An Interview with J. Edwards Holt

J. Edwards Holt

Born in North Carolina, United States, J. Edwards Holt always knew that he wanted to be a writer. After graduating high school, he attended college and pursued a degree in education, but later decided to change course and follow his dream to become a novelist and children’s author. Now a full-time writer, illustrator, and blogger, Holt spends his free time dreaming up stories and reading. He is passionate about spreading Christian messages through his writing, watching science fiction and super hero movies, and collecting comic books.

Describe yourself in five words
Determined to achieve personal success

What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
Oddly enough, people that donʼt know me are most surprised to hear that Iʼm an author.

What makes you happiest?
Writing, publishing my works, and finding out that people have read my books.

Why do you write?
I write because I feel like I have a story that needs to be told. Also – itʼs something I enjoy.

Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yes. I have enjoyed writing since I was in elementary school.  

What motivates you to write?
Iʼve read lots of book and seen lots of movies throughout my life that inspired me. I always watched and enjoyed them, but always felt that I had a story of my own to tell.

What writing are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the books I currently have out on the market, which include “Little Men, Big Treasures”, itʼs sequel, “The Summonerʼs Gem”, and “Small Courage: A Short Story.” All three of these books are available for purchase on Amazon.

What books did you love growing up?
I always enjoyed fantasy stories, like the Narnia series and the Harry Potter books. To sum it up, I always loved reading fiction.

How did you develop your writing?
Practice. Writing is just like anything else: in order to be good, you have to keep at it.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Marketing, definitely. Writing and publishing are really the easy parts. Convincing people they need to choose your book over millions of others is the tricky part.

What marketing works for you?
I advertise a lot through social media, mostly Twitter and Instagram. I also do some public speaking to different groups that I feel may be interested in my work, which is helpful.

Do you find it hard to share your work?
I did at first. But, when people started giving me good feedback on my books, I became more confident and eager for a bigger audience to read them.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
Absolutely! From day one, my friends, and especially my family, have been behind me 100%.

What else do you do, other than write?
I also have a day job, working as a home health aide when Iʼm not writing.

What other jobs have you had in your life?
Before I took up writing, I worked as an elementary school teacher.

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
Iʼve always enjoyed literature…and religion – I find that fascinating.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I do a lot of my writing by typing notes into my phone, and then later putting them all together on my laptop.

Is there anyone youʼd like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
Just my family and some of my friends. Theyʼve been behind me since I started on my very first book and they are still just as supportive.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? 
To me, success in writing is writing your story and getting it out there to as many people as possible. Whether you become a bestseller or not, the most important thing about being an author is telling your story.

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
As I said before, most of my marketing is done on social media. I have a number of followers on all the big sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
The last book I published is called “Small Courage: A Short Story”. Itʼs a short eBook (and only $.99), available on Amazon and free on Kindle Unlimited. I wrote it because it was an idea that came to me that features a young girl as the main hero. Itʼs an exciting story that teaches that we shouldnʼt judge others before we know them.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
Iʼm a beach guy. I love the sand and the sound of the ocean.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I hope that I can leave people with a sense of faith and happiness from my writing. I want the reader to have fun, but I also intend to teach lessons through my works.

It’s good to know that you aspire to instill a sense of faith and happiness through your writing. Thank you for participating in this author interview and we wish you all the best in your writing career.

Advertisements

An Interview with Laura Johnson

Author Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson is a Southern lady from the great state of Texas. She lived in Florida for over 30 years and now resides in NJ. 
Laura was an entertainer for 30+ years. She traveled up and down the East coast from Florida to Maine as a vocalist with a dinner and dance band. She is currently spending part of her time as an audiobook narrator.
‘The Wonderful World of Audiobooks/Earn Money From Home As An Audiobook Narrator’ is Laura’s first book as an author. It was written to help others learn how they can become an audiobook narrator. 
Laura loves to read, cook, and spend time with her son and 4 grandchildren. 

Planning The Perfect Party
  • Where are you from? Texas
  • Why do you write? To help others and it relaxes me, fulfills a need.
  • What do you write about? My life experiences, hobbies, and journeys. 
  • Do you have a specific writing style? Not really, just write from the heart.
  • What are obstacles that come in the way of writing? Trying to decide what to write about next.
  • What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work? The following review: “What a great read. A wonderful first hand experience style to an introduction to the narration world. If you’ve ever wondered if you could really pull off an audiobook narration this will absolutely inspire you. It certainly has inspired me!”
  • How long have you been writing? Since June of 2018.
  •  When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer? Years ago, when I did some writing assignments in college. Just never followed through. Let life get in the way.
  • What is your work schedule like when you are writing? I am retired. So, I have no work schedule to follow.
  • What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I need total quiet, a cup of coffee, and feel the urge to write. That’s hard to explain, but I know when the urge comes on. It’s just a feeling I have.
  • How long does it take to write a book? (if you’ve written one -published or non) Since I only write non-fiction, how-to guides, it doesn’t take as long as a fictional novel. The longest time I spent writing was on my new party planning book. It took about 3 months. The shortest amount of time was 1 month.
  • Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer? Not a clue. I was hoping you could answer that question.
  • What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story? I don’t write stories, but my biggest challenge in writing is remembering the life experiences I want to write about. At 70, sometimes memories have faded. But I do a lot of research on the subject I am writing about and that usually jogs my memory.
  • What do you think makes a good story? Not my expertise. But I love good chemistry between the characters, lots of action, and of course, a happy ever after ending. I am a romantic at heart.
  • What does your family think of your writing? My family, son and grandchildren are very supportive and even those family members that I only interact with online, love what I am doing. My brother is one of my biggest fans. Haven’t seen him in a bout 6 years and he follows me on FB.
  • Do you see writing as a career? No career. I am too old for a career. Just a wonderful pastime and hobby that fulfills a need and keeps my mind occupied.
  • Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers? Certainly. Never forget your passion. Follow your dreams wherever they may lead. Look at me 70 years young and living my dream.
  • When did you first consider yourself a writer? When I published my 1st book and saw my name on the cover on Amazon.

Do you have links that you’d like to share for others to read?

Most important links are:

Link to my new book is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R97BZCW

Website is http://laurajohnsonauthor.com

Email is laura@laurajohnsonauthor.com

Other links are:

FB Group site is https://www.facebook.com/groups/279146209295855/ 

FB author page https://www.facebook.com/Laura-Johnson-Author-2099465673680675

Twitter is https://twitter.com/LauraJo48695810

Linkedin is https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-johnson-ba467a74/

Fairies, Myths, & Magic: A Summer Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro

Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.

Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.

Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.

An Interview with Author Gregor Reti

Author Gregor Reti

Dear readers,

This week, we have an interesting, passionate and honest writer as a guest for the author interview slot. I enjoyed interviewing him and I am now following him on social media. Please welcome author
Gregor Reti as we are about to read more about him and his book.

Regards,
Jasveena

Gregor had an explosive life. At the age of 13 he died, met God, and lost all death-related fears. Gregor describes it as “a starting point that allowed me to explore life to the fullest, leading me to meet my Soulmate, experience creative sexuality, and meet a personalized form of the Universe.”

Born from Hungarian immigrant parents, Gregor grew up in Germany where he modeled and worked in the music business that brought him to Los Angeles. The book “Sex, Ego and Love” exposes the essential nature of courage by following his radically honest journey through life, after-life, bisexuality, transgenderism, soulmateship, celibacy, all punctuated with deeply spiritual reflections. The lessons he shares reveal a wise framework for liberating oneself from the claws of fear and embracing personal growth using self-awareness, authentic living, and self-love.  Inspired by his spicy erotica, Gregor uses his writing to fight for the ideal of truth while battling hypocrisy. “I wish I could prove faster how tightly courage and happiness are intertwined. We can only thrive in a radically honest environment”. His book, SEX, EGO AND LOVE, shows the devastating power of fear and how it isolates and cripples us, but also reveals a profound path to personal liberation.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear when writing? 

Ha, exactly that’s the main subject of this book. We all have the same issues when it comes to the power-tools of our egos. This book helps the reader to become self-aware, to conquer doubts, hence gain more confidence and sex appeal. The book also covers shame, insecurity, real-life erotica, sexual fantasies, ego, and love.

What do you think makes a good story?

I believe in radical truth, real life experiences, when shame is conquered and everything is exposed. We are all humans and being vulnerable is not a weakness but something darn sexy. Look at James Dean for example. He was emotionally torn and cried in his movie roles. How sexy was he?

What’s the most memorable thing said by a reader about your work?

This book helped a stepmother to conquer her depression. While reading this book she realized that it was her ego that fed her self-doubt that held her hostage for many years. She managed to break out of this horrific cycle.

Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers?

Please share yourself, not only with your lover, but with every friend and family member. You are setting an example for others to follow. Let’s cut the chains of insecurity, fear and shame or we run into isolation, sometimes even depression.

What scares you the most?

People who do not dare to live their lives fully. That’s either because they want to remain as victims or because they manipulate themselves to avoid any changes. All changes are important and good, and the more changes we have the more we become aware. This process develops courage so we can live and enjoy life fully.

What makes you happiest?

People stepping out of their comfort zones, daring to be radically honest and different. That creates more peaceful, happier and sexier people compared to the ones who force themselves to conform.

Why do you write?

I would like to set an example to show what kind of liberation is achievable if one opens up to his vulnerabilities and sexual secrets. I also write about my death, my soulmate, reincarnation, bisexuality, transgenderism, orgies, celibacy, threesomes… All of these are chapters of my life and now they transformed into chapters of this book, representing a powerful message.

Have you always enjoyed writing? 

No, and I still don’t do, even though my storytelling supposed to be fascinating. I think this feedback is mainly based on the truth that is shared.

What motivates you to write?

I love to reach people who do not get on Youtube and TEDtalks. I have some of my lectures on Youtube but I haven’t managed to get on TEDtalks yet, but it will happen one day.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

At the age of 13 I died. Heaven was absolutely heavenly. There I was given the free will to decide what shall happen with me. I opted to come back based on my ambition to help this world. This finally comes true with this book. I hold free of charge lectures and workshops, some of them are on Youtube. I also set up a free online forum where people can express themselves freely and learn from each other: www.sexandego.love As humans we need honest reference points especially when it comes to our sexuality.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?

I honestly do not care. I was here and will be back thousands of more times. These are too many obituaries to keep track of.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you live now?

I lived in Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, and spent the past 30 years in Los Angeles. Additionally, I had offices in Paris, London and New York, all of that had an imprint on me. In my childhood I was brutally beaten hundreds of times. Today I realize how uniquely this formed me to be who I am today. So yes, our individual realities that we take as the absolute application for everybody, represents only a 1/7 billionth fraction of what other realities are out there. Realities are individual interpretations and identifications of life experiences. This concept helped me a great deal to accept others and myself.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

All of the above. Maybe the hardest thing is to get over my insecurities, which manifest in complacency. All of us can reach most of our goals after we get over our childhood traumas and learn to accept and believe in ourselves.

What marketing works for you?

I haven’t figured it out yet. If you have ideas, please contact me.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

I was a record company executive, back when music was sold on CDs and vinyls. I was also a sex worker, a captain for sailing yachts, a telephone marketer, life insurance sales person (the ones knocking from door to door), limousine driver, marketing executive for multi national real estate developers, and a marketing manager for a Korean car manufacturer. I have strong ADHD that comes with bad memory, so I was not able to secure a steady career for myself. My dysfunction disabled me to study even though I wanted to. But again, these factors forced me to become the liberated and fulfilled person that I reached becoming today.

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?

Anthropology and Psychology.

Tell us about your family?

I had a bad divorce in 2005. My two sons suffered tremendously. Now they don’t speak to me. I needed to learn to accept my and their fates. I would love to be there for them, but they don’t allow me to.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

Eventually I will reach 300,000 individuals readers, regardless if they pay for the book or not. I know they will contemplate about the content and that will be my greatest success to influence each reader at a time.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

Hunter S. Thompson, Buddha, Mick Jagger, Dalai Lama, Christopher Walken, Osho, Jimmy Hendrix, Jesus Christ, Tiesto, Steve Jobs, Chris Farley, Jean Paul Satre and some kick ass readers of this book.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

Humanity’s progress was powered by provocation and rebellion. My book is not a “cozy read.” It provokes, yet its raw honesty and erotica will entertain the reader. It will make them evaluate their lives and values. This book’s mission is not to make money or to gain respect, but to bring each reader closer to their authentic self, to make them realize that there is no need to conform, to feel oppressed and oppress others. Look how many women are mistreated by men, men who are cowards to liberate themselves from their social or religious angst. Look at all the sex trafficking in this world based on societies’ sexual hypocrisy. This book spells out the influence of the collective Ego.

Do you have links that you’d like to share for others to read?

Visit our new discussion Forums www.sexandego.love

These are my YouTube and FB page links:

Gregor’s latest video on his YouTube channel. Subscribe to his channel for more videos

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sexandegodeath/

SEX, EGO AND LOVE on Amazon

An Interview with Author Isabella Skye

Author Isabella Skye

Isabella Skye has been an avid romance reader since the age of ten. Even then, she knew she wanted to pen her own romantic stories; becoming an author soon jumped to the top of her bucket list. 
Her vivid imagination and voracious reading habits have led to the release of her first novel ‘Pleasing Sarah, and having her dreams coming true. As she checks “romance author” off her list, she hopes her stories bring as much enjoyment to her readers as other writers have always done for her. 
When she isn’t spinning erotica stories, she can be found travelling, going on nature walks and, of course, reading. Keep an eye out for more romance titles by Isabella Skye–she’s just getting started.

1. Why do you write about? I write about romance and erotica.

2. What obstacles that come in the way of writing? My obstacles that was in my way was not having faith in myself and letting my fear of failure hold me back from writing my book sooner.

3. What motivates you to write? I have so much ideas and fantasy in my mind that I had to write everything down and share it with my readers.

4.What are you most proud of in your personal life? I’m proud of my kid’s of course but I’m proud that I stop letting self-doubt and fear kept me back from achieving my dreams.

5. What books did you love growing up? I love romance of course lol.

6. What marketing works for you? I try to market my book on social media.

7. What else do you do other than write? Well, I have so much ideas in my head but right now I’m working on my author blog website so stay tuned for that in a couple of weeks.

8. If you would live anywhere in the world where would it be? I love America too much lol but i could go back and forth for a few month’s living in England, Jamaica and Hawaii.

9.How much sleep do you need to be your best? I need at least 5 to 6 hours because sleeping is where ideas come to me.

10. What fact about yourself would really surprise people? I think a lot of people would be surprised that I read at least 30 books a day most of course is romance and the other’s is self – help book.

11. How do you work through self- doubt and fear? Good question because there are so much people who let self- doubt and fear keep them back from living their best life and i wasn’t going to let that continue in my life. I wanted to write for so long but i let my doubt and fear kept me back and after seeing that time don’t wait for anyone. I had a talk with myself and the talk was do I want to have regrets for the rest of my life about not going after what I want because I fear failure or I’m going to take a chance in life and take that big jump and I decided to jump and stop holding myself back.

12.What makes you the happiest? Well hearing my daughter saying to me “Mommy, all my life I hear you say you wanted to write a book and you finally did it” hearing that makes me so happy.

13.Why do you write? I love to write about my fantasy and things I did in my life also romance book are sometimes like movie because it will teach our readers what they need to know about pleasing their woman or man.

14. How long does it takes to write your book? I wrote two books already ” Pleasing Sarah: Sexy Adult Stories Of Oral Pleasures (Steamy Romance Novel) and The Affairs Of Eva: What would you do if your one night stand turned out to be your boss? Those two books take me 10 days each to finish and also I had to have it proofread and edit plus formatted.

The Forbidden Affairs of Eva
Pleasing Sarah

15. Is your family supportive? I told my kids and I really didn’t tell anyone else because I want to surprise them.

16. Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for their support? I like to thank all of the proofreader and editor, marketers and every person who help me. Thanks so much.

17. Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing means to you? I have to say seeing my book on Amazon is success and of course having people read your book and we can’t forget trying your best to get that number 1 book.

Thank you, Isabella for joining us for the Author Spotlight slot for an exclusive interview. To the readers reading this, check out Isabella on her Amazon page at
https://www.amazon.com/Isabella-Skye/e/B07QVDWQYZ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Suicide Awareness Poem: An Interview with Angel Hernandez

The Shellycoat
The Shellycoat

Angel Hernandez is the author of The Shellycoat, a poem he wrote discussing suicide. After losing someone he decided to bring more awareness to this issue through various outlets.

What poem really resonates with you?
Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart as it serves as a reminder of the power of our mind. It made me more mindful about my subconscious even though the poem is talking about a guilty conscience. I personally interpreted it as Poe dishing out a general reminder and just happened to use that as a particular example.

How about books, is there a particular title that you really enjoy?
When I finished school I didn’t read much aside from books related to business and self-development, however, one title in particular that I won’t forget is The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. I read it when I was younger and recently reread it as an adult and it continues to intrigue me. While Holden is not a character to emulate, his observations and frustrations about his environment are things I can relate to.

What writing are you most proud of?
Aside from some articles, I haven’t really published much but out of all of the things I have written, this poem is something I am really proud of as I had to be very honest with myself and it caused me to give a lot of thought to where I was in life at that particular moment.

What inspired you to write this piece?
I normally don’t write but occasionally get inspired to do so. In the case of this poem I wrote, I was inspired by a tragic loss.

Do you find it hard to share your work?
I was a bit hesitant to share this particular piece as it was very personal in nature and my commentary also made me a bit vulnerable. However, in the end, it’s something that has to be shared as I hope my message can help out others.

Are your friends and family supportive of your work?
Yes, I have received positive support from both which was helpful.

How did you write this piece and under what conditions?
I wrote it primarily on the computer but did brainstorm a bit on paper, particularly the commentary section. The initial drafts were written at home but I rewrote one of the later drafts while traveling.

What do you hope people will take away from your poem?
I hope readers will gain some positive reassurance from it to help them with whatever issues they are up against.

Is there someone that you wish you could share your piece with but no longer can due to circumstances?

My cousin, who I dedicated the poem to, I am sure he would be proud of me.

You can read and even listen to the poem online over at https://shellycoat.com/poem

An Interview with Author Khanh Ha

Khanh Ha

Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh (Black Heron Press) and The Demon Who Peddled Longing (Underground Voices). He is a seven-time Pushcart nominee, a Best Indie Lit New England nominee, a twice finalist of THE WILLIAM FAULKNER-WISDOM CREATIVE WRITING AWARD, the recipient of Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, and Greensboro Review’s ROBERT WATSON LITERARY PRIZE IN FICTION. The Demon Who Peddled Longing was honored by Shelf Unbound as a Notable Indie Book. Ha graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Describe yourself in five words:

Meticulous. Stubborn. Determined. Moody. Faithful.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

Sometimes there’s fear but never self-doubts as a writer. It takes time, patience and a whole lot of self-depreciation, but never self-doubt. There’s fear for physical disasters, but never irrational fear. I can’t help remembering the words from Jiddu Krishnamurti: “If you are totally free of fear, then Heaven is with you.”

What makes you happiest?

The harmony that comes from my family. You long to go home where you have love. Having both, you’re blessed. And love is the oil that erases friction. I believe that was said by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Why do you write?

There was this dinky book-for-rent store in Hue, Vietnam, that my older brother and I used to haunt. I was nine. We would pool our money we got from Grandma and rent all the books we could read, most of them Chinese classics. My favorites then were The Tale of the Three Kingdoms and Journey to the West. One day we ran out of books to rent.

Bookish addiction! I started making up stories in a chapbook. Did I want to become a writer someday? No. But something was sowed in my fertile mind during that time. It must have started with The Count of Monte Cristo. Fifty some volumes of it in Vietnamese translation, pocket-sized, were sent to us in serial each week from my mother who was then living in Saigon. I would devour each volume and grow hungry for more. Outlandish worlds. They would ebb and flow in my mind, leaving the fecund silt on its bottom, and one day in my teenage years I wanted to become a writer.

What writing are you most proud of?

All of the books I have published: “Flesh,” “The Demon Who Peddled Longing,” “Mrs. Rossi’s Dream.”

Location and life experiences can really influence writing. Tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in Hue, Vietnam, where my childhood was imbued with the cultural intellect of a city known for its moss-stained citadel, the imperial tombs nestled in the pine forest, temples and pagodas tucked away at the foot of gentle hills by a quiet stream. Its damp, foggy climate had left moisture damage on the ancient buildings, on old houses with moss-covered yin-yang roof tiles. As a child, I lived in its mysterious atmosphere, half real, half magic. I used to walk home under the shade of the Indian almond trees, the poon trees. At the base of these old trees I would pass a shrine. If I went with my grandmother, she would push my head down. “Don’t stare at it,” grandmother said. “That’s disrespect to the genies.” Like many other children, I had an indelible belief in animism. An unseen presence dwelling in an odd-looking rock by the roadside where people placed a bowl of rice grains and a stick of incense long gone cold. Those anthropomorphic images sown in a child’s mind later became inspirations for my writing. Then I moved to the United States for my college education, and this has become my second homeland ever since. I learn to blend my eastern culture with the western culture. My journalism background taught me to write lean prose; but I’m a novelist, not a journalist. A journalist targets an audience; a novelist builds a make-believe world. It may be a paper moon sailing over a cardboard sea; but if it’s believable, readers will come.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Hardest is getting your work published. And I dread having to whore myself for that. Writing isn’t a lucrative business, unless writing ransom notes—someone said that. Then you’ll come to appreciate what Hemingway once said: “Most live writers do not exist. Their fame is created by critics who always need a genius of the season, someone they understand completely and feel safe in praising, but when these fabricated geniuses are dead they will not exist.” That’s the major frustration for a published writer. But that frustration is negated by the sense of self-fulfillment when you hold a copy of your book in your hands. Your book is the link that connects you with the world.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

My deepest gratitude goes to my co-pubishersMartin and Judith Shepard and my wife whose love and devotion has sustained me over the years.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?

My next novel is set in Dien Bien Phu where the French army surrendered in 1954. It’s a love story. Think of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, because the novel spans three decades from 1954, beginning in the valley of Dien Bien Phu, that small valley in the fog and rain of the northwestern forest, a place and time that captivates me all my life, where love blossoms and dies and blossoms again after the lovers have lost each other, aged with the years. There were things left out from “Mrs. Rossi’s Dream,” which later morphed into this new novel. “Father once said in his diary that a man’s karma could be passed on to his children,” said a 16-year-old mute girl whose inheritance from her estranged father is his lifetime artwork. Thus begins the historical tale by the young girl. Amid the horrific stories on the rice road, the cannon road, and in the trenches is a love story between her father—an artist-reporter at frontline—and a singer-performer who traveled with an entertainment ensemble to the frontline. Their poignant story ended when they became separated after the victory of Dien Bien Phu and her father was then sent to South Vietnam to fight the American Vietnam war. From his diary, his sketchbook, his lifetime artwork, and the work he contributed to the Must Win newspaper at frontline, Hai Yen recreates a love story so innocent and vulnerable within an epic Stalingrad of the East through her own sensitive narrative.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? 

I read a lot between the long breaks from writing novels. We’d vacation, as a family, sometimes to the seaside, sometimes out of the country.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

I never intend to send readers any message in any novel I write. I don’t believe in it. But I like novels that give me food for thought. I like novels that offer a redemptive value. I hope Mrs. Rossi’s Dream does. A good book will haunt you. I read The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner and found myself envying him. I believe that writers have influence on one another. Influence, not inspiration. Maybe someday what I wrote might bear some influence on some aspiring writers. If you are a reader, what you read at the early age―if you always trust your childhood memory―will become the undertone of what you want to read as an adult. 

What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work?
It came from a critic who reviewed Flesh, my debut novel. She said: “The book opens with two epigraphs, one from Charles Farrère: ‘Yes, I am no longer a man, no longer a man at all.  But I have not yet become anything else.’ The second from Mr. Arthur Rimbaud, which in light of the outcome of Mr. Khanh’s exquisite book is the perfect introduction, and one to which you will return when you have finished the last page of the book: ‘When the world is reduced to a single dark wood for our four eyes’ astonishment—a beach for two faithful children, a musical house for one pure sympathy—I shall find you.’

“It is my honor to have been able to review this book by Mr. Khanh Ha, the first book of his that I hope is one of many to come. I cannot encourage you enough to read it, and savor all the morsels, and gather every scent that rise up from every page.”

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

A routine helps settle my mind before I write. My routine of a typical day is to eat a light breakfast and be at my desk between 7:30 – 8 a.m. I drink black coffee throughout the morning while I’m at work―no snacks. I listen to classical or relaxation music while I write. It helps soothe my mind unless I do need an absolute moment of quiet to capture my thoughts. In that case, I write in the quiet. I read during my writing breaks. Have lunch, read a newspaper, then be back at work until 4 p.m.  That’s the capsule of a day in a life of a writer. And it starts over again the next day. If a novel takes a year or longer to write, the routine of each day is duplicated over again like clockwork.

What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story?
Family crisis. You feel wrecked—as a husband, a father. The writer in you is annihilated because of that. But what annoys you the most while you’re writing a novel comes from interruption and sickness. In that order.

Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers?

If you’re an aspired writer, consider how your day-to-day life influences your writing. In fact, it’s reciprocal. Live right and you write better. Write well and you live better.

Follow author Khanh Ha via the following social media:

Website: http://www.authorkhanhha.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorkhanhha
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorkhanhha
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/khanhha

Blog: http://authorkhanhha.blogspot.com/