Tag: best interviews on the web

An Interview With Artist And Dancer Oliver-Paul Adams



Oliver-Paul Adams is a professional dancer and an aspiring artist; here is a link to his website:


Q: How did you originally get into ballet?


A:  I was three years old and my older sister was taking weekly ballet classes. I would stand outside the full length windows with my nose pressed up against them peering into the studio. It made more sense for me to be in the studio than outside of the studio making the windows dirty! So before I knew it I was in the studio with a tiny pair of black leather ballet shoes on every Saturday morning practicing my good toes, naughty toes exercises…. little did I know that ballet would define me!


Q: Where you a featured dancer or were you in the core group of dancers?


A:  When I was at my vocational ballet school in England I would work with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in all the company’s large scale productions including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet. Whilst still training with my school my teacher and former ballet icon Irek Mukhamedov would tell the guys in my class that you don’t join a ballet company to be a Corps De Ballet (group ensemble), so I took that advice on board and took my first contract at 18 as a Demi-Soloist dancer in the Slovakian National Ballet. After dancing there I did some traveling through my dancing and settled in California where I danced many Soloist and Principal roles.


Q: How many hours a day did you exercise when you were a dancer?


A: The last ballet company that I danced with was 9.30am to 6.30pm five or six days a week. As a student it was very similar so you never realize how much work you are doing until you take a moment to step back and understand how grueling your job is! Ballet dancers are some of the fittest and hardest working human beings that walk this earth, and the fact that they are doing it to create this beautifully amazing art is something that I will always respect.


Q: What is the main reason aspiring dancers fail?






A: Although there can be many reasons why aspiring ballet dancers may fail I do believe that if the dancer works hard and dedicates every drop of sweat to this art then they can make it to become a professional dancer.


Q: .When did you start painting?


A: I would enjoy sketching when I was a child, every school book would have my sketches on pages meant for math or science. I would get home from school to my grandmas house and spend hours drawing cartoons until my mum would pick me up. My dancing then took over and became the passion that I dedicated my time to. A few years ago I was injured and took time off of ballet, during this time I need to find my creativity so I headed to the art store and picked up the paints! That was enough to relight the fire!


Q: Who are some of your artistic influences?


A: Most of my artistic influences were my art teachers at school! They were always the teachers that I felt understood me and wanted to explore my creativity. I always looked forward to art classes and saw them as a sanctuary, somewhere where I could be expressive and creative. I remember thinking how cool it was being able to listen to a radio during class, the art teachers were the coolest!


Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your art?



A:  I dance, I teach dance and I paint. I would consider all of them my day job. The best thing is that none of them feel like a day job because its not a chore. I’m blessed being able to do the things that I love for a living. Most of the time when I am dancing I am dancing other peoples choreography, I am the paint! When I’m painting I am the choreographer, I choreograph the paint! This gives me the full freedom of expression!


Q: You paint a lot of celebrities, what interests you about them?


A:  I’ve always been attracted to icons, I would say I paint icons as oppose to celebrities. It’s interesting to me why these people became massive icons. They are people that changed industries, if not the world.


Q: What is the biggest misconception we Americans have about Europeans?


A: Europeans not sure, British, we drink all our beer warm.



Q: What famous painter would you most like to teach to dance?


A: Good question. I would say a Post Impressionist painter like Van Gogh. His brush strokes were highly expressive, bold and dramatic. As a dancer its important to show the technique but to also interpret the steps in your own way. He dedicated his life to his art and although dying young he left a huge footprint of more than 2100 artworks. Dedication and hard work makes the dancer and the artist.


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.


An Interview With Writer Christine Roundy



Christine Roundy coauthored the book, A Time to Speak with Timothy Becker; here is a link to the book’s Amazon page:



Q: What is, A Time to Speak about?


A: A Time to Speak is about the sexual abuse of fifteen year old Timothy Becker by his parish priest.  Not only does the book cover this eight month part of his life, it builds on his story about his adoption at one month old.  Timothy also faces other challenges in his youth.  He was born with a club foot and developed epilepsy in kindergarten, an illness that put him on phenobarbital until he was nearly sixteen.  It is also his story of suppression – shoving all his horrific memories into the nether regions of his mind.  But his suppression brings out multiple personalities, anger issues, and a will to survive when all his memories surge back some twenty-seven years later.  A Time to Speak marks his healing as he finally comes to terms with the challenges of his life.


Q:  How did you meet Timothy?


A: I met Timothy thru my husband.  Mac drives for a transportation company and has picked up Timothy on several occasions and taken him to Park City, Utah where he works.  Tim has spoken of his abuse on these taxi rides and my husband wondered if I was interested in doing an interview with him.  I have written other biographies for people and I have written many fiction stories, two which have been published.


Q: What interested you about his story?


A: I was interested in Tim’s story because I believe that the perpetrators of any child abuse and molestations must pay the consequences for such vile behavior!  Our little ones are put in a no win situation.  Rarely does a child tell anyone what is happening to them.  They are threatened not to tell.  They are told that bad things will happen to their families and to them.  In many cases it does.  Nevertheless, it causes untold trauma to children of any age that they cannot comprehend it all.  The trauma is ongoing.


Q: There have been a lot of books and films about abusive priests recently. What makes this story unique?


A: Tim’s story is unique in a few ways.  First, those on his board of review within the Catholic Diocese which he attended, treated him as if he were a liar and mentally incompetent, stipulating that fifteen therapy sessions was charity only, and they hoped he got better.  Second, He had the courage to put his name out publicly.  Where other abuse victims were speaking out anonymously or giving only their initials, Timothy gave his whole name, and named his abuser.  Newspapers across the nation picked up the story and it stayed in the headlines for a while.


Q: Do you use people’s real names in the book?


A: Tim and I debated this question.  Of course we asked permission from friends and family members if we could use their names and they opted for privacy.  Consequently, we decided that the only real name we’d use would be Tim’s.  By means of public interest we could legally put in the name of his abuser, but we chose to change that name also.  Who really knows how this story will end in the future?


Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?


A: I am a secretary by day and a writer by night.  I work for my local school district in the Youth in Custody Department.  I collect data and school records for incoming students that are in State’s Custody.  We are concerned with the education of each student, whether they be five or eighteen, we make sure they are placed in the most productive environment.  This job has not yet influenced my writing in any way.  We can only see what may happen as the years go by.


Q: What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?


A: I think the most difficult thing about writing this book was when I fell very ill for about two months last winter and I had to stop working on it.  It is a disconcerting topic.  I think also that by reading it over and over again I became desensitized and I began to wonder if it was worth my time.  Of course it was, and I don’t regret any time I spent on this book or this topic.  These are stories that need to be told. These are horrors that need to be spoken about, and these are people who need a listening ear.


Q: What is your writing process?


A: My writing process?  Hum!  Mostly I dream my stories.  I’d say my writing process is very haphazard.  I jot things down. I type myself e-mails and add them in later.  I’ll sit for hours composing right on my PC. Sometimes only a pen and paper are the right things to use.  I think about my stories a lot!  Many times I get my ending before the beginning.  When I know the outcome, then I can figure out where to begin.  Sometimes I’ll have a beginning waiting many years before I ever get back to it.



Q: What have you done to promote your book?


A: I have my own website where I offer my novels.  roundycorner.wix.com/mysite  Of course they are on Amazon.com.  I offer free giveaways on Goodreads.  I’m on Twitter and Facebook.  I do book signings and have one coming up at Hunter Library on September 10, 2016 in West Valley, Utah.  I have also engaged the services of Word Slinger which is where you found me.  Thanks.



Q: Do you think the fact that the book is explicit may turn some people off from reading it?


A: Yes!  I’ve had four people unfriend me on Facebook because of it.  I have friends that have encouraged me to write it and haven’t purchased the book.  I have friends tell me that they will never read it because it has some explicit scenes.  That doesn’t bother me.  Even though I worked hard to treat Tim’s experiences with respect and dignity, I know this subject is not for everyone.  It’s a shame, though, when people hide their heads in the sand because they don’t like something.  That’s the time to stand up and do something about it!  As a Romantic fiction novelist, I do not write explicit sex scenes in my stories.  Sexual tension, yes!  Garbage, no!  Just sayin’.


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.


An Interview With Writer Warren Pete

 Warren Pete Profile Picture 4.2016

Warren Pete is the author of The Shrinkage Situation; here is a link to his website:


Q: What is The Shrinkage Situation about?

A: After a hometown grocery store’s puzzling acquisition by a pioneering eCommerce conglomerate, one man becomes suspicious when the grocery store’s best employees – including himself – are fired.

Grant Taylor loves just two things in the entire world: bacon and his job marking receipts at Mesford Mart, the local family-owned grocery store he has worked at for 22 years. However, Grant’s idyllic existence comes crashing down when Not Evil Worldwide (NEW), the largest technology company in the world, acquires Mesford Mart. NEW’s insistence on technical innovation and analytics is a complete 180 from Grant’s old-fashioned values of hard work and excellent customer service. The culture clash peaks when NEW’s analytics technology names Grant as a key reason for the store’s loss of inventory and he is promptly fired.

Aided by his friend Ravina, a sexual harassment lawyer who is equal parts lewd and successful, Grant embarks on a quest to win back his job and prove his innocence. While investigating, Grant is forced to navigate the job market for the first time in two decades, and is aghast with a job market full of high-tech automation, hipster-owned juice bars, and entry-level jobs requiring a doctorate degree.

Initially viewing his firing as an honest mistake, Grant’s investigation unveils that NEW’s ulterior motives are much more ominous.

The Shrinkage Situation is a comedic novel that mixes humor and thought provocation. And answers the serious questions:

Who are the losers in a world of technological progress?

Why are hipsters so mean?
Is digital social networking tearing us apart?
Is there anything bacon doesn’t taste good with?


Q: What experiences did you draw from when writing it?

A: My experiences working in the tech sector played a key influence in The Shrinkage Situation. I wanted to write about the impact technology has on the lives we lead today. With every technical breakthrough or exciting free app or service there is a sacrifice made in the human experience or the right to privacy.

Q: Who is your intended audience?

A: While the rise of technology is a major theme of The Shrinkage Situation, my intention was to write a novel for everyone, not just the tech savvy, for we all are affected by these innovations that are integrated within our lives. While The Shrinkage Situationtackles several of today’s universal issues, I wanted to make it first and foremost an entertaining, funny, and original novel that could be enjoyed by a wide range of readers.


Q: What makes Grant worth reading about?

A: Grant represents a generation of Americans who were raised on the value of hard work and loyalty but now find themselves in an unrecognizable world where such closely-held values are no longer a priority. Just like Grant, millions of working and middle class workers are being forced out of their jobs due to the rise of global competition, technological advancement, and the ever-growing need to please shareholders and meet the bottom line. Regardless of income bracket or profession, we all are forced to confront the perils of technology, globalization, and the basic threat of being left behind in the rapidly changing times.

Q: What one book has influenced you the most as a writer?

A: Jennifer Government by Max Barry did wonders for me. I stumbled across his satirical bestseller in high school right when I was starting to commit more time to writing. His novel showed me that you can write with purpose without being so heavy-handed that you suck all the fun away from the reader. Although Jennifer Government was hilarious and endlessly entertaining, Barry clearly portrayed his stance on the dangers of consumerism.

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: I work full-time as a product manager and data marketing director for a mobile analytics startup. A significant part of my job is to keep up with, or define, the cutting edge of technology and to stay informed on how other technology companies utilize big data collected from their users. On a daily basis, I am immersed in both the benefits and threats that technology poses to today’s society.

Q: What is your process for writing a book?

A: Creative writing is my outlet for exploring key issues that are affecting the world today. As soon as I find or decide upon an issue I want to focus on, I just start writing freestyle to drum up ideas for characters, plot twists, and themes. Given my significant passion and hands-on involvement with the subject matter, very little outside research was needed for The Shrinkage Situation.

From a handful of freestyle writing sessions, I cobbled together a loose outline, and began writing the novel from there. While this led to some inefficiencies and a decent amount of rewriting, I don’t regret my improvisational approach since it allowed for the story to grow well beyond the original scope. The Shrinkage Situation actually started off as a short story, but I kept thinking of more and more to add, and had so much fun writing that it soon expanded to a full novel.


Q: Do you belong to a writers group or do you fly solo?

A: Outside of requesting intermittent feedback through various online communities, I don’t partake in any formal feedback groups currently. That being said, I do see the value in such programs and will probably look into joining such groups for my next project.

Q: How do you overcome writer’s block?

A: Spending the vast majority of my days working in a business setting lets me passively think about my writing projects and lets me refresh between writing sessions. In the rare cases where I may have writer’s block, I’ll take a few days to flesh out another potential story idea or dedicate more time to other creative mediums such as poetry or playing guitar. Alternating my creative outlet, whether through a different story or an entirely different artistic format, helps me take a mental breather from my current main project while still keeping my creativity running. I’ve found that often when I am least thinking of it, I’ll discover a creative breakthrough.

Q: What is Grant’s secret dream job?

A: Receipt checker. Since his first day on the job, he never considered another profession. All he cares about is dedicating his life and improving upon his craft.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Chris Keane

Chris Keane author

Chris Keane is the author of Loot and The Girl from the Woods; here is a link to his Twitter account:


Q: What is Loot about?


A: Loot is about three 12-year-old boys in 1977 who skip trick-or-treating to search for cash left behind by one of their deceased aunts so they can buy an Atari game system.


Q:  What inspired you to write it?


A: Loot was inspired by fond memories of Halloween and the endless hours I spent with my friends exploring the woods and farmland around our neighborhood.


Q: How did you go about promoting it on Kindle?


A:  I promoted Loot on Kindle by signing it up for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and also registing the e-book on Goodreads.  On KDP, I set up giveaways to help get into more readers’ hands and generate reviews.



Q: What is your new book The Girl from the Woods about?


A: The Girl from the Woods is paranormal romance novel about a 19-year old guy who gets dumped at his elderly grandmothers in a rural upstate New York for the summer. Without a car, cell service, or even basic television, there is nothing to do but wander around the nearby woods just as he had as a small child. During a hike, he meets sexy—and slightly older—Angie. On the surface, she’s a devoted daughter content to be single while she manages her father’s medical practice. Yet deep down, Angie is bored and heartbroken…and is harboring some special gifts that she keeps secret from her father and their backwoods community. As Dante’s grandmother’s health declines, he reaches out to Angie’s father for help, only to uncover the good doctor’s dark side. When Dante confides in Angie, it drives a spike into their budding relationship. He’s left to wonder if he’s all alone in his quest to save his grandmother from grave danger.


Q:  What is your creative process?


A: Sometimes story ideas come to me randomly.  Most of the time, I’ll sit down and brainstorm and write down topics until one looks promising. If  they are worth pursuing, I’ll sketch out a brief outline.  Usually, they are not enough to go on for a full story. But once I settle on a solid premise, things move rather quickly.  First, I complete a detailed outline, and then I just start knocking off chapters one by one.  I try to get through the entire story before doing much editing. Once I’m done I’ll go back and read what I have and see if it works.  If so, I’ll give it an edit myself, before sending it to a professional copy editor prior to publication.


Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?


A: I’m an engineer by day. While I don’t write about the field at all in my work, I think it has given me organizational skills which I use to structure to my stories, and also some analytic skills to “de-bug” problems when stories don’t work. It also has probably given me some patience and perseverance as some problems are not easily solved.


Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?


A: I have been influenced many authors along the way. Some writers I try to emulate are: Elmore Leonard (for his great dialog and plots), Steven King (for his imaginative storytelling), and also more recently both Alice Sebold and Khaled Hosseni (for their haunting prose).


Q: What makes a character worth reading about?


A:  I appreciate characters who are passionate and also somewhat flawed.  Its always interesting to watch someone take journey and overcome their shortcomings along the way.  In the end, they end up learning something about life, and hopefully some of that is transferred to the readers.  Of course, it’s got to be a really fascinating journey to keep readers turning pages!


Q: What trends in literature annoy you?


A: I really dislike how flooded the book market is with dystopian works as a result of the success of The Hunger Games.  Yes, I found it very entertaining myself, but the whole premise loses its luster the next trilogy around.


Q: What scares you?


A:  I’m scared of the unknown! As soon as there’s a problem, I race to my smartphone and start to Google everything I can about the topic.  Knowledge may not be a panacea but it makes me feel more in control.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Billie Tekel Elias

billie publicity photo

Billie Tekel Elias is the author of “Pearl’s Party…and you’re invited,” here is a link to her website:



Q: What is Pearl‘s Party about?
A: The book chronicles eight decades of my late mother’s escapades.  She was a voluptuous young divorcee in 1959 but she didn’t let the fact that she had a five year old deter her from living life to the max. She acquired many friends, including a loyal coterie of gay men, and could party with the best of them. It’s also about the “stuff” that she left behind. Since I thought I knew her well, I was surprised that I was able to learn even more after she was gone.

Q:  What makes your mother book-worthy?
A: She was larger than life, an indomitable force who wasn’t afraid to take risks. She’s a role model and inspiration to young women, mothers, friends, entrepreneurs, dog-lovers and anyone seeking the key to making life a party.

Q:  What was unique about her parenting style?
A: As a single mom, she balanced her own happiness with making my life special, too. Kind of like an oxygen mask on an airplane, you put your own on before you attempt to help your child. She exposed me to some pretty unconventional things like running a small business and seeing dogs being mated when I was fairly young. She was my earliest playmate and best friend for the rest of her life.

Q: What famous person would you compare her to?
A: She was like Auntie Mame, the madcap character based on Marion Tanner. Mother wasn’t as
eccentric or as bohemian as Mame Dennis — whose famous motto is “Life is a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death” —  but some of Pearl’s quotes have an equally forked tongue. Like Mame, whose  life was interrupted when the young son of her late brother arrives to live with her, Pearl had to make the adjustment in her own life to being young and single with a child in tow. “Don’t call me Mommy, call me Aunt Pearl,” she once famously said to me.

Q:  Why is music so important to the story?
A: From as far back as she could remember Pearl had a beautiful singing voice. Her parents had her cut a few personal records which got her a spot singing on the radio as a child. Throughout her life, music was woven into her fiber. Sunday mornings while I was growing up, Sid Mark’s Sinatra show played on our hi-fi. Other times recordings of Bobby Darin, Mel Torme or Billie Holiday serenaded us. If a comment or situation reminded her of a lyric, she would burst into song.  During one hospitalization her nurse was named Laura. “Laura is the face in the misty light, footsteps that you hear down the hall…..”

Q: What kind of a day jobs have you had how does it influence your writing?

A: My first career after grad school was as an Industrial Engineer. I sometimes had to write memos and reports that were methodical and involved technical material, but my management summaries had to be quickly and easily understood in plain English.  Today, I try to write in the clear voice that I hear playing in my head as I’m thinking. I enjoy researching, and so you’ll often find footnotes that build out my story by adding facts or historical information.

Q: You say you went to charm school. What do they teach you at charm school?

A: I have an entire passage in the book that delineates what they taught.  I was a little girl in training to be a young lady. Manners, sitting properly with hands in my lap, walking with good posture and pivoting, were a few of the things we were taught. The next step was to pursue a career in modeling, but I begged Pearl to let me stop because the windy road that led us there made me car sick.

Q: Who are some of your writing influences and why?

A: Edmund de Waal and Lucette Lagnado because they both wrote about people in their own family and the objects that were significant to them. In both their writing you almost feel as if you know the people depicted. They both made me feel that the objects we surround ourselves with and choose to keep for a lifetime inform who we are.

Q:  What has been the most effective thing you have done to promote your book?

A: Face to face enthusiasm has worked best. When I run into Pearl’s friends (and my own) or our relatives, I share some tidbits from the book with them and encourage them to buy a copy on the spot. I always have copies on hand so they get instant gratification.

Q: If your mom were in her 20’s today, who would be some of her favorite singers?

A: Michael Buble, Adele or Lady Gaga.   Pearl’s ear was finely tuned and she didn’t like people with thin voices who screeched or didn’t use their vocal chords and breathing to produce a good quality sound.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects

An Interview With Valley Speak Authors Rochelle Kopp and Steve Ganz


video-shoot-5 with Steve.jpg


Rochelle Kopp and Steve Ganz are the co-authors of the book Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley; here is a link to their website:




Q: What inspired you to write Valley Speak?


Rochelle:  It was originally a suggestion from someone I know in the Japanese publishing industry. I had published a general introduction to U.S. business buzzwords for Japanese businesspeople, and he thought that a Silicon Valley-specific version would be helpful for all the Japanese coming to do business here. The publisher of the first book agreed it was a great idea. I asked Steve to work on it with me, and soon into the research we realized that there wasn’t any guide to Silicon Valley jargon in English, so we thought let’s do this book in English too.


Steven: I was happy to work with Rochelle on this project, because I think there’s a real need for this sort of resource.  People have trouble learning the jargon.  Also, although the way people here talk can sometimes be humorous, there’s a lot of value in how things are done in the community here, and I’d like to see more people be part of that.



Q:  With as rapidly as technology changes, isn’t it awfully hard to keep up with valley speak?


Rochelle:  It’s very hard. Steve and I are both news junkies, we do a ton of reading to keep up on what’s going on and new words emerging. Our house has way too many piles of magazines and newspapers laying around.


Steven: What’s hard to keep up with is the technology.  Knowing the language makes following the technology as well as the culture easier.  And not knowing the language makes it harder to grasp the underlying ideas and issues.  So although learning the vocabulary may seem like an imposing task, we think it’s the easiest way to get oriented to what’s going on here.



Q:  You had a successful Kickstarter campaign for this book. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start their own Kickstarter campaign?


Steven: Don’t underestimate the amount of work required.  It takes a lot of effort to set everything up, and much more effort to promote it.  It would be nice if merely being on their site were sufficient to get the word out, but I don’t think it usually works that way.


Rochelle:  Doing a Kickstarter was a great experience, but it was very time consuming. Be prepared to sink a lot of energy into it. Social media is very important, and looking back on it I would have gotten our social media accounts, especially Twitter, up and running much farther in advance so that we would have had more runway to get the word out about our project.



Q:  What kind of day jobs do you guys have and how does it influence your creative work?


Steven: I’m developing a technology startup called Teamifier that will provide a new way for people to work together in generating ideas.  I do consider that to be creative work—every bit as creative as the book, which is mostly documenting existing language and ideas, although doing so in our own way.


Rochelle: I’m self-employed as a management consultant, working with Japanese companies doing business in the U.S. and American firms doing business in Japan. I speak fluent Japanese and lived and worked in Tokyo for several years. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I do a lot of writing in my work whether it’s reports or emails or books—I’ve done a bunch of books aimed at helping Japanese businesspeople do business in the U.S. This project is fun for me because it’s breaking out of my usual niche to do something that is aimed at a broader audience.



Q:  Why should I want to speak like a Silicon Valley insider?


Rochelle: You would probably only want to speak like one if you were doing business here. But since Valley Speak is creeping into business vocabulary overall, it’s helpful to know for understanding business coverage in the news media and more and more general business conversations.


Steven: There are cliques in any environment, and we all bond through common understanding and experience, so yes, speaking like an insider is most important if you’re working with people here.  But the most fundamental answer is that if you don’t know the language, you don’t get to have a voice in the relevant discussions.



Q:  You each have a very impressive educational background. (Rochelle graduated from The University of Chicago and Steven from Wharton.) What elements do you think are essential for a good business school?


Steven: Business doesn’t change as fast as technology, but it does change, and often because of technology.  For example, crowdfunding wasn’t even part of the curriculum when we were studying business, but with the advent of websites like Kickstarter and Circleup it has become an important element in the set of tools by which startups get funded and its rules are changing quickly now.  The most important things for education to provide are a basis for gathering more information, and a network of people who can help each other as you confront new challenges.  This is true in business and in other fields as well.  Schools are increasingly seeing themselves as providing value to a more diverse group over a longer time frame.  Our book covers some of the recent advances in education, including MOOCs, which allow many more people to benefit from instruction.


Rochelle: Right now there is a lot of soul-searching going on among business schools about that exact question. I got my MBA back in the time of a more “classic” curriculum, and it wasn’t as practical as I had hoped it would be. In response to these concerns, business schools have been experimenting recently with more hands-on, applied classes and other ways to make sure they are relevant. I think an ideal business school curriculum would include good grounding in the concepts of business (like marketing, accounting, financial analysis, etc.), interpersonal skills polishing, and labs for getting real-world experience. But I’m not sure whether one really needs to go to business school today in order to get those — one could probably learn a lot of the same things with a combination of some MOOCs and volunteer work, or doing a startup and going through an accelerator. It depends what your goals are. There are still some jobs that you have to have an MBA for though.



Q:  How realistic is the show Silicon Valley?


Steven: Some of the plot elements have parallels in things that have happened in real life—a VC did actually compare protests against and demonization of the rich in the U.S. to the Nazi persecution of Jews, and an Apple engineer left an iPhone prototype at a bar not far from where we live.  So sometimes, fiction really can’t do any better than fact. Dan Lyons, a Silicon Valley writer, recently wrote a non-fiction book about his experience working at a tech startup, which makes that point quite clearly.


Many of the concepts that are covered in the series are quite realistic.  Of course, the rapidity with which they are experienced on TV surpasses even Silicon Valley’s fast-moving standard.


Rochelle: Indeed, the writers do take a lot of pains to make the story reflect the things that really happen here. But the way the story lines play out is often over-the-top and exaggerated.  I loved Sex and the City, and I think that Silicon Valley has a similar kind of humor—take something realistic and then blow it out of proportion until it’s hilarious, but still has that grain of truth.


What often does seem extremely realistic though are the details. Some of the things that the guys on the show do — like correcting someone’s word usage mid-sentence or being very particular about picking just the right lemon off a tree — are not unusual for detail-oriented, logical programmers and Steve definitely tends to do things like that! Dinesh and Gilfoyle in particular really feel like people I’ve met in real life.


Steven: All of the startups I’ve been involved with have been far more professional than the one portrayed in the show, but they also had older founders.  I’d also say that some of the extreme competitiveness portrayed, although real, is only telling half the story.  Most people here really do want to make the world a better place and often do collaborate openly; I don’t think that aspect gets across in the show (probably because it wouldn’t make for as good entertainment).



Q:  What are some of the biggest mistakes you see newbies make when they first come to Silicon Valley?


Rochelle:  Silicon Valley is filled with fascinating people who have lots of interesting ideas. A newcomer can easily be bedazzled by that. The thing is, a lot of those people who sound so great are just good talkers, and might not have a lot of substance or follow-through behind the shiny exterior. You have to be careful.


Steven: Well, an obvious one is the dress.  It’s very casual here.  Knowing what to wear may be even harder than knowing what to say!


Rochelle: Maybe that will be our next book! Silicon Valley Style (or lack thereof)!


Steven: More generally, there’s a mixing of personal and professional life that may not be obvious to those from outside.  And just because something looks casual, it isn’t necessarily. It’s important for newcomers to keep in mind that meetings in coffee shops can be every bit as important as those in offices.



Q:  What is the oddest thing you have heard anyone say in a meeting?


Steven: As is common in Silicon Valley, we do various forms of work and have done other joint projects together in the past.  In a meeting with a prospective recruiting client, we were once asked how we find candidates—presumably to enable them to go around us and do it themselves!  This was clearly an attempt at the sort of “brain rape” portrayed on the TV show.


Rochelle: Needless to say, we avoided answering that one.


Q:  Please tell me how I can best promote my blog in Valley Speak.


Rochelle & Steven: Elizagalesinterviews.com is where rockstars, ninjas, gurus, and thought leaders share their game-changing artistic ideas and define their personal brands. Eliza’s interview questions are the secret sauce that help the blog reach a huge Total Addressable Market. It’s where you need to go to get the scoop on the latest content that is poised to go viral!

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Historical Romance Author Faye Hall


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Faye Hall is an Australian historical romance author; here is a link to her website:




Q: What motivated you to start writing?


A: I’ve always loved telling stories even as a child.  One day my mum suggested I write them down and so it began.


Q:  Why historical erotica?


A: I love history, but more so I love the passion of our ancestors that struggled through to make life what it is today.  Also we have this misconception that those in the past were very ‘hush hush’ about sex and I’d like to show a different side.


Q:  What was the Bountiful Burdekin?


A: It’s where I grew up.  It’s called the Bountiful Burdekin because there are quite a few townships all situated around the Burdekin river, one of the largest water systems in the world.  When the towns were first settled they were the hub of the north and many founding family still live here.  I wanted to show that history but in a more passionate way.


Q:  What made you chose it as a setting?


A:  As I said before I grew up there and I love the history of the town.  I also think it’s something away from the mainstream settings for most romances.


Q:  What is Shrouded Passions about?


A: It tells the story of two lovers torn apart when Lotte, the heroine, is shot and killed.  Devon, the hero, falls apart after her death and begs for just one more chance to be with her.  Lotte returns to him, having been saved from death by the tavern girls, but she is in disguise as she needs to stay hidden until she can prove who tried to kill her.


Q:  What makes the hero Devon Munroy a character worth reading about?


A:  I adore him as a character.  He’s so passionate and devoted to Lotte.  After her death he becomes the dark brooding hero that needs to punish himself for all the wrongs he’d done.


Q: What motivates the heroine, Lottie Higgins?


A: Lotte wants revenge.  She wants it to be known who shot her.  She also tired of hiding her identity and wants nothing more then to return to Devon and tell him she’s alive.


Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how do you draw from it in your writing?


A: Day job – I am a mother and a step mother.  We have a combined family of 9 children, 7 of which are currently still at home.  I do school runs.  I pack lunches.  I pay bills and run the household while my husband does shift work.  Not sure if I draw on my home life to help with my writing as such but I do find my writing an escape from the day to day chores.


Q:  What do you think is the most effective way to promote an Ebook?


A: I’m still to figure that out but I have enjoyed guest blogging and interviews.


Q:  What do you think Americans misunderstand about Australia?


A:  I always reckon Australian’s are seen a bit like ‘Crocodile Dundee’ with pet kangaroos and corked hats.  That’s also why I set my books in Australia, to show how rich and passionate our country’s history really is.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.