Mahogany Mignon is a host and celebrity media correspondent; here is a link to her website: http://www.alwaysaimhigh.com/ Q: What made you want to be a host? A: Growing up, my peers and family would always tell me that I … Continue reading An Interview With Host Mahogany Mignon
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.
Kamlesh Thakur is the author of A Middle Class Dream; here is a link to his website:
Q: What is A Middle Class Dream about?
A: AMCD (A Middle Class Dream) is a story of little boy who was born in India, discovering and nurturing his uniqueness, finding his purpose in life who challenges and breaks through numerous rhymes, reasons and sometimes superstitious beliefs of a highly discriminatory society filled with inequality in every walk of life.
It provides a comprehensive perspective of the many highly diverse cultures that coexist in the world’s largest democracy. It highlights the struggles this kid had to go through, the obstacles he had to overcome before becoming successful. It highlights the feeling of satisfaction in sharing the tools of success discovered, the skills and values learned so others may benefit and apply it in their own ways to replicate this process of success.
The message of AMCD is “no matter who you are, where you come from, or where you’ve been – as long as you have a vision of your life, a purpose to strive for, you will achieve anything you desire and some more”
Q: What caste does Krish belong to and where is that caste raked in the social structure?
A: Krish is a blue blooded “Rajput” – the warrior caste (also known as the Kshatriyas). Ancestors of this caste were royalty (kings & queens) that have fought numerous historic wars. The Hindu scriptures have all documented Lord Rama as a Kshatriya.
After the British (East India Company) rule for decades many palaces, their history and heritage were forfeited under the doctrine of lapse policy. Since independence the popularity and prominence of this caste diminished and is today one of the many hundreds of caste’s.
Q: What is the overall theme of the book?
A: Victory in any endeavor of life belongs to those that believe in it the most, that believe in it the longest. We have to be the change we want to see, and we already have everything we need. So, we need to do what we can, wherever we are with whatever we have, because what we have is indeed plenty. And oh, be content, but never be satisfied.
Q: What makes Krish worth reading about?
A: If you want to experience extreme cultural diversity (cultural, educational, customs etc.) as if you were there in flesh – you would find this to be a worthy read.
Q: What do you think motivates the Sweetie character?
A: This is one character that is not motivated by anything of her own. If anything came close, it was the need to conform to societies whims and fancies, dictates. This included parents, siblings and oh, how can I forget – the dreaded CASTE barrier. Outer suggestions ruled and shaped her life, her destiny was written by others – as is for many million women (and men).
Changes are taking place, but at a snail’s pace, and for a country with 1.4 billion people, how quick will the changes take place is anybody’s guess.
Q: What sort of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing (again you do not have to name your employer, just the industry)?
A: I am a Software Program Manager, and have worked for some of the biggest technology brand names in the business. I enjoy what I do in my day job as well. In the first 10 years of my job career, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and experience numerous places, cultures and cuisine. I love interacting with people from all over the world. Through my interactions I found that though we’re different in how we look, our basic human needs, wants, desires are more of less the same.
Our perspectives are different, and that partially became the reason for me to look inside of me, to discover what I had learned, and how I could share that with the world.
Q: What is the biggest misconception Americans have about India?
A: This is an interesting question. There are a few that I’m aware of. First, it’s not all snake charmers and elephants (though that’s a small part of life in certain pockets of the country)
Everyone is Poor: This is one of the biggest & common myth. Just look at the amount of money spent at any Indian wedding and it’ll change this perspective. It’s one of the richest countries on earth (still is). The issue there is “in-equal distribution of wealth”. For this reason, you’ll find some of the world’s richest and the poorest of poor live next to each other in the same city (Mumbai is a classic example of it).
Very recently, a temple vault was opened which revealed tons of solid / pure gold. Its worth was estimated to be in billions of dollars. That was just 1, there are many more vaults in just 1 city. It was estimated (per local news) that two other vaults if opened will make at least $ 1 Trillion available in gold.
There are dozens more spread throughout the country – kept secret. You do the math (it’s in trillions of dollars – that’s certain). Check this link out.
Indians don’t speak “Indian” – There are about 2500 or more languages (not dialects, but languages), none of them are called “Indian”. That said, Hindi, English are the most commonly spoken throughout the country.
Everyone is Hindu – Though the vast majority of the population is Hindu, minorities, such as Christians, Jain, Buddhist, Muslims, Sikh, Zoroastrianism make up for more than 20% of the country’s population.
Everyone is Vegetarian – Untrue, though roughly 50% of the people are vegetarians, the rest are not.
Q: Who are some of your writing influences?
A: Brendon Burchard is one of my favorite writers. I also like Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins and Wallace Wattles
Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?
A: Ballroom Dancing of Course. When I feel like I’m experiencing a block, I temporarily off the brain, and dance Tango / Waltz or Roomba routine. The music and dance rhythm opens up my neuro-pathways almost immediately or within the next day or so, that most definitely helps me get past the writers’ block.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: During my spare / free time, I am working on a project for empowering women (it’s called the V2 project).
I also speak to groups (women’s empowerment groups in Asia) for a good cause, groups & institutions related to Leptospirosis (I’ve had that dang thing twice as a teenager). I do this outside of my day job, during holidays / vacations and sometimes weekends.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.
Dhruv Bali is an actor who appeared in the one man show, Pain is Temporary, Quitting Lasts Forever; here is a link to his website:
Q: What made you decide to pursue acting?
A: While working on my Major in economics at The University Of San Francisco, I started taking theater classes. Since I loved doing Drama/acting in school I instantaneously fell in love with acting all over again, something that has been always close to my heart. After graduation I knew that I wanted to pursue it as a career since I have always believed that if one chooses what they love doing or are passionate about success is bound to come and you are happy doing it.
Q: What is “Pain is Temporary, Quitting Lasts Forever” about?
A: Pain Is temporary is a play/Solo performance which I wrote, directed and acted in. It is about the idea of ‘never giving up” as often times we give right before we are about to chieve our goal. There will be hardships along the way, life is tough and often when we are trying to achieve something we will be faced with obstacles but those are ust temporary if you have the tenacity to keep going and working hard towards what you want.
The play itself is about the hardships I had to face in my life in my prime years 19-22. I had gotten sick and had to take a break from college, spent a whole year going in and out of hospitals, suffered complete muscle atrophy to the point where I could not een climb stairs on my own. For a 20 year old who should be in college growing up I was suddenly scooped out of that life.
But I did not give up I kept fighting, got better and stronger came back to college, got my degree with a 3.97 GPA and was offered to be the valedictorian. I also achieved a physique for which people commend me to this day and aspire to look like.
We often times doubt ourselves and our potential, Pain is temporary is about the ideology that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and not give up until you achieve it.
The play was a very cathartic experience as I played 7 different characters in it all people who were somehow involved in my life during my tough time
Q: What inspired you to write it?
A: I have always been passionate about motivational speaking and the affect it had on people. I knew my story in itself was very inspirational and would help a lot of people who are going through tough times and don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. So when the opportunity came create a production of my own and open it to the audience at The University of San Francisco I knew this was the time.
Q: How did you go about getting it produced?
A: The head of the department at my college at USF were very supportive since they saw me get to where I was physically and mentally since I started at USF. They knew that it would be a very inspirational story for the students at the college as well since often times college is a place where people wanna quit or face a lot of obstacles.
Q: What do you hope to express as an artist?
A: I hope to tell true stories, inspirational stories and stories which inspire people to bring about a change. We often get so caught up with the fame and media attention that we forget that the real stories aren’t being told. The inequality between the rich and poor, environmental degradation, the affect of media and brainwashing our minds are all topic that surround but not everybody wants to talk about it.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your acting?
A: Since my time at Penn State where I was a finance major I have been very passionate about economics and stock market trading, so I decided to do two things I love doing : Acting and finance. I call them both gambling since both my proffesion do not have certainity but a certain adrenaline rush which only the ones involved in understand. It has actually helped my acting since I can make my own hours now.
Q: What is your oddest Hollywood story?
A: Shortly after moving to Hollywood, I was walking to a CVS after midnight which was very close to my apartment. On my way, two gangs very having a fight. I continued walking by them when all of a sudden two of the gamg members came up to me started trash talking and hitting me out of no where. Since I am an actor all I was thing was please “don’t hit my face “. I ran to a a bar nearby and the bouncer came out and stopped them. He later told me that they were even carrying guns so I should be happy that I am alive. That was the oddest Hollywood experience I have ever had.
Q: What famous character from literature were you born to play?
A: A couple of characters come to mind. My top picks would be, Romeo, Robin Hood, Alexander the great, Tarzan and Don Juan. I will pick Robin hood though since he was the poor mans prince as I have always been very passionate about helping people, paying it forward.
Also Alexander the Great was such a great warrior and conqueror and his stories are just awe inspiring, he embodies my ideology of never giving up and believing in yourself and not stopping till you achieve your goal.
Q: What is the most useful advice you have ever received about show business?
A: Well one of the most useful advice has to be that its not about what you can do or how talented you are but who you know in the indusstr. Its all about networking, who you know and what they can do for you if you wanna get ahead in showbiz.
Q: What makes you fameworthy?
A: Like the famous line from Spiderman “With great Power comes great responibilty” same goes with fame I feel.
I feel with fame comes a certain responsibility, the power to affect people and bring about change. Too many people are famous for the wrong reason. I do not question someone elses hustle but I feel I will do things different if I am famous.
Personaly I know I am talented, hardworking , driven and very passionate about telling stories. I grew up in India so I have feel I understand the eastern mindset as well as the western philosophy. It has made me the person I am. I have a personable personality whit the charisma and charm that is needed to be a star. I feel those two are a lethal combination in todays world of social media as people want to know more about you. I feel I have what it takes to connect with my audience and tell true meaningful stories.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.
S.M.W. Claw is the author of Goggles Gone Strong; here is a link to her website:
Q: What is Goggles Gone Strong about?
A: Goggles Gone Strong is about 11-year-old Calypso Blue, who finds herself on a strange island with a strange family, wearing an absurd pair of goggles. She has to save the dad from a giant saltwater crocodile, the mom from a sacrificial ritual, herself from mauling by the evil guy’s vicious tigers (oh, and a shark!) before she can figure out those danged goggles and nab the treasure to bring it home.
Q: What inspired you to write it?
A: I came to writing a book a little bit differently than most, I think. I’ve never aspired to be a writer, but I have always been a voracious reader–cereal boxes, junk mail, calculus textbooks… anything!
I had to give up my novel reading habit when I started having kids. The problem was I’d stay up until 4 AM trying to finish the story and wake up as the Wicked Witch of the West (not exactly the mother or wife of anyone’s dreams). My nighttime routine had gradually devolved to me reading Facebook and design and political blogs to unwind.
Eventually it occurred to me that I’d been spending every evening for a couple of years in this way and I had nothing to show for it. I wasn’t a better person. I wasn’t better friends with anyone. I had no new talents or skills.
What if I used that time to do something productive? Something that could potentially stand the test of time? Something I could hand off to my kids and grandkids?
I decided to try and write a book. It took me three years, but I did it!
Q: What sets it apart from other children’s books?
A: This is great question. Thank you, Eliza.
- Goggles Gone Strong has a very unique setting on a somewhat magical tropical island.
- It has a large cast of characters from all over the world populating the beach.
- Calypso Blue speaks Latin–when it comes to spiders’ binomials.
- Delicious exotic and tropical foods are mentioned often.
- Calypso finds herself thrown into a large family and interacting with people of all ages–from baby to ancient.
- The baby can swim ahead of a shark, throw a grappling hook, grip to the wall and fly. The ancient can too.
- The Blues are saved from a springing cobra by the well-timed introduction of a beloved plastic doll. Thunk.
- I can’t think of a single other book where the main characters wear safety goggles.
- A mysterious man in a filmstrip interacts with the Blues and transfers gifts to them.
- The Blue’s Hideout is powered entirely by lava–lava pulsing through piping hot tubes in the ceiling.
Is that enough yet?
Q: What makes Calypso series worthy?
A: Actually, Calypso is not the main character for the entire series. There are a bunch of children in her group and each book in the series will be told from another child’s point of view.
The next book, True Tuesday, is from Reggie Blue’s point of view. He’s a bit of a know-it-all and a hothead, so things are off to a bad start from the very beginning.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?
A: I am a mother. I like to think I understand children’s characters and motivations pretty well.
Q: What is your strangest work story?
A: I don’t know if this is the strangest story, but it’s the most memorable to me because I felt so badly about it. In college I worked on the grounds crew at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT (The place most Mormon missionaries go for a few weeks to learn the ropes.)
I held the coveted position of “sprinkler girl,” which meant I didn’t have to do the grunt work of mowing or weeding. I got to ride around the grounds on a four-wheeler inspecting and repairing the sprinkler systems.
At the time there was also a construction crew on the grounds installing new water lines. They would dig giant holes in lawns outside dormitories and I’d have to turn the sprinkler system off in that area, then water the dying grass around the holes manually.
I was a pretty unmistakable figure on the grounds, roaring my four-wheeler through the throngs of white-shirted missionaries, and the construction crew was always very friendly to me, waving and smiling, until one day when I pulled up to their largest hole yet. It could’ve swallowed a nose-diving truck. And next to it was a large patch of nearly dead lawn.
They jokingly told me I could only water the lawn if I made very sure to not get any water in the hole–they were going to work in there next. And I laughed, because there was no way I was going to get water in the hole–I knew how to set up a simple pulsating sprinkler, and I’d watered next to their holes dozens of times already. I set the sprinkler’s back towards the hole, carefully set the boundaries to not be anywhere even close to approaching it, watched it carefully through several rotations and then left.
And you guessed it. When I roared up a few hours later, the entire construction crew was glaring at me. The sprinkler had broken, wasn’t rotating at all and was spraying water backwards, straight into the hole, which was now full of water.
That construction crew turned their backs whenever I passed and never smiled at me again. I had to deal with that for several weeks before they they left, but now that I’ve had time to think about it… if a dry hole was so important to them, why didn’t one of them just walk over and turn the sprinkler around as soon as water started hitting the hole?? Or just turn the danged thing off???
I’ll never know. Anyways, that felt good to get off my chest. Thanks!
Q: What have you done to promote your book?
A: Hmmm, I’ve done press releases, interviews, a giveaway, and posted links on Reddit and SlickDeals to my free eBook. I think the SlickDeals link has given me the most obvious bump in downloads.
Q: What would you like to tell other writers about self-publishing?
A: It’s surprisingly fun. Maybe it’s just because I’m a very independent person, but I love being in charge of what I do and when. I hate people breathing down my neck about deadlines. That’s half the reason I never went to grad school. Oh, and quit my desk job before I even had kids.
And really, what do you have to lose?
Q: What were some of your favorite books as a child?
A:I loved The Chronicles of Narnia. I read the entire series every summer. I also read one of The Three Investigators every week. (Maybe someday I’ll have a child named Jupiter.) I also read Joan Aiken short stories, and adored Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle–where is that woman when I need her?!
For years I listed The Fragile Flag by Jane Langton as her favorite book ever. (And don’t forget The Diamond in the Window or The Swing in the Summer House!)
Harry Potter wasn’t around until I was in college, but I’ve read all the books many, many times.
But most importantly, since I was 9 years old I’ve read every day from The Book of Mormon. Back then, I understood very little of what was going on, but it made me feel awesome!
Q: What trends in literature annoy you?
A: I don’t know if this is a literary trend, but I’m kind of annoyed with the books I see today that have an awesome premise and a sizzling first few chapters, but peter out quickly until they barely limp over the finish line. And then the next book in the series is a watered down version of the same.
I understand why this is and I have no good solutions, but I like a book that when I get to the end makes me want to stand up and say, “Hooray! Hooray for this!!”
And then start it all over again.
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!
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.