Interview, Matt Posner / Tales of Christmas Magic

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Author Interview #37, with multi-genre writer (and NYC teacher), Matt Posner!

This is a customized Q&A in line with the author’s latest eBook: “Tales of Christmas Magic.”

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[Q&A with Matt Posner / Tales of Christmas Magic (7 questions)]

Jess: I like how the collection presents the magic that features in School of the Ages (magic which is based on the mind and spirit). What was the inspiration for presenting magic this way (realistically in “our world”)?

posner_xmas

Matt: I have read a lot about magic and the paranormal. Although I was interested in the subject from childhood, I took up the study more systematically when I was 21 as a result of feeling turmoil in my life. Learning to read tarot and understand Hermeticism gave me some structure at a time when other things weren’t helping.

Shortly I discovered the writing of Colin Wilson, beginning with The Occult and moving on to various other similar books, like Mysteries, Poltergeist!, and Beyond the Occult, and from these I became aware of how many amazing phenomena there were in the world that could be incorporated into fiction.

At first I tried to put them into an epic fantasy novel, which was agented for a while in New York around 1993, but then I left the subject alone for a while. When it came time to return to writing about magic, I used all that I had studied and learned to create the School of the Ages magical system.

Jess: Epic fantasy is a great foundation ;) I thought the underlying theme(s) in the story “Goldberry vs. Santa Claus” were very smoothly handled. Incidentally, the characters featured on the cover are from this story. Any reason for this? :)

Matt: I consider this the centerpiece story of the collection. It’s the one that is most Christmas-themed and has the strongest dramatic tension. Having a teen girl magician fight Santa Claus makes a good blurb also. Using that story enables me to get the school (actually Toronto’s Casa Loma castle) and Santa on the cover. Adding to that, my cover artist Eric Henty found a girl on a stock photo site who looks perfect as Goldberry, and then a boy on the same site who looks perfect for Simon.

What luck: the resulting image is just great!

Jess: Your School of the Ages project contains a very unique blend of elements (ranging from history, to religion, spirituality, and education!). Does it get confusing at times or does working with these themes come very naturally to you as a writer?

Matt: It comes naturally to me because of my multicultural past. My parents socialized with Indian immigrants beginning when I was a small child, and I read Amar Chitra Katha comics about the Ramayana and other Indian mythology.

In high school, I focused on Spanish classes as much as English. In college, I took a course in ethnomusicology and listened to world music while getting my bachelor’s in Humanities. It was one of my favorite courses.

Years later, getting married to Julie, who is from India, really strongly activated my desire to know more about non-Western cultures. Working in yeshiva high schools caused me to build some Jewish cultural identity (what they call Yiddishkeit).

Over the last few years, I have repeatedly taught a college course called World Civilizations (shoutout to my students!) which caused me to reflect on the vast range of cultural heritages there are and fed me ideas. I taught some art history in college too. I’ve been to some of Europe’s greatest art museums, although not enough of them yet in my opinion, and not to mention the great ones in New York City, where I live. These things have only whetted my appetite for multiculturalism.

Jess: Speaking about multiculturalism — something that I (and many other readers) like about the STA series is how it is multiculturally-inclusive. How would you define multiculturalism (along with its strengths and disadvantages, to be more specific)?

Matt: I define multiculturalism as the view that the world is made up of many traditions, faiths, arts, languages, societies, and that all of them are interesting and have some way to contribute to the lives of other human beings. I want to write about the interaction of these cultures and I want to draw cool stuff from all of them to make the School of the Ages books distinctive.

I’ll give you an example. In Level Three’s Dream, the students go to Paris where they have an unexpected battle with a group of older students from Paris’ magic school, Citadel d’If. Some of them are fairly unsurprising French ruffians, based loosely on the gang in the original La Femme Nikita, but pumped up with magic powers. However, one is distinctive: Arnaud le Vampire is an Algerian Arab. I know from studying history about the long and uncomfortable connection between France and Algeria, which was so severe that it nearly caused a civil war in France, and I wanted to reflect this history by putting a French-speaking Algerian into the school. He’s not a typical undead vampire, either; he’s fully alive, about 18 years old, and has the abilities of a psychic vampire, who can drain your energy by staring at you. (Many people believe this type of vampire actually exists!) When he fights, Arnaud shouts the Takbir, an expression used by Muslims for both prayer and battle: “Allahu Akbar!”

There are loads of vampires in the books these days, but I feel sure that there are no others like mine, and that readers will be excited by Arnaud’s contradictions and want to read his future appearances in my narrative.

Jess: I wouldn’t doubt the existence of such vampires either :P. I enjoyed “The Sphinx” (the last story in the collection, written when Matt Posner was 16 and bored in Honors English!). What are some of the things you notice with regards to your writing at that age, and in the years thereafter?

Matt: When I go back to my much older writing, my juvenilia such as “The Sphinx,” I’m struck by the fact that my prose style — sentence construction and such — has not changed tremendously. That’s why you can read “The Sphinx” in the same book as stories I wrote in 2011. The themes and meaning are immature, but the quality of the prose is much the same.

Maybe I should feel bad that my style hasn’t advanced as much as my content has, but I’d rather say that I knew very long ago what kind of writer I wanted to be. The truth is that I wrote more fluidly and confidently then, when the troubles of the world and the brutal pressures of limited time to work didn’t distract me from my voice and ideas. I put this story into the collection for a lot of reasons, but one of them was to show that not only do I have it, but I always had it.

Like Lady Gaga, “I’m on the right track, baby. I was born this way.”

6. Excellent! Writers/creative types have to have confidence in their own work :) Please share your favorite excerpt from this collection:

How about this:

Santa Claus had stopped laughing and was now closing in on Simon, who was between them. “Out of the way, or I’ll feed you to Mrs. Claus,” he said, not very jovially. “She gains about ten pounds a year from eating children on the naughty list, you know.”
Tales of Christmas Magic, Matt Posner

7. Comment on writing versus teaching, in your experience (Matt is a teacher in NYC):

Teaching has made me a better writer in that I understand better what goes into literature structurally. I have gotten more out of teaching literature than having it taught to me, or studying writing in graduate school, where I found that my experience was more about politics and personality, both of which I wasn’t good at then. I use writing skills in teaching. The other day I needed a simple example of an ironic poem, so I wrote one myself and then put a fake author’s name on it*.

Writing is solitary, teaching very public, and I need to be public part of the time, or else I will become too self-centered; it’s the phenomenon of the only child at work there. All this said, I feel that if I could only do one of the two, I would much prefer to write. If I were suddenly wealthy enough to quit working a teaching job and focus on writing, I would still want to teach, but I would just be more selective about it: do less of it and exercise more control over the details of the job than I can at present. As a teacher, I work with special education students, who are needy in a lot of ways, and often, though not always, difficult. It’s important to me to feel I’m the kind of person who can love those who are hard to love and who can make a difference in the lives of those who are hard to help. I want to test myself that way and I want to prove to myself day by day that I don’t have to be afraid. I don’t think I should give up doing this, but I wouldn’t mind if I did it a little less…

* My Dog
by Alan Smithee

My dog smells sour.
My dog has fleas.
She barks at night.
On the floor she pees.
She’s the best dog
I ever had.
For how could such
A dog be bad?

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Now go check out some of Matt’s work(s) — after reading his eclectic bio!

Author Bio + Website Links:

Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from New York City. Originally from Miami, FL, Matt lives in Queens with Julie, his wife of more than ten years, and works in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Matt is also the Dean of School of the Ages, America’s greatest magic school, located on a secret island in New York Harbor, and is pleased to tell stories about its people in the five-book series School of the Ages, which will be published between 2010 and 2015.

As the child of classically trained musicians, Matt is a performing poet and percussionist with The Exploration Project, New York’s premier avant-garde multimedia club band, along with the painter Eric Henty and founding musician and impresario Scott Rifkin. Matt teaches high school English, with a fondness for special education students, and teaches world civilizations at Metropolitan College of New York. His interests include magic and the paranormal, literature, movies, history and culture, visual arts, world music, religion, photography, and professional wrestling history.

Website: www.schooloftheages.webs.com

Twitter | Facebook “School of the Ages Series” | Goodreads

Author Interview, Kate Walker

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Author Interview #36, with multi-genre Australian writer (and animal lover), Kate Walker!

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Hi Kate! Please describe yourself in ~5 words:

Living Delights Me.

Great! Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Excerpt:

“He knew why he loved her and marvelled at the mystery, that without her he was just a man who filled a corner of a store, shifting ties and handkerchiefs, but with her he filled the whole world. Keeping a shelf tidy became a sacred duty, knowing that everything he did was either right or wrong, good or bad for his soul, damning or glorifying to his spirit. There were no meaningless actions any more, everything was significant and either exalted or bestialised him.”
The Man Who Loved His Wife (a short story)

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

I remember…Akira breaking off from what we were doing, tip-toeing to the balcony and leaning right over the rail, so far I feared he might topple over. Then when he came hurrying back, I noticed the strange grin had appeared on his face. The maid, he reported in a whisper, had as expected fallen asleep.

‘Now we must go in! Are you frighten, Christopher? Are you frighten?’

Arika had suddenly become so tense that for a moment all my old fears concerning Ling Tien came flooding back. But by this point a retreat for either of us was out of the question…
Once We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

WRITING is one of those occupations that oscillates between blissful ease and immeasurable toil.

You slip into the zone and the story writes itself. You’re taking down dictation and all you have to do is listen and be a faithful scribe. Words come, one after the other, in an order more exquisite than you could have conceived, and will remain in that order forever more.

Then next day the inaudible whisper is gone and you’re on your own. Words fall in clusters like rotten grapes or handfuls of flint, and you’re lucky if one in twenty will survive to serve your needs.

And then there’s the rewriting, interminable beyond belief. You rehash every sentence fifty times. And only when it reads like someone is again whispering the story into your ear do you know it’s ready and complete.

PUBLISHING, on the other hand, is like being a store keeper. Every job is clear cut. You actually know what you’re supposed to be doing, which is the opposite of writing. I’m talking about epublishing now. You know how the document needs to be formatted, and you can sit doing it late into the night and never flag. It’s just a checklist and when each job is done, it usually doesn’t need undoing…not like writing does.

Then you up-load. They ask the questions, you tick the boxes, press the right buttons, and that’s it — you’ve got a book out there. So little effort for such a grand achievement. It feels wonderful.

Of course, then you have to promote the book. That’s what takes the time out of your day and the skin off your knees. You get on-line and search the known universe for anyone at all who might conceivably give you a few pixels of space. It’s the total opposite of writing and how good is that? Just what every writer needs — a second job (still to do with writing) but nothing like it. Just more checklists and buttons to press. And for your trouble, there’s some pretty nice people out there in the known universe that you’re certain to stumble across.

WRITING vs PUBLISHING? Thumbs up to both.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing is a story that tells itself. It’s a book that turns its own pages. It’s a style the reader never notices, because it’s so at one with the story, the pain and labour that went into crafting it is totally invisible. There’s not a word that isn’t needed. And yet not a character that doesn’t move about before your very eyes, nor a setting that you don’t walk tangibly through.

For me, that makes a perfect book and I’ve read a few of them, such as: The Remains of the Day & Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro. Oscar and Lucinda & The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Meditate first. It wakens the muse and gets her whispering.

I’ve one more question for Kate, since one of her books is a dragon novel for children ;) What do you find most captivating about Dragons?

dragon_mith

[The Dragon of Mith, by Kate Walker (also posted on Dragonsinn.net)]

Dragons are us. They’re that great mysterious beast that is ourselves, projected large. They represent everything we can be: all powerful; treacherous; avaricious for gold; thirsty for blood; gentle; eternally patient; guardians of good. They’re us on a god-like scale, where we can stand back and see ourselves and be awed.

Excellent — I couldn’t have said it better myself (I’ll add your quote to the contributors’ page on Dragonsinn!). Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

www.katewalkerwriter4children.wordpress.com

www.katewalkeraustralia.wordpress.com

www.katewalker.com.au

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Much thanks to Kate Walker for stopping by!

Kate writes all sorts of books (picture books, novels, deep and meaningful short stories, etc.). She hates doing the same thing twice and loves the excitement of totally new ventures.

Be sure to check out her website for more info on her award-winning books [including The Dragon Mith, first published in Australia in 1989 and awarded second prize in the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Awards (Younger Readers].

Author Interview, John Hansen

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Author Interview #35, with teenage author of horror stories (and other random murderous pieces), John Hansen!

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Hey John! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Creative. Passionate. Clever. Slightly insane.

Ah, a fellow insane person ;) Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Here’s an excerpt from a work in progress — but it gives you a good taste of my writing style:

“And for a moment — one terrible moment — Kyle’s cold, rigid expression softened. The ferocity that had burned within his eyes melted away into something that Hannah had not seen in Kyle in the longest time — regret. And in that one terrible instant, Hannah almost felt sympathetic for her suffering husband as she saw into that struggling soul of his, which had become trapped beneath his hard, unflappable exterior as it desperately sought out a way to reveal itself. Hannah wanted to reach out to him, to touch his hand, to fall sobbing into his outstretched arms and to have him tell her it would all be okay, to let her take him back no matter his past mistakes. But she knew better than that. Hannah could never again trust that cruel, sadistic man; much less take him back. The kids didn’t deserve him, she didn’t deserve him…no one did. No one deserved a man like Kyle. No one deserved a murderer.”

Gripping! Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

My favorite author is Rick Riordan. My favorite book by him is Mission Road. It’s illegal to reproduce an excerpt (according to Random House’s policy), so, keeping that in mind, I don’t think I’ll break the law today. An excerpt can be found online, though, if you’re interested.

Excerpt: http://www.randomhouse.com/
book/154524/mission-road-by-rick-riordan/#excerpt

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

In my opinion, writing is spontaneous, compulsive. I can sit down and write a book and I’d love it. It’s a hobby of mine and something I’d like to eventually do professionally. Writing comes naturally to me and many others but it is not the easy to do, even if you have a writing gift. Writing is not easy but it is many author’s calling. Anyone can write a book. I mean anyone. It could be awful or it could be amazing but just the writing aspect is nothing more than a compulsion.

Publishing is different. Publishing is difficult to do and should not discourage any of you authors, but publishing is really what takes your writing — your hobby and compulsion — to the test. As I said, anyone can write a novel and many people do because of this calling they get, but few books written are actually worthy of publishing. Lack of commercial (please don’t call it traditional because that doesn’t mean what you intend it to; it includes vanity presses like Publishing America in the ‘traditional publishing’ spectrum) publication does not wholly reflect the quality of your work, but no matter what many indies say, if you don’t succeed at all (I mean complete rejections) it should set off some alarms.

If you don’t get any requests for partials or fulls from agents, it means that there is something wrong with your writing or book. Just as simple as that. Don’t let this discourage you; it happened to me. I went back, read through my manuscript and realized that my characters were boring. The publishing industry — without doing anything more than rejecting my manuscript — changed me as an author. I took my passion to the test, and I failed. It was a slow recovery but in the recent months I’ve completely revamped my writing style and since then I’ve gotten a bunch of short story/poetry publications. I’ve been told that what I have written so far of my second novel is excellent, perfect.

To me, writing is a calling but there is a fine line between writing and publishing. Anyone can write. Only skilled writers can publish. If you fail in the publishing industry, go back to your work. Read through it again. Find what is wrong. Try again. It will work for you.

Yes, failure is part of the journey to success (whether commercially or independently published). What is your definition of “good writing”?

“Good writing” is as broad as any prose that evokes emotion from the reader. Every good book evokes emotion because that’s what makes books so enjoyable; if a book doesn’t, it is, frankly, bad. Who would want to read a book that gives you no emotion? Reading passively, as if you are at a distance from a book because no emotion escapes you, is probably the least enjoyable thing one can do. But if a book evokes emotion in the reader, the reader will feel a kinship to the author and characters and it will make the reading experience so much more enjoyable. It doesn’t matter how it is portrayed; any author’s goal is to captivate their readers. Good writing does this. Whether it is rich, beautiful prose for a love story or fast, flowing writing for a thriller, it doesn’t matter. Good writing evokes emotion within the reader, compels them to read on and ultimately enjoy the book.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

I hate to sound so stupidly redundant and repeat what I’m sure every guest here says as that is against my personality, but this is an exception. Heed my words, don’t grumble to yourselves about how annoying I am (well, you can do that too). As you all have heard, the #1 tip for writers is to never give up. Never. DO NOT let rejections from agents and publishers discourage you at all. It’s a tough industry and rejections don’t reflect the quality of your work.

If you have a book out somewhere, don’t think twice about 1-star reviews, no matter how harsh they are. Why? Because guess who else gets 1-star reviews? Hmm, let me think: Stephen King, John Grisham, Christopher Paolini, Suzanne Collins, James Patterson and I could go on (so, essentially, you’re in good company).

Guys, it takes years to publish. Decades. A fellow crime writer who is now commercially published went through two literary agents who could not sell her book. She did countless rewrites, submitted everywhere and for a period of twelve years, she could not get her book published. But did she give up? No. She dumped the agents, kept submitting and twelve years after the books’ completion, she got a publishing acceptance. Her book now sits on the shelves at your local bookstore. Never give up. Never get discouraged. All of you have a gift, have a unique way to tell a story; show it. Write, submit, and write some more. Let my author friend be your guide. It takes forever to publish but if you work at it as much as she did, you get great rewards.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

Please visit my book blog where I read and review books, host commercially published authors, agents, publishers and publicists for interviews (I have an interview with literary agent and published author, Mandy Hubbard coming up!), and give my tips on writing as well as your occasional insane and random post. It is appropriately titled “The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer” (http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com).

I tweet as @ABoredAuthor, and am on Facebook.

I’m also on:

Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MysteryRiter)

Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5148469.John_Hansen)

CrimeSpace (http://crimespace.ning.com/profile/JohnHansen)

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Much thanks to John for stopping by — be sure to check out his vibrant blog/website to learn more about his writing, reviews, and guest interviews!

Author Interview, Susan Helene Gottfried

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Author Interview #34, with rock & roll writer, Susan Helene Gottfried!

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Hi Susan! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Almost as cool as Trevor.

Nice! Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

trevors_song

The four (and counting) books in the Trevolution are Rock and Roll in a book. They follow the story of Trevor Wolff, bass player for ShapeShifter and not nearly as big a jerk as you’ll think when you first meet him.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

Oh, yikes. You want me to narrow my favorites down to one? Do you know how many people I’ll anger?

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience *while Jess tries to think of a number re: the previous answer…*:

It’s all tough: writing, editing, crafting. The publication process is another tough nut on top of that. This isn’t an industry for anyone who’s not brave, that’s for certain. However, the flip side is one of the best experiences a person can have in their lifetime. It’s filled with great fellow authors and readers who are outstanding people. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. Even those days when I’m grumpier than Mitchell.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Something that lifts you up and transports you somewhere else.

Yes, I like that type of effect too :P (sounds very much like “good music”!). Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Hire a good editor. Like me.

Oh, wait. You want something serious.

Learn as much as possible. Including rules of grammar. Your editor will thank you for it later on.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

Website: www.westofmars.com

Blog: www.westofmars.com/blog

Twitter: @WestofMars

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WestofMarsFans

In other words: if it’s West of Mars, it’s probably me.

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Much thanks to Susan for stopping by — be sure to check out her website to learn more about the author and the multiple projects/websites she manages!

P.S. Susan is a member of the vibrant BestsellerBound writing community [as am I :)…].

Author Interview, Junying Kirk

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Author Interview #33, with multicultural writer/linguist, Junying Kirk!

junying_kirk

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Hi Junying! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Creative, Adventurous, Ambitious, Loving, Loyal.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

junying_kirk_2junying_kirk_3

Excerpt:

The time has come, when I must take a good, long look back, beyond the oceans and mountains, beyond countless borders, beyond the crowds of people I have encountered, beyond my shell, and search for the meaning of my existence. Through the looking glass, tinted with the rich colours of passing years, I reflect over significant events, essential to shaping an ordinary life in not such an ordinary way.

Blurb:

Pearl Zhang was born and brought up in China, and she seized the opportunity to study in the United Kingdom – and stayed. How did she adjust to the Western way of life, and what did she have to do to overcome the barriers? She was in a new world, both foreign and exciting – under The Same Moon.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
— Charles Dickens

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

For me, writing is a compulsion, something I had to do. Therefore words come easily to me, most of the time. I know the stories I want to tell and the messages they will deliver, and I’m simply a medium to do it. The only challenge I have is how I can do it better, with English being my second language.

Publication is a completely different animal. Traditional publishing is extremely competitive and almost impossible to get into for the majority of indie authors. With the boom of e-publishing and amazing new technology, authors can have their work self-published and reach a global readership, however, the challenge is the promotion and marketing – how do we reach these readers?

I’ll always have a healthy respect for people who are bi/multilingual :) What is your definition of “good writing”?

I read non-stop, so I know good writing when I come across it :) For me, good writing has to have the essential ingredients of a great plot, believable characters, good writing style, wonderful use of words and images to deliver a message/messages. The different genres may require something slightly different, but fundamentally a good combination of plot, characters, pace and writing style is a must.

Yes, fundamentals will never lose their importance. Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Determination to see it through. People say that everyone has a story to tell, but how many of us actually get down to it and finish what we have started? It requires sweat, dedication and thousands of hours of lonely pursuit. Believe me, it’s all worthwhile at the end of that long winding road.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

Website: www.junyingkirk.com

Twitter handle: @junying007

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Much thanks to Junying for stopping by! Be sure to check out her website for info/excerpts, posts about travelling, multiculturalism, and more (P.S. Junying loves Leo Tolstoy — so do I!).

Author Interview, Joseph Rinaldo

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Author Interview #32, with writer/reader/husband/father/sports fan/fisherman/boater (many roles!), Joseph Rinaldo!

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Hi Joseph — please describe yourself in 5 words:

Smart, funny, creative, loyal, ambitious.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

gangbang

Excerpt:

“I really didn’t want any part of gang life, but in my building every kid had to make a choice.”

Blurb:

Can a football scholarship to a rural Kentucky college save a gangbanger from his deadly past?

Read Hazardous Choices for the answer.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

“In my gunny-covered cubicle I sat staring at the computer screen. My story for the day was a limp sort of evil. Four kids, ages two through six, were found locked in a room on the South Side with a couple of tuna sandwiches and a quart of milk. They’d been left three days, flurrying like chickens over the food and feces on the carpet. Their mother had wandered off for a suck on the pipe and just forgotten. Sometimes that’s what happens.”
— Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

The writing is effortless. I just copy down what the voices in my head dictate. Publishing is a nightmare. I tried the traditional route — got nothing but frustration and rejection. Went self-publishing — got sales, but the workload of promoting your own books is heavy and constant.

Sales and your own promotion = much better than nothing but frustration and rejection :P What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing is creating a world that the reader can visit and lose himself in for a time. Good writing, to me, is pure escapism.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Revise, revise, revise, edit, edit, edit. Most importantly, hire a professional editor.

Mm-hmm with editing (argh!). Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

Website: www.josephmrinaldo.com

Blog: http://wwwjosephmrinaldocom.blogspot.com

Twitter handle: @jmrinaldo

Facebook Author Page | Goodreads | Smashwords | Amazon

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Much thanks to Joseph for stopping by! Be sure to check out his website for more info/excerpts.

P.S. Both of Joseph’s books feature a character with Down Syndrome. His experiences “with this wonderful population come from not only living with someone with Down, but from [his] roles of Special Olympics coach, volunteer, and coordinator, and the countless interactions life provides for a dad with his child and her friends.”

Author Interview, Niamh Clune

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Author Interview #31, with author of feminine wisdom stories, Dr. Niamh Clune!

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Hi Niamh! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Author, Visionary, Environmentalist, Humanitarian, Musician.

Share a short blurb of your work (10-100 words):

orange_petals

Orange Petals in a Storm is a mystical story about a wonderful child who endures great suffering at the hands of the family who inherited her. Though she lives in a harsh reality, she evolves spiritually despite, or perhaps because of the hurt she suffers.

The magical way she transcends her unbearable life through her inner world transports us into the hauntingly beautiful world of the imagination.

Telling you that Skyla triumphs over her situation is not a spoiler — because as you get to know her, you realise there is no other way. She must triumph because of who she is.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

“The boy and his heart had become friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other.”
— Paolo Coelho

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

I love every second of the writing process. I am lost in it, consumed by it, but then have to crash through the gates of reality to publish. What I love is scattered to the winds.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Beautiful prose, that by its very nature uplifts and allows soul into life, is my definition of good writing. It is a thing-in-itself, a work of art, a thing of beauty. It is simple, uncluttered by adverbs and adjectives. It is not over-lofty but deeply thoughtful.

The writer of good prose defiantly re-arranges words to paint pictures of light as well as dark and is brave enough to shrink from neither. Grammar is good, in fact, so good it challenges rules. Good prose contains within itself consistency of metaphor and lends three-dimensional depth to character. A reader should know how characters think and feel and be able to identify with those intimacies, as though the writer were speaking from one heart directly to another.

Good writing is musical, has rhythm and timbre. Even if it describes Hell, it does it beautifully…

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Patience, love your words, but never be afraid to edit and discipline them.

Agree with that totally! Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

Product Links: Orange Petals in a Storm on Amazon.com and Wix.

Social Media: I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

Press: I’m a loveahappyending.com featured Author, and am part of the OB (Orange Berry Books) Collective.

Blog #1: http://niamhclunewrites.blogspot.com

Blog #2: http://theobblog.com

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Much thanks to Dr. Clune for stopping by! Be sure to check out her website for more info about her and her soulful/mystical inspirational stories ;)

P.S. This Q&A was part of an Orangeberry Virtual Book Tour.