Author Interview with Z Egloff

9 03 2013

Hello readers!

This week we interviewed Z Egloff about her novels: Verge and Leap. Her debut novel, Verge, was awarded the Bywater Prize for Fiction in May of 2008. Her newest novel, Leap. will be published March 15th by Bywater Books.

What makes a good story?

Ultimately, I can only speak for what works for me as a reader. Bottom line, I like a story that draws me in. If I learn something in the process – either about myself or the world in general – that’s a bonus.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

My three big passions in life are writing, music and speaking. I do a fair amount of all three. I play piano with a choir and also with my wife, Melissa, who is a singer/songwriter. I give regular talks about spiritual practice at the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa. My three passions feed each other, keeping everything interesting.

What inspired you to start writing?

I was first inspired to write by television! The TV show “ER” had a storyline with a couple of lesbian characters back in 2000. I was drawn into the fanfic universe online, and soon progressed to original fiction.

Claire Minn is a loveable but frustrating character to read about; what was she like to write?

It’s funny, because I know a lot of people have been frustrated by Claire, but I never was. Perhaps it’s like an actor who agrees to play a less-than-perfect character. She just led me into her world and I recorded what happened. In spite of her numerous flaws, I always had great affection for Claire, which helped me to stick with her and her story.

Were you worried about a religious backlash from Catholic groups because Sister Hilary is a lesbian?

I was a little worried about backlash. But more than that, I was worried about being true to the character of a modern-day woman religious. I did lots of research on the topic, including interviewing former nuns who had later come out as lesbian.

Many characters in Verge and Leap are recovering from various types of addictions or destructive behaviors. Are these situations and characters based off of real people and events?

The characters in my stories are only vaguely based on real people. In general, they are an amalgamation of people I’ve known and places I’ve been in my own life. I know that some writers take people in their lives and turn them into fiction, but that’s not the case for me. It’s a much more indirect process.

What sort of research about filmmaking did you have to do to write Verge?

I was a film minor in college, so I had that as a base. I did lots of reading about film and video for Verge, as things had changed a lot since I was in college. I also talked with people who knew a lot about video in order to understand some of the mechanics. I’m still in love with film and movies, so that was one reason it was easy to research and write about the topic.

What are your favorite films?

Oh, there are so many. Two very important films for me are “Cousin Cousine” and Truffaut’s “Small Change.” I saw these two movies as a teenager during a period when I had been depressed for months. The combination of these two films brought me out of my depression. They’re both French, which is interesting, because my depression had been brought about by studying French existentialists. I guess I needed a different perspective.

Was writing and publishing your second novel, Leap, easier than writing and publishing Verge?

Leap was the first novel I wrote, so it was actually harder to write than Verge. After finishing an early draft of Leap, I put it aside. Verge  was the first book I sent out to agents and publishers. When Bywater picked up Verge, I sent them Leap and they decided to publish it as well. When I was writing Leap, I was still on a huge learning curve. It went through countless drafts, with long periods between some of them. There were several points along the way when I just figured that Leap would stay on the shelf. I was wrong.

Leap explores falling in and out of love. Are any of these experiences based on your life?

Like the previous question, the experiences of my characters only hint at things I’ve experienced. The commonality is the emotions evoked by what happens. I’ve had my heart broken, and it happened when I was young. More than once. So in that sense, there’s a link there.

What advice do you wish you could give Rowan as she starts to understand her sexuality?

I would tell her that time is amazing. Things that are so hard in one period of your life can completely turn around and become easy. Challenges can become strengths. And understanding and celebrating your sexuality is one of those strengths.

Finding a place within your family and your community are strong themes in your books. Would you like to expand on those themes?

Honestly, I’m not sure. Each book seems to emerge on its own, without me deliberately deciding what it’s going to be about. I suspect that the themes of family and community will always be there somewhere, though.

Which character from your novels would you like to go to dinner with and why?

Great question! Probably Claire. She’s such a hot mess, I’d love to see what she’s like in person.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’ve got several projects in the works. There’s a novel about a woman whose love interest disappears into another dimension. And then there’s a book about a woman who falls in love with her spiritual teacher. And then another one that’s just starting to form.

Where can we buy your books?

Books are available through Bywater’s website at http://www.bywaterbooks.com/  Copies are also available through amazon.com and many bookstores. If your bookstore doesn’t have it, they can order a copy through Bywater.

If you want to learn more about Z Egloff visit her website:  zegloff.com; follow her on twitter https://twitter.com/ZEgloff; or go to her Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/ZEgloff





Author Interview with F. W. Brooks

8 03 2013

Hello readers!

This week we are interviewing F. W. Brooks about his  novel The Tithes of March. The Tithes of March follows a wrongfully fired teacher uncover a scandal about a preacher at a local parish. Does he go to the police and report the scandal or blackmail the corrupt preacher? You’ll have to buy The Tithes of March to find out!

What makes a good story?

I feel a good story must have an interesting or likeable protagonist, one in which the reader feels a connection with.  Once the reader has a vested interest in the main character, a good story evolves when the protagonist is faced with some type of desperate or problematic situation that turns his or her world upside down.  Usually when a person is placed in such a situation, they are forced to either act or react – sometimes uncharacteristically.  As a result, often times their ethics and morals are tested.  I feel a good story shows the protagonist succeeding in the end, and in doing so, the character grows and changes for the better.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When I am not writing, I like to watch reality tv shows.  Many of them have quite a few eccentric, off-the-wall characters that have me either laughing out loud or shaking my head in disbelief.  In fact, some of the characters in my forthcoming projects were inspired by reality tv personalities.   I also like attending my kids’ sporting events with my wife.

Was Mr. Holloway based on a real person?

Yes and no.  Mr. Holloway is a fictional character, but his appearance, physique, and some of his ways of thinking are based on me.  In fact, I lived vicariously through Mr. Holloway.  In many of the situations he found himself in, he reacted in ways I would have liked to have reacted if I were in his shoes.

You portray Christianity as corrupt and manipulative in your book.  Does this reflect your views on the religion, or is it pure fiction?

The Tithes of March is pure fiction.  It does not at all reflect my views on religion or Christianity.  In response to your statement that my novel portrays Christianity as corrupt and manipulative, I respectfully disagree.  It by no means portrays Christianity or religion as corrupt and manipulative.  It simply portrays certain individuals, so-called Christians if you will, as being corrupt and manipulative.  The religion itself is not corrupt or manipulative – at least I don’t feel it is.

One reason why I wrote The Tithes of March was to bring light to a lot of things that take place in a Baptist church.  I wanted my story to be humorous, yet eye-opening.  I wanted the reader to realize that preachers are human beings just like everyone else.  Just because the sharply dressed man behind the pulpit is charismatic and articulate, does not necessarily mean he can always be trusted.

Which character was the most fun to write?

By far, I had the most fun writing about Reverend Ronald E. Revenue.  The reason being – he was not at all the person most people perceived him to be.  Instead of him being a holy figure people can trust and depend upon, he was the exact opposite.  In fact, it was very easy to write about him because he was so corrupt, for the most part there were no boundaries or limitations.  With him, anything goes – and his ability to get away with a lot of his shenanigans made him even more fun to write about.

Which chapter was the most difficult to write?

The final chapter was the most difficult to write.  As I tied up all loose ends and brought the story to an end, it was bitter sweet.  It was the final chapter of a project I had worked so hard on for so long.  I was glad to finally complete it, but at the same time, as strange as it may sound, I felt like I was closing the coffin on some of my characters.  On a brighter note, I have so many other interesting characters bouncing around in my head, I can’t wait to begin writing their stories.

Who designed the cover of your book?

Creating the book cover was a team effort.  I knew I wanted the image to be a pile of money because it’s simple and it symbolizes the main topic of the book.  I also came up with the idea of using money-green lettering for the title, along with using the cents symbol (¢) in the word “Mar¢h” and the dollar symbol ($) in the word “TITHE$”.  My design team did the rest.  They came up with the concept of using the same font as the font used on paper currency.  To be consistent with that, they also came up with the idea of bordering the cover the same way a dollar bill is bordered.  I was very pleased with the final outcome.

Is there anything that you learned about publishing a book that you wish you knew when you started writing your book?

Not really.  I guess it was because I thoroughly did my homework and did a lot of reading about the publishing industry and what to expect.  In fact, I think I may have over prepared because the publishing process was much smoother than I had anticipated.  I owe a big “thank you” to my publishing team at BookBaby.  Regardless of how demanding I was, they were very patient and supportive throughout the process.  I couldn’t be happier with the final product.

What are your upcoming projects?

I am currently working on my second book, which also involves a struggling math teacher.  However, I have yet to come up with a title.  A few of the characters from The Tithes of March are in this new book, but Mr. Holloway and Reverend Revenue did not make the cut.  Although I am very proud of The Tithes of March, as I write my second book, my mindset is – the best novel has yet to be written.

Where can my readers buy your book?

If you wish to purchase an e-book, The Tithes of March can be purchased through the following venues:

  • Apple iBookstore (for iPad)
  • Amazon (for Kindle)
  • Barnes & Noble (for Nook)
  • Reader Store (for Sony Reader)
  • Kobo
  • Copia
  • Gardners
  • Baker & Taylor
  • eBookPie
  • eSentral
  • Scribe

If you wish to purchase a paperback edition, send a check in the amount of $12.00 (includes shipping) to my agent:

J.L. Harris

7818 N. Teutonia Avenue

Brown Deer, WI 53209.

Be sure to include your name and the address to where the book should be sent.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Learn more about the author, F. W. Brooks, on his websites : BooksFromBrooks.com or fwbrooks.com. Follow F. W. Brooks on Twitter                                                 @BooksFromBrooks on learn more about his work on Facebook by searching  F.W. Brooks








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