04 May 2014

Adriano Bulla: The Road To London

2 Comments Book Reviews

Through a Goodreads Discussion Group I came across “The Road To London” by Adriano Bulla, which was Book of the Month.  The book was up against a traditionally published and commercially successful book but to my surprise I clearly preferred “The Road to London.” 
It is a very artistic account of a personal journey, from youth to growing up, from Italy to London, from in the closet  to being ” out”, from group member to individual. 18990618

Told in an episodic narrative the book also includes poems, music lyrics and letters. 


A light… A birth… A journey… An escape-not just from the whispering noise of expectations but from the growing awareness of a different life, a different path, a different quest. The greatest love letters are written in prose but bring forth the poet’s heart, awakening in the receiver an equal passion-or so the writer hopes. This love letter tells the story of how I reach London, how I reach you, My Dear, how I come to love so deeply, so truly and completely. The journey was not easy, beloved. I faced many ugly trials on this narrow path-but also tests that were… Fun, naughty, spicy and the stuff of memories which will make me smile into my old age, whether you are with me or not. I have no regrets, My Dear, except one… Just one…

I fed off the athmosphere and the compelling tone of the writer and am glad to present him today in an interview.

ME
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

As a writer, I love experimenting: I could never stick to a format, a style or a structure. I have to try something new every time I write. I also have big issues with the whole idea of ‘genre’… I don’t have any problems mixing different genres, even mixing prose and poetry, I don’t want to be constrained by predetermined rules, and I hope I never will. As a person… That’s harder to say. I am actually a joker. I know people who know me as a writer think I’m dead serious, but the reality is that I can turn anything into a joke, in particular into innuendos. I can’t help it.

Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?

I started writing poetry as an adolescent; I guess I did it in order to create a world I alone could understand. Like most teenagers, I was, and in many ways still am, afflicted by angst, and like most teenagers I had no one to talk to about the deep uncertainties that were troubling me: confusion about my own identity as a person, especially because I was leading the life of a bohemian young man outwardly, yet, deep inside,  I felt totally insecure about who I was, both in terms of my intellectual identity, fought if you wish between James Joyce and Pink Floyd, and, of course, my sexuality, as I never fully identified with a typical gay man, but never really felt I was straight either. I was a boy suspended between contradictory realities and without the courage to come clean about either of these worlds, so, I created my own world, an almost impenetrable world of words.

Tell us about your book and how it came about.

I had never thought I would be writing a novel until she (The Road to London is a ‘she’) came to me unexpectedly, like most beautiful things, while dancing in a gay night club in London. The words just started coming to me, and they did so for a couple of months, every Friday night, and I simply wrote them down when I got home on a Saturday (or Sunday). The whole novel was born in club, apart from the last chapter, which I wrote on a sunny day sitting on a bench in the Rookery, a park in South London near where I live. The difference between The Road to London and my poems is that the novel is open to the reader: although she is in both prose and poetry, I think she is accessible. My poems were written as a way of hiding from the world, The Road to London was written as a way of talking to the world.

When did you decide to publish your story?

The Road to London was first meant to be published in 2008, I had a publisher, but the recession hit and they folded. Then I left her in a drawer for years, till I hit rock bottom: in 20013, I found myself in a state of total and utter depression, I had lost all confidence in myself, and was about to do something very silly. But then, the very first words of the novel came back to me, ‘Yes, I will, yes. I will save the world, the universe and you.’ I myself had never fully understood what they meant. I’d never worked out who ‘you’ was. In a way, I am sure that ‘you’ is my best friend, Stephane, to whom the novel is dedicated, but I also think that ‘you’ can be me… What I mean is that the novel gave me a reason to live, to pick myself up and show to myself that I was not worthless, that there was still something I had to do in this world, that I still had words I wanted to share with other people. So, I looked for another publisher; I must say that I was lucky, as it did not take long before I received offers, and ended up choosing Glastonbury Publishing / Mirador because they ‘gave me good vibes.’

Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?

Lots of my Italian friends have always believed that I was ‘wasted’ as a teacher and should become a full-time writer, and I have kept them waiting for years and years. One in particular, Daniele, has been nagging me to publish for a long time now, but I am at heart a very shy person, and because The Road to London does have some autobiographical elements (though it is by no means my autobiography, as some people seem to believe), I hesitated for a long time. On the other hand, I don’t think I could write about something in any credible way if I had not lived it myself, so, for example, even if the story of the Boy in the novel is not my own, lots of his dreams are actually ones I have had.

Would you say there is a message in your books beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers? Are you happy with the reception so far?

Yes,  there is a message beyond the story: The Road to London is a cry for freedom, the freedom to be whoever you want to be, the protagonist, whom readers simply call the Boy, grows up un a very homophobic environment; he is not a perfect person, not at all, in fact, in his early life, he is himself a bully, and, having enjoyed the approval and respect of his friends as a leader in his small ‘gang’, he finds it hard to admit to himself that there are areas of his personality, in particular his sexuality, which do not conform to expectations. In a world where boys are meant to be dominant and masculine, his gay and fetishist/ submissive sexuality is something he cannot admit to himself. Thus, he finds himself divided between his thirst for social acceptance and his need to be himself. This is possibly why he starts lying not just to his friends and family, but to himself, then seeks shelter in his dreams, by which I don’t mean his ambitions, but the dreams he has at night, yet, the days remain grey and offer no space where he can express himself, so, he starts taking drugs and drinking excessively, and hallucinations start replacing reality. His romantic life takes place partly in impossible love stories with his mainly straight friends, and in part in mysterious letters he writes to his great love, called My Dear, maybe an ‘imaginary lover’ he meets in a gay club in London.

I am impressed with the way the novel has been received by reviewers and critics so far: although different readers seem to have read the novel in totally different ways, but this is one of the peculiarities of The Road to London, that she is not a story that’s ‘written in stone’, and she allows, actually she asks, readers to contribute to her meaning, to add their own stories and perceptions of the world to hers, the reviews have been incredibly enthusiastic. I’m not just happy with how the novel has been received so far; I’m ecstatic.

Who would you hope plays them in a movie version? download (4)

The name that comes to mind is Xavier Dolan: he likes to explore impossible relationships and has a very artistic flair in his films; I think he would be ideal for The Road to London.

Did you have it all planned out before you write your stories or do the characters and story surprise you?

No, I never plan what I am going to write. I don’t even decide if I want to write… I could never be a poet laureate. I find it impossible to predetermine what a book is going to be about, what will happen to a character, how they will speak, behave or react to an event. When I start writing, it’s because I feel an urge to write that I cannot resist, and I haven’t got the foggiest idea how the story is going to turn out, what will happen next and how the characters will fare in it. All I do is put emotions and feelings into words; if an event is necessary to create a feeling, then that will take place in the story, otherwise not. I am much more concerned with human beings’ reactions to events, meaning their emotional and psychological reactions, than with the events themselves.

What would your character(s) say about you?

I think each one of them would find something in common with me. Even those who seem evil at times would say that the origin of all that evil is in me, not in them.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

Words have their colours, their rhythm, their sounds, their smell, and their flavours for me. When I write, it’s as if I am totally engrossed in an explosion of senses: they mix, they match, they literally dance and sweat in front of me. I love that. I see myself more as a ‘facilitator of words’ than a writer: I see my task as putting them down on paper the way they wish to be. I find that beautiful. I like to be part of this process of finding new ways of expression, rather than forcing words to be written down the way I want them. It is the words that tell me what to do, not I who tells them where to take their place on the page. My least favourite thing must be a consequence of the way I write: I never know if I will be writing again; as I don’t force myself to write and I don’t plan what and when I am going to write next, I never know if will write a new novel, a new story or a new poem.

Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it?

Yes, I did have a say in the cover art: I chose seven possible options and then discussed them with my publishers. I actually love the cover of The Road to London: to start with, and this has happened purely by chance, but I believe in Fate, all the covers of my creative writings have a bold head / face that resembles mine. I like to think that the face crossed by the stars and the clouds on the cover of The Road to London is just the face of the human soul in general lost in the cosmos. It could as well be the Boy’s face, or Seb White’s (a key character in the novel), looking down on us from the stars, but I don’t know. I know it is not the typical cover you would expect in what is regarded as a ‘gay novel’: we didn’t want two hunky men in an erotic position; the novel is very sensual and very much about sexuality and even sex, but she is much more about how the individual can find his (or her) way in life, against all odds, against the ‘thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to’. I also feel that those green eyes looking out of the cover see a whole world in front of them, the whole path to freedom, the future, the road to London, in fact.

What is your writing environment like? Do you need silence or music to write?

I write wherever words happen to come to me. I cannot distinguish between silence and music when I read or write, because I confuse signs, colours and sounds: I’m synaesthetic, you see, so, if you say a word, I see flashes of colours in front of my eyes, if I write a word, I hear music, sometimes I even see shapes moving in front of me. It’s a funny condition, but I quite enjoy it.

How many rewrites does it normally take you for each book?

I write once, and I do not type: I write with a fountain pen on paper. If I change something, I tend to do it straight away as I am writing, I don’t go back to it and re-read it and maybe cut and paste or change sentences like people can do if they use a word processor.

What is your advice to new writers?

Write from the heart. Hide part of yourself in every one of your characters. Even if it’s a trait of your personality you do not like.

Who are your favourite authors?

There are so many… Woolf, Emily Bronte, Joyce, Milton and Dante very likely top my list of favourites, but I could go on for hours and hours. I tend to read the classics, all of them, and I find it hard to put them down. My favourite living novelist is Toni Morrison: she’s a genius and my favourite living poet is Derek Walcott.

What is your life like outside of writing?

I love History and I love Art. I used to go clubbing a lot, but now I’ve calmed down a bit… maybe it’s time to for me to go out a bit more.

What makes you laugh?

Satire, especially political satire and innuendos (I think I said that). I like puns and verbal humour more than slapstick.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

Plato, for sure. If it’s true that the whole of human knowledge is only a footnote to Plato, I have so many questions to ask him. I would also like to invite Leonardo Da Vinci, I can literally burst into tears in front of his paintings.

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality? What would you name as those qualities?

Oddly enough, I don’t think my friends really know me that well: I’m sure they would all say that my best quality is my intelligence, and that would also be my oddest quality for them. Instead, I would think that my best quality is my heart, not my mind, and I would think my oddest quality is that if I give my word, I stick to it, no matter what.

Tell us about your other books?

Tales is a collection of short stories based on ‘minor’ characters or events in The Road to London, my favourite story in there is ‘The Housekeeper’s Innocence’, the story of a woman who gets raped when leaving mass, then decides to become a nun, but a sister shows her that she is a lesbian, so, she becomes a priest’s housekeeper instead, but when she sees the man who raped her in the congregation, she burns the church down. It’s based on one of the dreams of the Boy in the novel, a Kafkian dream. Ybo’ and Other Lies is a collection of poetry that I first published in 2005, it is quite experimental, there is a lot online about it, including articles on its erotic poems and on the ‘flickers’ a form of poetry I have allegedly invented. I have also written a grammar book, The Labyrinth of Grammar and a study on Dante and Coleridge, The Mariner’s Inferno.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

The ‘soundtrack’ of the novel is mainly provided by Pink Floyd, though there is a reference to ‘Live to Tell’ by Madonna, and other songs, however, the one I would choose to capture the feel of the heart of the novel, which is also quoted, is ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ by Jaques Brel.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

The weird thing very few people know about is that the first English Dictionary was written in Streatham, South London, where I live. A nice thing about Streatham is that is a very safe place and it has a real mix of people, and a fact… It’s still affordable to live here despite being a stone throw away from Central London.

Find Adriano and his books on
Twitter: @Bulla_Adriano
Bio
Born in Milan, Italy, and Londoner by adoption, Adriano Bulla has been publishing since 2005, when his first collection of poetry hit the shelves. Over the years, he has always tried unconventional and experimental ways of expressing himself, often crossing genres and refusing stereotypes in content, style and form. His style has often been praised for being intense, dense and surreal, and his themes have become more and more conscious of social inequality, in particular when concerning homophobia and the LGBT community, yet always exploring the emotional and spiritual dimension of the individual in search for freedom in an oppressive society.

 SYNOPSIS

When time and place play tricks with your birth, what can you do apart from creating your own imaginary world, then run away from your own creation, to a new life?

A boy is born, some time in the recent past, in Milan, Italy, yet backwards when concerned with ‘different’ sexualities, and Fate wants this boy not only to be of an intellectually and socially dominant nature, but of a sexually and emotionally gay and submissive disposition.

Unable to explain himself to himself, unable to relate to the world, this soul creates his own world, through dreams, drugs, alcohol and lies, while from a distant place, a club in London, and maybe from his future, if he ever learns to fly, letters to his beloved My Dear look back at his life in Italy with parallels in a romance yet to be.

He tries to be ‘normal’ and have relationships with girls, he tries to be honest, and open himself up to his love and friend, but life has decided only pain, rejection and suffering should come of it, for the time being at least.

But little glimpses into another, maybe possible life, sparkle here and there through his life, his dreams and into his heart….

19 Feb 2014

Jasmine Bath: “No One’s Daughter”

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17251007 “No One’s Daughter” by Jasmine Bath is the story of a neglectful and cruel childhood. Told from the perspective of a young girl this tragic tale portrays how she is forced to take care of herself and her siblings while her irresponsible mother wastes her life away without any kind of responsibility. 
Although the protagonist is the victim of violence and emotional abuse to say the least, one of the biggest strengths of the novel is the understated character of the often almost factual descriptions of what does happen. I found this style of story telling much more powerful than loud accusations and self pity. What we recognise as outrage and abuse, for the girl in this novel it is almost ‘normality’.
Like our narrator I was waiting with her for the next drama with fear but certainty that it would come: the mother’s next baby or boyfriend – she would surely draw the short straw.
The minute detail and the many episodes of this ruined childhood illustrate poignantly how much suffering and hardship is involved for a child in such circumstances. It is hard to comprehend how much is irretrievably lost and how far reaching the consequences are. 
Although we are all aware of the basic concept of abuse this book needs to be read. 

“My name is Jasmine Bath and the novel “No One’s Daughter” is based on actual incidents from my childhood during the 1960s and 70s. I did not write this book for sympathy or notoriety; I wrote it in an attempt to shed light on the ghosts that have haunted me for a lifetime, hoping that by putting them down on paper that I could look at them more objectively from a mature point of view and eventually free myself from them.”

 

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

I live in the Midwestern area of the United States with my husband. With the exception of our oldest daughter, all of our children and grandchildren live within a one-hour radius. Our children are all grown and have turned out to be exceptional people that we not only love, but actually like. I’m extremely proud of each of them. Since the kids are now adults I’m now able to take writing from the back burner of my life and make it my fulltime job.

What made you become a writer?

Writing has always been a part of who I am, what I do. I don’t think there was anything that made me write, it is as natural to me as breathing.

Have you always written?

Yes, always.

When did you decide to write your chosen genres?

Memoir is not really my chosen genre, I had considered publishing “No One’s Daughter” as a novel but to put it forth as such, would have been a lie, a denial of the truth of what I wrote and my own conscience wouldn’t allow it.

Do you have a favourite genre?

Not really a favorite, I enjoy all genres but am drawn towards biographies and drama.

Tell us a little about the history of your book. How long did it take you to write and publish?

I never intended to write a book when I began writing what eventually became “No One’s Daughter.” It began as a form of therapy for me to help me look back at incidents that happened when I was growing up as a way to look at those events more objectively. Each incident became a chapter and when put together chronologically, it pulled together as a book. There are about ten chapters that I decided to pull before finally publishing it. Because I originally had no plans to publish it and was in no hurry, it was written over a time span of about ten years.

What was the easiest about writing the book and what was the hardest?

The easiest thing was the writing, once the words began to flow; there was no stopping it. Because it was my life, there was no guessing as to how it would end, I knew. The hardest part was deciding what to share and what to hold back when it came time to publish it.

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story?

Yes, I like to think that there are many messages and depending on the reader, they will each walk away with a different message.

Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

People have been wonderfully kind for the most part regarding reviews and I’m grateful for each and everyone.

What do you like most about your characters?

My characters are real human beings, people who have played huge parts in my life. Two of these people, my aunts, have always been my favorite people. Both are gone now and I miss them terribly.

Which one is your favourite?

If I had to choose a favorite, it would be my Aunt Thea. I owe my life to her.

Who would play the characters in a film?

Oh, geez, I have no delusions of that ever happening so I would have to say that I have no idea.

What are your next projects?

I have two novels that I will start working on in the immediate future; both will revolve around controversial subjects and will probably raise more than a few eyebrows.

What is your life like?

After a violent, chaotic childhood, I’m thrilled to say that my life is usually pleasantly calm and peaceful. What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing? I spend time with my husband, children and grandchildren but I am also finally learning to find time for myself as well. I love working out, walking, reading and listening to good music. Thankfully, now that the kids are all grown, I don’t have to cook as much because I’m a horrible cook. My husband is a wonderful cook and takes over in the kitchen for me whenever he has time. Wandering through stores with my husband, spending the afternoon watching a movie and then a quiet dinner makes for the perfect day.

Who are your literary influences?

Dorothy Allison, Sharon Olds and Frank McCourt immediately come to mind but there are dozens of other authors that I also appreciate.

What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

There are so many excellent book that there is no way to pick one as a favorite. As for films, one of my more recent favorites would be “12 Years a Slave.” When it comes to music, like books, I tend to gravitate toward unusual voices. Van Morrison, First Aid Kit, F.U.N., The Rolling Stones, Sister Hazel, Mumford and Sons and Barenaked Ladies are some of the bands that I listen to.

What are your views on independent publishing?

I submitted “No One’s Daughter” to about a dozen publishers before self publishing. My reward for my hard work resulted in a nice collection of very kind, handwritten rejection letters wishing me nothing but the best. One publisher was very interested but the final decision rested with the bean counters that feared it would have too narrow an audience. Realizing that the bottom line is the bottom line with traditional publishers, particularly at a time when there is so much uncertainty within the publishing community, even more so now with e-publishing being readily available, I think that independent publishing is not only a viable option but is here to stay. I love that the reading public no longer has to accept what the book gatekeepers, traditional publishing, says is worthy of reading versus what is not. As a reader I like being able to decide what is worth my time instead of having a publisher making that choice for me. For writers, this may be the only opportunity to get their work out there to be judged as to whether it has merit or not.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

There are so many that I wouldn’t even want to attempt to rattle off a list of names out of fear of leaving one off.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

They would tell that despite my insane childhood that I am relatively sane and on a mentally even keel; they would tell you that I rely on logic over emotion, that I suffer from OCD and most importantly, I would hope they would tell you that I am a compassionate person.

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

Favorite animal would be a snow owl. Favorite color is emerald green. Favorite outdoor activities are walking and people watching.

What would you take to a remote island?

I don’t think my claustrophobia would be able to handle a remote island…

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

Friedrich Nietzche. No explanation needed. What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects? I have several works in progress but not able to go into great detail about them at the moment.

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

My biggest hope for “No One’s Daughter” is that people will read it and understand the desperation that some children endure on a day-to-day basis. If one abusive person reads it and realizes the pain and life long consequences of the effects of their behavior and seeks help, that would make it all worthwhile.

 

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/No-Ones-Daughter-Jasmine-Bath-ebook/dp/B009O5HA5U G

oodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17251007-no-one-s-daughter

Twitter https://twitter.com/JasmineAuthor

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jasmine.bath.author

18 Jan 2014

Amalie Jahn: The Clay Lion

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“The Clay Lion” by Amalie Jahn is an amazing piece of heart-breaking and uplifting fiction. Aimed probably at young adults as main target audience the book however has a lot to say that is relevant to people of all ages.
It is the story of one brave young woman that choses to go back in time to try and save her fatally ill younger brother.
The idea of time travel did not appeal to me at first since it has been done many times and some authors in the genre can try to be too clever for their own good. 
“The Clay Lion” is way above that level and raises some fascinating and worthy questions about regrets, missed opportunities, second chances and destiny. By doing so successfully the book qualifies – in my humble opinion at least – as literary fiction and philosophical offering on the subject of turning back time. It made me think hard about what I would chose to relive and try and change in my life.
The main story – the disease of her younger brother – is often sad but always full of hope and positive and important messages, a tribute to courage and an appeal to the good side in all of us.
Written with charm and emotional wisdom this is hugely rewarding and captivating. A powerful and important read and a talented author to watch.

Interview with Amalie:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

Writer is about the tenth thing on my list of things that I am, behind a lot of other things that often take precedence over sitting down at the computer and telling the stories that want to come out.  I’m a wife.  Mom.  Carpool driver.  Laundry folder.  Cook.  Maid.  Handyman.  I can fix a toilet and change the oil in my car.  I’m also a triathlete.  When I’m not writing, I’m running, swimming or biking.  Right now I’m training for an Ironman in April.  You can read about my journey here if you’d like: http://foamrolling.tumblr.com/

What was the first thing you wrote, and how old were you when you wrote it? 6995709

I used to have a little hardbound journal when I was in about second or third grade.  I’d write little stories but mostly about stuff going on in my life.  In fifth grade I wrote an autobiography.  It was short.  

What have you written since then?

I’ve written a lot.  You remember school and all the writing?  The essays?  The forced short stories?  I went to college and made a lot of stuff up.  I was pretty good at writing around a subject.  I became a teacher and wrote lesson plans.  And report card comments.  Those are fun.  How many different ways can you tell someone their kid’s a genius?  Or not living up to their potential?  Or crazy?  I’m most famous for my to-do lists.  I have at least six going at all times.  I will add something I’ve already done to the list to make myself feel better. 

Oh, and I’ve written a couple of novels.

What made you choose your genre of writing, and what about your genre fascinates you?

My first novel, The Clay Lion, is young adult fiction.  What I love most about YA is that the young are impressionable.  They’re not jaded yet.  You can reach them and make them feel important things.  And you can make them fall in love with the written word.  It’s what I set out to do.

I also love that YA is not just for the young.  It’s also for anyone who’s ever been young.  And we all have been.  We remember all those firsts and how wonderful they were, even if they didn’t feel so wonderful at the time.  It’s fun as an adult to go back to those times when life was… simpler.  Reading (and writing) YA allows us to do that.

Would you ever consider writing in a different genre?

Yup!  I’m convinced my second novel, Among the Shrouded, is unclassifiable.  It’s adult for sure.  A little bit paranormal.  A little bit thriller.  Crime drama.  Social awareness.  I guess I need to spend more time classifying my ideas before I write them!

Much has been written about how a book will change from the original intent of the writer, as it’s being written. How did your book change as you created it, and did it surprise you how it came out?

The Clay Lion definitely did.  I started out writing it, but somewhere along the line, my main character Brooke took over and finished it herself.  She wrote the story for me.  At one point I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing one of the hardest chapters of the book.  I started crying because I was devastated by what I had just written.  My husband looked up at me from across the kitchen and asked what was wrong and I had to tell him that I was upset at what Brooke had done.  He stared at me like I was nuts and asked how in the world I could be surprised by what had happened when I was the one writing the book.  To this day, I have no idea.  Brooke took the book in a direction that I hadn’t even fathomed.  It was amazing.

Tell us a little about the history of your book.

I’ll talk about The Clay Lion, my first novel.  The idea was born of two converging ideas.  The time travel element came to me in a dream.  My sister and I were some type of superheroes and we were traveling through time saving people’s lives.  When I woke up, I wrote down as much as I could remember.  As I was writing down my ideas, I began thinking about a little girl named Lauren who happened to be one of my daughter’s good friends.  She had recently been hospitalized with leukemia for the second time and was searching for a bone marrow donor.  I couldn’t help but wonder how her older sister would react if she should die, knowing that her sister had been her first bone marrow donor.  The two were probably the closest sisters I’d ever had the privilege of knowing.  The idea of a sister going back in time to save the life of her beloved brother was born and The Clay Lion is a testament to the power of sibling love.  Lauren passed away just this past October.  A tragic ending to a beautiful and very short life.  I hope that The Clay Lion brings solace to grieving families everywhere and honors Lauren’s memory.

How long did it take you to write and publish?

My first manuscript only took about 4-5 months to write.  But the editing seemed endless.  Publishing too.  All toll, The Clay Lion took about 9 months start to finish.

What is the most difficult part of writing a book?

EDITING.  No question.  I’m a perfectionist.  I question every word choice.  The structure of every sentence.  Every plot choice.  I trim a lot of fat.  I hate it.  And also, I love it too.

What is the most difficult element in selling your book, and how do you overcome it?

Reaching new readers is really difficult without the help of a huge publisher behind you.  I had no idea how hard it would be and I honestly think if I had known I may not have ever published to begin with.  But I’m here now and I’m learning.  There are a lot of wonderful, knowledgeable people out there and I’m happy to accept help!

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story? 

Oh definitely.  I don’t want to give too much away, but I have strong beliefs about life and why we are here and our place in the world.  Most of our day to day experiences have less to do with what happens to us and more to do by how we react to what happens to us.  I think someone wise probably said that at some point, but you can quote me on it here.

Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?image1

I’ve gotten fan mail from teenagers thanking me for writing the book because it made them feel peaceful in a way that other YA books have never done.  I’ve received emails from people who have told me how much comfort they found in the pages of The Clay Lion.  One woman even told me that she had never come to terms with the loss of her brother, but after reading the book had slept soundly for the first time in years.  So, yes, I think it is both well received and duly noted.

What do you like most about your characters? Which one is your favourite?

I’ve been told that my character development is one of my greatest strengths as an author.  People have connected with my characters and can’t stop reading because they need to find out what happens to them.  I think it’s a good thing that my readers take a vested interest in what happens to my characters.  So I guess what I like most about my characters is that people seem to like and relate to them.

My favorite character is Thomas from Among the Shrouded.  When I first started writing I didn’t connect with him.  I had trouble writing from his point of view and I think it was mainly because he was the first male character I’d attempted to convey.  I kept asking men, “what do you think Thomas would think about this?” to which the men would respond, “Nothing, men don’t think!”  Thomas eventually found his voice once I got to really know him and he became my absolute favorite.  He grew as a character and yet remained true to himself.  I love that about him.  And he’s cute in my head, so there’s that.

Who would play the characters in a film?

Is it egotistical to say that I’ve actually thought about this?  I picked out a few songs I’d like to have featured as well!  My best friend wants to see Zac Efron play Charlie from The Clay Lion, except not the 26 year old, just out of rehab Zac Efron, but the one from High School Musical.  So it seems we may need an actual time machine for that.  I see Michelle Trachtenburg as Brooke.  I loved her in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Again, I need the teenage version of her.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

My oddest quality is easy.  I have a full blown anxiety disorder.  It is undiagnosed and I am unmedicated.  My biggest anxiety producer is germs and illness.  My favorite gift is hand sanitizer.  I use it all the time.  I may ask you to use it as well should you be in my company.  This quirk, as I choose to call it, drives me as crazy as it does everyone else, but luckily the people who love me have learned to accept me as I am.  I don’t know that I am qualified to speak to my best quality.  I do the best with what I’m given to help others along the path of life.  I hope that it’s enough. 

 

Tell us a bit about your current book, and where it’s available.

A,ong the Shrouded released on October 31 and it’s about three main characters (Mia – a police officer, Thomas – a busboy, and Kate, a Ukrainian student), who are each born with a different ability.  They don’t realize their gifts have a purpose or that they are fated to meet one another to fulfill their common destiny.  It’s available exclusively through Amazon in both print and Kindle editions.

Do you have an idea for your next book?

Of course!  I had every intention for The Clay Lion to be a stand-alone book but so many readers have asked specifically for more of Brooke’s story, I’m working on a sequel!

How do people get in touch or follow you?

I have a website at www.theclaylion.com

I’m on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmalieJahn?ref=br_tf

My twitter handle is https://twitter.com/AmalieJahn

Here I am on Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6995709.Amalie_Jahn

And Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Amalie-Jahn/e/B00C3H3TWO/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1384883602&sr=1-2-ent

 

 

 

 

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