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Interview with Fiction/Family/Relationships Author Richard Alan on ‘The Couples’

Richard Alan

Richard Alan lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife, Carolynn. They are the proud parents of three wonderful adult sons.He is a Vietnam combat and 101st Airborne Division veteran.

After an education in mathematics, a 17 year career in manufacturing engineering and a 22 year career in software engineering, he has started a career as an author. Richard writes novels about people trying to find their life-partner, soul-mate, the person they are meant to be with for life. His first two books, Meant to Be and The Couples, are available on his website and most online retailers.

Richard’s other interests range from mathematical analysis and photography to anything with an engine. His current projects include writing the third (Finding Each Other) and fourth novels in the “Meant to Be” series, and discovering the properties of functions of p-adic numbers. Having completed a potting bench for his lifepartner, Carolynn, he is busy driving her to watch salmon runs, visit National Parks, and anywhere that provides an opportunity to view her avian friends.

His latest books in the Meant to Be Series are Meant to Be and The Couples.

You can visit Richard Alan’s website, VILLAGE DRUMMER FICTION at www.villagedrummerfiction.com.

CONNECT WITH RICHARD:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Kindle Store (Meant to Be)| CreateSpace (Meant to Be) | Amazon Kindle Store (The Couples) | CreateSpace (The Couples)

 

ABOUT THE COUPLES

 

 

Acclaimed author of Meant to Be, Richard Alan, once again enchants us with characters that we really want to know. You will laugh, cry, and love with them as you seek the answers to the relationship questions posed by this talented author.

Will a tough techy lady be able to find love with a man who is still mourning his deceased fiancée?

Will an intellectually snobbish genius learn that there is more to the truck mechanic than meets the eye?

Can a nerd and a party girl find happiness together?

Can a teenage boy musician get past his unrequited love to learn to love a ranch girl instead?

Will a troubled rape victim be able to have a normal relationship with a man?

The Couples is about people who may belong together and how the world around them helps them, or sometimes defeats them in their search for a life partner. It follows the lives of couples,their friends, and their support systems,as they explore their relationships.

The Couples is Richard Alan’s second novel in the “Meant to Be” series. It continues to explore relationships, love, and life.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Richard. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Couples, is all about?

The Couples continues the theme established in Meant to Be of people who may belong together and how the world around them helps, or sometimes defeats them, in their search for a life partner.  It follows the lives of couples, their friends, and their support systems, as they explore their relationships.

Meyer and Joan return in The Couples, along with several other characters from Meant to Be.  New people are introduced who also interact with Meyer, Joan, and others.

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

Anna and Michael, both of whom are techies, are the main characters.  Michael is emotionally hurting due to the sudden death of his fiancée a few weeks before their wedding.  Anna has to get over her poor self-image and learn to trust her feelings.  The book centers on their ability to help each other and to grow to become a couple.

There are several supporting characters.  One of the them is suddenly confronted with the opportunity to become the mother of the daughter she gave up for adoption ten years earlier.  Another is a rape victim who is trying to rejoin society as a whole person.  One is a teenage boy musician who is trying to get past an unrequited love and finds happiness with a ranch girl. These and several others come together as a community to support each other in their quest to find their life partner.

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

They are totally from my imagination.

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

First I develop characters and then the characters tell me their stories.  The stories they tell me always provide twists and turns.  I follow them wherever they take me.  Sometimes I am as surprised at the outcome of a relationship as I’m sure my readers will be.  Occasionally, a subplot will be very interesting but not fit the main thrust of the book.  I save those for subsequent novels.

Q: Your book is set in the Pacific Northwest, including the Seattle area and the Boise, ID area.  Can you tell us why you chose these cities in particular? 

The stunning backdrops of the stories my characters wish to convey is provided by the rich tapestry of the mountains, plains, deserts, forests, and marine environments of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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

No; the interactions between, and the growth of, the characters is the major theme of the story.  The setting provides reasons to interact.  The characters reaction to the scenes around them may provide insight into their personalities.

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

A 10 year old foster child is visiting with a family who might adopt her.  When a bully is about to hurt the girl, he is stopped by the potential future father.  She smiles at him and wonders if this is what it’s like to have a father.

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

As they sat in front of the campfire, Anna’s eyes were filled with tears.  She told Michael, “Just when things were the best, they became the worst.  I could never provide that kind of love for someone, like Sharon did for you.”

Michael left his chair, kneeled in front of Anna, and holding each of her hands in his, told her, “You can and you will.”

He leaned forward and kissed her lips.  Anna’s mind was spinning.  She tightened her grip on Michael’s hands with as much strength as she could.  She knew that business partners shouldn’t act this way but… it was heaven to be kissed by Michael.

Anna closed her eyes and said in a quiet voice, “Michael, I’m scared.  I’ve never even had a boyfriend and sometimes, just the thought of you, does things to me I don’t like to think about.  That frightens me.  I’m not sure…”

Michael stood up in front of Anna.

Interrupting her he said, “Please stand up, Anna.”

“Michael, please listen…”

Michael lifted her arms slowly pulling her to a standing position.  He guided her arms around his neck, and in a soft voice told her, “This is how to get rid of that scared feeling.”

Michael wrapped his arms around Anna, pulling her body tightly against him and put his cheek against hers.  He could feel Anna’s arms slowly tightening around his neck.  Michael thought “Thank you Lord, for bringing Anna into my life and finally letting me hold her.”

Anna thought that having Michael’s arms firmly around her was better than her dream.  With the warmth of the fire pit, the cool evening breeze blowing on her, and the warmth from Michael’s body against hers; Anna didn’t ever want to let go.

After a while Michael asked her, “Does this help you feel better?”

“Yes, Michael,” she whispered.

 

Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track? 

I have never suffered from writer’s block.  I have the opposite problem.  This is a good problem which has allowed me to write four books in the last fifteen months.

 

Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted? 

Create world peace.  Oh, no – this is not a beauty contest.  Seriously, I’ve written a storyline for my fourth book where a woman in her late twenties takes a six year old girl for her first ride in a sailboat.  I would use the extra hour to continue polishing that story so my love of sailing, and being on the water, comes thru and becomes part of the girl’s character.

 

Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why? 

Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality.  Only a genius can take a reader from arithmetic to particle physics and beyond in one volume.  In my opinion, this one volume provides more science than any two years’ worth of college courses.  His clarity of thought and purpose should be a guiding light for any writer, in any genre.

 

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?  

Do not try to edit your own manuscript.  Have a group of beta readers critique your book before you have it published.  Listen to the editors and beta readers, but be careful not to let them ruin the spirit of your story.  They are not the author, you are.  The final product ultimately is your responsibility.  Start creating buzz about your book long before the manuscript is even finished.  Read blogs about writing.  There is a wealth of information out there and many authors who are extremely supportive.  Good luck and have fun.

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Anneke Campbell, author of ‘Slouching Towards Bellingham’

Anneke Campbell has worked as a midwife, nurse, masseuse, prenatal yoga teacher, college teacher of English, and writer in a number of genres. She has won awards for poetry, for one piece of journalism and one television script. She writes and co-produces videos for environmental and social justice organizations, and co-wrote a manual for activists, “Be The Change: How To Get What You Want in Your Community.” In 2010 she edited an anthology on women’s leadership: “Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart.” She is currently a doctoral student at the California Institute for Integral Studies. An earlier version of her novel Slouching Towards Bellingham appeared in print in 2004, under the title Mary of Bellingham.

You can visit her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/annekecampbell and facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slouching-Towards-Bellingham/183127415036037.

About Slouching Towards Bellingham

When a pregnant girl named Mary waddles into Bellingham, Indiana, she also wanders right into the hearts of its townspeople. Not to mention their imaginations: Because Mary’s a virgin!

Joe the postman is the first to spot her, struggling bedraggled and dirty down the road into town. He introduces her to Violet, the waitress at his favorite diner, who has her own reasons to be kind. Next thing you know their friend Dr. Bob’s examined her and proclaimed her a virgin.

And then the whole world wants a piece of her.

News stories are written; websites built; roving gangs of paparazzi set in motion.  Throughout it all, Mary maintains sacred silence.  Juggling a townful of characters, each with his or her own agenda, not a single one selfless or blameless, Campbell makes Bellingham come alive as she shows how each is changed by the apparent miracle.

This good-natured tale about an extraordinary event in an ordinary town pulls off the rare trick of being satirical, funny, and very, very real without ever sinking into the cynical. A great gift for anyone who reads—especially if they’re a mom.

 

Q: Thank you for this interview, Anneke. Can you tell us what your latest book, Slouching Towards Bellingham, is all about?

 

It’s about a pregnant homeless girl named Mary who waddles into Bellingham, Indiana. Joe the postman is the first to spot her, struggling bedraggled and dirty down the road into town. He introduces her to Violet, the waitress at his favorite diner, who has her own reasons to be kind. Next thing you know their friend Dr. Bob’s examines her and proclaims her a virgin. And then the whole world wants a piece of her. News stories are written; websites built; roving gangs of paparazzi set in motion.  Throughout it all, Mary maintains sacred silence. A town full of characters, each with his or her own agenda, not a single one selfless, they come alive as each is transformed by the apparent miracle.

 

Q: Is this your first novel?  If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?

 

This was not my first – I completed a novel for my MFA thesis two decades ago, which was about a young mother and the little Jewish girl whose life she saves during the Hunger Winter in Amsterdam in 1944, in war time. When I think about it, there are a number of themes in common: a long birth sequence, and how people come together to deal with difficult circumstances. “Slouching Towards Bellingham” has a lighter touch, but sometimes I think I should go back and see if I can get it published now.

 

Q: How difficult was it writing your book?  Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do? 

 

I don’t experience writer’s block, but the first draft is always somewhat painful and slow-going. Once I have something on the page, rewriting is quite enjoyable.

 

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel?  Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

 

I have on occasion woken up to a wonderful review written by someone I don’t know, which feels fabulous. I hope to have more experiences to share.

 

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

 

In the early stages, I write anytime during the day that I can, and for short periods, but once I have a draft of something, then I start first thing in the morning and keep going until mid-afternoon.

 

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

 

Cook, walk, garden, read, talk with my friends.

 

Q: What book changed your life?

 

Little Women when I was a child. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, when I was a young adult, and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, by Milan Kundera.

 

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

 

Belonging everywhere and nowhere.

 

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

 

There isn’t any one thing. There might be specific things I want my husband or family to understand, but they are preferences that are hardly important in the overall scheme of things. The one thing I wish people would understand in general is that our simplistic thinking doesn’t begin to describe reality, and that evolution is a beautiful thing and I hope we humans do it fast.

 

Thank you for this interview. Anneke.  I wish you much success on your latest release, Slouching Towards Bellingham!

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Anneke Campbell’s new release, she will be appearing at  Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an e-copy of of Slouching Towards Bellingham!  Visit the official party page here!

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Interview with Middle Grade Fantasy Author & Filmmaker Mike DiCerto

A filmmaker and writer since childhood, Mike DiCerto has directed numerous shorts, music videos, documentaries, promotional videos and two feature films (NO EXIT and TRIPTOSANE). His first novel, Milky Way Marmalade, received rave reviews and was the winner of the 2003 Dream Realm Award. He is very excited about the release of the first of his exciting new kid-lit series, Rupert Starbright: The Door to Far-Myst.

Mike has many interests including yoga (practicing for over ten years), gardening (loves growing chilli peppers in his rooftop garden), playing guitar (and trying hard to get better), cats (long-time volunteer at NYC’s Ollie’s Place Adoption Center and cat whisperer), really good and really bad movies and 70s TV as well all kinds of geeky stuff. He is a dedicated MST3K fanatic. He thinks of music as his religion—especially Classic Rock. He lives quite contently in a NYC apartment with his wife and soul mate, Suzy and their rescued kitty, Cosmo.

You can visit his website at www.mikedicerto.com or his blog at http://thekidinu.blogspot.com/. Connect with him at Twitter at www.twitter.com/mikedicerto and Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdicerto.

About The Door to Far-Myst

The Door to Far MystCan a boy who has never even heard of the word “imagination” save a magical world from an evil force using his own imagination?

Rupert Dullz isn’t very happy. His grandmother’s coffus is getting worse, school is boring and there’s nothing to do on his days off but rake up endless piles of leaves. Everything in Graysland is, well, gray, and every day is just like the one before it, and the one before that. That is, until a strangely dressed man named Pie O’Sky swoops out of nowhere in his multicolored bagoon and offers a special reward to whoever can open his mysterious door. When Rupert succeeds, he’s thrilled when Pie O’Sky carries him beyond it to the brilliantly colored land of Far-Myst. Adventure calls, and Rupert discovers a wonderful world full of something he’s never heard of before–imagination. But Far-Myst is in danger, and it may be that only Rupert has the power to save it. Is he the one whose imagination is powerful enough to stop the evil that is destroying the beautiful world beyond the door?

A filmmaker and writer since childhood, Mike DiCerto has directed numerous shorts, music videos, documentaries, promotional videos and two feature films (NO EXIT and TRIPTOSANE). His first novel, Milky Way Marmalade, received rave reviews and was the winner of the 2003 Dream Realm Award. He is very excited about the release of the first of his exciting new kid-lit series, Rupert Starbright: The Door to Far-Myst.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Mike. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Adventures of Rupert Starbright: The Door to Far-Myst, is all about?

At the core of the story it is about the power of the human imagination and love. A bored kid. A door to a magical world. A mean dragon-man who wants to destroy the beauty of the world. Toss in bizarre and wondrous (and some dangerous!) creatures, a mean bully and a first love and we are set for some real fun! Rupert Starbright will face tough and very dangerous challenges in an adventures of anyone’s lifetime!

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

Rupert Dullz (aka Rupert Starbright) is an eleven year-old kid like most kids until he realizes that there is something magical called the imagination that he ever knew existed. So once he begins to taste the joy of its possibilities he wants to jump head first into this new exciting world. But he is also has a good heart and care about his grandmother and her sickness (called “the cuffus”). His dream is to use his imagination to help find a cure for her.

Dream Weaver is the royal gardener in the Kingdom of Far-Myst. Once one of the Twelve (a special group of men and women who protected Far-Myst from those who would use imagining powers for bad) he now lives peacefully tending the wondrous Garden of Dreams. But he is sad and worried as his two children (as have ALL the children of Far-Myst) have been kidnapped by the terrible Murkus. The Queen puts Dream Weaver in charge of protecting Rupert and their adventure begins as Weaver tries to find a way home for Rupert.

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

I, like I would imagine most writers, form my characters from bits and pieces of people I know but mostly, of aspects of my own personality. The cast of characters of a writer is the ultimate Rhorshack test.

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

YES. I cannot imagine starting a novel without knowing the plot. Having said that, I do not do an extensive outline but rather a general beginning, middle and end plot-point layout. THEN I take the adventure with my characters and see what develops.

Q: Your book is set in Graysland and Far-Myst.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

The story begins in a sort of “any town” USA. It’s a mythical town called Graysland where the imagination does not exist. But it does not exist in the same way a heart did not exist in the cowardly lion. It is there lying dormant and unused because of the fear in the hearts of the adults. We then go to Far-Myst – a land that over-flowed with imagination but is now in serious trouble because a fear-filled baddie is trying to destroy it.  Both places need the pure heart and wide open imaginations of a “young at heart” soul to save them.

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

YES – the locations are in themselves characters in a way.

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

We are in the middle of Rupert and Weaver’s first night around a campfire. Weaver, in his grumpy way, is teaching Rupert about waterbustles (a fruit that contains drinkable water) and camper grass (a special water plant that ignites into flames when it dries! Rupert is finding it all very UN-boring!

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

            They made their way through the gardens, walking without rest for a solid half hour. Rupert could only catch glimpses of the many, many wonders growing all around. There were flowers who’s petals fluttered about like swarms of moths and trees that danced with the music of the birds. Large bushes of firefly berries flashed messages across the gardens while Carpenter Trees grew fully formed tables and chairs that hung like bizarre fruit from their branches. Carpets of Orchestra Grass performed great musical works as the deadly Dragon Shrubs awaited a passing bird or large insect to roast with its fiery blast for tasty meal.

They walked under avenues of Waterfall Pines who sent refreshing mists into the air from the great cascades of water that fell down their barks. Sadsack bushes whispered mournful tales, Merry Mint plants giggled and bloodybarks frightened all their little saplings with tales of horror. Finally Weaver came to a rest in a small clearing beside a pretty pond that was enclosed in a ring of tall trees with immense barks. Many bushes and tall plants surrounded the clearing.

“We’ll set up camp here. Near the Spectral Oaks.”

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

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

Join Mike DiCerto at the Pump Up Your Book Live! November Author Chat / Book Giveaway Party on Friday, November 18 starting at 8 p.m. eastern!

Mike will be giving away a copy of his book! You could win a paperback copy of  The Door to Far-Myst simply by attending the chat and asking him a question. All there is to it!

For details on chat, visit the official chat page for the November authors at Pump Up Your Book Live!

WIN A ROLE IN BOOK 3 OF MIKE’S RUPERT SERIES!

What kid wouldn’t like to have his 15 minutes of fame in a real live book!  Well the book isn’t live but the stories Mike creates are as real as a child’s imagination can take it.  Mike is giving all kids a chance to have his or her name inside the third book of his series.

Click here to find out how your kid can win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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