Category Archives: Interview

Q & A with by Corey Lynn Fayman, author of Border Field Blues

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Border Field Blues - Front  Cover

Today, I’m happy to welcome Corey Lynn Faymen, author of Border Field Blues, to my notebook, talking about the interactive edition of Border Field Blues. A new way to experience mystery fiction, Border Field Blues – App Edition contains extra online elements at the end of each chapter that allow readers to selectively interact with various aspects of the book, including:

    • Author’s notes
    • Related videos
    • Interactive maps
    • Reader comment system
    • Direct email access to author
    • Facebook sharing and comments

 

Readers can download the book as an iTunes app or as an ebook on Amazon.com. A demo video of the app can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAr501if-Jc&feature=youtu.be

Winner of the 2013 Hollywood Book Festival Award for Genre-Based Fiction and a finalist in the Mystery (Adult Fiction) category of ForeWord Reviews 2013 Book of the Year Award, Border Field Blues follows the 2006 release of Fayman’s critically-acclaimed first Rolly Waters novel, Black’s Beach Shuffle (ISBN 9780595402670).

When eco-vandals destroy the bird nesting grounds at San Diego’s Border Field Park preserve, Rolly Waters’ friend, Max, hires him to follow the tracks left behind. Feeling uncertain about nabbing the perpetrators, Rolly begins his due diligence, crossing paths with a hostile border vigilante, a tormented vaquero, and an aging rock groupie. A menacing house call from a scalpel-wielding orderly in pursuit of a prostitute confounds Rolly’s case even further. When police detective Bonnie Hammond hands him a coroner’s report and photos of the nude corpse of a teenage girl, he knows his case has turned deadly. Rolly and Bonnie team up to locate the killer in an investigation that takes them through the seedy night clubs of San Diego and the dangerous underworld of Mexican border smugglers and sex traffickers.

Purchase: Amazon

Q & A with the Author

1. What inspired you to create an interactive edition of Border Field Blues? I did a lot of research for this book, visiting Border Field Park and reading books (both fiction and non-fiction) that related to the Tijuana River Valley and the San Diego/Tijuana border. I’d seen some interesting interactive books developed for non-fiction titles, but they often involved what I’ll call “gadgetry” within the text, such as interactive graphics, charts, and videos. The fiction books I read were more like games, with text section as part of the game world. I felt like those kinds of things interrupt your reading, which may be okay in non-fiction since those features are often used to illuminate a key concept. But with fiction, you don’t want to interrupt the flow of the text. The author has worked hard to make it flow and capture the reader’s imagination. I wondered if I could include of those interactive technologies, while still keeping the traditional qualities that make a book a good read.

2. What’s included in this new App Edition? First, there are my author’s notes and photos on how I came up with plot, locations and characters, as well as some background information on some of the social and political issues touched on in the book. There are also related videos from YouTube and Google Map presentations for each of the locations in the book. Additionally, the app allows users to add their own comments to each chapter, which other readers will be able to read. Readers can also email me directly from the app or share the information on Facebook. And it’s very non-intrusive. There’s just one button at the bottom of the page that provides access to all of the features.

3. What role do you see technology playing in the book/publishing realm? I think books will remain books. They’re a proven technology, that’s lasted in basically the same form for over five hundred years. They’re still the most direct form of communication between one person’s focused thinking and another person’s focused processing of those thoughts. But I do think ebooks can expand the world of any particular book, so that readers can more easily follow up on ideas, themes, and topics touched on in the book. In a sense, the app edition of Border Field Blues is like the longest, most complete book club presentation I’ve ever given, but readers can choose how much of it they want to listen to. They don’t have to hear me talk for ten hours. And the additional material is updatable, so I can add to it as readers communicate with me. I think that’s the greatest value of this technology. Also, readers can email me immediately if a passage in the book was so wonderful they just had to let me know, or if it made them so angry they just had to let off some steam. Hmm, maybe that email function wasn’t such a good idea.

4. Can you describe what was involved in creating this App Edition? I started this project as part of a twelve-week sabbatical I received from the Art Institute of California, San Diego a few years ago. I was teaching Web Design there full-time and working on the text for Border Field Blues in my spare hours. Apple’s iPad had come out recently, and along with it the iBooks store. I knew from my background in web design that HTML5 and web technologies were part of the epub specification, but that most apps were built in specialized programming environments, like Xcode. Part of my sabbatical assignment was to investigate new technologies, so I could make an assessment of what we should teach in future classes. As usual, each system had its pros and cons, but I ended up working with Apple’s iBooks Author program and combining it with my skills in HTML5, CSS and Javascript. This is still pretty new stuff, so you kind of invent it as you go along. I’d think of a feature and try to figure it out. I didn’t get every thing I wanted, but that’s the software business. I’m pretty happy with how it finally turned out.

5. What are readers saying about this new, interactive version? The one thing I’ve heard the most is that readers really liked it when they found something in the app section that explained something they didn’t quite understand in the text, maybe a name or place that I referenced. They didn’t access the app for every chapter, but liked having it there when they weren’t sure about a reference or just wondered what each the locations was really like. Some people said the photos and videos from Border Field Park helped them picture the environment there better. Also, since my protagonist is a guitar player, there are a lot of musical terms and musicians mentioned in the text that your average reader might not know. For instance, Rolly Waters, my protagonist, visits a guitar store where he talks to the owner about the “Three Kings” of electric blues guitar. Most people know B.B. King, but not everybody has heard of Freddie or Albert King. So in the app section, I include some concert footage of them both. Readers will enjoy the story just as well without hearing them, but it does expand their appreciation of the characters’ world to see the videos and hear their music.

6. Do you think other authors will embrace the idea of multimedia books? And will these types of books play a big role in the future of publishing? I think that will really depend on the author. I think it works well for authors who have a lot of research behind their book. I think it would work great for historical fiction, so authors could provide some additional background. Now authors can include all that stuff their editors made them leave out! I have to say, it’s quite a bit of work putting together the additional material. I had lots of notes, and photos, and some videos, but I couldn’t just plop it in there. It’s still got to be in some kind of form the reader will be able to access easily and appreciate. It’s probably not for everybody. Writing a book is a big enough job all by itself!

As far as the future of publishing, I’m sure there will be more titles like this, but it’s still kind of an experiment for publishers now. It’s not their area of expertise, but most publishers know they need to be looking into this. When an interactive edition of a book outsells the standard edition, that’s when they’ll really take off.

 

Interview with Layton Green, author of The Diabolist

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The Diabolist

I want to thank Layton Green, author of The Diabolist, for stopping by my notebook today and answering a few questions.

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

The Diabolist inspired even more reflection than usual along the way — which is why I wanted to write it.  I’ve had readers describe the book in many different ways, from “fast-paced international thriller” to “a meditation on the nature of good and evil” to “a controversial look into the history of the devil.”  I hope the novel not just entertains, but makes people think and feel, because in my view a good novel must do all three.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

Ever since I started The Dominic Grey series, which I describe as “international religious thrillers,” I knew I would eventually feature a satanic cult or some derivation thereof.  This is that novel.  The explosion of social media and how it might fuel a global mega-preacher also inspired the plot.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

First and foremost, the desire to write a cracking good suspense tale.  I always try to have an underlying theme behind each of the Grey novels, and for this one, I wanted to explore the nature of good and evil, especially the question of theodicy, which philosophers have been debating for many centuries.  In essence, theodicy is the problem of evil: either God is omnipotent and all evil must be attributed to God, or He is not omnipotent, and someone or something else is responsible for evil.

Who is your biggest supporter? 

Oprah.  Just kidding: my wife.

Your biggest critic?

Myself.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

Street kids.  There are so many worthy causes out there, but I feel that we should help our children before we do anything else, and the fact that there are homeless children in our cities is an abomination.

Who has influenced you throughout your career as a writer?

Tough question, and too many to name here.  My first editor, Richard Marek, is a legend in the industry and taught me so, so much.  And just a few of the writers who have influenced me: James Lee Burke, Dennis Lehane, Dan Simmons, Michael Gruber, Herman Hesse, Martin Cruz Smith.  The list is long.

What are you currently working on?

The next Dominic Grey novel.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

Writers: read, write, rinse, repeat.

Is there an author that inspired you to write?

Well, there’s a book: The Magus by John Fowles.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

I think The Diabolist hits a unique niche: it’s a crime novel, an “international religious thriller” ala Dan Brown or Steve Berry or James Rollins, but it also delves into philosophy, theology, the paranormal, and the occult.  The Dominic Grey series has been described as “Jason Bourne meets the X-Files” and I think that’s a fairly apt description.  I also love this blurb for The Diabolist by JT Ellison, which I think sums up the novel nicely:

“Part international thriller, part philosophic treatise on good and evil, part intricate, unforgettable nightmare-inducing fever dream, THE DIABOLIST has everything you want from a thriller. Layton Green is a master of intellectual suspense. This one’s a killer.”

—    JT Ellison, bestselling author of EDGE OF BLACK

About the Author:

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade (even though he still resents having cut his hair for that first interview). He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door-to-door phone book deliverer, and the list goes downhill from there.

He has traveled to more than fifty countries, lived in a number of them, and has a burning desire to see every country, city, beach, moor, castle, cemetery, twisted street and far flung dot on the map. Religion and cults, as well as all things spiritual and supernatural, have also been a lifelong interest. Combine the travel and the religion with fifteen years of Japanese Jujitsu training, and the Dominic Grey series was born.

His latest book is The Diabolist.

Visit his website at www.laytongreen.com.

Connect & Socialize with Layton!

FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

About the Book:

In this gripping thriller, the bizarre murder of a Satanic priest in San Francisco draws Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, to the scene. Witnesses claim a robed figure, seemingly able to appear and disappear at will, set fire to the priest. When the leader of another Satanic cult in Paris dies under similar circumstances, the case only grows stranger… and more dangerous.

Convinced that a charismatic New Age prophet is behind the murders, the investigators undergo a perilous journey into the world of the occult as they try to penetrate the prophet’s inner circle. From the catacombs of Paris to London’s nefarious East End, from the haunted walls of York to a monastic fortress in the Sicilian wilderness, the case plunges Viktor and Grey into a vortex of black magic, ancient heresies, and the dark corners of their own pasts.

The Diabolist is a chilling novel that not only pulsates with action and suspense, but also mines a trove of fascinating historical, philosophical, and paranormal research to probe some of our closest held beliefs. From the opening pages to the astonishing conclusion, this latest installment in one of today’s most original new thriller series is not to be missed.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON.

Pump Up Your Book and Layton Green are teaming up to give

you a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card and signed copies of

The Diabolist, The Egyptian, and The Summoner!

Terms & Conditions:

By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old. One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $100 Amazon Gift Certificate
This giveaway begins October 1 and ends October 31, 2013. Winners will be contacted via email on Friday, November 1, 2013. Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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Interview and Giveaway: The Banker Spy by William G. Byrnes

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Today, I’m happy to share my notebook with William G. Byrnes, author of The Banker Spy.

William, please tell us about your current release.

The Banker Spy  weaves history into a contemporary thriller about ex-lovers who become entangled in a web of international intrigue. Investment banker Peter Armstrong believes he’s left his past in the States. He has an exciting new job in London and is managing the largest equity offering in European history. Behind him are an incident at his old employer and a broken engagement. He thinks his only problem is his client—an automobile company desperate for cash. Then he receives a phone call from his ex-fiancée, Dayna Caymus, a beautiful and unpredictable CIA agent.

When Peter discovers that his client is secretly working for the German government the two ex-lovers enter into an uneasy alliance, which their past sometimes helps and sometimes hurts, all the while sorting through their feelings for each other. Dayna puts her mission first, leading Peter into a labyrinth of deception and conspiracy. Peter loses his client, his job, and almost his life as they race to learn Germany’s secrets—secrets that could start a nuclear war.

Set against the backdrop of a national election, action takes place in and around Munich, and in Berlin, Washington and London.

Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?

I always wanted to write and for years would sketch out ideas, but they lacked the critical mass to develop into a book. My wife and I were flying to Germany for a vacation a few years ago. Whenever we’d go to Europe I’d buy a book that had something to do with the country we were visiting. I’d read a lot about the World War II area, an interest of mine, and wanted something different. So I picked up a book on post-War Germany and read it on the flight over. The story of The Banker Spy literally came to me by the time I’d finished reading the book. Over dinner the next night, I outlined the plot to my wife. With some modifications and embellishments, it’s the story you’ll read in The Banker Spy.

Can you tell us about the story behind your book cover?

It’s pretty straightforward. I wanted a cover, and a title, that conveyed a sense of the book to the reader. On the cover is a man in a suit, carrying a briefcase, and a woman holding binoculars, standing next to each other. This suggests (I hope!) the two principal characters are a man and a woman, and they have a relationship. The suit and briefcase conveys the banker and the binoculars, the spy. They’re looking at landmark buildings, which gives the reader the idea where the book takes place.

What approaches have you taken to marketing your book?

I’m just beginning marketing and I’m very excited about my blog tour. I’m also asking friends and professional reviewers to post reviews about The Banker Spy. I believe that creating a buzz through word-of-mouth and posted reviews is the most effective way for an indie author, particularly one who’s published an eBook, to generate interest.

What book on the market does yours compare to? How is your book different?

I really like Daniel Silva’s work. I’m not comparing myself to him or his books. Silva’s obviously an extremely successful author. I like that his books are set in Europe and he conveys a feel for the locale, particularly Italy. His principal characters are in a relationship and both are spies, although neither want to be. In The Banker Spy, the banker is dragged into espionage, just like Silva’s characters get called back into service. My principal characters have a more complicated, at times adversarial, relationship than Silva’s and it’s not resolved at the end of The Banker Spy.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure if this is a quirk but I like delving into history as part of the story, perhaps in greater detail then most thriller writers. The Banker Spy draws on historical events and places. The past is carried forward and guides the plot. Even my characters are deeply influenced by their pasts. Oftentimes, I got lost in my research because I found the information so interesting. This isn’t a historical novel, it takes place today and is very contemporary, but it has a strong historical basis and my characters experience the influences of history.

Open your book to a random page and tell us what’s happening.

Since you can’t flip open an eBook, I swept my stylus quickly along the bottom of my iPad’s screen and wound up at the last page in chapter 21. Dayna, Peter’s ex-fiancée and CIA agent, is talking to the CIA station chief in Berlin about the chancellor of Germany. Germany is in the midst of a national election and the chancellor is running for his second, and final, term. The race is close. Unknown to the German voters, the chancellor has a secret program to make Germany a nuclear power and reclaim the territory it lost after World War II. Dayna is tasked with stopping the chancellor. If she can come up with something bad from his past, he will lose the election and the German threat will end.

Do you plan any subsequent books?

I put a lot of thought into developing my principal characters, Peter and Dayna. I think there’s good tension and a complicated chemistry between them (of course, I’m biased!) and I’d like to see how their relationship plays out. I planted the seeds for their next adventure in The Banker Spy when Peter, an investment banker, gets the assignment to sell the German automobile company that figures prominently in the story. I’m thinking about sending them to Mexico or South America, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Tell us what you’re reading at the moment and what you think of it.

I like reading a mixture of non-fiction (principally history and business) and fiction. I just finished Killing Lincoln, by O’Reilly and Dugard. The book conveyed a real sense of time and place. The authors communicated a great deal of information about Lincoln, the civil war and Washington, D.C. As O’Reilly said, it reads like a thriller. In fiction, my latest read was Daniel Silva’s Fallen Angel. Just like his principal character, Silva paints wonderful pictures of his characters and locations. Just before that I read David Baldacci’s (another favorite author of mine) The Innocent. Like Silva, Baldacci creates unique characters. Baldacci’s books are fast moving and I like that much of the action takes place around Washington, DC, where I’ve lived most of my life.

~ ~ ~ Giveaway ~ ~ ~

Thanks to Tribute Books Blog Tours and the author, I have one ebook copy of The Banker Spy to giveaway. Enter using the Rafflecopter below.The giveaway will be open through November 26. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on November 27, 2012.

ENTER TO WIN!

 

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