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Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, book trailer, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, george macdonald, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, kindle, kobo, literature, malcolm, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, scotland, story, trailer, writer, writing
Slaves to Desire is composed of 11 short stories that are as insightful as they are erotic. By weaving fictional tales around some of the most successful European artists of all time, she manages to find that storytelling sweet spot between fact and fiction.
The book talks of George Sand, Salvador Dali, Antonin Artaud, Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet, and even Hamlet and Ophelia as if they were here with us today. The poetic and emotional way in which this book is written left me with a deeper understanding of what it means to be an artist.
As I progressed from page to page, I was confronted by melancholy, mania, and deep love. Great was the love of one character that they cared for their ill lover till death took them away, leaving her without enough strength to attend the funeral.
Another character, crushed by the pain of being separated from their ailing lover for years, suffers a stroke and struggles to learn how to paint again. But of all the stories, the one that resonates with me the most is the one of the artist plagued by relentless loneliness and melancholy that seems only to be cured by painting.
But even then, they prefer solitude over the company of others. As a writer who spends a lot of time alone, this story is deeply relatable to me and forces me to think more deeply about my life. Ultimately, Slaves to Desire is much more than a book about sex, it discusses complex issues that are inherent to the human condition.
Apart from love, some of the running themes include the need for belonging, the importance of sacrifice, the influence of religion on sexual exploration, and the grief of mourning a loved one’s death. This book is beautifully written, with tons of descriptive language and even quotes from some of the greatest literary pieces of our time. It is clear that the author is a lover of literature and that she poured her heart and soul into this piece.
But it was not lost on me that even these scenes have a deeper meaning to them, giving us more understanding of the psyche of the characters. Slaves to Desire is a well-written and thought-provoking work of art.
Pages: 216 | ASIN: B07SS5D8KR
Tags: art, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, Eli Gilic, erotica, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, historical fantasy, historical fiction, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, sex, short stories, short story, Slaves to Desire, story, writer, writing
Matriarch follows the story of a British soldier who explores an exotic country and uncovers danger, mysteries, and magic. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?
Actually, the inspiration was Cass, the young woman listening to her great-grandmother tell the tale. Hers is the real story in this book; everything else—while fun to write, and hopefully a roller-coaster of an adventure—is just build-up to that one moment in her life. That moment, that world-shattering revelation was what inspired the book.
I enjoyed the depth that you were able to bring to your character in so few pages. What were some ideas that informed their development?
First of all, thank you! For some of the story’s twists it was important to have characters that could be seen in very different lights. Each character needed to feel real before their arc turned, so readers could really experience the dramatic changes. Knowing where things were headed, I was able to plant some seeds in the characters’ actions and personalities early on, which I think helped add nuance to them.
For those who’ve read the book, this is most obvious with Ollie, but I think it’s most interesting with Ayla (Young Ayla). Because the change in her is really a change of reader perception. The story is framed one way, and because we tend to have certain expectations when it comes to such narratives, we impose certain facets of character onto her. Then as things progress, we see how mistaken we always were. (Which makes the climax hit all the harder.)
This is an epic adventure story that explores ideas of obsession and true love. What were some themes you wanted to focus on in this book?
That’s an interesting question. I actually was a little worried that people would have certain thematic expectations about the book based on the title. Which is to say they might think it’s a deeply feminist work, and then be disappointed to find most the action follows ex-soldier in the 1920s. (*I think it actually is a feminist work, only in ways not suggested by the title, which and only really apparent in the last twenty pages or so.)
And that’s the thing with Matriarch; you don’t really know what this story is until you get to the end. So one major theme would be peeling back the layers of reality we hold to be true and finding truths we could never have imagined underneath. And of course, themes of Fate and Destiny trickly backward from the end to touch every aspect of the story (which I’m pretty damn clear about right from the start!).
The feminist themes in Matriarch are a bit more subtle than you’d guess based on the title. Less about female power, and more about female agency. About the assumptions made by those in a position of power, and the harm such assumptions can cause.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on my most ambitious work yet. Where my previous books have all been 100 – 220 pages, I expect this to run maybe 400.
The title is HAPPYVILLE, a portal fantasy which I like to describe as Over the Garden Wall meets Neverwhere. It’s about a young girl who’s lost her memory and finds herself in a strange land.
Matriarch by Adam Wing is a tale full of magic and lore. Ayla Merrill lays in her hospital bed and decides to tell her great-grandaughter Cass a story. The story is of the epic adventure of how Ayla met her deceased husband, Ollie Merrill, but this isn’t your typical love story. Ollie Merrill wanders across Turkey in search of something, but he doesn’t know what this something is. Until, of course, he has an exhilarating adventure and comes across a magical being that helps lead him to his destiny. Three wishes, unrequited love, and a magical bracelet create a whirlwind.
Talk about an emotional adventure! Adam Wing has a gift in the art of writing! This story and his writing reminded me of being a young girl and listening to my grandmother tell stories from her childhood. He immerses you into the story immediately. Even in the moments of magic and mythical mayhem, he has a way of making them feel realistic.
The world and character building are five out of five stars, especially for it only being a novella! The way he has Ayla tell the story keeps you captivated while not leaving out any significant details. Most authors struggle to do this in 300 pages, let alone 57!
Wing delves into the topics of fate, destiny, and doom. He discusses them through Ayla and Ollie’s story, showing how they work into the cycle of everyone’s lives. His poetic but comprehensible writing style gives you the ability to delve deeper into the topics while still allowing you to escape into his magical world.
A natural consequence of his exquisite world-building abilities, this book, even in its darkest moments, gives off a feeling of coziness and familiarity. This is in part because of his strong matriarchal character, Ayla. When I was reading this, I would curl up into the corner of my couch and escape into a magical land that I feel like I had been to before.
Adam Wing’s Matriarch is a wild adventure and heart-wrenching tale, with many twists and turns. This story, in particular, reminds me of the Chronicles of Narnia in the way it immerses you. Part of me wishes this book was longer, just so I could spend more time within the story’s world!
Pages: 144 | ASIN: B08193V6FG
The Boy Who Saw In Colours chronicles the life of a boy who’s family collapses and he’s sent to Hitler’s elite school. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional novel?
Many of the ideas for The Boy Who Saw In Colours came to me as a bit of a fluke. The first piece of inspiration came to me in the form of a photograph that was taken of a young, German boy, crying when he was captured by the Americans. The photograph spoke to me on a very personal level and I found myself doing research into Hitler Youth, where I came across the elite schools. When I watched interviews with some of these boys as men, I was inspired by the acts of kindness I heard about that took place during those very dark times in Europe, when people were finding beauty in the ugliest of circumstances.
Josef is an interesting and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a real child. Often times in media, children are either portrayed as extremely annoying or very bland. I didn’t set out to write a complex character, even though that is the goal for many writers. I just wanted to write a real one. The main thing that stood out the most to me about Josef was his passion for art and the beautiful way n which he views the world. When I was sick and tired of the entire thing, that one story within the others made me think the book was worth publishing. After all, it is the little stories that define us.
I enjoyed the unique perspective you presented of Nazi Germany during WWII.
What were some themes you felt were important to capture?
That is always a difficult question to answer in regards to The Boy Who Saw In Colours because there are many themes, and I could write a ten-page essay on it. One of the main themes is about the dangers of fascist ideologies and hatred, and how they can be accepted by otherwise good people. Josef does not agree with Nazim but feels that he has no choice but to comply.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
For my next novel, I’ll be staying closer to home. It’s a story that centres around ‘The Troubles’ of Northern Ireland during the ’70s. I don’t yet have a release date set.
Posted in Book Reviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, historical fantasy, history, kindle, kobo, Lauren Robinson, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, The Boy Who Saw In Colours, world war two, writer, writing, wwII
What I liked about Spenser was the way in which you fused history with fantasy. What research did you undertake to ensure the historical references were accurate?
I did a huge amount of research, because I had to know as much as possible about the Elizabethan period in England, Ireland, and France, as well as the historical figures involved. And remember, the work has taken twenty-seven years to finish. When I started, there was no internet; I had to do research in university libraries, not through Google. I have seven huge binders of material xeroxed and carefully tagged. As well, in the actual creation I am now on my tenth workbook, apart from the digital files.
Actual things were relatively simple—to find how stained glass windows were constructed and appeared in Spenser’s time; to understand what a sailing vessel was like, its sails, its crew, its structure; to learn about the Irish sea and the ports; to become absorbed in what the buildings and costumes were; Christmas customs; medicine; the countries. There is very little knowledge of Spenser himself, so that I made surmises based on what was known; my Spenser is probably more fictional than real, but the conclusions I made were based on facts as well. I did, of course, create the final book of The Fairie Queene, the windows described actually based on Jung’s archetypal figures (a small license I gave myself). The Christmas play is my adaptation of what could have happened then (minus the satire of the pope, of course). The massacre of the Spaniards is directly taken from the report made of the affair. And the Latin phrases are actually the ones that British schoolboys used to have to learn, which is deliberate. Ben Jonson criticized Shakespeare for knowing “no Latin and less Greek”; I portray him in the scene as still learning Latin, much to the amusement of Spenser and Bacon, who wrote well in the language and who make quiet jokes between them in their responses.
As for the fantasy, you will have to wait for Book Three to get the whole story, when the three thousand years find their conclusion.
The book is written in Spenserian stanzas. Was this a challenge for you or do you prefer this style of writing?
Actually, the whole trilogy is a challenge, because I take the poetic style of the time and adapt it slightly to modern times. For example, Odysseus is deliberately written in the style that most translations have been seen over the past decades; Spenser is written in his form, but where he usually end-stops a stanza, I can run the idea without strain into the following stanza, so that the dialogue and description can be closer to us. I have deliberately left the numbering of the stanzas as he did. As well, in the agonizing memories of Spenser about the death of his son I have strained the stanzas to the limit to force the cries that he made stand out. If you want to know how that sounds, you may soon be able to hear them in the audio book that hopefully will appear in the near future. As for Archer, the styles range from the Romantic Period until today. Thus, you will find that even the verse ranges over the three thousand years.
I understand that you have been a professor, actor, director, playwright, and poet. How has your experience in these fields helped you write your books in the On the River of Time series?
A good question. All of these have helped me. First of all, I have an English Honours degree in which I had to take a comprehensive exam on all of English literature up to 1950 (excluding, of course at that time, all Canadian and American literature). I have taught English courses, seminar courses in Ibsen and Theatre Aesthetics, a first-year philosophy course, and, of course, courses in acting for professional and amateur actors. As an actor I have to learn, comprehend, and explore a character deeply, both in mind and body. As a director I have to know the world in which the play takes place; what the incidents expose of the characters; the structure of the action of the play and its conclusion; the period in which it takes place; and how to bring the actor to fulfill the demands of the character. As a playwright I have to conceive of the characters and their journey; write the scenes that are important for the revelations of the play; find the essence of each character’s thoughts, speech and action; place all this in an appropriate setting for the theatre and the audience; and as a poet sense the music of our language, the evocation of an experience, the poetic style needed, the deep influence of an idea, and the urge which forces me to express it.
All of these things in my background have enriched my vision and whatever skill I have. They have allowed me to find a way through to express through three thousand years what we all still experience, give into, or struggle with, in our lives
Book three in your series follows Archer, the fictional renegade actor/director in present-day Canada. When will that book be available and what can readers expect in the story?
I am almost finished writing it. My editor, with whom I have worked fifty years, is brilliant and patient and rigorous, keeping me always on the right track. We are in the twelfth draft of the work at the moment, but it should be the second-last. For reasons I won’t go into, it will probably come out next year.
What can you expect? A modern actor/director who is charismatic and searching, who has spent his life exploring and touring his events. The book is divided into three “Acts” (like chapters, but this is, after all, about theatre); Act One deals with his tour of King Lear in mask and his research on an event that will deal with all of Canadian history as far back as it goes; Act Two deals with the creation and tour of the event; Act Three deals with the company invited to Ireland to play the event in its Festivals, what happens there, and the repercussions later in Canada. You may suspect that I have some knowledge of all this; you might want to look at my website: http://www.carlhare.ca
All The World’s Colors sees the epic clash of four great societies. What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?
The themes of the book are the clash of cultures and religion, courage in the face of the unknown, and how seemingly insignificant individuals can be suddenly thrust into remarkable circumstances.
Ultimately, it is a fantasy-based reimagining of 16th century European history and the discovery of the new world.
This novel does a great job of telling a gripping story using elements often found in historical fiction. Was this intentional or is this indicative of your writing style?
Thank you for the compliment. I’d say it was both! I love historical fiction, and I think history is so fascinating that it can serve as the foundation for outstanding fantasy writing (looking at you, Game of Thrones!)
Savvy readers will quickly pick up on the cues from history in this novel. The discovery of a new continent, and a lost colony. Religious fanaticism. Strange new crops. Wealthy merchant families. And of course, devious intrigue in the royal courts, inspired by the outlandish legends surrounding Queen Elizabeth I.
I enjoyed the idea that the societies are given their own colors. How did come up with this idea and what were some sources that influenced its development?
I think the visual imagery associated with flags, uniforms, and colors is quite striking. Sometimes colors can be so ubiquitous that they become almost synonymous with a society. British redcoats. The all-encompassing red of the Soviet Union. Orange and Dutch culture. Orange and Protestantism. Green and Ireland. You may be familiar with the controversy associated with the development of the modern-day Canadian flag; everything red was associated with British culture, and everything blue was associated with the French, so it was difficult to agree on anything.
Perhaps this is why I find strategy games like Catan and Risk to be so enthralling – the hypnotic imagery of watching colors and kingdoms expand and contract across the world.
This is book one in The Queen of the Blue series. What can readers expect in book two?
Quite a bit more. Book one is a relatively short foundational book, designed to familiarize readers with this fantasy world. There are obviously huge cliffhangers concerning Olmar and Marcel. We’ve clearly only scratched the surface with Burboh and Sanctia, not to mention Amira and the Confederation of Orange. There is a great deal yet to be learned about the new world. Additionally, there will be quite a bit more of the supernatural in subsequent books.
Catrin is living a nightmare. She has become a slave, is used and abused as a woman disguised as a soldier, and the love of her life doesn’t remember the passion that once existed between them. Catrin is as feared as much as she is taken for granted. Considered to have powers that far outshine the abilities and skills of any soldier, she is allowed to live and protected even though she isn’t respected. Marcellus, her love, now under the spell of another, can’t quite shake the feeling that something is not right–something he can’t explain but leaves him feeling empty and broken. Catrin knows, but will she be able to tell him in time?
Amulet’s Rapture, by Linnea Turner, continues the journey of young Catrin. Her life, very different from that of previous installments, is a daily struggle for survival. She is only allowed to live because she is deemed valuable and believed to have the ability to speak directly with the sun god. Catrin is put through ghastly tasks and treated with little respect even though she is offered the opportunity to train as a warrior priestess. Playing along with the idea that she is all-powerful is the only thing that seems to keep her from being killed.
Catrin’s visions are an important part of the plot–the thread woven discreetly throughout the story that ties all of the elements neatly together. The images she conjures are vivid and touching. The author uses them expertly to pull in elements from previous installments. These little trips into Catrin’s past are especially helpful if listening to this as a stand alone.
The audio version of Amulet’s Rapture is a fascinating listen. The narrator absolutely nails tone, character changes, and emphasis. In addition, the particularly intense scenes in which Catrin is being threatened are completely captivating when read by the narrator, Kristen James. What would be moving moments if read in paperback or Kindle become quite terrifying and extremely uncomfortable when listening to the narrator’s interpretation of the text–the story is truly brought to life.
I believe this installment is completely readable as a stand alone text. The author provides quite a bit of background, and Catrin’s visions give readers a nice glance back at previous plots. One cannot read Tanner’s work without calling it romance. Though it is primarily a fantasy, readers who seek a strong romantic feel to their fantasies will appreciate Tanner’s writing. She peppers her plot with just enough of these steamy scenes to keep romance fans invested.
Audio Length: 11 hours and 11 minutes | ASIN: B0887Y9WLY
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