Q&A With Sandrone Dazieri

If you haven’t already. Check out my review of Sandrone Dazieri’s Kill The Father!

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  1. Hello Sandrone. For those who don’t know you already, could you tell us about yourself and your background?

I was born in ’64 in Cremona, a small town of fifty thousand inhabitants in the heart of Northern Italy, surrounded by grain fields, the same city that I put into the darkest chapters of Kill the Father. At fourteen, I decided that I wanted to know better the world and I began to travel the country working as a cook helper. After I stopped being a chef in 1994, I changed many trades (electrician, bouncers, porter …) until I landed in a magazine as a proofreader. After a few years I became a redactor and I started writing reviews of detective novels and science fiction. In 1999 I published my first novel.

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Q&A With Ruth Ware

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Hello everybody!

    Our Summer Fiction Blog Tour hosted by Simon & Schuster Canada is now coming to an end, but we still have one more exclusive post to share with everyone. Recently, we’ve published a review for In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, a psychological thriller that will have you hooked till the end. Today, we’ve got the author herself and a quick Q&A session with her! There’s like getting to know the author behind the novel you’ve read or, are about to read. Let’s get right to it then! 😉 Continue reading

Q&A With Lisa Jewell

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Hello everyone!

     Lately we’ve been participating in the Summer Fiction Blog Tour hosted by Simon & Schuster Canada. Last week’s novel of the week was The Girls In The Garden and Trang has made a review for it a couple days ago. If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here and then come back. 😀 What you’re about to read is a sweet and short interview with the author herself, exclusively for Simon & Schuster. If the novel piqued your interest, don’t forget to get your hands on a brand new copy! Now, on to the show! 😛 Continue reading

Luke Taylor Interview

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Ladies and gentlemen, we’re absolutely happy to finally be able to put up an interview with one of our favorite acquaintances since Bookidote’s creation: Mr. Luke Taylor. Blessed with an enormous love for literature, this man knows his books and wouldn’t hesitate a second to share his passion and thoughts about them with anyone ready to listen. His soul is undeniably young, no matter what time says. His criticism of novels is intelligent and filled with reason. His way with words will unquestionably leave an impression on you. You’re bound to return home with new ways to see the book you’ve just read. Thank you so much Luke for taking the time to answer the questions Trang had for you ! Continue reading

Q&A with Mangalam Shiva

After working as a marketing professional in Mumbai for forty years, author Mangalam Shiva finally took up the pen. A keen observer of life, the author has been following the myriad incidences of social injustice, inequality, corruption and abuse of power that our country has been beset with, and its impact on the common man. Unable to initiate direct action to rectify these social evils, he hopes to at least create awareness, through these short stories. By touching a chord with the readers, somewhere, some time, a life may change for the better.

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Q&A with Francis Powell

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1. Welcome to Bookidote 🙂 For our readers to know you a little bit better, please tell us about your background and life’s journey.

I was born in a “dormitory town” called Reading, not famous for much, apart from a huge Rock festival, and for the fact that Oscar Wilde was sent to prison there and wrote “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”. My family then moved to a farm in the country, in Sussex, not too far from London. I was sent aged eight, to a boarding school, so I would spend long periods away from my family.  Imagine having regular prison sentences, imposed upon you, as a child. At some of the schools I attended, there were psychotic teachers and cruel nasty children.  I used to count the days when I could be reunited with my family.  I became a recluse in the art room and painting was my salvation. I had a teacher who encouraged me to paint and introduced me to various artists, including Kandinsky. I went from austere harsh boarding schools to Art College, a very different environment. I moved to a remote village in Austria. It was not far from Vienna, but a very oppressive and strange environment. I thought I should try writing a book. I launched into it…nothing came of it. I do many creative activities, painting as well as writing music. Writing lay dormant, put to one side. Then later, living in Paris at this point in time, via an advert, I made contact with a man called Alan Clark, who had a literary magazine called “Rat Mort” (dead rat).  I submitted four short stories for this magazine, encouraged by Alan, I began to write more and more short stories, and developed a style…When I am not writing, I am making music or some kind of other creative endeavor.  I make videos that go with my music and have a Flight of Destiny youtube channel.


2. What made you decide to sit down and actually start something, writing a novel? 

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Q&A with Joannes Rhino

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Here’s my 5 stars review of The Unseen Face by Joannes Rhino! Now let’s begin 🙂

1. Hi Joannes, when did you first realize you want to be a writer ?

It was actually my friend in high school who first spotted my writing talent, and so I thought how cool would it be to be a writer. And just like that, everything happened naturally after that.

2. Where do you get your inspirations for The Unseen Face ?

The Unseen Face is actually based on my close mate’s testimony about his disease. He had struggled with mental disorders since the loss of his loved ones. His story was very triggering for me to come up with The Unseen Face. However, it also elicited a lot of unexpected responses, negative or positive. For that reason, and to protect my friend’s personal life, I decided to twist up some of the facts. The content of The Unseen Face, however, 80% is based on actual event.

3. How do you organize your schedule and time in writing a book?

I keep myself organize, and I commit to write every night between 12am until 4am.

4. How long did it take to finish writing this book? What was the hardest part in the process?

Honestly speaking, the writing process didn’t take that long. No more than 6 months I got it done, roughly. However, the editing process took a lot of time, money and effort.

The hardest part in making The Unseen Face is how to make the book a page turner right from the first page, because most of the times I got carry away by telling something so detail that shouldn’t and made it boring.

5. What advice would you want to give to an aspiring writer ?

Be yourself! That’s very important. I mean, don’t try to write using your favorite author’s writing style. Use your own style, and don’t be afraid to show people what’s inside your head.

6. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
The turning over point of my life had occurred when someone handed me a novel by Paulo Coelho “The Alchemist” and a motivational book by Rhonda Byrne “The Secret”. Those books really changed my perspective about life,

7. When you are not writing a book, what are your other hobbies ?

I play games, watch movies, travel, play with dogs.

8. If you could choose to be a character in a book, who would it be?

Well actually I play my own role in the book. I am Richard, the main character’s best mate.

9. The main character in your book is dealing with a lot of psychological disorders, how did you build up a character like that ?
All of my characters in my books are related with me. They could be myself, my friends or someone I know in real life. Having said that, it’s easier for me to feel the emotions of the characters.

10.  What is the main message of your book ? What do you want to say to the readers ? 

A key word of the spiritual message here is FORGIVENESS. We have to remember that everything is giving by purpose. Hatred and revenge are not the best friends in our spiritual journey. Non ability to deal with negativity is leading to serious crimes, psycho problems, crumpled life and as an end result – wrong direction and wrong Spiritual Choices.

sds

A big thank you to Joannes Rhino for sending us a free copy in exchange for an honest review and for taking the time to answer our questions. We are honored that you shared your book with us and we hope the best for your future projects. 

You can purchase his novel here !

Best regards,

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Q&A with Eric Mrozek

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I had the chance to receive Eric Mrozek, author of Destruction for an interview. Here’s my review for his book for those fantasy fan readers ! 

simple vintage gold frame1. Welcome to Bookidote! To get to know you better, tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I am a 26 year old man that currently works as a businessman and entrepreneur on the Internet in one form or another. I currently reside in Michigan.

2. Have you ever written anything before Destruction? What made you want to start writing this story? 

This isn’t the first project that I’ve written. Since I was seventeen, I have been developing worlds and refining my writing craft through a wide variety of projects, so Destruction was a natural extension of that.

3.What were your inspirations while writing Destruction? How did you build the fantasy world that Helisah and Aegras live in?

Destruction is based around a combination of my study of history and my love of the fantasy genre. When it comes to historical inspiration, the core of the novel is based around the Age of Enlightenment and the early Industrial Revolution, but I also drew from periods before and after that. I knew early on that a move forward to that era would set the novel apart because it allowed me to explore new themes like the rise of democracy, capitalism, and the clash of new and old ideologies. A huge portion of the scenes in the story are influenced by historical events or schools of thought from that time, such as classical liberalism, hedonism, and so on.

As for my love of fantasy, that played a role in the novel because I wanted to challenge myself to make a deep and rich world that can please fantasy fans, but I also wanted to make it accessible to the masses. Even with the success of The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, I think that a lot of people are still put off by fantasy because of things like an enormous cast of characters, which can make it a pain (even for me) to figure out what the point of that background character or this detail was and why I should care. It can also lead to fans becoming unsatisfied with the story because it tends to lead to dropped storylines. I thought that the best way to combat that would be to scale it down and make it much more intimate, which is where the concept of a diary came from.

4. I must say that I was quite impressed by the cover illustration! Who designed it? Tell us about the cover and how you came to choose it.

The chief cover artist is Hermann Kromer, but some of the pieces on there are modified versions of my own design. I knew from the time that I approached Hermann on the Internet that the cover was going to be a scene from the book, so we developed a more collaborative process that was almost akin to writing a comic book. I would script out the scene and, more often than not, he would create characters like Helisah and Aegras for my approval and put them in there. Sometimes, he would also come up with a new surprise that I knew I had to add, such as the unnamed Telurian Officer with his clock-like face mask.

5. I believe Destruction is the first in a series. What can the readers expect in the next books?

I think that Destruction is an exploration of the minds of our heroes and what they are fighting for. Without spoiling anything, the next two books are going to focus primarily on why this war is happening and the continued sacrifices made by the characters. I am working towards a planned ending, so readers will want to look at every little detail from the time that they first open this novel.

On top of that, I am currently working on a series of shorter stories to expand the universe in different directions. The piece that I am working on is about the politics behind the beginning of a conflict over five hundred years before the events of Destruction. I intend to alternate between the two series over time to give the public a steady stream of content.

6.  We know that books are not made in one day. What was the hardest part of writing this story?

I think that the most difficult (and satisfying) part of writing this story was trying to create iconic scenes for the main characters. It’s difficult because you have to get a funny line or an awesome moment just right and base it around their personality. However, it is satisfying when it works because you can laugh with or cheer for the character in a way that you couldn’t before that.

7. Who are your favourite authors?

I’ve read books that range from Voltaire to the present day, so it’s really hard to pick a favorite among them. I would say that the biggest influences on me right now include: J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert J. Sawyer, and Harry Turtledove. They all write quite differently, but their work points out that you have to capture every detail from the wider universe (Tolkien) to the characters and their personality quirks (Sawyer/Turtledove).

8. If you could be the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

I don’t want to be too arrogant here, but I would have to say… mine. If you think about it, it is exactly my style of writing.

9.  Hahha well said. And what advice would you give to your younger self?

Think of alternate ways to tell a story beyond book form and harness the power of the Internet to make your dreams happen.

10. Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, develop a thick skin, and don’t publish until it’s polished to a mirror shine.

sds

If you want to keep track of Eric’s future projects, visit his blog here !

Thank you to the author himself for sending us the Avanced Review Copy of this book, the paperback once it was published and taking the time to answer our questions.

You can purchase a copy of Destruction by clicking here ! 

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Q&A with Jonanthan Lapoma

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We’ve had the opportunity to reach out to the author and realize a quick interview to get to know more behind the production of Developing Minds. We’d like to thank Jonathan Lapoma for taking his time to answer our questions and for giving us some of the most interesting responses ever. We’d also like to wish him the best of luck in his future projects and in his teaching career.

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1. Thank you for allowing us to feature this interview on our blog. To kick this off, tell us a little about yourself and your background. 

I’m an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, and poet from Buffalo, NY. In 2005, I graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo with a BA in history and a secondary teaching credential, and in the ten years since, I’ve taught in over fifteen American public schools as either a substitute or full-time teacher. I’ve been writing for about fourteen years, starting with poetry and songs, then novels and screenplays. I’ve written two novels, seven screenplays that have won over forty awards/honors in various screenwriting competitions, and hundreds songs and poems. My work often explores themes of alienation and misery as human constructions that can be overcome through self-understanding and the acceptance of suffering. I currently teach at a secondary school in San Diego, CA.

2. What got you to sit down and actually create something, to write a novel?

DEVELOPING MINDS is my second novel, so I had some experience with writing one. In 2009, I finished writing a novel based on my experiences living in Mexico for about five months after I graduated college. I was severely depressed and in a really bad place, but something about Mexico seeped inside me and made me chose life. When I finished writing the novel, I thought I’d said what I’d wanted to say about life and my experiences with it. But, in July of 2012, I took a road trip to Big Sur, and on the ride up the Pacific Coast Highway, I got to thinking about my experiences teaching at an at-risk middle school in Miami in 2007—and the personal, professional, and creative growths I had there—and realized the story wasn’t over. I started writing it almost immediately after I got back to San Diego, and finished the first draft in about a month. DEVELOPING MINDS is a sort of a loosely-linked sequel to the Mexican novel, UNDERSTANDING THE ALACRAN, and it shows the protagonist’s growth while trying to fit into society after returning from Mexico. My intention with DEVELOPING MINDS wasn’t to demonize teachers or the public school system—I simply wanted to show a portrait of these as true to my experiences with them as possible, while showing how these experiences affected the main character’s maturation and eventual transformation as a writer.

3. Developing Minds deals with so many different themes. Where did you get your inspiration to write about a new teacher, a new school? 

I am a teacher, so many of the situations in the novel were inspired by my own experiences, or those of other teachers I know. Being a new teacher is extremely difficult, and I experienced quite a range of emotions in that first year. There were some great “break through” moments where the students, or even I, learned something new or saw something from a different perspective. But there were significantly more terrible moments where I couldn’t imagine spending another minute as a teacher. I wanted to let readers experience this range of emotion through the events of the novel. Teaching is an extraordinarily difficult job, but many people still diminish the hard work of teachers and other school staff. I’m hoping that, by reading this novel, people will have more respect for teachers and the struggles they face on a daily basis.

4. Throughout the book, the main character seemed to evolve thanks to his entourage. Do you relate to the character? Was it your personal experience that make it possible? Developing minds is a title that might get you to think that it is associated to students only. I genuinely think its for the protagonist too. What I mean by that is that he is also developing his own mind towards maturity while teaching. This is just me thinking out loud. 😀 

Yes, I would say that I relate to the main character. The mid to late twenties is a trying time for a lot of friendships. People spend most of the first twenty-two to twenty-three years of their lives crammed inside of schools, where big groups of people study, and eat, and hang out, and play sports together. But once people graduate from college, they break away from this protective system, and many start to develop interests that are different from the groups they’d spent so much time with previously in school. During the mid to late twenties, many people struggle to find themselves emotionally, professionally, and creatively, and during this maturation process, it’s not unusual that people may make entirely new groups of friends. Some people refuse to grow, and may even get angry at those around them who start to develop new interests and friendships. I think this is understandable—watching the people around you grow when you yourself are too afraid to can be extremely scary. But at some point, everyone needs to take responsibility for their own lives. If you refuse to grow, you can’t blame other people for leaving you behind. We see Luke starting to grow like this throughout the novel. When he moves to Miami, he’s just as self-destructive as his friends, but as the school year progresses, and Luke begins to grow, he slowly starts to leave his friends behind. He’s on a journey to become a writer, and even though some of the people around him are just as, if not more, talented than he is, they aren’t able to fully realize this talent because they refuse to grow themselves. I’m glad you mentioned that you saw the association with the title and the main character’s journey. I absolutely did write this title to have a double meaning: on one hand, it means that the teachers are helping the students to grow and develop, but on the other hand, the title refers to the fact that the teachers themselves are still developing.

5. There is so much details about Miami, Cuban and Latin culture. Did you ever live there or is it just the result of many research ?

Yes, I did live in Miami for about a year, from the summer of 2007 to the summer of 2008, and before that I lived in Mexico for about five months. I’ve had a passion for Latin culture since taking my first Spanish class in 6th grade. Something about it seemed powerful and comforting to me, even at a young age. I moved to San Diego, in large part, because I wanted to live in a city with a strong Mexican influence. Suffice it to say, Donald Trump and I don’t have similar views on Mexicans.

6. What was the hardest part in writing this story?

I think the hardest part was packing in as many horrors of teaching without making the story too heavy and dark.

7. What do you think about our current education system?

I think it needs a lot of help, but the blame for the failures needs to go in the right places. Blaming teachers or citizens living in impoverished communities for these failures, however, is like blaming weight loss for causing stomach cancer and not the other way around. Blaming the symptom instead of the disease is not only foolish, but harmful. Education reform needs to start at a national level, and until we start blaming the income inequality gap, systemic racism, etc… for these problems, we’re going to continue to be plagued by them.

8. Since you’re a teacher right now, what books have you suggested your students to read and why ? 

I’ve recommended several books to students, but only when I know the students well enough to do so. I wouldn’t recommend a book that has protagonist suffering through drug addiction if I know this issue is close to the student and may affect them negatively. I’ve recommended the following books, mostly because they’ve helped me through difficult times and have helped me to gain a better perspective on the world: On the Road by Jack Kerouac, The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Night by Elie Wiesel, among many others I can’t think of right now.

9. As you can see, back to school isn’t around the corner anymore. It’s starring right in our face ! What advice would you like to share with the students who are going to high school this year? 

I’d say, take this opportunity to try to improve yourself in one specific way. Maybe you want to try to develop better study habits, or social skills, or you want to learn a new language or musical instrument. It’s never too late to grow and develop new skills. At the start of every school year, I try to think of specific ways I can improve as a teacher. One year I decided to work on ways that I could communicate better with parents, and now, years later, that’s something I feel very comfortable with. I wouldn’t recommend trying to do too much, however. If you decide that you want to master ballet, the tuba, and French all in one year, those goals are likely unrealistic. But if you can set one specific, and achievable goal, you can probably learn that new skill. This will help build your confidence and soon, personal growth will be something that starts happening on its own.

10. What is success for you? 

An absence of fear. Fear is the blocker of creativity, and peace, and love, and so many other of the good things that make life worth living. I believe success is the freedom to try new things, to express yourself in new ways, and to master current skills, without fear there dragging you down. I don’t see “success” as something that can be quantified in any specific way. There’s no dollar amount that can determine it. It’s simply a feeling that stays with you and builds and radiates the more you allow it to. I already feel like a success. I’ve faced many of my biggest fears, and as a result, I feel closer to myself and the people and world around me. If I sell a hundred books or a million, I’ll feel equally successful either way.

Thank you again Mr. Lapoma for giving us the chance to share your thoughts behind this amazing novel

Best regards,

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