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Author Interview – Axl Barnes

November 19, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest novel?

It was inspired by my rebellious adolescence, my first encounter with extreme metal, heavy drinking, and the radical philosophies of nihilism and Satanism. Adults are always quick to judge teens as naive or reckless, but I wanted to explore an intolerant teen’s judgment of adulthood as a realm of weakness, slavery, and decay.

How did you come up with the title?

Carl Gustav Jung wrote a famous essay “Wotan” in 1936, where he explains Hitler’s rise to power in terms of the awakening of Wotan (Odin), the god of war, in the collective unconscious of the German people. The title is used ironically, as Tudor, Alex, and Edi—the trio of anti-social teens I follow in the book—think they too are under the martial spell of the Norse God.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I enjoy blurring the distinction between life and death and uncovering what philosopher Emil Cioran calls “death’s imminence in life.” That is, that being alive is just a form of being dead; that we’re nothing but complex zombies, mechanical systems that function based on a multitude of algorithms designed by a blind evolutionary process. And this is the sinister side of Tudor’s insight that Satanism is necrophilia: the rebellious, satanic impulse to transcend the monotony of ordinary life is a paradoxical impulse that denies itself as it’s annihilated by that which it negates. In other words, absolute freedom is nothingness, or a void that lies outside our language.

Odin

How much of the book is realistic?

Most of it is realistic, except the last three chapters in which I use a few dream-sequences and finally, in the last chapter, the distinction between dream and reality is completely eliminated.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yeah, they are mostly based on my friends from high school.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

facebook.com/AxeBarnes/

My blog is: axlbarnes.blogspot.com/

I’m also on Goodreads.

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

My next novel is called This Town Must Burn and it grows naturally out of Odin Rising but it’s not a sequel. It will be a more extreme horror novel, influenced by Edward Lee, Bryan Smith, and Tim Miller.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I love them all, but especially Tudor Negur as he has the courage to follow the self-destructive consequences of his beliefs.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I like the sub-genre of psychological horror as most of my characters are mentally disturbed in some way, mostly by being psychopaths. But there’s also a lot of philosophy in my writing, so it fits the label of philosophical fiction as well. I like my monsters to be inquisitive, lucid, and intellectually challenging for the reader.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

George A. Martin draws the distinction between “two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house […] The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it.” I’m a gardener, I plant the seed of a story, I water it with my sleep, my boredom, and my loneliness, and hope it would grow into something true and beautiful.

What is your best marketing tip?

I’m just getting a handle on marketing and have no tips so far.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

A great tool.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?
16. I started out with poetry and then short stories.

What genre are you currently reading?
I’m reading The Fireman by Joe Hill, so horror/dark fantasy.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Stephen King. He’s my #1 influence when it comes to fiction writing and also an amazing human being.

Do you see writing as a career?

No, I dislike the term “career.” Too ideologically loaded. It links art to commercial success and entertainment value and cheapens it. I see art as an expression of spiritual freedom, as something good in itself, something connected with our deepest nature as beings contemplating mystery and searching for revelation.

Bio:
Axl Barnes is a writer and philosopher living in Edmonton, Alberta. He’s published the novella Ich Will and the novel Odin Rising, both available on Amazon. He is currently working on his second novel called This Town Must Burn.

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Madness

November 14, 2019
mandyevebarnett


naono2019

Firstly, apologies for not getting a post up sooner – as you can imagine with full time work and writing my NaNo novel it’s been a bit hectic along with the usual life stuff.

Having said that I am, as of Thursday 14th November only a couple thousand off my target of 50,000 words so a celebration is imminent. I was late to NaNo this year as I only just completed publishing the sequel to The Rython Kingdom. After numerous reader requests for a sequel I used last year’s NaNo to write one and as we all know that is only the start of the journey to getting a book published. Rython Legacy has been favorably received – whew!

I did dither about actually participating in NaNo this year, I have two manuscripts lying in wait from other year’s and couldn’t decide whether to tackle them or create a whole new story. Then there was the problem of what story to write. As with most writers there is a lot to choose from – part stories, pages of story ideas and everything left on the back burner. As it happened a new story formed out of no where and that’s what I have been busily typing. It is a love story of sorts set in a university. This gave me my first problem I have never been to university so research has been a huge part of this challenge. However, my daughter and future daughter-in-law have been so I have utilized their experiences into the narrative.

Of course any NaNo novel is the first draft and the manuscript will go through many changes, revisions and editing before it is ready for publication. For now I am fully immersed in my characters, their setting and where the story is going.

Good luck to my fellow NaNoWriMo writers – word power is our thing.

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Author Interview – Karen Harmon

November 5, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

Karen's Headshot.jpg

What inspired your latest novel? My father passed away when I was 27 years old, so none of my three children had ever met him. To keep his memory alive, I used to tell my kids true stories about my dad. He was an amazing fun loving, comical, adventurous person but he came from a very dysfunctional, heartbreaking back ground. One day (8 years ago) when I was telling my (then) 11-year-old son about how my father rode the rails when he was 13 years from Saskatchewan to BC, my son said, “Mom, I love your stories so much, you should write a book”. So, I did.                                                                     

How did you come up with the title? The title of my book Looking for Normal, is a play on words. For a big part of my life I would often say, “I just want a normal family”. Therefore, I was always looking for normal. When, in the real world, there is no such thing as normal. I use a quote from Erma Bombeck, “normal is just a setting on your dryer” on the first page, chapter one.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? YES! I would very much like my readers to 1) feel inspired by my story 2) come to understand that mental illness and addiction can cause people to behave a certain way, but there is always hope and humour if you can get past the pain. Mental health issues are not uncommon.

How much of the book is realistic? My book is a true story about family, heartache, heartbreak, hope, and humor, it is all true and about my life. Some people have described my memoir to be unique and eclectic and I say, “aren’t we all?”

normal

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Yes, the main characters in my book are my mother, father and myself. It weaves in and out with flash backs and stories throughout. I have been told that my book is very relatable, it could be many peoples story. It takes place between 1930 and 1978 and has historical facts, photos and events along the way.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog? I currently have (as of April 2019) 25 reviews on Good Reads. My book is available on amazon.ca  amazon.com  Indigo.ca  chapters.ca barnesandnoble.ca  I also love chatting with my followers on Instagram, I have approximately 8,000  @karenharmonn  I post about writing, health, fitness and family. Twitter @karenharmonn

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone? Yes! I am currently (as of April 2019) 50,000 words into my 2nd book which is a sequel. I should be finished by the time this blog comes out. I am very excited as this book takes place in the 80’s and 90’s. Parts of it have been fun to write because I was a disco queen during Vancouver’s disco era. And I started teaching fitness at the same time as Jane Fonda. HaHa! Other portions have been more difficult to write but very therapeutic to write because it deals with AA, and Alanon.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? Of my three main characters they are ALL my favourites and this is why…….. 1) my dad adored me, and I idolized him. He was funny and kind. He never repeated the cycle of abuse that he was raised under. 2) my mother wanted to be a private detective in the 1930’ & 1940’s which was completely unheard of for a woman, so she settled and became a mom & house wife. Plus, she had mental health issues and in those days that too was unheard of. 3) Me, my heart breaks for the little girl I once was. I really got to know little girl Karen during my telling of her childhood. I gained confidence from writing about who I once was and my beginnings. Therefore, all three of my characters are my favourite.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one? I favor non-fiction because writing about something I know to be real and true is easier. I gained my story telling ability from my father, he was animated and funny. I like to look at life that way, we are all characters on the stage of life.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer? My first book was by the seat of my pants, sometimes it felt like verbal diarrhea. My second book has been more planned out and I feel way more organized.

What is your best marketing tip? Networking and asking questions. Find a facebook page with like minded individuals. That’s where I found you, and look, I get to be in your blog! Instagram and Twitter are important too.

Be professional, if you are having a book launch, a book read, or any kind of event make professional invitations and hand them out. At my book launch my friend made appetizers that were conventional in the 1960’s. I had old fashioned coke in glass bottles, and everyone was offered coffee or tea. My friend owns a coffee shop, so she gave me a great deal. It was super fun and prior to the launch the newspaper did a story on me.

Contact your local newspaper as they love personal interest stories about people in the community, you are helping them if they do a story on you. So, it is a win-win as it gives you exposure as well.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? I want to say a little bit of both. Through Instagram I have connected with some amazing, writers, bloggers and readers. Sending personal messages DM’s (direct messages) I have messaged at least 50 people I have admired. At least ten of those people have responded and we have had some amazing conversations. I have been given incredible advice from other authors. I have sent my book to instagrammers who read as a hobby and I they have given my book great reviews. Plus, its fun to post photos, make videos, network, and make connections.  I find Twitter a bit more challenging as it is important to post something everyday, if not more. I enjoy following people who have odd perspectives on life. My challenge is coming up with something unique and fresh daily.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 

What do you enjoy most about writing? I enjoy thinking of someone reading my material and laughing or crying or becoming inspired. I visualize certain friends reading what I have written, and I can see them smile in my head.

What age did you start writing stories/poems? I have always liked to write stories, but my lack of self confidence and self esteem got in the way. I am way more confident now, so I have way less inhibitions.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same? So far it has stayed the same, but I do have a few ideas for a fiction book, based on real people.

What genre are you currently reading? I love true stories and memoirs, I just accidentally read, Too Close to the Falls by Catherine Gildiner. I say accidentally because I read it before, years ago but I forgot and read it again lol. My favourite book was The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both? Both.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? Wow! I have a few. I have three author friends who have helped me and inspired me in different ways. Nadine Sands she wrote Hold On, Let Go, she told me these simple words, “not everyone likes memoirs, which does not mean that yours is not good”. As silly as that sounds, it was like an epiphany for me. Mary Edigar, she wrote Mennonite Girl, she said “just keep writing, do not worry about mistakes or punctuation that can be fixed later”. Colleen Friesen she is a Travel Writer and a Blogger, her inspiration is more about who she is and how she lives her life. Plus, she can be very frank in her writing but still manages to bring hope to the reader. She writes about travel, but she also writes about family, death and spirituality.

Where is your favorite writing space? Good question! I love, love, love, writing in my bed with my little dog Steven curled up next to me. I am either drinking a coffee (with extra cream) or a giant water. I live in a small home, but my bedroom is my sanctuary. My husband can have the TV and the living room lol.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one? I have attended the North Shore Writers Association and I really like it. They bring in guest Authors and it feels great to be with like minded people.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be? Jeanette Walls and Whalley Lamb.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be? I would live here in North Vancouver, but I would like someone to give me house too. OR if my three children and husband could come with me, I think Hawaii would be a great place to live.

Do you see writing as a career? I would love that, if I could make a living from it.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food? I could never nibble while I write, but I do love coffee or tea while I am writing. AND Ice cream after a day of writing with my favourite Netflix show.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? Rewards vary. A massage, a pedicure, ice cream and for example today when I finish answering all these questions, I will have a cold Corona with lime. But just one.

Bio:

Local Vancouver writer Karen Harmon, writes passionately in her recent memoir Looking for Normal – which won the Rubery Book Excellence Award in the category of Women’s Health.

The book contains Karen’s recollections based on her parents meeting in 1945 at the Cave Super Club in Vancouver B.C. and her own personal experiences of growing up in the 1960’s. Taking the reader on a memorable journey throughout 1930 to 1978.

“With poverty, addiction, mental illness and family relationships being current topics of discussion, Karen Harmon has tapped into a story that everyone can relate to. I am looking forward to sharing her upbringing with my students”.  Cathy Sieben, Secondary Teacher Gibson’s B.C.

Looking for Normal is a bitter-sweet memoir that covers historical events dating back to the depression era, the outcome of prohibition, the obsolete recognition of mental health issues and a family trying to succeed in amongst the trappings of society and current events in Western British Columbia, Canada.

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Author Interview – Bryan L Beerling

October 29, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

Bryan

What inspired your latest novel?

Much like the story beginning, I was intrigued with one dirt road leading off a highway I travelled often and wondered what was over the hill. I still don’t know what is really there.                                                                                    

How did you come up with the title?                 

I think the title, DIRT ROAD, was self explanatory

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I hope people will see through more than the romance part, that, when needed, people rise to the occasion, such as the son that did not seem to have any gumption finally took over or the mother when away from the family was totally different.

How much of the book is realistic?

I think like all novels, bits and pieces are realistic. The dirt road in question is in Southern Alberta but the farm over the hill is in Central Alberta and the coffee shop is in Northern Montana but in the story they are all within miles of each other.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, the actual story is a figment of my imagination, but I feel the characteristics of the individuals are composites of various people I know.

dirt road

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

I am on Facebook only.

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

My next novel or any forthcoming work are all stand alone works. I have two completed novels and working on another. Time will tell if I publish them.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I like Gary. He is patterned after my grandson with a little embellishment.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I like to say I write about life, but romance seems to sneak in as well.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

Strictly seat of the pants. I love my writing club the nights they give three or four prompts and give us an hour to come up with a short story about one of them.

What is your best marketing tip?

Find someone you can trust to lead you along the way.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

Social Media is a great help. I post my short stories on there and judge form the feedback.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

It takes me into a different world, not necessarily better but different.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I think before I was a teenager I would ride my bicycle up on a hill overlooking the entry to my city and study the vehicles and write stories about what I thought they were doing in the city or where they were going when leaving.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

I think it has remained the same.

What genre are you currently reading?

That is one of my hindrances as a writer, I read very little.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

When I do read it is for pleasure.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

I would have to say the members of my writing club give me the boost I need.

Where is your favorite writing space?

Tim Hortons. As I dabble on the laptop I watch the people around me and incorporate characteristics I see.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to River Bottom Writing Club in Lethbridge

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Sorry, no favorite.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right where I live. My grandchildren are only a few miles away but also the people of Lethbridge are so diverse it gives me lots of content for my stories.

Do you see writing as a career?

Well, at 70 years old I think my career stage is over. However, I did work for several years as a newspaper journalist but found that type of writing not to my liking.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Tim Horton coffee and a Boston Cream donut. At home it is Coke and Werthers Candies.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

I hate deadlines. I just like to see a finished copy, if there is any such thing as a finished copy.

Bio:

Bryan L. Beerling lives in Lethbridge, AB with his wife. He is a member of the local writer’s group, River Bottom Writers. Dirt Road is his first full-length novel.

 

The Most Common Question a Writer is Asked…

October 24, 2019
mandyevebarnett


Where do you get your ideas from?

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It may seem like an easy to answer question but for most writer’s it is a multi faceted one. I have answered with:

  1. Word or picture prompts
  2. Dreams
  3. Overheard snippets of conversation
  4. People watching
  5. An idea popped into my head randomly
  6. A personal interest 
  7. A topic of conversation

A couple of examples:

My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare was a Halloween prompt, which I turned upside down. It is the monster’s point of view of Halloween and his first scare adventure with his Mum.

The Rython Kingdom began as a series of prompts that gelled together to form a story by pure chance.

It is not so clear cut as these to be honest but it helps a non-writer understand the creativity side of our brains a little easier.

I presented a workshop on how to formulate an idea into a novel at the WFSC writer’s conference in the spring. From that initial spark to compiling a story line/arc, creating a plot arc, introducing characters, and finding the correct conclusion for the genre. It was a fun experience.

Do you have Questions:

I would love to explain the nucleus of my stories if you have a question about any of my books. Here is the list: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

Just leave your question in the comments below. Let’s start a conversation and writers please comment on how your current WIP evolved.

 

 

 

 

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