25 Aug 2013

Author Interview with Uvi Poznansky

1 Comment Book Reviews

Interview with

Uvi Poznansky

Author of
Apart From Love, A Favorite Son, Home, and Twisted me
Thank you for coming back to my blog for a proper chat this time.
What fascinates me most about you is that you write, make art and promote yourself. How do you find the time and how do you balance the three?
My pleasure, Christoph! And thank you so much for inviting me back here, it’s starting to feel like home…. Balancing is a fine act. Like so many of us I find it challenging. If only there were more hours in the day…
I don’t exactly ‘find’ time—rather, I ‘make’ time, striving to use every moment to its fullest potential. I am working with complete dedication, and those who know me best will attest to the fact that I can make a sharp and immediate transition, turning on a coin, from one form of my craft to another. Even so, I wish I could be cloned. But if that were true, every one of my clones would complain that she wishes to be cloned, too…
Tell us a little about your art.
In my art I seek to stretch the envelope and work in new mediums, with a fresh palette of colours and ideas each time. I delight in change, and hate being boxed in a technique I have already mastered. So I create clay models for my half-life size bronze sculptures—and at other times I engineer paper sculptures. I paint in oil and in watercolour, I draw in charcoal, I dabble in Photoshop, and even create computer animations. Any one of these projects may consume months at a time, and demand my complete attention—but for me, no form dominates over others. I move quite freely between them. You can find some of my art in my website.
Similarly, in my writing I take on different genres. I love writing novels as much as I do poetry, historical fiction, or fantasy, and I trust that there is a lot more still hidden in me… In fact it is difficult to define the genre of any one of my books, just as it it difficult to define the genre of life itself. It is a mixture of tears and laughter, a few lyrical moments, and a dash of fantasy…
I see from your biography that you also have had a very varied and busy working life. Did you write and make art at that time as well or is your creative streak only coming out now?
Ah! You’ve done your research… Yes, I have gone through several reincarnations in my professional career, working as an architect, going back to school for a Master degree in architecture, teaching, going back to school for a Master in computer science, then working in software engineering, with a focus on user interface for medical devices. All along I have been writing and painting—part time, of course.
In my work I have always found a way to turn my professional endeavours into something truly creative. But when my company, Philips Ultrasound, went out of business, and my designs for it never came to fruition, I decided I better focus exclusively on my projects, my art and writing, so as to ensure they come to life.
A lot of your writing is connected to biblical themes but you described yourself as agnostic in a comment on my blog.  Were you at any point in your life a believer?
I went to one of the best private schools in Israel, one that was modelled on a British system of education, where students wear uniform and rise to their feet to show respect, to greet the teacher. This is where I studied the bible. So for every sentence and phrase in the scriptures I know several shades of meaning, which is quite useful when I make a departure from the traditional interpretation. I see the bible as a great piece of literature, rather than as a sacred text. For me it is a great drama, rife with crime, sex and violence, a great backdrop for fascinating characters who are very much like us: flawed.  gen2
In one of your short stories your art work comes alive. Do you find many cross overs between your artistic channels?
This is like asking, do you have many crossovers between taking the world in through vision, hearing, or the sense of smell and touch? It all comes at you at once, doesn’t it? So, input through one channel invokes a sense of another, which is true of art, in all its forms. I write with my brush, and paint with my pen.
The story you refer to—‘I, Woman’—is told in the voice of a clay sculpture. I enjoy changing places: instead of me, the artist, looking at my sculpture, here is the sculpture looking at me. She is coming to life under my chisel. Later in the story she is about to be cast in bronze, which evokes the idea of death and rebirth in a different form:
“A big flame of fire flares up, engulfing me. I feel it in my veins, swelling in me like a flow of molten bronze. I hear it in the crackling of embers from below. That hazy glow of my earlier existence is finally here, burning brighter than ever. 
I am grateful to go back. No longer am I stuck here, in a place of doubt. 
No longer am I inflicted with sensing shadows. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. All my sorrows are about to melt away. In this inferno, nothing will be left behind me but an empty shell. I fly into the brilliance. I am ablaze. I am in bliss. For where I am going I shall be reborn.”
Have you ever started a story that then inspired you to make a sculpture (instead)?
Yes! I have written a poem called Dust, which you can find HERE.
It inspired me to create a series of sculptures, where the figures strike a different pose for each verse. You can turn these sculptures around by clicking their images.
In my mind I became a choreographer, and this was a dance: I could see the figures moving from one pose to another as they were uttering the words of the poem, talking back and forth between them, he said she said. Having sculpted them, one of the figures inspired the story ‘I, Woman’ (as I described earlier.) So the influences go freely in both ways between my art and my writing.
I feel truly blessed for the creative collaboration with gifted voice artists who narrated my books. Three of them—Twisted, A Favorite Son, and Apart From Love—are already available as audiobooks, and Home will come out very soon. I invite you to click the audiobook links and take a listen to the voice sample of each one.
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Links:
US Book Purchase Links:
TWISTED  ★ Audiobook ★ Ebook ★ Print ★
A FAVORITE SON  ★ Audiobook ★ Ebook ★ Print ★
APART FOM LOVE ★ Audiobook ★ Ebook ★ Print ★
HOME ★ Audiobook ★ Ebook ★ Print ★
UK Book Purchase Links:
TWISTED  ★ Audiobook ★ Ebook ★ Print ★
A FAVORITE SON  ★ Audiobook ★ Ebook ★ Print ★
APART FOM LOVE ★ Audiobook ★ Ebook ★ Print ★
HOME ★ Audiobook ★ Ebook ★ Print ★
twisted_front_cover_small home-front-2000 frontcover-titled2 frontcover3
21 Aug 2013

“There’s Nothing Wrong with Claudia” by Brenda Kearns

2 Comments Book Reviews

ClaudiaCoverEnglish2.8X4

THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH CLAUDIA

Claudia does not like being different. She does not like being outside on windy days. And she does not like being able to float—because floating causes nothing but trouble. 

All Claudia wants is to be the same as everyone else…until the day there’s a major disaster at her school, and the only one who can possibly make things right is a very clever girl who knows how to float!

“There’s Nothing Wrong With Claudia” by Brenda Kearns is a wonderful and magic book for children that I would highly recommend.
In the story Claudia is unhappy with her special gift, talent or curse to be able to float, for which no cure can be found.
Only her grandfather keeps assuring everyone: There is nothing wrong with Claudia.
The book is a wonderful plea for acceptance of all of one’s qualities. What may appear as a weakness could turn out to be a strength and a blessing.
The symbolism and the many possible readings of this story work on many levels, which is amazing for such a short story. Floating could be a metaphor for the ability to rise above things, for being light hearted and free or being able to go with the flow of the universe?
This book, being read to a child by an understanding adult as the grandfather in the story, can bring children a greater understanding of the gift that is being different, should help them to accept themselves for what they are and also allow them to enjoy the beautiful drawings and the cute characters.
A very impressive achievement

Brenda -1

 

Interview with Brenda Kearns

How did you come to writing?

It was an accident, actually. I was a science teacher on maternity leave, and was looking for an excuse to avoid cleaning the house. I was also looking for an excuse to get out of the house. I was bored, bored, bored. So I took an eight-week night class on creative writing. It was a blast! I had so much fun that I decided to try writing for a living, instead of teaching.

Is this your first book or have you written before?

There’s Nothing Wrong With Claudia was my second book. While I was taking that eight-week course, I wrote an early chapter book—Sleepover Zoo. That wasn’t leisurely, relaxing writing—I wrote like a chipmunk hopped up on caffeine. I felt like I had to justify the rather drastic career change that I was considering, and early chapter books were in demand at the time, while I’d heard that editors already had a glut of picture book submissions in their slush pile. Luckily, Scholastic Canada agreed to publish Sleepover Zoo. That gave me the confidence to write There’s Nothing Wrong With Claudia. I figured I’d better have a backup plan, so I also started sending out query letters to every woman’s magazine that I could find. I sent out 365 queries that first year—and received 365 rejections. I stunk at writing query letters!

What made you decide to write for children?

Well, I had two kids. Then I had a third. Then I adopted two. Then I adopted two more. I’m constantly surrounded by kids, so it seemed like a good idea to write things that might distract them so I could get a few minutes of peace.

When did you first have the idea for this book?

My oldest daughter was three at the time. She was very energetic, and my former mother-in-law was convinced that there had to be something wrong with her. Leah loved running, she loved biking, she loved climbing onto counters, she loved crawling under tables…she did not want to sit still and listen to a bunch of boring adults talk about their boring lives. I found myself saying, “there’s nothing wrong with Leah,” a lot. That spawned the idea for the book!

What is your main message in this book?

The things that make you different aren’t necessarily flaws or weaknesses—with the right attitude, they can be your strengths! (also cod liver oil tastes terrible, and grandpas are cool)

How long did it take you to write this book?

SleepoverZooCover

Ooooh, good question…I worked on Claudia off and on for about three months. I got it to the point where I was fairly happy with it, then tucked it away to “chill” while I got the magazine writing rolling and started the next picture book, Parrots and Popcorn. When I went back to Claudia a few months later, I hated it! It was completely wrong! Aaarrrggghhh! So I picked away at it for, oh, probably two more years before I really felt good about it.

What do you find the most challenging aspect of the writing process and what the most enjoyable?

The toughest part for me is simply starting a new project. It isn’t actually writer’s block that holds me back. It’s a vague “jumping over a big mud puddle” feeling. I’m always hoping things will go smoothly, hoping I’ll enjoy the process and hoping the end result will be something worth reading, but there’s that annoying, whiney little voice in my head that makes me question whether or not I can actually do it. Oddly, I never worry about whether or not I can write something worth reading while I’m in the midst of a project—I only worry before I start.

The most enjoyable part? That’s the part I call tweaking (I’d call it editing, but that sounds too much like work). Once I have that first draft in place, I’m in heaven! I love to move stuff around, change how sentences are worded, change plot lines, find spelling mistakes and dumb phrases that need to be knocked out…Tweaking is fun, because the pressure is off at that point. I’ve finished the first draft—now I’m just playing with it and making it better.

How comfortable do you feel writing for young adults?

I’m a bit weird—I have an aversion to writing about sex, drugs, violence, vampires and all of that other gripping stuff that teens seem to like. I’m drawn to books that make me feel good and make me laugh, and I really can’t imagine writing something that would make me feel depressed or stress me out. So while I love writing for young adults, I focus on early young adults and my work is laced with humor.

Tell us about your other books

Parrots and Popcorn is a picture book about a girl, Kara, who’s upset about her upcoming birthday. What she wants is a real magic show and a puppy. Instead, her brother is going to do some fake magic tricks in front of her friends, then he’s going to pull some plain old presents out of his magic hat. The night before her birthday, Kara gets hold of her brother’s magic hat and starts experimenting, trying to see if she can actually make it work. She quickly discovers that she’s a lot better at magic than her brother—and she gets a lot more for her birthday than she’d expected!

PopcornCoverEnglish4.2X6

Sleepover Zoo—the early chapter book that I mentioned—is about a 6th grade girl who moves into a new neighborhood and tries desperately to hide her family’s weirdness from the kids at school. Toni wants to fit in and feel normal, yet her family runs a wild bird care center in their house, so it’s like living in a zoo. When Toni gets cornered by one of the popular girls and has to have a sleepover, things go downhill fast!

 

The Day I Washed My Face in the Toilet is an early young adult novel. It’s about Monica, a 14-year-old who desperately wants to spend August at a science camp far away from her idiot sister and weird little brother. Trouble is, Monica’s being dragged into the wedding party of her crabby old great aunt who lives in England—and if she wants to earn the science camp trip, she has to keep her siblings in line for the entire time they’re in England, plus convince her crazy Grandma to move into a nursing home. It’s a fast-paced story with lots of laughs (fair warning: no sex, violence or vampires).

How do you write? What is your writing environment like?

I love my office. It’s a small room with soothing green walls, a huge wooden desk, a bookshelf, and a comfy chair and love seat for my kids to use. Very zen. Our Great Dane uses up half of the love seat, so my kids often end up sprawled out on the floor. There have been times when five, six or all seven kids are scattered around in there yakking while I work. It’s a great room—everyone gravitates toward it.

 

I don’t really have scheduled “writing times.” I do an hour or so before my kids get up, then once they’re at school, or busy playing, I write until lunch. After lunch, I write until supper. Then after the younger ones are in bed, I write until bedtime (or until my brain goes on strike and I have to stop). As long as there’s no music playing, I can write. Kids talking, tractors running (we live on a farm), the TV blaring…nothing really distracts me except music.

 

How many rewrites did it take you?

 BK00013045

I never rewrite…I tweak! That makes the whole process feel less intimidating and less painful. I just tweak and tweak and tweak until I can’t see anything else that I could possibly do to fix the bloody thing. I picked away at There’s Nothing Wrong With Claudia for about two years. Of course, if that was all I was doing for two years, I would have gone bat crap crazy. I’d also started writing health articles for Women’s World and First for Women—and I was working on Parrots and Popcorn—at the same time.

Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?

My books are all self-published ebooks (even Sleepover Zoo is now an ebook, since the rights reverted back to me from Scholastic a few years ago). So that makes me the editor as well as the writer, which is scary. The thought of a reader finding errors in my books makes me cringe. So, when I think each book is ready, I send it to a freelance editor (Laura Backes is amazing) and ask them to be as critical as possible. It’s money well spent. I wouldn’t trust myself to self-publish without having a second set of eyes (official Editor Eyes) combing through the thing, first.

Another thing that helped was that I had all four books translated into Spanish and French. I didn’t do it to improve the books’ quality, specifically—I just got the wild idea to offer each book in three languages, and I can rarely dissuade myself once I come up with a wild idea. Well, the Spanish and French translators were spectacular, plus incredibly thorough. While doing their translations, one of them found two grammar issues that I hadn’t noticed, and the other one found a couple of typos!

Who are your favourite authors / influences?

I like anyone who makes me laugh, and I love clever, witty writing and smart, but flawed main characters. So Linda Urban (A Crooked Kind of Perfect) Karen McCombie (An Urgent Message of Wowness) and Louise Rennison (Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging) are great picks for me. Ever read Edward the Emu? I have that one memorized. And anything by Dave Barry, of course!

What is your favourite book?

Oddly, the book that I found completely absorbing, read multiple times and still remember vividly wasn’t actually a funny one (sorry, no chance of consistency with me, I guess). It’s David R. Palmer’s Emergence. I still have my original 1984 copy, here, in my office. My kids know they’re not allowed to touch it, because it’s so old it’s starting to fall apart. I’ll be putting it in my will—whichever kid sticks around and takes care of me when I’m old and frail will get it!

What would you take to a lonely island?

A boat with a working motor and lots of gas. I’d have to get home fast before my kids trashed the house. It never occurs to them that dirty dishes can actually be put into the dishwasher.

Who would play your characters in a movie?

Can I pick George Clooney? He’s a cutie—and a good actor. He could play a floating girl, don’t you think?

What are your next projects and where would we be able to hear about them?

I hope to have I Want To Go Home available by March, 2014. It’s a middle-grade novel about a 14-year-old girl (Allie) who’s already been in 17 different foster homes. Every time Allie and her younger siblings get tossed into a new foster family, she plays games (like lying about their mom’s drinking, and pretending counseling is helping) to get back home. Things backfire when they get placed on a farm with a savvy foster mom who doesn’t fall for Allie’s sneaky moves. I Want To Go Home is about Allie’s difficult, yet sometimes humorous journey as she struggles to decide if where she was born is truly where she belongs.

When it’s available, I’ll be posting the news on my Facebook writer page (www.facebook.com/BrendaKearnsWriter) and also on my blog (www.brendakearns.com/blog). So if anyone would like to subscribe to one of those, I can keep them posted (I only put a blurb on the Facebook page once or twice monthly, and I post one blog monthly, so I won’t clog up your e-mail in-box!).

My website:

www.brendakearns.com

Blog:

www.brendakearns.com/blog

 Twitter 

@Brenda_Kearns

AMAZON:

There’s Nothing Wrong With Claudia

http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Nothing-Wrong-Claudia-ebook/dp/B00DEP5BY8/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Theres-Nothing-Wrong-Claudia-ebook/dp/B00DEP5BY8/ref=la_B00CB702LW_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1376483174&sr=1-11

Parrots and Popcorn

http://www.amazon.com/Parrots-and-Popcorn-ebook/dp/B00CX7PMUG/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Parrots-and-Popcorn-ebook/dp/B00CX7PMUG/ref=la_B00CB702LW_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1376483174&sr=1-7

The Day I Washed My Face in the Toilet

http://www.amazon.com/The-Washed-Face-Toilet-ebook/dp/B00C5K3I8O/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Day-Washed-Face-Toilet-ebook/dp/B00C5K3I8O/ref=la_B00CB702LW_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376483174&sr=1-2

Sleepover Zoo

http://www.amazon.com/Sleepover-Zoo-ebook/dp/B00C5K44GY/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleepover-Zoo-ebook/dp/B00C5K44GY/ref=la_B00CB702LW_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1376483174&sr=1-10

 

BARNES & NOBLE

There’s Nothing Wrong With Claudia

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/theres-nothing-wrong-with-claudia-brenda-kearns/1115695875?ean=9780991811441

Parrots and Popcorn

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/parrots-and-popcorn-brenda-kearns/1115536392?ean=9780991811434

The Day I Washed My Face in the Toilet

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-day-i-washed-my-face-in-the-toilet-brenda-kearns/1115228290?ean=9780991811427

Sleepover Zoo

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sleepover-zoo-brenda-kearns/1115228289?ean=9780991811403

 

*These books are also available through Apple’s iBookstore, Sony’s Reader Store, Kobo, Copia, eBookPie, eSentral, Scribd and Gardners.

 

GOODREADS:

There’s Nothing Wrong With Claudia

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18085293-there-s-nothing-wrong-with-claudia

Parrots and Popcorn

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18006889-parrots-and-popcorn

The Day I Washed My Face in the Toilet

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17792466-the-day-i-washed-my-face-in-the-toilet

Sleepover Zoo

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17792499-sleepover-zoo

 

 MY REVIEW OF SLEEPOVER ZOO

“Sleepover Zoo” by Brenda Kearns is a lovely story for young adults.
As the title implies there is a sleepover involved, concerning several young girls. There is a long build up to the actual sleepover because of classroom ‘politics’ and worries by the girls about their image.
The location for said sleepover houses animals of all kinds and our heroine is worried that this will lead to ridicule rather than admiration.
The book does well in describing the worries and concerns of teenagers and it has some great revelations and a wonderful message. The description of the house with all the animals is often hilarious and entertaining, as it might be educational.
Once again Kearns has written sensitively about an important matter, the connection of humans with nature and animals. One party guest in particular has a steep learning curve. The characters are lovely, sometimes amusing and certainly very real.
This is a beautiful book that stands out from the many supernatural and superpower helpings of the genre.
Just right.

 

MY REVIEW OF THE DAY I WASHED MY FACE IN THE TOILET 

“The Day I Washed My Face in the Toilet” by Brenda Kearns is a fun read concerning a teenage girl who is plagued by her two eccentric siblings on a family trip to England. 
The book is full of hilarious episodes and colourful characters. A hyper or slightly autistic brother, the diva sister, a difficult great-aunt or the demented Grandmother.
Besides the comedy however the story touches on some serious issues such as the care for the elderly and what to do with problem children. The book remains light hearted with some uplifting moments and great humour.
As with all good young adult fiction there is some food for thought and a message for tolerance and acceptance.
Highly recommended.

 

 

 

15 Aug 2013

Duncan Whitehead: The Gordonston Ladies Walking Club

Comments Off on Duncan Whitehead: The Gordonston Ladies Walking Club Book Reviews

The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club

16174821

2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Finalist!

Something is not quite right in the leafy Savannah neighborhood of Gordonston. 

As the friends and fellow members of her afternoon cocktail club gather to mourn the death and lament the life of their neighbor, Thelma Miller, not all is what it seems.

When old friends vie for the attention of widower, Alderman and mayoral candidate Elliott, jealousies surface and friendships are strained. An old woman with a dark secret and an infamous uncle plots her revenge for a perceived wrong done over thirty years before, a once successful children’s writer with his own secret is haunted by memories of the past and aspiring model Kelly Hudd has just won the trip of a lifetime.

As secrets are revealed and history, both old and recent unravel, and an intertwined web of deceits and lies surfaces in the middle class neighborhood, a killer lurks and is anyone really who they seem to be? 

An enigmatic European gentleman in South America, a young Italian count parading the streets of Paris and a charitable and kindhearted nephew recently arrived from India add to the remarkable assortment of characters in this story of intrigue, deceit and revenge. 

What is the secret a recently retired accountant is trying to hide and just why did the former showgirl and attractive sixty two year old widow Carla Zipp really have plastic surgery?

A mysterious organization with links to organized crime, a handsome fire fighter who can do no wrong and a trio of widows with deep hidden agendas compound a story of simplistic complexity. As twists and turns lead the reader to a conclusion that they will not see coming and a sucker punch ending that will leave you breathless, the Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club’s top priority remains the need to chastise the culprit who refuses to ‘scoop’ after his dog walking sessions in their treasured park.

“The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club” by Duncan Whitehead is a very enjoyable and often hilarious book about a group of women who meet in the park with their dog to gossip about the neighbours and complain. Whitehead gives them elaborate backgrounds and distinct and colourful characters.
This is very much a comic murder mystery with a lot of societal satire of well off Southern widows and upper class society.
I enjoyed the book and read it in one sitting. It is rich in plot, well written and the murder part is cleverer than I would have anticipated in a humorous book as this. Well done.

FINALIST IN THE 2013 READER’S FAVORITE ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL AWARD CONTEST IN THE HUMOR CATEGORY – WINNER ANNOUNCED SEPTEMBER 2013.

Interview with Duncan:

Duncan how did you come to writing? 6589431

I began writing spoof news articles initially and the short stories, it just developed from there. I have always been interested in creative writing – and I enjoy it.

What did you do before?

I was in the military for a long time (20 years) and also worked in British embassies across the world.  I then became a superyacht purser before becoming a security and safety consultant for private superyachts.

 Have you always been an entertainer or are you quite different in your private life? 

I am very different.  Not many people who know me realize I write.

What made you write a thriller?

It is more of a dark comedy mystery – I love twists and books that make you think “ah….of course!’ and my book, I believe, is like that.

How comfortable do you feel writing in the genre?

Humor – very comfortable – mystery was a new genre for me so I think I will let you know about that later.

Would you ever write something else?

Yes, comedies and of course a sequel to this book.

When did you first have the idea for the Dog Walking Club?

About 6 years ago, when I moved to Savannah.

Did you have it all planned out before you wrote it or did the characters and story surprise you?

I had it all planned out – as there are multiple twists and red herrings, flashbacks and flashforwards I had to know exactly what each character would do and how they would interact with other characters.

Did you have any actors or people in mind when writing your characters?

I try not to!

What aspects of the story or which characters do you like to write about the most?

I love setting up the twists and red herrings…..that is so much fun.

What would your main character say about you?

Handsome.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

I have never thought about that.  Rolling in the Deep by Adele would be apt……for the conclusion…

Are you like any of your characters?

Heck no! They are awful people!

 How long did it take you to write the book?

From 1st draft to publication – roughly 4 years!

 Will there be a series?

I expect there will be two more books in this story….

Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?

I had three editors.  And to be honest I wish I had more!

How have you found the experience of self-publishing?

The most difficult thing is marketing – it is extremely time consuming and hard work.

What’s your least favourite thing?

Brocoli.

What is your advice to new writers?

Ignore those who belittle you, ignore those who tell you you can’t do it and NEVER give up.

Who are your favourite independent writers?

I like many – there are a lot out there and I think that most of them are talented and individual in their own right.

Who are your favourite authors?

Agatha Christie and Charles Dickens.

What is your favourite book?

A Confederacy of Dunces

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

I am reading several books right now – all e-books.

Who would play your characters in a movie?

I am not sure, it would need good actors/actresses as the characters are so two faced! I think Morgan Freeman would make a great Ignatius.

Links: 

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16174821-the-gordonston-ladies-dog-walking-club

 http://www.amazon.com/Gordonston-Ladies-Walking-Club-ebook/dp/B00AHHODH2/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1375203238&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gordonston-Ladies-Walking-Club-ebook/dp/B00AHHODH2/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1375203266&sr=1-1

 

Duncan was born in England in 1967. After a successful career in the Royal Navy where he served in British Embassies throughout South America and saw service in the Gulf War he joined the world of super yachts as a Purser onboard some of the world’s largest private vessels, working for many high profile individuals, being fortunate enough to visit some of the world’s most luxurious and exotic places.

Eventually retiring to Savannah, Georgia, he began to partake of his greatest passion, writing. Initially writing short stories he finally put pen to paper and wrote THE GORDONSTON LADIES WALKING CLUB, inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness of his new environment. The book, a thriller, which boasts an assortment of characters and plot twists, is set in the leafy neighborhood where he lived.

His passion for comedy saw submissions to many online satire news sites and a stint performing as a stand- up comedian.

He is a former boxer, representing the Royal Navy and an English under 19 team as an amateur and is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language as well as a former accomplished children’s soccer coach.

In 2011 Duncan returned to South America, spending six months in Brazil and a few months in Paraguay before travelling to the Middle-East and Europe before returning to the United States to settle in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and lists his hobbies and passions as cooking, the Israeli self defense art of Krav Maga and the pressure point martial art Dim- Mak.

Duncan has written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles, under various aliases, for an assortment of web sites both in the US and UK.

 

11 Aug 2013

“The Outback” by David Clarkson

1 Comment Book Reviews

 

final 2 part 2THE OUTBACK

Matt joins the outback harvest trail filled with apprehension. Is it really worth doing three months of back breaking labour in exchange for another year added to his visa? His new friends certainly think so and it is not long before they convince him of the same.

Of course, none of them are counting on their new boss. Rhett is cold, callous and delights in watching others suffer. Convinced that the old man is hiding a criminal past, the backpackers begin to do a little digging. Nothing however, can prepare them for what they find.

As the past starts repeating itself, Matt comes to realise that unless he can discover the truth about his foreman, he and his friends may be in more danger than he could possibly have imagined..

 

“The Outback” by David Clarkson was a chance find for me. I have a thing for travel and backpack stories and jumped at this book which follows a group of international younger people on a work assignment in the outback, clearing fields for three months.
The world is full of possibilities, visa problems and living in the moment. Beer, love, smoking and discovering the world, but the real world catches up with them in form of a nasty supervisor, the hostile nature and clashes with the law and the world of the aborigines. The group of characters in the book is colourful and entertaining, the friendships and relationships formed are very realistic and the book gives an excellent account of the work as you travel experience. 
This is excellently written, has great suspense and is a treat for anyone who has ever been on a backpack holiday. I found this very hard to put down, the tension and the pace of the story is really well done. Maybe I am too partial to the genre but I recommend this highly.

 

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Interview with David:

 

David, thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little something about yourself as both a person and an author:

It took me 8 attempts to pass my driving test, so when people say that the most important trait for a writer is perseverance, I think that I pretty much have it covered!

What made you decide to be a writer? Have you always written?

I don’t think that I ever made a conscious choice to become a writer. When I returned from travelling I started to transfer my hand written travel journals to computer format, editing them as I went. With time and practice, I became more creative with what I wrote and started to semi-fictionalise some of the journals. Then one day, after a really rough day at work I came home and visualised the place that I would most like to be (it was camping under the stars in Outback Australia) and just started to write a story about it.

I know from your bio that you spent a lot of time in Australia where your book is set. How autobiographical is the story?

The setting and characters are all fictional, but much of it is a mishmash of people and places that I came across travelling. The stick picking job that the characters do in the book is based on my own experience of the same in Queensland. We had a cantankerous old supervisor who also drove one of the tractors. He used to smoke these really tightly packed rolly cigarettes, which somebody suggested were indicative of time spent in prison and it led to us all trying to guess at his past. This was where the idea of Rhett (the novel’s villain) came from.

Travel books like “Backpack” and “The Beach” have inspired me to see the world. Did you have similar experiences and do you still have the travel bug?

I don’t think that anybody ever really loses the travel bug. If I could, I would have carried on the backpacker lifestyle forever, but if you want to start a family and lay down some roots, you have to give it up eventually. I read “The Beach” shortly before I visited Thailand and when I experienced it for myself and realised just how accurately the book captures the spirit of travelling in Asia, but also turns it into such an exciting thriller, I wanted to find a book that did the same for Australia. When I started to write “The Outback”, I was really trying to write the book that I most wanted to read.

Did you have the story all planned out before you wrote it or did the characters and story surprise you?

The original story plan was a little more off the wall. The second half of the novel was going to move to an isolated observatory where some crazy scientists were doing experiments into astral projection.  Once I started writing it though and created characters that felt so real to me, I did not want to trash it all by adding the sci-fi element. The book was split in two, with the story about the observatory developing into my third novel; “Diamond Sky”.

Did you have any actors or people in mind when writing your characters?

The sisters were originally based on two girls I met briefly in Melbourne, but I now think of Keira Knightley and Emma Watson in their roles. The way that Colin speaks and his humour is based on a friend I worked with on the farms in Australia and he was always having trouble with a couple of stoners who he shared a dorm room with. I suppose that makes it ironic that I made Colin the number one stoner in the story.

Which character did you most enjoy writing? Are you like any of them?

I enjoyed writing the villain; Rhett. It was fun seeing how far I could take him and the fact that his hatred was so self defeating meant that I could show things from his perspective without clouding the morals of the story. I also enjoyed creating Colin. The main protagonist, Matt, is an everyman character and I did not want to burden him with too many vices and flaws for fear of losing the reader’s empathy for him.  That is where Colin comes in. His recklessness and attitude reflect the darker side of Matt. A bit like the devil on his shoulder, whilst Jenny is the angel on his other shoulder, who speaks to his conscience and stops him from getting into the kind of trouble that he would certainly find himself if he listened to Colin.

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?

The journey for many of the characters is quite dark. The exception is Jonas, who is the only one who manages to retain a level of innocence by the end of the story. For this reason, I would have to pick him. The others just lose too much of themselves in the horrors that they face.

With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck on a deserted island?

Jenny – she’s hot, although my wife may have a thing or two to say about that. Out of the guys, I would again, have to choose Jonas. He has a naivety coupled with limitless enthusiasm that makes anything seem possible, even on a desert island. We could have fun together trying to construct a raft to get back to civilisation. On the surface he may seem like a minor character, but he actually adds a lot in way of balancing the overall tone of the story. There is always room for an optimist.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

I make a joke towards the end of the story about residents of the outback being stuck in a musical time-warp. So I guess that anything by AC/DC or Cold Chisel would be fitting in that respect. If I had to choose just one song though, it would be “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. On my first night stick-picking, we all had a party after work and one of the guys picked up a guitar and just started playing it. By the chorus the whole group was singing along and it is one of those memories that has stuck with me whilst so many others have faded.

What is your writing environment like?

I can write pretty much anywhere. I even write in front of the TV sometimes! All of my best ideas come to me when I am on the move though. I can create entire scenes on a thirty minute jog around my local park. I always plot out a scene in my head and then when I sit down at the computer it is simply a case of playing around with words until what is on the page accurately reflects what was in my mind.

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

When I decided to self publish I had no idea that many indies hire professionals for covers and editing. I thought that we had to do everything ourselves, so that is what I did. I used a photograph taken during my own time in the outback and played around with it until I thought that it conveyed the appropriate tone for the book. It took me a while to get the effect that I wanted, but I would not change it for a pro design as it holds a direct link to the inspiration behind the story.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows? 

I have certainly found it a lot easier to make the content available than I thought it would be. Every positive review and word of encouragement is a high. I also never expected so many friendly communities of indie authors to exist, which is a bonus. The lows are the marketing. Everybody moans that traditional publishing is too corporate and places profit over art, but then there are so many trying to force the same business model onto self publishing. I think that self published books should be distinct from their bookstore counterparts. If we retain our identity as artists, than we can compete on a level playing field with the corporate chains, but once we start viewing our work as a product it greatly devalues it. Ultimately, if you see your story as nothing more than a disposable product, the reader will too.

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

I like the fact that nothing is set in stone. If something is not how you want it to be, you can always change it around until it is. The worst thing is the neurosis that writing breeds. Whether it is the guilt of not spending enough time with loved ones or just the insecurity of opening yourself up to being judged by everyone who reads your work; writing can be tough at times.

What is your advice to new writers?

Don’t try writing what you think readers are looking for. Try looking for readers that you think would be interested in what you want to write. If you were told from the start that you will never sell a single book, would you still write? If the answer is yes – you are a writer.

Who are your favourite authors?

John Grisham is my favourite for thrillers and I like the fact that all of his books stand alone, when it would be so easy for him to play it safe with a series (he does have YA series about a kid lawyer named Theodore Boone, but I think that stands apart from his main catalogue). Alex Garland is another favourite for similar reasons. To follow a novel like “The Beach” with “The Tesseract” (a complex story where the narrative only makes sense when unravelled into its constituent parts) is incredibly bold and then “Coma”, which is almost written in a stream of consciousness style, takes him off in yet another original direction. For non-fiction, I really like science writers such as Paul Davies, “How to Build a Time Machine” (he actually delivers on the title!) and Marcus Chown, who opens up the world of quantum physics to his reader in the way not unlike how the masked magician reveals his tricks.

What is your favourite book?

That is much too difficult a question to answer.  If books were wives I would be a polygamist.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)? 

It is a paperback of “The Uninvited” by Liz Jensen. I hate to admit it, but my wife is a much more eclectic reader than I and this was one of her recommendations. I try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction, so the next book I read will likely be a travel journal or something on speculative science. As a writer it is useful to know as much as possible about the world and how it works.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

Denial, then acceptance and finally, I will try to improve. One of the toughest parts of the job is knowing that the strongest opinions often come from those least qualified to have an opinion. A one star review says more about the reviewer than the author, but 3 stars can never be taken lightly. I’m only starting out so I’m lucky in that I have not received any harsh reviews yet. My wife was rather blunt when she read through the first draft of my third book, however. The opening chapter moved her to tears, but then the ending left her feeling “cheated” (admittedly, it was a tad over the top). Once I stopped sulking, I realised that she was right and completely rewrote the final three chapters.

What are you working on now?

I am undergoing the final edit of my second novel, “Stealing Asia” for self-publishing soon. Like “The Outback”, it was inspired by my days travelling, but it has more of an adventure/action tone to it. After that I will publish “Diamond Sky”, the first in a trilogy about scientists who create a machine that enables astral travelling, although it is really just an unconventional love story at heart.
Please provide me with all your links, websites, buy links etc, an author picture and any book cover pictures you want to be included

Website –  http://www.davidclarksonwriter.com

Amazon (US) Kindle – http://www.amazon.com/The-Outback-ebook/dp/B00CC3M9TI

Amazon (UK) Kindle – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Outback-ebook/dp/B00CC3M9TI

itunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-outback/id638567223?mt=11

KOBO – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-gb/books/The-Outback/Sk0unvv3e0qbsKkk3F9hWA

Amazon (UK) Paperback http://www.amazon.co.uk/Outback-Mr-David-Clarkson/dp/1484838858

Amazon (US) Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Outback-Mr-David-Clarkson/dp/1484838858

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