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Interview with David Lundgren, author of ‘Rhapsody’


David LundgrenDavid Lundgren was born in “a pokey town in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia)” and spent the first 18 years of his life there. He grew up in an environment “that seemed to combine the best elements of both an American and English heritage with a hybrid African lifestyle.” Lundgren is also a musician, which gave him the creative spark to create the Melforger series. He spends his time in San Francisco “teaching, enjoying frequent – and often frustrating – games of tennis, trying to learn the blues on piano, attacking Sudoku puzzles with relish, and attempting to make some headway with the ever-increasing pile of books that is waiting patiently at my bedside, developing its own gravity.”

His latest book is the fantasy/science fiction, Rhapsody.

For More Information

About the Book:

Rhapsody 2In RHAPSODY, the Forest has been completely healed and the battles of Books I and II are over, but a corrosive blackness that has been haunting Raf still seems to be growing in strength. They return to Miern to stop a traitor from assuming control of the city, but find themselves caught up in a deadly plot as they race against time to stop a dark and horrific power being unleashed on them all.

For More Information

  • Rhapsody is available at Amazon.
  • Read the first chapter here.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview! I’d like to know more about you as a person first. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Firstly, thanks for having me!
I try to make a habit of staying active on a daily basis. Writing is so often a sedentary, cerebral activity that I’m nervous about sacrificing my health for it and try to get outside and move around as much as possible (healthy-body, healthy-mind, etc). I’m a keen tennis player, dabble in golf and cricket, and am an avid NFL fan (that’s what you get for being an international). I also enjoy cycling in the perfect California weather. Along with writing (and voracious devouring of other people’s books, of course) I’ve been a Lead Instructor for a huge Bay Area innovation camp, worked as a curriculum-designer, and I also deliver creative writing workshops at schools locally and internationally. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t also confess a sad addiction to Sudoku and the cryptic crosswords that the Brits love so much.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Strangely enough, I’ve just returned from doing a phenomenal week-long hike in Iceland, and I’m really struggling to think of ways to top it for sheer ‘spectacular vista’ value. The landscape there was such a strange – almost alien – mix of majestic mountains adorned with electric lime-green moss and sweeping volcanic plains, mixed in with glaciers and the occasional sulphur vent, that it was hard to hold back the imagination in throwing new ideas at me every second step. That said, while I am originally from Africa (Zimbabwe, to be precise) and have been lucky enough to live in some beautiful surroundings, I have never seen the jungle. Rhapsody (and The Melforger Chronicles as a whole) is set in extreme settings – all of which I’ve witnessed first-hand, such as enormous forest, deserts, savannah plains and giant, misty mountains. But perhaps there’s a whole new series waiting to be written with a trip to the jungles of Indonesia or Brazil? (any excuse to go traveling…)

What do you find fascinating about the YA fantasy genre?

‘Young Adult’ is a wonderfully creative, unrestrained genre with a rapt audience who are always thirsting for new and original ideas. And Fantasy lets your imagination take flight and create entire, magical worlds. For an only child who grew up in a TV-less third world country, my creative side was inspired by the worlds of Tolkien, Eddings, C S Lewis, Pratchett (to mention but a few). Creativity is one of our species’ most endearing and powerful talents, and the YA Fantasy genre – more than any other, I feel – gives us room to create and inspire and be original.

When was the adrenalin rush – writing that first chapter or the last and why?

With the first book in the trilogy, Melforger, the first massive rush of adrenalin was when I reached 100 pages and suddenly realized that all the tiny steps, all the massive effort that led to incremental, hard-to-discern bits of progress, were worth it. It was absolutely a light-bulb moment.

With Rhapsody, it was the last chapter, wrapping up a trilogy into which I’d invested so much of my time and effort and personality. The story and all its tangled plots and wild adventures, its bizarre and engaging characters, its intense climax and unexpected twists – was suddenly over. The last chapter seemed to be a strange contrast of the gentle winding down of the story set against –for me – the breath-taking excitement of a wonderful journey being over, the die being cast.

What is the most important thing about your book that we as a reader should know?

It’s unique and fresh. The extreme settings, the ‘magic’, the different societies in it – they’re completely original. And one particular element in the book that I think is most engaging, something incredibly important to me and to the main character, Raf – although you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t have some innate connection to it – is music.

Your best friend is an aspiring author and his book really sucks. What would you say to him or her?

Whenever I speak to fellow writers, I encourage them – really encourage them – to develop a thick skin and see feedback as a gift. Story-writing is presumably, by definition, something for others to read. Unless you know that it is failing in that endeavor, you can’t learn and improve. I would have an honest sit-down with them (and have done this, more than once) and run through my own experiences with feedback and critiques, and how best to take them and turn them into a plan to move forward and get better.

You’re sitting at a dinner party and seated next to NY bestselling authors. They are intimidating indeed and one of them remarks that your book sucks. What would you say to him or her?

I have a thick skin; I would absolutely thank them for being honest (particularly if no one else has bothered to let me know) and keep to myself the opinion that not everyone will like my work. If I could get a few drinks down them, I’d then get stuck into grilling them about how they write, their process, and see how many tips and useful bits of advice I could extract before they wised/sobered up.

You catch someone sitting on a park bench reading your book whether on a e-reader or the real McCoy and you walk over to him or her and what do you say?

This has happened to me and, although the heart-rate immediately goes up, I’d always approach them and ask them about the book and how they’re enjoying it. I suppose there’s a chance that they hate it, in which case I’d inform them of my decision not to get the ‘piece of rubbish’ for myself and flee. However, if they have a more detailed opinion, like I said, I have a thick skin and am ALWAYS keen to get feedback and find out what people think. If they’re enthusiastic about it, and if I’m thinking clearly, I might even ask them to get in contact with me so I can post a free signed copy (for them or any teen relatives). In an age where there are literally millions of books available for people to read, the chance to make a personal impression on someone is invaluable – and not only is it in my nature to be gregarious (and appreciative for someone reading my book) but it’s also probably just good marketing sense.

You’ve just been offered the Pulitzer Prize. Who do you thank?

Who don’t I thank?? Writing is wonderful but often challenging – even excruciating. It’s such a personal thing. Humps and bad days and writing-blocks and brutal feedback and self-doubt are just a few of the hurdles that try to trip you up and beat your spirit down when you are a fledgling writer. And when these set-backs threaten to dampen or even crush your ambitions, making it through is often only possible with the support of key people in your life. I had ridiculously unswerving support from my family, solid and useful and often brutal-but-honest feedback from my guinea-pig reading group (so essential as a writer!), and a kind of steely, unconditional belief from my partner whose support (often verging on coercion and bullying) was truly uplifting and energizing.

Any final words?

I hope you enjoy the trilogy as much as I enjoyed writing it! Feedback/reviews/rants/raves all welcome – I appreciate your support and interest. Thanks for your time!


Interview with Randy Coates, author of More Precious Than Rubies



Title: More Precious Than Rubies

Author: Randy Coates

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 174

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Paul Brager is twelve when his father tells the story of Iduna and her apples. Mr. Brager always tells stories before bed to entertain Paul’s little brother, Adrian—a ritual that has become even more important since their mother died. Iduna was a goddess who grew apples that made the gods younger and stronger, but one day she disappeared, along with her apples. Paul doesn’t think much of the myth; he has other things on his mind.

Paul and his best friend, Chad Tremblay, are excited to start the school year as seventh graders at Dorian Heights Public School. Even when they hear about the new principal, Mr. Theisen, they aren’t worried about ending up in his office. When Paul finally meets the principal, however, he finds him to be strange, mysterious, and extremely fond of apples. That’s when things start going wrong.

Theisen develops an uncomfortable interest in Paul, claiming he once knew Paul’s father. It becomes apparent to Paul and Chad that Theisen is after something, maybe some kind of treasure—and it involves the Brager family. Paul believes his family must be protected and that Theisen must be stopped. Still, he can’t get the story of Iduna’s apples out of his head; there seems to be an odd connection to the tale his father told. He and Chad want to know the answers, but learning them may put their lives in danger.

 

amazon

 

 

  1. Could you please tell us a little about your book?

 

More Precious Than Rubies takes place mostly in an elementary school where the main character, Paul Brager, is bothered by the idea of a new, mysterious principal in his school.

 

Paul soon learns that the principal is a reincarnation of an evil Norse God and is somehow linked to Paul’s family and who wants somethingfrom his family.

 

Paul incorporates the help of his teacher and friends to find some way of protecting his family from the principal.

 

  1. Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

 

The book is based upon the revisitation of happenings in Norse mythology: namely,the story of lduna’s apples. lduna had an orchard of apples that, when eaten by the Gods, brought them strength and vitality.

In my novel,the apples make a reappearance and, because of their power, one might consider them “more precious than rubies,” gems that are comparable in colour and value.

 

  1. What cause are you most passionate about and why?

 

As a teacher, what troubles me most is how illiteracy is a prominent obstacle in the lives of people, especially in children. It may be more conspicuous in third world countries; however, it is still an affliction here in North America.

This is why I have a great opportunity to turn kids on to reading and writing and that both disciplines involve more than just text-messagi ng. By talking to my students about why I love to read and why I love to write, I hope to influence them to love these practices, too.

  1. Do you have any rituals you follow when you finish a piece of work?

 

I always reread my finished product after a few days of just having written it. Giving some rest time in between allows me to know if Ithink it is good writing.

 

Obviously,there will always be mistakes and there will always be sections that Iknow I can write better. So Isuppose that revision is always a ritual for me, as well as for other writers.

 

Unfortunately, Ihave no huge,celebratory parties of debauchery when Ifinish writing a project. I’m a good boy.

 

  1. Who has influenced you throughout your writing career?

 

Probably the most influential person in my life was a teacher who taught me English Literature in high school. Sadly, he died ten years ago.

 

He taught me the value of the written word and was a writer of poetry. He knew how to communicate creatively with his students and he made us discover meaning in literary passages where we thought there was none.

 

My parents have also been an influence. Though never writers themselves, they always encouraged me to pursue my interests and never dissuaded me from my creativity although I don’t think they always understood it.

 

  1. What are some of your long term goals?

 

At this point in life,half my life over, I foresee myself retiring from the teaching profession in the next five years. I will probably still volunteer in schools, helping children realize the importance of reading and writing.

Of course, Iwill continue to write voraciously, seeking that ever-evasive goal of having my work published traditionally. Thus far,I have self-published.

And I will always travel as long as I am healthy. Travelling,to me,is the best education.

 

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.

Sifting Through Mud by Demetria Foster Gray


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFront Cover Only - SiftingThroughMud resized small
Contact: Demetria Foster Gray
(336) 285-1919
demetria@demetriafostergray.com
www.demetriafostergray.com

 

SIFTING THROUGH MUD
A stunning tale of friendship, love, and sacrifice

October 2014 – Can death bring a wife and mistress closure? Sifting Through Mud explores the relationship of a widow, and the mistress she didn’t know her husband had.
The death of Nyla’s husband comes as a shock to everyone except Nyla. What’s shocking to Nyla is her inability to grieve his death like a typical loving wife should grieve. But Nyla isn’t a typical loving wife. She’s a woman in desperate need to breathe. The oxygen in her life has long gone, and the astonishing thing she feels from her husband’s death is relief, not grief.
Even more astonishing is the rare and unexpected friendship which develops between Nyla and her dead husband’s mistress. However, Nyla isn’t aware her new best friend is a former mistress. And as their friendship deepens into an unshakable bond, Nyla is forced to face secrets her husband took with him to his grave. This means she has to sift through mud to unravel the truth. A truth that’s better off dead.
Yet through it all, the one thing which makes Nyla violently breathless, is the exact same thing that causes her to finally breathe.

Book Information:
Title:
Sifting Through Mud                                       Author: Demetria Foster Gray
ISBN-13:
978-1500669331                                        Pages: 276

 

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