Tag: interviews with writers

An Interview With Author Mitchell Thompson

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Mitchell Thompson is the author of “Introspective Rationale: The Odyssey of Theodicy; here is a link to his website:

 

 

https://www.irot.me

 

Q: What is “Introspective Rationale.”  about?

 

A: Introspective Rationale is a nonfiction historical narrative that journeys the reader on a quest in understanding the deeper connection between major worldly religions and their historical context. These intimate connections, once revealed, display certain commonalities in both ethics and ideology. Such ideological parallels can be further understood in their application within modern science and mathematics – namely quantum mechanics. For example, there exists many numerological significance in ancient scripture; numbers of meaning that translate within modern fields of scientific study. One must first understand the history of both religion and science before gaining a deeper insight on their dualistic partnership.

 

Q: What made you want to write a book about individual subjectivity versus the objectivity of the universe?

 

A: For much of our lives, societal individuals are plagued with a yearning for instant gratification. Before I began writing my book, I was helping my mother take care of her bed-ridden father who was dying of dementia. This man, though my grandfather, was estranged to me and my family. He had not approved of my mother marrying a man of color. In taking care of him, we inevitably grew to bond. It was during this bonding that I began to realize how my subjective perception of our relationship (or lack thereof) was irrelevant in the face of our objective kinship. I began to notice certain traits of myself within him – even at the height of his dementia. I had never had a grandfather; for my Dad’s father had passed before I was born. However, the wisdom I learned from my estranged grandfather granted me new insight within the nature of myself. This experience inspired me to write about the concept of dissolving the ego: to differentiate the importance of both individual objectivity and subjectivity.

 

Q: What kind of educational background do you have?

 

A: I went to public school, and finished in the top percent of my high school class. Upon graduating, I began to attend a prestigious college in William Jewell College where I sought to triple major in Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics. Because I attained many college credit hours in high school, I developed a keen understanding for higher level mathematics and dimensional reasoning as only a college freshman. As it pertains to writing, I have always loved doing so but more as a hobby. I took many advanced placement literature classes in high school, as well as college English, so my informal writing has some formal foundations.

 

Q: What kind of research did you do for your book?

 

A: Comparing and contrasting hours of work in studying between my own research in writing IROT and that of obtaining a doctorate in philosophy:

 

Undergrad

120 credit hours required

16 week semester

15 credit hours per semester

30 hours of work a week (6 hours a day)

16 x 30 = 480 hours of work per semester

8 semesters of schooling (BA/BS)

8 x 480 = 3,840 hours of total work

2 years of Masters (MA)

15 credit hours

30 hours of work a week (6 hours a day)

4 semesters of schooling

4 x 480 = 1920 hours of work total

(1920 + 3840 = 5,760 hours of total work between BA/BS and MA)

PhD

120 credit hours (generally required)

16 week semester

15 credit hours a week

30 hours of work a week (6 hours a day)

16 x 30 = 480 hours of work per semester

8 semesters of schooling (PhD)

8 x 480 = 3,840 hours of work total

3,840 + 5,760 = 9,600 hours of total work to obtain PhD

 

Research/writing for IROT

41 months total

14 months of stagnant

27 months “hardcore”

14 months of stagnant

4 hours a day (maximum)

5 days a week

20 hours of work a week

14 months = 61 weeks

61 x 20 = 1,220 hours of total stagnant work

27 months “hardcore

“Hardcore”: 12 hours a day, 6 day’s a week (minimum), 72 hours a week

12 hours of work a day

6 days a week

72 hours of work a week

27 months =  117 weeks of hardcore work

117 x 72 = 8,424 hours of “hardcore” work

41 months total

1,220 + 8,424 = 9,644 total hours of work for writing IROT

 
Q: How would you define elevated consciousness?

 

A: Elevated consciousness is the state of being that exists ahead of the ego. When one dissolves the ego, they are able to attain an elevated state of awareness. A conscientious state that can differentiate between objective requirements and subjective desirements.

 

Q: How does one attain this consciousness?

 

A: One attains elevated consciousness by dissolving the ego. The ego is the subjective sense of self. In rationalizing the introspective process, one is able to step away from the ego’s deceptive perception and see reality in an objective light.

 

Q: What is the most successful thing you have done to promote your book?

 

A: I have made both a website and a Facebook author profile page.

 

https://www.facebook.com/mitchellgthompson

 

https://www.irot.me

 

 

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

 

A: I work two jobs: a morning gig and an afternoon gig. The morning job is at a supply warehouse, while the afternoon job is as a kickboxing instructor. The morning job forces me to wake up at 4 AM everyday, which gives me the discipline needed to write on days I don’t feel like writing. The kickboxing instructor position has allowed me to work with a myriad of different people – allowing me insight into many minds of varying beliefs. Such insight influences the way I write in appealing to a general audience.

 

Q: What philosophers have had the most influence on your work?

 

A: I know very little on many different philosophers. I am a master of some and an expert of none. However, of all that I’ve adopted from, Friedrich Nietzsche and Baruch Spinoza were perhaps the most influential.

 

Q: If you could elevate the consciousness of any famous person, who would it be and why?

 

A: Hmm… perhaps Kanye West. Mainly because he seems to have the right idea in certain ideals, but is lost in translating most of his thoughts through an egocentric lens of insanity. Most people of social and monetary affluence attain such fame due to their evolving of the ego rather than dissolving.

 

 

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

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An Interview With Writer Cindy Lynch

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Cindy Lynch is the author of Bye For Now; here is a link to her website:

 

 

http://cindylynch.net/

 

Q: What is Bye For Now about?

 

A:  My first novel entitled Bye For Now is the first installment in a young adult series. The story begins with Callie, the book’s main character, a woman, presently in her midyears. She is our narrator. During a quiet moment of mundane daily activity, as Callie is partially attuned to TV, a real life American tragedy begins to play out on the screen. It’s a traumatic—a horrific—event with unspeakable impacts on the human psyche. To escape the horror on the TV, Callie’s subconscious triggers the narrative and the book’s story commences to unfold, in detail.

 

Callie’s escape into her subconscious takes her back to her high school years. She’s on summer vacation at her grandparent’s lakeside cottage in northern Vermont, within spitting distance of the Canadian frontier. Life is slow. Life is rich. Pastoral Vermont scenes are carefully crafted with vivid imagery straight out of Callie’s memories of her youth. There’s the first hot flush of young love. There are soul nourishing family scenes of meals and recreational events. Each character is carefully painted in true-to-life brush strokes.

The character descriptions validate the youth Callie has experienced. There is special emphasis on the power of family connection to influence our future life in positive, uplifting ways. Later on, as Callie matures and the tale flows into her college years, troubling events are resolved in ways that hark back to the power and influence of her early family life. As the story proceeds, the pace picks up and the emotions conveyed take a tighter grip on the reader’s attention. Intensity grows as awkward social situations are recalled and irreconcilable adult enigmas are replayed.

Q: What makes Callista an empathetic character?

 

A: Callista, or Callie as her friends know her, tends to wear her heart on her sleeve. Everything in her life, whether good, bad or indifferent tend to cause tears to form. She blames her mother for that character trait but this is what I find so endearing. She truly feels emotions for other people. Being Empathetic creates strong, bonding relationships in her life.

Q: What was the most challenging thing about writing a story that had to do with repressed memory?

 

A: There were several challenging things about writing this story. I have had the body of the story in my head since I was 14 years old but just didn’t know how to start it. While talking with a fellow writer and friend, Sharisse Coulter, about the horrific events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, goosebumps formed on my arm. Sharisse pointed at my arm and said, “I believe you have the start to your story.” Since the beginning is an almost identical recreation of how I found out about the tragedy, it was pretty easy to write it into the story. Because it was such a sensitive subject I worried how friends in Newtown would react to my writing it into my fiction. I worry more now, because I continue this thread into my second book, Even Willows Weep.

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

 

A: I believe V.C. Andrews somehow influenced my writing. I was a huge fan of her books when I was younger. Now as an adult I am more influenced by Nicholas Sparks. He has managed to get the formula right. Somehow he draws me into each of his stories and I become part of each scene; seeing, smelling, feeling everything he is describing.

 

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

 

A: I’m a stay at home mom of three boys. I was a teacher for 9 years but when my first son was born I retired to raise my kids. Luckily my husband, John, has a great job at Show Me Cables here in St. Louis which allows me to do what I’ve always wanted to do and that is to write fiction. I’m very lucky that he’s supportive of my passion for writing.

 

Q: You are from the Sandy Hook area in Connecticut, do you think the community has been portrayed fairly by the media?

 

A: After December 14, 2012 I was worried for the towns people of Sandy Hook. When the media invaded the beautiful town I grew up in I worried that would disrupt their lives and may show badly. I should not have worried. The first few weeks dealing with loss pulled the community together. I believe they are stronger and more committed to one another because of it, so yes, I believe they were portryaed fairly. What I saw was compassion, empathy, and love for their neighbors. Banding together to remove the media and drawing closer to collectively mourn. I’m extremely proud to say that I lived there.

Q: What is the most successful thing you have done to promote your book?

 

A: I think speaking to book clubs has been the most successful thing I have done to promote my book.

Q:  What makes you want to read an e-book?

 

A: I have my book available on Kindle but I have to say I’m not a fan of e-books. I downloaded one from Nicholas Sparks a few years back and I had a difficult time enjoying the experience. I’m one that likes the feel of the book in my hands. The tactile sensation of turning each page, the smell of the print, and viewing the images on the cover makes for a much more pleasurable experience.

Q: What are you working on now?

 

A: Right now I’m finishing up book two, Even Willows Weep, the second installment of this trilogy. It will be available in May, 2016 on my website cindylynch.net, createspace.com, or amazon.com. As mentioned above it’ll be available in Kindle form as well. I’ve also begun working on my first non-fiction book.

Q: What do you do when you nave writers block?

 

A: When I have writers block I tend to walk away from the computer and exercise. I do my best thinking in a spin class, swimming laps or running. Something about exercise pushes my brain into overdrive and somehow I have several ideas when I finish up. Usually having to run to my phone or a notebook to write down the ideas before they vanish.

 

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 Author James Pope

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James Pope is the author of Post Hole Digger; here is a link to his Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Post-Hole-Digger-James-Pope/dp/1499029209 

 

Q: What is Post Hole Digger about?

A: The life of Iowa farm boy James Pope, from first memory to adult.

Q: What inspired you to write it?

A: The book is a good learning tool for young children pertaining to family responsibility, wants versus needs, earning rewards versus hand-out , being held accountable.  All member give and receive love.

Q: What does the Department of Child Welfare do in cases where children are forced to work full time on a farm?

A: Better wording: forced to work full time on truck farms.

DCW should ensure the children go to school.  This lowers the productivity of the family, hence lower income.  The children now work after school.

A farmer working his own land cannot afford to hire help.  The children have to participate to make the farm productive.  During harvest time it’s a 24/7 operation.

  

Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?

 

A:  Senator John McCain, Ken Burns

Q:  Is farming your only day job or have you tried other professions?

A: Always took any odd job I could find to earn money.

I lived and worked on the farm until dads health started failing.  He had to find lighter work.  At the end of my 6th grade dad took the job of school janitor.  We lived in the school house, under the gym.  First time we had indoor plumbing.  Dad and I worked very hard learning all the utility systems and how the school operated.  The summer between my 8th and 9th grade dad became very Ill.  I took over all janitorial duties, sleeping in the boiler room, getting up at 2;00 am to scoop coal.  I was always getting called out of class due to some emergence .  Dad died in my arms March 18th   1953, 7 days before my 16 birthday.  It was up to me to support my mother and little sister.  At the end of the 9th grade mom found a job and I went to work as a hired farm hand for the next four years.  I joined the Navy and entered the submarine service retiring after 28 years service.  I than went to work for a utility company.  Doing farm work with a tractor starting in the 3rdgrade, at age 60, after working for 53 years I stopped going to work.

I have written three novels:  Inner space Nomads (no Longer in print), Trifecta ( current), Post Hole Digger (current) .

Awarded trademark for my candy creation Wild Peanut Butter.

I have a 1958 Corvette and an a member of the San Diego Corvette Owners Club.

I graduated from high school in Avoca, Iowa in 1958.  First car I Purchased after graduation was a 1958
Corvette.  I had it in San Francisco and Hawaii for 5 years.  Only Vette on Oahu.

Q:  How did you come up with the title?

A: I got so damn tired of so called educated people spewing bullshit, I’d tell them I to have a PHD.  My PHD is a Post Hole Digger.  I’d tell them to go back to their college and demand all their money back, they taught you 50 year old information.

Q:  What have you done to promote your book?

A: I’ve listed it on InkTip web site, Sell your book to the movies web site, Mailed a flyer to every public library in the state of Iowa, promoted it at book fairs in New York, Miami, Germany

 

Q:  Do you think publishers tend to shy away from books about poor people?

A: Not if there is a valid story line.

Q:  What is it that most Americans misunderstand about farming?

A: The cost of producing crops, cost of machinery, the uncertainty of mother nature.  A used combine can cost you $350,000.00 and only gets used 3 months a year. When I was working as a hired man, a farmer had to have enough money in the bank to plant crops three years in a row as a hedge against bad times.  Family emergency may a family to send a truck load of hogs or steers to market to cover unexpected medical bills.

Today financial planners advocate 6 month savings.

That’s the difference between growing up in the “cash and carry” era.  Law-a-way started the switch from needs to wants.  AND NEXT CAME CREDIT CARDS and a life time of debt.

Q:  If you could have any famous writer stay on your farm for a month who would it be?

A:  A horticulturist .  By the end of the century the earth will not be able to support the population.   You can led a horse to water but can’t lead a whoretocaluture

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 Robert Colton

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Robert Colton is the author of a mystery series set in Pompeii; here is a link to his website:

http://robertcolton.com/home.html

Q: What made you interested in doing a mystery series set in Pompeii?

 

A:  I had studied Pompeii and was amazed by the vast amount of information that was known about the last few generations who lived there. Thanks to a strong box that survived the destruction caused by Mt. Vesuvius, decades of important documents were found that provided a wealth of knowledge on who lived in the city and how they conducted their business.  What remains of Pompeii is much like a time machine offering a glimpse of the past. The setting seemed ripe for mystery.

 

Q:  What makes the characters in the book series worth reading about?

 

A: They are varied and unique. Some are fragile on the surface with surprising depths of personal strength, others suffer from their own lack of understanding themselves. My characters are colorful and complex, I start with an obvious cliché and then break them down into people who seem very real.

 

Q:  What is the most challenging thing about writing a mystery story?

 

A: The most challenging thing is also the most fun, placing the answer to the mystery in plain sight and then misdirecting the reader for a few hundred pages. When the murder is announced, I want my reader to nod their head and think, I should have seen that coming.

 

Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?

 

A: Robert Graves, his novel I, Claudius started me on a lifelong love of Ancient Rome. Steven Saylor, his mysteries set in Rome are well thought out and highly entertaining. Daphne du Maurier, her novel Rebecca is my favorite book. She tells the slow, winding and suspenseful tale from the point of view of a character who matures and grows right before your eyes.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and what does it entail?

 

A: I am the Director of Operation for a non-profit organization. I am a bit of a General Factotum seeing that the day to day operations seamlessly happens with an almost invisible touch. I plan events, schedule staff and oversee venders. The job lacks glamor, but I am good with making things happen on time and just the way people envision it.

 

Q:  How does it affect your ability to write?

 

A: Sometimes I can’t switch gears from work to writing if I have a project or a big event going on, other times I need to leave work at the office and jump straight into my latest manuscript to get away. I can’t quite determine the trigger.

 

Q:  What kind of research did you do for your book?

 

A: Lots of reading. I have just about every book published on the subject of Pompeii. The most important thing was to make my own map of the city. Most historical fictions are about famous people, and readers already know things about them that they expect to be mentioned. The subject of Pompeii is different, it is about the houses, temples and civic buildings. I have had countless people contact me and tell me that reading the book reminded them of their trip to the city and that my descriptions were like being there again. That has made me really happy.

 

Q:  What have you done to promote your book?

 

A: I put my first eBook out for free early on, just to get it out there. I tried a few different services that advertised books and then found some pages on Facebook where people gathered to talk about historical fiction. Recently I have done some Facebook ads and started working with a publicist. I am still waiting to dunce onto the magic marketing tool to make me a household name –but I’m not holding my breath.

 

Q:  What made you want to be a write?

 

A: It was never a choice. I wrote stories as a kid, they weren’t very good, but I have always been writing something. I have an overactive imagination, plot lines are always running through my head. I have to get some of them out on paper just to make room for more thoughts!

 

Q:  If you could visit ancient Pompeii, what would you do first?

 

A: The same thing I did when I visited modern day Pompeii. I went straight to the home where I placed my main characters. I had looked at a number of photos of the crumbling house, but walking up to it and placing my hand against the 2000 year old brick wall was an incredible feeling. I would love to be able to see what it was really like before Vesuvius transformed Pompeii from a living breathing city into a place of legend and mystery.

 

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 Corinne Morier

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Corinne Morier is the author of The Red Sorcerer Trilogy; here is a link to her website:

https://corinnemorier.wordpress.com/

Q: What made you want to be a writer?

A: I watched The Lord of the Rings movies in middle school and was fascinated by them. Soon after that, I decided to try writing my own fantasy story, and since the idea came to me in math class, I wrote it on the dividers in my binder so my teacher wouldn’t get suspicious. It was a rather terrible story about two best friends who discover an ancient race of Elves living in the forest behind their school, but then just as they are invited to join the Elves, one girl falls ill and is hospitalized and the other girl has to choose between her friend and following her destiny, but I was hooked and decided to become a storyteller. At first I wanted to make movies, but I later changed my mind and focused on novels, instead.

Q:  Why did you choose fantasy writing?

A: Aside from Lord of the Rings influencing me to start writing, it just kind of made sense. I was always a rather naïve sort of person growing up and I didn’t know much about the world or how it worked, so it just made more sense to write fantasy, where I could create a world all my own and write my own rules. In a way, it’s more of a challenge than writing a story set in our reality, but it’s more fun. I did try writing general fiction once, about a woman who suffers a miscarriage and finds an abandoned baby, but I lost interest in it fairly quickly and never finished it, whereas any fantasy novel I’ve set out to write I have seen to completion.

Q: Do you think writers are generally bored by science?

A: Bored by science? No. The science-fiction genre has never been stronger, I think, than what it is today. Of course, each author will have his or her own thoughts about this. I don’t think I’ll ever end up writing science fiction, but biology was one of my favorite subjects when I was in school, so science as a subject isn’t actually boring.

Q: What is The Red Sorcerer Trilogy about?

A: It’s about Leyndray, a girl born under a fateful prophecy, who is thrust into a chain of events due to circumstances of her birth. But more than that, it’s about the human heart, as all my stories are, about how love can turn to rage and doubt can cast fear on a judgment we believe to be the right one. Most of all, the eternal question that we ask ourselves even today: Is there such a thing as fate, and can we choose a different path than the one that has been laid down for us?

Q: What makes Leyndray a character worth reading about?

A: Leyndray is a girl thrust into an unfortunate situation just trying to regain a sense of reality. I’m sure that everyone has experienced that at some point in their lives, and I think that’s what makes her relatable.

Q:  What life experiences do you draw from when you write?

A: That’s an interesting question, and it’s hard to pin down a specific answer. For example, The Crown and the Mage was written during my high school days, and back then, I was struggling a bit with depression and anxiety, so it reads rather dark. Now I’m writing the sequel and it actually feels more lighthearted and fun. I don’t think I draw from specific experiences, but when I write fantasy novels, I like to find pictures of faraway places to inspire settings in my story, and sometimes, I’ll choose a song that I think fits a specific character or scene and listen to it while I write.

Q:  What kind of day job do you have?

A: Right now, I work part time as a freelance translator, and I also have a day job working with youth. Aside from writing, I also want to be a teacher, so it’s a great learning experience, and my students are the best.

Q: Would you prefer your current job or work as a full time writer?

A: Hmm, that’s hard to say. My current job is really great, and I don’t think I can choose either full-time work as a writer or my day job. Can I have my cake and eat it, too?

Q: Who are some of your writing influences?

A: I would say that my favorite authors – Paolini, Tolkien, Nix, Rowling, Patterson, and Laura Joh Rowland – have influenced me quite a bit. But it’s hard to pin down a specific influence because I read a lot in several different genres – fantasy, nonfiction, general fiction, and mysteries. I’m also a big fan of graphic novels, specifically manga, and sometimes have been told that my stories read like a graphic novel, which of course, requires a rewrite.

Q:  What would you most like to change about the publishing industry?

A: How hard it is to break into it, and how writers with great talent and promise always have doors closed in their faces. For example, a friend of mine who writes romance novels couldn’t find an agent or publisher to work with, so she decided to self-publish them. They sold so well that now she makes a six-figure salary on her books, without the help of an agent or publicist, and gets regular fan mail from her readers. She even makes more than her husband, who is an engineer and designs bridges around the world. I can only imagine what all those agents that told her “no” are thinking now, wishing they’d gotten in on those profits.

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 Cartoonist Eugenio Negro

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Eugenio Negro is a cartoonist and writer who contributes to the website Nose Milk and is the author of the book Almira and the Backward Family; here is a link to his blog:

https://negrocomics.wordpress.com/

Q: What inspired you to start Negro Comics?

A: I started the blog because I wanted a website for showing off my comics and writing. It seemed like websites are out, or anyway I couldn’t find a well-connected free one, so I went to the blog. I like how the blog has the social feature built in.

Q:     What is the overall theme of the blog?

A: The theme of the blog is art I make.

Q:     What is Almira and the Backward Family about?

A: Look, Almira and the Backward Family’s setting was kind of a cynical and desperate thing. I wanted to try historical fiction, knowing that it’s the best-selling fiction now. Only thing is I don’t do genre fiction, so it’s kind of window dressing for whatever theme I’m writing about. The story looks at what a child is capable of when her environment isn’t interested in educating her, and at the same time it’s an examination of gun violence. In fact this replaced another historically-set thing that demanded too much research for how much story I had. Sandy Hook had just happened, and as usual no one in the mainstream media –both corporate or social –had anything of content to say about the causes of gun violence, and I was in a bad mood about it. So I thought I’d make fun of people’s lack of concern about guns, and point out that it stems from our mostly voluntary lack of education and critical thought. Basically this little girl in 1860 Placer County works out the shape of her family. She gets it in her head that her stepfather killed her father so he could marry her mother, and the violence happening around her during the Gold Rush convinces her that the thing to do would be to harm him.

Q:     How is it different from other westerns?

A: The story is different from other westerns in that I cut out the western romance –gun fights, saving women, and so forth –from the plot and just did the poverty, desperation and violence. I also was watching a television show with Misses Negro and noticed that television shows in their hasty schedule put today’s voices, words and mannerisms, even social mores, into the historical setting. In an effort to improve on the form, it was important to try to make Almira’s characters sound like they would’ve then, and think and act like then. That involved some spurious linguistic research, and then the fun part of going back to Twain, Beecher Stowe and Joaquín Miller, whose work I adore. Someone complained to me that Almira’s characters are bloodthirsty lunatics, and I thought, I did it right! So it’s bad historical fiction because it doesn’t flatten history out into easy good-versus-evil consumer fodder. And it’s a bad western because the gun fight is a real trauma instead of an economic tool or even a kind of macho communication device. The other western elements are just for fun, and a way to educate the reader about a part of California history that’s often overlooked.

Q:     What sort of day job do you have and how does it influence your creative work?

A: I’m not going to be specific about my day job because my privacy is precious. But I will say that it’s a fun job, it’s not a tech job, it’s not a service job, and I’m around a lot of people all day. They give me a lot to think about and write about. Since I’ve had this job I’ve really developed a concern for the future and the effects of our current values.

Q:     How did you become involved with Nose Milk?

A: I ran into Rishi on Craigslist, as I’m on it constantly. He liked how I did the satire and basically lets me do whatever I want. I’ve been writing for him almost a year now.

Q:     What do you think are the sociological benefits of blogging?

A: Well, here’s the thing with how I write. I take Ariel Dorfman’s commitment to speaking for the vanished really, really seriously. And then behind that I have my past as a volunteer organizer and I have all this guilt that I didn’t become a journalist, or at least keep working as hard as I once did trying to organize people and help them advocate for themselves. So the only concrete sociological benefit I can see to blogging is that I can find the messages of other bloggers who’re trying to shine a light on the prison industry, on poverty and discrimination, or who have any perspective on big issues outside of the lazy status quo, and I can carry their message a few steps more into my audience. Plus writing about privileged white people’s problems –I wouldn’t want to step on Bret Easton Ellis’ toes, who’s already doing such a good job covering that.

Q:     What are the sociological disadvantages of blogging?

A: I don’t know if I can think of any serious disadvantages. Any good writer can deal with things like negative comments or whatever. I mean, you’re beholden to people’s taste and perception, so people who’re looking for information delivered in a certain fashion just may not see your stuff. The main problem is that you’re writing for a crowd of people who have the stability and time to look through blogs, so the  people who really could benefit from your advocacy may never see your work, never be able to use it.

Q:     What are some of your favorite blogs?

A: I amuse myself with the Consumerist. A very important one is Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity. They have a wealth of primary sources. I try to do stuff for them via the Nose Milk as much as I can. Mostly I use blogs that list other sources, like publisher lists, reviewer lists, zinester lists, etc. Almost Normal Comics out of Arizona is awesome.

Q:  Who was the most pretentious character you ever met in San Francisco (and what made him/her so)?

A: Who is the most pretentious person I ever met in San Francisco, specifically? Not Santa Cruz or San Jose or Salinas? An unanswerable question. To be fair, my circle at this point is pretty closed off to pretentious people. I’m not an attention hog, and certainly not when I visit SF. I know. There used to be this band called the Phantom Limbs. They were tight players and had managed to get themselves on Alternative Tentacles. Heaven knows the guy who fronted it could’ve been getting himself dragged through broken forty bottles because he was sad, but otherwise… anyway some friends of mine used to go to his shows expressly to beat the shit out of that guy. I went along, observed and laughed. He was a primadonna on stage, but man could he take an asskicking once you got him in the crowd. He was called Hopeless, and they’d shout What’s Up Homeless! at him incessantly before beating his ass. Now he’s Loto Ball (call him Hella Sacs). But I’m sure he pales in comparison to people like Greg Gopman, Mark Zuckerberg, these clueless little shits who’ve now taken over the global good old boys’ club. I’m working on a story right now where she writes her sabotage plan in poetry, knowing that her STEM boss won’t be able to read it.

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 Author Frankie Bow

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Frankie Bow is a teacher and the author of The Musubi Murder; here is a link to her website:

Q:  What is The Musubi Murder about?

A:  The Musubi Murder is the first campus crime novel set in Hawaii. The protagonist is professor Molly Barda, a reluctant sleuth who is very much a fish out of water. She’s a big city girl recently transplanted to remote Mahina State University, using her top-ten literature Ph.D. to teach resume-writing to business majors. She just wants to keep her head down and stay out of trouble until she gets tenure, so naturally she ends up getting dragged into the middle of a grisly murder case.

Q:  What life experiences did you draw from when writing the book?

A:  Everything in the book is entirely fictitious, but I do work in higher education. We seem to have a lot of “Rewarding A While Hoping for B,” or what economists call perverse incentives. A lot of this, in my opinion, comes from the fact that we reward or punish short term results, when we’re hoping for long-term improvement. For example, Molly’s dean refuses to turn away a tuition-paying customer under any circumstances. Even if the “customer” plagiarizes an assignment, fails every test, or waves a machete around in class. These kinds of conflicts are kind of fun to write about, because everyone thinks they’re the put-upon hero of the story.

Q:  What makes Molly Barda worth reading about?

A:  Molly is obsessive and neurotic, and she overthinks everything, but I’ve tried to write her so that the reader can understand and even identify with her. For example, as she’s taking her seat in a theater, she thinks: “I can never decide whether to face front or back when I’m squeezing into a row of seats; which intimate body part does the average theatergoer want hovering inches from their face? Someone should do a survey.” I’m hoping that the reader will recognize that they have wondered this exact thing themselves.

Q:  What makes her different from other characters?

A:  Molly’s superpower is reading. There’s some research that shows that exposing people to literature makes them more adept at reading the emotions of others. These are lab experiments, not observational studies, so it’s not just that empathetic people like to read. Because of her reading habit, Molly, as socially awkward and insensitive as she can be, is better than average at reading peoples’ emotions and motivations.

Q:  Who are some of your literary influences?

A:  Dorothy Parker, P.G. Wodehouse, Sarah Caudwell, Dave Barry, Molly Ivins, Alexander McCall Smith, and E.F. Benson.

Q:  What are some things you have done to promote your book?

A:  I set up a WordPress blog using Simon Whistler’s tremendously helpful video tutorial. The blog is where I post things first, but I’m also onTwitterFacebook, LinkedInPinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Blogger. As the hardcover launch date gets closer I’m thinking of using Buzzfeed and Storify a little more.

I gave away a signed ARC on Goodreads, and will do another one before the August 5 release date of the hardcover. I’m also doing anAudible giveaway on LibraryThing.

Q:  What elements do you think a good murder mystery contains?

A:  I think there should be enough clues planted along the way that when you re-read it, the murderer’s identity and motivation should be obvious. It should also be entertaining enough that you actually want to re-read it!

Q:  What challenges did you face in writing the series?

A:  One big challenge was Molly’s love life—I didn’t want it to be too perfect. It had to be flawed enough to generate some interesting conflict. I wanted her love interest to be appealing enough that you can understand what Molly sees in him, and I wanted it to be believable that he would pursue her. I didn’t want him to be Astronaut Mike Dexter.

Q:  What is your weirdest teaching story?

A:  Living in a small town (not entirely unlike the fictional Mahina), I realize that there are no secrets, but even so, this was a weird one. My husband and I had just learned that we would be having a daughter. I was visibly pregnant, but we hadn’t told anyone (except for his mother) the sex of the baby. Imagine my surprise when two of my students announced to the rest of the class—in class—that I was going to have a girl. And they wouldn’t tell me how they knew.

Q:  If you could meet Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes, who would you pick and why?

A: I would pick Nancy Drew. Sherlock Holmes is likely to be in bad humor and might not speak at all. Nancy Drew would be gracious and willing to recount some interesting stories.

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