Monthly Archives: March 2020

Interview with N.J Kulkarni, Author of The Hawa Mahal Murders

Hello,

Today’s interview is with N.J. Kulkarni, author of The Hawa Mahal Murders.

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)?
I write under the name of N.J Kulkarni and I live in Pune, India.

2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
My book is a crime thriller titled “The Hawa Mahal Murders.’

3) What is the book about?
The story focusses on two characters: a troubled housewife trapped in a bad marriage (her second), and a police officer desperate to prove himself but stymied at every step by a crooked boss and a corrupt system. When a series of murders take place in a posh locality in Mumbai, all hell breaks loose, and senior police officers scramble to save the Chief Minister’s son and frame an innocent watchman.

My novel is a psychological thriller and delves deep into the minds of the main characters, including the serial killer, and touches upon societal issues in India, like corruption, the social divide, and women’s issues.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I was inspired by the setting. I used to live in a beautiful but old building in Mumbai. It was out of place amongst its neighbours and that set me thinking. The actual story and characters are from my imagination. It was the setting which triggered the story.

5) How long did it take you to write it?
More than two years.

6) Did you learn anything from the project?
I had read a lot of detective and mystery novels but when I actually started to write one, I realised how difficult it is to insert clues in the right places so as to keep up the suspense. There was a lot of painstaking detailing work required and constant going back and forth. It was a learning experience for me.

7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
I have an author website: https://www.nitajatarkulkarni.com/

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors?
I published a book fairly late in my life (I was 60) and there were a lot of doubts along the way. I didn’t think I could actually do it. If I had to say anything to aspiring authors it would be: Believe in yourself.

9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I like to read crime thrillers and in fact, all genres, including non-fiction. I do love new authors but currently, as I am in the midst of writing two more books, my reading has slowed.

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
My three favourite books are Gone with the wind, Wuthering Heights and Anna Karenina.

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
No pets! Allergic!

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I use the Kindle app to read both on the ipad and iphone.

 

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Interview with Wilfredo Gonzales, Author of Clay Hats

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Wilfredo Gonzalez, author of Clay Hats.

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)? My name is Wilfredo Gonzalez. I live in Rochester, New York.

 

2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre? My newest book is entitled Clay Hats. Christian suspense, Spiritual fiction.

 

3) What is the book about?  Clay Hats is a story about a neighborhood. Brian Ford and his family are new to the city neighborhood, and through his eyes we experience how a tragedy galvanizes a community transformation.

 

4) Where did you come up with the idea? Clay Hats highlights some of the goodness I experienced growing up. The city of Rochester, my home, is teeming with folks devoted to the well-being of our neighborhoods.

 

5) How long did it take you to write it? I wrote Clay Hats in about four months. I wrote mainly on the weekends when I wasn’t working. I woke up very early before my kids and wife woke up.

 

6) Did you learn anything from the project? I learned how connected one can get to characters you’ve created. At the end of the book, I often thought about most of the characters, as if I could call and check on them. I learned that this project would always be special to me.

 

7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?

You can find me on Goodreads. Here’s a Promo video of Clay Hats.

 

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?  Write to learn, and know that the learning never stops. Learn from mistakes, and don’t get discouraged. The sun slowly rises when you start the journey.

 

9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work? I like to read all sorts of genres, so long as it’s not over the top horror. I’m currently reading a J.F. Penn thriller. I like classics, short fiction, Sci-fi. Anything that is interesting, I’m open to. I review new authors as well. I know the value of a review.

 

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? The Bible is my favorite book of all time, but in case that doesn’t count, as far as fiction goes, if I must narrow it down, it has to be the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Special shout out to Louis Sachar’s book Holes, which was magic to me as a youngster.

 

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? Blue is my Beta fish. He’s pretty cool. My kids think it’s a miracle he’s still alive after two years. That’s all. No dogs or cats. My three kids keep me busy enough.

 

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it? I read books on my phone a lot these days. Android, Kindle app. Works fine for me. I do still prefer flipping real pages, the smell of an actual book. But I appreciate e-books much more than I did before.

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Interview with Greg Hickey, Author of The Friar’s Lantern!

Hello,

We have a another interview today, this one with Greg Hickey, Author of The Friar’s Lantern.

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)?
My name is Greg Hickey. I live in Chicago, Illinois.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
My most recent novel is The Friar’s Lantern. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure-style novel for grown-ups that features elements of science fiction, crime fiction and literary fiction.
3) What is the book about?
The structure of The Friar’s Lantern mimics the choose-your-own-adventure format enjoyed by many young readers during the 1980s and 90s. At various points in the novel, readers have the opportunity to choose how the story continues. Based on their choice, they flip to a certain page in the book and see how their decision affects the outcome of the story.
There are two main storylines that run throughout the novel. In the first, a university scientist tells you he can use an MRI brain scan to read your mind and offers to prove it in a wager that could net you over $1,000,000 in winnings. In the second, you serve on the jury for the trial of a college professor accused of killing his wife’s murderer. Several other plot threads that present different choices weave throughout these two storylines. You’ll take a Turing test with a twist, discover how your future choices might influence the past, and try your luck at Three Card Monte. And ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether or not you are responsible for your actions at all.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
The idea for the MRI brain scan experiment is based on a philosophical dilemma called
Newcomb’s Problem. It’s a fascinating question that looks like a mathematics or logic problem on the surface but quickly opens up into questions about how we make choices and the existence of free will. In The Friar’s Lantern, I updated the Newcomb’s Problem scenario to make it more plausible and connect it to recent neuroscience research.
I also wanted to go beyond the questions of whether and how we make choices and look at how these issues impact responsibility, justice and morality. That’s where the murder trial comes in.
That storyline runs parallel to the brain scan experiment and helps ground the ideas of
Newcomb’s Problem in a real-world, life-and-death situation.

5) How long did it take you to write it?
I had the thought that it would be interesting to write an adult choose-your-own-adventure novel almost fifteen years ago and discovered Newcomb’s Problem soon after that. I started writing The Friar’s Lantern around 2010, and it was published in 2017.

6) Did you learn anything from the project?
A lot! I did a ton of research on neuroscience, philosophy and technology. The degree to which technology like MRI and artificial intelligence can predict and model how our brains work is incredible. But for all this scientific explanation, there is still a great deal of debate about what exactly is happening when it comes to consciousness and decision-making.

Even as some scientists are better able to measure, predict and stimulate brain activity, others are looking at their research and previous studies and pointing out that many of their conclusions have been overstated. There’s still a long way to go before we fully understand how our minds work, and that mystery is part of what makes Newcomb’s Problem and the issues in The Friar’s Lantern so intriguing.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
Yes, my website is greghickeywrites.com. There, readers can learn more about me and download the first chapter of The Friar’s Lantern for free.
I don’t have a book trailer, but I did have a video created that replicates the video you would see in the MRI brain scan in The Friar’s Lantern. I think it’s a perfect bonus feature to accompany the novel. If you read this interview and purchase a copy of The Friar’s Lantern, email me at greg[at]greghickeywrites[dot]com, and I’ll send you the video.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great
editors/cover artists?
Just be patient and keep writing and putting your work out there. The Friar’s Lantern is my second novel. I conceived my first, Our Dried Voices, in 2005, started writing it in 2008 and saw it published in 2014. As I mentioned earlier, The Friar’s Lantern took over a decade from beginning to end and was published in 2017. So that’s over twenty combined years to produce two novels which were published three years apart. And my third novel is on track to come out this year.
The point is that for many authors, it won’t be as simple as writing and editing a book and seeing it published within a few years. Every writer gets rejections (J.K. Rowling is one famous example). I like to imagine that I need to go through a certain number of rejections before a piece gets accepted. So each rejection gets my closer to my ultimate goal of putting my work in front of readers.
But you can’t just write one piece and spend years and years submitting it and waiting until that piece is published to begin the next one. Write something, submit it, tweak it, but start something new in the meantime. If you keep producing and submitting new work, you’ll soon have a backlist you can feel proud of.

9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing
their work?
I try to write entertaining stories for smart readers, and those are the books I like to read. I want a compelling story that gets me engaged with the journey of the characters but also pushes me to examine ideas beyond the text. Those books span a variety of genres. I like science fiction, historical fiction, mystery and literary fiction. And I read a variety of non-fiction books as well: history, biography, philosophy, science and sports.
I am open to reading and reviewing new authors. It’s always exciting to discover a great book by an author I’ve never read before. And as an author who knows how important reviews are, I’ve made it a point to write a brief review of ever book I read.

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand I know her philosophy and political ideas are divisive. But I still find this book to be a convincing argument that each individual person deserves to be happy, deserves to do what makes them happy, and shouldn’t feel burdened by others or society at large to act otherwise.

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
I don’t currently own any pets. Growing up, my family had dogs, and I owned a ferret for several years.

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I own an iPad, on which I occasionally read ebooks. But I prefer to read print books.

 

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Interview with Pam Baddeley, Author of The Reluctant Hero!

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Pam Baddeley, author of The Reluctant Hero.

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)?
My author names are Pam Baddeley and Ann Bradbury – I use the first one for fantasy/SF and the second for supernatural stories set in contemporary times. I live in the UK.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
The Reluctant Hero, which is a fantasy but with science fictional elements. It takes the form of epic fantasy, but includes aliens and alien technology. And a dragon – there had to be at least one of those!
3) What is the book about?
Faradon, a young man, has been raised as a servant despite his noble birth, and is now in grave danger of being murdered by his older brother. Just when he thinks his only hope of escape is to become a mercenary, he is drawn into a growing conflict, triggered by ancient races and technology from the stars. He is forced to become a leader and to shoulder huge responsibilities, despite feeling totally inadequate. So on the one hand, it is the personal account of how he matures and forms real friendships, some with unlikely people or creatures, and on the other hand is the story of the conflict which threatens his homeland and society.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I envisaged a scene of a young man riding to meet a strange character (who made it into the final novel but is somewhat changed) and then reporting back to his older brother with the information he had learned at that meeting. I started writing to find out what this was all about – I certainly did not know it was going to become such a huge novel. That scene did not survive for long, and the young man was only meant to be a bit part, but he soon insisted on being the hero of the book, and far from being friends with his brother they turned out to be deadly enemies!
5) How long did it take you to write it?
On and off, for more years than I care to remember, revising it hugely each time I came back to it. But this time around it took about four and a half years for a multiple set of passes including those to address my editor’s comments.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
A lot. When I wrote the first draft, it was my first real novel. I had written short stories since childhood and some longer works, but those were no longer than a novella. Probably it wasn’t a good idea to start with something so ambitious and with so many characters. It has required a huge amount of self-editing, as well as the input of other people including a professional writer and an editor. But I’m pleased with the final result and I’m now applying the lessons learned to other stories. I have introduced some planning into my subsequent novels too, though I am still open to things changing as I actually write them.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
When you are first trying to get something down from scratch, don’t try to critique it or wonder if it is any good. Leave aside all the detailed line editing/word choice and other things that would slow you down – those are for the second draft and beyond. When you are first getting something down, just write it and turn off the nit-picking critic we all have inside. If you need to, make a quick note that you must check a fact or whatever, but then push on with it. The initial creativity comes from the subconscious and it is essential to give that full rein.
I don’t talk much about a work in progress when it is at that crucial early stage. It’s fine to tell other people about a book once you are redrafting it, but if you talk about it at first draft you can convince your subconscious that it is ‘done’ and then you’ve killed the book. That’s my experience anyway.
I was lucky in finding a great cover artist at https://fantasiafrogdesigns.wordpress.com/ who produced exactly what I wanted – after I had taken good advice from online writing sites to study modern covers and not to be too literal to a particular scene, but just to include elements that give a flavour of the book.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
As far as fiction goes, I probably read more fantasy than anything else, but also crime, science fiction, children’s/Young Adult fiction, the odd bit of horror and some straight historical fiction. I also read non-fiction, especially history.
I do read authors who are new to me, and I review everything I read, on Goodreads, but I’m mainly working through a huge backlog of books I bought years ago, either re-reading or finally getting round to reading them for the first time. But newer works I’ve enjoyed recently include Den Patrick’s series starting with ‘The Boy with the Porcelain Blade’, and Christopher Fowler’s quirky ‘Bryant and May’ crime series.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
That is an impossible question for me because there are so many books I’ve loved and also some I loved at the time that I didn’t find stood up to my fond memories on re-reading them, probably due to my having a lot more experience of life! But books that influenced me a lot as a child when I first started to write include C S Lewis’ Narnia series, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Jane Eyre’.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
None at present sadly
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I have a Kindle Keyboard which I use to read aloud my writing – it can highlight problems that your eyes somehow skip over so it’s a pity that the newer ones dropped that feature. I also have a newer Kindle which is smaller and lighter for travelling with. And I bought secondhand Nooks and Kobos so that I could check if the standard epub version (non Kindle) of my book was formatted OK for those readers. I don’t really read on those though. I love the Kindle(s) but still read a lot of paper books.

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