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Get to Know My Book: Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic by Richard Blunt – Part II

Today we are honored to be hosting Richard Blunt on his virtual book tour this month with the 2nd installment of his 3- day Get to Know My Book series of book excerpts. Get to Know My Book is an ongoing feature between blogs where we post excerpts of an author’s book so that you can get to know the book better, one blog at a time.

About Richard Blunt

Richard Blunt is the author of the fantasy novel, Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic. He is currently working on his second book in the Lucas Trent series. You can visit his website at www.lucastrent.com.

Visit him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lucas_trent and Facebook at www.facebook.com/people/richard-blunt.

About Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic

Lucas Trent“Guardian in Magic” is a fantasy novel located in a world very similar to the one we live in. It tells the story of 16 year old Lucas Trent, an IT student living in Luton, England. His fascination for the supernatural leads him to take a glimpse at the world from an angle only few others look at. An angle that teaches him the true meaning of friendship, loyalty and trust in ways he had never experienced before.

Journeying through a secret community that is hidden in plain sight, he suddenly finds himself forced into living two lives at once, keeping his true identity even from his close family. In a struggle to handle this situation, he gets pulled deeper and deeper into a swamp of conspiracies and coincidences surrounding a young girl and the very truth about magic in the real world…

Book Excerpt:

The entrance to the hallway opened just as they stepped up to it. Someone obviously had been waiting for them.

“No cameras, no cell phones. If you brought them, leave them in your car,” a young man, approximately 18 or 19 years old, commanded in a bored voice. He was quite tall and slim and looked a little bit like Darien on first impression. “And bring your robes.”

Lucas was very unhappy about this command. Not having his cell phone could prove to be a problem when it came to alerting the others. But there was no other option than to comply. So they tossed the phones into the glove compartment. Lucas tried to show it clearly long enough so that the others in the pub would see this as well. On the other hand Lucas was quite happy that he had never seen this guy before, so at least for now there was no danger of being recognized.

“Very well,” the boy said as they returned to the entrance. “Follow me.”

Then he led them down the stairs into the basement. The compartments to both sides of the corridor were divided by wooden dividers that looked a little bit like fences. The doors were also made out of wood, secured with padlocks. Like the rest of the building everything down here looked old and shabby.

“How far is it?” Lucas asked.

“Don’t talk, just walk,” the cold answer came.

As they approached the end of the corridor, Lucas could see a brick wall that was partially blocked by sheets of plywood. Their guide walked straight toward that wall and stopped right before it. Lucas looked around, but there was nothing but locked compartments here. Much to his surprise, the boy grabbed the plywood and pushed it aside, uncovering a whole in the wall. A dark shaft became visible. Lucas tried to make out something, but it was way too dark.

“Close up behind you,” the boy commanded. Then he pulled a flashlight from his pocket and went into the shaft.

Lucas looked ahead and could now see tubes running through this passageway. The walls were made only of dirt, with occasional wooden beams to support them. He indicated Jasmin to go ahead while he closed the plywood again.

The walk continued for a minute or two. It was clear now to Lucas that the shaft was connecting two of the apartment buildings, running water and electricity between them. On the far end, the tunnel entrance was also blocked with plywood, just like the other one. They stepped out of it, Lucas closing the entrance again while the other boy was stowing away his flashlight. Then he led them on through another basement corridor up to the ground floor again and much to their surprise, out of the building.

Lucas took a quick look around. They had obviously exited a building on the back side of the compound; the street name was different, but other than that everything looked quite similar.

The boy headed toward a small van parked a few meters away.

“Get in,” he commanded after opening the back door.

“Where are we going?” Lucas tried to sound calm, like the question came out of pure interest.

“Don’t talk, just walk,” the cold answer came again.

Lucas disliked this more with every step he took. They were already far away from their friends, with no way of contacting them or letting them know where they were going, and stepping into a car now would definitely only take them farther away. A look into Jasmin’s face showed him quite clearly that she had similar thoughts; she looked even more nervous than before.

“Hurry, we don’t have all day.” The boy was getting impatient.

Lucas took a breath and finally jumped into the car, closely followed by Jasmin.

It was a short drive, leading them to a suburb of Luton, where the scenery was shaped mostly by detached houses with small gardens surrounding them. They stopped just in front of an old house that looked deserted.

“We are here. Put on your robes,” the boy said while jumping out.

He seemed to have put his robe somewhere under the driver’s seat, as he was already in the process of slipping into it while Jasmin and Lucas where still making their way out of the car. They quickly followed his example and put on the black robes they had brought with them, pulling the hoods deep over their faces. Then they followed him toward the entrance.

The closer they came to the house, the more it became clear that no one had lived in there for a long time. The garden was overgrown with weeds, ivy was hanging from the wall, many windows were either shattered or barred and those that weren’t were so full of dirt that they were opaque by now. The canopy was missing tiles and even the two steps leading up to the main entrance were not intact anymore: The wooden plank that was supposed to be the second one was broken in half.

They approached the door and their guide took the door knocker.

Knock… Knock, knock… Knock, knock…Knock…Knock

Lucas watched him carefully. The door was as old as the house itself, but it seemed intact. The lock seemed to have been changed recently; it was a state of the art magnetic codec lock. The door knocker, on the other hand, still looked old, some kind of a lion that supposedly was shining gold a long time ago. Right now it was shimmering green.

The door swung open and someone in a black robe and a hood was standing before them.

“I bring the new ones,” the boy who brought them here said.

Lucas tried hard to identify the one that had opened the door for them, but he had the hood pulled that deeply over his face that it was impossible to even tell if it was a boy or girl.

The hooded person stepped aside to let them pass. Right after they had entered the room, Lucas heard the door close behind them. Then the two guys wandered off into the house, indicating that they should follow them.

Lucas took a quick look around. The room was nearly empty, no furniture except for a chair, and even that chair did not look promising. A staircase led to the first floor and three hallways without doors led left, right, and straight ahead. The room was only lit by the little light that was coming through the opaque windows, just enough to see the spider webs all around the room.

The two others had walked off to the corridor straight ahead. As Lucas and Jasmin followed them, a glimmer of light became visible from one of the back rooms. The door to that room was only slightly open, so they couldn’t see much of it so far, but it was kind of spooky. Lucas noticed that Jasmin was shivering a little, so he walked close to her and took her hand for a few seconds to reassure her.

As the door to the room swung open a strange picture emerged for the two. In the middle of the room was a table, topped with a piece of black cloth. From the looks of it, the table seemed to be just a cheap camping table, but the cloth was hanging down so long that one couldn’t tell for sure. On the table were some black candles set on silver chandeliers. Standing behind the table, they could see someone wearing a black robe with a dark red hood. Lucas was quite certain that this would be Wolfman. On the other side of the table, six other persons were standing, all with black robes and hoods. A pentagram was drawn on the floor with chalk, and wooden torches were placed all over the room.

The two guys walking in front of Lucas and Jasmin joined the others. Jasmin and Lucas entered the room as well, Jasmin closing the door behind her.

“Right on time,” the man behind the table said. It was clearly Wolfman who was talking. “This is your first time, so just take a place among the others and follow their lead.”

Lucas and Jasmin joined the crowd, staying close together at all times. It was right now that Lucas recognized the smell in the air: the same sweet smell that they had found in the clearing.

Tomorrow stop off at Beyond the Books with Get to Know My Book: Lucas Trent: Guardians in Magic by Richard Blunt – Part III!

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Interview with Richard Blunt: ‘I like to make the whole story 100% consistent’

Richard Blunt is the author of the fantasy novel, Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic. He is currently working on his second book in the Lucas Trent series. You can visit his website at www.lucastrent.com. Visit him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lucas_trent and Facebook at www.facebook.com/people/richard-blunt.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Rick. Can you tell us what your latest book, “Guardian in Magic”, is all about?

It is actually the first part of a series. It tells the story about a teenager that stumbles from a quite normal life into a wonderful world of mystery, conspiracy and magic, that had always been right before his eyes, hidden in plain sight. It tells a story about friendship and trust, and about the fact that things are not always as simple as they appear to be.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

The story revolves around six teenagers who all share the interest in “esoterics”, amongst other things as they find out throughout the story. Lucas Trent, the title figure, is a 16 year old IT student, pretty much a loner, but with his heart in the right place. Darien is a year older, sort of the Wikipedia on legs of the group. Also an IT student and a real genius in theory. Marcus is the sporty guy, always a step ahead physically. The last boy, Cedric, is a little hard to grasp. He is the silent one. Always there when you need him most, but never really clear in what his intentions are. The two girls are the youngest and the oldest in the group. Stephanie is the youngster with her 15 years, a real beauty but a little shy. Jasmin is 20, like the good soul of the group. Not as good looking as Stephanie, but twice as charming with her words.

Looking at the sidelines the characters get mysterious. There for one is “Angel”, the mentor of the group. She seems always to be ahead of the game at least one step, but without ever showing her cards. And then there is the mysterious man in grey… Well, no one can tell what he’s all about. (Yet.)

Oh and of course there is the villain. “Wolfman” is the name. He could be the devils minion from his looks. He is  satanic priest who causes the heroes more than one headache throughout the story.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

They all have parts of real people, but most of them have many parts of many different people. I like to form them a little in like archetypes, so they do not primarily resemble someone, but resemble an idea.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I like to make the whole story 100% consistent. So the big picture is completely drawn before I write the first word of the text. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that perfect in the end.

Q: Your book is set in Luton, England.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

Honestly? I chose England because I wanted an English speaking country as the base and tried not to take the obvious route and choose the US. Luton came up simple: Took a map of England and blindly painted a dot somewhere… Voila… Luton… I have never been there by the way, so chances are high that my description doesn’t resemble the reality even a bit… I hope they will forgive me.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Some parts of it do, but mostly the setting gets created for the story, not the other way round.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

The heroes are just learning the first vital lesson of their journey. Angel is about to explain them some things. (Without explaining them at all of course, but that’s a bit complicated.)

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

That’s a hard one, as taking out one scene will not make sense without knowing the surrounding. I will give you a quote instead:

“Be Yourself. You can only achieve something if you are truly behind it, and you can’t be while wearing a mask.” Angel says this to the heroes not very far into the book. Why do I think it’s worth mentioning? Because it is true in reality as much as it is in the book. And although this is a fantasy story there still are many things in there that are quite true in reality as well.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Rick.  We wish you much success!

Thanks for the invitation. It was a pleasure being here.

 Watch the trailer for Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic

 

To visit Richard’s official virtual book tour page click on banner below:

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Zumaya Publications and Pump Up Your Book Announce ‘The Tapestry Baby Virtual Book Tour 2011’

The Tapestry Baby

Join Carole Waterhouse, author of the literary fiction novel, The Tapestry Baby, as she virtually tours the blogosphere June 6 – 30 2011 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Carole Waterhouse

Carole WaterhouseA creative writing professor at California University of Pennsylvania, Carole Waterhouse is the author of two novels, The Tapestry Baby and Without Wings, and a collection of short stories, The Paradise Ranch.

Her fiction has appeared in Arnazella, Artful Dodge, Baybury Review, Ceilidh, Eureka Literary Magazine, Forum, Half Tones to Jubilee, Massachusetts Review, Minnetonka Review, Oracle: The Brewton-Parker College Review, Parting Gifts, Pointed Circle, Potpourri, Seems, Spout, The Armchair Aesthete, The Griffin, The Styles, Tucumari Literary Review, Turnrow, and X-Connect.

A previous newspaper reporter, she has published essays in an anthology, Horse Crazy: Women and the Horses They Love, and Equus Spirit Magazine. Her book reviews have appeared in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Pittsburgh Press, and The New York Times Book Review.

Her latest novel is The Tapestry Baby, a novel depicting a mother who believes her child is born to fulfill some special destiny and discovers her life is intertwined with six other people, raising the question of whether any of us really control our own decisions, and through the process learns that greatness can be defined in the simplest of gestures.

You can visit Carole’s website at www.Carolewaterhouse.com.

About The Tapestry Baby

Tapestry BabyKarin lives in terror that her child will be born a multi-colored version of the mysterious tattooed man she met one night. When Anna is born normal instead, she becomes convinced her daughter is meant to fulfill some special destiny that she herself can’t provide. A believer of signs and premonitions, she takes off on a journey with Vonnie, a writer friend who can’t complete any stories because the peacefulness of her own life leaves her without inspiration hoping she can make a decision along the way. The choice, however, may not fully be her own. Their lives are randomly connected with six other people. There’s Ward, a cross-dresser who chooses his lovers based on their ability to make him look good, and Daria, a photographer who wants to feel emotion with the same level of intensity she can show it in her work. Mrs. Brown is a librarian with a sordid past who masquerades in her own dowdiness and her secret admirer Ned, a music teacher experiencing a nervous breakdown who finds that his images of make-believe women are deteriorating as notes break on his piano. Pivotal are Reggie, a massive tattooed man who despite his best efforts lives in fear of destroying women the same way he once accidentally crushed a bird he held in his hand and Clarissa, a fake fortune-teller who is responsible for bringing them all together. The Tapestry Baby raises the question of whether any of us really has control over our own destinies.

Visit Carole’s official tour page at www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/05/07/the-tapestry-baby-virtual-book-tour-2011 to see which blogs and websites he’ll be stopping off at during her The Tapestry Baby Virtual Book Tour 2011!

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Interview with Hans Lindor, author of “I Am Going Where I Belong”

Hans Lindor

Hans Lindor, novelist, screenwriter and playwright, has a singularly unique perspective on life and has earned many accolades for his fiction and poetry.

Hans Lindor has used his extraordinary life experiences to inspire young people, and has given motivational speeches and workshops to students in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Florida, advocating against guns, drugs and violence and giving students hope for rising above hardship and social struggles.

For more information about Hans, you can visit his website at www.hanslindor.org

Q: Thank you for this interview, Hans. Can you tell us what your latest book, I am Going Where I Belong, is all about?

A: Thank you for the opportunity. Haiti has always been in the news, and not in a good way. The country is battling a cholera epidemic that has already killed thousands living in remote areas, and is still in the recovery and reconstruction stage after the devastating earthquake. Now there are reports that earthquake survivors, mostly children, are being smuggled into the Dominican Republic and used as prostitutes, drug peddlers, and beggars. It is astonishing to see innocent individuals at the mercy of their grim circumstances. I am Going Where I Belong begins in Haiti where 14 year old Hans Leger is a member of a privileged family. A detour by the family chauffeur one day has Hans and his younger brother seeing a part of Haiti that had been hidden from them. Not long after this chance encounter, Hans’ father is brutally gunned down during a violent coup d’etat, and he, his mother, and younger brother are forced to flee to Miami in search of peaceful refuge. Little does Hans know, though, that upon his arrival in the States, the real challenges of his life are only just beginning…

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

A: Marie, a rape victim at eleven years old, is now a fifteen year-old homeless mother who considers her life to be worthless. She never went to school. She doesn’t know how to read or write. Her parents are dead. She is forced into prostitution. Edouard, Hans’ father, a former US Marine, is 42 years old. He works for the Haitian government as Finance Minister. Chriscile is a piano teacher, painter, and choreographer. Edouard dies during a coup d’etat. After his death the family fortuitously fled the country to live in Miami.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

A: Yes. I am very passionate to write about real people, however, my characters are totally from my own imagination. My goal is always to make my characters as real as possible so that any readers can relate to them in some way. The response and reviews that I am getting from readers about this book “I am Going Where I Belong” are that it reads like a heartrending memoir. I have several readers who emailed me to send me their sympathy after reading this book, to let me know how sorry they are that I had to go through all of this drama in my life. Some even sent me their prayers. I truly appreciate that there are still some people in this world who care about one’s suffering. One reviewer even gave me three stars. When I contacted that reviewer to ask how could I have made the book better, she told me, “You have a wonderful story about your life that is so inspiring, but you chose not to fully share it with others. I wanted to know more about your life story.” I smiled when I read that. However, this book is not about my life. This book is not my memoir or autobiography. My goal was to write a book that is inspiring. I wanted to write a book to make people feel the pain of the Haitian children and people. I hope I succeeded in doing so, and I would also like to thank my editor for helping me to achieve this objective.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

A: My way of starting to write a story is abnormal. I always start my story from the ending, and then skip to the beginning, and from there I let the story unfold. I really never know what I am going to write about until the story starts developing itself. I never know my plot, or what I am going to write about, even though I am deep in the middle of the story. However, I let my inspiration guide me throughout the whole writing process. I am the slave of my inspiration. When I am writing, I become a different person. I want to be the character that I am creating.

Q: Your book is set in Haiti. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

A: I started writing this book back in 2006. Just like in the book, my friends and others kept asking me, “Hans, why don’t you write about your story?” I always answer, I can’t write about my story while I am still alive. Each day that passes, basically opens a new chapter in my life. Therefore to me is worthless for one to write about his or her own story. Anyhow, that’s how I ended up writing a story that is based on Haiti. Haiti is a torn country, and today, after a democratic presidential election, two dictators decided to return to Haiti. Both claimed they have returned to bring their moral and intellectual support to the country. Don’t get me wrong, they both have the right to return to the country. No one should ever be forced to flee or leave his or her country. My only hope is that they will only do what they said they came to do. Enough is enough. The country is moribund and it has suffered for decades after decades, all at the mercy of its own politicians and people. The victor will inherit a torn country that is still in the recovery and reconstruction stage after the devastating earthquake. Described in more vivid and grim terms in the book, I sum up Haiti’s existence in one sentence: “The existence of the Haitian people seems based on despair, vicissitudes, and destitution.”

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

A: Throughout the book Haiti is front and center. The American people and others know two things about Haiti as it’s always being described by the media: poverty and violence. The media tend to forget that the country has some good things about it as well. I blame the Haitian so-called politicians for shamefully giving this image about the country. Let’s take Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Mexico for examples: not to denigrate them, but these countries have some downsides with violence and poverty as well, yet they are always portrayed as vacation/romantic getaways. Why is that? They simply have better politicians who somehow care about their country’s dignity. I think it is now time for our ostensible politicians to search within their souls to make the right choices and finally move the country forward, but I doubt it will happen. I am an idealist. I am Going Where I Belong gives my point of view on my solution for Haiti. The book explains and shows a different side of the country.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

A: The main character, Hans, is hanging out with his friends. He is telling them that he caught his cheerleading girlfriend with another. But Johny, an ex-Marine friend of Hans, wants to talk about something else while drinking his beer. He is expressing his disdain toward the American government’s foreign policy. His belief is that the USA is being the cop of the world, going to the Middle East and killing other nations for oil, and that America is responsible for all the trouble in the world. He believes if the American government really wanted peace in the world, we would have it by now. Instead, they choose to spend billions making nuclear bombs while millions of children are starving to death in Haiti and Africa and other places, even here in the USA itself. He is getting very frustrated pouring out these fearful words. It’s fun!

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

A: The excerpt that I am giving you is about Marie, the girl I wrote about in the book.  At 15, she considered her life to be worthless. She never went to school. She didn’t know how to read or write. Her parents were dead. She was forced to sell her body as a way to save her life, or she would have faced death if she refused to comply. When hunger became unbearable, Marie begged, hoping to get some change to be able to feed her son, whom she had after she was raped. She was a young woman in despair, buried in the human meanness of society. People don’t know that child prostitution is the second biggest income in the world. There are many young girls like Marie around the world, who forcefully sell their youthful bodies to survive each and every day. I wanted the readers to hear their voices. Here it is:

 

     I walked by an abandoned park where another group of suppliers installed their merchandise. A rusty fire hose poured out water onto the street. I had to walk on my tippy toes to avoid getting my shoes wet when I crossed the street to get to the cemetery. I looked all around for the girl. She was nowhere to be found. As I walked among the gravestones, I saw a girl pulling up her panties, then a white man in his late thirties or early forties zipping up his pants. The white man handed the girl some money. She looked at me with teary eyes as she mumbled, “Mesi blan” (“Thank you, sir”) to the man. My heart pounded as rage ran through my veins. The foreigner left and the girl walked out of the cemetery. She handed over the money to a Haitian man who was waiting for her by the exit. I guessed he was her pimp.I am going to where I belong

     “Good job,” the Haitian man said to her. Yet again, I wanted to confront this guy but I had to bear in mind that in this country, death is just a game; you can easily get killed before you even take your next breath. I looked up to the blue sky and whispered a few words to God. Out of nowhere, the little boy whom I’d seen crying yesterday ran up to her.

“Manman(“Mommy”)” he cried in Creole, hugging her with jubilation. I was shocked yet contented to see that naked little boy with a swollen belly and dry skin in high spirits that day. I walked up to them and handed some money and my lunch to her.

     “Thank you, sir.” She bowed her head to thank me.

     “You are welcome,” I said to her.

     The little boy snatched the lunchbox from her and was fast to unzip it.

     “Wait!” She seized the box back from him. He got angry, throwing himself on the dusty ground next to a homeless man sleeping on three pieces of cardboard. “Here, here. You are never fully satisfied. Leave some for later.” Embarrassed, she tendered the box back to him.

     He got to his feet, eyes filled with light tears, and smiled at his mother. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He unwrapped the sandwich and took a huge bite. I stood there thinking how at home we wasted food every day when there were so many men, women and children dying from malnourishment in this country. Watching this little boy fighting his mother for a lunch I probably would have wasted made me realize how fortunate I was. To them, this egg sandwich was a treasure, and to me it belonged in the trash.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Hans.  We wish you much success!

A: My pleasure. My name is Hans Lindor, author of I am Going Where I Belong. I wrote this novel because I believe every child has the right to live, and that women are the beauty of life and face of nature. They should never be abused, whether it is in the mental or physical sense. Every human being should have the right to freedom. I Am Going Where I Belong demonstrates that one can overcome social hardships. The message of the book is clear and simple: never let racial barriers, poverty, depression or hopelessness rob you of your dreams and prevent you from achieving greatness. Please find an organization of your choice to make a donation, whether it is to help fight hunger, human trafficking, abuse, prostitution, or violent acts against women. There is a legitimate non-profit organization one that I personally recommend, “Serving Our World.” Please visit their website to make a donation, www.servingourworld.org. I can also be contacted via my website at www.hanslindor.org or http://www.goodreads.com/hanslindor.

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Interview with House M.D. Expert & Author Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Co-Executive Editor of Blogcritics, an Internet magazine of pop culture, politics and more owned by Technorati Media. Always a pop-culture geek, Barbara was raised on a steady diet of TV (and TV dinners), but she always found her way to TV’s antiheroes and misunderstood champions, whether on TV, in the movies or in literature.

Barnett’s regular column, “Welcome to the End of the Thought Process: An Introspective Look at House, M.D.” features insightful episode commentaries and interviews with the House cast and creative team. It is the place for intelligent discussion of the hit television series starring Hugh Laurie.

Barbara has had an eclectic career. With an undergraduate degree in biology and minors in chemistry and English, she pursued a PhD in Public Policy Analysis after spending a few years working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Her first professional writing gig was with a food industry trade magazine, and although it wasn’t exactly like writing for The New Yorker, it completely hooked her on the profession of writing.

She also writes lots of other things, including technology (from a non-geek perspective), the movies, politics and all things Jewish. Based in the north shore suburbs of Chicago, Barnett is married with two brilliant children and a dog. Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is her first (commercial) book. She hopes it’s not her last.

Visit Barbara’s website at www.barbarabarnett.com.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Barbara. Can you tell us what your latest book, Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is all about?

CZ is a comprehensive exploration of the hit television series House, M.D. It’s written in two parts. In the first, I take apart the show’s storylines, character histories, bits of social commentary and more. My aim is to understand the series narrative, central character Dr. Gregory House and all in his orbit. I look at everything from the series connections to Sherlock Holmes to the music, sets, etc. I also look the often provocative social commentary: what does the series say about ethics, religion and God, patient rights and more. The second part of the book is an episode by episode dissection. It summarizes each episode, but also hones in on the highlights: how was House a jerk, what was the episode’s ethical dilemma? What was House’s eureka moment? What was the most important relationship moment? But even in this section, I delve deeply into many of the episodes with “Closer Look” essays.

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

I’ve written a very widely read blog called “Welcome to the End of the Thought Process” for Blogcritics Magazine since 2007 (I recently became the magazine’s co-executive editor). I wanted to find a way to dig even deeper into the episodes, story arcs and characters than was possible within the scope of a blog.

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?

In addition to watching every episode numerous times, I also consulted with psychologists (House suffers from an entire constellation of emotional issues), Holmes bloggers, medical texts to understand the diseases encountered in the series, as well as pain management sites to understand better the nature of House’s chronic pain/drug issues.

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?

Not everything is as it seems: a jerk is not necessarily a jerk; the “ethical thing” is not necessarily the “right thing,” and perhaps also come away getting to know this fascinating fictional character a little better.

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?

From the Introduction to Chasing Zebras:

Dr. Gregory House is an unrepentant jerk. He’s rude, brusque, and harsh — suffering no fools and taking no prisoners. He’s not conventionally pretty; he’s not young. In addition, he’s crippled, limping along with a cane. Yet, he’s the central character on the hit television series, House, M.D. (just House, for short).

It’s a completely unlikely proposition. How do you sell the network on a series created around such an irredeemable bastard? Who would even want to watch it? Millions do.

House is one of the highest-rated television series on American television. More than that, it’s a hit around the world — from the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Eastern Europe to the Middle East, and in lands as far flung as Australia and Hong Kong. In Canada, House has even outranked American Idol!

Eurodata TV Worldwide, which tracks and ranks television across the globe, reported in June 2009 that House was the most-watched television show worldwide, with nearly 82 million viewers tuning in from 66 countries. Why would more than 80 million viewers tune in week after week to see Dr. Gregory House verbally spar with his patients, staff, and colleagues at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital? There has to be something more to it (and to him) than just a brilliant jerk packing a stethoscope and a toxic tongue.

Is it the bizarre medical cases? That’s probably one reason, and the starting point for most episodes. Inspired by physician Lisa Sanders’ New York Times feature “Diagnosis,” the House writing team, with creator David Shore at the helm, conjure the most unusual of cases, fitting for an elite Department of Diagnostic Medicine.

Perhaps the series owes its success to the snappy dialogue: the quick wit and rapid-fire pace of the writing. The show’s scripts are certainly dense and swiftly paced: a stark counterpoint to the physically disabled and slow-of-foot Gregory House. And the humor, with its one-liner “House-isms” and snarky banter, supplies balance to the intensity of the weekly medical and character stories.

Or do people simply live vicariously through House’s unfiltered voice? He is certainly capable of saying things the likes of which we normal, well-adjusted worker bees can only dream. Some may be intrigued by House’s uniquely personal code of ethics. Or perhaps House’s personal struggles resonate with us.

Much credit in making House compelling television goes to the nuanced and genuine performance of Hugh Laurie, who stars as the genius diagnostician with serious personality issues. Through his expressive eyes and masterful acting, Laurie’s flawless interpretation of House’s frustrations, fears, hopes, and hurts guides us through House’s morass of bullshit and elaborate game playing and deep into his heart and soul.

It’s ironic that executive producer Bryan Singer, the director of the House pilot, had difficulty casting the role of the quintessentially American Gregory House with an American actor. It was not until Laurie, legendary British comedian (and novelist, musician, and actor), sent in an audition tape, complete with perfect American accent, that Singer found an “American” actor capable of handling the complex role. But perhaps that’s because Dr. Gregory House has more in common with a particular English literary hero than he has with any American television character.

Take a classic British literary hero, bring him into 21st century American medicine with a vengeance, and create a modern television phenomenon. The parallels to House’s literary grandfather — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 19th century detective Sherlock Holmes — are many and intentional. House . . . Holmes; Wilson . . . Watson. Holmes fiddled with his fiddle; House plays piano and guitar. Both House and Holmes reside at 221B. Holmes solved cases with associative leaps — a combination of genius and deductive reasoning, superheroic observational skills and deep intuition about the human psyche. So does House.

Like his Victorian ancestor, House applies logic, reasoning, an encyclopedic knowledge (of everything), plus his intuition to solve medical mysteries and save lives. Holmes uses cocaine to forestall boredom; House uses Vicodin for more than just the pain in his leg.

Unlike the British Sherlock Holmes, House is very much American. Yet, the Eton- and Cambridge-educated Laurie — a quintessentially British actor —completely captures the character. It’s no accident that Holmes fans have often suggested Laurie as the heir apparent to the role of Holmes.

But Sherlock Holmes isn’t House’s only literary or pop culture ancestor. House’s heritage includes a long history of literary and cinematic heroes and antiheroes. Part Byron, part Sherlock, a bit of Quincy, M.E., perhaps a hint of Dr. Kildare’s mentor Gillespie, some of the The Dark Knight’s Batman, and a generous dollop of truth-seeking antihero Fox Mulder (The X-Files), House joins the ranks of classic dark angels and iconoclast

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today?  How did you do it?

The publishing industry is very tough these days and very much in transition. I was incredibly fortunate to connect with a wonderful agent who found the perfect home for the book.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

I’m up by 6:30 a.m. and at the “day job” usually by 8:30. My hours at work are fairly long, but I usually take a two-hour stretch mid-day to write and tend to Blogcritics editing responsibilities. When I get home (usually about 8:00 p.m.) I write/edit till about 11:00 p.m.

Q: What’s next for you?

I have a project in proposal stage right now with my agent. I don’t want to talk much about it (bad luck), but it’s a pop culture treatment.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Barbara.  We wish you much success!

Thanks so much!

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Easy as Pie at Bobby’s Diner: Interview with women’s fiction author Susan Wingate

Award-winning author, Susan Wingate, gets a monthly column about writing and the publishing industry in her local newspaper, The Journal of the San Juan Islands. She will also be posting weekly discussions about the writing industry for the regional online newspaper, the PNWLocalNews.com site.

You can view Wingate’s discussions by clicking on the “Entertainment” tab and then finding Wingate’s discussions under the “Blogs” section of the Entertainment Page.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona to James & Amie Ajamie (a writer and an artist, respectively), Susan Wingate tried to fly, at age five off the roof of their family house using newspaper, wire hangers and scotch tape. She’s been dreaming of flying ever since. Oh, by the way, she never jumped. Her mother ran out in the nick of time to stop her from take-off.

Wingate realized her dreams when she entered the world of writing. At first, she only wrote songs and poetry but then her writing blossomed when she tried her hand at fiction. In 1997, she devoted her days to writing and in 2004, she began writing full-time. Since then, Susan has written several plays, one screenplay, one short story collection and seven novels with two more scheduled to be written in 2010. In 2008, she started writing a memoir.

A lover of the arts, Susan draws and paints abstracts using oil as her favored medium. She has taken up playing the violin (it’s been a squeakly start) and she loves the theatre. Susan lives in Washington State.

Wingate’s novel, Bobby’s Diner, received three finalist awards in the following book competitions:

■2010 International Book Awards,

■2009 National Book Awards (USA Book News),

■2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

In May 2010, two of Wingate’s novels were released, they are:

■A FALLING OF LAW, and

EASY AS PIE AT BOBBY’S DINER (the no. 2 book in the Bobby’s Diner Series)

“Camouflage,” Wingate’s fourth novel (written as Myah Lin) received a Finalist Award and an Editor’s Choice Award in the 2009 Textnovel Writing Contest.

To date, Wingate has written seven novels, two short story collections, a memoir, hundreds of poems, a few plays for theatre and one screenplay.

Her books can be found online and in bookstores across the country and her articles, short stories and poetry can be found in magazines, journals and reviews.

Locally, Wingate volunteers with the San Juan Island Library. She offers workshops, readings and presentations at writing conferences, bookstores and libraries throughout the country.

You can visit her website at www.susanwingate.com.

Thank you for this interview, Susan. Can you tell us what your latest book, EASY AS PIE AT BOBBY’S DINER, is all about?

Well, thank you for the opportunity to plug my book a little. Yes, I can tell you a bit about EASY AS PIE. First off, it’s the number 2 book in the Bobby’s Diner Series. The third and fourth books will follow late in 2011 and early in 2012, respectively. However, EASY AS PIE tells the tale of returning protagonist, Georgette Carlisle. Georgette is the owner/chef of Bobby’s Diner which is located in Sunnydale, Arizona on a nowhwere strip of land between Phoenix and Bullhead City. In this book, Georgette has just gotten engaged and things seem great until her old friend, Helen returns from a five-year stint in Seattle.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Love to.

Georgette Carlisle is a southern gal. She doesn’t attempt to be one of the upper crust but her diner makes a killing there on this corridor strip of land as people travel from Phoenix on their way to Las Vegas.

Roberta is the daughter of Bobby (after which the diner is named). She is the mayor of Sunnydale but also helps out at the diner where she grew up.

Helen is an old friend who shows back up in Sunnydale after living in Seattle for about five years where she tried to become a writer but failed.

Hawthorne is Georgette’s new love-interest.

Willy is the police chief of Sunnydale who has always had a soft spot for Georgette.

Zach Pinzer is a land developer who has always had his eye out on the land under which Bobby’s Diner sits.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I usually use a combination of both. I ALWAYS use the bodies of people I know. Let me explain… I will visualize a person who I feel is the perfect body-type for my characters then I blend in new psychological traits, background information and all that personality stuff we writers must do before writing toward a character. But, using someone else’s body makes the writing of each character’s physcial traits so much more easy. When I use a person’s body it might be someone I know well or not. I often use actors as well. I can think about, say, Clint Eastwood and develop the character’s new personality around the image of Clint Eastwood.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I am always aware of the plot before I write a novel. If a writer doesn’t have a firm grip on the progress the story will take, the writing will float around, become leggy and usually goes off too often into back story. I use outlines after I get a good idea of how my story will proceed—the overarcing idea. I begin by understanding my character, then I ask myself how will my character get out of the trouble I will be putting her in, THEN, I fill in the middle. That’s my first step. The second step is to develop a very complete and expanded outline and then the third step is to write to the outline.

Your book is set in Sunnydale, Arizona.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

Sunnydale, AZ is a fictional town fashioned after a real place called Wikieup, AZ. I love Wikieup and have passed through it many times while traveling through Arizona. I grew up in Arizona and was born in Phoenix. My father used to drive us all around the state and we usually passed through Wikieup on our travels. It’s a great place.

Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

The setting becomes a major part of the story because it’s a perfect small town in which a large developer want to take control. The town sits on a corridor highway and a developer has always wanted to turn the spot Bobby’s Diner sits on into the latest, great new Sedona. He has high hopes of doing so and he will stop at nothing to get the land.

Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Roberta is telling Georgette that she needs to clear the air with Helen. She is explaining to her that if she does not, she will always have wished she had. That it will eat at her the rest of her life.

Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

I’m happy to.

Chapter 2

The day began with Georgette Carlisle reading  about NASA slamming a rocket into the moon. No one really cared. It was only the moon, not Jupiter or Saturn. The moon, somehow, had slid onto a backlist of newsworthiness by current day standards.

The day coasted out of sight into a flotsam of more noteworthy press and seemed to fade against the furor still being aired and printed about Michael Jackson. Things seemed topsy-turvy. It was the exact same day, Georgette had posted her first ever monthly recipe contest on Facebook. So, when her old friend called, the moon’s event slid into other things that didn’t seem quite important at the moment but would, eventually, change people’s lives.

Helen tried to hide a tone of desperation in her voice. Georgette still heard it. Call it intuition. Call it what you will, Georgette heard a tightness in her speech.

Even with her friend hundreds of miles south, even through the tiny phone, the one she pictured Helen holding to her face, Georgette imagined her lithe jaw line quivering as she spoke into her cell phone somewhere outdoors, her mousy almost colorless hair unruly around her face, a ballet hand grappling at the wispy thin strands as she looked around the busy street corner in Phoenix, cars rushing past her like hot wind and, as if Georgette were standing there with her, she imagined a nervous frown bridging her forehead, causing that single soft fold to form between the skin of her eyebrows.

She saw her glossy lips moving over each fractured word.

The two women, complete opposites in mind and body. But, Georgette knew this woman well. Always cloaked in something. Always scheming.

Even so, she still trusted Helen, with reservations, of course. Helen, although slippery at times, Georgette believed, would remain a true friend.

The call startled Georgette. A mounting bank of clouds trimmed the perimeter of Sunnydale’s desert landscape and threatened action.

It was early morning, a time when the diner’s kitchen remained quiet in a soulful way, the way only early morning hours can produce. Except for chopping food on the butcher block counter’s soft wood, the place at this time, remained perfectly peaceful.

She had been dicing up a chunk of milk chocolate for a mousse she planned to serve as a special dessert that night. The cocoa scent attacked her nose and sent a pang of hunger like a knife into her gut.

First, the unnerving quality of the ring on her cell, something she hardly used but kept on just in case, made her jump. In fact, the ringtone, Beethoven’s Fifth she’d chosen for unknown callers.

Hearing those first disturbing solemn four chords, da da da dum, and then its second set the same but different, made her look around, wondering for a second what the sound was and where it came from.

Until she figured out the ringing originated from her own purse.

Seeing her name displayed Georgette realized Helen had gone from using her married name to using her maiden name again, Wellen. She quickly flipped open the cell.

Thank you so much for this interview, Susan.  We wish you much success!

Thank you, Dorothy. I had fun with all of your great questions.

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Women’s fiction author Susan Wingate on ‘Easy as Pie at Bobby’s Diner’ virtual book tour

Susan WingateJoin Susan Wingate, as she tours the blogosphere December 6 – January 14 to promote her new women’s fiction/mystery novel, Easy as Pie at Bobby’s Diner (Blue Star Books).

Easy as Pie at Bobby’s Diner focuses on Georgette Carlisle, who has lost her first husband and is about to lose her next, one Hawthorne Biggs. She’s running the diner with Roberta, her late husband’s daughter. When old friend, Helen, comes back home after a failed attempt at a writing career, she is, once again, attracted to Georgette’s man. After the two women part company Helen goes missing. While digging around, Georgette finds out that Biggs has a dangerous past. With Roberta at her side, the two women, brave separation, torture and near death at the hand of Biggs. And, after taking him down, the women find a new strength and belonging. EASY AS PIE is the number two book in the four-part “Bobby’s Diner” series

Easy as Pie at Bobby's DinerAward-winning author, Susan Wingate, gets a monthly column about writing and the publishing industry in her local newspaper, The Journal of the San Juan Islands. She will also be posting weekly discussions about the writing industry for the regional online newspaper, the PNWLocalNews.com site.

You can view Wingate’s discussions by clicking on the “Entertainment” tab and then finding Wingate’s discussions under the “Blogs” section of the Entertainment Page.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona to James & Amie Ajamie (a writer and an artist, respectively), Susan Wingate tried to fly, at age five off the roof of their family house using newspaper, wire hangers and scotch tape. She’s been dreaming of flying ever since. Oh, by the way, she never jumped. Her mother ran out in the nick of time to stop her from take-off.

Wingate realized her dreams when she entered the world of writing. At first, she only wrote songs and poetry but then her writing blossomed when she tried her hand at fiction. In 1997, she devoted her days to writing and in 2004, she began writing full-time. Since then, Susan has written several plays, one screenplay, one short story collection and seven novels with two more scheduled to be written in 2010. In 2008, she started writing a memoir.

A lover of the arts, Susan draws and paints abstracts using oil as her favored medium. She has taken up playing the violin (it’s been a squeakly start) and she loves the theatre. Susan lives in Washington State.

Wingate’s novel, Bobby’s Diner, received three finalist awards in the following book competitions:

■2010 International Book Awards,

■2009 National Book Awards (USA Book News),

■2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

In May 2010, two of Wingate’s novels were released, they are:

■A FALLING OF LAW, and

EASY AS PIE AT BOBBY’S DINER (the no. 2 book in the Bobby’s Diner Series)

“Camouflage,” Wingate’s fourth novel (written as Myah Lin) received a Finalist Award and an Editor’s Choice Award in the 2009 Textnovel Writing Contest.

To date, Wingate has written seven novels, two short story collections, a memoir, hundreds of poems, a few plays for theatre and one screenplay.

Her books can be found online and in bookstores across the country and her articles, short stories and poetry can be found in magazines, journals and reviews.

Locally, Wingate volunteers with the San Juan Island Library. She offers workshops, readings and presentations at writing conferences, bookstores and libraries throughout the country.

You can visit her website at www.susanwingate.com.

If you’d like to find out where Susan will be appearing during her virtual book tour, visit her official tour page here.

Easy as Pie

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours for authors looking for maximum online promotion to sell their books. Visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com to find out how we can take your book to the virtual level!

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