Written In The Stars (An Interview with Thomas Watson)

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On a clear night you can gaze up at the stars and gape in wonder at the multitude of beauty to behold. Even among the millions of stars, each one is unique and incredible in its own right. Together they make up something magical and inspiring.

It is my belief that this is also true of people. This belief is what gave rise to the “Slices of Life” portion of this blog and all the personal interviews with the incredible people featured there. This latest interview is no exception.

Today’s interview features one of my favorite science fiction authors, Thomas Watson! Thomas is one of those lucky people who seems to be in touch with the Earth and attuned to the skies. His written works include: “The Luck of Han’anga”; “Founders’ Effect”; “Mr. Olcott’s Skies”; “Long Time Passing”; and “Second Chance”.

KL: Thomas, you describe yourself as an amateur astronomer; and as I understand it, your book “Mr. Olcott’s Skies: An Old Book and A Youthful Obsession” was born from your love of astronomy. So I have to ask the obvious question, how did your fascination with astronomy get started?

TW: As I tell it in Mr. Olcott’s Skies, there isn’t a single thing or event I can point to that explains how I became a stargazer. It was an accidental confluence of many events and experiences that, over a number of years, turned my eyes to the Moon and stars. I was fascinated by all of science and nature as a youngster, but somehow the night sky caught my imagination, and held it most firmly. It never really let go, although I stepped away from star gazing for a regrettable number of years.

KL: I love that you took your passion for the stars and turned it into written form so you could share it with the world. Since then you have written a number of other projects as well. Of all your writing projects, which one are you most proud?

TW: That’s too much like deciding which of our four cats I like best! But if I had to pick, it would be the big guy, Linus. No, wait, you were talking about writing. In that case, I’d have to pick Mr. Olcott’s Skies, my brief memoir regarding star gazing. It was intended for the amateur astronomy niche market but has found a readership beyond that niche. That pleases me to no end!

KL: Rightly so. It’s an incredible feeling to have your heartfelt work appreciated by others. In a similar track as the previous question, please think for a moment about the characters you have written. If you could ‘walk in the shoes’ of one of them for a day, who would it be?

TW: Probably Robert MacGregor, the POV character of The Luck of Han’anga and one of the POV’s in Founders’ Effect. We share a love of horticulture and music, though unlike Robert, I’m no musician. Of course, in a way I’ve lived every day of his life, when you think about it.

KL: Being a science fiction fan as you are, what is your favorite sci-fi book, movie, or tv show?

TW: Its an answer given by many, but I’d pick The Lord of the Rings. Its message of hope when things seem most hopeless has brought me through some dark times. I’m not a big movie-goer, but the film made from Sagan’s novel Contact immediately comes to mind. The scenes at the end where faith and science prove themselves compatible were amazing. I don’t watch a lot of television, outside of the baseball season, but I did enjoy Stargate SG-1. The ability of that show to depict a plausible alternate reality was simply outstanding.

KL: Excellent choices! What about authors? Are there any authors you have a soft spot or special respect for?

TW: Isaac Asimov, for one. His anthology The Early Asimov or Eleven Years of Trying made me take short story writing seriously, and inspired me to try to write science fiction of my own. After that, well, this could quickly become an intimidating list! C.J. Cherryh, Ray Bradbury, and Kim Stanley Robinson stand out for science fiction, with Annie Dillard, Edwin Way Teale, and John McPhee as authors I follow in the realm of nonfiction.

KL: If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

TW: Ignore the practical advice of your elders and write. Write a lot. And when you aren’t writing, live. Take chances. Travel. Risk getting your feelings hurt. Life sometimes sucks, but you absolutely must take the risks that come of being fully alive. And I’m not talking thrill-seeking, here (I’ll never be a skydiver!), but real-life matters such as relationships, jobs, and the like. I was far too timid in my younger days, when it came to life experiences. So much easier to hide behind books and, later, a typewriter. And having just written that, I wonder if I would listen to myself giving that advice? The younger man I used to be eh, probably not.

KL: Let’s lighten the mood here with one of my favorite interview questions, what is one little known fact about you?

TW: All facts about me are little known. Okay, I was once thoroughly buffaloed in the middle of the night by a bullfrog. It was, however, a very large bullfrog.

KL: I would love to expand on that a bit (as I sense an interesting story in the making), but we are running out of time. So one last question, just for fun. If you could have any superpower, which one would it be?

TW: I’d go for the ability to fly. Just to be able to get away from it all, from time to time.

KL: Nice! I like the way you think.

Well, there you have it, the low-down on Thomas Watson (author, astronomer, and more). For more information on Thomas, please check out the links below.

Under Desert Stars (the blog of Thomas Watson)

Thomas Watson’s Author Page at Amazon.com

Thomas on Twitter

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Daniel Kemp and The Unpredictable Nature of Life

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Daniel Kemp is a father, grandfather, poet, and an amazing author. Unlike the stories of authors who dreamed of writing stories their whole life, Daniel’s journey to writing came about in a most unexpected and challenging way.

(Daniel): I’m not sure that I was ever ‘meant’ to be a writer, I stumbled into it by accident; literarily.

I was at work one sunny November day in 2006 minding my own business, stopped at a red traffic light when a van, driven incompetently, smashed into me. I was taken to Hospital and kept in for while, but it was not just the physical injuries that I suffered from; it was mental.

I had lost all confidence in myself, let alone those around me. The experts said that I had post traumatic stress disorder, which I thought only the military or emergency personnel suffered from.

On good days I attempted to go to work, sometimes I even made it through Blackwell Tunnel only to hear, or see, something that made me jump out of my skin, and the anxiety attacks would start.

I told my wife that I was okay and going regularly but I wasn’t. I could not cope with life and thought about ending it.

Somehow or other with the help from my wife, and the host of professionals that I saw, I managed to survive and ever so slowly, rebuilt my self-esteem.

It took almost four years to fully recover and become what I now am, somewhere close to what I was before that day, but it was during those dark depressive days that I began to write.

My very first story, Look Both Ways, Then Look Behind, found a literary agent but not a publisher. He told me that I had a talent, raw, but nevertheless it was there. After telling me to write another story, he said that there were two choices open to me: One, wait for a traditional deal. At sixty-two, with no literary profile or experience; little hope. Two, self-publish through New Generation Publishing.

This, I’m delighted to say, I did.

His career as a writer really took off after a chance meeting.

(Daniel): About a month after The Desolate Garden was published I met, by pure chance, a film producer, who on reading my novel paid me for a twelve month option to turn my story into a film.

I’m a licensed London taxi driver and met him in that capacity. It was, he said, exactly what he was looking for.

This is maybe why. It is copied from a review, and summary, of an Australian journalist’s radio broadcast from the novel.

 “The Desolate Garden is especially for readers who like a story, largely rendered through dialog because it was the dialog that pulled the work off the page and onto a movie set. This political thriller resonates with charm, deft touches of satire, and romantic entanglement and where the promise of rampant sex is a turn of the page away.”

I should add here that there is no graphic sex nor gratuitous violence in the story and it is suitable for all ages

He wrote something recently that he led to an unexpected opportunity.

(Daniel): I posted this three-line romantic poem on the internet a week or so ago.

“To rise from a barren earth.

To soar above, to wing away.

To escape from all that’s lacking, and live to love another day.”

From it, I met another author who liked it so much that she commissioned me to do the prophecy at the heart of her enticing tenth century novel. It was an honour and great privilege to do.

The book is titled Viking Hearts, and written by Robynn Gabel.

 It tells the story of a boy left to die by his Viking parents because of the birth stain on his face. He is suckled by wolves until discovered by the Druids who believe he is their answer to this ancient prophecy. The boy becomes…..and there I will stop.  Allowing your imagination to take over. This is the Prophecy I wrote.

The story is hidden in this, and follows the chronological order of the tale.

 “There be cometh a boy that a wolf did raise, with a blotch and stain on his face.

He hath a twin who will rule this land, that only he hath the right to replace.

‘Tis a leader of men he will become, with much victory and treasure at his feet.

But that is not all that will trouble him. T’is much danger he will meet.

 

His image will be seen at an altar, where a marriage will be made.

T’will be a terrible time of vengeance, when plans will be laid.

Come one score year and seven, a mask of death will fall.

The boy will stand alone as a man, with ner’e a fear of its call.

 

All is not pure that lives inside, as greed is hidden away.

With no pleasure the Gods will watch, with much pain and dismay.

Ner’e wielding axe, ner’e slashing blade will spill nor cease his breath.

T’will be only a mirror of disguise that can bring upon him death.

 

Ner’e human hand can take his life, though many will want to try.

He is blessed from the heart of the forest, and to water one day he’ll fly.

T’will be a reflection of his own face he will see that coming day,

But all but the eyes will be hidden from view, secured far away!”

If he could give advice to his younger self, what would he say?

(Daniel): What a question and where to start! One part of me would want to say, change; don’t become what you did, but then again I have loved my life. What some could call ‘mistakes’ I would call ‘opportunities.’ There are so many hackneyed clichés one could use here, but I wrote another poem, that my granddaughter now has, that sums me up quite well. This is it. 

Along the Way.

“I am heavy, I am tired” said the old man to the child. “My life, is drawing to an end. It is not what I have done to life that has brought me here today, but what life has done to me along the way.

I was strong, I was fierce, I took no-one to my side, simply brushing them aside with no need of them. Now I find that I’m alone, but don’t pity nor disown those memories that I’ve sown, along the way.

My path was never straight, sometimes narrow, sometimes wide but along it I did stride to find you here. And I am pleased that I did, otherwise you would never know what I managed in my life, along the way.

I have reached that final bend, the one that leads me to my end, and now I leave you here to make your own way through this life. Tread your path with care, and always be aware that there is no such thing in life, as a mistake. 

Daniel’s book “The Desolate Garden” is available in here!

Daniel Kemp Cover Art

Check out Daniel Kemp’s website here.

Daniel’s on Twitter.

Clowning Around With Jim “Soapy” Dixon

Jim Dixon

Today’s interview spotlights a special guest of mine, Jim Dixon or Soapy, as he is known in the clowning world. To take a quote from his own webpage:

Soapy has been providing entertainment for the Wichita and surrounding area for 18 years. His number of performances is now in the range of 1800, and the education of other clowns is the next step.”

Clowning is not simply painting on a big smiley face, donning some goofy clothes, and running around, tripping and falling for comic relief.

Clowning truly is an art form, and it should be appreciated as such. It incorporates so many different disciplines: face painting, makeup, storytelling, skits, gags, balloons, balancing, juggling, slapstick comedy, costumes, and more.

Now, let’s talk to Jim and learn a little more about the industry from an insider perspective.

Tell me Jim, how did you get started in your career as a clown?

“The answer to that probably isn’t what most people would like to hear; but the truth is I got into it as a ‘for profit’ job, because I saw the potential after having taken a class at a local rec center. I took the class for stress relief, because I was going through a really terrible period in my life; and the instructor said that I was good and he would pay me $65 a birthday party to do it for him; and after a while I decided to break off and do my own. For probably a decade, I was a ‘for profit’ clown. I did not love clowning as a craft, I loved the income that it could provide. It wasn’t until Master Clown, Jim Howell paid me one of the most amazing compliments ever that I realized that, “Hey, I actually do love this”.

Another factor that made me realize how much I love clowning was that I started working at night and realized that I physically couldn’t do working at night, working during the day, and clowning on weekends. So I decided to retire and it took about two weeks before I realized I couldn’t give it up, I actually liked doing it.” 

Jim, what factor has helped you the most in your current success as a performing clown?

I would say it’s my mild autism. I didn’t know I had it until I was diagnosed  with it at 40 years old, and suddenly everything started making sense. As far as how it helps me with bein a clown, I become obsessed with things that I like doing. I become obsessed, and because of that I’ve taken my clowning past what most people would have stopped at. Also, I see patterns. Because I see patterns, I think  it helps me in both skits, balloons, and comedy magic.  I see patterns of behavior in people, so I can anticipate better and when I anticipate better I can prepare better.” 

Makes good sense, the better prepared you are, the better you will think on your feet (so to speak).

Okay, if you could attain any goal with your clowning, what would you hope to attain?

“The answer is: I want to see the industry completely improved. I want to see the industry, as a whole, develop a sense of pride and quality that would make it less scary to people.

I would want to see the industry, as a whole, become something that everybody wants to do, instead of everybody wanting to make fun of it and make fun of it in a bad way, not the way it should be made fun of.

It’s the industry that I want to see improve. So if I could attain a goal for myself, it would be to be a good teacher, where I would make a difference in the success of clowning, because the problem with clowning right now is that anybody can pretty much do it. There is no restrictions on anything. Its an industry where you can throw on a little makeup and some pajamas, call yourself a clown, and start doing birthdays, and what that does is it kills the industry. My goal that I would love to see is to have education or at least help with the education of new clowns.” 

Learn more about Jim “Soapy” Dixon through his website: http://sillysoapy.com/

You can also learn more about the art of clowning at:

Clowns of America, International

Mooseburger Camp

A Look at Life Lessons with R.S. Guthrie

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Today’s interview spotlights writer, R.S. Guthrie. In case your not already familiar with this talented man, we will start things off with a brief look at his bio:

R.S. Guthrie grew up in Iowa and Wyoming. He has been writing fiction, essays, short stories, and lyrics since college.

“Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay Novel” marked Guthrie’s first major release and it heralded the first in a series of Detective Bobby Macaulay (Bobby Mac) books. The second in the series (Lost) hit the Kindle shelves December of 2011.

Guthrie’s “Blood Land” is the first in the Sheriff James Pruett Mystery/Thriller series and represents a project that is close to his heart: it is set in a fictional town in the same county where he spent much of his childhood and still visits.

Guthrie lives in Colorado with his wife, Amy, three young Australian Shepherds, and a Chihuahua who thinks she is a 40-pound Aussie!

Now let’s dive into the questions:

Tell me R.S., if you had to pick a favorite from among your writing projects, which one would you pick?

(R.S.) – “My third book, which is the first in my James Pruett mystery series, because I have always wanted to write about the people, land, and mannerisms where I grew up in Wyoming. It’s a place of which I’m very proud and when people read the books (I have a second out and a third on the way) and tell me that they felt like they were there and they loved it, well, that’s exactly what I was hoping for, so it’s pretty gratifying.”

Most people start writing as a hobby, dabbling a little here and there along the way. But for some writers, things happen in their lifetime that changes them as people and as writers. What was that moment for you?

(R.S.) – “When my son died of SIDS in 2008 it went so deep into my heart and soul that my writing changed. It wasn’t that the emotions weren’t already there, or that I wasn’t already the writer I was, but his death caused me (willing or not) to really plug into my core. That’s why I am so adamant to other writers that they need to dig down, use the pain, too.”

You have my deepest sympathies on the loss of your son. As a parent, that is the nightmare that keeps me up at nights (worrying about my kids).  

Considering where you are at in life now and the lessons you have learned along the way, what advice would you give the younger writer you once were?

(R.S.) – “Write earlier. Write later. Write more. Write when you don’t feel like doing it. Make writing a part of every day, even if it’s just a fun short-short, blog. But man, once you’re forty, you have yourself in a rut where it’s too easy to put off (like exercise or a million other things in your life). I would have told myself that to be a writer there can be nothing more important in your life (elementally speaking).”

Sounds wise indeed and gives credence to the “practice makes perfect” theory.  🙂

I have asked other writer’s this, and I’m curious what you will say, but have you ever struggled with writer’s block?

(R.S.) – “I seriously don’t believe in writer’s block, per se. We get jammed up or blocked by something else in our lives (usually stress or pain from something) and creativity takes a blank canvass. I believe Life (capital “L” intentional) blocks our creativity and that’s what we writers call “writer’s block”. Until you deal with whatever is blocking your creativity, you CANNOT force writing. I mean you can do some writing exercises (I usually blog when I can’t come up with something for whatever I’m writing at the time—for some reason I can always blog). Now here’s the upside: if the thing that is blocking the creativity is something painful or dark (say a death in the family), use it. As I mentioned before, you should be using it anyway. Break through by figuring out what it is that’s stressing you and use those emotions to get you going on that page—infuse those emotions into a character, or a new plot twist. Say you were stressing about an upcoming family vacation. Jump a couple chapters ahead (i.e. disjoint from your current time line) and write about your character preparing for ______ (it doesn’t have to be a vacation; use the emotion you’re feeling to infuse a great scene for your character (and it can be something you use later, earlier perhaps, or even not at all, but it will get you writing like crazy).”

Were you ever inspired by other authors?

(R.S.) – “John D. MacDonald and the Travis McGee series really got me interested in writing Mysteries in a recurring character format, but it wasn’t until I read James Lee Burke and his Dave Robicheaux series that I really feel like I found my voice. I was recently fortunate enough to meet Mr. Burke at a book fair and then listen to him speak.”

On that note, are there any favorite books you are particularly fond of?

(R.S.) – “Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. There are several audiobook recordings of it, but a very special one, narrated by Scott Brick, is the most soothing, wonderful literature I’ve ever heard. I can listen to it anywhere – honestly it is like one of those relaxing Zen CDs. For me Brick accentuates what Conrad was shooting for as the writer; he assists in telling the tale rather than detract from it. Another combination of narrator/author that is completely magical is Actor Will Patton (Remember the Titans, Armageddon) reading many of the James Lee Burke newer collection. He is so perfect I can’t imagine listening to anyone else.”

Out of curiosity, what are the top three things on your bucket list (assuming you have one)?

(R.S.) – “1. Visit Scotland; 2. Meet Clint Eastwood; 3. Fly, just once, in one of those new wingsuits that allow you to leap off a four-thousand foot mountain, fly for several minutes, and then slow down, pull your chute, and land. You reach speeds over 200 miles per hour. (The death rate in that sport is near 100% if you stay in it for more than like five years. But there’s just something about it. Watch it here.)

Disclaimer about #2: I’m not a stalker. But if I could meet Clint just once and have a half hour or an hour with him, man, that would be amazing.”

I’m inclined to agree with you on #2. Clint is the man!

As we wrap things up, can I convince you to share a little known fact about yourself?

(R.S.) – “In 2002 I had cancer and just this past July, I hit my ten year anniversary cancer-free!”

That’s awesome news, Congrats! May you be blessed with many more decades of cancer free living.

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Now that you have gotten the skinny on R.S. Guthrie, check out one of his books:

 

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Blood Land Synopsis:

Crime’s an ugly constant in the big city. L.A. Chicago. New York. But when a savage murder brutalizes a small town and neighbor turns on neighbor, a tough-as-nails cop is essential to restoring order. Blood Land is a gritty, emotional saga set in the Wyoming badlands with both greed and vengeance at its core—the first in a series of James Pruett Mystery/Thrillers.

When billions of dollars in natural gas rights hang in the balance and the town’s top law officer’s wife is slain by her own blood, a reluctant hero is forced to battle his own demons and ultimately choose between justice, revenge, and duty.

In the tradition of Dennis LehaneTony Hillerman and James Lee Burke, Guthrie’s sparse, haunting storytelling compliments his talent for creating richly-drawn, unflinching law officers with human frailties and a sense of justice.

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Don’t forget to check out these links for even more tidbits of info on R.S. –

Official Website of R.S. Guthrie

R.S. Guthrie’s Amazon Author Page

R.S. Guthrie on Facebook

R.S. on Twitter

 

 

Ed Coburn And The Dog Who Ate The ???

Ed Coburn

 

The focus of my interview today is on author, Ed Coburn. My first introduction to Ed was actually through Twitter. He often tweets some of the most thought provoking and deeply inspiring quotes and messages of anyone I have seen.

Yet, his real passion seems to lie in his books. He is most notably, the author of “The Dog Who Ate The ???” series, as well as the beginnings of a couple others, which he mentions later in this interview:

Ed, I have gotten the impression that your love for writing started at a very early age. Can you tell me a little more about that?

“I would have to say at about eight years old. I had a dream and then typed it out the next morning even though, at eight, I didn’t know how to type. My parents, naturally, thought it was great but it was probably crap. But it was a start.”

As is sometimes the case, it can take an important life event to really prompt someone to get serious about their dreams and passions in life. Was this true for you?

“A little over two years ago I had three small strokes and I emerged from that experience a different person and have been writing seriously ever since.”

I know you have written a few different books thus far, but out of all your writing projects, which one are you most proud of?

“I would have to say The Dog Who Ate The ??? series. I will be more proud when it is finished many years from now because the series is alphabetical (A-Z) and I am only writing D now (The Dog Who Ate The Drawing).”

So Ed, that being said, if you could spend a day living the life of any one of your characters, which one would it be and why?

“I would have to say Adam in my series of The Dog Who Ate The ??? series. That’s because he’s young (38), rich, and psychic.”

In your writing career, what has been the biggest challenge for you thus far?

“My biggest challenge would have to be finding enough time to write with all the other parts of my life always getting in the way, Twitter, Facebook, my real job (a programmer for the DMV). But, in less than two years I will be able to retire from the DMV with 5 years and then I hope to become a full-time writer.”

Considering for just a moment, the work of other authors you admire, do you have a favorite book?

“That would have to be “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein. I’ve read it probably ten times and I have never before read a book more than once or twice.”

Last but not least, what are the top three items on your “bucket list” (assuming you have one)?

“1. Finish my The Dog Who Ate The ??? series as well as write more books in my “Standing” series (the first one is The Last Killer Standing), my “Order Of The White Feather” series (the first one is The Sword of Dalamar) and I want to write some books of two more alphabetical series I want to start.

2. Ride in a hot air balloon and/or go skydiving.

3. Tour Europe and, at least, go back to Ireland where I was in 1997.”

Thank you so much for your time Ed. I am looking forward to seeing where your “The Dog Who Ate The ???” series is going to take us as you work your way through the alphabet.

Readers,  take a few moments to browse through the links below to learn even more about Ed Coburn and his written works.

The Dog Who Ate the Airplane (Book One of The Dog Who Ate The ??? series)

Edward Coburn’s Amazon.com Author Page

Ed Coburn on Twitter

Ed’s Bio Page on Smashwords!

 

 

Q & A With Gabe Berman

 

 

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Today’s interview casts the spotlight on Gabe Berman, the author of “Live Like A Fruit Fly: The Secret You Already Know”. If you haven’t yet read this insightful book, I will give you a short summary: This book is filled with true to life stories, thought provoking ideas, messages of inspiration, reminders to never underestimate the importance of thankfulness, and heart-felt encouragement to pursue one’s passions before it’s too late.

(**Personal review – This is definitely a must read book for anyone who keeps putting off their dreams for another day, believing that there will be time later to do those things, because this book reminds us that later may never come. In today’s world, that is sometimes easy to forget.**)

Now, let’s get to know a little more about the man himself.

So tell us Gabe, if you could meet any other writer of your choosing in person, who it would be?

“If you give me a time machine, I’d go back and hang with the Osho. And if you don’t give me a time machine, I’ll build one.”

That would be pretty ingenious of you. 🙂

Considering the subject matter of your book, one can’t help but wonder: what are the top three things on your “bucket list”?

“1. To never worry about money again;

2. To continue being healthy;

3. Enlightenment would be nice”

Out of curiosity, what job did you dream of having when you were a kid?

“Growing up on Long Island, I wanted to be in Billy Joel’s band. I still do.”

On that note, do you have any musical talents/abilities, or is it one of those I just wish I was a rock star kind of dreams?

“If you don’t know how to play the guitar, you’d think I’m good. But if you’re an eight year old who took a few lessons, you’d know I’m not.”

Hypothetically speaking, if you could live for a day as any other person (fictional or not), who would it be?

“Jesus. I just need to know what really happened.”

Looking back for a minute, if you could give any piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

“Don’t worry so much. And in ten years from now, I’d say the same thing.”

Wise words. Okay, with regards to your writing career, when did you first know you were meant to be a writer?

“I don’t think we’re meant for anything. We’re all born with certain skills and it’s up to us to follow the path. But then again, there’s a good chance I have no idea what I’m talking about. So to be safe, I’ll answer the question: There was a book I read as a kid that made me want to be a writer – The Spy in the Ointment by Donald E. Westlake. In this spy novel, the main character speaks to the reader in parenthesis as if he’s talking to the camera in a movie. It seemed to break all the rules of writing. I related to that and I still do.”

So, what was it that really changed things for your writing career?

“The Miami Herald called me one afternoon and said they heard great things about me. I hung up on them because I thought someone was playing a joke. Thankfully they called back and a week later my first column appeared in their paper.”

What are your thoughts on overcoming writer’s block?

“Writer’s block is bullshit. Writing is an excruciating process of finding the balance between action and surrender.  If you’re stuck, surrender and stay open. The words will come to you. Eventually. Don’t force. And certainly don’t settle.”

As a last note here, do you have any favorite authors?

“No one has floored me like J.D. Salinger.”

Okay, I fibbed, one more last question, (LOL), if you could name one person who helped you the most in becoming the person you are today, who would it be and why?

“I know I sound cocky here but the truth is, it’s me. It’s my perseverance which enabled the butterfly effect.”

And there you have it readers, a peek into the life of author Gabe Berman! Be sure to check out his book, “Live Like A Fruit Fly: The Secret You Already Know.” (You will be doing yourself a huge favor!)

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It’s available now from Amazon!

**Want some more good news? Gabe’s next book will be coming out very soon: “The Complete Bullshit Free And Totally Tested Writing Guide To Making Publishers, Agents, Editors and Readers Fall In Love With Your Work”! (So be on the lookout for it.)**

Now, don’t let your curiosity stop there, find out even more about Gabe through the links below:

OMGabe

Check out Gabe on Twitter

Gabe’s Author Page on Amazon

Gabe’s page on Goodreads

 

 

 

Zoe Whitten – Hipster Zoe

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Zoe Whitten is the author of such books as, “Peter the Wolf”, “Roll the Bones”, “Dogs of War” and more. Her blog is upfront and honest (like it or not), and not needing your approval, much like Zoe herself. Read on for some more tidbits about this talented author.

Zoe’s career as a writer found its surprising start from a short story and some well-deserved praise. As she tells it:

“I’d often wanted to write, and my first desire to do so came after reading Stephen King’s It when I was 12. But it wasn’t something I pursued until 23, when a close friend of mine suggested that I write a journal. Instead of doing that, I wrote a 100 page “short story” and handed it to her. She finished it the same night and looked at me and said, “My God, you really are a writer.” I just kept making up new stories from there.”

If given the chance to spend a day as a character from one of her books, the superhero has it.

“Maybe as Terry Donalds, from A Frosty Girl’s Cure. She’s a superhero with ice-based powers, which would be pretty cool to play around with for a day, if you’ll forgive a bad pun.”

A true writer with heart, Zoe has difficulty picking a favorite from among her works.

“That’s a tough call, because I’m proud of all my stories for various reasons. But I guess the works I’m most proud of are The Lesser of Two Evils, Peter the Wolf, Saving Gabriel, and Sandy Morrison and the Pack of Pussies. All of these have strong characters and unique story lines that take familiar tropes and twist them into something new and unexpected.”

She has no trouble determining the one person who has most helped her along the way.

“My husband Luciano. Without his beta reading and encouragement, I don’t think I could have stuck it out during those first oh-so-quiet years of self-publishing.”

In keeping with Zoe being a multi-genre author, she also loves a variety of other authors and books.

” The top of my list these days is John A. Lindqvist, who I have yet to read a bad book from. After that my list of favorites include, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer, Katey Hawthorne, Gina Ranalli, and Zoe Winters. Absolutely impossible for me to choose a favorite book. There’s just so many good books to love.”

As with her love of many authors, Zoe also draws on a variety of music for inspiration.

“MGMT’s albums, Oractular Spectacular and Congratulations, are awesome backgrounds for me to write to. Also good is anything by Vampire Weekend, The Killers, Janelle Monae, Neko Case, Amy Winehouse, Tom Petty, or Pink Floyd. That’s not a definitive list, just the stuff I listen to most commonly while writing.”

One of her biggest challenges as a writer, (as is with many other writers), is making sure to attain that connection with the reader.

“As an indie writer, the toughest part is getting books into peoples’ heads. There’s so many books coming out at every level of the market that it’s hard to catch peoples’ attention. When I do get a sale or a review, it feels really good because I know there’ thousands of other writers they could spend their time with. So that they’ve shared time with me is a miraculous connection through all the online chatter.”

On killing off her characters…

“As for the hardest obstacle, I’d say it’s having to follow through on the death of a character who I’ve come to know and love. I absolutely hate to do it, and I still do it anyway.”

If she could give advice to her younger self…

“Nothing, but I would appreciate the ability to go back in time and show that frightened little kid what they would eventually grow up to become. I think maybe knowing I had a future might have made all the bullying and abuse less painful.”

Find more about Zoe Whitten:

Zoe’s blog – Hipster Zoe

About Zoe

Zoe on Twitter

Zoe on Facebook