Tag Archives: new books

Interview with J.M. Lanham, Author of The R.E.M. Precept

Hello,

Today’s interview is with J.M. Lanham, author of The R.E.M. Precept.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

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Interview with Andy Douglas, Author of Redemption Songs

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Andy Douglas, author of Redemption Songs.

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)? Andy Douglas, Iowa.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre? My latest book is “Redemption Songs: A Year in the Life of a Community Prison Choir.”
3) What is the book about? The book chronicles the six years I spent volunteering in a medium security prison as part of a choir that  combines incarcerated men and community volunteers. Its main narrative thrust details the experience of entering the prison each week, getting to know the men, overcoming preconceptions about these folks, and forging a strong community through shared creative undertaking. The book also has a research-based component, and focuses on some of the issues facing the penal system. Thirdly, the book tells the stories of several of the men I got to know, exploring their early lives, their crimes, their efforts to rehabilitate.
4) Where did you come up with the idea? In conversation with a writing mentor, who saw the inherent drama and value of the idea.
5) How long did it take you to write it? Six years.
6) Did you learn anything from the project? Ha. I learned a great deal. Certainly I learned much about criminal justice and restorative justice, for example, the fact that as a nation we compose five percent of the the world’s population but have 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. I interrogated my own biases about people in prison and came away with new understanding. Intellectually, I had acknowledged that people in prison were simply people who had gone down a wrong path, but to learn in an intimate way about the challenges and struggles and, yes, often selfish behavior, of people and put it into a larger context of, well, racism, economic hardship, unfair sentencing practices, was all eye-opening. On a writing level, this book combines several different types of writing, narrative, more research-based expository writing, interview-based retelling of the men’s stories, as well as direct quotes from the men. It also, in places, leans toward a more lyrical essayistic style. How in the world were those very different types of writing going to coalesce into an integral whole? This was the challenge for me, which I think I met, shaping the narrative and the various styles in a way that ultimately created a seamless narrative.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video? My website is andydouglas.net
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? Cultivate some good readers whose opinions you trust. At the same time, trust your own vision. Finally, revise more than you think you need to. Revise and put the work away for a while. Then reread it with fresh eyes. Revise until every sentence is sparklingly clear, until every niggling doubt is resolved, until every chapter ends in a way that propels the reader on to the next one. Revise.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work? I read a lot of literary fiction. Also some nonfiction, often related to environmental or social justice issues.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? That’s a tough one. One of my favorite is Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains. Kidder does what I’d like to do better: sinks deeply into a world until he can write about it with ease and comprehension, then pulls us into that world with beautiful prose.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? nope.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it? Also nope.

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Interview with George Stratford, Author of I Spy Bletchley Park

Hello,

Today’s interview is with George Stratford, author of I Spy Bletchley Park.

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 publish novels under my own name of George Stratford, and I live in the south coast holiday resort of Bournemouth, England.

 

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

Currently, I am more than halfway through writing a new murder thriller set in the popular music world of 1970s London, but my most recently published novel is an historical adventure/thriller titled, I Spy Bletchley Park. This has been excellently received and reviewed here in the UK.

 

3) What is the book about?
This story is set in the years leading up to and during WWII. Embittered by the government’s seizure of her father’s large estate, Lady Margaret Pugh is recruited as a spy by Hermann Goering during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. With her former estate bordering the town of Bletchley, once war is declared, the strange comings and goings at the nearby Park mansion gradually attract her attention. In an attempt to discover more, she deliberately befriends a young working-class WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) who is stationed at BP as a Morse Code Receiver.
The girl is Betty Hall, especially chosen for her ability to receive and accurately type high-speed messages. Before joining the WAAFs, she was also a budding child prodigy as a classical pianist. Her friendship with Lady Margaret is noted by Naval Intelligence, who are already beginning to suspect the aristocrat of spying on the country’s most secret establishment. A shocked and apprehensive Betty is recruited to assist them. Completely untrained for this kind of counter-espionage work, she can only do her best and hope.

Before long, the two women inevitably clash, and a desperate Betty finds herself as the only person in a position to save Bletchley Park from complete destruction.

 

4) Where did you come up with the idea?

My late mother was a WAAF stationed at BP for two years during WWII, and subsequently at one of the vital Y listening stations. Like so many others, she never breathed a single word of this until the 1980s when the secret had already become common public knowledge.

I wanted to write a fictional tribute to Mum. The codebreakers themselves have (rightly so) had volumes of both fictional and factual stuff written about them, but how about an adventure story featuring one of the less acknowledged workers in a heroic role? That was my reasoning at the start of things. After that, it was quite a logical move to create a spy who would place Bletchley Park in great danger. And better still, a female one with an aristocratic background in complete contrast to Betty’s south London working-class upbringing. Once Lady Margaret had been created, all the other pieces began to fall naturally into place.

 

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

The amount of research required for this story was enormous, so if you include that, the whole process took me just about a year.

Spending time at the current Bletchley Park site was of course a mandatory requirement, and whilst there I was fortunate enough to become friends with one of the dedicated volunteer workers who do so much to enhance the centre’s visitor experience. John Bladen was a mine of invaluable information. Numerous times throughout the course of that year I needed to get back to him with some question or other on historical or technical detail, and he was always only to happy to help. I owe John a lot. So here’s another great big thank you, mate.

 

6) Did you learn anything from the project?

I suspect that you mean aside from the obvious mass of information during research that amongst many other things took in: the 1929 Stock Market crash; British politics of that era; the1936 Berlin Olympics, especially the equestrian events; and a host of personal details concerning Hermann Goering.

What I did learn was to totally rubbish the theory that females can’t keep a secret. At one time or another during the course of WWII, approximately eight thousand women (mostly WAAFs and WRENs) worked at Bletchley Park. Just like my own mother, not a single one of them ever sought to break the Official Secrets Act that they had all signed. Forty years were to pass before they were free to talk about their part in something that was truly amazing. How’s that for keeping Mum?

 

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

Please do come and visit my website at georgestratford.com . Amongst other stuff, you can read an extract from I Spy Bletchley Park in which Lady Margaret is first introduced to Hermann Goering by a Nazi loving former boyfriend. This extract is not available to read anywhere else. There is also lots of info here about my other novels, together with a middle grade children’s story set in the Philippines, and a memoir of my time when I went from being an out of work no-hoper to an award-winning copywriter at the world’s most famous advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi. Mad Men? More of a Mad Ride, I’d say.

 

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

The best tip I can pass on is always use the ‘Read Aloud’ function to check your manuscript. With anything that you have written yourself, the eye so very often will read what it is anticipating seeing rather than what it actually there on the page.

Being an editor myself who has worked very closely with best-selling fantasy author Brian D Anderson on fourteen of his novels, including all of The Godling Chronicles and the Dragonvein series, I know how well this simple trick can work.

 As for cover designers, I’ve always found Lou Harper to be efficient, speedy, and very reasonably priced.

 

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

 Adventure stories and thrillers, sometimes with an historical background in the way Ken Follett does them, are my most preferred reads. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed quite a bit of Stephen King’s work, especially the Mr Mercedes (Finders Keepers) trilogy.

Thanks to my work with Brian, I am now also rather more open to some kinds of fantasy work as well.

I always try to set aside at least half an hour a day (usually just before hitting the pillow) to read a new book. Of course I am open to new authors, and am very happy to post a positive review when I feel it is deserved. The only problem is, if I find that I can’t get on with a book, I would rather not post anything at all than be destructive. Why stamp on something when others might genuinely enjoy it?

 

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

 My thesaurus: Without it, where would I be when I’m stuck for the right word?

 

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?

No pets as such, although I do have a make-believe Dobermann posted outside my door to keep away unwanted visitors when I’m on a writing roll.

 

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

Yup, I’ve got what might be termed as a pretty ancient kindle that still gets used a fair bit. The truth is though, I honestly prefer the feel of a proper book in my hand. It’s also so much easier to flip quickly back to check on something with physical pages. You know, when a character who we haven’t seen for several chapters suddenly appears again and you need reminding of who exactly they are. This is especially true if you find you only have time to read in small daily bites the way I tend to do.

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Interview with Elaine Bosvik Ciarnau, Author of The Adventures of Cardigan

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Elaine Bosvik Ciarnau, author of The Adventures of Cardigan.

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)?
Elaine Bosvik Ciarnau    Canada
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
The Adventures of Cardigan.  Children’s Fiction
3) What is the book about?
  A six year old boy and his dog, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, experience several adventures with majestic wild life in the wilderness of Northern, Ontario. They are picking blueberries with a bear. They raise a crow that fell out of its best, have a bear and Cardigan having dinner at a cookhouse.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
 The stories are from my own adventures while growing up in the Bush Camps
5) How long did it take you to write it?
 I started writing them over twenty years ago. As my son was growing up, I used to tell him the stories of my childhood. He would want to her more so I decided to share them in a book.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
  I learned kids  are curious about wildlife.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
No
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
 Write about what you know. Let others read and give you advice on what they read.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
 I like to read anything except history. I have been reviewing books for other authors.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
 The Moon child by Kenneth McKenney.  The book scared me so much I would have to put it down so often but,I had to keep picking it up to find out what was going to happen next.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
 2 Russian Blue cats. Had a rabbit named Piggy and a cat Tiger that passed. Always had pets, wild and domestic.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

No. Just use my tablet.

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Interview with Carmela Yom-Tov, Author of The Sophisticated Monkey – Why We Make War, Not Love

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Carmela Yom-Tov, author of The Sophisticated Monkey – Why We Make War, Not Love.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

1) What is your author name and where are you from?
Dr Carmela Yom-Tov from Perth Western Australia
     2) What is the title of your book and what genre?
The book is titled “The Sophisticated Monkey – why we make war, not love.”
           Non-Fiction – Evolutionary Psychology
      3) What is the book about?
The book looks at the causes of war from every perspective – our born with  DNA and instincts, which ensure aggression to protect WE from THEY; our               need to   belong and so conform – even if the leaders’ decisions are stupid and irrational and even if morally we are not too comfortable (experiments with healthy students have shown the lengths one goes to to obey and not to rock the boat); our cultural acceptance of war as a strategy (even children’s’ fairy tales tell of aggressive acts); how scarce resources, religion, ideologies, land and power polarise humanity. In short, the book explores the biopsychosocialinternational factors which lead to war. It is written in conversational style for the general reader and incorporates anecdotes from my work as a Clinical Psychologist and rather fascinating social experiments.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
In 2009 I saw, on TV, the distraught face of a woman during the Kosovo war which filled me with utter distress and the question of why the heck can’t human beings, with all their amazing achievements, stop fighting wars. Surely, I thought, this was a conflict resolution strategy for primitive man, not for modern man! I started with haste to research the topic: read books, articles, attended lectures, libraries, discussed the issues. There was so much information chaotically structured that I decided to organise it in a coherent, readable form. Hence the book.
   5) How long did it take you to write it?
From the point of starting to research the topic – when there was no plan to write a book, rather to answer the riddle of why wars simply persist throughout human history – until publication, nine years passed.  During this period,  I was working full time, had surgery and treatment for two cancers, had surgery to save an eye due to a ruptured cornea and had a family tragedy. Still I persisted because the issue of the unnecessary deaths, injury, destruction and dispossession of millions of people through war continues today and I wanted to understand why and wanted others to understand so that maybe we could put a stop to this irrational, primitive way of solving conflict.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
What I concluded sadly was that man is still too low on the evolutionary ladder to stop wars. We are just sophisticated monkeys!
Nevertheless, all is not doom and gloom. We may not have to wait until humankind becomes extinct or mutates into an unknown species to end wars, I do offer some optimistic possibilities. But we had better hurry up!
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I get great pleasure reading historical fiction. It allows me to understand human behavioural evolution through human stories. I would be quite happy to read 
new authors and to review their work.
10) What is your favorite book of all time?
My favourite book of the moment is Bob Biderman’s “Eight Weeks in the Summer of Victoria’s Jubilee”. Being set in the East End of London in the late 19th century, it captures the devastating and humiliating  experience of refugees. (It could apply to any of the currently millions of refugees who flee their war-torn countries). The humanity of the poverty stricken and hopeless mass is experienced through the souls of individuals. These are real people, with hopes and dreams. The narrative is of a murder and the justice (or lack there of) of the British judicial system at the time with its hierarchy, prejudice, political leanings and biases. The interwoven plots, the intriguing characters, the deep human understandings of our behaviour (sometimes ridiculous or evil) and the wonderful prose make this book a masterpiece. 
11) Fun question 1: Do you have any pets, and what kind if so?
Always had a dog at home as a child and as an adult. Pepi and Kelsie have their final resting home in our courtyard. Have many lovely memories about our doggie children. Since retiring and travelling a bit, with independent adult children, no longer have carers for our furry children so no longer have a furry child. A propos, wish all parents would first consider if they have the emotional and financial means to care for a child before they decide to have a child. In Australia there are too many children in alternate care.
12) Fun question 2: Do you own an electric reading device, and if so what kind?
For many years I have used my  iPad for reading ebooks – either on Kindle or through  Overdrive to access books at my local library. I have a smallish Kindle device which I sometimes use if I want to take it with me and to fit it in my handbag. It always fascinates me that I can access a book with the press of a button!
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Interview with Gary Gach, Author of Pause Breathe Smile

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Gary Gach, author of Pause, Breathe, Smile.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vince

Interview:

1)  What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
My name is Gary Gach ( pronounced like “Bach” or “clock” ) & I live in California.

 

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

 

My latest book is:
 
PAUSE   BREATHE   SMILE
Awakening Mindfulness When

Meditation Is Not Enough

 

It’s in the Practical Spirituality genre (aka Mind Body Spirit ).

 

3)    What is the book about? 
The title is something anyone can remember (PBS) and practice anytime. Pause, breathe, smile. That’s also the simple structure of the book – presenting mindfulness as pausing (to respond, instead of react), conscious breathing (as meditation), and smiling (in the face of impermanence, interconnection, and nonself). These three can be read in any order because each contains the others.  Hopefully, it’s not just about mindfulness, but also a personal experience of mindfulness itself.

 

4) Where did you come up with the idea?

 

I’ve been practicing mindfulness for many decades. As you know, it’s become the fastest-growing self-help trend since yoga. Yet with popularity can come trivialization and misunderstanding.

 

My teacher Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh introduced the world to mindfulness 45 years ago. In our last retreat together, after a discussion of secularization, he very clearly told us we aren’t to teach mindfulness as a tool: it is a way.(247/7). I’d go as far as to say it’s not only a way of life, it’s life itself.

These days, people seeking “mindfulness” often think being calm is all there is. (There’s also insight.) Or they have yet to see themselves in relation. Or they still are getting in their own way because of their general worldview. So I felt it was time to bring contemporary mindfulness back to its roots, for a general audience. This, of course, draws on my own experiences, as an individual and from my community

 

 

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

Five years.

 

6) Did you learn anything from the project?

 

For sure. For me, this book was a big career move – moving out from the shadow of a best-selling branded series and taking a stand on my own.

From the outset, the book evolved organically. When I gave the manuscript over to a publisher, it continued growing in my mind and heart, and I continued thinking about it, reflecting and learning from it.

Being able to write that way, rather than by advance proposal then following a timeline, was inestimably rewarding to me as an author and I hope it carries over for the reader.

 

In general, I learned to see how mindfulness is evolving in our society. I came to understand the arguments against its co-optation, on the one hand, and, on the other, its introduction in schools as being perceived as a threat to freedom of religion. This led me to begin to formulate my own sense of the importance of postsecularism and what it means to me. Ultimately, I’ve also come to appreciate mindfulness is not a trend but a palpable element taking root in our culture today, and how important that can be for these uncertain times.

I’ve also come to see mindfulness as holding one truth – with many meanings. Bill Gates naturally uses it via a computer app, where for Yuval Noah Harari it deeply informs his practice as a historian and so he goes on month-long mindfulness retreats.

A more specific learning instance might be my appreciation of motivation as underlying intention, of resilience as an essential survival skill, of how to put theory into practice, and so on.

And, as a writer, I now better appreciate how important story can be in nonfiction as well as fiction. That includes personal story, and how being vulnerable can be of benefit to both myself and my readers, without it necessarily being self-indulgent, but, rather, as a mirror.

 

Plus, this was my first audio edition – and I was fortunately to be able to be its narrator. I’m still assimilating what I learned from that experience.

 

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

My author page is GaryGach.com – a work-in-progress.

Sorry, no book video, per se. But there are video clips of me there, reading from the book and at venues.

 

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors?

 

 

Read your work aloud. Even record it and listen to how it sounds.

 

Revise on paper.

 

Pace yourself. Chart the arc of your work’s emotional peaks and valleys, builds and releases.

Besides an outline, try making a mindmap of it – its topics and themes, characters or characteristics.

 

One of the challenges of this book was not to comment on what I’d just written. See if this is a habit in your own work. Another way of putting this: see when you need to get out of your own way.

 

Where possible, be vivid.

Present ideas through things.

 

Enjoy your writing along the way. Then your reader will enjoy reading too.

 

Share with a community of those interested in your material and ask for feedback.

At some point, visit bookstores and libraries and see what else is out there that’s like your work, and clarify how your work is different. If it’s for a magazine, see what other magazines might have published something like your own piece, and check back as far as six months.

 

There are no unpublished writers. If you’re a writer, you’re a writer. You may be pre-published, but not unpublished. 

 

Ask yourself why you write.

And who do you write for.

Know your audience and get to know them in real life.

 

 

How about any great editors/cover artists? 

For editors, I can wholeheartedly recommend Nancy Owen Barton, in South Carolina.
As for artists, I’m so happy the cover for PBS features the impeccable calligraphy of Denise L. Nguyen. Instagram: @Lotusology  

 

9) What genres do you like to read?

 

Simple question for which I lack a simple answer.
I hope my honesty doesn’t seem pedantic or didactic but more like a friendly, sincere local park-bench philosopher. You see, my tastes have grown more and more eclectic, over the years.

 

My current reading habits are characterized by particular sub-genres. But I’ve always been wary of categories and boundaries. (Maybe it’s an offshoot of my working in a 2nd-hand bookstore for many years – or wondering how education is broken into separate categories.) For example, years ago, I read classical pulp fiction: Hammett, Cain, and Chandler, “hard-boiled,” but so is Hemingway, and Camus. I like Fritz Leiber’s work whether sword and sorcery or the Change Wars series (science-fiction). Al Young’s “musical memoir” series (Bodies & Soul, Kinds of Blue, Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, and Drowning in the Sea of Love) is a mash-up of personal essay, memoir, writing on music.

 

Anyhoo —

 

On my “To Read” shelf:

 

Mindfulness; Buddhism; Taoism; science – neurocognition (Rick Hanson; Daniel Siegel; Embodied Mind by Rosch, Thompson, and Varela), biomimicry, and Ayurveda; philosophy (phenomenology); anthropology (Ritual Process): economics (Viking Economics); systems thinkers (Charles Eisenstein, Daniel Christian Wahl); poetry of various sorts particularly Eastern poetry and poetics; history (Mongol Empire); contemporary fiction, rarely – preferring classics, but will give the new ones by Richard Powers (Overstory) and Ocean Vuong (On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous) a try. 

 

Right now, I’m reading the Qur’an.

 

Plus there’s always reading for research for what I’m currently writing, which I also find pleasurable.
Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?

 

I wish. But —I’ve written and published several dozen book reviews and now taken a blanket retirement from same. That’s practically true with blurbs too.

 

From time to time, I’ll read Page One of a new author’s work and offer feedback.

 

 

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

 

A blank book. Honestly! For one thing, there are so many editions to choose from. Lined / unlined. Artists’ sketchpad or college composition book. It’s always incredible to re-read. Often worth underlining. It never fails to hold for me the greatest range of sheer possibility combined with the capacity for deepest revelation. And I’m always frankly curious to see what will happen next.

 

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?

 

                   -=[ no pets ]=-

 

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

 

I might read a couple articles on my iPad, now and then.

 

 

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Interview with Valerie Nieman, Author of To the Bones

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Valerie Nieman, author of To The Bones.

Please see below.

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
Valerie Nieman, North Carolina
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
To the Bones is a horror/mystery about the use and abuse of power in coal country, where that legacy is very long indeed. It’s also a story about the love for family and home and the fight to save them. As a reviewer in the Colorado Review wrote: “In this unusual tale of death and monsters and environmental devastation, horror, science fiction, romance, and satire bleed together to form a vibrant literary delight that is as powerful and imposing as the fearsome orange-hued river that runs through it.”
3) What is the book about? 

       Darrick MacBrehon, a government auditor, wakes among the dead. Bloodied and disoriented from a gaping head wound, the man who staggers out of the mine crack in Redbird, West Virginia, is much more powerful—and dangerous—than the one thrown in. An orphan with an unknown past, he must now figure out how to have a future.

Hard-as-nails Lourana Taylor works as a sweepstakes operator and spends her time searching for any clues that might lead to Dreama, her missing daughter. Could this stranger’s tale of a pit of bones be connected? With help from Marco DeLucca, a disgraced deputy, and Zadie Person, a local journalist investigating an acid mine spill, Darrick and Lourana push against everyone who tries to block the truth. Along the way, the bonds of love and friendship are tested, and bodies pile up on both sides.

In a town where the river flows orange and the founding—and controlling—family is rumored to “strip a man to the bones,” the conspiracy that bleeds Redbird runs as deep as the coal veins that feed it.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I homesteaded a hill farm in West Virginia some years ago. The land lay over the top of the former Farmington No. 9 coal mine that tragically blew up in 1968, killing 78 men and leaving 19 entombed. That knowledge was always in the back of my mind as I worked the gardens and tended the cattle. A “mine crack” appeared in the back pasture as the ground settled into the mine workings. I always used to say that if I ever were going to kill someone, I’d throw the body in a mine crack. So for this book, I did exactly that.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I set myself the task of writing quickly, as the material all came from my years as a journalist and farmer in West Virginia and did not rely on extensive research. It took me less than a year — normally, it’s a 4-6 year process for me to finish a novel.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
I learned that my reporter-powers of writing fast, tight, and on deadline never went away.
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? 
Keep at it! Writing is a long game, a marathon rather than a sprint. My MFA director used to say that the biggest problem for writers is attrition–so don’t attrit.
I’ve relied on a network of writing friends and small writing groups to keep me productive and on track. Just can’t go to group empty-handed! My first editors are always these writers–we read each other’s work and are brutally honest. To the Bones was read by a writer of SF/fantasy and scholarly works on UFOs, a fantasy/horror writer, a literary novelist/poet, a literary novelist/memoirist, and a writer whose themes include the Asian immigrant experience and Malaysian history, so quite a wide range of approaches. Each had useful suggestions that led to the final manuscript, which then went through peer review at West Virginia University Press and had three more goings-over.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
Since childhood, I’ve read widely, omnivorously, without regard to genre or age-appropriateness. I started by reading the classics I could find at home–Poe, Hawthorne, Stevenson, Shakespeare, Twain, Tennyson, Hardy. When I was a young teen, I discovered science fiction and fantasy and plunged deeply into that world. I’ll read what comes to hand, especially when I am traveling–biographies, Ed McBain, local authors, science writing, Agatha Christie, spy stories and westerns and historical epics. I am always behind on reading the many volumes of short stories and literary novels from my friends and colleagues. And I am always reading, and writing, poetry.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? 
Oh, that’s not fair! I could never choose a single book. If I were marooned on a desert island, I might opt for the Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
None right now, though I borrow a dog occasionally and consider my neighbors’ pets as my own.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I do not, though I have the Kindle and Libro apps on my iPhone. I use them occasionally, but am still enchanted by the printed page and the heft of a book in my hands.
To the Bones,an Appalachian mystery/horror novel
Visit my website or Facebook page
Twitter @valnieman, Instagram @valnieman

SEPT. 24 – Sunrise Books, High Point, NC, with Gerry Stanek.

SEPT. 28 – Books-a-Million, 1-4 pm, Beckley, WV.

SEPT. 30 – Gabor Folklife Center, 7 pm, Fairmont, WV.

OCT. 4-6 – West Virginia Book Festival. Speaking at 9 am Saturday.

OCT. 9 – McNally Jackson, NYC.

OCT. 19 – West Virginia University with Women of Appalachia Project.

NOV. 16 – Kentucky Book Festival.

JAN. 24-25 – Roanoke Regional Writers Conference.

FEB. 28-MARCH 1 – Mysticon in Roanoke, VA.

MARCH 13-14 – Charleston SC reading and workshop.

MARCH 20-21 -Upcountry Literary festival, Union, SC

APRIL 10 – Wordstream Radio in Knoxville, TN. Reading at 7 pm, Union Avenue Books. 

APRIL 26 – Women Improving Race Relations Book Club, Greensboro, NC.

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