Posted in indie author, Rebecca Hefner, Uncategorized

THE END OF HATRED BY Rebecca Hefner

Upon entering into this book, I was magically swept away into a dimension created by the mind of Rebecca Hefner. It was a very beautiful place.

Johnny– Hello Rebecca! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. The title of your book is: The End of Hatred: Etherya’s Earth, Book 1. How many books did you envision when you start writing this?

Rebecca– I wasn’t sure exactly how many books it would turn out to be.  All I knew was that the characters were so vivid in my mind.  Miranda and Sathan appeared first in my imagination, followed shortly by Lila and Latimus.  I knew immediately that the second book in the series would be about Lila and Latimus.  In my mind, the first four books of the series were really one long book in my head!

Johnny– What inspired you to write this book?

Rebecca– I’ve always been a voracious reader.  My two favorite genres are romance and sci-fi/fantasy.  I love steamy romance, because I think that seeing two characters get intimate is the deepest you can go into their soul.  However, I need a slow burn, where I really get to know the characters, and see their relationship develop, before I see them get to those intimate scenes.  I also really like a fantasy world, filled with creatures with magical powers and mysterious history.  I wanted to write a book that combined a sweeping fantasy with the intimate romance that I loved

Johnny– I’m glad you mentioned that you are a fan of steamy romance, because there are parts of this book that get SMOKING. Do you find yourself having to re-editing some of your “spicier” scenes, to keep them from getting to hot? I ask because your romance scenes get super vivid but never really get explicit.

Rebecca– Great question!  I have always loved a steamy love scene, and believe that this is a natural thing that everyone experiences, so I want the scenes to be vivid.  However, my mother reads these books, and that’s always in the back of my mind when I’m writing them.  I’ll usually go back over my love scenes as I remind myself, “Mom will be reading this…”, and edit from there.  I don’t want to sacrifice the steam and intimacy, but I also want to be tasteful.  It’s a fine line that I’m always working hard to balance!

Johnny– In the prologue you wrote that Etherya had created a flawless species, the Slayera, but since she was imperfect, the universe objected. How was the Goddess flawed? Or are you saving that for something later?

Rebecca– Oh, yes.  As the series progresses, we definitely begin to see Etherya’s flaws.  In Book 4, The Reluctant Savior, there’s a big revelation about Etherya’s past.  But I love a good twist and don’t want to give that away, so keep reading!

Johnny– What visual references did you use when you created the Vampyres and the Slayera?

Rebecca– I just knew that I wanted the Vampyres to be tall and hulking and I wanted the Slayera to appear more human-like.  That physical discrepancy would help cement the Slayera’s dependency upon the Vampyres for physical protection.

Johnny– Obviously from your description the Vampyres would be noticeable, Slayera, I’m guessing more human-ish, how do you picture them in your mind? 

Rebecca– In my mind, the Slayera were created as the best version of humans.  However, due to Valktor’s murderous actions, they lose their almost-perfect status and become fallible.  I equate it to death of Icarus in Greek mythology or the fall of Sampson in the Bible.  These age-old stories exist to remind us not get too complacent in our “perfection”.  The Slayera had become so and, once their kingdom fell, they were thrust into a thousand-year war.

Johnny– I really love that this book occurs inside the boundaries of a parallel universe. You’re obviously a well read and well thought out individual, what are your thoughts on interdimensional travel and parallel universe?

Rebecca– I love that you asked this question!  I’m a super-science dorkI went to Space Camp when I was a teenager and went to Governer’s School for physics when I was in high school.  To say that I love all things to do with relativity (time travel!) and parallel universes (string theory, anyone??) would be an understatement.  In fact, the current series I’m working on has a heroine who’s a theoretical physicist trying to figure out time travel.  I believe that we, on this pale blue dot (as Carl Sagan would say), represent such a dichotomy.  We are conscious beings, who feel so deeply and contemplate our existence but, in the vastness of the universe, I truly believe we are only a small, insignificant speck of dust amongst other universes and dimensions.  This isn’t to say that we’re not important.  Instead, it’s an opportunity for us to see everyone on the planet as one species:  human.  If we allow ourselves, our shared moment in time on this planet could be something so beautiful.  I think we’re at a precarious moment in our evolution right now where we have the opportunity to choose unity or division.  One will further our species and one could extinguish us.  I love to write about these themes in my books!

Johnny– Well said. Super-science dork authors are the best! Do you have a release date planned for your current series?

Rebecca– I don’t have firm dates yet.  I’d like to have my next two books out by Spring 2020.  That would be Book 5 in the Etherya’s Earth series and Book 1 in my new series.  But I also don’t want to rush the writing.  That leads so underdeveloped plots and characters, and it’s important to me that everything is well thought out.  Also, it takes my editor about a month to edit, then I have to revise, and then my proofreader takes about another month, so it’s a long process to get these books from my computer into reader’s hands.  But I’m furiously working on them and am really excited to get them out there!

Johnny– If you were casting this as a movie, and could choose anyone you want, who would your stars be?

Rebecca– Oh, I play this game on Instagram sometimes with my followers.  It’s so fun!  Okay, here we go:

Miranda:  Kate Beckinsale

Sathan:  Henry Cavill

Latimus:  Jason Momoa

Lila:  Nicole Kidman

Arderin:  Megan Fox

Darkrip:  Tyler Hoechlin

Evie:  Scarlett Johansson

Kenden:  Scott Eastwood

I mean, it’s not like I’ve thought about this or anything… 😊

Johnny– Ah, Evie, please tell us something about Evie. (Great cast btw, Nichole Kidman as Lila, be still my heart) ❤

Rebecca– Ha!  Yes, those are some great actresses.  Evie has been my absolute favorite character to write in the series (followed closely by Darkrip).  At first glance, she seems so evil and broken, but over the series the reader gets to know her.  By the time we reach Book 4 in the series, we really see inside her mind and understand how complex she really is and why she became that way.  Her journey is a really interesting one, and it was extremely fun to write.

Johnny– This book deals with a few topics that are (sadly) relevant in the world today, two of them being, racism and gender equality. I once read that Gene Roddenberry had used racism and culture intolerance when he was developing Star Trek. Was this an intentional goal of yours?

Rebecca– Absolutely.  It was really important to me that we see Miranda’s journey against sexism in this book.  One of the main themes is her gaining the courage to defy her father and claim her throne.  As someone who grew up in the South, there was constant “programming” of what roles a woman should play (wife, mother, college graduate, etc.).  Those are all fine if the person chooses them, but they shouldn’t be forced.  I wanted to show Miranda coming into her own and gaining the strength to claim the throne that was rightfully hers. And yes, I wanted to use the two different species as metaphors for the racism we see in our society.  In the beginning of the book, we learn that the species stay separate.  As Miranda and Sathan fall in love, they contemplate what that will mean for those age-old traditions.  They must have the strength to realize that they are one people—immortals—instead of two different races.  It goes back to what I was saying above about our planet’s place in the universe.  No one looking at the human race from outer space would identify us as black, white, Mexican, Indian or Asian; they would identify us as humans.  Eventually, Miranda and Sathan begin to understand that their people are much stronger as Immortals rather than separating themselves into Slayers and Vampyres.

Johnny– What was the first book you ever written? Did it get published?

Rebecca– This is the first book I’ve ever published!  I’m a self-published author and that was definitely the right path for me.  There are many advantages to being self-published and to being traditionally published.  I firmly believe that each author must research and determine what path is right for them.

Johnny– Do you use beta-readers?

Rebecca– I don’t use beta readers, just because I’m so ready to get the books out once they’re back from my editor and proofreader, that I usually get them up for sale when they’re ready.  However, I have a group of awesome readers and reviewers who will accept an ARC copy of my book and leave honest reviews.  They are the first people I reach out to when I publish a new book and I always welcome their feedback. 

Johnny– Are you a self-editor?

Rebecca– I definitely am, but I also like to let the story flow.  I’ll usually write a section or chapter, and let the words flow onto the page, and then go back and read and edit it.  I also have an amazing editor who I send my books to once they’re ready.  She always comes back to me with great edits that make the story even better!

Johnny– What advice do you have for unpublished authors looking to get started?

Rebecca– Wow.  Such a loaded question.  I might actually write a book like this one day and title it something like, “What I Wished I’d Known Before I Published My First Book.”  I made so many mistakes in the beginning but now, I’ve pretty much figured it out.  My advice would be a few things:

  • Go on YouTube and search “self-publishing”.  There are about a million videos on there by people who want to help fellow authors just starting out.
  • You can also search for “better writing” and learn how to write more efficiently.  The written word is more concise than conversation and learning how to compose your thoughts on paper effectively makes all the difference.
  • Join the #writingcommunity on Twitter and interact with everyone you can.  I’ve met so many other amazing authors there!

Johnny– Good tips, how do you plan your book once you’ve locked in on an idea and have decided to write it? What’s your process?

Rebecca– I do a rough outline, and reference that as I write, but I usually just let my fingers tap and let the characters lead me.  They always lead me to a place that is a thousand times better than what I originally plotted.  They’re like real, live people who live in my head!

Johnny– Tell me something about yourself that not everyone knows.

Rebecca– Hmmm.  I love solo travel and have visited many places in the world.  I spent the entire month of September 2018 in Japan and that’s where I wrote most of The Elusive Sun! I also saw the most amazing sunset of my life while I was there and used that exact backdrop for a scene in The Darkness Within.  There’s something about travel that just refills my soul.

Johnny– What an amazing story, now when I read those books, they will even be a little more special. Have you got any other wonderful journeys planned?

Rebecca– For now, I’m just excited to head to Colorado for Christmas with my family.  My brother, his wife and their daughter live there, and my mother and I will be flying in to spend the holiday with them.

Johnny– What is the everyday Rebecca like?

Rebecca– I’m a tireless perfectionist who’s decided to pursue a full-time writing career.  It’s so fun, but extremely challenging.  I write a lot, and also focus on marketing my books, but I also take time to ensure that I’m doing yoga or taking some time to be active.  This is the first thing I’ve ever done that isn’t an “active” job, so I have to remember to get up and get the blood moving.  But that’s pretty much it right now—writing and living each day to the fullest.  I really want to build this into a career and am trying my best to do that every day!

Pepper

BONUS QUESTION

Johnny– There is an internal battle that Miranda struggles with, does she follow tradition or follow her heart. We know which path she chose, now, are you a traditionalist or are you someone who follows her heart?

Rebecca– Someone who follows my heart, definitely.  It’s so important to remember that no one is going to live your dreams for you.  Although it’s tough and scary, it’s important to listen to your inner-voice and pursue your passions.  Although I believe in taking calculated risks, I believe that challenging yourself and stepping outside of your comfort zone only makes you better!

Rebecca Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, you have been an absolute delightful!

Review

I don’t think it would take a rocket scientist to figure out that I love this book. To be perfectly honest it blew me away.

There is something about Rebecca’s writing that leaves me in awe. It’s both comfortable and yet somewhat familiar.🤷‍♀️ We spoke about it during our conversation, using fantasy, science, and adventure her manuscript speaks to us in metaphors, and if only we would listen, it would make us all better at being human.

I’m hooked. I’m more that hooked I’m enamored.

I can not believe that before I read this book I have never heard of Rebecca Hefner. After reading her book I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. Very few authors can make their readers that comfortable. Yet, Rebecca makes it look easy. That is a beautiful thing that has came from a beautiful mind that has only begun to blossom. I’ve already started book two, The Elusive Sun 🔥🔥🔥🔥 and love it just as much.

I’m giving The End of Hatred five stars⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on Goodreads and Amazon because it’s a smart Sexy fun book to read!

If you haven’t read this book you should, I highly recommend it. Follow the link below to enter the wonderful world of Rebecca Hefner. You won’t regret it. 😉

Be on the look out for the rest of this 🔥 series… ❤❤

Follow Rebecca Hefner   Facebook I Instagram I Twitter I Amazon I Goodreads I BookBub I Website

✌❤

Posted in Amy Lyle, Uncategorized

Amy Lyle

The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures

A Funny Memoir of Missteps, Inadequacies, and Faux Pas

Comedy is surprises, so if you're intending to make somebody laugh and they don't laugh, that's funny. -Norm MacDonald

Johnny– Amy Lyle is an author, comedienne, actor, and screenwriter, in her spare time she’s married and a mother to 4, (are you kidding me)! That is absurd, (lol), (other than finding short titles for your books), how do you find time to do anything? Is your whole day pretty much a scheduled routine?

Amy– YES! Two of the four kids are in college now and the two at home drive so it is getting much more manageable. I try to get most of my work done during the day. My husband is a fabulous cook, so we try to get all of us together as much as possible for dinners.

Johnny– With everything going on in your busy world, what do you do to keep yourself grounded?

Amy– I grew up in Appalachia, and when I’ve done independent films, my compensation was tacos, I’m pretty grounded.

Johnny- You have a very comedic outlook towards life, how does that affect you as a parent? 

Amy– People are often shocked that I’m so silly yet so strict (as a parent). I think they see that everything, given enough time, can be funny. We have been lucky that they have never taken themselves too seriously and have a “this too shall pass, and my mom will tell this story in a stand-up routine within six months” attitude. 

Johnny– That’s awesome, do they ever make suggestions to you about adding something into your stand-up routine?

Amy– Yes. They text me stories all the time, normally about their siblings.

Johnny– Did your parents have a sense of humor?

Amy– No. 

Johnny– What was your parents’ reaction when you went into comedy?

Amy– My mother was mortified that I was “airing my dirty laundry.” When I told my dad that I was co-hosting a tv show, he said, “Interesting. Have you guys had any rain there?”

Johnny– Do your kids think your funny?

Amy– It depends on the day.

Johnny– Are any of them planning on following in your footsteps?

Amy– Not to my knowledge.

People are often shocked that I’m so silly yet so strict (as a parent).

Johnny– How important of a role does social media play, with your career?

Amy– I don’t have any proof, but I do think social media has helped me land speaking engagements, film roles and sell a lot of books. I rarely pay for paid advertising, other than on Amazon for my books, so the social media must be helping.

Johnny– Do you have plans on increasing your presence YouTube?

Amy– I would love to increase my YouTube presence, I think I only have 9 followers. 

Johnny– This book reads different than most memoirs, did you write your chapters as skits? 

Amy– That is an interesting observation. People have left reviews stating that my books read like SNL skits.  I was a screenwriter and a stand- up comic before becoming an author so I have been trained that if you can say something in 5 words, do not use six. I try to get to the point quickly. I did have a firm ask me if they could turn The Book of Failures into a sitcom or film. I replied to their email in less than five seconds and have not heard back from them since. So, no. I did not set out to write the chapters as skits but it seems as if they have that flavor. 

Johnny– When I’d first started read your book, I was thinking you had written it with an essay format, then I watched one of your stand-ups on YouTube, that kind of tweaked my thought process and pushed me towards skits, is auditioning for SNL a dream of yours?

Amy– Only every waking moment.

Johnny– This book is brutally honest, and honestly that is one of the reasons it’s so appealing to me, (it actually helped me with issues that I have). When you wrote this, did you realize or intend for this to be a self-help book also?

Amy– I did not. I wrote the book because of a Hollywood attorney rejected me as a client because I was a nobody that did not have any money or know anyone. He told me to write a book and get lots of press. Immediately my thoughts went to, “I have had a lot of failures, I could write about those.” In hindsight, and in writing my second book, I DID realize the healing power of sharing your worst moments. People were writing to me saying how they had felt so much shame for getting fired, or dumped in a relationship when really, all of these terrible things that happen to us just get us to where we need to be. I’m not saying it is easy. I cried in the bathtub every night for a year after my husband divorced me. But now, (over a decade later) I see that our time together was not wasted, we just wanted different things.  

I wrote the book because of a Hollywood attorney rejected me

Johnny– You mention early on in your book that you have issues, one of them is pronunciation, how does that affect when you are writing and performing your Stand Up?

Amy– I write my own stand-up so I keep the GRE words for print use only.

 Johnny– After I read this I went and purchased it on Audible, was this the reason you didn’t narrate your book?

Amy– I tried to record it on my own, but I sounded like a second grader and telling a story is different than reading a story.

Johnny– When did you first know, or make the decision, that you wanted to be a stand-up comedienne? Was this something you wanted to do since you were little?

Amy– My parents were strict German protestants that reminded my sister and me how very un-special we were since our births. They did this by saying, “Remember you are not special.” Comedy was a survival tactic for us. We used to put on complete “Late Night Comedy Shows” in our basement for our friends. They were a combination of imitating our parents, lip-synching to Barbara Mandrel, and roller skating to the soundtrack of Grease.

Johnny– Do you think that being raised by strict parents triggered you to be as focused or determined as you are now?  You seem to be pretty thick skinned.

Amy– I do not know anyone with thicker skin than authors, comedians and salespeople and I’m all three. I pick on my parents frequently, but I have to admit that they both have incredible work ethics.

Johnny– Let’s talk about your “unconscious zone” you wrote about an improv performance during a class you took, it happened, and “was appreciated by the audience but I was mortified by exposing what I suppose is my dark side.” Why were you mortified by this? 

Amy– People that perform improv well are geniuses. I can write stand-up, books and screenplays because I can rework it, again and again, there’s no such luxury in improv. I do think improv can be studied and practiced; your mind would adapt to the medium. I have only taken one class and did one performance.  And as you know, I was humiliated by what was flying out of my mouth- complete storylines about STD’s and little people.  Improv is not for me.

Johnny– Is improv important for a stand-up comic? (It seems like it would be if there was a heckler in the audience.) 

Amy– I love Paula Poundstone, she’s able to work the crowd really, really well on the fly. However, now that I have seen her perform several times, I have noticed that even her “on the fly” has tried and true jokes. It’s interesting, every comic must address hecklers and such, but each performer seems to handle them in their own way, which is the same way, every time.

Johnny– Have you ever been heckled?

Amy– Only by my teenage children that were sitting in the front row at The Basement Theater when I was telling a joke about them.  The audience was shocked when I said, “All of those people (pointing them out) are my children,” The kids and the audience loved it.

Johnny– There was an incident that happened with your friend Shannon at Chipotle, by far one of the funniest scenarios I’ve ever read, how did you not just laugh-your-ass-off when that happened to your friend? Or did you?

Amy– I checked to make sure she was breathing and then laughed.

Johnny– Not to be a spoiler, but when she goes to refill her drink, the Russian Businessmen cleaning their ties… To steal a line from Kenny Bania “that’s gold, Amy… Gold!” Now the screen writer in you has got to be salivating over the possibilities of what you can do with that?

Amy– I’m so thrilled that you were able to “see” that story in your head. I would love to make my books into films or sitcoms. 

What does not kill us will eventually make us laugh

Johnny– Using your philosophy, “everything, given enough time, can be funny” is there an exception to that? Take away human suffering, death, misery, etc… let’s say, there’s a situation that happens with friend or family, even though no physical harm occurred, just great embarrassment, would this be off limits to you to use as part of  your material, even though you know it’s comedy gold? 

Amy– Nothing is off limits. Think of it as “What does not kill us will eventually make us laugh.” I’m don’t do insult comedy so I’m not offending people on purpose, I just prefer more self- deprecating bits.

Johnny– You had said earlier you love Paula Poundstone, is she your favorite stand-up comedian? (If not who?)

Amy– I cannot pick just one. What is incredibly crazy to me is that many of the stand-up comedians, and comedians in general, that I love have bestselling books on Amazon and are next to my books. The list includes Tina Fey, Kevin Hart, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Trevor Noah, Mindy Kaling, Carol Burnett and Betty White, to mention a few. A few days ago, all of the “Amy’s” were lined up in a row on Amazon’s bestselling Humor & Entertainment books; Amy Schumer, Amy Lyle and Amy Poehler- that was a very good day.

Johnny– I bet it was. You deserve it Amy! Thank you for taking this time to talk with me, I’ve really enjoyed this time together.

REVIEW

Every so often you come across a book that will literally make you “laugh out loud” Amy’s Book of Failures had done that to me, at 4am.

This book is laugh packed and a fun read. It was created out of a rejection, turning a negative situation into a positive result. From this result I find it hard to believe that Amy will do nothing but succeed.

Written as a memoir Amy is brutally honest. She truly embraces her own philosophy of: “what doesn’t kill us will eventually make us laugh” and goes for it. Her light heart spirited approach to current life situation has become an inspiration to many, myself included.

Written in a different format than most memoirs, (another advantage Amy has going for herself), her narrative flow across the pages as a witty satire, allowing the readers an escape, as the scenes play out before them. Her refreshing style is a sheer delight.  

Never taking herself too seriously Amy reveals to us that we should never be so critical about our lives that we forget that sometimes, it’s alright to laugh. If recognizing and exposing our flaws only makes us stronger, she’s Hercules on steroids. If your talented and creative enough, it makes an interesting memoir. Great job Amy, I’m a fan!

BEWARE: VERY FUNNY LADY AHEAD!

I’m given Book of Failures 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads for creativity, originality and plain AWESOMENESS.

You’ve met the writer: Amy Lyle

Now read her book: The Amy Bingar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures

Fresh and amazingly funny. Check her out for yourself.

Website: www.amylyle.me/

Twitter: www.twiter.com/amylyle

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amylyle.me/

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/authoramylyle/

✌❤

Be sure and check out Amy’s new project

✌❤

Posted in Gabrielle Olexa, Repost

Jenny of Lebanon by: Gabrielle Olexa

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Conversation with Gabrielle

Johnny- Hi, Gabrielle, and thank you for talking to me about your book Jenny of Lebanon, a short but sweet read that drops the reader at ground zero of White Ash Lane. The narrative is so descriptive that it’s hard to imagine anything except the sight and sounds of the morning in all its glory, a house neglected, a wrecked truck and a cat being a cat. Where does an idea like this come from?

Gabrielle- That’s a good question and a somewhat difficult one for me to answer because I’m not sure why when I put pen to paper that chapter one became what it is – a dark, descriptive waltz into the broken and decaying lives of Billy and Jenny. Really, as I started, I was unaware of the gloomy path my characters were taking me on, but as I walked with Jenny into this house, I began to grasp the gravity of the relationship and all of its flaws. The house is a representation of all that, I guess. My idea was just to immerse the reader, bring them to ground zero, as you said, so they could understand more fully everything that comes next.

Johnny- It almost seems like this might have been a part of a bigger body of work at one time. Was it, and you liked this scenario so much that you made it a solo project?

Gabrielle- Yes, it is, actually! When I was in college, once upon a time, I took a creative writing course. In that class I wrote a short story entitled Jenny Kissed Me. It was inspired by a poem by the same name by James Leigh Hunt. You can find that poem in the front of my book. After I had finished and read it to the class, I couldn’t shake Jenny from my mind. I felt there was a lot more to her story. And thus, Jenny of Lebanon was born.

I decided to publish this one first, even though it’s technically out of order, because I felt it was strong enough to stand on its own. There are many details sprinkled throughout referencing moments that have occurred earlier, some vague, and others in your face. You don’t have to understand their full depth to enjoy what’s happening in the present, but I’ve basically planted seeds that will grow into larger plot points – in reverse chronological order – for readers stumbling upon the books as they are first published. I guess I watched too much Star Wars as a kid. 😊

As I release other Jenny stories (fingers crossed for the near future), it’s my hope they’ll strengthen Jenny of Lebanon and the series as a whole even more. Jenny is not done telling her story. There are reasons that help explain why she acts in the manner she does. She’s complicated.

Thames
Doppel

Johnny– I’m going to do my best to attempt to talk about your book without any spoilers. Novellas can be tricky without giving away too much. Is it fair to say that Jenny of Lebanon was an exercise for you to create and develop your character writing skills?

Gabrielle- The short answer is yes, it did, but I think it’s important to explain what kind of genre my book falls into so I can better explain my answer.  Jenny of Lebanon is literary fiction. What that means is that it’s a story being driven by its characters instead of traditionally being moved by the plot, as well as focusing on style and depth. It’s also a “slice of life”. The reader steps into the lives of Jenny and Billy, experiences an afternoon with them, and then they depart. Pieces of the past are touched upon during this small window and the future can be alluded to, but it’s this specific moment in time between these two people that is the focus of the story.

So, yes, it was certainly an exercise for me, and I like to think it helped hone my writing skills.  There are only two speaking parts in the story, unless you want to count the cat, Marvin, and he does put his two cents in quite often. I had to constantly think about pacing, about what they were saying to each other, and how it was affecting them. Other writers do this as well, but my space and time was limited. I had to make every moment I had with them count. There’s a lot of banter between Billy and Jenny, but they obviously couldn’t argue the entire time. That would have been tiring and boring, so I had to try and distract them, give them a reprieve before bringing them and ultimately, the reader, to a climax.

If you’d been a fly on the wall when I was writing, you would’ve heard me talking out the dialogue, trying to figure out if it was authentic enough. Me not being a man, obviously, I had to ask my husband and other guy friends if Billy seemed real in the way he acted and talked to Jenny. I wanted both of them to be relatable to the readers. So that was another exercise for me. I hope I succeeded in that endeavor.

Johnny- Absolutely, I think you did a great job, both sexes are believable. You bring up “literary fiction”. Veering from the book for a second, do you think that is a risky genre for an independent writer to start at? Why do you think it’s so rare nowadays?

Gabrielle- I think the literary fiction genre is frowned upon by some. For example, if you aren’t famous or dead or both, you can’t fall into that category rightfully, at least that’s the general feeling I get from scrolling through Twitter. I’ve read many threads where people talk about what they feel should be classified as literary fiction, and that’s hardly ever included a debut novel by an indie author. From what I’ve read, they thought it should be a term reserved for writers who’ve earned it from their peers, like there’s some contest I have to win first before I can claim it as my own genre. There also appears to be an air of pretension associated with it as well. This obviously isn’t true for everyone, but it’s still frustrating.

I’m not entirely sure why people think this way, but part of me believes it’s because they don’t truly understand what literary fiction is.  It’s not that popular of a category, and there aren’t that many publications accepting submissions for it, compared to that of science fiction, fantasy or romance – so it’s really hard to get on people’s radars. Anytime someone asks what genre my book is or what it’s about, I mostly get deer in headlights looks, and then I have to do a whole bunch of explaining. Sometimes I purposefully don’t tell people the genre because I fear they won’t read it out of bias or confusion. I personally think it’s rarer to find books written in this genre because so many readers want immediate gratification and a fast-moving story filled with as much action as it can hold – so that’s what writers are providing them. You write what sells, right? It’s not wrong or bad, it’s just a different style. I’ve read on multiple occasions where people have said if something doesn’t happen in the first page and a half, they’re done. Some people like Michael Bay movies. Me, not so much. Ha. I personally enjoy getting to know the ins and outs of characters, learning what propels them in life, and discovering the details that create who they are. To me, even though I write fiction, I want my stories to be as real as I can make them. Life has all of those intricacies balled up into it, and that’s what makes it special.

I’m Jenny’s conduit to the world, so yeah, I’d say we’re close

Johnny- Surveying the living room, the documented clutter and random chaos of the coffee table is so descriptive, is this based off something you’ve witnessed at someone’s house? (Meant as a fun question, no judgement. lol)

Gabrielle- Whatever gave you that impression? Ha ha. Yes, without naming anyone, there was an apartment I used to frequent that certainly helped shape the chaos we witness in Billy’s house. I only used some of what I experienced, like the fan with its missing blade covered in dust. Maybe some of the dishes or takeout items, too, but believe me, my friend’s place was Heaven compared to Billy’s. To fill in the details of the house, I tried to imagine how depression would look if it all got unpacked and strewn about. Let’s just be glad we never had to walk into Billy’s bathroom. Not even I wanted to go there.

Johnny- Lol, fair enough. Does this person(s) know they inspired you so much that you included them in this book?

Gabrielle- Oh, he’s aware. 😊In fact, when he read one of the first drafts, I think he knew immediately where I had drawn my inspirations. He wasn’t offended or anything, thankfully. I’m always warning friends that some part of their personalities or life may end up in my books, so they better be careful. 😉

Johnny- Jenny, is unfazed by the condition of the living room; in fact, she stops at one point and checks her appearance in the mirror. What was your inspiration in creating this character?  I love this little attention to detail btw.

Gabrielle- Ah, Jenny.  She’s an interesting one.  Like most of the characters I’ve created over the years, it’s hard for me pinpoint exactly what creative puddle of ooze she crawled out of and why. She was birthed slowly through the words as I wrote them. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it’s the truth. There are some parts of Jenny that I myself do not completely understand yet because she hasn’t told me, but I believe she will tell me all eventually.

            So really, she’s less of an inspiration and more of a person existing in my mind, telling me her story as I write it. When I get into her head space, I see her as this strong, sensual, but damaged woman who knows she’s beautiful and makes zero effort to hide it. She takes every opportunity to flaunt what she has, placing herself in the center of every situation. She craves that attention. But like I said, she’s damaged, and if she’s not careful, she’ll find herself vulnerable and no longer in control. That’s what really makes her uncomfortable. Underneath her tough exterior, as hard as it is to believe, Jenny does have a heart. And although she is a very honest person, she is human, and she lies.

Johnny- She’s beautiful and complicated for sure, not a cop out answer, btw. However, it’s amazing that you created her the way you did; do you think at times, that you are too close to her? (if that makes sense) Will her effect on you affect her journey down the road?

Gabrielle- I’m Jenny’s conduit to the world, so yeah, I’d say we’re close, maybe sometimes too close. When I delve too deep into her waters, it’s often a toxic trip and an emotionally draining one. On some levels I think we understand each other and can relate, but then she’ll say something or act in a way I never imagine I could, and I have to work extra hard to make sense of it. Her desires and motivations are often disconnected from my own life experiences. I’d be a dirty liar if I said our journeys weren’t connected. We may be two different people, living separate lives, but we are constantly learning from one another. I just can’t say for sure that we use that gained knowledge appropriately or at all.

Johnny- She’s walking down the hallway, she straightens a couple of pictures, then she stops and relives a moment in one picture hanging on the wall, but doesn’t straighten it. Tell me about this scene…

Gabrielle- I have to be careful what I say about this scene because it’s a big part of the conclusion of the book. This is another moment where you aren’t likely to believe my explanation, but I’m pretty sure when I first wrote this part, I didn’t know what she was looking at or why it was important. All I knew is that it would be. That’s how a lot of things I write work. I drop down the dots, but I don’t connect them until later. I’m thankful this method works for me or else all of my stories would be complete and utter nonsense. I’m sure if you took a peek into my brain when I was plotting out my stories, it probably would’ve looked like a detective’s board filled with a dozen different colored strings stretched from one side to the other.

What Jenny sees and how she reacts used to make me think Jenny was truly just a heartless person who didn’t care at all, but the longer I’ve had to spend with her, I think this scene is more a moment for her to pause and reflect, to think about the here and now, and where’s she come from since then. Not fixing it says a lot about Jenny, I think, more so than if she did correct it.  What it says exactly will likely be interpreted in many different ways, depending on the reader. I’d love to watch a group discuss Jenny and Billy. That would be a lot of fun.

There are some parts of Jenny that I myself do not completely understand yet

Johnny- Let’s talk about Billy for a moment. Why is this guy so likable? Where did he come from?

Gabrielle- I’m not so sure he is likable. Some may see him as the victim in all of this, but others may think he’s as much to blame as Jenny. The way he is perceived will depend upon each individual reader, and that’s completely okay with me.  Everyone is going make their own judgment. That’s the beauty of books, really – people being able to see characters and their actions and deciding for themselves who the “bad guy” really is, if indeed there is one.

Johnny– Likable might be the wrong word, he just seems “laid back” I’m guessing that’s why he seems likable to me, a bit of a slob, but, likable. lol. Was he a creation also? Or was there a muse behind his conception?

Gabrielle- Billy was partly just a guy who showed up and took his place in the story, but he was also a character fleshed out by stealing tiny details from my now husband, Phil. We weren’t married when I first started writing Billy, in fact, we were barely dating. The first draft versus what finally made it out into the world changed drastically over the years as our relationship did. I want to make it absolutely clear, though, that Billy is not my husband, but some of his mannerisms and best qualities exist in him. My husband loathes my characters, but specifically Billy because he can see the few things I borrowed. Billy was a mold made special by a handful of human traits, some random, some inspired, but without them, I don’t think he’d be the same character.

Johnny- Billy’s has a thought as Jenny is replacing a lightbulb. (no spoilers) His thoughts go one way and then his actions another. Are you describing “true love”?

Gabrielle- This is an interesting but brief looksee into Billy’s mind and character. We get a glimpse of what’s beneath what he shows us and Jenny throughout the book. I don’t think it was “true love” I had intended to show per se, but I can see how one could perceive it that way, considering what happens. It’s not the only time Billy’s emotions get the best of him, but as much as he would maybe like to become this person he thinks about or attempts to act like, he can’t change who he is. Jenny knows this and makes sure to tell him.

Johnny- I’m so happy that Jenny will return. There really seems to be more to her that I want to know about. It’s like she has so much more to tell. So, when you say “fingers crossed for the near future” are you talking 2020?

Gabrielle- Ultimately, yes, I hope that come spring, or shortly after, I’ll have another chapter of Jenny’s life out in the world. A large chunk of it is already written. I just need to flesh out scenes in-between scenes and grow upon what I have. Saying that makes me incredibly nervous because deadlines terrify me. I don’t know how I turned in all my papers in college and graduated on time. Historically, I’m the slowest writer on planet Earth, and I can make an excuse out of just about anything. I’m almost magical that way. 😊 I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from complete strangers, though, and I think that’s what really is going to motivate me to make it happen. Many have asked for more, and I want nothing more than to do that for them.

Johnny- There is so much more of your book that I want to talk to you about. I’m afraid that if I do, I’m going to spoil it for others,so I’m going to stop. Who is your favorite author?

Gabrielle- That’s an easy answer, though not a very unique one, I’m afraid. Stephen King has been my go-to writer since my 9th grade math class. Somehow, I came into possession of the paperback tome that is IT. I’d been traumatized by the TV miniseries as a kid, thanks to my brothers, and I guess I wanted to face my childhood fears head-on. Or it could’ve been I really didn’t like math and needed a long distraction. This was likely the catalyst that determined my lackluster math skills, and I forgive Stephen King wholeheartedly. 😊 Totally worth it, in my opinion. Once I was done with that massive book, and it took most of the year, I needed more. I fell in love with his style and his stories. I even started collecting his first editions. There are some I’ll never be able to afford, but I’ve found a lot of them in varying conditions. None of them are signed, but my husband managed to get a baseball with his John Hancock on it. That was the best birthday present ever! I’ll never know if it’s authentic or not, but I really don’t care. It’s real to me.

Johnny– What advise do you have for younger writers who are looking to get started?

Gabrielle- First and foremost, read. If you don’t have time to read, you probably don’t have time to write. It was probably Stephen King that said that or some other famous person, but it’s true. Your skill will obviously improve over time if all you ever do is write, but you’ll gain ground faster if you read the work of your favorite writers or peers. We learn so much from each other. Besides that, write what you know, write what you’d like to know, challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone or genre. Write what sells or write for yourself. Whatever you do, just write. Even if you think it’s terrible, write it. It very well may be, but it will get better. That’s what second, third and fourth drafts are for. Writing is a process, and it takes time. When you’re finished, don’t keep it to yourself. Set it free.

Johnny* Great advice. Thank you for taking the time and talk with me. It has been a pure joy to share this time with you! Please keep doing what you do.

Jenny of Lebanon is literary fiction at it's finest.

REVIEW

Jenny of Lebanon has been like a breath of fresh air. It’s simple, it’s beautiful, it quenched my thirst, and scratched the proverbial itch that was impossible to reach. It was a joyful surprise.

From the opening scene the reader is whisked away into a narrative that is a feast for the imagination.

Weighing in at 57 pages there is no wasted space found between these covers. What is found is a narrative that took me by the hand and led me step by step across the pages, description that left lasting images in my mind, characters so realistic I can picture them living up my block.

Jenny of Lebanon is literary fiction at its finest.

As Gabrielle had mentioned earlier, literary fiction is rarely used when discussing a debut novel but in this case, that is not true. Twitter did not discourage Gabrielle and she stuck to her guns because literary fiction is the glue that holds all other writing together. **“I just put the words down and hope for the best.” This is where dreams are born. Literary fiction is making a massive come back in this engrossing indie debut from who can be considered a rising star and a master of her craft.

On Goodreads and Amazon, I gave Jenny of Lebanon 5 stars, if possible, I’d given more. This book is definitely worth the read.

**Quoted from Gabrielle while sharing random thoughts.

Jenny of Lebanon by: Gabrielle Olexa

✌❤

Posted in Gabrielle promo, Uncategorized

Trying something new.

I am getting excited about the upcoming conversation and review of Gabrielle Olexa and her new book Jenny of Lebanon. (🤞) Spoiler alert, I already gave it a 5 star review on GoodReads , (Click the link to read, everything else will have to wait).

If you haven’t already you should pick up a copy Free on Kindle Unlimited. click here.

This review will be complete with interview. Please stay tuned.......

Actual reviews from GoodReads has it rated 4.47 ⭐’s

Amazon has her at 4.7 ⭐’s

✌❤