Tag Archives: new novels

Interview with Imran Omer, Author of Entangled Lives


I have an additional interview today, this time with Imran Omer, author of Entangled Lives.

Please enjoy!


-Vincent Lowry


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

My author name is the same as my real name, which is Imran Omer. I live in Homewood, a suburb of Chicago, IL.


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

The title of my novel is Entangled Lives, published by Roundfire, UK. The genre is literary/historical (recent) fiction


3) What is the book about?

Entangled Lives depicts lives of madrassha students in Pakistan who were first recruited to fight against Russians, and then became part of the Taliban. These young men were exploited at home and then used by Taliban as a frontline of their aggression against the liberal stronghold of  Afghanistan in the northern part of the country.


4) Where did you come up with the idea?

Over the years, whenever I heard about terrorists and the West’s conviction of going after them to the end of the word, I always thought about the lives they lived that led them to commit all those acts of violence. Were they the only ones who as individuals were responsible? Or did those societies have something to contribute to the outcome we have seen on the world stage? I didn’t have to go very far to see the facets of the society in general, and the politics, both domestic and international, contributing to the violence they were committing.



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

It took me around three years to complete the book.


I researched extensively for Entangled Lives to present the historical events in the same way they were depicted in the media. I also wanted to keep intact the timeline of the real events and therefore there were times I had to, sort of, wrap the events of my plot around the actual events. The Taliban’s occupation of Kabul, their attacks on Mazar-e-Sharif, the death of Babrak Karmal, and the rest of the events have been depicted the way they were reported at the time in the media, and in the same order in which they took place.



6) Did you learn anything from the project?

I have learned a lot about craft. In the process of writing I researched not only the historical facts but also the ways to write my story in the best possible manner.


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

Yes, my sites are:




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

Be authentic. Write what you know about, and if you don’t know about what you are writing then research, research, research.

My publisher did all the editing and the cover.


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

I prefer to read literary and historical fiction. Yes, I am willing to review new authors.



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

It is impossible for me to ever forget Poisonwood Bible.

J.M Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, and Barabra Kingsolver  are my favorites. They are the masters of depicting the depth of human emotions.



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The Blackbird and the Ghost by Huw Steer


“full of imagination… over far too soon” – Beauty In Ruins

★★★★★ – “a real page-turner” – The Voracious Bibliophile

The Boiling Seas are the mariner’s bane – and the adventurer’s delight. The waters may be hot enough to warp wood and boil a hapless swimmer, but their scalding expanse is full of wonders. Strange islands lurk in the steamy mists, and stranger ruins hold ancient secrets, remnants of forgotten empires waiting for the bold… or lying in wait for the unwary.

On the Corpus Isles, gateway to the Boiling Seas, Tal Wenlock, the Blackbird, seeks a fortune of his own. The treasure he pursues could change the world – but he just wants to change a single life, and it’s not his own. To reach it, he’ll descend into the bowels of the earth and take ship on burning waters, brave dark streets and steal forbidden knowledge. He’ll lie, cheat, steal and fight – but he won’t get far alone. The ghosts of Tal’s past dog his every step – and one in particular keeps his knives sharp.

The Blackbird will need help to reach his goal… and he’ll need all his luck to get back home alive.

Hûw Steer is an author, historian and sketch comedian from London. You may have seen him with the UCL Graters at the Edinburgh Fringe, read his theses on ancient Roman science-fiction, or even read one of his short stories. You probably haven’t, but at least you’re reading this.

Hûw has previously been published in ‘Making Monsters’ (The Future Fire, 2018), and the UCL Publisher’s Prize anthologies for 2018 and 2016. This is his first published novel.

You can reach him at huwsteerofficial@gmail.com, and read more of his work at huwsteer.wordpress.com.


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The Secret Grievances by Vicente Monzon Ambou

Desiderio Vigil, a retired lieutenant from the force of the Havana’s Criminal Police, faces up to a conscience case: a former classmate and friend of his sons—absents because of the exile, but present because of his yearning—had become a serial killer, a sort of “social purifier”, a Vigilante which victimizes the dregs of society. The old officer decides to act by his own and channels his efforts into seeking him, accompanied by another former friend of those once-lads. It starts then a kind of three days’ pedestrian road-movie, through which, in two different narrative levels that are both interspersed and complemented, they walk up and down half capital city. It is that 1996’s Havana. The good old Faith in the future has already collapsed into a present of sad mists and uncertainties, as much for average people as for parasite lumpenproletariat. The old times of faith in the future are already water gone under the bridge and between nostalgia and sarcasms are knitted the atmospheres of this story. It is a novel in which either social and psychological elements demand its shares of police ingredient, but in which the suspense factor goes slithering underground, to burst on the surface, violent and unexpected, toward the end of the work.




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The Alchemy of Noise by Lorraine Devon Wilke

“Infused with beauty, humor, and pain, The Alchemy of Noise is a modern American love story that asks if love can bridge the distance between two Americas.”
—Laura Nicole Diamond, author of Shelter Us and Deliver Me

In a world so full of lonely people and broken hearts, Chris Hawkins, a black sound engineer from Chicago’s south side, and Sidonie Frame—white, suburban-raised, the head manager of one of the city’s most elite venues—meet by work-related happenstance and fall quickly in love, convinced that by that act alone they can inspire peace, joy, and happiness in the world around them. The world, however, has other ideas.

Their meeting is serendipitous. Chris, who owns and runs his company, largely spends his time surrounded by members of his own community; Sidonie, conversely, is rarely outside the environs of work and its predominantly white staff and clientele. But when the club’s sound manager goes AWOL on the night of a big event and Chris is hired to come in as a last-minute replacement, their destinies collide.

Immediately drawn to each other, they fall quickly into an unexpected and thrilling relationship, inspiring myriad reactions amongst family and friends on both sides of the racial divide. But even as their love story evolves, day-to-day tensions, police disruptions, and the microaggressions Chris constantly encounters as a black man in the gritty environs of Chicago become a cultural flashpoint, challenging Sidonie’s privileged worldview and Chris’s ability to translate the unfolding events. After a random and gut-wrenching series of police encounters shakes their resilience, it’s the shattering circumstance of a violent arrest—one in which Chris is identified as a serial vandal and potential rapist—that sends their world into free fall.

He claims his innocence; she believes him. But the forces pushing against them are many and oppressive. With a looming trial, the dissipating loyalties of key allies, and unforeseen twists triggering doubt and suspicion, Sidonie and Chris are driven to question what they really know of each other and just whom to trust, leading to a powerful and emotional conclusion.

Lorraine Devon Wilke’s third novel, The Alchemy of Noise, ventures beyond the humor and pathos of family drama explored so cleverly in her first two novels to dig deep into the politics of contemporary culture. At its heart a love story, it explores the complexity of race in a suspenseful drama driven by issues of privilege, prejudice, police profiling and legal entanglements, and the disparities in how those provocative themes impact the various and diverse characters involved.




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Craving Normal: An Ordinary Life Veers Off Track…Way Off by Michele Miles Gardiner

Living in a rock hut on a nude beach. Staying in a religious commune. Facing an angry man with a gun. Riding camels. Hiding freaky health food lunches from lucky Twinkie eaters.

Michele didn’t experience these things living in the suburbs of San Francisco. Then came the counterculture revolution. Her entire life changed. Michele’s young parents sold their home, bought a car and trailer overseas, and took her and her little sister to explore the world.We know a lot about the “flower children,” but what does an actual child from that era have to say? While many tales about that revolutionary time are on record, few come from the perspective of the children who lived it.

She rebelled by cheerleading, eating junk food, attending honor roll parties, and dreaming of being a foxy stewardess/actress. Lame? Sure. But how else does a child of young parents of the wild sixties generation rebel? By countering the counterculture.

Michele’s collection of stories, Craving Normal, in which she rarely takes herself too seriously, spans from her earliest memories of the “normal” suburbs, through growing up and trying to find a place where she fit in. Does she find it? Is Hollywood a sane place to search for normalcy?

Michele Miles Gardiner has written essays and articles for newspapers and magazines, and performed her stories on stage.






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The Final Enemy by Dan Petrosini


In the face of a death-defying power, what’s the “new normal”?

Like all reporters, Jack longs for a breaking story but is stuck writing obituaries for a small-town rag. As his frustration mounts, it hits him that no one has died in over three days. Jack’s odd observation becomes something far stranger when he connects a meteorite to the bizarre phenomenon.

Seizing the opportunity, Jack breaks the story and after a struggle to control the meteorite’s power is resolved, a swelling population begins to create havoc. With the survival of the human race hanging in the balance, politicians enact increasingly horrific measures and desperate citizens take matters into their own hands.

Jack’s in a position to not just report the news, but change it, and his decisions and observations creates an epic thriller that pits the potential of human immortality against a force designed to change – or obliterate – humanity itself.

Only one man might stand in its way … the man buried in the obits department.

The Final Enemy is a story of social disintegration as well as a saga of survival. Secret plans, starvation, suicide, and a series of events that spiral the human race into a desperate survival mode evolve from a seemingly singular event and leads to a fast-paced action story that delights with its penchant for the unexpected.

In the Matthew Mather and A.G. Riddle tradition, The Final Enemy is a gripping blend of thriller and science fiction that will prove hard to put down.



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Then Came Darkness by D.H. Schleicher

Summer. 1936. Upstate New York. First, the banks were coming for their farms. Then, a record heat wave scorched the land. And then came Joshua Bloomfield, driven by revenge and greed, seeking to reclaim an inheritance of blood money and the family he believed was rightfully his. Will Evelyn Kydd find a way to save her farm and protect her family from the monster in their midst, or will they all be devoured by the darkness descending upon the hills?





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