Sunday, September 30, 2018

SR Garrae - The IAN Interview



I grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, in a small rural village.  There wasn’t much to do if you couldn’t drive and weren’t old enough to drink, so I read everything in sight, but didn’t write. 

I studied chemistry at the University of Oxford and then worked in international finance: based in London but travelling all over the world.  I loved my job, but when I was diagnosed with major eye issues I suddenly reevaluated my whole life – and began to write.    


IAN: Please tell us about Death in Focus.


SR Garrae: Obsessive, famed and very sexy reality photographer Jamie Carval is desperate for a new exhibition to keep him in the public eye.  Dedicated, driven NYPD detective Casey Clement has a dead scientist and a multimillion-dollar motive for murder landing on her desk.  When their paths cross over the scientist’s corpse, Carval knows he’s found his new inspiration in the form of Casey and her misfit team: gigantic hayseed O’Leary; terse, ex-Army Tyler, and technogeek Andy.

But Casey hates photographs and photographers alike, and has troubles of her own to contend with alongside the murder.  The last thing she needs or wants is Carval tagging along behind her.

Although the rest of the team accept him, faced with Casey’s hostility but deeply attracted, Carval needs to prove that his photographs have value.  When the killer is cornered and lashes out, will he get his chance?

IAN: Is Death in Focus published in print, e-book or both?

SR Garrae: Death in Focus is available in Kindle and paperback forms, and on Kindle Unlimited.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your book? 

SR Garrae: Amazon.com

IAN: What inspired you to write Death in Focus?

SR Garrae: I had been writing romantic crime fiction in the form of fan fiction for some 5 years, and I wanted to write my own characters rather than someone else’s.  The first character of my own was the enormous Detective O’Leary, who’d fallen wholesale into my head while I was on a business trip, and he really demanded to be a major (though strangely not the main) character.  Gradually, I added the others around him.

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

SR Garrae: I have an outline, but although the main points are in place early, those are very broad: so perhaps ten or fifteen really key points.  As I write, I expand the outline to be a detailed summary of the plot, so that I have a short form record where I can check that case points have been covered and not left unanswered; and so that key emotional developments are realistic in time and not missed.  I also use it to add later details of plot points so that I don’t forget them, and then I use it to ensure that there’s a good balance between relationship, team and case matters – colour coding helps here!

IAN: How long did it take to write Death in Focus?

SR Garrae: Over a year, but I was also working in my previous career full time, so I didn’t have a lot of spare time to write.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

SR Garrae: I hope they’ve enjoyed it.  I’d like them to feel that it was a good story which held their interest, and which had realistic characters with whom the reader could engage. 

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

SR Garrae: Partially.  As a chemistry graduate, I had heard about scientific fraud, though I have never personally experienced it.  In my career, I saw plenty of financial fraud, and so that’s based on my own experience.  I’ve never been nearer the NYPD than walking past their cruisers on the streets of Manhattan, but they have an extremely helpful website and there is a lot of accurate information available if you take the time to research it.

IAN: What book are you reading now?

SR Garrae: Right now, I’m rereading the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.

IAN: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

SR Garrae: My friends in fanfiction, who criticized constructively, read my faltering first efforts, and helped to make me a much better writer, in particular those whom I’ve met in real life.  Top of the list is Daniela, who’s been there to help all the way as a critical reader.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

SR Garrae: I’m lucky enough not to need it to be a well-paid career, but I do see it as a career.  It’s my second career.

IAN: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

SR Garrae: I always have to ensure that I write more dialogue. I have a tendency to go for narrative in first drafts, which is not nearly as engaging, so that’s a big point of revisions and editing. I’m getting better at writing it as a first option.  I also have to make sure that I don’t use “UK” phrases but American slang and word choices.  Fortunately, I have a lot of American friends who will correct me if I get it wrong.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

SR Garrae: I did. I have no talent for art, but I had a very clear vision that I wanted: a lens with light coming through it, which matched the case, which was around the science of optics - and also referred to the main male character’s occupation – photography, both of which rely on light and lenses. Eventually, I managed to construct the set, and photograph it. That photo became the cover, and I added the title, author and blurb in a standard program.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

SR Garrae: My next book is a sequel to Death in Focus, following Casey, Carval and the team as they hunt a murderer through the ugly underbelly of the world of modeling.  More of the team’s past secrets surface as the crimes hit far too close to home for more than one of them.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Clayton Graham - The IAN Interview



My UK childhood was set against a background of cobbled streets, ration books, terraced housing, milkmen's horses, coal dumped in the cellar, fish and chips on good days, bread and dripping on not good days, free school dinners (at lunchtime) and low paid footballers.

A retired aerospace engineer, I have worked in the United Kingdom, Europe, the USA and Australia, every location being a blessed and treasured experience. I have always had an interest in Science Fiction and where it places humankind within a universe we are only just starting to understand.

Animals, including well behaved pets, and all the natural world, are a particular love of mine.

Family get-togethers, walking, travelling, gardening and writing occupy most of my waking hours.


IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Clayton Graham: Saving Paludis is based on a handwritten piece I penned many years ago, when writing a novel was the stuff of dreams. Events occur light years away, at the extreme of man’s colonized universe, and that in itself spurred my imagination. I always find that the characters within the story dictate where it is going and what happens next. In essence, it is the characters who formulate the tale!

The novel delivers futuristic technology, alien political intrigue, and high-octane, paranormal action. What exactly happens when a subjugated alien race plots over centuries to regain their planet? How will this interact with the growing conflict between Earth authorities and Paludis? Just what is the mysterious threat which apparently emanates from this outlying verdant planet?

Saving Paludis is full of strong characters, but perhaps the strongest of all is Serpentine, a seer born of unusual circumstances on a slum of a planet at the fringes of our universe. He is endowed with certain powers, which make other humans fearful of him, yet also garners a respect which most of us would envy. He feels more akin to the indigenous species of Paludis than he does to his human brethren.

The book deals with many issues but conflict, camaraderie, coexistence, love and tragedy reign supreme. 

IAN: Is your book published in print, e-book or both?


Clayton Graham: Saving Paludis is available in both print and e-book formats.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your book?

Clayton Graham: Saving Paludis is available on my website https://claytongraham.com.au/ and at the following On-Line stores:

Print

eBook

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Clayton Graham: Not really. I write when time permits and am lucky enough not to be lost for words on too many occasions. In my writing, I like to keep the action treadmill turning, but always have contemplative moments to let the reader mull over the plot and perhaps have a coffee or tea or whatever.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Clayton Graham: A feeling of intrigue and suspense that will linger in their minds. A feeling of being transported to strange yet believable new worlds. Above all, an empathy with the characters and maybe even a wish to help them on their journey, and forge their future.

I love to share my characters’ adventures with readers. Describing new worlds. Interacting humans with other-worldly circumstances. I want readers to spread their own wings and share the journey.

IAN: How much of the book is realistic?

Clayton Graham: Had to answer this one as my genre is Science Fiction. Realistic is only bound by the reader’s imagination [and that of the author] and is only a point in the passing of time. Who knows what will be realistic in two thousand years?

My work usually combines Sci-Fi with a hint of the paranormal. I love writing about different worlds and how people would live and interact within them. It's an escape, but it's also an infinite universe, so anything is possible.
We don’t know all that much about our cosmic surrounds – they remain as mysterious as ever – and that is the appeal of Science Fiction.

IAN: What books have most influenced your life most?

Clayton Graham: Of all the books I have read, those by HG Wells stand out. This author was a visionary with a remarkable insight into the future. A close second would be Robert Louis Stevenson. ‘Treasure Island’ is still a favorite of mine – a wonderful adventure in a world far from our own. 

IAN: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Clayton Graham: Not one but a handful. I have always had an interest in Science Fiction and where it places humankind within the universe we know and love. I treasured the ‘old school’ science fiction written by authors such as HG Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov and John Wyndham – well before many were made into films.

I must add Arthur C Clarke also, a master of broadening the ability of the human mind to grasp the possibility of new concepts within the universe.

IAN: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Clayton Graham: As an Indie author the most challenging part of writing is the marketing. The challenge of creating plot and dialogue pales into insignificance when compared to choosing the plethora of marketing arenas which exist to assist the independent author. Lots are better than none, but quality is the crux.

IAN: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Clayton Graham: Nowadays I read a lot of Dean Koontz. He is a master at making the paranormal believable.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Clayton Graham: Write what you want, when you want. It doesn't matter if you never use it. Always keep it. Much easier now with computers at our beck and call. [Or the other way round!]

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Clayton Graham: I want to see what happens to mankind, to combine humans with other worlds, stir, and see what happens. What is our future anyway? Where are we going [if anywhere]?

And I really want to share the journeys!

I invite all lovers of Science Fiction and Mystery to join the interstellar adventures and enter the new worlds represented by all three books I have written so far. They represent First Contact with a difference. To quote a reviewer of Saving Paludis: “By the end, I felt as if I’d witnessed an interstellar adventure of truly epic proportions.” Barnsey’s Books 

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Clayton Graham: My next release will be a sequel to Laura and Jason Sinclair’s somewhat terrifying alien adventures in first novel, ‘Milijun’. No title yet, but the book is well underway and, all things going well, will be published in 2019. Then again, it is quite possible I will release another short story anthology first, similar to ‘Silently in the Night’. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Steve Rosner: The IAN Interview


Steve Rosner is a self-professed “Steve of All Trades.” Born and raised in New York City, he holds an B.S. from Brooklyn College and an M.A. in psychology from Hofstra University, but his early career was business and computer related. He was a former vice-president at Salomon Brothers during the mid-1980’s.

In the late 1990s, Steve was an independent consultant, specializing in Y2K related issues. Moving to Iowa in 2000 he wrote several large scale works in the mental health field. His Guide To Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities In Iowa was the first ever Educational Manual for those with advisory or decision making authority in that arena.

Steve has written articles about computers, Wall Street, and financial management and has two published short stories to his credit. He also produced, directed and starred in Grandmother Tales, four comic one-act plays of life in the depression, written by his father Nathan.

In 2015, A Guide to the Psalms of David was released, featuring the first index categorizing each of the 150 psalms, and a heartfelt English translation. He says the best compliment he ever received was when a clinical psychologist told him, “Your rendition brought tears to my eyes. For the first time, I could feel David’s heart breaking.”

In 2016, God is Good was published, and God and Man: Love on the Rocks was released in April, 2018.

Steve lives in Brooklyn, with his talented wife Audrey, returning to NY from North Carolina in 2007 to take care of his dad and mom so that they could remain in their Manhattan apartment. Both have passed away, (mom at 97, dad at 106) but not until after they celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary!

According to his wife, “Steve is a kind and caring person. He is a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He has a strong sense of honesty. He will not tell you what you want to hear, but will tell you what is in his heart. His soul abhors deceit, so he often gets depressed observing the lack of integrity in our culture.”


IAN: Please tell us about God and Man: Love on the Rocks.


Steve Rosner: “On the Rocks,” was originally a phrase used for ships which ran aground and broke apart. But nothing could be a better metaphor to describe God’s relationship with man—hence the title of this book. For God created us with love and gave us His heart and soul:

And God created Man in His Own Likeness;
In God’s image created He him; both male and female.

Alas, ever since Cain slew Abel, our relationship with God has been on the rocks. Throughout the Millennia, we have totally failed to act in accordance with His relatively few requirements. At best, we have ignored Him, but mostly mocked, disparaged, and treated Him with disdain. We have abrogated our responsibility, whether as an individual or nation, have engaged non-stop in the worst evil imaginable, causing Him untold suffering.

Is it any wonder then, why God is estranged from us; why there is unrelenting havoc in our lives; why the world is falling apart; why suffering is prevalent at every level? Terrorism is a daily occurrence—no individual, no nation is immune! Isn’t it time we re-evaluated our behavior and altered it—to repair our relationship with God and gain His many blessings.

But to understand how, we need to know something about God, something about ourselves, something about religion, and something about history.

This book provides that understanding: It covers Scripture and science, God and His attributes, and Man—including his Free Will, Soul, Body and Mind. It addresses Good and Evil, and the nature of each. It reviews six major religions, and asserts at their core, they are virtually the same.

We will learn that God desires very little of us—regardless of our culture, religion, or ethnicity. In simple terms, He wants us to be righteous, do justice, and love compassion. He also longs for a relationship with man, and we will document not only multiple examples of Divine Providence, but how to engage God real-time!

You will find that while God may be ineffable, He is not unreachable!

We assert He wants to do our Will, and only wishes to shower us with blessings—provided we deserve them.  Finally, you will discover that one person—you—can save the world!

IAN: Is your book published in print, e-book or both?

Steve Rosner: God and Man: Love on the Rocks is a 328 page paperback, listed at $12.95 and can be purchased on-line at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, etc., or ordered at your local book store. A Kindle version is available as well at Amazon for $.99

IAN: Where can we go to buy your book?



IAN: What inspired you to write the book?

Steve Rosner: In my latter years, to make up for the folly of my youth, I wanted to use whatever time I had left, to try to help make this world a better place—if one reader at a time—using the gifts God gave me.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

Steve Rosner:
Not really. Over the course of my life I have written in over a dozen genres. Besides my books, I have written short stories, poetry, plays, essays, business articles, user guides, legal briefs, song lyrics, exposés, and three unpublished—as yet—Sherlock Holmes pastiches.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Steve Rosner: It seemed like the perfect metaphor to describe God’s relationship with man. Just as a marriage is a partnership, I believe Man’s relationship with God is one as well. And just as couples, too often, are at odds, and their marriage is “on the rocks,” so too with humans and God.

But a marriage can be repaired, as can Man’s relationship with God. The fact Neil Diamond wrote a song with that title for The Jazz Singer clinched it, as the expression would be familiar to most Americans.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Steve Rosner:
A strong desire to give it a positive review on Amazon!  (only half-kidding).

IAN: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Steve Rosner: God! He not only inspired me with words, but any number of times, He led me to sources for the subject I was working onoften, out of the blue. I know it was no accident!

IAN: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Steve Rosner: Humans—at least this human—tend to be lazy. The biggest challenge was getting to the computer and writing even when my mood was melancholy. Also, painstaking research was always difficult for me as I tend to be impatient.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Steve Rosner:
I knew there was is a lot of evil in the world, but never realized just how much. The Third Section in my book entitled “Love on the Rocks” has seven chapters devoted to conflicts and wars throughout the millennia. Research and writing those chapters was often very difficult, and at times I couldn’t go on emotionally and had to take a break, although the words were there in my head.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

Steve Rosner: My wife, Audrey Rosner, has designed all my book covers. She is exceptionally creative, but most importantly, her traits of kindness, integrity, and sense of responsibility are her best qualities. A graphic artist by vocation, formerly designing textbook covers for a major publisher, she is a gifted artist, used to kayak, and plays the fiddle. Recently, Audrey, who has multiple sclerosis, fulfilled a life-long dream that took 28 years, by completing her B.A. in Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College—with straight "A"s!!! As a result of her MS, she is passionate about health, and is constantly researching emerging technology for healing. Finally, often volunteering to help others, her attitude when she meets someone new is "What can I do for that person," not "What can he/she do for me!"

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Steve Rosner: I deem this the most important question of all!

First:  I follow the advice of David Westheimer, author of a number of novels, including Van Ryan's Express, which was made into a movie. He said, “You need only do two things to write a novel: put one word after another; do it one day at a time.” This is great advice not only for a novel, but for any book, short story or essay.

Second; The most important thing in writing is the idea. They are so precious! Don’t lose them! When one or more ideas occur to you—day or night—stop what you are doing and jot it down on anything handy. (Best keep a small pad with you.) Later, when you get to your computer, put it on the last page of your document and write as much about it as you can. As you proceed with the book, you’ll know when and where to add it. At that point, cut it from the back of your manuscript, paste it where necessary, and get it in shape.

Third: When composing, if you are like me—-a bit obsessive—wanting to get the part I am working on perfect, fight that tendency! Every sentence/paragraph you put down does not have to be complete the very first—or second/third—draft. Trying to make it so, will waste unbelievable time. For example, if you cannot find the exact word (or sentence) to describe something, use a related word, adding “”xx” at the end. Then your  “spell check” will pick it out as many times as necessary, until the best word/description comes to you.

Fourth: Find a good copy editor to make your book literate. No matter how good you are as a writer, or editing works by others, you will miss any number of problems, incorrect usage, spelling, grammar, etc., in your manuscript. And a book that is poorly written, even if the author is brilliant, will turn off readers, reviewers etc.  For any book I plan to publish, I write my editor:  

Please do not be afraid of hurting my feelings. Any suggestion, however, trivial is not only welcome, it is your job! I have no ego invested in how I express myself! Even the suggested removal or addition of a comma will be greatly appreciated! If you don’t find 75-100 problems in my manuscript, I’d be shocked.

Fifth: Believe in yourself and your work! Literacy aside, writing is extremely subjective. No one has the right or wisdom to tell you, that overall, your book is of poor quality, or “you’ll never amount to much as a writer.” Any suggestions about improving your book should be specific and tactful, such as, “I believe there are inconsistencies in the plot,” or “You might want to double-check your sources for what you state on page 93.”

Anyone daring to criticize you personally is an imbecile. He/she could be the chair of the English Department in a major university; which, alas, is unfortunate for those majoring in that subject matter. 

Sixth: The hardest task is to write from your heart! Do not try to figure out what your readers and/or the publisher expects. It is your work, not theirs! It is not only a waste of time, but readers will sense when you aren’t committed to what you are stating, and be turned off. Writing a book is to express oneself, not to make a million dollars. If you want to make money, get a job on Wall Street.

One last thought: So-called “Writers Block” is a complete fiction!  Don’t spend thousands for therapists who supposedly will help your overcome it. If you get to a point, where the ideas stop, you mind is muddled, and you can’t seem to write, don’t beat yourself up and spend hours trying to get through it.  Play golf, go bowling or dancing, see a movie or go to a Bach concert . . .  get away from your book for a couple of days.  Your creativity will return when you least expect it.
You see, WB is actually an early-warning system! It is a safety valve, like the overflow tube in car radiators. It is your soul knowing and informing your ego that what you are planning to write is not worthwhile, and not part of who you are. WB prevents you from writing that which you will regret later. If you try to force yourself to write, whatever you put down you’ll regret. Again, get away from your book; within a few days you will have clarity.

IAN: What were the challenges in bringing God and Man: Love on the Rocks to life?

Steve Rosner: The major challenge was forcing myself to write at least something, when I was melancholy. Also if I woke up 2:00 in the morning and ideas flowed through me, as tired as I was, I forced myself to get out of bed, go to the computer, and put them down.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Steve Rosner: First and foremost: May God bless you in all your endeavors!

Whatever your faith, culture or ethnicity, try to become a little more compassionate, look for opportunities to be kind, have integrity—don’t use the excuse “everyone does it”—and consider that God knows everything you do and everything you think.

Know all you do will come back to you. When you go out of your way for another, God will go out of his way for you!

Also, if you find my book worthwhile, please tell your friends. I determined the list price. For a 328 page book, I priced it at 12.95—as inexpensive as possible. My royalty for each book is little more than $1.00, so it is not about making money, but inspiring as many people as I can to be better humans.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Steve Rosner: Having written three books related to spirituality/religion over the past four years, currently I am concentrating on marketing them; hopefully getting reviews, doing radio/TV/internet interviews, giving talks, etc. I hope to talk to as many people as possible to discover what is missing in their lives. Perhaps a new book will evolve as a result of gaining more insight into others’ lives.