Monday, January 27, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: SciFi Author Drew Avera

Drew Avera, Author
Author Drew Avera writes science fiction stories to ask readers to ponder “What if?”  He has published a variety of short stories and novels, most recently THE POLICEMAN which is a prequel to the first DEAD PLANET book and MR GRIMM, his first in a collaborative series called “The Twin Cities Series," an urban fantasy series being released in serial novellas.  He cites his “fixation on stories about hope, either the presence or absence of it” – as an inspiration for his work.

In addition to writing, Avera is a 14-year active duty US Navy veteran who plays the guitar. Married with two daughters, he has not decided between dogs and cats and has some of each—and a hedgehog as well.

Q: What led you to write dystopian science fiction in REICH and DEAD PLANET BOOK 1 EXODUS? Do you read science fiction? Do you have a favorite author in the genre?  Have you considered writing in a different genre? 

Drew Avera: I grew up reading comic books and I was naturally drawn to science fiction because of it. The dystopian angle comes from my fixation on stories about hope, either the presence or absence of it. I am currently working on an urban fantasy series and a thriller novel.

Q: How do you create credibility for a story set in the future or in a make-believe world?

Drew Avera: I think there is a level of “buy in” for a reader who knows that it is fiction. I just try to be consistent in the story so readers can suspend disbelief long enough to finish it. 

Q: Is the concept of “heroes and villains” relevant to your stories? What makes a good villain? Do you need a villain to have a hero?

Drew Avera: That’s another comic book inspiration. REICH is a world without heroes, so I think the villain can be essential to the story. A good villain has to think that they are doing the right thing, no matter how horrible it is.

Q:  How do you engage readers to care about your characters?  Are they based on real people?

Drew Avera: I try to put characters in situations that I think readers can relate to, be it fear or suspense. I want readers to ask themselves how they would react and put themselves into the characters head.

Q:  Do your characters lead you to write about them? Or do you keep them in their place by sticking to an outline?

Drew Avera: I outlined one novel. The rest of my writing has been off the cuff, so I let characters lead me where they want to go. Sometimes it’s into a corner, but most of the time it works out really well.

Q: Reviewers of REICH call it “thought provoking” “enjoyable”, “gripping.” Do you write to educate, entertain, and/or deliver a message?

Drew Avera: I write something to make you think, “What if”. I want you to come away with something, even if you hate the main character. I think an emotional response to a story is a story well told.

Q:  How do you make your story “gripping?” What do you do to build suspense?

Drew Avera: I write in beats, so if there is nothing going on in the story then I create suspense in any way that I can plausibly get away with. Most of the time it is an action scene, but it can also be anxiety from the main character. I try to remove as much fluff as possible so that each chapter ends with a small cliffhanger.

Q: One of your reviewers talks about your use of multiple points-of-view in REICH.  Can you explain why you told your story in this manner?  

Drew Avera: REICH started as a short story. Chapter 1 was called 158AH and some friends said they wanted more. The problem was that it was written in first person and at the end that character was no longer alive (spoiler alert). The only way that I could move forward was with a different point of view. I kept that going until I worked my way out of scene and carried on with the rest of the story. I don’t recommend trying to retrofit a short story into a novella in that way. Some people liked it, but some people have been quite critical of it.

Q:  What’s next?

Drew Avera: A lot!  I am working on a series called “The Twin Cities Series” which is an urban fantasy series that will be released in serial novellas. There are about four authors working on this series with me, so there will be a lot of stories to go around. I also have an urban fantasy novel called “For Thee Darkness Weeps” which is in edits and will be released sometime in the spring.  I just released a short story called THE POLICEMAN which is a prequel to the first Dead Planet book, 

Q:  Tell us about Drew Avera. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  Favorite super-hero? Favorite movie and/or TV show in 2013?  Dogs or cats?

Drew Avera: I was born and raised in Mississippi until I was seventeen. That was when I joined the Navy. I have been serving on active duty for almost fourteen years now. I’m married with two daughters and we live in Virginia. We have a dog and two cats as well as a hedgehog.  My favorite superhero is Batman. My favorite TV show depends on the day. I love Big Bang Theory, Arrow, Breaking Bad and many others. I also play guitar.

About Drew Avera

Drew Avera is an active duty navy veteran and self-published author. He lives in Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

About REICH (SciFi Novella)

In the 158 years after Hitler’s death (AH158), Germany has become the utopian state that he had originally envisioned. The Aryan Dynasty has conquered the free world at the cost of billions of lives. Hitler has become the patriarch of a new religious fervor, one that even he did not see coming. The wastelands that surround Germany are the only threat awaiting the German citizens. That is at least what everyone is taught. This is a story of how misplaced power can lead to tyranny, but it could be Germany that falls victim to a new Reich.

For twenty five hundred years the civilization on Mars has been ruled by the Syndicate, an organization run by the top one percent. Every need and desire of the average citizen has been fed by the machine in return for a lifetime of obedience. What happens when the profit margins fall and the people become a burden to the pockets of the Syndicate? What happens when their plans to exile their citizens to a certain death is revealed? This is the story of a man named Serus Blackwell who has a job to do. Serus is a policeman who works for the Agency, but it isn’t what you think. Can he protect his sister, Kara, before the Agency kills her, or will the programming he received from the Agency override his emotions and condemn Kara to the same fate as the rest of the planet?

About THE TWIN CITIES series

The Twin Cities Series is a collaborative set of novellas written by a number of different authors including Drew Avera, Simone Beaudelaire, J.B. Cameron, Thomas R. Manning, & Theresa Snyder.

The people of Minnesota believe the twin cities to be Minneapolis and St. Paul, but what they don't realize is the name actually refers to a parallel dimension known as The Realms, where creatures of myth roam freely.

Humans stand only a dimensional barrier away from the most terrifying and horrible monsters imaginable, but there are select few who answer the cries for help, who guard the world of mankind and keep it safe from harm.

The Realms can be a place of great danger, as well as great beauty, where love and loss can be sudden and significant, but make no this world, humanity is just another word for powerless.

An Urban Fantasy novella with a noir feel MR GRIMM

Alexander Grimm has been sentenced to a life of servitude. His services are rendered to a man who calls himself The Raven, but he is more than a man. He is a vampire. Grimm has done The Raven's bidding for twenty years with the life of his daughter, Angelica, hanging in the balance. Someone in The Raven's Court has approached the man known in The Realms as "Mr. Grimm" with a choice: Continue killing for fear of losing his daughter, or give his life to ensure that The Raven can never hold her life in his hands again. Which will he choose?

This is the first installment of The Twin Cities Series. Take a journey into the world known as The Realms, where the paranormal is more common than you think. Vampires rule more than just the night; they can rule your life.

This series will premier stories written by the following authors: Drew Avera, Simone Beaudelaire, Thomas Manning, and Theresa Snyder.

Author and Purchase Links

Amazon (all books)
Author Blog

Monday, January 20, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Author Joseph Grammer

Joseph Grammer, Author
Author Joseph Grammer brings us COCOON KIDS, “an intriguing collection of short stories that are exceptionally creative and some are even quite odd/quirky in a really new and entertaining way,” according to a reviewer. Grammer explains that his short stories are diverse but connected in their actions to “find love and understanding.”

Grammer originally studied to be a psychologist, but gave it up when he realized what he really wanted to do was to write. He uses what he learned in his mental health experience to create his characters. He values humor, research, and character development and is currently working on a book set in Okinawa.

For a taste of Grammer’s uniqueness, don’t miss the excerpt following the interview.

Q: A reviewer said of COCOON KIDS that it is an “incredible re-imagining of what short stories can be!” What’s different about the short stories in your book?

Joseph Grammer: They’re diverse. I wrote about samurai, circus performers, the first female POTUS, New York poets, and thoracic surgeons. I tried to bind these disparate people together with their similar efforts to find love and understanding.

This search for connection takes many forms. In “A Squid for Mr. Calaway”, the narrator claims he loves nothing but squid. He hangs out with an ex-convict, looking for connection, but he’s blocked inside, emotionally. In “Comfort”, two dying samurai try to make sense of their last moments on Earth by insulting the hell out of each other.

From a visual perspective, Anna Tulchinskaya created illustrations for each story, which added a unifying life and depth to the collection. Her videogame-style designs complemented Cocoon Kids’ themes of growing and pushing beyond one’s boundaries.

Q:  You studied to be a psychologist. Why did you decide to focus on writing and become an author?

Joseph Grammer: I realized I prefer writing. It took me years to accept this because I assumed I needed a stable career to be happy. Psychology isn’t a well-paid field, and it has loads of its own stressors, but for most of my life the concept of being a writer seemed frivolous in comparison. I thought, “Who am I to think I can sit down and make a story and sell it?” Then I realized that was an unhelpful way to think. I’m still open to getting a Masters or Ph.D. in psychology—just not yet.

I use what I learned in my mental health experience to develop my characters. For example, in “Grandpa Farron”, a kid struggles to see the good in his dying alcoholic grandfather. The topic sounds rough, but it was a lot of fun to build a comical, dysfunctional family and stick them in a hospital room together.

Q:  “There is so much life in each character” – How do you instill “life” into your characters? What do you do to engage readers?

Joseph Grammer: Values and details. I write down what makes a character cry and laugh and refuse to budge; I figure out her weak points and strengths, then see how she reacts in a crisis. I point out what’s different about her and focus on that stubbornness, or that helpless generosity, and pivot the story around it. It’s difficult to find the right details (I don’t want to bog the reader down with every color of every piece of clothing a person is wearing), but choosing one or two unique ones helps to flesh out the character. One test is to see if a reader can tell who’s speaking without providing any names.

Q:  Do you write your stories to entertain? Or do you write to reach or teach your readers in some way?

Joseph Grammer: To me, directly attempting to teach the reader is heavy-handed. It’s too close to moralizing, and I think one of my criticisms about myself is that I unconsciously do this from time to time. At best, I hope to show readers a glimmer of what is possible through the lens of another person—often someone who appears different from them.

Entertainment is a huge reason I write. People don’t want uninteresting fiction. It’s a huge privilege to occupy someone’s time with my stories, so I do my best to write engagingly. I’d rather someone hated my words than found them dull.  I also expect a moderate amount of work from the reader. Convincing her to participate in the story and use her own imagination to fill in details is the best response I can hope for.

Q: How important is humor to telling your stories?

Joseph Grammer: I love being funny; unfortunately, it’s hard to make people laugh. The inherent gamble of humor is exciting, so it’s one of my favorite ways to communicate. It’s also one of the most difficult, so if you can somehow pull off making a serious topic seem humorous, you earn major points in my (proverbial) book.

In “The Perfect Surgeon”, I satirize fundamentalist Christianity by having a surgeon perform outrageous tasks for God. To me, this is funny, but I’ve met some readers who were horrified by it. This teaches me a useful lesson in humor: different people have different thresholds of acceptance.

Q: How much of your stories is fiction? Do you base your characters on real people?

Joseph Grammer: I don’t like including people from my life in my stories. I’ve read about literary fiction authors (e.g., Saul Bellow) including obvious traits or personalities from their friends, and the consequences that can follow. Having said that, I have no doubt that elements from my life creep into my stories, including aspects of people I know. I just try to minimize this effect in my writing.

Q: What’s different about writing short stories over a full novel?

Joseph Grammer: They’re easier. I’m sure Raymond Carver would have a different take on the question, but for me a short story is much more manageable in terms of cognitive and emotional effort. I might agonize over every word in a story for weeks or months, but it’s still easier. I read that it took Ezra Pound a year to write a fourteen-line poem, which must have involved levels of internal anxiety I don’t even want to imagine.

Q: How relevant is the concept around heroes and villains to your writing? How would you define a villain? Do you need a villain to produce a hero?

Joseph Grammer: I just finished reading Chuck Klosterman’s I Wear the Black Hat, which is a collection of essays about villainy. He defines a villain as “someone who knows the most, but cares the least” (even though later he pokes a hole in his own definition). I’d define a villain as “someone who injures others out of desire or neglect, without repentance.” This way, Eichmann is still a villain.

I explore villainy in “High-Wire”, in which a sexist magician harasses the narrator, Leah, and all of her female friends. At first glance he is a villain, because he torments other people, but he is kind of pathetic as well. He doesn’t know how to be happy. Normally people aren’t totally villainous or totally heroic, which is great because their shifting point on the spectrum gives them the capacity to change and learn.

Q: What’s next?

Joseph Grammer: I’m writing a book set in Okinawa, Japan. A typhoon throws together a ninety-one-year old peace activist, a hitman, a US Army private, and a psychologist to make sense of their personal crimes while fighting to survive.

I traveled to Okinawa for two weeks in 2012 as part of a research project. Both my grandfather and father were stationed there, so I felt a strange familial element floating around as I walked, even though I’d never been there before. I dug into Okinawa’s history and was fascinated by its great turbulence and suffering, but also by its tight-knit culture. Despite having been a vassal to China, a prefecture of Japan, and a (secret) nuclear storage facility for America, Okinawa retains a life that is wholly unique. I read Miyume Tanji’s Myth, Protest and Struggle in Okinawa and combed dozens of articles concerning the U.S. bases that occupy a fifth of Okinawa’s landmass. To say the least, a thorny political situation reigns in that area of the world, and this provides a tense backdrop to my story.

Q: Tell us about Joseph Grammer. What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Joseph Grammer: I read obsessively, although I’ve learned I’m a slow reader. I like to savor passages, reread chapters, and take notes on books. Outside of book-related activities, I play guitar and mess around with Fruity Loops, which is a digital music production software. My ear for music isn’t professional by any standard, but I enjoy it a lot. I like to cook, walk around for hours at a clip, and travel. Languages also fascinate me; I studied Russian in college and am currently trying to learn Japanese (although I am very slow with this, too).

About Joseph Grammer

Joseph Grammer is a writer who lives in Alexandria, VA. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park and studied to be a psychologist until he realized he’d rather stick stories on paper. He enjoys music from every decade, strangely paced movies, and journeys around Washington, D.C. with his girlfriend Anna. COCOON KIDS is his first book of short stories.

Your rowdy, boozy Grandpa. Two samurai hurling insults at each other on a battlefield. A guy who commits a crime because of pancakes. The stories inside COCOON KIDS explore the strange ways that love and peace make themselves known in our lives. From the streets of New York to the traveling circus, struggles for a good life are waged with the usual human tricks: humor, anger, work, and chronic delusion. Like all earthly occupants, some win, some fail, and some hang in the goopy middle. One or two go to jail.

COCOON KIDS may help you along if you want to sing and kick your inner shell; if you like poems or beer or basketball; or if you’re wondering what a thoracic surgeon, a squid, and a truck-stop bathroom can teach you about companionship. 


From “A Squid for Mr. Calaway,” a short story in COCOON KIDS:

My therapist says love goes beyond mere sensual pleasure, but she doesn’t eat baby squid from Vogliano’s with butter and garlic every Wednesday. If she did she’d drop her doctorate in the trash.
“So this food is the only thing you feel you love?”
“Is that weird? I mean, it makes me happy.”
“It’s natural to love what, or who, makes you happy.”
“No who for me, please.”
She nods without moving any part of her face.
“You prefer to be alone.”
“Prefer? I don’t know what I prefer. A fried cephalopod with crunchy tentacles.”
She leans back in her chair, steeples her fingers. Her eyes are a tenth the size of a giant squid’s.
“Other people—family, friends. How do you feel about them?”
I test Dr. Lane’s comfort with silence. When I’ve run out the clock she says, “Enjoy your dinner, Mr. Calaway.”
I want to explain that it’s more than a meal—it’s a marine bonanza. But instead I hustle my way to 2nd Ave, avoiding the blight of Bellevue Hospital, and choose my companions for the evening.
“Prego, un chilo di calamari.”
Nailed the accent. The old woman wraps two-point-two comforting pounds in a plastic sack.
“Grazie a Dio!”
“Non, non importa.”
Into the dusk with my mollusks.
I’m not ashamed in the slightest to say squid completes me. I’d marry one if I could. Get a satin dress, walk it down the aisle. So what if it taps some Freudian desire—what the hell doesn’t?
Freud took cocaine with his patients and sexualized everything with a pulse. He also smoked cigars until his jaw rotted away, which highlights a distinct advantage of the squid: its beak is immune to disease.
I walk down 23rd street by that Shake Shack in Gramercy. Slush coats the tedious Midtown grandeur.
Barry Donoghey is standing on the corner of Broadway smoking a Sweet Afton and clapping his pink, slashed-up hands together. He has killed a man and served twenty-three years for it in Sing Sing. Cradling my bag, I stiff-arm the man like Tiki Barber plowing through a defender.
“You damn caffler—Christ, and to think I’m a pacifist now—” he says.
“If I didn’t have a pressing engagement with my friends, I’d steal your credit card and ruin your FICO scores. All three of them.”
“I don’t own a credit card, and I believe a ficus is a plant, but I’ve known blind amputee whores who balance more gracefully than you.”
“There’s human feces on your shirt, Barry.”
Barry peeks down at his gray flannel pullover, which is indeed marred by something strange, brown, and wet. He wipes a hand along the silver scruff under his chin and pulls on his cigarette and makes no effort to remove the incriminating stain.
“Oh well–where there’s a will, there’s a relative.”
I stand in the wind that howls down Broadway, scratching my head. “I don’t…I don’t get it Barry.”
 “What’s to get? It might be shite, it might not.”

Author and Purchase Links

Twitter address: @joe_grammer
Amazon link for Cocoon Kids

Friday, January 17, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Author Eva A. Blaskovic

Eva A. Blaskovic, Author
Author Eva A. Blaskovic brings us BEYOND THE PRECIPICE, her first full-length novel described as  “a powerful story that many teens and adults will relate to.” The book features an 18-year-old and reviewers say it “captures exactly how young people think and feel, especially creative ones.”

Originally from the Czech Republic, Blaskovic grew up in Canada, where she worked as a teacher and writer of non-fiction and raised four children. A musician herself – she counted that she has played a total of eight keyboard, string, and wind instruments – she used music to “heighten the impact of the story.” She hastens to say, however, that readers can substitute any passion for music.   

Q:  Reviewers of BEYOND THE PRECIPICE recommend that all teenagers should read the book, but they also claim adults, too, should read it. Did you intend for it to reach out to youth especially? Or is the book targeted at both adult and youth?

Eva A. Blaskovic: Thank you for inviting me to do this interview.

Since the protagonist, Bret, is eighteen, his lifestyle and his internal and external conflicts hold insights for youth. However, due to the book’s complexity and life lessons, the book has a great deal of meaning for adult readers, many of whom find they relate to Bret on some level. The inclusion of older characters adds another layer of dynamic, which both youth and adults can view from their current perspectives. It became apparent soon after the conception of the book that it would speak to adults because of the psychology involved and the life experience required to digest it fully. However, I also hoped to appeal to a younger readership, in part because I wanted youth exposed to certain messages earlier in life than when I had discovered them, and because of the protagonist’s age. In addition, two of my four children were in their teens at the time of the book’s conception, with the other two soon to be, and I wanted them to be able to relate as well.

The book contains some mature language and material, but youth as young as thirteen have read it (“Hurry up and write the next book! I want to read it!”), students in high school English classes have found it realistic (“I like it because it’s relevant. It’s a story I can relate to and learn from.”), forty-something men (“Are you sure this isn’t about me?”) and women (“It’s intense. The suspense is incredible.”), including readers who don’t typically do fiction (“I don’t normally read fiction, but I couldn’t put this down. I’m going to read it again.”), and older adults (“Outstanding! … a depth and authenticity that should make a big impression on many readers.”) have all taken something from the book.

Q: Why do readers find your protagonist Bret a compelling character to care about?

Eva A. Blaskovic: Perhaps because, even though Bret is gifted on many fronts, he has significant character flaws; he’s thoroughly screwed up and conflicted, and undervalues each aspect of himself. Giftedness for him is a sentence, not an advantage. He tries hard but stumbles like the rest of us, if not more. He struggles through a difficult youth with the goal of doing some good in the world, even vindicating himself, which drives him onward. His heart is in the right place, but he is all too aware that just by being himself, he has already hurt people. When Nicole Willoughby and her family enter his life, he does not want his problems to affect and hurt them, but the striking contrast between Nicole’s family and his own drives him to a breaking point. How he handles this and the decisions he makes at this time determine his future. His family difficulties, the responsibility that comes with adulthood, and his struggle to find his path in life are things that many readers identify with.

Q:  You are originally from the Czech Republic. Did your background influence your story in any way? What led you to write BEYOND THE PRECIPICE?

Eva A. Blaskovic: I was not quite five years old when I left Prague, and was unable to go back until 2011. What I had all those years, however, was some of my family members’ values and beliefs. As I moved through my teens and into young adulthood, I collected many models, pieced them together, and began to define the kind of person I wanted to be at my core. One of the things I believe I inherited, but also consciously embraced, is the attitude of investing in people, especially youth. This attitude is strongly portrayed in Dr. Kern Willoughby. I believe Kern holds an important message for our society.

Q:  What is “The Precipice”? Please don’t tell us if knowing the answer is a “spoiler.”

Eva A. Blaskovic: I’ll say this much. The title BEYOND THE PRECIPICE has a double meaning: both physical and metaphorical. In the metaphorical sense, Bret stands on the precipice of his life. If he has faith in himself as well as in those who try to help him, will he fly? Can he confront, process, and move beyond the past that haunts him on so many levels?

Q: Did you write BEYOND THE PRECIPICE to entertain readers? To teach? To deliver a message?

Eva A. Blaskovic: I wrote BEYOND THE PRECIPICE because it had many messages—issues I had studied, observed, and harbored much of my life in one form or another. I hoped people would consider what youth such as Bret, and older adults such as Kyra, his mother, face in our society because of attitudes and beliefs about both the value of human potential and money. It is a complex story of character, revolving around social and family dynamics and values, and incorporates the psychology of grief, guilt, rejection, and abuse against a backdrop of the life-giving power of unconditional love, forgiveness, and the importance of being true to oneself. It is a dark story, but readers find the hope within.

Bret’s story is complex, and in order to get the most out of it, young readers should be willing to think and consider. Although it is not light reading, it was written with the intent to entertain, as any book needs to. But, along the way, it has the potential to teach and enlighten, depending on what a reader decides to take away from the story. Substitute any passion for music, and the same logistics apply. Many readers have identified with the family dynamics of Bret’s life, or even faced parental death situations. Readers of BEYOND THE PRECIPICE have spanned from age thirteen to beyond seventy, and all have enjoyed the book. Without a doubt, each age group defines a different message in terms of what the story means to them.

Q:  You are a writer of non-fiction as well as fiction. Do you prefer one to the other? Can you exploit your non-fiction skills to apply to fiction?

Eva A. Blaskovic: In truth, for me, the two cannot be compared in terms of preference, since they target specific areas and have different motivations behind them. The processes and approaches are distinct, although non-fiction benefits from the creative abilities of fiction, and fiction exploits the tight writing I learned through non-fiction. But fiction deals with transcribing images and moods into words, which must then be processed by the reader to recreate the events back on their sensory levels, whereas non-fiction comes generated in words, and is therefore faster and more straightforward to write. That’s the biggest difference for me, I would say; non-fiction is faster, although it, too, undergoes rigorous processing, and fiction is comparatively slow. Except dialogue, which is simply taking dictation. Then it’s just a case of getting the tag lines right to ensure the reader has the correct pacing.

Q:  Are you a musician? How important is music to your story in BEYOND THE PRECIPICE?

Eva A. Blaskovic: Yes, I am a musician—or, rather, was. I had to sit down the other day and count up the number of instruments I’ve played. It’s eight. I’ve played keyboard, string, and wind instruments, which is a broad spectrum. Was I Bret? Not by a long shot. But music is something of a food group for me.

As for importance to the story, a reader can substitute any passion for music. But in the specific sense, music gives the book its own flavor and living element. The music components and descriptions heighten the impact of the story and give it a personal touch.

Q:  How do you define villains and heroes? Is the concept relevant to BEYOND THE PRECIPICE?

Eva A. Blaskovic: Real people are not at one end of the extreme or the other; they display varying degrees of goodness, or lack thereof. The terms “hero” and “villain” may serve to provide placement bearings along the spectrum. Perhaps a hero is ultimately someone who succeeds at generating net goodness, whereas a villain does the opposite. That’s not to say a villain cannot have some endearing qualities, or a hero inspire you to slap him silly and shake some sense into him. Some people have kinder hearts than others, but what begs explanation is why. Are people who come across as villains innately evil, or are they victims? And, when put to the test, why do some people come out on top in spite of their circumstances? Is it the goodness in their heart? Their resiliency? The formative power of some critical aspect of their childhood? These are the questions BEYOND THEPRECIPICE invites people to contemplate.

Several characters in BEYOND THE PRECIPICE can be considered heroes, and a few, or at least one, depending on what the reader determines, can be perceived as villainous. I can’t say much more or it will interfere with the discovery process and subsequent conclusion each reader makes for himself. BOOK TWO exposes additional detail about several of the characters and the reasons behind their motivations.

Q:  What’s next? Will you continue to write fiction? Can we anticipate another novel?

Eva A. Blaskovic: Technically, it’s not a choice. I’ve been a fiction writer all my life, since before I could physically put pen to paper, compelled to write no matter what the obstacles or consequences. I’m targeting late 2014 as the release date for BOOK TWO, and my publisher, Ashby-BP Fair-Trade Publishing, wants a third book to complete the trilogy. (In theory, there could be a prequel as well.) Sadly, I am unable to write full time at this point, so weaving my writing around the necessities of daily life and work is an ongoing challenge, especially since fiction requires large blocks of unbroken time in order to plug in all the subtleties, foreshadowing, and links that made BEYOND THE PRECIPICE the book it is today. BOOK TWO requires more research and has big boots to fill.

Q:  Tell us about Eva Blaskovic.  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Eva A. Blaskovic: I’m a single parent. Most of the time, I’m working to make ends meet. The question works in reverse: when I’m not working, I’m writing. I’ve just finished a phase of life that involved concurrent jobs, courses, martial arts, and the raising of a young family. As the future unfolds, I hope to devote more of my time to writing, enjoying live music and festivals, and frequenting fine caf├ęs and restaurants.  

About Eva A. Blaskovic

Eva Blaskovic was born in the Czech Republic, grew up in Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where she raised four children. Eva has worked in science labs and has taught literacy, writing, math, and science. She is both an accomplished writer and editor of non-fiction articles on business, education, how-to, parenting, and travel. She is also an author of short fiction. BEYOND THE PRECIPICE is Eva Blaskovic's first full length novel, but it has already received rave reviews from literary professionals and aficionados the world over. When Eva hasn't buried herself in writing or editing, she may be found taking her teenagers to Taekwondo, exploring the Farmers' Market, listening to Celtic music, or sipping a latte.

A young man with a dark secret must choose between his family and the girl he loves.

For six years Bret Killeen is trapped by the wishes of his dead father, blackmailed by his brother, and rejected by his uncle. Meanwhile, he watches his mother descend into the depths of poverty.
As Bret wrestles with guilt over the death of his father, he is helped by Nicole, a young cello player with big dreams. She stirs the embers of his longing both for music and for her - and ignites a fire he can't extinguish.

But can he brave his past in order to seize his future?

The award-worthy debut novel by Eva A. Blaskovic is a riveting blend of suspense, dark humor, and compelling inter-personal drama. Once you engage this roller coaster read you won't be able to stop.

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**Tour sponsored by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours**