Category Archives: Interviews
I Am and the Spirit Walks with Me shares real life experiences to show readers how to attain a higher level of consciousness and healthier spiritual living. Why was this an important book for you to write?
My life was tragedy after tragedy enough to break anyone down I was walking and existing in a very dark place. Regardless of what I was going through not knowing love and just being on this planet with no one to connect to there was something there deep inside me that allowed me to keep hanging on and to never give up. There were thoughts of suicide there were alcohol and drugs around me. There were thoughts of taking my life via self-harm using many methods but the spirit within me was stronger than my situations, circumstances, and problems. Holding on to the belief that there had to be a better life for me and not giving up through the darkness I found Gods light and it is glorious. My heart went out to all those who have suffered abuse or is going through situations, circumstances, and problems in their life. I wanted to connect so that they know to keep fighting don’t give up you are stronger than the darkness and weakness you are and have experienced in your life.
In this book you discuss the spiritual pathways toward higher consciousness. What is a common misconception people have when taking this journey and how can they overcome it?
Spiritual growth requires action if we are seeking the best out of life we must accept that there will be paradigm shifts. Don’t get comfortable with where you are. Elevated consciousness means change not being ok with where you are in the now. Many have the misconception that because they have seen someone for healing it took care of what they need in many cases it did and you walked away feeling better, however you are in control of your life and you must take action daily to contribute to your spiritual growth. Move out of the shadow of dependency and giving your power to someone else. Many have the misconception that they’ve said their affirmations for the day and that this is all it takes. We must clean the slate of our mind for any affirmations to work this means self-mastery work dumping your baggage of situations that impacted your life forgiving yourself for it and others. Do a self-work by using the people in your life be an observer witness of how you feel when people say things if an uncomfortable feeling surfaces write it down don’t blame the other party you called them into your life to help you transcend use what they say to empower you. If you felt hurt when they said something, ask yourself why did you feel hurt they only triggered something deep within you that requires healing. If it is sorrow you feel un-create, delete, and destroy it in the now and across all time dimension space and reality this is how you rid it and you began to heal and feel lighter. If you pay attention you can feel the negative energy of it leaving your body.
This book is good at helping readers examine and understand themselves. What do you hope readers take away from this book?
Faith, Belief, and Trust in themselves don’t look to others to find it search within all you need is within you the answers are there waiting for you to unlock the mysteries of your own life. Create a connection with spirit and just trust your own inner guidance and intuition. It is magical. Surrender your control to your own inner spirit it brings your power and control back to you and makes you stronger than ever.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book will dive deeper into being trapped in my own body living a life of existing and not being able to identify with it, however a deeper knowing that something didn’t feel right. I will be sharing healing techniques that one can use to bring healing to themselves and real-life story events, and cases of how the techniques have saved not only my life but the lives of others. Revealing and disclosing an epidemic that is swooping the universe and how it’s being associated with everyday common diagnosis causing us to overlook truth. I anticipate the deliverance of this book early in 2019.
In my book, I share a variety of examples that are real life-related events, and how each negative event created negative brain patterns. Negative experiences can be transformed into positive brain patterns which create a healthier way of living, and open spiritual pathways toward higher consciousness.
It feels great to be in a state of awareness, and consciousness to know where my life is heading. The things that impacted my life that kept me closed up for so many years no longer have a hold on me. It wasn’t always that way. I had taken on victim energy, and through my transformation, I learned how to release this energy and regain my power. Overcoming these traumas has opened my heart to sharing information as a healing tool for many other people.
My goal is to reach and transform as many lives as possible to awaken other people to this same level of consciousness, one soul at a time tarting with mine. I am inspired and motivated by the outer realms of my mind that which I see but may not yet be visible to others. I try to stay open at all times to receive new information to deliver to those who are open to new possibilities and want to receive healing for the body-mind-spirit.
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Romance Scam Survivor is an in depth account of your experience with an online scammer. What was the inspiration that made you want to turn your experience into a book?
Initially I gathered all the emails and texts in an attempt to understand what had happened. When I realised I had been scammed I was in a state of disorientation, so did this to try and make sense of it all, to try and see where my judgment had lapsed and how I had slipped up so badly. I chose to put all of this content together in a way that was totally honest, so the reader to see for themselves if they would have done the same thing. Once I had collated all of this I couldn’t look at it for some time.
The rest of the book wasn’t written until several years later. By that time I had done a lot of research and better understood the psychological skills that scammers have, and their ability to manipulate one’s emotions. Later I was writing to show that it is possible to come through the other side of such a devastating and traumatic experience.
It’s obvious in hindsight that this was a scam, but do you feel that there was something that someone could have said that could have helped you?
I was warned several times that it was a scam, but somehow could not believe it. I felt that the relationship was too intimate to be a scam.
I have also worked with others who are in this situation, and know it is very difficult to break through the hypnotic state that a victim is in when they are in a scam. I wish I did know what might have helped, because there are many others who could be helped with this information. There is no silver bullet that I have found, regrettably.
Do you think that finding love online is an inherently vulnerable prospect? Is there a way for people to be both safe and vulnerable online?
I am not against online dating per se. Many people have established and maintained successful relationships and marriages from meeting online. I do think it is important to not give too much away, especially personal details, until you are very confident of your partner.
For those who do want to do date online I would suggest
- Make sure you only connect with those people you can meet face to face
- Understand what the red flags are before you begin – later may be too late.
- Have a friend mentor you in the process, but start with an agreement that you will take their advice. You need someone who will not be emotionally involved.
- Follow the safety rules that are set up within the dating site – don’t get enticed to go off the site for convenience.
- Never give money – ANY requests for money are a scam
What advice would you give to someone that is currently online dating?
- Trust your intuition: If you have any sense that it might or could be a scam then it more than likely is?
- Make sure you meet face to face.
- Follow the guidance given above. If any of them raise concerns, it is likely to be a scam.
- If you do get caught in a scam, report it to the relevant fraud agency.
“How could you give money to someone you’ve never met?”
That’s the first question most people ask.
For Jan Marshall, life was good. She had worked hard, set herself up well, and was looking for a companion to share her future with. Just as countless thousands around the world do, every day, she turned to online dating.
In just a few months, Jan believed she was ‘in love’. She accepted a proposal of marriage, and then sent money – ALL her money – to a professional scammer.
How did it happen? How can an intelligent person be so thoroughly scammed?
Jan courageously shares the details of her devastating experience, in order to help others recognise such devious swindlers who prey on trusting souls, and maybe even to catch this thief.
You might think it can’t happen to you, or someone you love, but can you be sure?
The work is a non-fiction account and memoir covering the communication between myself and the scammer, based on my records of our communications. By sharing the personal and intimate nature of the interactions it asks the reader to put themselves in my shoes, and in response the question “how could you be so stupid?” is answered. It details the process of dealing emotionally with the scam and the financial difficulties that I found myself in afterwards. It is a story of my process through being a victim to becoming a survivor. Areas that need change are also addressed. Some support resources and links are also provided, though this is not the main purpose.
The Moving Blade follows detective Hiroshi as he navigates street level politics to solve the murder of an American diplomat. What was the direction that you wanted to take book two in the series that was different from book one?
The direction I wanted to take it is not the direction it ended up going. So, I headed more into the characters, who became more and more interesting. I focused on the roiling tumble of conflicts inside them, and what that might reflect of social, political and historical conflicts outside. I think that’s similar to book one, but because the characters are embedded into a larger framework of political pressures and international relations, their actions resonate differently. The canvas is broader in this second book, and I go deeper into Tokyo, to see the background of the characters and their choices, good and bad.
I enjoyed the mix of interesting characters throughout the novel. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I like all of them. Well, I don’t like the bad guys, but I like hating them. My favorites were maybe the bookstore owner twins and the radical leftist. They were fun to write and to put in scenes together, the twins steady and demure and the leftist stridently angry. Sakaguchi, the ex-sumo wrestler, is always fun to write for. He has this core set of values that is rock solid Japanese. When he explodes, he really explodes. And of course, Hiroshi developed and grew as a person and as a detective, in perhaps meandering ways, but human ways. The women characters are great to write for, too, as they pull the story in their direction.
It quickly unfolds that the missing manuscript was the driving factor behind the diplomat’s death. How do you balance storytelling with mystery and action to ensure readers are engaged to the very last page?
Among all the different types of mysteries, whodunnits, whydunnits, I-dunnits, I didn’t-do-its, I tend towards the why. Maybe because I was a philosophy major? Not-knowing who creates a different kind of curiosity than not-knowing why. Withholding certain pieces of information is essential. As Alfred Hitchcock pointed out, if you know there’s a bomb under the table, but the characters don’t…well, that’s suspense. And if you don’t know why the bomb is under the table in the first place, it’s really intriguing. As jazz musicians often say, and I think Mozart said it originally, the music is not in the notes, but in the silence between. I think writing should be aware of what’s not spoken, what’s not known. The unknowns make you lean in and pay attention.
Where will book three in the Detective Hiroshi series take readers?
Book three is called Tokyo Traffic. The story revolves around a young Thai girl who gets lost in Tokyo, after running away from some horrible people. She is rescued by a young Japanese woman who lives in an internet café and plays in a rock band. Most of the story takes place in the nighttime youth hangouts in Shibuya and Shimokitazawa, another side of Tokyo. The detectives are the same, though Hiroshi has moved in with his college girlfriend and Takamatsu is off suspension. It goes deeper into the characters and deeper into Tokyo.
When the top American diplomat in Tokyo, Bernard Mattson, is killed, he leaves more than a lifetime of successful Japan-American negotiations. He leaves a missing manuscript, boxes of research, a lost keynote speech and a tangled web of relations.
When his alluring daughter, Jamie, returns from America wanting answers, finding only threats, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu is dragged from the safe confines of his office into the street-level realities of Pacific Rim politics.
With help from ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi, Hiroshi searches for the killer from back alley bars to government offices, through anti-nuke protests to military conspiracies. When two more bodies turn up, Hiroshi must choose between desire and duty, violence or procedure, before the killer silences his next victim.
THE MOVING BLADE is the second in the Tokyo-based Detective Hiroshi series by award-winning author Michael Pronko.
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The Newspaperman is an intriguing horror novel that follows Seth as he encounters a newspaperman selling newspapers with bizarre stories. What was the inspiration for the newspaperman and the stories he sells?
The story stemmed from this vision I had of a swarthy-looking, rough-around-the-edges guy—Cedrick, the Newspaperman—who’s trying to be an enthusiastic gentleman but isn’t fooling the main character of the story, Seth Kesler. I liked the idea of such a guy replacing the wholesome image we’ve all seen of the young boy from the 1930s selling newspapers on the corner, so I put Cedrick in Depression-era clothing and let him go to town in the year 2016. That whole image I had of Cedrick on the street corner kind of got the story off and running. In the beginning, the stories in the C-U Journal are legitimate, but they quickly devolve into total garbage, and poor Seth is the only one who can see that. It’s like an episode of The Twilight Zone.
I wrote the first draft of The Newspaperman in one month in December of 2016, not long after graduating with a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I don’t work as a journalist for a living, but at the time I had all this fresh journalism knowledge, and I needed a new project since I wasn’t in school anymore. So the ideas I had for The Newspaperman just came pouring out. It was fun to write.
This is an entertaining story that is high in social commentary. What were some themes you wanted to focus on when writing this book?
Thank you very much. Obviously I was looking to highlight the sordid fake news we’ve all seen, which has become more prevalent in recent years. Some of those fake stories are very well written, so it can be hard to tell what’s what, especially if you don’t read news from legitimate sources that often. I love the character Meghan, Seth’s wife, in The Newspaperman because she’s such a perfect foil to her husband. He’s almost this journalistic snob while Meghan represents the American masses who mindlessly scroll through their phones all day and night looking at useless junk. She’s clueless in some ways but also lovable. Many things are exaggerated in this book to make a point, so readers should go into the story knowing that.
Beyond the issue of fake news, I wanted to write a book that highlighted the importance of journalism to society in general in a non-political way. On subsequent rewrites after the first draft, I really made an effort to do that. I love the portion of the book where readers get to read Seth’s impassioned letter about why good journalism is crucial, and also the part when he and Meghan are in bed and Seth is explaining why he’s on such a crusade to save journalism. Poor Meghan is crying because she loves Seth and doesn’t want him to step in to any danger, but he plows ahead anyway.
Seth is an interesting character that continued to develop as the story progressed. Did you plan his character progression or did it develop organically?
Thanks. I’d have to say the progression of Seth’s character grew organically as I wrote the story and he grew as he faced these issues. I knew from the get-go that Seth was going to be the one sane guy in this story who could rationally see what was going on, and as he was bumping up against these strange characters and observing all this craziness around him, as you said, his character evolved.
Some people have told me they found Seth’s personality to be rather passive considering all the madness around him, but when I read the book and see the things Seth was trying to do, I don’t view him as passive in the least. In my opinion he was trying hard to change what was around him, all the while in disbelief about what was happening.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
This past summer I wrote a 10,000-word story called The Millionaire’s Gift, which is a sequel to a novel I wrote called The Millionaire’s Cross. It’s supposed to be published in an upcoming anthology, and I’m not sure at this point if I’m at liberty to say who the publisher is. But I hope it comes out and it gets some exposure and people read it.
I had another idea for a novel and was thinking of writing it this November in the National Novel Writing Month contest. I guess I’d better decide pretty quickly if I’m going to do that or not!
Seth Kesler is thrilled to discover that the defunct C-U Journal is making a comeback. He loves newspapers and believes it is his—and society’s—civic duty to read them. But something is deeply off about the new publication in Champaign-Urbana, starting with the oily paper-hawker he dubs the Newspaperman, who hand-sells the C-U Journal for a mere dime on a downtown street corner. Seth’s delight soon turns to dismay when he sees the bizarre stories printed as fact and mysterious goings-on at the once-esteemed paper’s main office. He makes it his goal to put a stop to the whole shady operation, even though it means battling news titan Richard W. Fields, a multimillionaire who represents the worst of an exploitive corporate world.
The Newspaperman is a smart horror/mystery that will keep readers intrigued right up until the gut-punch ending.
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Destiny Revealed begins with Gabby in a precarious situation, one that propels readers into an intriguing adventure. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
The 1960’s was a fascinating time to be a teenager, although none of us realized it until much later in life. The historical events, music, art, pop culture, all contributed in many ways to who we are today. I knew many “Gabbys” in my high school in California. I experienced the loss of a “Jake” at an early age, as a result of the Vietnam war. In college I studied Literature, graduated with a BA and MA in English and became a high school teacher. Those years resulted in my continued appreciation for every author that I taught, even those that I was not always fond of. It was always my desire to be a writer. And, although I believed I could be successful, those years were so busy, teaching, raising a family, living life that there was little time for writing. Finally, once retired from teaching, and moving to the Midwest, my passion to write returned. As I met other people from this region, one thing that we all had in common was our memories of the ‘60s. This is when I decided to create a story that my generation, and hopefully others, could relate to; the desire to sometimes want to revisit those wonderful early years, and even reflect on what might have happened differently based on our choices.
In Destiny Revealed, the sequel to my first novel, Destiny Revisited, it begins where the last one ended, Tybee Beach near Savannah, Georgia. Gabby has come full circle and is still struggling to understand why happiness is eluding her.
My objective with this novel, was to answer all of the questions that still remained at the end of the first novel, now that all of the characters are approaching middle age. This is why I provided the history backdrop to the the two main characters, still living, Caden Cassidy and Sterling Powers. Destiny Revealed hopefully will add a new dimension that readers will appreciate.
I enjoyed how Gabby’s character continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character and the relationship with the men in her life?
Gabriella, means , a gift of strength from God. In this novel it will take her as much patience and self reliance as possible to make it through her complicated life. Each of the men in her life, Jake Girard, Caden Cassidy, Alex Blair, and Sterling Powers have contributed to her growth as a woman. But, it is not until she meets the mysterious lady, Maggie Mendoza, born on the same day she is, forty years later, and experiencing the same life threatening experience, on the same day, two thousand miles apart, is she able to realize how strong she is. Although I provide clues to the reader about what will ultimately happen, I am hoping that the conclusion is powerful and surprising.
The story has underpinning of a supernatural force at work, but I felt that the novel was well grounded in reality. How did you balance this while writing?
Balancing the supernatural with reality happens everyday, people just don’t always realize it. Whether it is prayer, or astrology, or a Shaman who performs rituals in Catemaco, Veracruz, people are in search of relief from their pain. By including Jake’s journals, Gabby believes she will be connected to him, even in death. The coincidence between Maggie and Gabby are both mysterious yet, realistic. We just do not always have the opportunity to meet our doppelgängers. My intention is to lead the reader into an unknown space without making it uncomfortable.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Seven Days in Lebanon, my third novel, takes a totally different approach than my first two novels. It is based on the true story of my grandmother’s exile from St. Petersburg, Russia during The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and her marriage to the last Prince of Kiva. This is a historical fiction that is now complete and will be available at the first of next year.
The Mermaid’s grandmother is my next novel that I am currently writing. Although not completely “fleshed “ out it will be a story told by an aging mermaid that lives a normal life with a few idiosyncrasies. Her grandson, also part merman does not have any idea about his heritage. The bond that the two of them share, will offer readers a new perspective on some traditional legends.
“Where the hell are you, Gabby?” Is what Caden Cassidy wants to know and Destiny Revisited readers are also asking. It is also what Gabriella Gerard Blair wants to discover.
Floating in the freezing Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ashes, Gabby has no idea why she is at Tybee Beach and who saved her from drowning. It is Sterling Powers, a man from her past, who she turns to for some answers.
What Gabby finds is more questions than any answers. Can Caden convince Gabby that fate has finally allowed them another chance at happiness? What secrets are Sterling keeping from Gabby, and why? Will Jake’s journals be her guidebook to the parallel universe?
Perhaps the answers will finally be found at The Hotel California, in Todos Santos, Mexico when she meets the proprietor, Eleanor Rigby. It is here when Gabby, in desperation, decides to visit a Shaman located at Catamaco, Veracruz, the capital of sorcery.
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Decrypto: Unlock Your Life Journey is an inspirational book that uses your life stories to help people understand and overcome challenges in their own life. What do you hope readers take away from this book?
What I would love the reader’s to take away from reading my book is to feel inspired and empowered, and continue with their journey of self-discovery. I’d like them to realise that life is an adventure of ups and downs— but ultimately they are in control and don’t have to stay stuck in a life that is less than what they want. I want them to believe with confidence, “I can change my life!”
In your book you discuss how each one of us has the potential to experience happiness. What do you find is the biggest impediment in people’s lives that keep them from that?
This is a very complex subject matter although often this can be as simple as a lack of understanding of the underlying causes that prevent a deeper connection to happiness. Many people are not living the life they truly want and find themselves holding onto regrets and what-ifs. Our past, if unresolved, can strongly impact and impair, our ability to connect to and to experience happiness, especially if fuelled by strong emotions.
You give a lot of good advice in this book. What is one piece of advice that you wish someone would have given you when you were younger?
I’m the ninth child in a family of ten children. I felt as if I was born into a crowd, where individuality wasn’t valued. I believe this had a powerful impact on my life. The advice that I wish that someone had given me is that we are all unique and each person has something special to offer. To dream big, as anything is possible! If you believe you can achieve it, you will!
I felt that hope was a key theme in this book. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in this book?
There are many themes that individually and collaboratively are important aspects of the book. The main theme that underpins Decrypto is self-empowerment— the sharing of knowledge being the key that opens the door to a new beginning. I’d like to encourage my readers to nurture their belief in themselves, and to know that they have the potential to change their life, to find themselves, and to live a dream…
Whether you have it all, are searching to find yourself, or live with regrets and what-ifs, Decrypto is the key to opening the door to changing your life.
You will gain an in-depth understanding of your thoughts, emotions and life, as you discover what is happening to you and why. Your newfound self-awareness will empower you to make positive and long-lasting changes, to create the life you are longing for.
Be inspired to find a new direction, as you ignite the passion to follow your dreams.
Change starts now!
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The Twisted Crown is a fascinating story about a free black woman from the North searching for her mother in the post-Civil War South. What served as your inspiration while writing this novel?
My father’s family is from Moncks Corner, SC, and we still own property there. I was born in Ohio and grew up in the North. I have always been fascinated by stories about our land in Moncks Corner, called Bryan Tract, and how it was acquired, as well as our family’s unusual genealogy. My great-grandfather was a white man from Iowa, who went to South Carolina during Reconstruction, and eventually became a wealthy state senator. I have always felt that period in American history was not well documented from the female, Afro-centric point of view. So, I decided to focus on that time period. Once I began to acquire primary source documents that provided details of my great-grandfather’s life, I wanted to pen the novel from the point of view of a woman from the North who travels into the South during Reconstruction.
This is an entertaining novel that is high in social commentary. What were some themes you wanted focus on in this book?
Romance: My family’s mixed race background demonstrates the crossing of racial lines at that time, as is really evident throughout history. I wanted to present this aspect of society through characters who could see past the racial, cultural, and societal barriers that existed during this time period. Political: I wanted to better define what Reconstruction actually was. It was not rebuilding bridges and constructing new buildings, but an effort to establish a solid political structure and an economic base to replace the defeated Confederate government. Societal: My goal was to showcase the work of the Freedman’s Bureau and underscore its importance in helping freed slaves establish new lives in freedom after the Civil War.
Eva is an intriguing character that continued to develop as the story progressed. How did you capture the thoughts and emotions of a young black woman during this tumultuous time in history?
As a novelist of historical fiction, I have always focused on examining a period in history through the eyes of an African-American woman. My own family experiences, coupled with years of researching the role of black women throughout pivotal periods in history helped me shape Eva.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
Writing historical fiction takes time, detailed research, and inspiration. I always spend time traveling to the geographic locations that I plan to use in my books I’m mulling time periods, traveling, and pulling my next story together without any release date in mind.
The Twisted Crown takes readers from the bustling streets of Boston at the height of the Abolitionist movement to the war-ravaged landscape of Reconstruction-era South Carolina.
In 1867, Eva Phillips, who was born a slave yet lived in freedom, travels across the chaotic landscape of South Carolina in search of the mother who gave her away. During her journey, she is befriended by a black political activist promoting the rights of the newly freed slaves, a wealthy northern Carpetbagger, and a gutsy lady gambler who teaches Eva how to survive in the tumultuous Post-war environment.
When the spirited young widow’s quest draws her into a dangerous web of theft, lies, and murder, she becomes the target of a long-awaited confrontation that forces her into a fight for her life.
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George’s Pursuit Across the Perilous Ocean is a fantastic metaphor for entrepreneurs to grow their business. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I wanted to create a very easy to read book to help entrepreneurs.
The title of the book came from an idea I had of creating something that made people think ‘oh that looks interesting, I wonder what it’s about’. It’s short enough to be an enjoyable read with a lighthearted approach to a serious subject. It’s a thought-provoking sun-bed read!’
What is your experience with entrepreneurship and how did that help you write this book?
As a business owner myself I have extensive experience in buying, building and selling my own businesses, which means I understands the real challenges business owners face day-in, day-out.
I feel I understand the pressures felt by business owners from my own personal experiences of complex periods of change within my own organisations. As a coach I’ve seen lots of businesses struggle and not reach their full potential – I wanted to write a book that made it easy to see how changes could be made.
My main passion lies with family business owners, having been working with them for many years to resolve conflict, manage family employees and succession planning.
What do you think is one common misconception people have about starting a business and how can they overcome it?
The decision to start a business is often taken quite lightly and quickly – perhaps from a point of ‘I can do this just as well’ and often finds the business owner doing the same sort of thing as they did when they were an employee for someone else. However, that’s only the start of it. There is much more to being a successful business owner and at times we all need a prod to do ‘more’. That is what the book is designed to be – a gentle prod.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book in the pipeline will look at family businesses, specifically what it’s like to be a family member joining the family business. Is it a ‘poison chalice’ or an outstanding opportunity?
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American River: Tributaries follows three immigrant families struggling to pursue their dreams during the turbulent 1960’s. What served as your inspiration while writing this book?
My love of Northern California, the place where I grew up, and the wonderful history of the area. I was also inspired by my love of art and music and my passion for social justice issues. Immigration and ethnic diversity are the cornerstones of the story.
This book has so many fascinating characters that are well developed. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your characters?
Basically, the story focuses on the creative search for meaning, knowledge, compassion and understanding in a tumultuous world filled with prejudice, obstacles, jealousy, and betrayal. As my characters encounter these obstacles, they discover their own strengths and weaknesses and grow beyond their self-centered ambitions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the historical backdrop to the story and how well researched it was. What historical milestones were important for you to highlight in this book?
The Gold Rush had a tremendous impact on the population and culture of California. Before the Gold Rush, the population consisted mainly of Native Californians and Californios (settlers and landowners of mixed Spanish, Native Californian, and African descent). But gold fever brought people to California from all over the country and the world. The Anglo Americans (of English, Irish, or Scots descent), other Europeans (including Italians, Russians, Greeks and East Europeans), Chinese, Japanese, African Americans, and many more who came and stayed. This changed the makeup of the state’s population making it one of the most ethnically diverse in the country. So, this cultural diversity sets the scene for later entanglements.
Most of the story takes place in the 1960s, that decade that Time Magazine recently termed “The decade that changed a generation.” So, I take the reader down memory lane as my characters encounter the major issues of the time: immigration, racial prejudice, migrant workers, gay rights, women’s rights and the Vietnam War.
This is book one in the American River Trilogy. What can readers expect in book two, American River: Currents?
In Book Two, American River: Currents, a cavalcade of disasters—both personal and public—threatens to overwhelm the scattered members of the McPhalan, Ashida, and Morales clans. Alliances fray, relationships dissolve, divisive secrets are revealed, and promises are broken as the members of three California families struggle to salvage their shattered dreams. The story follows the character’s journeys to places as distant as Cleveland, Ohio, Venice, Italy, and Kyoto, Japan. From the concert halls of Europe to the artist’s lofts of Manhattan, American River: Currents is filled with passionate and resolute characters who refuse to let go of their unique visions of success—even as life’s tumultuous currents threaten to sweep them all away.
Owen McPhalans Mockingbird Valley Ranch is still a thriving family business in 1959. But when his wife, Marian, leaves Mockingbird to follow her dream of becoming a successful artist, she ignites a firestorm that impacts the descendants of all three families. As artists, musicians, writers, and politicians inherit their immigrant parents hopes, they are torn apart by ambition, prejudice, and deception while struggling through the turbulent 1960s. From the concert halls of Europe to Kyotos ancient avenues, and Manhattans artists lofts to San Franciscos North Beach, they each learn the price they must pay in order to realize their dreams. But just as the river is drawn to the sea, they eventually find themselves pulled back to the place that forged the original link between their destiniesa place called Mockingbird.
American River: Tributaries follows three California families as the descendants of Irish, Japanese, and Mexican immigrants embark on unique journeys to pursue their dreams amid an unsettled 1960s world.
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Solstice is the thrilling finale to your Star-Crossed Saga and ends the trilogy with a bang. What were some things you wanted to make sure you touched on in the final book in the series?
I loved every minute of writing Solstice: mainly because it gave me the chance to tie up all the loose ends and make sure the story was complete and the character story arcs were congruent. As you’ve read, there were quite a number of characters throughout the story, although the main focus was centered around Sydney and William; as it should’ve been. And although remaining true to their love, along with maintaining the very cool elements of hard core Scifi was a challenge, I feel that I was successful in accomplishing that and I was proud of the outcome. To date, I written over 14 novels and Solstice is my absolute favorite one of them all.
I felt like the characters went through some large transformations throughout the series. Did the characters end up where you thought they would when you first started writing about them?
Actually, as a writer, I think you have a place (start and end) where you imagine or assume the characters will end up once you’re finished, but I never anticipated how much they’d evolve over time in the story. As pertaining to The Star-Crossed Saga, the story is told over a relative short period – if I were to guess, less than a year – but so much happens because the characters are in this frenetic, action-packed tale where they discover so much about themselves and then they mush figure out how everything ties together in order to save Fabricius and the Star-children. So to answer the question, they ended up showing me things about themselves that I did not anticipate and was like, ‘Oh wo, that’s cool,’ and it made sense to keep it.
What was your inspiration for the ‘Star-Children’ and their plight?
I looked our world today and really just crafted a story that reflected the times we live in now. How we unfairly allow our prejudices to control what we assume about one another. These have serious negative consequences and people are hurt as a result of it. In Star-Crossed, people who know of the Star-children assume they are dangerous because of the powers they posses and think they will use them for bad, when it’s the complete opposite. By the time the story comes to an end, the truth is revealed and now peace is restored. It’s unfortunate that so many people die along the quest of learning the truth. Very reflective of our society today.
Although the series is complete, do you think you will continue this story or characters in some way, or are you moving on to another story?
Absolutely! Already working on branching arcs where characters blend into the other series I’m writing and I’m also working on a solo Bounty Hunter series for Steele Reign.
The two starcrossed lovers William and Sydney have sacrificed everything to fortify their love, so much so that William dares to brave the depths of space to find a cure for their deadly Supernova bond, leaving both her and Earth vulnerable to alien Torrian Alliance’s attack. But with a full scale civil war in play on Fabricius, the reality of Sydney’s execution from Torrian hands is diminished, only eclipsed by the certainty of a more threats – The Third Faction and The Dagmas Clan – lead by Dominic and his insurgent recruits on a quest to complete the failed assassination of the teenage girl. With overwhelming odds mounting against them, William makes a desperate attempt to find the last of the endangered Star-children only to be captured by a new menace, where he is forced to compete in the dreaded Gauntlet of sport. Allies surge to free Fabricius, seeking alliances across the galaxy while Sydney tries to keep her identity hidden and trains to master the third phase of her Star-child evolution: Solstice. With Sarah’s mysterious return home with clues to unlock the future, Noella’s training and Bill’s symbiotic development hope is restored, but will it be enough to unite the galaxy and destroy evil for once and for all?
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