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Essence of Neverland

Essence of Neverland

The Essence of Neverland is a bold and imaginative tale of pirate battles, formidable fairies, territorial conquests, and unexpectedly, the power of community. In this continuation to the timeless fable of Peter Pan, author Juna Jinsei thoughtfully ushers the Lost Boys into their darkest era yet – the death of Peter Pan. The painful absence of the infamously green-tighted trickster is being felt all across Neverland, leaving friends and foes alike grimly fearing for the future of the lands. As the disruption of harmony begins to threaten all walks of life, age-old enemies must contemplate rewriting their own roles in history, lest all of Neverland become a fairytale entirely.

I feel obligated to admit that Peter Pan was a staple bedtime story in my childhood home. While my father enjoyed boastfully voicing out the comical mischief between Peter and the pirates, I personally always loved the popular legend for its emotional tone. There was something whimsical and charming to the tale, always gently reminding me to appreciate my youth and my family. Even as a child, I recognized that the adventure was steeped in wisdom and parables. In this particular imagining of life in Neverland, author Jinsei beautifully explores many of those same wisdoms, delving into the emotional grips of desiring a place to belong, and missing a home you may never return to. Jinsei ponders these perennial truths through her work with such charm that I read several passages aloud to my partner, wanting to share the touching eloquence of the lessons.

Even with its strong repertoire of life lessons, this novel is admittedly a little dark at times. Jinsei unapologetically crafts the characters to feel authentic to their human nature, respectively. Captain Hook’s surly, albeit loyal, band of pirates are burdened by grief, consumed by thoughts of revenge. The once crafty and playful Lost Boys have grown old and jaded, nostalgically wishing in vain for the return of their impish flying companion. Even the council of magical fairies, as hopeful a creature as one could imagine, have become nervous for the future and harmony of Neverland. In the beginning chapter, Peter Pan’s unexpected death is a severe moment, paving the way for a few other harsh and unfortunate occurrences throughout The Essence of Neverland. Jinsei has an undeniably natural hand for the “twisted fairytale” style, and I loved the boldness of this rendition.

Still, despite the reoccurring macabre tones, The Essence of Neverland remains persistently hopeful and surprisingly lighthearted. Jinsei’s illustrative writing style really shines through the four brave children that serve as the main protagonists. Hailing from various backgrounds and regions, they each find themselves being summoned to the Mother Fairy, the eternal essence and spirit of Neverland. Although they’ve each suffered great losses at tender ages, they bravely begin their journey of growth with such earnesty and ambition that it’s impossible not to root for them whole-heartedly. My kudos to Juna Jinsei for such sincere writing!

Pages: 377 | ASIN: B015QV5C3M

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Vengeance is Mine

Vengeance Is Mine: Resurrections (Sam and Laura's Story Book 3) by [Griffeth, Kwen D]

Sam Moses, a man comfortable with the echoes of death created by the sounds of gunfire, is haunted by the terrible demons of his past. Bad luck seems to stalk the man as he tries to find his way past tragedies that changed his life forever. But Sam Moses is determined to become the man he believes he was meant to be and fights for a life that leaves death and violence behind. To have the life he wants Sam must learn the ins and outs of relationships, stability and how to build a life where he settles down for good.

Vengeance is Mine, written by Kwen D Griffeth, is the third installment in Sam and Laura’s Story. This novel takes you on a more personal adventure as Sam re-enters his life back in the town of Missouri. Old flames, new friends and a thirst to belong will set the tone for the final installment of the series.

Vengeance is Mine takes a step back from the gunfire and instead focuses on the foundations of who Sam truly is. Learning to settle into a life where he isn’t chasing death can be challenging at times and this is where we really get to see Sam’s character come to light. A group of people will begin to fulfil Sam’s life with a new meaning and acceptance that he has not experienced before. I appreciated seeing a side of Sam that was raw, emotional and at times surprisingly gentle.

Laura’s character progression throughout the novels shows us her growing from a girl to woman to finally someone who has dealt with great heartache. In Vengeance is Mine we see a woman who desperately wants to settle into a normal life but needs time to accept the pain and heartache she has been dealt. Her relationship with Sam is complicated as she feels resentment at the decisions that seemingly made her feel alone in the most difficult time of her life. A section of the novel talks about parts of life being heavy but also light, for example having a baby is a “light and happy” occasion but also can be seen as “heavy” as someone’s life is now consumed by responsibility and questions as to what the future may hold. I feel as though this accurately depicts the relationship of Laura and Sam as they wind through life towards a hopefully happy ending. Will they finally leave their old demons behind and begin a life together?

Vengeance is Mine also explores old characters and where they have come after the pains and challenges they have experienced. Opal has grown into a beautiful young woman, Pickles is catching the eye of ladies in town and Ellen is back after helping saving Sam’s life. The reader will be treated to the development of many favorite characters which will make you feel more connected than ever and invested in their fates!

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a heartwarming story line and a feel good finish to an excellent series. I thoroughly enjoyed all three installments to the series and highly recommend reading the three books as a whole.

Pages: 288 | ASIN: B00VFLO3DI

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Vengeance is Mine

 

“The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. That means he must use violence every day of his life if he wants to eat and live another day. He can never wake up one morning and say to himself, “I no longer wish to eat mice and snakes; I want to eat seeds and nuts like the cardinal. No, he cannot do this and why? Because he was created in the image of a hawk.”
“I don’t see…”
“Sam, I know your father taught you this, but you have forgotten. The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. What image were you created in?”
Sam whispered, “God, I was created in the image of God.”
The Amish elder smiled, “Yes, you were created in the image of God and as such you were granted the ability to choose. You can choose to do right or wrong, good or bad, be peaceful or violent. You can even choose to eat mice and snakes if you like.”

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A Higher Calling: Laura’s Tale

“What is the matter with you? We do not need his money!” She stood behind him; her hands on her hips.
“It’s not about the money.”
His voice was calm. He could have told her what day of the week it was with the same level of excitement.
“Then why? Why must you go back and try to get yourself killed? You have responsibilities here!”
Sam stopped brushing and seemed ready to turn and face her. He then thought better and did not. He returned to brushing the horse.
“Samuel, you turn around and face me! You tell me why I have to get ready to mourn a second man in my life. You tell me what I’m supposed to tell our children!”
His turn was powerful and deliberate; he faced her, “Our children, Laura? It wasn’t that long ago you told me in no uncertain terms they were your children and I was a bad influence. You share them with me only when it suits you. They are our children if you think you can use them to your advantage.”
“Is that why you’re doing this? To punish me for what I said?”
“Laura, please. Do you really think that little of me? I gave the man my word. I promised him I would avenge him if this happened.”
“You promised? You promised? You also promised my husband you would look after us. I know Wiggins was your friend, but he is cold and dead in the ground. There is nothing you can do that will change that.”
Sam’s’ brows furrowed, “And how is that different from William, your husband? Is he not also cold and dead in the ground?”
Laura stepped forward and took his free hand. She placed his hand on her chest, between her breasts, “Does this feel like it’s cold and dead? Do you not feel the love that surges through my body with every beat of my heart? Tell me what I have to do to keep you here? What must I do to change your mind?”
Sam Moses was in a quandary, a crossroads. He had followed the beautiful Laura Stoddard and her children to Missouri in order to care for them as he had promised the dying William Stoddard, the husband and father. He was determined to keep his word.
Now, he had received notice a friend had been murdered. A friend whom he had promised to avenge if such a thing happened; now, it had. Avenging his friend would most likely kill him but he had given his word.
Now, after living most of his life being beholden to anyone, he must choose, which promise is the higher calling?

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War Eternal Book I Angels’ Whispers

War Eternal Book I Angels' Whispers

In this captivating tale of cosmic design, Angels’ Whispers, author J.F. Cain chronicles the harrowing struggle between two ultimate yet necessary forces, Angels and Demons. As intelligent as they are graceful, Angels have been metaphysically observing mankind for an eternity, lovingly tending to humanity’s journey towards spiritual awakening. The recent advent of free will has brought with it the potential for deviance though, and the balanced tides of spiritual harmony hangs in the balance. As the fallen angel Lucifer schemes to lure society towards the err of self-indulgence, the philosophically pragmatic Angel Aranes, the most superior of celestial beings, must challenge her own age-old wisdom and routines for the sake of serving not just humanity, but all intelligent creation.

The first title from the War Eternal series, Angels’ Whispers delves into the popular and alluring trope of angelic and demonic forces at constant odds, a concept explored by literature and media since the earliest eras of civilization. Although the splay of archangels and demonic characters may be ancient in a scriptural sense, Cain brings a playfully crisp air into the work, using an intensely illustrative style to make the story feel modern. Main character Alex Meyers is a cocky young entrepreneur, chock-full full of cynicism and self-conflicted inner monolog. He’s as well-intentioned as he is troubled, and that struck me as oddly endearing. Finding himself on the receiving end of an Angel’s attention, he struggles to explore his own convictions, all while being thrust into the throes of the eternal power struggle between these all powerful creatures.

In a style oddly comparable to J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, Cain writes densely, wasting no opportunity to develop a particular scene with lush descriptiveness. The grandiose and mystical surroundings of the Elether, the metaphysical plane of the Celestials, is the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous amount of attention Cain has poured into the setting. I absorbed the rich details, easily imagining them with all the vividness of a wide-screen cinematic. This would seriously make one hell of a movie!

I loved the intelligent yet candid way that Angels’ Whispers scrutinizes the notions of truth and freedom throughout the book, making use of an enormous splay of theological and philosophical knowledge. It was fascinating to read about the various ideologies of so many influential individuals and cultures in such a condensed form, and I found some of the sentiments to be deliciously thought-provoking! I can’t even recall the last time I had been prompted to explore my own thoughts on religion so earnestly, so I appreciated the casual way that Cain wove that into the story. The intellectual sparring between Celestial beings was enthralling in that same way, and maintained a strong presence through the book. It felt reminiscent to me of the zesty energy of a passionate debate between two best friends – engaged and impassioned, but respectful and surprisingly explorative.

Without spoiling anything, I’m still happy to say that this first title sets up beautifully for the next work. I’d recommend it to fellow readers with a love for the supernatural and philosophical niches. I’m looking forward to the next title of War Eternal, which will surely follow up on the consequence to life’s most powerful forces – love, death, and ultimately, free will.

Pages: 355 | ASIN: B06Y4XDY8T

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The Most Frightening Element

A.J. Macready Author Interview

A.J. Macready Author Interview

Legacy is the second installment in the Descendent Darkness where families are torn apart, truths exposed and the Gaston family finally learn the dark history of their past. What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?

The first major point I wanted to drive home was the fact that, at least as far as this universe is concerned, a vampire’s greatest strength lies in its ability to mentally dominate people, to confuse them, and even to turn them against one another. This is a key element of the vampire’s strategy when it comes to trapping the Gastons and their allies. Before they can figure out what’s happening, the vampire already has its pieces on the board and in motion, and they have no idea they’re being manipulated until it’s much too late. I felt that this element gave the story something of a unique twist compared to other works I’m familiar with in the genre.

Once again the beautiful bond between siblings Mike and Holly Gaston continues to grow deeper. What was your inspiration for creating the kind of relationship that Mike and Holly have?

I deliberately tried to steer away from themes that I feel have become overused in the genre. A prominent example of one such theme is the underlying love story. It goes something like this:

  • Guy and girl fall in love.
    Vampire sets its sights on the girl and tries to make her his own.
    Guy sets out to the stop the vampire and save his lady love.
    The old Hammer film “Dracula has Risen from the Grave” is a notable example of this basic storyline.

I set out to work the male/female dynamic in a different way here, and the most natural, alternative approach to take was a sibling relationship. You still have a strong bond of love to work with, but it’s different than romantic love and this difference allows you to work the story in ways you otherwise couldn’t. Also, since you’re dealing with two people who grew up together, you have all sorts of potential for backstory, which I make heavy use of in Legacy. In this episode of the story, you see more of what has made Mike and Holly as close as they are. As Holly herself thinks of it, they’re survivors, knitted together rather like people who have been through the crucible of war together.

The supernatural creatures in the story were vicious, twisted souls that were really brought to life in vivid detail. What was your method for creating such scary creatures and scenes?

Basically, I took the most frightening elements of vampires as I’ve seen them portrayed in the past and lumped them together. Also, I removed their humanity. In many stories, especially those that have come out in the last twenty-five years or so, vampires are portrayed as people who suffer from a disease; essentially still human but subject to dark impulses that they can’t control (the TV shows Dark Shadows and Forever Knight are examples of this). In this story, however, vampires are pure, demonic, unredeemable evil, hearkening back to Christopher Lee’s portrayal of Count Dracula, and to the vampires we see in the 1972 film The Night Stalker and the 1979 miniseries Salem’s Lot.

Where does the story go in the next book and where do you see it going in the future?

The third book, Redemption, is the final book in the series and brings the story to a definitive conclusion. The second part of the vampire’s scheme for revenge plays out, leading to a confrontation that many of the novel’s characters will not survive. Readers will find the Gastons pushed to the limits of their endurance. The history of Clarke’s Summit and its curse is fleshed out more fully, and we learn more about the nature of the enemy; there are actually two types of vampires, and the distinctions between them are discussed (this touches on your previous question about how I visualized them for this story, and why they are so twisted). We also see why Mike and Holly are so important in the vampire’s plans.

In short, everything comes full circle. The major themes of this novel are sacrifice and, as the title suggests, redemption.

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Descendent Darkness: Book Two: Legacy by [Macready, A]Wherever they were when it happened, the residents of Clarke’s Summit, Virginia, knew that something had changed. All throughout the town and its surrounding area, doors were locked and curtains drawn. The night had become their enemy, concealing something darker than itself. A madman’s desperate act of devotion has unleashed a horror in their midst, a fear they had hoped would stay buried forever.

Now, as darkness falls again and his family is torn apart, Mike Gaston will finally learn the truth. The truth of what really happened to his mother and all the others in 1982. The truth behind the nightmares.

The truth of his family’s legacy of evil.

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Ordinary People in Extraordinary Situations

Author Interview: Edward Szynalski and Allen Petro

Edward Szynalski and Allen Petro Author Interview

Joe is an average kid on spring break when he’s abducted by alien spies. This sets off a series of events that are both fun and entertaining. What was the initial goal when starting this novel and how did it change as you were writing it?

EDWARD: It started out as a 14 page script; typed on loose leaf paper, back in high school when I was big into super 8 film (before VCRs or home computers were invented). Then it sat until I decided to convert it into a book (the iMac was invented but the iPod wasn’t.) and then it sat until two years ago when Al and I decided to give the self-publishing world a go. I figured if I was only able to write one book in my lifetime, (and it seemed to be taking that long) I would make it the book I’d want to read, so my target audience was one. And I’ve been my own best customer. There was pressure to follow market criteria for a successful book; a dazzling cover, writing to a customer base, grammar and punctuation, but I don’t do well that way. I’m a little rough around the edges and unrefined and my story is too.

ALLEN: As this was an idea Ed had back in our school days, I think we both wanted to maintain as much of our original “fun concept” and yet bring it a more grown up feeling. We wanted others to fall in love with Joe as we had over the years.

It seemed like you had a lot of fun writing this book. What was your favorite part to write?

ALLEN: As part of our process we would both send each other changes we wanted and Ed would choose what he thought was best. I would open up his changes and often be laughing out loud minutes later. Ed always had the better sense of humor. For me the beginning is the most fun to write as it is the most important part, without a good start readers won’t keep reading.

EDWARD: The most fun and most frustrating was weaving Poe’s ‘Raven’ into a chapter, but I also enjoyed turning the play by play of the Ali/Fraser, ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ into a diplomatic fray. Unfortunately Longfellow, Tennyson and Whitman took a beating too. Sometimes things don’t work out well like my attempt to turn a car chase into a foxhunt but that did spawn the British/Aussie feud between the helicopter pilots. I also enjoyed paying homage to all the sci-fi I grew up with by weaving a lot of trivia into the book, the numbers 42, 2001, 1999 and terms like space seed, Thunderbirds, and countless more.

Joe is an interesting character, that encounters many odd situations and aliens. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?

ALLEN: I have always felt we took the best of both of us and smashed it together to create Joe. So he is truly an average earthling. Other characters developed by trial and error. Whatever seemed best to throw Joe into some crazy situation seemed the direction that the other characters went. Then we tried to keep them as believable as possible.

EDWARD: I always found that ordinary people in extraordinary situations make the best stories. I also figured if we gave any character a name, they needed an idiom, because all people have their little quirks and it seems to make them more real. Other than that the characters drove the story, I was along for the ride and didn’t really know how it was going to turn out at times.

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

ALLEN: We have a book in screenplay form coming very soon called “The Pen”. It is about a Squire helping his Knight win the affections of a damsel, while they defend the land from a ruthless enemy from the Knight’s past. Squire helps his Knight win the affections of a damsel, while they defend the land from a ruthless enemy from the Knight’s past. Squire helps his Knight win the affections.

EDWARD: I always have a bunch of half started storylines on my computer, but we are halfway through the first draft of what promises to be a more traditional sci-fi serial that Al developed (sorry Poe I took another shot at you in this one too). The Arturo Express (as mentioned in JOE) is beginning to form. And I’d love to write a Dr. WHO script.

Allen’s Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website Edward’s Links: Facebook | Website

It starts out with a very contrived first chapter setting events into motion for our hero, Joe, as he is accidentally abducted by alien super spies. They screamed like girls because the war is cold. And yet the book still continues with no well-defined antagonist, as a thief in the night complicates things further when data, the super spies are after, is stolen. This brings in the detective force with the android advantage. Soon after you fall into a precipice of idiocrasy, only to find that a painstakingly slow chapter ensues until we meet several minor characters one of which has a chapter named after him. A massive chase begins with Joe as the objective, and an old lady hits on a south of the boarder inamorta. A supplemental chapter is added because I couldn’t resist a childish bathroom joke. This just in! Joe finds out, that after her boyfriends, he’s not frightening. A quick night on the town with a montage is followed by mimosas and tomato juice. While Henry sits in the park. Intellegence? I dare say not. But there is a house party that leads into a musical interlude of Peer Gynt Suite I. Repetitive redundancy repeats itself with another chase of the same alien through the same town again…because…why not. And then we get to the last chapter which ends the book.

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A Few Wild Ideas

Pamela Hartley Author Interview

Pamela Hartley Author Interview

The Seasons of a Giant is a fun story following young Izzy as she tries to discover what is stealing her family’s cows. I find the setup of the novel entertaining. How did this idea start and develop as you wrote?

I know it’s such a cliche, but I actually did dream of a feisty farm girl and her adventures in a land filled with giants. Izzy’s story continued to grow on my long walks. I would return every day and quickly jot down all of the new twists and turns and crazy characters that popped into my head along the way. I’d also carry a notebook and scribble ideas as they came to me. Boone and Izzy were and still are always in my thoughts. I think they’ll live there forever.

The relationship between Izzy and the giant was thoughtful and well developed. What was your approach to writing the interactions between the characters?

Boone and Izzy had a rocky start due to the misconceptions she’d been taught. Izzy was forced to see Boone through the eyes of her family and her Groundling people in the beginning. Once she began to form her own opinions, she realized how truly special he was. I loved giving Izzy a snarky edge, and Boone provided a sweet balance with his calm comebacks. They truly are the perfect pair!

What experience in your life has had the biggest impact on your writing?

I’ve always loved to write. I wasn’t sure why until I discovered the most wonderful story written by my father years after he’d passed. I must have inherited a writing trait, if there is one! I have stories that refuse to be ignored; they won’t let me rest until they’ve fought their way onto the page. Writing is a real challenge, but very rewarding. Escaping into exciting worlds is the ultimate joy for me, and if I can take my readers along for the ride, all the better!

Will this novel be the start of a series or are you working on a different story?

If I had lots of readers that would enjoy another book with Izzy and Boone, I’d be thrilled to continue their adventure. The last page of The Seasons of a Giant hints that I already have a few wild ideas swirling around in my head! Until then, I’m currently writing a YA horror series.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter

The Seasons of a GiantIsabel “Izzy” LaDuke has never killed anything scarier than a spider, but suddenly her botched pursuit has thrust her into a fight with an honest-to-goodness cattle-stealing monster.

Izzy is just trying to find out who is stealing her family’s cows. She has no magic powers or special skills, and she’s a rotten shot with a bow and arrow, but she’s braver than anyone, and that, in her opinion, makes her the best girl for the job. When Izzy finally finds her monster, she is transported from her family’s farm to the home of the Behemorphs, shape-shifting Giants who live in the SkyWorld above the clouds. To find her way home, she will have to team up with the very monster (he calls himself Boone) she has been hunting.

As the two confront terrifying creatures and deadly enemies, Izzy will learn a lot about Boone–and she’ll discover her own incredible potential.

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It Arose in Dreams

Ruth Finnegan Author Interview

Ruth Finnegan Author Interview

Black Inked Pearl follows Kate, a young Irish girl, as she searches for her lost lover. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

It began in a dream when I was in New Zealand visiting  my daughter and granddaughter who live there. This was, essentially, the first page (and chapter) of the novel when Kate,  panicked and feeling she was too young for love runs away desperately as her best childhood friend (I never learn his name) tries for the first time, a teenager to kiss her. That scene, that act,  is the foundation for the story as she years later discovers that she as frantically and desperately  loves him as she had frantically fled from him years before

I say ‘dream’ as that is the nearest word I can get, vision perhaps they would have called in in the middle Ages. But that word’s a bit misleading.  In two ways.

First, it wasn’t exactly a dream in the sense of being, asleep more an experience in that liminal in-between state of being neither awake nor asleep but somehow fully both – the whole novel came in that somehow enchanted enspelled state ( I suppose you might call it ‘inspiration’). I planned nothing, but it was still a chapter a night, written down effortlessly (I don’t even remember doing it! or, by now, what the words were. it surprises me every time – so many times – I reread the book now).

Second, ‘dream’ suggests something visual, But it was more a kind of very intense node of emotion, something very personal to me (in a metaphorical sort of way the whole book is kind of autobiographical – what serious novel is not? – and the second chapter about a small girl experiencing the magical world of Donegal – is directly so.

Then the novel – and Kate –  just grew. I came to know the hero well, but wish  that my ‘dreams’ had given me his name

Black Inked Pearl is told in a dreamlike, almost stream of consciousness, style of writing. Why did you want to tell the story in this style and what were the challenges?

Well, it arose in dreams and the writing essential came from, and took place in, my unconscious – at least that is the only way I can understand and it. So the style is scarcely surprising, it was little under my deliberate control and almost not at all revised later.

I didn’t know in what style I was writing – the process was almost unconscious – but when it was finished I saw (or rather heard when I read it aloud ih my inner ear as I always do with my writing)that   it had the rhythms and sonorities of African and Irish story-telling (my mother was a wondrous story-binder) and that some literary giants (Joyce, Fulkner, Hopkins … many others) had written in similar styles. Poetry is mixed with prose – well in a way, as with its oral resonances (a subject on which I have written in academic contexts, in Oral Poetry for example), it is all poetry, some fully, some ore in a kind of blank verse: all unexpected by me!

Also, the content. Part of what I learned as the story revealed  itself to me was that the division between dream and reality is an elusive and perhaps non–existent one.

Problems – well some of my readers have problems with it! Some object because they cannot abide what they see as ‘incorrect’ grammar orthography words, not what they learned in the first form at school  – I appreciate that they have tried but think they miss the point (how do they cope with Shakespeare?).

Others including my deeply wise best friend, get a bit lost in the plot from time to time, too full of Celtic mists said one.  It’s too late now to amend that (and maybe it is just a necessary feature of the novel – mystic, mysterious – anyway) but I have tried to make things clearer, while not abandoning what has now has now become my signature style,  in the related ‘Pearl of the Seas’ and, on the way, The helix pearl’ (the latter the same story but this time as told by the garrulouos ever-sprarklng laughing sea (a very different perspective but equally born in dreams). I wonder what is coming next ..

Oh yes, the unusual spellings were loved by the Garn Press, the lovely publishers,  but at the same time gave the copy-editor real problems. Microsoft, can yoy believe it (the cheeky thing)  kept automatically ‘correcting’ the ‘wrong’ spellings. In the end they got me to send a special list to add to their ‘glossary’ of all my new spellings and word and abbreviations etc. I thought that would be quick and easy – about fifty cases? Whew, no! They tell me, incredibly, that it was nearly two thousand! Don’t believe it! Ut they ear that’s true. Anyway, hey did a great job whatever.

Kate is an enthralling and curious character. What were the driving ideals behind her characters development throughout the story?

 As I say it wasn’t conscious since it  all came in dreams. So in a way no ‘driving ideas’.

Still I have noticed some abiding themes , detected, later, in the text, as if looking at someone else’s writing (well in way it’s NOT exactly mine, not t=in the normal way anyway  – not of the deliberate, conscious careful academically trained me). /tow especially, the ones `I swoudl like to think readers will take form the novel (and from the movie if it gets made a I hope it one day will)

First as I said earlier is the understanding , that we may pretend or think we do, but that actually we do not really know the difference between reality and dreams. Given the way we have been brought up as children of the scientific revolution, this is an exceedingly difficult idea, is it not – but so important to try to accept, specially now as we become more aware of the lives, and, in a way, precious value of those with dementia. Perhaps it is only through literature and metaphor that we can eventually begin to grasp this.

Second is the thought, revealed near the end, that it is and was indeed right as Kate did, to search for others and try to help them carry their burdens. But that in the end it isourselves we are responsible for, it is our own souls for which we have to answer before (whatever metaphor we prefer here) the last judgement throne. As Kate in the final chapters had to do.

Also, after I had finished the book, I was inspired by the little butterfly that, unknown to me, the publishers had put, with the pearl and the jagged black, on the beautiful cover. ‘Butterfly’ in Greek –elsewhere too I think – is the same word and concept  as for the soul, breath, spiritus, life:  psyche (as in ‘psychology’, ‘psychiatry’). So the soul – figured as Kate, as every man – flies through the black ink print of the story and at the end settles down on the back cover, life fulfilled story told, with her wings folded.

Kate’s discovery of herself at the end was also, I now see, a kind of discovery of myself as person, as soul.

What are some of your inspirations as a writer that helped shape Black Inked Pearl

Again, ‘dreams’, my unconscious I suppose. But, as one perceptive reviewer put it, only someone with my background and personality would have had those dreams. So – my life, my loves, my experiences of the resonances and styles and images of great literature, above all Shakespeare, Rumi, Homer and the Bible.

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An epic romance about the naive Irish girl Kate and her mysterious lover, whom she rejects in panic and then spends her life seeking. After the opening rejection, Kate recalls her Irish upbringing, her convent education, and her coolly-controlled professional success, before her tsunami-like realisation beside an African river of the emotions she had concealed from herself and that she passionately and consumingly loved the man she had rejected.

Searching for him she visits the kingdom of beasts, a London restaurant, an old people’s home, back to the misty Donegal Sea, the heavenly archives, Eden, and hell, where at agonising cost she saves her dying love. They walk together toward heaven, but at the gates he walks past leaving her behind in the dust. The gates close behind him. He in turn searches for her and at last finds her in the dust, but to his fury (and renewed hurt) he is not ecstatically recognised and thanked. And the gates are still shut.

On a secret back way to heaven guided by a little beetle, Kate repeatedly saves her still scornful love, but at the very last, despite Kate’s fatal inability with numbers and through an ultimate sacrifice, he saves her from the precipice and they reach heaven. Kate finally realises that although her quest for her love was not in vain, in the end she had to find herself – the unexpected pearl.

The novel, born in dreams, is interlaced with the ambiguity between this world and another, and increasingly becomes more poetic, riddling and dreamlike as the story unfolds. The epilogue alludes to the key themes of the novel – the eternity of love and the ambiguity between dream and reality.

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He Became the Danger

Aaron G. Harrell Author Interview

Aaron G. Harrell Author Interview

The Testimony of a Villain follows Manuel into the gritty alleys of the inner city as he seeks retribution. What was the inspiration that made you want to write such a thrilling novel?

Good question. My inspiration or should I say, “the book that inspired me to write” was The Adventurers by Harold Robbins. In his story, he wrote about a South American character named Dax who lost everything. The book was almost a thousand pages, it covered decades of history. It took me on a ride through time. I enjoyed it.

So, I was compelled to I start writing about Manuel Doggett a man who lost everything. I asked myself, how would it effect a black man here in the United States? So I pulled from the history of the African-American experience. Manuel is born on the tail-end of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King is dead. Malcom X is dead. The Black Panthers and the original Nation of Islam had been dismantled.

Here comes Manuel Doggett. The future.

As a child, he shows great leadership abilities. He is smart, thoughtful, and a good speaker. Further, there’s nothing stopping him from being anything he wants to be. He has aspirations of being a judge or the first black president.

What happens?

His family is murdered in front of him. His wealth is stripped. He is forced to live in the inner-city. This young man with so much potential is now faced with dangers from the same black people that his family talked about with so much pride. He realizes that he is a cub that has become prey to a jungle of hyenas.

Manuel had two choices. Try to rise above it or become part of it.

From the spirt of a leader, he took the third choice. He became it. He became the fear. He became the danger. He became the king of the concrete jungle.

He became the villain.

For me this was thrilling to write.

Manuel Doggett is a boy who lost everything and was formed by the streets and remade in its’ dark image. How did you set about creating such complicated characters?

A loaded question. I will try to answer it the best I can. The characters around Manuel are not complicated to a person who grew up in the inner-city. You see them all the time a car thief, a pick-pocket, or a drug dealer. You see the upset aunt or the concerned mother. Manuel, on the other hand, is a complicated character. He has physiological issues and is force into different environments, his higher intellect compelled him to rise up at any cost. Further, he had become a killer. Now, as an author, I had to navigate Manuel through the streets. I had to take on the mind of a madman. What would an intelligent madman do?

The original title of the book was “Product of Environment”. I named it Product of Environment because while I was writing I noticed how Manuel had to adapt and lead others into each new environment he faced. A leader will be a leader wherever he goes.

The title changed to Product of Environment: The Testimony of a Villain and was later changed again when I sat down with my project manager, Anthony Lindo.

Anthony was putting the book cover together on a computer and I was watching him. We were discussing colors and letter sizes, and then, all of a sudden, he deleted Product of Environment out of the title. After looking it over, it made sense.

Thus, we have The Testimony of a Villain.

I found myself enjoying the book because I found a lot of truth embedded in the story about life, justice and society. What themes did you try to capture while creating this story?

The themes that I tried to capture about social justice revolved around relevant issues: abortion, race, politics and crime. I think most readers found it interesting how “living the life of crime”, didn’t seem like a crime to the people living it.

It was simply a way of life.

To me, the the biggest social issue that the Testimony of a Villain brings to light is that there are people who live like the characters in the story every day. For them, it’s normal. They never had a job and they don’t plan on getting a job. They are just waiting to go to jail or get murdered or hustle another day.

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

The next book that I’m about to release is called: Wisdom of a Dying God. It’s a crime story about a crime fiction writer who is in prison, dying. He has books floating around the prison system. He is revered by his peers because of his knowledge of the criminal underworld. As the prisoners read his books, they find better ways to commit crimes.

The book should be available in the next 60 to 90 days.

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Testimony of a Villain: A True Crime Thriller Novel of Inner City Vengeance and Murder by [Harrell, Aaron G.]

Outsiders call Manuel a villain. After spending his youth entangled in inner city gang warfare, he’s lied, robbed, and murdered his way to the top of the brutal organized crime underworld. His path toward vengeance was set long ago when two killers massacred his family in front of him…

Manuel tracked down one of the murderers and exacted revenge, but his bloodlust grew for the killer who got away. When he got the chance to complete his vengeance, the city cowered beneath his thirst for retribution. As he continues to retrace his old scars, Manuel has one chance for vindication. To succeed, he’ll need to take a hard look at the street life he’s built upon the ashes of his childhood…

The Testimony of a Villain is a dark crime thriller set on the unforgiving streets of inner city Boston. If you like true crime stories, complex characters and an unapologetic look at urban reality, then you’ll love Aaron G. Harrell’s poignant psychological thriller.

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