08 Dec 2013

“September Ends” by Hunter S. Jones

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“September Ends” by Hunter S. Jones is a wonderful bittersweet love story, told in various writing styles and narratives. Diary entries, emails, chat transcribes and poems tell the story of Liz / Elizabeth and her love life. This patchwork of impressions and plot segments worked surprisingly well for me, even the poetry which is a genre I don’t often enjoy.

The initial diary entry and opening of the novel records the death of Liz’s brother in a traffic accident and her subsequent depression. The scene was very emotional and moving and I found it hard to jump ten years ahead and let go of this powerful first strand of the plot.
What follows is the email exchange between Liz and some business executive, interspersed with poems from a poets blog. There are also some erotic chat room transcribes but they are important for the character development and fit well into the novel. It took me a while to settle into this dual telling but I am glad I persevered for it all comes together beautifully. A stroy of love, loss and survival.
The story ends another ten years later with a last diary entry and a last segment of spectator’s narrative.
September Ends is cleverly plotted and well written, it has a strong story, real emotions and excellent characters. The book is an emotional journey well worth your while.

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR:

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

Thank you for asking. My name is Hunter S. Jones writer and entertainment blogger from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I notice things people do and say that most people do not even notice. The oddest movement will catch my eye, or maybe simply a turn of phrase will capture my imagination. As a person, I am a good friend, loyal and sometimes even dependable.

What made you become a writer? Have you always written?

Writing has always been a part of my life in some manner, yes. Ms Jones Official 11-13

Tell us about September Ends. When did you decided to write this story?

The concept of September Ends presented itself earlier in 2013. After the poet collaborator and I discovered the three main characters, the synopsis was developed. I found it the other day. The original synopsis is so different than the finished book. It is interesting how you can have a plot so very planned and prepared, yet once The Muse calls, the story takes on its own life. 

How did you come up with the concept for the narratives?

That is such a fantastic question and I really don’t know. I wanted the story to be something different, beyond the poetry and prose aspect. The story wanted to be told in the way we communicate today. It’s written in the manner in which we process written information now.  

However, I have no idea how I came up with the POVs we used. I wrote each chapter separately, almost like a short story. That way, if my collaborator wanted to omit a chapter, we would not have to re-do an entire section. That may have a lot to do with how the story weaves in and out of each character’s life.  

What genre would you say it falls under and what is your target audience?

September Ends is a different kind of love story. It is a Romance, a contemporary romance however it is very much of today’s world. The target audience is Romance & Poetry readers, with enough erotic elements and supernatural glimpses to keep my fans intrigued yet appeal to a wider audience.

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

This one is easy! From idea to published form, September Ends took almost six months to complete.

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

The creative is always the easiest for me. Once The Story finds me, it’s as if all I have to do is write it down. Edits and re-writes are agonizing for me. Gruesome, seamlessly-never-ending-phases of detail.

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

There is a message. The poet & I were very adamant that the message be a vital part of the story. Everything is so easy to obtain in today’s world. What seduces us to believe it is love is maybe not love at all. Maybe it is what you wish love to be. Then when you discover love, true love, you will know it. You will understand the difference when you love right.

Yes, some readers and reviewers pick up on the message. For the literature aficionados, there is a Verbal Imperative used in September Ends which speaks the message of the entire book. I will send a gift to the first person who spots it. 

What do you like most about your characters?

The three main characters in September Ends are so flawed. They are almost human in their frailty. Being Southern I know that the most flawed personalities have the greater chance of forgiveness and redemption. That gives the characters more depth. Hopefully.

Are you like any of them?

Yes and no.

Who would play the characters in a film?

Anyone who is as excited about the book would be fine with me! Secretly, I believe Russell Brand could play The Poet. Yes, I know he isn’t known for dramatic roles but I believe he has a depth of character which could capture the spirit of Jack O. Savage.

What are your next projects?

There are a number of projects underway yet nothing I can share with you yet. Watch this space, so you say in the UK.

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

My life is chaos right now. Luckily, I have a husband, friends and a writing group which keep me occupied with creative ventures. I am very thankful for all of them, their support and the love and laughter they bring.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

Everyone is an influence-some more than others.  I will commit to favor(u)ite album – Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones.

What are your views on independent publishing?

It’s great! We are in a golden age of publishing, a veritable Renaissance for writers, authors and poets. The Penny Dreadful of 200 years ago is the new 99 cent novel.  

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

I recommend Christoph Fischer’s books and all of my publications. J Actually, I recommend any and all indie books & authors.

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

She’s such a nice girl from such a nice family. Where did she get such a crazy imagination?

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

Animal? Cat / Colo(u)r? Red / Outdoor Activity? Walking to my car or to a restaurant or on the country lane my farm is on.

What would you take to a remote island?

Johnny Depp, champagne, wine, a guitar, books & a hat.

Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?

What if I answer this question in the next interview…

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

Watch this space…

Buy links:

Kindle

http://www.amazon.com/September-Ends-ebook/dp/B00FJD05YO/ref=la_B009SLNLKS_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380674120&sr=1-6

Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/September-Ends-Hunter-S-Jones/dp/1492817333/ref=la_B009SLNLKS_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385618359&sr=1-1

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Facebook:

www.Facebook.com/huntersjones111

www.Twitter.com/huntersjones101

www.Pinterest.com/huntersjones

There is a Pinterest board for September Ends

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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 ★
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05 Aug 2013

Andy Szpuk: “Poetry and Fate” and “Stories for Homes”

2 Comments Book Reviews

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Today I am pleased to welcome back novelist and poet Andy Szpuk. He’ll be talking about his poetry and about Stories for Homes, a charitable  anthology he has contributed to.

Poetry and Fate

 

My interest in poetry blossomed when I was working on a historical memoir of my father’s life, Sliding on the Snow Stone (That Right Publishing 2011). The story opens in Ukraine in 1932 and is one man’s journey through famine, Soviet terrors, Nazi occupation during World War Two and subsequent eviction from his beloved homeland. It’s one man’s quest to get back home, and for personal and cultural freedom.

I included, with permissions, English translations of some sections of ‘Kobzar’ by Taras Shevechenko, the most revered of Ukrainian poets, and each chapter of Sliding on the Snow Stone opens with a Ukrainian proverb. At that stage I resisted the notion of writing any of the memoir as poetry, although there is a short section in chapter one adapted from a poem of my father’s, and because of that, perhaps seeds were planted.

As a debut, Sliding on the Snow Stone proved to be a powerful and profound experience, and I knew finding a project to follow it wouldn’t be easy.

One day, almost by accident, a year or so after it was published, I constructed a short 12 line poem, called ‘History’, all about Sliding on the Snow Stone, and it served to act as a closure of sorts. A burden was somehow shifted, and I then knew it was time to move on.

Not that I’d wasted any time. Following the publication of Sliding on the Snow Stone I set up my blog: One Author’s Very Own Discovery Channel (http://andyszpuk.wordpress.com), to showcase my work and to engage with readers and the outside world. I also worked on a couple of side projects, while looking for another full-length work to undertake. And I wrote poems.

Then, one day, I discovered a story I knew was the one to tackle. My mother’s family comes from a region in the Carpathian Mountains called Lemkovyna, an area split across the borders of Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia. At the conclusion of World War Two, the Ukrainian Partisan Army remained active in battling for a free Ukraine, and regular ambushes took place on Polish or Soviet patrols. My mother’s people, the Ukrainian Lemkos, provided support to the partisans, whose activities continued into 1947, until an event occurred that was to trigger an act of revenge. A Polish General was murdered in an ambush by the partisans, and retribution arrived in the mountains. To break support to the partisans, the Polish Army came to carry out a forced resettlement.

The working title is ‘Fate and Circumstance’, and it already includes some poems, reflecting the thoughts of one of the characters, Kasper, who runs away to join the partisans.

My intention is to preface the novel with my own translation of one of Shevechenko’s works, a 16 line poem called ‘Fate’, from the abridged version of ‘Kobzar’. It was quite a challenge to translate even such a short piece, it took several attempts to get it into shape, and my appreciation of the talents of translators has grown as a result:

 

 

FATE

Those poor, starving 
wretches, my brothers and sisters,
All over Ukraine, eked out an existence,
Without mercy, you 
crushed them under your boot,
But, as a young boy, you led me to school,
You guided me well, and
 I quenched my thirst,
For knowledge and
 learning, wisdom and verse.
‘One day, we’ll be
 something, so learn well, my love’,
Your words drove me
on, they were enough,
To make sure I listened 
and learned so much more,
But your words were 
deception, for still I am poor.
My eyes on a road
 that turned onto nowhere,
I followed you
 blindly, I followed you square.
But my heart is still 
open and so is my hand,
And we still walk
 together all over this land.
We journey to glory, we 
wander so far,
And my legacy rests in the depths of my heart.

 

This poem sees Shevchenko reflecting on the fortunate circumstances that enabled him to get an education, but his affinity with the common man is evident.

‘Fate and Circumstance’ is multi-themed, with three interwoven storylines. I hope to get it finished soon.

 

 

STOP PRESS!!

I was lounging on social media one day when a post caught my eye – it was a request for submissions to a short stories anthology called ‘Stories for Homes’. I took a look at the WordPress blog and then emailed the editor Sally Swingewood to ask whether she would consider poetry. She said to send some over, so I did, and then received an email a few weeks ago informing me my poems were to be included. It’s now available on Amazon Kindle! The proceeds from ‘Stories for Homes’ go to the housing organization, Shelter. It’s a worthy cause, and by way of a preview here’s one of my poems from the collection:

 

The Sign Said For Sale

The sign said for sale

And when the people moved out

Removal men came

To heave away the piano

Along with the beds and everything else

Until the house was empty

And standing forlorn

Like a dog without a tail

The letterbox flapped

And deliveries of junk mail

Landed in a pile

Gathering layers of dust

On a worn out, left behind, welcome mat

The doorbell didn’t ring

And no footsteps

Ran down the hall to answer it

The doors were all locked and bolted

Lamps left on timer switches

The seashells in the bathroom

Long gone with the goldfish

Now and then, people arrived

To poke around and peek in corners

Until, one day, a ray of sunshine came

And took the for sale sign down

Once again, the house could breathe

The world was returning

It might be two-year old terrors

Making mucky marks on the landing walls

Or people with a taste

For Sky dishes and wallpaper paste

The house opened its doors

And let them in

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Here are some links to ‘Stories for Homes’ 

on Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

More Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Sliding-On-The-Snow-Stone/dp/1466305681/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365580081&sr=8-1&keywords=szpuk

http://andyszpuk.wordpress.com

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15739485-droplets-of-verse-volume-one

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12069307-the-history-of-rock-and-roll-in-99-tweets

 

 

 

 

© Andy Szpuk 2013

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