Interview with L.Leander

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I’d like to welcome L.Leander to my blog. I hope you enjoy her interview.

I am fascinated by your title Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders. Does Inzared have a particular meaning?

Thank you.  And no, it doesn’t have a special meaning.  I couldn’t come up with a name that was exotic and different enough for my character.  I brainstormed for several days and made up a lot of names before I settled on Inzared.  It fits her.

Why does Bertha Maude Anderson want to be part of a gypsy circus?

Bertha Maude has only ever known the small Appalachian town in North Carolina where she was born.  She has always dreamed of travel and excitement and her parents are very hard on her.  The don’t understand why she is so different from her brother, who is content to stay and work the farm.  It’s not that Inzared has always dreamed of becoming a circus performer, it is just the first chance she gets to escape.

What is it that fascinates you about the circus then and now?

Everything!  The sights, the sounds, the smells.  As a child I really loved the circus and that hasn’t changed at all.  I think as a creative person I like the total abandon and silliness, yet I know a lot of hours of work goes into performing.

Life was changing and difficult in the nineteenth Century, especially for women. During your research about European immigrants, what is one thing that that has remained a constant?

The Gypsy immigrants I researched were part of a clan.  The women were the backbone of life in their communities and stuck together.  The husbands could be a little wayward sometimes but wives stoically endured their marriages, raised children and worked right alongside their mates.

What do you want your readers to take away from Inzared?

That women are strong, independent people and can weather any storm they encounter.  And, I’d like them to take away the opportunity to be a child again and just enjoy something for no reason at all.

You compare yourself to Huck Finn, how are you like him?

Huck Finn was an oddball.  He had a creative mind and was unafraid to try new things.  Basically he chose his own path and even got others to join in following along.  Even when faced with adversity he didn’t back down but stood up for what’s right and his own convictions.  I don’t know if I’m an oddball (you’d have to ask my friends and family) but I definitely possess the other traits.

You are a songwriter. How is the songwriting process different (or the same) from writing a book (other than the length)?

You are trying to tell a story in four minutes or less when you write a song.  There’s no room for embellishment so the story has to be concise and well understood.  I write almost all of my music with a guitar.  It’s easy for me to put words to music and I write both as I go along.  A book gives you the opportunity to tell a fleshed-out story and you have more room for creative endeavor.  Both are equally satisfying to me although I have to approach them in different ways.

Do you feel one process is more emotional than the other?

Definitely songwriting.  I write country/folk music and a lot of it is based on true things I’ve seen, read or heard about.  I love being able to create a great tune and set a story to music.  You really want the listener to connect and listen to the words as they are moved by the music.

Is there a song that people would recognize that describes you?

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head – I’ve gone through a lot of trials and adversity and even though the raindrops fall I’ve managed to stay afloat and do what I love – write!

Will there be a sequel to Inzared?

The second segment of the series is titled Inzared the Fortune Teller and it’s currently available on Amazon.  I’ll be writing the third book in the series to be published in 2014.  It will follow Inzared’s son, Timmon into the Civil War years as he joins a regiment and fights for what he believes in.

L.Leander is a best-selling author, freelancer and award-winning songwriter.  Her first novel, Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders was published in June of 2012.  The second book in the series, Inzared, The Fortune Teller  (Book Two) is now available.  The author has also published a short non-fiction series titled 13 Extreme Tips for Writers, targeted to the beginning writer.

Ms. Leander manages a blog titled L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews that offers book promotion to Indie Authors.  The author currently resides between Wisconsin and Mexico. 

Books by L.Leander:

INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008FD5O1E

INZARED, The Fortune Teller (Book Two) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C83YH1K

Video Trailer for INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders:  http://youtu.be/lQHtsFQGAP0

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing http://amzn.to/Vlcq2v

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an eBook http://amzn.to/Xu0Qk0

L.Leander’s Website:  www.lleander.com

L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews: http://lleandersreviewsandinterviews.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/L.-Leander/e/B008IVRNU8

Facebook Page:  http://facebook.com/lleanderbooks

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/lleander11@lleander11

  The Fortune Teller is the second book in the Inzared series.

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Interview with Lily Saki

I hope that everyone who visits my blog today will take a minute and read this interview. Lily Saki is now 13 years old. She published her first book at the age of 12. This is a young lady with a remarkable future.

Welcome to my blog Lily, it is a pleasure to have you here today. You wrote “Alien Attack” and were published by Tate Publishing LLC when you were 12 years old. That is very impressive, how did you feel when your book went live?

 It felt like I had hit a milestone in life. I had finally become who I wanted to be, an author.

Your family is very supportive in your venture. How do you think that support impacted your life?

Well, knowing that I had my family behind my back, helped me know that I could go anywhere in life.

You have already had a book signing and “Alien Attack” is now in schools. Do your peers treat you any differently?

They don’t treat me that differently in school. I think that’s because I don’t really show to them that I have changed in any way. I’m the same Lily they know except that now i’m an author.

As a young lady what advice would you give to your peers about diving into the writing and publishing field?

First you should do some research and find out what you’re getting yourself into before you make a huge mistake…and…you need to LOVE writing!

Where did you draw your inspiration for your second novel “Strive?”

Well my mom was a nursing assistant for disabled people in wheelchairs. When my mom would come home from work she would tell me about all the people she cared for. I got inspired by what she told me and I started to wonder what It was like to be those people and how they lived their lives. Those question led me to begin to form Strive.

Would you give us a synopsis?

Strive is about a 14 year old year girl whose life is all about running. During the biggest race of her life, she gets hit by a truck. Her life changed dramatically from walking as a normal person to living in a wheelchair. Her life gets better when a scientist finds a new way for her to walk again, but she still goes through the struggle of walking again.

Do you have a third project in the works? Can you give us a peek about the story line?

Well I have many ideas for my third published book. I was thinking of writing a fictional biography or just fantasy fiction.

You are intelligent and appear to have strong political views. I usually don’t discuss religion, or politics on my blog, however, you are the future, what would you like to tell the leaders of our country?

I would like to tell the leaders of our country that we should focus on kids and not so much about adults. They should take away all those restrictions on kids and let us explore more. I never knew that I could publish a book at a young age until just recently. The world makes us kids seem so useless.

If you had the power to change one thing in the world, what would it be?

I would like to change the restrictions on kids and to make a kid never say “I wish I could do that, but only adults can so I can’t.”

What are your dreams and aspirations?

My dream is to become an author that inspires people. I want to inspire people to who they want to be.

I’d like to thank you for stopping by, and congratulate your parents for raising a splendid young lady.

Visit Lily at  http://lilyawsome20.wix.com/lilysakistrive

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INTERVIEW with DV BERKOM

I’d like to thank DV Berkom for being with me today. For all you action junkies, DV keeps you on the edge.

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DV, you once lived on a sailboat in Mexico, did that experience influence your writing in any way? Absolutely. That was the first instance I lived in another country for any real length of time. It gave me the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world, and it began my lifelong love of Mexico and her amazingly diverse population and landscape. Moving and/or traveling to a new place, especially a foreign country, helps me to become the observer and keeps things fresh and interesting.  You write from the male POV as much as possible. Men and women’s voices are so different, what made you choose this POV? Even though my main protagonists are both strong women, I do enjoy writing from the male point of view in order to shake things up and tell the story in the most interesting way possible. Human beings are fascinating, male or female. What drives them, why they choose one path over another—that’s what gets me going creatively. For the Kate Jones thriller series, I’m unable to switch POV, as it’s in first person, but for the Leine Basso ex-assassin novels, I get to play around and choose whoever has the most to lose in a scene. Leine usually gets the most page time, though. Do you find it difficult to write from that perspective? Not really. I’ve been fortunate to have had several great male friends throughout my life, many of whom were like the brothers I never had. I think because of that kind of familiarity the male point of view comes easily for me (as it does for women who grew up with a brother or three). As you know, writers are observers and I’ve been a keen observer of men since I can remember. I read that you like on the edge of your seat thrillers, where do you go mentally to find that turn for your reader? I’m an unapologetic action-movie junkie and love reading thrillers. If a book or movie takes too long to get to the point, I’m done. Not that the form has to be all action, all the time—that’s exhausting and gets old fast. But I do like tension on the page (and on the screen) and I try hard to deliver the same to readers.  The old adage, “Write what you like to read” makes a lot of sense. As for where do I go mentally, I think being able to write suspense has a lot to do with having an overactive imagination. If it scares me or makes my pulse race, then I work to find a way to convey that on the page. The main thing, though, is to create a character readers can relate to. If you don’t get that right, then it doesn’t matter what you do to the protagonist. The reader won’t care. Do you have anything in common with any of your protagonists? What would it be? I would hope that when the s**t hits the fan that I’m as gutsy at either Kate or Leine. I also have to confess that I’ve been as impulsive and imprudent as Kate. The good news is, as I’ve grown older I try to temper that impulsiveness by being as pragmatic as Leine. It’s still not easy. If Bad Traffick became a movie, what character would you want to play? I would have to play a passerby, since I can’t act my way out of a paper bag. If I knew how to act, it would be Leine Basso. She’s such a badass.  The stunts would be way fun. Have you reached a saturation point as far as your writing, or do you feel you have many miles to go? Many, many miles to go, believe me. I’m still constantly learning and hope that part never stops. That and the stories/characters are what keep me engaged. You are on an island, stuck for who knows how long, you can have one book, one author, and one actor companion along for the ride. What book, and who would the author and actor be? Only one of each? Crap. The book would have to be some sort of island survival guide. For the author, I’d pick someone who is a survivalist or has Special Forces experience, since I have no real practical knowledge other than what I’ve read or written (See? Pragmatic.) The actor would have to be someone with a good sense of humor but calm in a crisis, like I imagine George Clooney or Brad Pitt would be (heh—pragmatism can only take you so far…). Someone interesting to talk to would be key, since we’d all have a lot of time on our hands. What is your favorite quote, or one of them? Anything by Dorothy Parker. Here’s a line from one of her reviews: “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” Men are better writers at what? Why? I wouldn’t pigeon-hole writers as good or bad because they’re male or female. That doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t care if they’re male, female or something else entirely. I just want a good book.

Serial Date (Leine Basso Thriller #1): A retired assassin. A serial killer with a social agenda. (Available on Amazon.comBN.comSmashwords.com, iBookstore)
Bad Traffick (Leine Basso Thriller #2): Running out of time, ex-assassin Leine Basso must find twelve-year-old Mara before a ruthless gang of traffickers, or she will be lost forever. (Available on Amazon.com)
The Kate Jones Thriller Series (available on Amazon.comBN.com,Smashwords.com, iBookstore):
Bad Spirits
Dead of Winter
Death Rites
Touring for Death
Cruising for Death

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Ken La Salle Interview

ken-la-salle-website-icon2In your first memoir ‘A Grand Canyon’ you bare your heart and soul. Did you find it difficult to pen such a personal experience, or was it cathartic?

 I began A Grand Canyon with some specific ideas about what I wanted it to be. You see, I started writing just a few months before marrying my wife, Vicky, and I wanted to let go of a lot of personal baggage that had been tying me down. And so, just a few months before my wedding, I decided to let it all go in a book that I wrote to myself. That book turned out to be A Grand Canyon. I didn’t actually think it would go to the outside world until I was nearly done, which is when the bookseller in me wondered, “You think you could sell this.

As a result of that strange journey, writing A Grand Canyon didn’t turn out very difficult or cathartic. In fact, neither of those words so much as entered my vocabulary.

That is, until I was stuck for an ending.

I had told Vicky, “I’ll just write until I reach the present and let it end there.” But that never felt like a very good idea for an ending. Somehow, between the two of us, Vicky and I somehow came up with the idea of bringing me back to the place where I had tried to, had desperately wanted to, kill myself only a few years before. So, we planned a trip to the Grand Canyon.

 That part was difficult. As I mention in the book, I was terrified of going back there and I was afraid that Vicky feared I’d try to jump again. No matter how much pain and hurt I had left from the loss of my first wife, I still had plenty packed deep inside of me. But then, Vicky – who is not always an angel by any measure – showed me how lucky I was to have survived my first trip to the Grand Canyon, how much my life had improved. And in one day, one afternoon, I faced something both difficult and cathartic and got my ending to the book.

‘A Grand Canyon’ just became available in audiobook, how do you think this medium will affect your reading audience? As a writer, which do you think is more powerful, reading the words or hearing them?

About a thousand years ago, I used to be an actor. And despite my love of writing and the gratitude I feel towards being able to live as a writer, I miss acting the way you might miss a lost love. So, it wasn’t too difficult for me to realize that I could utilize my talents by recording my books as audiobooks. And once I did, there was no stopping me.

 In the end, I’m hoping that the move towards audiobooks will help grow my audience. My first audiobook, The Worth of Dreams The Value of Dreamers, showed me an audience I had never dreamed of attracting when it became iTune’s Top 10 audiobook in Finland. I hope A Grand Canyon continues this growth. And, in future months, I will be releasing three more audiobooks.

I can certainly understand the attraction to audiobooks because – don’t tell anyone – I never have the time to read anymore. Chances are if I’m reading, I’m writing. Audiobooks are how I get to enjoy most books these days. And I like how, in personal work like memoirs especially, the spoken word can add context to the writing.

 Your second book is ‘Climbing Maya’. It is an intriguing title; could you summarize Maya, the illusion of life?

Well, that’s the thing. It’s all illusory. Maya, the veil of illusion, can be seen all around us if you take a moment to look.

 I used the word “Maya” in the title specifically because success is such a difficult thing to understand. Everyone seems to have their own ideas about success, or their own “connotation” as you mention below. My job in writing Climbing Maya, as I saw it, was to find a way for everyone to understand success from a common ground. Climbing Maya doesn’t tell you how to achieve success, but it does lay out a common framework so we can all approach it from the same point of view.

We all have our own connotation of success, what is yours?

Would it be rotten of me to say “Read the book?”

 Okay, then let me put it this way. Success is very simple. And it’s very close. The minute someone else tells you success is over there or over there, when someone tries to tell you it’s real estate or drugs or money – because we’re ultimately talking about fulfillment here – you can immediately stop listening. Anything that is “over there” isn’t about you because you are right there. You see? Odds are, it’s that person’s way of making you buy into their success.

 And while Success is simple and close, it isn’t easy. It’s like one of those games that are easy to grasp but difficult to master. In Climbing Maya, I show just what that means and how success is a lifelong journey. Every step is more fulfilling than the last.

Humans are incredibly frail, why do you think that the ability to push through is given to some,  when others give up on life?

I’ve just never been smart enough to quit.

 Listen, as a writer, I certainly haven’t been an overnight success. I’m nearly 50 and every day is a struggle. And I have to face a world filled with people who are completely apathetic toward my plight.

 And yet… here’s the thing. I’ve known a lot of good writers. I’ve known people who could knock your socks off from across the room… sometimes when your socks were across the room. And when they’ve given up, I’ve asked myself, “What’s so special about me? If they couldn’t cut it, what makes me think I can?”

 But, then, what’s the alternative? Should I give up my dream because others do? That doesn’t make any sense. So, I take what little talent I have and I work at it and I work and I work. As tough as it is sometimes, the more I work the better I get. And now, I’m probably as good as some of those writers I knew who already gave up.

Your pod cast ‘So Dream Something’ hosts a variety of writers and artists.  What do you want the listener to take away with them?

The same thing I take away after every episode.

 When I began working on So Dream Something, I had a set list of questions. Some of those questions asked about getting discouraged and giving up. And I included them because, so often, I feel discouraged. I feel like giving up. And yet, the fine folks I have had the privilege to speak with in my podcast – every single one of them – keep at it and they don’t let discouragement get to them. They believe in themselves and they believe in their dreams. They are superhuman, really.

 And each and every one of them shows us that we can be superhuman, too. We all have the capacity to dream, to believe in ourselves, and give it all we’ve got.

 I didn’t realize how inspiring So Dream Something would be back in December when I sat down with Vicky and said, “I think I want to do a podcast.” Probably because I hadn’t had the opportunity to speak with my guests. But every single episode leaves me smiling and, I guess, that what I want my listeners to take away, too.

What is Recovering the Self?

Recovering the Self is a few things.

 It’s a journal of hope and healing, both online and in print.

 It’s also a magazine that occasionally runs articles by me. And it’s a website that posts a monthly piece I write.

 For me, however, Recovering the Self is like a water fountain in the desert. You see, several years ago I found myself finally healing from the loss of my first wife and the repercussions that resulted. And it was a whole new feeling for me, this “healing”. I didn’t know what to do. Vicky had encouraged me to take up cycling and it was the first time in my life I had undertaken anything approaching “athletic”.

 On the day when I cycled my first century, which is a 100 mile ride, I decided I wanted to write about it. I wanted to talk about the little victories each of us experiences that help us get through life, that help us heal. After I wrote the piece, and I wish I could remember just how, it somehow made its way to Ernest Dempsey, the editor at Recovering the Self. After publishing Little Victories in the magazine, Ernest asked if I would like to write more. With a little hustling on my part, this turned into a monthly piece on pursuing your dreams, which turned into an audiobook, and so on.

 The only reason I write every month on pursuing your dreams, just as I host a podcast on following your dreams, is because that’s really become my specialty: chasing that dream and not giving up. It’s what I can speak about with authority.

 I don’t think of myself as a self-help writer or inspirational. I’m just a writer trying to speak honestly about what I know about life. Somehow, between Recovering the Self and So Dream Something, I’ve been lucky enough to share that.

You are sending a message of hope. In one sentence tell us why one should have hope in the face of adversity?

Because the alternative isn’t exactly a day at the park.

 I don’t know if my writing provides hope. At best, I would hope it provides a message of realism. It’s easy to give up; I know all about that. And I lost a life I built as a result of that. So, giving up is not the answer. Understanding your place in the world. Knowing yourself. Being honest with yourself. And letting nothing stand between yourself and happiness – those are closer to the answer, I think.

What advice would you give to a writer who isn’t confident exposing their raw emotions?

My advice would be not to worry too much. Go out and enjoy a day doing what you love. Have a good meal. Read a good book. Love your fellow human beings if such a thing is at all possible.

 I think the ability to honestly talk about your emotions comes when we are honestly able to face our emotions. And this comes with time and maturity, with experience and acceptance. If you want that, it’ll come to you.

 In my case, I’m a comedy writer. So, I wrote a lot of jokes (most of them bad jokes) before I found a place where I could honestly look at myself and said, “Oh, I know him.” So, don’t worry. Do what you love. If you want it, it’ll happen.

What was the defining moment when you chose life over death?

Honestly? I have no idea.

 Not the best answer, is it? I suppose I could say that my first trip to the Grand Canyon, the day I wanted to kill myself, was that defining moment. I faced a storm unlike any I’d seen before and faced my mortality before I even reached the Grand Canyon. And yet, I don’t know if that was it. That was the first time, but it wasn’t the last.

 A Grand Canyon is about finding happiness, acceptance, and love inside ourselves. It’s about allowing ourselves to be ourselves, even when we don’t want to be. In Climbing Maya, I took this a step further and looked for actual success. But finding success did not mean an end to the story, which will continue in my third memoir (which I recently completed), The Day We Said Goodbye.

 And even through all that, there hasn’t been a defining moment. Since then, I’ve learned that there’s a part of me that can talk about pursuing your dreams. I’ve learned that there are others out there who can inspire me in each episode of So Dream Something. I’ve written more books and look forward to following my dream wherever it goes.

 My defining moment has been every moment since I got to the Grand Canyon and turned around and went home. That moment has been a life in the making and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.

www.kenlasalle.com  http://www.youtube.com/watch????????????????????????????????????

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