Monthly Archives: August 2019

Interview with Andy Oppenheimer, Author of Fields of Orion – An Odyssey

 

Greetings! I’m pleased to bring you this interview with Andy Oppenheimer, author of Fields of Orion – An Odyssey.

It’s posted below. Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

 

Author Interview:

1. What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?

Andy Oppenheimer – UK

 

 2. What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?

Fields of Orion: An Odyssey

Science fiction – first contact; science fiction – military

Espionage thriller

 

3. What is the book about? 

 

Fields of Orion is an explosive science-fiction thriller set in the near-future world of terrorism, espionage and first contact.

 

While in service in Iraq, charismatic, handsome British Army bomb-disposal operator Major Adam Armstrong develops telekinetic and extrasensory abilities and miraculous powers of recovery from injury. He is reluctantly recruited into a futuristic military project to create supersoldiers, headed up by the ice-cold Captain Sheena Maxwell, a spurned lover hell-bent on revenge.

Maverick bisexual counter-terror expert Dan Boland foresees the fourth London bomb attack in July 2005 after he sees furious waves of energy light up the sky above a north London park. When he meets Adam Armstrong at events he sees the decorated officer’s horrific PTSD flashbacks of battle carnage. He also sees his transmitted visions of a strange, beautiful desert, somewhere… Dan is mesmerised by Adam and they form an unusual connection. Dan is constantly drawn to the park at night to gaze up at the constellation Orion.

 

Dan’s powers of intuition get him recruited by the British Intelligence Service, MI5, as an undercover agent to sabotage Adrestia, a highly secretive group of highly placed, far-Right scientists planning acts of cataclysmic eco-terrorism. Dan’s previous association with the IRA (Irish Republican Army) means he can construct bombs. He desperately wants to stop the group’s plans, absolve his past and serve his country. He has sex with the group’s mastermind, Dr Carl Murrow, to advance his spying mission.

Dan falls in love with a vibrant geneticist, Dr Allison Hardy, who is also an MI5 agent working undercover in the Adrestia group. When Allison makes a shocking discovery about Adam Armstrong, she propels the most covert government project in history into unknown territory. As Murrow’s plans approach their climax in London, Sheena’s diabolical plot against Adam gathers pace as he takes the longest walk into unprecedented danger – while carrying the world’s most devastating secret.

 

Fields of Orion is a dizzying cocktail of James Bond, David Bowie and Greek myth and a journey of breath-taking mystery, crackling dialogue and heart-pounding action that hurtles headlong towards its Earth-shattering conclusion.

 

4.  Where did you come up with the idea?

Long before I became an author and consultant specialising in counter-terrorism, I worked for a futuristic American science and science fiction magazine.  I met science fiction writers and scientists and began following the music and imagery of David Bowie, as well as becoming a singer/songwriter of electro-pop music in the burgeoning London nightclub scene.

 

In this century I embarked on a totally different career, and had the amazing privilege to meet and work alongside army bomb disposal operators. They have inspired me beyond measure. These experiences, separated by several decades – with all their multifarious, totally disparate influences – brought me to write my first science-fiction novel.

 

I also got the idea for the plot while painting a picture to donate to Felix Fund, the Bomb Disposal Charity. Called ‘Nine Lives’, it features a bomb disposal operator about to dismantle an explosive device in a desert beneath a vast sun. Bowie’s lightning flash pierces the sky above two giant Schrödinger’s cats in the background. Felix the cat is the famous emblem of the bomb squads, as they have nine lives, according to legend. The hero in the picture is dead and alive at the same time, like Schrödinger’s cat. He is on his ninth life, and could be in any desert anywhere in the known Universe.

 

5. How long did it take you to write it?

Including several drafts after editing and proofing, 10 months from start to publication. I did take much of the summer off to finish it, however.

 

6. Did you learn anything from the project?

I’ve only written non-fiction so far, for many years, and for a living: hundreds of articles for defence & security journals (such as Jane’s), and conference presentations on counter-terrorism, WMD, bombs, explosives, and the means to stop them. My first book was about the bombing campaign and weapons of the IRA (IRA: The Bombs and the Bullets, Irish Academic Press, 2008).

 

My first novel was a big learning curve. Friends and colleagues, including one who has written novels, made me realise that it’s a totally different approach. When you write and present technical and instruction material, you tell, not hide – other than the top-secret stuff, that is! It’s the other way round with fiction. Also, self-publishing on Amazon requires all the skills, including online ones, which I’m short on, and which in a former life in publishing was done by other people in the production team. I think you need to be rich to be an author. Some successful authors I know have publicists, agents, etc. If you don’t have those, you have a big job ahead once the book is written. You also have to be good at networking in online communities. I still have a lot to learn and publishing the book is just the start.

 

7. Do you have an author website and/or blog?

I have a professional website which includes the book

http://www.andyoppenheimer.com/

and an Author Page on Amazon and Goodreads. But I really am clueless about all this online blog business. I have probably avoided having a blog as working freelance in counter-terrorism means I have been too busy, and also have to keep my electronic footprint to innocuous Facebook and Twitter posts and bits of promotion. I have avoided hosting a public forum that attracts trolls and people – and me – sounding off about crap. I have plenty of opinions and ideas but so far have kept them offline.

 

8. Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? 

I am yet to achieve success, so not yet. I wouldn’t be so presumptious to offer advice.

 

9. What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?

I have to read a lot for the day job – I am also Editor-in-Chief of  two magazines, and was working 24/7 until last year so haven’t had much time to read books. But my chosen genres, time permitting, are espionage/military thrillers, crime novels, some biography, books about Ireland, near-future/first contact/dystopian science fiction and vintage science fiction [Bradbury, Clarke, Wyndham, etc].  I would like to review books in these genres, having reviewed three in the past year.

 

10. What is your favorite book of all time and why?

I have to include two.

The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis

The Good Soldier Schweik by Jaroslav Hasek

 

 

*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

 

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Interview with Judy Nedry, Author of Blackthorn

Hello, here is an interview with Judy Nedry, author of Blackthorn!

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
Judy Nedry, Lake Oswego, OR
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
BLACKTHORN   Mystery genre, traditional gothic in the style of Rebecca or Jane Eyre
3) What is the book about?
Unlike my previous mystery novels, the Emma Golden Mystery Series, BLACKTHORN is a stand alone. It is the story of Sage Blackthorn, 30, a travel editor living in New York City who after high school left her family’s crumbling resort hotel on the Washington side of the Columbia River hoping never to return. Her life is upended when her older brother Ross, an unemployed alcoholic who lives at the Blackthorn Hotel and takes care of their senile grandmother, is found dead. Almost concurrently, Sage gets herself into terrible trouble in New York and takes a needed leave of absence from her job. Sage needs to find out what happened to Ross and reset her life. But when she returns to her former home she finds the situation there is much worse than she expected. And, in the gothic style, mysterious and creepy things begin to happen around her. She is haunted by her own demons and nightmares. A boat appears at the family moorage in the middle of the night…or did she imagine it? And that’s only the beginning.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I’ve loved gothics (the Bronte sisters, Victoria Holt, Daphne DuMaurier) since I was very young and always wanted to write one. The setting–the mysterious, moody Columbia River Gorge–seemed the ideal place, especially after I visited an old resort/spa there many years ago for a soak, wrap, and massage. The old building possessed the requisite creepiness. Then it was only a matter of finding the characters and the story to insert into this milieu. Not an easy thing to do. But for me, the setting has to be absolutely right, and then I can build the story around it.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
There were many changes in my life during the writing of BLACKTHORN. It took nearly four years to complete.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
This was a big project for me, and I learned to keep working on it even through some very difficult times in my life. I trusted that this would be my best book to date, and that has proven true. I learned a lot more about character development and expanding scenes–lots of writerly things that the reader doesn’t necessarily plug into. And I learned even more about the importance of place in a novel.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog?.
Yes, https://www.judynedry.com   The website is where readers can learn more about my novels, read first chapters, order books…the usual things on a writer’s website. You can sign up for my monthly newsletter there and read past newsletters. I also review live theatre in the greater Portland area, and am just starting a regular feature where I review other mystery novels.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
It’s up to the author to promote her work. In a market flooded with books it’s difficult to be seen and heard. I am always on the lookout for opportunities to interact with serious readers–people who actually will buy a print book or ebook. I love talking to readers and going to events. So I would say, promote, promote, promote. Learn how to discern between events that will benefit and those that will suck the life out of you. 
It’s important to network. I am a member of Northwest Independent Writers Association, Sisters in Crime (national plus local chapter), and several online networking sites. Get your name out. Blog. Find a good designer for books (if your indie) and for your website. A local writers group such as Willamette Writers has plenty of names on file for designers, editors, etc.
 Write every day. I journal each morning, whether or not I will find time to work on my books. Many of my ideas and observations and pithy comments are born on those pages to be used later.
Read the kind of books you want to write.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I devour mystery/suspense/thriller, and gravitate toward those by female authors. I like literary fiction when it’s not gimmicky or overwritten, and biography, and history. Yes, I will read and review new authors if they catch me with a good story.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell because it is an epic of American history that still resonates today. I’ve read it four times, and will probably read it again. Margaret Mitchell was an Atlanta native who grew up on the laps of people who lived through the Civil War and experienced the siege of Atlanta. Her journalistic skill and firsthand knowledge enabled her to depict the hubris and foolish eagerness with which the South embraced the Civil War, and its utter and complete fall. The breadth and depth of the book’s historical perspective still amaze me. And the lead character, Scarlett O’Hara, is a piece of work. She has many unlikable traits, but she is unforgettable for her strength, toughness, resourcefulness. Need a dress? Pull down some curtains. Man in the house? Shoot the bastard. Need a husband? Wiggle your finger. Scarlett is the original steel magnolia. And yet, because she is flawed, she brings about her own ruin: a tragic heroine, an indelible portrait of someone entirely wrapped up in herself. 
*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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Interview with Kevin Conlin, Author of 5 Voices

Today’s interview is with Kevin Conlin, author of 5 Voices!

I hope you enjoy it!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1)  What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
Kevin Conlin. I live in Wilmington, Delaware.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
Five Voices – Mystery
3) What is the book about?
Twenty years after a campground mass shooting, a college newspaper reporter named Izzy Buchanan is searching for answers.  She wants to find and interview five survivors who have never spoken publicly about what they witnessed.  As new information comes to light, Izzy begins to question how important it is for the public to know the truth, or if she needs to reveal her own connection to the massacre.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
In 1997, as a college student, I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Scotland.  This was only months after the Dunblane mass shooting.  The owner of the B&B was a retired police officer who had known the shooter.  He had encountered him only a day before the shooting.  As the man told me about the encounter, he explained how he knew there was something wrong with the other man, and how he wished he would have tried to say or do something.  He felt it was possible he could have prevented the tragedy.  That has always stayed with me, and the story sort of formed around that over the years.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
We had two children during the years I was writing it, so time was sparse. It took me about four years.  
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
Mostly, I learned how precious time is, especially when it comes to pursuing something one loves to do.  It turns out the hours between 4:30 and 6:30 A.M. can be very productive.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog?
I’m still working on building my blog, which will be called ConlinsCorner.com,  but my author page is https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07PFX1JSF
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
Write every day, even it’s one paragraph.  As an English teacher, my colleagues served as editors, especially my friend, Tom Wayock.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I’ve been really into detective stories (John Sanford, Michael Connely, Lee Child) lately, but I am open to new authors.  However, I’m a teacher and school is starting soon, so reading time becomes limited.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy has been my favorite since I was a teenager.  It taught me how writing fiction can be magical.

 

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Interview with S.J. Hartland, Author of The Last Seer King

Hello,

I’m pleased to bring you this interview with S.J. Hartland, author of The Last Seer King (Book 2 in the Shadow Sword Series).

Enjoy!

-Vincent Lowry

 

Interview

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
S.J. Hartland. I’m an Aussie author and live on the Darling Downs, Queensland. Qld is the “Sunshine State,” but the Darling Downs is high up, cold in winter and one of those rare Australian places that really has four seasons. At the moment, it’s still winter and the drought is ongoing, so it’s a bit miserable. Bring on spring!
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
I’ve just brought out the second in my epic fantasy Shadow Sword series, The Last Seer King. 
3) What is the book about?
The series follows a young warrior bonded to ancient gods who knows his fate is to die young in a malign battle against an inhuman foe. But fate has something far more lethal in mind. 
The second book is a blend of dark magic, obsession, betrayal, dangerous prophecy, and the forgiveness found through friendship. It’s about how secrets give others power over us.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
In The 19th Bladesman, the first in the series, the initial idea was, what if you had to kill a stranger to save someone you love, but the person you had to kill protected the realm. It moved on from there. 
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote the first three together over eight or so years. I wasn’t sure where I was “at” with them, or whether they were any good, or even if I could write, so I approached an amazing mentor, Dr Kathryn Heyman of the Australian Writers Mentoring Program. She was incredible. I’m a journalist, and Kathryn taught me what journalists don’t know about writing a novel – turns out, that’s quite a bit. 
The third is about to be edited, so hopefully it is out early next year. 
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
Where to start! Almost at once, I knew I wanted to go “indy.” That meant learning where to find an editor, a cover designer, how to market etc etc, or at least try to market! I’ve taken some of Mark Dawson’s courses and they’ve been really useful.  
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog?
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
I’ve been really happy with Red Adept for editing, love the covers Deranged Doctor does for the series, and I’d be lost without Jason and Marina of Polgarus Studio for formatting.  
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I love fantasy, obviously, but sometimes I just crave a thriller or a cozy mystery. I read less than I should these days; balancing a full-time job with writing after work is a bit crazy. 
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
I’m not sure I can pick one. I love Dune and Michael Moorcock’s Elric series, as well as Australian author CS Pacat’s Captive Prince series. I devoured Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X series. He managed to make me care what happened to the main character after two pages. There’s such a vulnerability to Evan (Orphan X) that I love being in that world. 

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Interview with Peter W. Blaisdell, Author of The Lords of Powder (A Miami Fantasy)

Today’s interview is with Peter W. Blaisdell, author of The Lords of Powder.

Please enjoy!

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
My author (and actual) name is: Peter W Blaisdell. I live in California.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
Title: The Lords of Powder.
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Supernatural Suspense 
3) What is the book about?
THE LORDS OF POWDER is a fast-paced, blend of modern fantasy, historical fiction and suspense.
 

In the story, Bradan is a 1500 year old magician, but only looks 30 years of age. Fifteen centuries has been plenty of time to get into trouble and he’s at various times fled Vikings and joined court-life in medieval Andalusia while trying avoid being strangled in the Caliph’s dungeon. Things haven’t improved much in 1978 Miami where he drives a haunted Volvo station wagon, keeps a high-strung wolf, and tries to woo a gifted musician. However, he needs money for his lifestyle. Lots of money. Bradan uses his magical talents to organize a lucrative smuggling ring, but success brings him to the attention of violent rivals as well as narcotics detectives, and the DEA. Will his modest enchantment skills and sardonic sense of humor save him? And can he balance the profitability of smuggling with its consequences for his romantic relationship, humanity, and survival?

 

As one Goodreads reviewer noted about THE LORDS OF POWDER, “Peter Blaisdell’s second novel – a prequel to his first (THE LORDS OF OBLIVION) – is a fast paced and exciting read. The dialog is realistic and often humorous. Even if one hasn’t read the first novel, it would be easy to become invested in his characters. And who doesn’t secretly want a pet wolf?”

 

Another reviewer stated, “This was very good. Very good dialog and entertaining plot. The author has obvious talent, and I’ll check out his other book. I hope he has more in for us.”

 

THE LORDS OF POWDER is the second work in this urban, noir fantasy series, which includes the previously published THE LORDS OF OBLIVION. Each book can be read as a stand-alone story, but they work really well together.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?
Themes are always what comes to me first even before character, setting and plot. So…for THE LORDS OF POWDER, besides wanting to write a really fun read, I wanted to touch on borders including geographic, psychological and emotional boundaries. People move around a lot in this story – either willingly or not – so it was interesting as an author to think about all the internal and external frontiers that they’re forced to cross. On a related point, I also wanted to write about compromises, My story starts in 1978 Miami and Bradan, the main character, has aspirations about gaining a lavish life-style. However, just what is he willing to give up to achieve the life that he thinks he wants? Along these same lines, my main character has led a very long life (the story has flashbacks to Viking-era England and medieval Spain) and he’s made any number of choices and compromises along the way and I wanted to touch on how shaped what he did in Miami. Plus, it’s just a cool thing to be able to set part of my story in Andalusia and Lindisfarne! 
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I’d thought about the themes, plot, and characters for the book for quite a while before putting fingers on keyboard, but once I started writing, it only took about four months to complete a 100,000 word draft manuscript. However, I’m a careful editor and I also hired an outside copy editor and proof-reader. That added another two months – I wanted to do a high-quality job at this ‘cleanup’ stage and catch all the continuity and syntactical errors long before the final book was published and got to the reader.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
Great question! I could write another whole book on lessons learned in authoring THE LORDS OF POWDER and THE LORDS OF OBLIVION (my first book). My website has postings on some of this, but briefly, here are some key lessons that apply whether you get an agent and traditionally publish or self-publish your book: 1) Finish your book! Without that, nothing else can happen. 2) Be supper thoughtful in the editing/proofing process. Almost every aspiring writer has great ideas and can slap together a first draft, but what separates mediocre writers from good ones is how carefully their work has been edited. 3) Plan your marketing. If you traditionally publish, don’t just assume that the publisher will magically do this all for you. No one knows your work better than you so develop a marketing plan that considers: who’s your audience? how will they know about your book? what platform(s) will sell your book? should you advertise? how will you get quality reviewers? what will make your book stand out from the literally thousands of other titles in your genre that hit the markets every year?  
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog?
On my site, of course I have the usual links to my books, but I also try to share thoughts about the writing process and book marketing. I’d love to have folks stop by!
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
Per my responses above, my success tips include editing your work carefully and being prepared to expend effort on marketing your work. I had a great cover designer: Heidi North.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I have very broad tastes in reading in both fiction and non-fiction and, as Stephen King noted, the best way to improve yourself as a writer is to read other writers – and think about what you liked and didn’t like about their work – that is, don’t just read for entertainment, critique what you’re reading. ! I do read new authors, though unfortunately, I have little time to do formal reviews of their work – I’m writing my own stuff! In the Science Fiction and Fantasy space, I get a lot of my recommendations for new writers from Locus magazine.  
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. It’s got really interesting themes, conflicted, complex characters – almost anti-heroes – and a post-war setting in Spain and Paris. This was his first famous book and it was early enough in his career so that it has an edge of self-mockery which his later stuff lacked. 
*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Hand of Fate by Duane Boehm

Hand Of Fate
 
While the ranchers around Trinidad are circling like buzzards in wait for Flannery Vogel to fail, the downtrodden widow with a young daughter refuses to surrender as she struggles to save the ranch that cost her husband his life. The arrival of Boone Youngblood, her husband’s old friend from his Texas Ranger days, sets the wheels in motion that will change three families’ lives forever. Grudges will be settled, battles will be fought, and just maybe, Flannery and Boone will find new beginnings and a chance for happiness.
 
Bestselling Western author Duane Boehm has written another western novel with enough humor, heartbreak, love, and outlaws to keep you turning the page.
*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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The Lords of Powder by Peter W. Blaisdell

THE LORDS OF POWDER is a fast-paced, blend of modern fantasy, historical fiction and suspense.
In the story, Bradan is a 1500 year old magician, but only looks 30 years of age. Fifteen centuries has been plenty of time to get into trouble and he’s at various times fled Vikings and joined court-life in medieval Andalusia while trying avoid being strangled in the Caliph’s dungeon. Things haven’t improved much in 1978 Miami where he drives a haunted Volvo station wagon, keeps a high-strung wolf, and tries to woo a gifted musician. However, he needs money for his lifestyle. Lots of money. Bradan uses his magical talents to organize a lucrative smuggling ring, but success brings him to the attention of violent rivals as well as narcotics detectives, and the DEA. Will his modest enchantment skills and sardonic sense of humor save him? And can he balance the profitability of smuggling with its consequences for his romantic relationship, humanity, and survival?
As one Goodreads reviewer noted about THE LORDS OF POWDER, “Peter Blaisdell’s second novel – a prequel to his first (THE LORDS OF OBLIVION) – is a fast paced and exciting read. The dialog is realistic and often humorous. Even if one hasn’t read the first novel, it would be easy to become invested in his characters. And who doesn’t secretly want a pet wolf?”
Another reviewer stated, “This was very good. Very good dialog and entertaining plot. The author has obvious talent, and I’ll check out his other book. I hope he has more in for us.”
THE LORDS OF POWDER is the second work in this urban, noir fantasy series, which includes the previously published THE LORDS OF OBLIVION. Each book can be read as a stand-alone story, but they work really well together.

 

*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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5 Voices by Kevin Conlin

Reporter Izzy Buchanan has the story that is going to make her famous. Twenty years ago, a psychopath walked onto a campground and started shooting. Before he was taken down by a heroic bystander, he took eleven lives and injured many others in what was the worst mass murder in the state’s history. Izzy, an ambitious college journalism student, has made it her goal to find and interview five survivors of the St. Maria Goretti’s Campground shooting. A special trait unifies these five: they are the only witnesses who have never spoken publicly about what happened the day of the massacre. The five include the current governor, a young middle school teacher, a retired maintenance man, a woman who has since left the area, and the killer himself, whose pending execution makes Izzy’s assignment urgent. The secrets these witnesses have been keeping will change Izzy’s life forever and challenge the journalistic principles that she holds so dear, possibly forcing her to reveal her own connection to the massacre.

 

*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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Interview with Zia Wesley, Author of Notes from a Broad – My Uncensored Year in Italy

Hello, I’m pleased to bring you our next interview today! It’s with Zia Wesley, author of Notes from a Broad – My Uncensored Year in Italy.

I hope you enjoy it!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)? Zia Wesley, Colorado presently and moving back to California in October.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
Notes From A Broad: my uncensored year in Italy.
3) What is the book about? 
On my seventieth birthday, I gifted myself with a whole year of living in Italy. I was alone, blonde and single and I took notes because I’m a writer. At the end of the year I had enough interesting encounters and experiences to create a book
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
During the year leading up to that great big birthday, everyone kept asking how I was going to celebrate and the only consistent answer was to fulfill a lifelong dream and live in Italy while I learned to speak Italian.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote whenever there was something of interest to write about and that included personal insights and very personal inner growth experiences…even at that ripe age we still change and learn.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
Innumerable things! I learned so much about lifestyle, friendship, love and family — came to understand some interesting patterns in my behavior, learned what I did and did not want going forward in my life. And of course, I learned how to live within the Italian philosophy of “Il belle far niente” the beauty of doing nothing. I think it is the missing element in American society that is causing all of the stress and stress related imbalances in people and consequently, in our society.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog?
I had two wonderful websites for many years that were hacked a year ago so I have a brand new one and it has a blog: notesfromabroad.biz
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
My success tip is to incorporate insight meditation with writing. It helps the creative process as well as quiets the judgement that can arise during writing. It is most important to separate the writing (creative) process from the editing process as it’s impossible to fully be creative when you’re second guessing and correcting yourself. My friend and author, Neal Rogan, describes it as the weaver and the tailor; first weave the cloth and then make the suit. I have several different editors I use for different types of books and would be happy to pass their information along to interested authors if they contact me through my website, good reads or facebook messenger. I also have an excellent cover artist who did The Stolen Girl and The French Sultana covers. He can be found at clarkwalker.net. The cover artist for Notes has unfortunately retired.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I love memoir, biography, fiction and historical fiction, science fiction, and scientific books like Sapiens and Pandora’s seed that explain humanity because I find it so fascinating. I love reading and mentoring new authors and would be happy to review them as I do that in my head while I read anyway.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
Impossible to choose just one but a few that changed me in some way are: West With the Night by Beryl Markham, The Diary of Anais Nin, Jitterbug Perfume by Tim Robbins, Gone with the Wind, and Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. 
Other Books by Zia Wesley:

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

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