Category Archives: Interviews

Bi people are real – we exist

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J. Ross Victory Author Interview

Panorama: The Missing Chapter is a heartfelt memoir of your journey working and living in South Korea. What inspired you to share your experiences in a book?

In 2019, I wrote and published my first book, Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son. The residual effect of publishing the book made me feel at peace with myself and the relationship I had with my father. Readers have also told me that Views from the Cockpit inspired them to take a different approach with their father or become more interested in forgiveness.

As I wrote my first book, I began to comb through my background of relationships. The story of Panorama bubbled up, and the time I spent living abroad in Seoul. I felt that if I shared it, someone could relate and benefit. Perhaps they could relate to escaping from problems, having secret relationships, or figuring out where they belong in the world. Not only was it interesting to reflect on these moments from my life, but in the real-world, a lot of stories surrounding bisexuality are not featured or appropriately categorized.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to share in the book?

The hardest thing to share would be my social-political opinions about identity politics in America and how they’ve made me feel. Everyone can criticize anyone for anything, so I knew that I was opening myself up. When it comes to relationships and how people exist outside of heteronormativity – sometimes people just can’t understand anything else outside of that. Panorama not only exists outside of mainstream heteronormativity but also mainstream LGBT culture, which typically spotlights gay male voices. I was terrified to share a story from a minority group and criticize larger socio-political structures and members of those groups.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?

There are a few things – Bi people are real – we exist and not only in a suggestive, explicit connotation. Bi people are a whole demographic of people, mostly invisible, in mainstream media and day-to-day social discourse.

Additionally, I hope people take away the importance of building bridges between communities. At the end of the book, I write about thought islands. We all want to feel safe and protected where we are. We all want to be seen and heard, and have our views get the most clicks and attention.

My goal is to build bridges, lift others, and make sure there are seats at the table for others who share in building. I also hope that people realize that the way people live, think, and behave does not put each of our identities and beliefs at risk. Somehow, if we can all get to a point to coexist, be slow to judge, we will have achieved something. I know that this is very optimistic, but I think bisexuality, in and of itself, focuses on people (men and women) and the things that make them unique.

You have another book, Views from the Cockpit. What can readers expect in that book?

Views from the Cockpit is a book born from pain. Father-son memories of plane watching at LAX quickly morph into familial dysfunction that ranges from divorce, resentment, to elder abuse. Views from the Cockpit uses airplane metaphors to tell a boy’s coming of age story into a man by reflecting on the living memory of my father – Claude B. Victory. Panorama is “the missing chapter” of Views from the Cockpit. However, both books can be read separately.

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Facebook | Website

After enduring a panic attack which left the author attached to breathing machines around foreign doctors, the bisexual-themed Panorama—The Missing Chapter of Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son, expands on the author’s experiences working and living abroad in Seoul, South Korea. 

After a friendship ignites and morphs into a curious tale of parallel souls with a Brazilian-American soldier serving in the U.S. military, Panorama reflects on the author’s contemplations to return to a crumbling family life in Los Angeles or to endure his life in Seoul for an end-of-contract cash payout, until things take an unexpected turn.

In Panorama, the author broadens his stance on the importance of moments spotlighting isolation and exposing the perks and ailments of escapism. With precise prose and a thought-provoking storyline that covers eating live octopus, philosophical debates about the gender of God, pregnancy, and bisexual erasure—Panorama stands tall as a connected yet separate story. Panorama puts biphobia under a microscope by exposing double discrimination with consideration to cultural intersections of race and religion.

Using the death of his father and brother as the linchpin to personal development, the author reframes pain and loss into resilience and personal achievement. He provides a template for readers to overcome limiting beliefs and turn their unique story into a source of empowerment.

The author reminds readers that as daunting as the vicissitudes of life, and no matter the view from the cockpit of life, the human spirit cannot, and should not, be restrained in loss or passion, and while truth may be the bitterest pill of them all, the effects of truth can bring us closer to an unbroken life.

Not All Days in Life are Equal

Author Interview
Mehrzaad Mogrelia Author Interview

A Quest Called Life is a collection of poems that explore the emotions and moments that shape our lives. What serves as your inspiration while writing poetry?

This was actually my first time writing any form of poetry. I have never attempted to write poetry as I believed that I was not adept at writing it as I was writing maybe, a murder mystery or a detective thriller.

However, with the way the situation has been during lockdown with deaths happening each day and people losing hope to make something out of the opportunities in life, I decided to pen down a collection of poems that would inspire people and help them to look at life from a different perspective during different phases of life.

Hence, the lockdown situation was my inspiration behind penning these poems down.

My favorite poem from the collection is ‘Trust’. Do you have a favorite poem from this anthology?

My favourite poem from this anthology is ‘The First Milestone.’

I have always been a firm believer of ‘A great start is half the battle won.’ Hence, when we do happen to get to that first milestone, we take our first step closer to our eventual goal. That first successful step is enough to charge us up and march on till we get to our eventual goal.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your poetry?

Simply have a different/develop their own perspective of looking at life during its different phases.

I would like my readers to remember that not all days in life are equal. Hence, we must never be too over the moon when we achieve success nor dwell in excessive sorrow when we face failure. The key to happiness is always treating success and failures equally.

Do you plan to publish more collections of poetry?

Another anthology is currently in progress and will soon be out. I will further update my readers when I happen to complete it and I hope that the next one will be loved even more than my debut book.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Our life is defined by the emotions we experience, moments we have and people that we meet along the way. This anthology encompasses some of those emotions, moments and influence of people that help us shape the path of our lives in a positive or negative way. The poems are a series of free-flowing letters from the author’s older self to the younger self giving a voice to the various experiences that the author has encountered first hand or observed from the close quarters of life.

The Obvious Secrets

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Jenny M. Mason Author Interview

Undying Sway follows a girl who is looking for her family and finds much more than she expected. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

The inspiration was a real life person in history who was said to be an immortal. I also thought it would be interesting to involve the recent phenomenon of DNA collection and write about the obvious secrets that this technology must have revealed.

Kara is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

The ideals behind Kara are those of morality v desire, right v wrong. I thought it would be interesting to have a main character faced with ethical dilemmas – weighing up the good and the bad in a situation. Kara is emotional and at times indecisive and yet she is intelligent and has principles too – like all people she is complex.

The book explores morality and family duty. What were some themes that were important for you to focus on?

Life is not just about hedonism, morality and duty do play a part in life. With this book, I wanted to weigh up personal desire and pursuit of love with duty and morals. Kara is often put in a position where she has to decide between the angel and devil that sit on her shoulders.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently brainstorming my next book and even considering writing a non-fiction piece. I am one half of the podcast The Wedge with Sara Cream and Sweet Jenny Sauce and I am also currently enjoying songwriting.

Author Links: Twitter | Website | Podcast

On her path to find her long lost family, Kara meets Alex.
Their encounter is full of mysteries. At the same time, it brings light to the secrets of Kara’s family. She has no idea there is so much to learn about Alex.
A life-changing email gets Kara elated.
It is the news she has been waiting for all her life. Her DNA finally has a match. And they want to meet her soon.
Kara would love it more than anything, but she holds her breath. Suddenly years of
silence and patient and hopeful waiting are over.
Unable to hide her thrill, Kara doesn’t know how to act.

The thought that someone out there is her relative makes her cry with joy. However, she
is leery about strangers. Kara is torn between her mind and her heart. Hopeful and mystified, will she make the next step? This captivating novel with the touch of fantasy keeps you guessing until the last page.

This Leads to Various Adventures

Author Interview
David C Mason Author Interview

Pandora’s Gardner follows a harmless gardner who finds himself between two deadly factions fighting over a piece of tech in his possession. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

The inspiration is drawn from multiple sources, but the main one is the Alfred Hitchcock film, North by Northwest with Cary Grant as the advertising executive Roger Thornhill, who is inadvertently drawn into a web of intrigue through a case of mistaken identity. Other inspiration was the Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. In both instances, the protagonists are on the run, and getting by on their wits, not knowing who to trust. Other sources were from Saturday morning matinee and the serials from the 1930’s – I always enjoyed the way that at the end of each episode there was a unresolved question or a jeopardy, and you had to come back to find out what happened next.

Concerning the technology, I was reading an article some years ago about someone who, in desperation, waded through the local waste dump looking for a disk drive that he had thrown out. He thought it was worthless, until he realised that it contained a Bitcoin key, apparently worth a fortune. I wondered, what if it had contained something other than a Bitcoin? As technology is ubiquitous and all looks the same, how easy would it be to hide something valuable in plain sight?

Other inspiration was from early childhood and a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the “Brave Little Tailor”. The story starts with the tailor, preparing to eat some jam and when flies settle on it, he kills seven of them with one blow. He is so proud of this feat that he makes a belt inscribed with “Seven at One Blow”. This leads to various adventures where people assume the “seven” are men, and he rises to various challenges by using his wits. I liked the idea of this misinterpretation of ability driving events.

John is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

I didn’t want John to be some kind of invincible figure, I had other characters that could fulfil that role, but similarly I didn’t want him to be a wimp who miraculously transforms into a heroic figure as the story continues. He is an everyman, albeit someone who has kept himself in shape and has a sharp brain. I wanted someone who could be put in a situation, and then readers could say, “what would I have done?” rather than thinking, “well – he can do that because he is . I made John a gardener as it was as far as I could get from ex-detective, bodyguard etc A gardener embodies good honest labour, unlike some characters in the book.

The other key thing is that John isn’t entirely comfortable with the idea that some women fancy him, although he always considers women equal, (as it should be). This allowed for interesting dynamics between him and the female leads.

I enjoyed the mix of action and humor in this book. Is this indicative of your normal writing style or something you tried for this novel?

It’s the way I write. Escapism is incredibly important to me, there is more than enough of the real world to go around. When I write I need both action and humour as otherwise I could end up with full on action, (which would wear me out), or a total gag-fest which would end up being forced and not funny. For me humour and action complement each other, it’s like salt and vinegar. Too much of one can leave an overpowering taste in the mouth. I enjoy what I call the “gear change”, to be able to move between serious and humorous prose, and attempting to do it without jarring, although sometimes it’s fun to use that deliberately to keep the story varied.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

It was my intention that Pandora’s Gardener be a standalone adventure. The problem with sequels is “second album syndrome”. How do you follow up, what if the next book is worse than the previous? That said, jotting down idle notes the other day, I realised that there is still more of the story to be told, (without over contriving or forcing it), and I was curious as to how it would end. Therefore, there will be a sequel to Pandora’s Gardener. I’m sketching out the plot at the moment. As to when it will be available, that will be a couple of years I’m afraid. The writing is the relatively quick bit – the time is in the rewrites – I do a lot of them. I’m sure with practice it will improve.

All I can say is that I’ll be expanding some minor characters to cope with an ongoing mystery of Pandora, and John is unwillingly roped in…

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

There’s a war being waged between two secret factions. At stake is the heart of democracy itself.

The key to victory is a small, seemingly harmless, piece of computer hardware, which in the wrong hands, could bring about a technological Dark Age. The race is on to find it as a trail of death is left in its path.

John Cranston is a gardener. He’s not really interested in global domination, he’d much rather mow a lawn. He’s the current keeper of that harmless looking thing.

The problem is – he’s the last person to know.

Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Sutherland and his sidekick Sergeant Bludgeon are working on the mystery of the missing accountants, little knowing that this will lead them into something darker and more sinister, as their paths cross and diverge from the gardener on the run.

He Faces His Dark Past

Brooke Skipstone
Brooke Skipstone Author Interview

Someone To Kiss My Scars is a wonderful amalgam of coming of age, mystery, science fiction, and love story. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that change as you wrote?

The character of Jazz was the impetus for this story—passionate about science, trying to find a way to deal with her childhood trauma and her ineffectual mother, forced to grow up much too fast in a world where body shaming is the norm. She has every reason to be depressed, to have no interests, to be bored with life and the world. Yet she has an unflappable spirit and a burning need to find some happiness in her life. I have always been fascinated with the nature of memory and consciousness. Where do they exist? How can two people who have experienced the same event remember it differently? Can ions passing across a synaptic gap hold memories? What if they actually exist outside the body and the brain is a receiver? These are all legitimate questions that many respected scientists have pondered. The experiment which Jazz conducts in the story where she trains worms, amputates their heads, and then discovers that the worms still retain their memories is an actual famous experiment performed years ago and redone more recently. So the idea that Hunter can capture the memories of others is a direct result of the ideas behind that experiment.

Hunter is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Hunter lost everything—his mother, his memories, his younger brother, his purpose. He lives with a seemingly disinterested father who offers no emotional support. He writes stories of imaginary worlds until his brain is invaded by salacious, cruel stories about people he’s never met. Where do they come from? Who can he tell? Jazz befriends him, both dying from loneliness, and their relationship grows. Jazz serves as his guide, trying to explain his visions. Once Hunter realizes that he can remove a painful memory and that so many kids have suffered horribly, he grows into a fighter, someone who will accept any burden to relieve others of their pain. He faces his dark past, which would destroy most anyone else, and channels his pain into the desire to rid others of their pain.

This novel explores abuse in many different forms. What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Too many people believe the experiences depicted in this book are rare and should not be depicted. In fact, more kids and teens suffer from abuse than most realize. I have seen the effects of every kind of abuse against a teen and the lingering harm such events cause throughout their lives. In my experience, most kids suffer some kind of abuse from others or themselves. Their stories need to be told. When some complain that such stories should be muted, that writers who use them sensationalize relatively rare events to drive a story, I have trouble stifling my anger. Too many people chose to ignore reality and believe that focusing on stories without sexual content will keep teens from engaging in sex. The most difficult job today is being a teenager.

One of the main themes is the love between Jazz and Hunter. They know EVERYTHING about each other yet they still love. Hunter has seen Jazz’s darkest days and deeds and finds his heart still filled with love for her. As Hunter says, “People start to heal when someone cares enough to accept their suffering. They finish healing when they kiss someone else’s scars.” Redemption comes only when someone tries to help another.

What is the next project you are working on?

I am currently writing the sequel to Some Laneys Died, but I also have plans to write a sequel to Someone To Kiss My Scars. I also have ideas for two other books dealing with racial conflict. Too much to do and not enough time to do it.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Laney’s world collapsed when she caught her dad cheating. He begged her not to tell, but she did. Her family fell apart and regret consumes her, especially when she learns every decision she makes spawns a new universe for the opposite choice.

If only she could skip sideways to the Laney who didn’t tell.

But her only escape is through her imagination, until a news story blurs the lines between worlds. Two girls were murdered at the same time and same place as her father’s adulterous act. Strange events lead Laney to believe their bones are connected to her and the sister she always wanted.

Laney now has another decision to make. Some Laneys say yes, while others say no; some live and some die.

And some skip between worlds.

What can loneliness drive us to do?

Sheila English Author Interview

Adam Frankenstein: Search for a Soul is a collection of thought-provoking short stories. What were some sources that informed your writing?

First, I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus. I knew the Universal Studios and Hammer films weren’t true to the book, as movies often aren’t, and I wanted my Frankenstein to be based off the book. In the book he is a sympathetic character, but becomes a murderer. He’s not given the chance to redeem himself and I wanted that opportunity for him.

Next, I read about Mary Shelley. It was important to me to get inside her head and understand her motivations. I watched the movie about her life and I read several books about her including Mary Shelley: Her Circle and Her Contemporaries and Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein. I read university papers about her life and spoke to professors and other experts.

I’ve always been a fan of horror. I love the classics. I’ve read and reread so many classic horror tales that I plan on tapping into as I write. I read modern horror as well. I want to be able to appeal to the modern reader while intriguing them with classic stories.

Adam is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

I’ve always felt especially drawn to two fictional characters in my life; Frankenstein’s monster and Jane Eyre. There’s something about a person who is all alone in the world trying to be better even when no one else might care about their life. I admit that Adam has some traits you may find in Mr. Rochester. Rochester warred with himself, justifying what he did even when he knew it was wrong. But, he had such passion the reader forgave him his past deeds and wanted to see him become the man Jane deserved.

In the novel, Frankenstein, the monster, who I’ve called Adam, is intelligent and realizes his own plight. He’s not the green-faced monster of the movies. His acceptance of the world’s rejection of him drives him to insist on a companion so he won’t be alone. I think we can all relate to feeling alone in the world at some point in our lives. What can loneliness drive us to do?

I knew immediately that the only way to keep Adam from becoming a true monster was to give him love and let him experience love for someone, or something else. A life totally devoid of love will certainly make anyone a monster. I gave him Bella, his little dog who also happens to be immortal. It wasn’t just the fact that dogs will love you no matter what you look like as long as you’re kind, but it was Adam’s experience of loving and of knowing he had the capacity to love that changed the trajectory of his life.

The Madame and the Madman is my favorite story from the collection. Do you have a favorite, or one that stands out from a writers perspective?

Although I admit to loving any story Victor Dracula shows up in, such as The Madame and the Madman, my personal favorite to date is Marked. It can be difficult to show character growth in short stories. And though I hope to show a little of that in each story, I felt Marked showed the greatest growth. Adam starts out a total brute willing to kill someone for kicking his dog. He’s calculating and unsympathetic to Seline at first. But, the little girl and her acceptance of him change things in Adam. Knowing that Sabine is not the girl’s mother, but is risking her life for the child change something in him. I love who he is at the end of this story.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I recently signed a contract with an amazing agent who is excited about Adam and the other stories surrounding Mary Shelley’s League of Supernatural Hunters. I’m doing the final edits of The Deadly Pieces, which is the first full Adam Frankenstein novel. It’s set in modern times and he has become a U.S. Marshal in Houston, TX. He’s secretly after a witch conducting unsanctioned experiments on the homeless population. So, there’s still the paranormal element though I do work with an actual U.S. Marshal to ensure any procedural parts of the book are correct.

I do have Adam Frankenstein comic books and am currently working on his origin story according to my own mythology. That should be out the first part of next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

Adam Frankenstein believes he is immortal because he has no soul. As life gives him opportunities to prove his worth he finds that doing what’s right isn’t always made clear and that being a monster is sometimes the only way to survive. Marked – A woman, her face half covered by a golden mask, offers herself in exchange for Adam’s help. A mob has mistaken a child with special powers as a witch and look to kill her. Adam may have taken on more than he bargained for as the child marks him in ways that will change him forever.Last Man Standing – Adam is accused of murder and a group of men hunt him down until Adam is forced to become the monster he’s accused of being. But, sometimes the worst thing that can happen is to find yourself the last man standing.Freak Show – Adam looks to fulfill the dying wish of his business partner and goes to America to find Jericho Nivens, the man’s estranged son. The house where Jericho lives is made of magic and offers to make every dream come true. However, once the bargain is made, you can never leave. The house wants Adam and will give him everything his heart desires. As the cost becomes clear Adam tries to convince Jericho to leave with him… if they can.The Madame and the Madman – No one loves revenge like Victor Dracula. When Adam asks his vampire friend to help stop a brothel that abuses children Victor’s wrath extends to Adam. Adam is left with a terrible choice; take revenge or let revenge take him.”Creepy as hell!” – Karen Rose, New York Time and International Bestselling Author

Mermaids and Sirens

Kimberley Cale
Kimberley Cale Author Interview

Caught follows a mermaid who is captured by a vengeful pirate and finds that she may not want to escape his embrace. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

I got my inspiration from the Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides. That’s where the idea of mermaids attacking a pirate ship came from also the Disney movie Sinbad where the water sirens’ were attacking the ship gave me the idea for establishing a difference between mermaids and sirens.

Lorelei is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

I wanted her to have a strong connection to her family the ones she loves. It’s what drives her actions.

I appreciated the careful development of the mythology of this world. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in your story?

I wanted to show how even through one’s intentions might be pure in the beginning, if you’re not careful power can easily corrupt.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Claimed, Storm’s book which is book two in the series is next. It is currently in the editing process, and will be followed by Captivated Book Three which is Jewel’s story.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | YouTube

A vengeful pirate…
Ruthless pirate captain Quinn O’Connor is bent on getting revenge on the creatures who sank his ship and killed his crew. When he claims their leader as his captive, he doesn’t expect the scorching consequences that come with being stranded with her on a mysterious island.
A beautiful sea temptress…
Lorelei, a daughter of Poseidon, is willing to bargain with the dangerous pirate who captured her in order to save the ones she loves. He believes the worst of her and her kind, and when he drags her onto dry land, turning her beautiful tail into a pair of unsteady legs, she’s not sure if she’ll be able to return home—and soon she starts to wonder if she really wants to.
Magic and mayhem bring them together…
With each smoldering kiss, each heated touch, their desire blazes higher. Can they overcome misunderstandings and monstrous enemies seeking to tear them apart? Will a mermaid challenge her fate for the love of a pirate? Will an unforgiving pirate give up his revenge and take on a god to save his mermaid?

a reflection of “my knowing”

Author Interview
Afreda Hygh Author Interview

My Story is a poetic journey of your life. Why was this an important book for you to publish?

I believe that my story expresses how life is a process that gives all of the opportunity to become better individuals and it provides way of self-understanding that enables an individual to reflect and pursue their own purpose in life.

My favorite poem from the collection is Amalgamation. Do you have a favorite piece from the book?

I don’t because I think that each poem is a part of my journey to understanding self and to understanding that which I don’t understand. Each poem is a reflection of “my knowing”…

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

I would like to think that in some ways it clarifies an individual’s experiences and somehow gives others the opportunities to reflect on life’s possibilities if we continue to strive towards a more spiritual humanity…

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I “hope” to write another work that develops ideas about contemporary spirituality and womanhood.

Author Links: Twitter | Amazon

This is a poetic journey that relates to my life.
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