interview – Professor Bookworm

Image courtesy of nirots / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nirots / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Dear readers,
dear writers!

Today’s guest of honour is – drum rolls, please – Professor Bookworm the umpteenth!

Professor Bookworm the umpteenth has studied the phenomenon of writers, writing, and reading ever since his early youth – as did his ancestors before him. His family’s works and achievements alone could easily fill the Royal Albert Hall. He has agreed to spend some valuable minutes of his life to answer some vital questions.

Professor Bookworm, thank you very much for agreeing to answer some very important questions!

When did your family start to collect knowledge about writers, writing, and reading?

Our activities started in the fourth century in Rome, Italy. A major part of our family stayed in Italy, others travelled around the world to gather knowledge.

Why did so many of you stay in Rome?

The Popes and their staff were great collectors. Despite that, the Biblioteca Vaticana was established no earlier than 1451.

When was the first writer active?

The first writer was a caveman – or perhaps his partner. Cave-paintings were the first ‘books’. The cavemen told their tale of hunting and of the weather. They also had – and still have – readers. This is how you humans and we bookworms know so much about their time.

Later generations scratched and engraved symbols and/or hieroglyphics in stone. Their contemporaries read it and understood. Throughout the centuries, knowledge about hieroglyphics was lost, and human researchers had to learn the symbols again.

Are you implying that your species never lost the knowledge about these symbols and/or hieroglyphics?

Indeed. We bookworms always knew. Nobody cared to ask us, though.  *casts down his eyes disappointed*

Those humans who ‘wrote’ were presumably not the writers in the sense of authors?

Exactly. The authors told their story and their specially educated assistants had to write their wise words down. Unless the texts were secret, these writers had to read the texts out loud to an audience as for several centuries not every human had learned how to read.

Then there was the revolutionary Johannes Gutenberg…

Johannes Gutenberg was born 1395, in Mainz, Germany. He started experimenting with printing by 1438 (http://www.gutenberg.de/english/erfindun.htm). He obtained backing in 1450 from the financier Johann Fust, whose impatience and other factors led to Gutenberg’s loss of his establishment to Fust in 1455. Gutenberg’s masterpiece, and the first book ever printed from movable type, is the “Forty-Two-Line” Bible, completed no later than 1455. He died in 1468. Yes, he was a good man. Before him, the Chines already knew the principle of movable characters (http://www.gutenberg.de/english/erfindu2.htm), though.

And the evolution of the printing process did not stop there.

Yes, you humans are really lucky. For a while you wrote on these dangerous typewriters, today, you write on your computers, do no longer use tasty paper. It is a shame…  *shakes his head disappointed*

On the other hand, thanks to the many touch-screens everywhere, we can once again gather our information without help by third parties.  *smiles proudly*

Writers – what is the prerequisite to become a writer?

The answer you certainly expect is: She or he just starts writing. It is not as easy, however. In order to become a writer, everyone needs to be a reader, first. Only if you read, you will be able to write something that is at least a bit worth reading. The more you have read – the better you will write.

What can you tell us about books, Professor Bookworm the umpteenth?

Ah, books. Our love and appreciation for books runs in the family.  *smiles broadly*

Who would have guessed…

Books need to be cherished. Sometimes we even act as muses for writers. Whenever an author like Carlos Ruiz Zafón or Walter Moers writes about libraries – who knows.  *grins mischievously*

And you know what is best?! For every book there is at least one reader who can relate! Isn’t this wonderful!  *sighs happily*

What do you think of the readers?

Readers, they are truly remarkable. They are so alike, and yet so different. The readers I like the most handle their books with care, tend to read them more than once, talk about these books, write about them, review them. This is how it should be! There are even readers who start writing – as in writing books! They are just wonderful!  *rocks enthusiastically*

What is your best recommendation for young readers and/or writers?

Read, dear girls and boys! There are fantastic books for all of you! Let your imagination wander, and learn, learn, learn!

And write, dear girls and boys! There are so many awesome stories not yet told!

And please, dear humans – keep in mind: we bookworms need a special diet of paper.  *grins mischievously*

Professor Bookworm the umpteenth – thank you so much for providing these essential insights!

Interview: Ruth Viridis

Dear readers,

a little while ago – in September, I introduced Ruth Viridis to you by providing her 10 Statements (10 Statements – Ruth Viridis). Dedicated to antique letters as well as rock ‘n’ roll and Photoshop, the care of her granny, a student job and, of course, those university exams, she finally granted me her Tuesday lunch break for a short interview.

Ruth, you like being focused by a camera. Are you a narcissist?

Of course I am a narcissist. I believe that most people, who haven’t the slightest narcissist tendencies wouldn’t in the least be interested in posing in front of a camera. At the same time, I am relatively self-critical. This is a means of self-reflection. All right, I am a narcissist within a reasonable scale, and I like playing with it.

When did you start to pose in front of the camera – and what triggered you?

I really started in September. My youngest sister already did it and the photographer asked my other sister to pose. I approached him myself – and that was how it began. Initially, I did it without major expectations – I just wanted to have some photographs of myself. And it was fun! I realised I could accomplish things – artistic ideas – and I carried on.

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You are often vibrant, and you often appear dreamy. Are you really authentic in front of the camera?

Yes and no. On the one hand, I play roles when posing. As it is when acting, you can play a role only by feeling the respective role’s emotions. And in this moment, of course, I am authentic in my role.

Why do you let them take your photographs?

Why shouldn’t I? I want these photographs. Moreover, I am really glad if I can show people something beautiful, making them happy and perhaps even inspire them to think about themselves and about the perception they have of themselves – whereas I cannot tell if the latter works…

You have a pretty artistic aura – even when you are fully concentrated. Do you also call the shots?

Yes, of course. I am… This is a kind of flow when I am really concentrated and I know exactly what I’m doing – and try to pose to provide the viewers with the impressions of my choice. I communicate with the photographer to achieve this. I am deeply engrossed in posing, and this is pretty favourable as I no longer care about how I look but about what impressions I want to provide. I do no longer care who is watching me, I just care about expressing my emotions.

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Is there an interface between a psychotherapy session and several hours in front of the camera?

Yes, absolutely. With this in mind that I inwardly experience, take on roles, I can reflect on myself. And can broaden my horizons. This is certainly not a talk-therapy; I still consider it psycho-therapeutically valuable.

What is it that makes a photo remarkable? And what qualities does an ideal photograph need to have?

This is the interplay of all things: you need an excellent photographer, you need effective communication with your photographer, so that he knows what you want, and time, and obviously the right accessories, as you need to feel fine; and then – this is really thrilling for a great photo is the ability to act. There are so many bad examples on the web: nice costumes, awesome make-up, the model’s expression is (however) empty – and this is a real pity. There is just no thrill. The thrill lies within the facial expression and the gestures.

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What about post-processing!

Yes, excellent post-processing is vital. Many people consider this modification as alienation or perfecting of a photo; this makes you feel bad compared to the photo – as people are not that perfect. From an artistic point of view, post-processing means giving the desired impression. And why not doing post-processing? Each era knew different beauty ideals. If you look at portraits of Marie Antoinette, for example, you see that it was modified to fit into an ideal. I think that the adaptation to an ideal or a piece of art is not in the least something negative.

Do you consider yourself pretty?

I’d rather say handsome. For a long time I didn’t really consider myself pretty. And I’d say that being pretty is not really something I am striving for – as it is rather outward. This expression relates only to the façade. Handsome is everything – including behaviour, the art of communicating with others. This is my ideal.

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Did you ever dream of becoming a model?

No. Then I’d have to do what the others want from me – instead of following and realising my own ideas.

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What tips do you have for all those who would like to pose?

Do not think about possible impressions; think about trying what you want, what you like. Then you realise what provides great impressions.

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What is going to happen next – photograph-wise?

There are many projects. The next one will comprise roses. My carnival costume – Bloody Mary – inspired me for this topic. My boyfriend favours an American Beauty staging with roses – inspired by the movie poster. This is exciting!

Thank you very much for these amazing insights and stunning photographs, Ruth! Slainte!

Cheers!

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