- Hispanicus: The Apostate Life Of Antonio Pintero
- The Hellbound Heart
- The Silence Of The Lambs
C. G. Cooper: Welcome to Books in 30, with me, C.G. Cooper. Here at Books in 30, we discuss great books, with some of today's top authors. Don't forget that you can snag the full list of books we discuss in this episode at cg-cooper.com/podcast, along with a full transcript. Welcome to our listeners, and a big Books in 30 welcome to today's guest, Eddie Cisneros.
C. G. Cooper: Eddie has been employed as a doorman for over 23 years. Eddie has been quoted as saying, "I am not a doorman who chooses to write, but a writer who happens to be a doorman." Apart from his novel series of Hispanicus: The Apostate Life of Antonio Pintero, Eddie has two screenplays under his belt, a stylized thriller titled Bend, about New York City homicide detective on the trail of a serial killer and its sequel.
C. G. Cooper: He also served as a contributing writer for the real estate website, BrickUnderground.com for two years with more than 40 posts in a bi-weekly segment that was titled, A Doorman Speaks, which dealt with the inside workings and stories in a residential building, all voiced by none other than a doorman.
C. G. Cooper: Eddie also has a memoir of sorts, even though he continues to work in said field, titled, Opening Doors, A New York City Doorman's Secrets and Stories, which is garnered the attention of several blog websites in the past, including write ups in New York Magazine and the New York Post. Can't wait to hear what he says. Eddie, welcome to the show, man.
Eddie Cisneros: How are you? How you doing? Thank you. Thank you for having me.
C. G. Cooper: I'm good, so you're calling from New York today, right?
Eddie Cisneros: Yes, I am.
C. G. Cooper: All right. Is it getting breezy up there yet? How's it feeling?
Eddie Cisneros: It actually is. The last couple of days ... We can't really complain. It's been pretty, pretty good, pretty decent. Again, those 40 degree weather's now.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. Yeah.
Eddie Cisneros: We're for it.
C. G. Cooper: Well, you know what? 40 degrees is better than 20. I'll tell ya, and you'll probably laugh. I'm sorry, this year, earlier this year ... I've been all over the world. This past January, was the first time I'd ever been to New York City, if you can believe that.
Eddie Cisneros: Oh!
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. And of course now I'm hooked. Now we're like, "All right, so how many times can we go back, before we start to seem a little bit too New York-y?" You know what I mean? I'll tell you what: that town, it just blew me away. You're a native, right?
Eddie Cisneros: Yeah. I mean, I've been here all my life pretty much. I'm a Queens boys.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, well, I'll bet you've got some stories. I'll bet you've seen some things, and we're definitely gonna get into that. Why don't you tell the listeners why you started writing? You know, what was that first idea that made you, either start jotting something down, or start clicking away on that keyboard.
Eddie Cisneros: You know, it was, I guess, it's been something that I've always just had in me. I mean, even going back when I was a little kid. I mean, I just loved the whole creative process of writing. Even with friends, I would get into writing these fake scripts that we thought in our head that we were gonna actually film in the neighborhood and stuff. These very low budget, I mean, very low, low budget type horror movies and stuff. You know, like I said, I did something that, for me I've always felt that I've had in me.
C. G. Cooper: That's awesome. Yeah, you know what? Before I started really writing, I wanted to do screenplays. I remember I was deployed overseas. I think we were in Okinawa and Guam. I picked up every, well, it was probably like two that they had in the bookstore, books on screenplays, on screenwriting, you know.
C. G. Cooper: I'm like you. I always wanted to be in the movies or TV, whatever. It's funny how you kind of get pushed in, you know, not the other direction, but into books, right? I mean, what was that trigger that said, "All right. You know what Eddie? Let's put the screenplays aside for a little bit, and let's actually write a book that people can read."
Eddie Cisneros: Well, you know what it is ... I mean, when you write a screenplay, not that it's hard, but it's more, I guess... You give a little bit of information as far as the characters and everything, but it's more direction, you know, and the dialogue. Whereas in a book, it's more fleshed out, so you have a lot to play with, you know, whereas you can focus on one character, but you give 'em such a backstory and readers, when they get involved, they actually get a feel of this character on a personal level, you know. Whereas a movie, it's basically: You write a character. You try and set them up as best as you can, and basically you give them that whole plot wise of what's gonna happen and pretty much that's it.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, and it's funny. I remember learning the lesson. I don't remember how I learned it was ... Basically it's a skeleton for a director to put his own stamp on it, right? That's how they teach it. It's like you said, you're not supposed to put a lot of flavor in there, other than the dialogue and the basic scenes. It's interesting going over the book side where you need to do everything. You are the director. You're the producer. You're everything all rolled into one.
Eddie Cisneros: Pretty much. Yes.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, well cool man. That's exciting. I gotta know. All right. Have you seen some crazy things?
Eddie Cisneros: As a doorman, yes. I mean, I don't divulge too much on that, only because unfortunately you know, when I came about it was just weird. I mean, I had written a book. Like I said, it's titled Opening Doors, a New York City Doorman's Secrets and Stories. But yet, I was still employed as doorman, so the whole thing was, I had to ... Obviously the names have been changed to protect the innocent, or if you aren't guilty, you know. Yeah, you know, in my time, yeah, I've seen some stuff. I've done some stuff, you know. Again, hopefully I guess it's more ... Someone told me one time, like, a memoir is best suited when you're finally retired, and then you could just let it all out.
C. G. Cooper: There you go man. Well, you know what? There's no rules against slipping past experiences, you know, fictionalized into books, or movies, screenplays, whatever you want to do. I'm sure everything you do is laced a little bit, with those experiences, you know?
Eddie Cisneros: Sure. Sure.
C. G. Cooper: Well cool. Let's get to the meat of it. Let's talk about a book that you're currently reading, or something that you finished that you think the listeners might love.
Eddie Cisneros: Actually, I have such an affinity for horror, so whether it's horror movies and books, and that kind of dark psychological stuff, so a couple of months back I actually revisited a book that I had read a while back. It's The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker.
C. G. Cooper: Okay.
Eddie Cisneros: It was actually the basis for the movie, Hellraiser.
C. G. Cooper: Oh, really?
Eddie Cisneros: Yes. It's very sick, very twisted, but again, you have to have that kind of liking for those kind of books. Some people just shy away. I mean, you know, they don't really like to read those kind of creepy books. Clive Barker is a writer who kind of has that habit, or just has that ability to take certain things just over the top, very descriptive.
C. G. Cooper: Tell me, when did you first get into the horror genre?
Eddie Cisneros: Again, like I said, this was something growing up. I mean, it was just always a love for horror movies. I even have, one of my best friends, I've known him for more than like, 35 years. We used to actually take snippets from movies and make our own master mix.
C. G. Cooper: Did you?
Eddie Cisneros: Yeah. Certain lines of movie. It was fun stuff. Like I said, that whole horror stuff, especially when I came to that. I mean, I'm just, you know a total fan when it comes to that kind of stuff.
C. G. Cooper: That's awesome. I had no idea that movie was based on a book. Is it true to the book, or is just kind of loosely based?
Eddie Cisneros: No. It's actually pretty much. I mean, some of the characters were changed here and there, but for the most part ... Again, the whole subject matter is basically ... You have this character by the name of Frank Cotton, who's this hedonist/sadist, who's forever trying to take his experiences and pleasure to another level. He's made privy of this puzzle box. It's called the Lemarchand box. It's this mystical puzzle box that essentially is described as a mechanical device, that when configured, it will act as a key to open a door to another portal.
Eddie Cisneros: Again, through this portal of this other dimension, these beings come in, which are called the Cenobites, and in his mind he's thinking he's gonna be reveled by a bunch of beautiful women and it's these hideous creatures, who ... They're, I guess definition of pain and pleasure is more about eternal torture.
C. G. Cooper: It's a gateway to hell basically.
Eddie Cisneros: Pretty much. A door you never wanna really open.
C. G. Cooper: That's awesome. All right. Well, now I'm curious. This brings us to the next question. What is your favorite book of all time?
Eddie Cisneros: Again, thinking on the psychological stuff. When I wrote my screenplay, I don't wanna really like, detract from the question itself, but I wrote a screenplay, which is entitled Bend. It's about two homicide detectives, trying to track down a serial killer. One of my main characters, which to this day, I love her to death. The character that I fleshed out is a character by the name of, Detective Elise Shaw. I would say, the book that really had an influence on me, and actually kind of inspired me to try and flesh out a strong female character, I would definitely have to say, Thomas Harris', Silence of the Lambs.
C. G. Cooper: Oh yeah.
Eddie Cisneros: It's an awesome book. I mean, for the movie. Just the book itself. It's so pro-feminism. I mean, this character of Clarice Starling. Throughout the book, basically the way she's treated and everything. She's even kind of conned into interviewing Hannibal Lecter on the basis of a psychological, behavioral, of serial killers, when in fact they were basically trying to get clues from him as to pertaining to another serial killer by the name of Buffalo Bill.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah that ... You know what? Gosh. I can't remember the last time I read that book, but, holy cow. That's just one of those, that just grabs you and never lets go, right?
Eddie Cisneros: Yes. It really does. Like I said, on a psychological factor ... It's just that game between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice, you know that quid pro quo how he gives her little tidbits of information pertaining to what she wants, but yet, it's more of a game on his part to try and get that information from her, which, because she was an orphan and she has this kind of traumatic experience with being raised on a horse and sheep farm and hearing the sheep slaughtered at night that, that's what she kind of has that traumatic experience, and hears the lamb screaming at night. It's like I said, that whole psychological factor to me is just very strong and it's something that I kind of gear toward. I love that kind of stuff.
C. G. Cooper: That's awesome. The screenplay, Bend, that you mentioned. Have you had any thoughts about turning that into a novel?
Eddie Cisneros: You know what? I've tried. I mean, not tried. I've thought about it at first, but then I got into the series that I'm working on now. I actually do have other ideas for screenplays. I would actually like to go back to screenplays. You know, again, I do work as a doorman. I've been going to school and trying to get certified as a superintendent, so I have, I think, this kind of a killer idea about a super movie, which basically be Home Alone meets Die Hard type.
C. G. Cooper: Yes. Is John Wick gonna be in there by any chance?
Eddie Cisneros: No. Definitely not. I mean, the whole basis is basically this ... It's just this very Joe Schmo superintendent. He's not ex-CIA. He's not an ex-Navy Seal. He's just a basic guy that knows his way and he deals with building stuff. Through whatever reason, you got some people that are trying to kill someone in the building, and he kind of defends his building, but using basically either his hands or his knowledge of tools and any kind of acids. It kind of makes for, I think, a fun idea.
C. G. Cooper: I love it man. Make sure you send me a copy when you got that draft ready, cause I want to read it.
Eddie Cisneros: Okay. Definitely. Definitely.
C. G. Cooper: All right. Well cool. Well, back to your work. I would love for you to read a snippet of your work for the listeners if you've got one.
Eddie Cisneros: Sure. It's basically the very, very beginning of the book. There are little curses in it, but I will take those out, but it basically serves as a very strong introduction to what the series is basically about. I'll read it now.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. Let's hear it.
Eddie Cisneros: This is coming from the actual character, who in the book, his name is Antonio Pintero. It goes like this:
Eddie Cisneros: "I've lived the life of a rockstar. I had it all, the money, women, cars, clothes, and jewelry. I had everything and anything you can possibly think of. People often say when you live fast, you die young. If that's the case, then my life was that of a slick, turbo charged Lamborghini, racing at the ultimate of speeds. Problem is, I'm still alive. Truth is, I shouldn't be."
Eddie Cisneros: That's pretty much, just the leeway into a very deep, deep series.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome man. Tell us again what, or tell the listeners what that's called, so they can make sure that they pick up a copy.
Eddie Cisneros: It's titled, Hispanicus: The Apostate Life of Antonio Pintero.
C. G. Cooper: And so, is that ... The snippet that you just read, is that how it rolls? It's this guy, who's led this life at a thousand miles an hour. Who is he and what is he doing in this stories?
Eddie Cisneros: Well, the thing is ... The basis of the book is, this gentleman, Antonio Pintero. He was this once big time drug dealer from the Bronx. As an adult, he's retelling his life story, but he's had a change of heart. He's kind of scrambling now to right certain wrong, fearing that something bad is about to happen to him. Basically again, it's this one character retelling his entire life, but it's such a deep story, when you get into the friends, and to everything that he's done. He's kind of on a journey now of penance, if you will.
C. G. Cooper: Oh. I like that. Let me guess, while he's on this journey, things try to pull him back into that old world? Is that kind of how it goes?
Eddie Cisneros: Pretty much. Sure. Again, like I said, when I spoke before about traumatic experiences and stuff like that. Basically this book deals with that. Unfortunately, you know, in the first installment, you're introduced to this main character and it's a rough childhood. This kid has his chips stacked against 'em from the very beginning. I mean, at five years old ... First of all, he has a brother who's mentally handicapped. His mother's a heroin addict, who reveals to him at one point, she's dying of AIDS.
Eddie Cisneros: He has a stepfather who's a drug dealer. It's this stepfather who's this very abusive sociopath. Takes him at five years ago, on a Saturday afternoon and just basically teaches him how to break apart marijuana and bag it, in order to have it ready to sell. This is the life that this kid, unfortunately, is thrust into, pretty much for a good portion of his life.
C. G. Cooper: See, here's what I love about authors talking about their own work. You just described that character as if he lives next door. I love that, man. It's obvious that you love the character, that you've been inside his head. He's been inside of yours. It's like he's come to life, right?
Eddie Cisneros: Definitely. I mean, you write and it might sound corny or not, but you know, when you comes to a close of a certain book, it's actually very emotional for a writer. Myself, I found myself, when I finish stories, yeah, it becomes very emotional, because you do become attached to these characters.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. I know. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering which one's real and which one's not. All right, well ... Tell you what, let's move on. Are you ready for some speed round questions Eddie?
Eddie Cisneros: Sure. I think I'm ready to roll.
C. G. Cooper: All right man. You sound like somebody who can roll with the punches. All right, so first question.
Eddie Cisneros: That was my dog. I'm sorry.
C. G. Cooper: Hey. Hello dog. All right. Number one.
Eddie Cisneros: Shh.
C. G. Cooper: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
Eddie Cisneros: The creative process I would say.
C. G. Cooper: Creative process. Check. All right. Number two. What is the best advice you ever receive? And this does not have to be, just about writing.
Eddie Cisneros: Wow. You know, I will actually stick to the whole writing thing, but I did learn that your best writing sometimes, comes from what you know.
C. G. Cooper: Amen. Amen. All right. Number three. What is one piece of technology you could not live without?
Eddie Cisneros: Oh man. I don't wanna sound very cliché-ish and say my phone. I don't know.
C. G. Cooper: Could any of us live without it now?
Eddie Cisneros: It's tough, but it's ... Geez. Yeah. I think I'm gonna have to just say the phone, because unfortunately with the phone I can get on the internet. I could do all kinds of stuff. I can write if I want, take notes, take picture. If there's nothing else I could just reminisce and look at pictures.
C. G. Cooper: All right. Next question. What is one thing you wish you could change about publishing, whether it's the process, about the industry? What's one thing you wish you could change?
Eddie Cisneros: 18:04 You know what, trying to push this book, I would love to try and get more Latinos involved with the publishing. I mean, I just think ... It's not a stereotype thing. I think it's just more, you know ... I think we need more Latinos in publishing, whether it's writers, whether it's publishing companies that actually cater to Latinos, cause trying to push this book, it was very hard. I tried to push it to mainstream publishers, and for whatever reason, I mean, could be the subject matter. They kind of shied away from it.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. It's interesting.
Eddie Cisneros: I would definitely try to get more people, like more Latino, hopefully that kind of flavor involved.
C. G. Cooper: I like that. I like that. It's almost like you ... I don't know if you found this. It's almost like you have to trick people into reading it, not trick them, but, you know you're writing a regular story and then you slip these characters in, kind of when they're not watching. You know, rather than ...
C. G. Cooper: I had this same conversation with another author the other day. She writes in the romance genre. She has a problem with the fact that, you know, everybody on these romance covers is basically, white. Her thing, you know, her answer to that question that I just asked you about, how she would change publishing, is to get more color on those covers. You know, get people to kind of open their minds a little bit, and that, hey, we're all here together. It doesn't have to be this vanilla thing all the time. I love that man. I mean obviously I'm half Mexican, so I wanna see all kinds of colors. That's how I grew up. How do you see yourself, kind of bringing that message to the masses? And showing them that, hey, this is a whole other world that you need to take a look at.
Eddie Cisneros: 19:48 I mean, I don't want to get too much into the whole politics, but you see what Latinos have been dealing with lately. You know, we're in the forefront. We are expanding, I think as a nation and stuff like that. We are more aware of a lot that's going around us.
Eddie Cisneros: Listen, if I could, I mean, I would love to have my series get to such a big thing that, if I could, I would actually have my own publishing company and not that I would X out, just everyone else, other than Latinos, but I would definitely try and infuse that kind of flavor, to try ... Again, I think there's tremendous writers and authors out there of all types. Again, being a Latino myself, and what I've had to go through, I would love to see that, just come out to the forefront and just have more of that kind of people, more writers and stuff like that out in the open right now, and hopefully writing and having their books on the New York Times best seller and everything like that.
C. G. Cooper: Very cool. Well, Eddie, I'm sure if you keep writing, you're gonna get that message out. I appreciate that. I appreciate you sharing that with me. All right. Next question. What genre do you wish you could write in?
Eddie Cisneros: Romance (laughing)!
C. G. Cooper: That seems to be really popular.
Eddie Cisneros: Well, you know what I'm saying, I think I capture a lot of the fighting. I don't know if that's more in a lovey-dovey sense. Although, I can be pretty romantic if I wanted to, but yeah it's a lot of dialogue and my series is pretty tough.
C. G. Cooper: I think 9 out of 10 guests that I've had on this show, that are guys, have said romance.
Eddie Cisneros: If it translates to romantic comedies, they make money.
C. G. Cooper: Yes they do. Amen. All right. Next question. What is on your bucket list? What are some things that you want to do, before you pass on?
Eddie Cisneros: Um. Got close, but definitely want to jump out of plane. Definitely try to have my series out, the entire series out. At that point, just let it just roll and see what happens. I think the biggest thing, if you look at it, is just to try and leave my family in a comfortable position.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. I love that. I feel the same way. All right. Next question. If you could teach a college course, what subject or class would you teach?
Eddie Cisneros: Wow. A little slash on etiquette, being that I am a doorman and that we're supposed to uphold this certain type of image/traumatic experiences that might affect your etiquette.
C. G. Cooper: Give me an example.
Eddie Cisneros: Geez. Oh my goodness. It's funny, cause in my book, my character at one point, he fantasizes being that he's been dealing with drugs and he fantasizes about, if in class and his professors actually taught them about drugs. I don't wanna get too much into that, but it's ... I don't know. It's just weird I guess.
Eddie Cisneros: Being a doorman, I mean we're supposed to uphold this certain image and whatnot. The thing is that, being a doorman, when I see people come in, I mean, whereas someone else knows people as a doctor of such and such, I know them as Joe, and Bob. You become a personal level, so you get a kind of, you get that inside feeling of who these people are. I guess to me, it's just more, you know you don't have to be such uppity type people. I mean I guess people get the bad rep that, on Park Avenue you got all the snoots and whatnot. I don't know. I guess, to me, it's just more being more laid back and whatnot.
C. G. Cooper: I like that. I like that a lot. I think more people need to be that way.
Eddie Cisneros: If we would I think the world would be a lot more chiller.
C. G. Cooper: Amen. Amen. All right. Last question. This is a fun one. If you could only eat one kind of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Eddie Cisneros: I'm a pasta man. I think I can just roll with some spaghetti.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. Spaghetti for the rest of your life, huh?
Eddie Cisneros: I think so. I think we could have fun with it.
C. G. Cooper: I like that. I like that. My answer's always been pizza, because you can make pizza about million ways, but I think number two would be pasta, because you can make that a ton of ways too.
Eddie Cisneros: At least, you know, if you're working out, at least you're getting your carbs. You know, you're doing all kinds of stuff with that.
C. G. Cooper: Amen. Yeah. You're getting plenty of energy there. All right well cool. Well, Eddie, thank you so much for visiting today. Can you give a few last words to our listeners? You know, let 'em know where they can find you and find your work.
Eddie Cisneros: Right now, I mean as far as all social media, I'm definitely just on Twitter right now. They can find me @eddiecauthor and that's on Twitter. The book right now is available on Amazon.com, on Barnes & Noble Online. If they go to the direct website of my publisher, which is Printhouse Books. The book is, Hispanicus: The Apostate life of Antonio Pintero.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome man. Well thanks again and for you listeners out there, as I mentioned the very beginning of the episode, links to Eddie's books will be on my website, cg-cooper.com/podcast. This has been Books in 30, with C.G. Cooper. Thank you for listening, and don't forget to email me at cgc (at) cg-cooper.com, to say hello, or let me know of an author you'd like to see as my guest. Thanks for tuning in. This is C.G. Cooper out.
- Proof The Novel
- Bourne Identity
- The Lost Symbol
- The Door To December
C. G. Cooper: Welcome to Books in 30 with me, C. G. Cooper. Here at Books in 30, we discuss great books with some of today’s top authors. Don’t forget that you can snag the full list of books we discuss in this episode at cg-cooper.com/podcast along with the full transcript. Welcome to our listeners and a big Books in 30 welcome to today’s guest, Ted D. Berner.
C. G. Cooper: Ted grew up in the mountains of Montana where he still lives; he lives with his wife on a ranch along with several animal friends. Besides raising horses and Bernese mountain dogs, Ted is also an airline pilot and spends a few hours each week traveling around the country at 35,000 feet.
C. G. Cooper: Ted started his writing career in 2010 when he became fascinated with the mysterious civilization that is only briefly mentioned in the bible. The topic of Nephilim, the giants from the bible is such an intriguing subject that Berner has been a guest speaker on several shows, including Caravan to Midnight with John B. Wells, Late Night in the Midlands with Michael Vara, and now, Books in 30 with me, C. G. Cooper.
C. G. Cooper: Although his first love is spending time at home with his family, Berner’s passion for the lost knowledge of the ancients will undoubtedly be driving force for another novel. You can see him online at ProofTheNovel.com. Welcome, Ted. How you doing this morning, my friend?
Ted D. Berner: Great, great. Thanks for having me on, Carlos. I sure appreciate it.
C. G. Cooper: Absolutely. You said, before we got on, that it is winter in Montana. What’s that like?
Ted D. Berner: I like it. It just started snowing here the day before yesterday, it started coming, and now it’s starting to pile up. We’ve probably got about, I don’t know, eight inches on the ground out there. 20 degrees last night which is typical of me. I’ve seen 50 below here in the middle of winter, but we don’t have that for a couple of months yet. Yeah. We need the snow. A lot of people complain about it, but that’s where the water comes from throughout the summer, so bring it on.
C. G. Cooper: I have never been up to Montana, and it’s one of those places on my list that I want to go both summertime and wintertime. Maybe I’m weird that way, but I am fascinated by the North. I grew up on the coast being a Navy brat, and then I was in the Marine Corps. You grew up in Montana, but you also do a lot of traveling. Is it good to get back home?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, it is. I come home. I’m usually gone like three nights a week. That’s a pretty good gig, so I’m gone three nights a week, and then I’m home for four. My schedule is pretty flexible. You bid every month. You bid your schedule based on seniority, so if you have seniority, you pretty much can do whatever you want. I have pretty good seniority, so that really helped. Yeah, and then we can travel anywhere for free, so that’s another perk of working for an airline. The world is big, but that makes it a lot smaller. Yeah. I really enjoy it. It’s better than working because I know what that’s like. I’ve done that before.
C. G. Cooper: That’s good. I always love running into people who enjoy what they do. It’s pretty refreshing. Can you give us a little snapshot, give the listeners a peek behind why you decided to start writing, why you wanted to be an author?
Ted D. Berner: It all comes down to … We’re in an airplane one day, and the guy who I was flying with, we were in the lineup waiting to go, and he always carried around a bible with him. I’m not overly religious. I have read the bible years ago, and then he pulled it for some … We had time to talk, so he pulled it out, and he brought up Genesis 6:4 in there. He read that, and he said … I’ll read that real quick because a lot of your listeners may not know exactly what that says because this is what got me going. Genesis 6:4, “There were giants in the earth in those days and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bear children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”
Ted D. Berner: So he points that out to me. He says, “Well, that sounds a lot like Greek mythology, doesn’t it?” I’m like, “Yeah.” Yeah, like I said, I've read it before, but you blow through so much stuff because a lot it is complicated, hard to understand. The King’s English they were using then isn’t the same as we’re using now, so some of it is just not that easy to understand, but that got me going. I thought, “You know, I have a great idea for a movie here.” I don’t know anything about writing a screenplay, so I thought, “Well, why don’t I put it in a book first?”
Ted D. Berner: I started with that, and it took me … It did take a while because I did a lot of research. I put a lot of research into this book. Everything, I want to base it off things that are true or thought to be true. There’s lots of legends and folklore around the world I had to dig up, and that’s really what got me going. Of course, there’s a sequel in the works.
Ted D. Berner: The screenplay, actually, I’ve got some interests. I’ve been down to Hollywood Pitch Festival, and I’ve got some interests on that, so I’ve been writing that. If you’ve never done that, it’s a little different than a book. I think it’s probably easier. It is different though. A book is a lot of work, but this is too. It’s just they’re not quite as long. Yeah, that’s what got me started, so I’ve got the sequel. When that’s done, the screenplay hopefully will be done before the sequel, and then of course, we always got other ideas, but that’s where I’m at now.
C. G. Cooper: Very cool. I didn’t want to dig into your stuff before we got on air because I like to be surprised. You read that, and of course, you read the passage from the bible, so now I’m curious. What’s the premise of that book, the book that you’ve already written?
Ted D. Berner: The main character, he’s a college student, and he’s got one class to take. Archeological classes, that's the last class he’s in. They’ve got an assignment to try to find some link between anything in the bible to all these ancient mysterious stone ruins that are scattered across the globe like in Egypt and Peru. Some of these boulders they were stacking up were like over three million pounds, and all the older technology or all the older workmanship was way better, way bigger boulders. So, he’s trying to find that connection, and so that’s when he reads this in the bible.
Ted D. Berner: The character comes across this one, and so that just takes him down this rabbit hole, and one clue leads to another, and he’s trying to find proof. He’s on a quest to find proof that these spiritual beings, the sons of God, these fallen angels did actually mate with human women to produce these actual giants. The Dead Sea Scrolls mention them. The bible mentions them, but now, legends and folklore across the world mention them. Typically, that’s really where it goes. Of course, at the end, does he find proof or not? I can’t really spill the beans on that.
C. G. Cooper: It’s okay. Giants have always fascinated me. You may laugh, but Harry Potter is an example. In the books, they talk a lot more about giant kin than they do in the movies. Hagrid at one point is gone trying to recruit his giant kin, but in every other story, they’ve always fascinated me. When I read that in your bio, I’m like, “No way, like that is so cool,” so I’m definitely going to have to check that out, and I hope the snippet that you’re going to be reading is a little bit about that, but let’s dive into some books because that’s what the listeners want.
Ted D. Berner: Sure.
C. G. Cooper: What’s something, a book, that you are currently reading or that you just finished that you think the listeners might be interested in?
Ted D. Berner: What I’ve been reading lately is screenplays, and some of them are based on books too. The one I’m currently reading. I don’t know if it came from a book or not, but it’s Manchester By The Sea. The movie just came out, but the screenplay before that that I read was The Bourne Identity. I know that was based off a book, and they’re all pretty much the same story, but it’s just told a little different way, but I love … I’m a big, huge Dan Brown fan. I know a lot of people … There’s a lot of controversy with some of his stuff, but I like the way he writes. I like what he writes. The last one that I think I read was The Lost Symbol.
C. G. Cooper: Yup.
Ted D. Berner: Have you read that one?
C. G. Cooper: I have. Actually, one of my favorite books of all time is his Angels and Demons.
Ted D. Berner: Oh, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: I have read that. I think I’ve read that or read/listened to that 10 times. I don’t know. I think that one, to me, it’s better than Da Vinci Code and all the others. I don’t know. That one, to me … growing up Catholic. Maybe that has part of it. That’s part of the reasons I love it, but that book just got me, and every time I go back and obviously, to me, the movie didn’t quite do a justice. That happens sometimes, but man, wow.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: You’re right. When he’s on, he can spin a tale and just throw you right back into history. It’s fantastic.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, and that’s what I like about it because he intertwines a lot of facts. I know The Da Vinci Code, there was a lot of stuff that … That story has been around, that possibility, and I know a lot and you being a catholic, you’re probably well-aware of a lot of controversy around that. In fact, he got sued before that movie there. I think it was Opie, which is Ron Howard. They were going to make that movie, and that got put on hold because somebody (I can’t remember the author’s name) who wrote, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail.” I don’t think it was a novel, but it was all on that same stuff about what The Da Vinci Code is about with the Holy Grail, what he thought the Holy Grail was, but they, Dan Brown and company, won the law suits, and then they were able to go ahead with the movie. Yeah. I like intertwining that kind of stuff in with my stuff.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. That flavor of history. I feel like I’m learning something at the same time. Also, the ambiguity of, “Okay. Is this real? Is this not? Should I believe it? Should I not?” Again, it just pulls you into that story and you’re going, “Wow. Are there really giant kin out there? Like where are they hiding? Like I want to know now.”
Ted D. Berner: I know. Exactly, and that is one thing I like to … When I got done reading the book, I like to … Just like a movie. If I go to a movie and after the movie is over, when the majority of the crowd are still sitting there just thinking, thinking about what they just saw for like a few minutes before they finally decide to get up and leave. That’s what I’m after. I like that. I like to feel that, and that’s what I hope that my readers will feel as well.
C. G. Cooper: Cool. How about we talk about one of the hardest questions that we throw out here in Books in 30: What is your favorite book of all time?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, that is a hard one, to try to pinpoint it down to one. I think I’d have to go with … and it’s there again. There’s a lot of close neck-to-neck here, but I really like Lightning. Dean Koontz. He wrote it back in the late ‘80s or sometime around there, but that’s probably my favorite one. Have you read that?
C. G. Cooper: No, I have not, but you know what? I think one of our other authors that came on talked about that.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. It’s based on time travel, and time travel is such a fun concept to think about and to write about, I assume, but I know I love to read it. Whether it’s possible or not, who knows? It depends on the way we view time. If time is not how we view it, like this linear thing, if it’s something else, then maybe it is entirely possible. Yeah, Lightning was a really fun read. His writing style, I’m sure, has changed over the years. I think I read one of his that was written before that too because he used to write under a pen name, something [Richard] Paige and others …
C. G. Cooper: Did he really? I didn’t know that.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. Yeah. The Door to December was written under his pen name, and then he changed it to Dean Koontz or vice versa. That was his real name now one way or the other, but yeah, he wrote … The Door to December was written under another name [Richard Paige], and that’s really good too. I really like that as well.
C. G. Cooper: The Door to December?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: I have never heard of that. Okay. What’s that one about?
Ted D. Berner: Oh, that’s about … It’s mind over matter type stuff. This guy had this daughter that they were training against her will, but they were training her because he was into this experiment to try to see if you could turn somebody into developing their other senses like their sixth sense or whatever to where they could maybe manipulate matter with their mind. The training for that, he had her in this sensory deprivation pod, which I’ve actually been in one of those. They’re cool, but I went in voluntarily.
Ted D. Berner: That’s how it starts. He starts out, but then all these people started dying, these odd deaths, and this girl, she’s all scared, trying to be saved. You find out that she’s doing all this with her mind. She’s killing and torturing all these people that had tortured her, including her father because her father was the main one behind it, and she goes after everyone that was involved in this whole program throughout the movie … throughout the book, I mean, and you don’t really know. I suspected it was her from the start, but you don’t know that until the very end that she’s the one that’s actually doing that. Yeah, it’s a really fun read. I would recommend it.
C. G. Cooper: Holy cow. That sounds a little bit like Stranger Things that’s on Netflix. Have you watched any of that?
Ted D. Berner: No, I haven’t.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. It’s similar-ish presence or premise. Anyway, I won’t give it away, and I’m sure some of our listeners have. If you like that, I think you should check it out. Obviously, if you got Netflix, it’s free on there, but The Door to December. I just wrote that one down because I want to check that out. All right. Let’s move on to your work, and I would love, and I know the listeners would love to hear a snippet from something you’ve written.
Ted D. Berner: Okay. I got a couple paragraphs here [from Proof, The Novel] Leading up to this, the character, he’s on the trail to try to find proof about the Nephilim, the giants, and he just got turned on to … It’s in the middle of the night. He’s quite a ways from home, and some stranger told him, “There’s this guy that lives out on Chesapeake Bay that you probably want to talk to. He’s got some … You might want to talk to him.”
Ted D. Berner: Here, he’s just a college student. He drives out there, and it may not be the best. Say, middle of the night, weather is bad, and who is this guy? Anyway, he gets to the house, and it turns out, initially, it’s all good, but the guy’s name … My character’s name is Ty, and the guy at the house that he went to see, his name is Victor, so we all start here:
Ted D. Berner: [Start book excerpt] "Victor fumbled around with the keys a little before finding the right one. After a few seconds, he unlocked the door, opened it, and turned on the light. Ty was amazed at what he saw. Even though he didn’t really know what he was looking at, it was obvious that someone had been very meticulous in setting up all the displays. The room was almost the same size as the one upstairs, but instead of being full of furniture, it looked like a museum. It was full of glass cases with artifacts and bones of some kind, and the walls were covered with newspaper clippings. Ty looked around and noticed that the displays all had something in common. Everything was exceptionally large. Then he noticed the display in the far corner. By now, he’d become somewhat mesmerized and had slowly walked over to get a closer look without realizing what he was doing. Under a glass case about five feet wide and five feet high, there were three skulls that looked very, very old. All were extremely large. Two of them had elongated shapes, and yet they all appeared to be human.
Ty just stood there and stared. “They look so real, but could that be possible? If so, where’d they come from?”
“Your reaction is quite common for those who see this place for the first time, and yes, they’re real if that’s what you’re wondering. Utterly amazing, aren’t they?”
Ty was so caught up in the moment that he didn’t even try to hide his excitement. “How could they be real? They’re so big, the shape. Who or what? What are they? Where’d they come from?”
Victor smiled through crinkled eyes and gave him a single laugh. “Tell me again, son. Why are you here?”
Ty thought for a second, trying to grasp what he was looking at, and then it hit him. “The Nephilim,” he blurted out, and so feeling ridiculous and yet excited for suggested it.
Victor could see Ty’s acceleration. “Correct. Just as described in Genesis 6:4, the mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Giants.”
Ty's imagination began to run wild, “So, they actually did exist?”
“Oh, yes, they did indeed exist.” Victor seem to share the enthusiasm. “Just as they’d been written about by a countless civilizations, legends, the folklore, all those stories that have been told about giants are based on truth.” [end book excerpt] That’s where I’ll stop for that.
C. G. Cooper: Nice. Thank you. I’m putting myself in Ty’s shoes. Walking into something like that might be a little surreal.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. Yeah, and I mentioned the newspaper clippings on the wall. When he gets to those, those were … Actually, back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, in the US, they were finding these giant skeletons all over in these mountains when they were digging to put railroads and roads in. Some of them, 8, 9, 10, 12 feet tall. They document them in the paper. There’d been a story about them in like the New York Times. Smithsonian would show up, and the bones disappeared, and then that’s all you hear about, but that’s what was on the wall with the newspaper clippings.
C. G. Cooper: Oh, that is cool. That is cool. Thank you for sharing. I know it’s always interesting when you’re sharing your own work. I know. I don’t know if you’re like me. Sometimes, when I read my own stuff, I’m like, “Ugh, I could’ve put an 'it' or 'them' or be a little more descriptive.”
Ted D. Berner: Oh, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: That’s fantastic. Thank you very much. How about this? What is turning out to be our authors’ favorite part is mean reviews. Did you happen to bring some with you?
Ted D. Berner: Oh, I did. Yeah. Yeah, and then most of the … Of course, you got some one stars in there, and most of the one stars were because people didn’t like how it was ended with a cliffhanger, but that one that was pretty comical, and he says, “I wish I had read the reviews first,” which most of the reviews are five and four stars, but he says, “I wish I had read the reviews first. I’d not have purchased this book just based on half-a-book thing, but purchase it, I did. After the first 10 to 12 pages, there was nothing that made me want to keep me doing. Just tedium, poorly written tedium, clichéd, stilted dialogue, bad editing. There’s an old maxim. ‘Show your readers, don’t tell them.’ That means telling a story. This read more like a synopsis of a good story delivered by a guy who read it and was asked to give the gist. Again, talking about the first dozen pages roughly. Maybe it got better as it went on. I’ll never know.”
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. I’ll tell you. You get everything. You got one side, and then you got the other, and then you got everything in between.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, I know it. Yeah. I got another here too that’s comical. This one, he gave me a three-star, and it’s quite a lengthy one. I won’t read the whole thing because he spent a lot more time writing this than I did on my book, but he gets down after a lot of talking, and he says what he liked and what he didn’t like. He says, “What I liked: Much to my surprise, the writing is pretty good.”
Ted D. Berner: It’s like, well, why is that surprising? You don’t even know me. Now, if my friend said that, okay, I understand. They have every right to.
Ted D. Berner: But then, he gets down to the end here. He says, “This story might be for you if you like speculative tales placed in the distant reaches of the ozone layer. If you like to wear tinfoil hats, buy this book. I did find it entertaining in spots, but I doubt I will read any of the inevitable sequels.”
Ted D. Berner: Now, that’s funny about the tinfoil hats because you come up to the top here, and in the first part of his review, he says … because the reason he bought it was Genesis 6:4 was quoted on the front, so he says, “I certainly have no problem with the concept of giants living in antiquity since canonical scripture says so. Even the idea that giants or Nephilim were the unnatural progeny results from fallen angels mating with human women does not seem to be absurd.” He goes from that down to the tinfoil hats, so it’s like, well, I don’t know. I guess it depends. As long as you believe what he believes, you don’t need a tinfoil hat.
C. G. Cooper: Maybe you’ll throw in some tinfoil hats on the second.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. I always have one that I wear every time we fly over an NSA. We fly over NSA Headquarters going to Salt Lake. Yeah. I put one on every time I go over there.
C. G. Cooper: I bet you’ve got some good stories about that.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. All right. Mean reviews done, onto the speed round. Are you ready for some questions?
Ted D. Berner: Sure.
C. G. Cooper: All right. Number one. What’s your favorite thing about being an author?
Ted D. Berner: Just the fact that I get to tell a story that I think people … because I want to make them think, and I like to give them some facts that they may not see otherwise, and so they can just … just so they can think. That’s really what I like.
C. G. Cooper: Excellent. What is the best advice you ever received? This does not have to be about just writing.
Ted D. Berner: Don’t give up. Don’t give up. There might be a time when you have to, but if you believe in what you’re doing and it’s really something you enjoy, even if you’re going down an empty well, if you’re enjoying it, keep on going.
C. G. Cooper: Amen. What is one piece of technology you could not live without?
Ted D. Berner: That’s a tough one. I love the internet with Google and YouTube. There’s so much information on there now. That would be hard. On the same side, a chainsaw. Living here on a ranch, I could not live without a chainsaw.
C. G. Cooper: That’s something. See? Again, that’s why I love asking this question because I get … Like I think I got a coffeemaker the other day, chainsaw from you, a refrigerator from somebody else. I love these answers. Alright. Next one: What is the one thing you wish you could change about publishing whether it’s the industry or the process itself?
Ted D. Berner: The one thing … That’s tough. It’s tough. I started my own publishing company, and I never even attempted to do it the traditional way, but it’s hard to say what it would change because it’s just a lot of work. There’s a lot of work involved, and I wouldn’t want to change that because that’s part of the reward after you do that, so it’s hard to say. One thing I would change?
C. G. Cooper: It’s a loaded question. That’s why I like to ask it, Ted.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Alright. On to the next one: What genre do you wish you could write in?
Ted D. Berner: I’m sure I can’t write in romance, but I don’t know that I want to. Which do I wish that I could write in? That’s another tough question. Maybe reality.
C. G. Cooper: Reality?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: That might come in handy with more screenplays or more scripts for TV, right?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, right.
C. G. Cooper: Next one: What’s on your bucket list?
Ted D. Berner: I want to see all the places I wrote about in the book. The great pyramid in Egypt. The ruins down in Peru. I want to go to all these places. That’s my bucket list.
C. G. Cooper: Love it. Luckily, I think you can get there pretty easily with your free tickets, right?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. Right.
C. G. Cooper: Alright. If you could teach a college course, what subject or class would you teach?
Ted D. Berner: Maybe something spiritual like the Hay House authors. I don’t know. That kind of spiritual and some spiritual thing that’s just based on everything and not narrowed down to just this religion, that religion, this belief, that belief. Maybe something like that.
C. G. Cooper: Cool. I like that. Alright, and last one. This one is kind of fun. If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ted D. Berner: You mean and not have to chase it with nitroglycerin?
C. G. Cooper: For example, mine is pizza because I could eat pizza probably every meal if I had to.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, that. I could eat that too. I couldn’t give up cheese. Cheese is a hard one, which of course, that’s … Pizza is loaded with that. If I had to give up one thing, it would … The hardest thing for me to give up would be cheese. I do like cheese. Although, I try to cut back, but probably that. I love Italian food and all that, but you know?
C. G. Cooper: Okay, cheese. Cheese it is. Ted, thank you so much for joining us.
Can you give a few last words to our listeners and let them know where they can find you and your work?
Ted D. Berner: Sure. Of course, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all the internet sites. The book is Proof the Novel. That’s the full name. Ted D. Berner. ProofTheNovel.com. You can access everything through there. There are some t-shirts you can buy, some pretty cool t-shirts you can buy too. All the proceeds go to a charity. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I’m going to be working on an audio book. I got a couple coming out. I got one in Spanish, in Italian, and an audiobook. I’m going to just start on that here pretty soon. Yeah, ProofTheNovel.com should lead you everywhere.
C. G. Cooper: All right, listeners. Check it out. Ted Berner at ProofTheNovel.com, or on Amazon, or any of the other online retailers. This has been Books in 30 with C.G. Cooper. Thank you for listening, and don’t forget to email me at cgc (at) cg-cooper.com to say hello or let me know of an author you’d like to see as my guest. Thanks for tuning in. This is C. G. Cooper, out.
- The Silver Wolf
- The Red Cobra
- Orphan X
- The Discworld Novels
- The James Ryker Series
- The Enemy Series
- Game Of Thrones
Buy a copy of Rob's new release, The Silver Wolf, HERE.
Visit Rob at http://www.robsinclairauthor.com/
C. G. Cooper:
Welcome to Books in 30 with me, C.G. Cooper.
Here at Books in 30, we discuss great books with some of today's top authors. Don't forget that you can snag the full list of books we discuss in this episode at CG-Cooper.com/podcast, along with the full transcript.
So welcome to our listeners and a big Books and 30 welcome to today's guest, Rob Sinclair. Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series and James Ryker series of espionage thrillers. His books have sold over a half a million copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob's work to authors at the very top of the genre including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.
Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a can't put down thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from the University of Nottingham in 2002, specializing in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full-time.
Originally from the north east of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities including New York and is now settled in West Midlands with his wife and young sons. He's got a new release coming out on November 17th, The Silver Wolf which is the third book in the James Ryker series. Welcome Rob, how you doing today my friend?
I'm doing great, thank you. Thank you for having me.
C. G. Cooper:
Yeah, well no problem. Tell you what, I read off your little bio but our listeners always love to know, can you give us a little bit of a snapshot of why you became an author?
You did a great intro there so I think you've given a lot of information I was going to save for my intro anyway. But why did I become an author?. It's quite hard to figure out now exactly where it all came from. But the biggest reason I like being an author now is because I just like working for myself. Like you said in the intro, I worked for 13 years for a global accounting firm, which was a very high pressured job and lots of traveling. You're always in an office in the UK or somewhere around the world. And it just wasn't the lifestyle I wanted. So being an author is a completely different life to that and it's a fantastic life really.
C. G. Cooper:
Yeah, I mean I know I love it. There's a reason we do it.
I'm just curious, forensic fraud investigations. Do you bring that kind of stuff into your writing now?
You know, I don't make a point of doing it because it sounds quite interesting and to be honest, the job was interesting in a lot of respects. You know, I got to go on some quite high profile cases where we're chasing very high scale fraudsters or people on corruption charges. And so there was a lot of dirty dealings we were investigating which could make good fiction, could make good TV drama. But for me, it was still work whereas me writing is something more than work, it's something pleasurable. So I don't make my plots directly involved in accountancy or in the world of forensic fraud investigations. But there is a lot about that life which kind of fits nicely into the thriller world. So for example, some of the exotic locations I got to travel to and things like that.
C. G. Cooper:
So do you still travel when you're researching novels?
I don't now. I've never felt the need to. You know, I saw a lot of places through work anyway and just through traveling the world for leisure. So between that and then just what I know about places, I do tend to use places I know of in my writing. But haven't yet jumped on a plane just for research purposes. Maybe in the future.
C. G. Cooper:
Well have to start that habit for you because I know I have enjoyed it the last couple of years. And you and I are currently working on some things offline with Jeff and Andrew obviously. And hopefully we can all get together. Maybe we can make it a group thing and go to an exotic locale and write all together or something.
Alright, well cool. Let's get into the meat of it, what the listeners are here for. Obviously they love us but what they really want to know about is books and what we're reading. So tell the listeners a little bit about a book that you're currently reading or just finished, that you just fell in love with or want to tell everybody about.
I read a couple of really good books over the summer. I signed a new book deal with Orion recently for a book called Sleeper 13 which is coming out next year. When I was discussing the project with the publisher, he recommended I read a couple of books which he wanted me to make my book a similar style to those. And one of them was Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz which I think was released in 2016 and it was quite a big hit around the world. And it's a really gritty, action thriller, so it was the kind of book that I write anyway.
What I found quite compelling about that book was it tells a story about this guy whose code name, Orphan X. It picks up with him at various points of time in his life so it's kind of like an origin story in that it starts off in a certain place as a child. And then through the experiences of his childhood, shows you how he's being shaped into the person that he is in the present. I like stories that do that. They give you the full backstory of a character, you show how the things that happened to him in the past have shaped who they are in the present.
C. G. Cooper:
I love that. Now, obviously I've seen the book. Did they also make a TV show out of that? Or with something in the works?
I'm not sure. I haven't seen anything. I wouldn't be surprised. It's that sort of story where you could easily imagine transferring to screen. I know there is a second book out now which I haven't read, which is a sequel to that. So I'm definitely picking that one up at some point.
C. G. Cooper:
Very cool. I'm a big fan of the background. I don't know how much of that you do in your writing but I know when the readers tell me that I'm doing something right, it tends to be when I've actually built a character, I've actually told their history. Is that kind of how you attack yours too?
That is yeah. I've done that in a couple of my stories. I get a lot of satisfaction from doing that. Well, as you know, the present timeline in your stories is the most important for the plot. I think it really helps the reader, to explain to the reader why a character is acting a certain way if you can show what happened in their past. I'm quite a big user of flashbacks or using even two time periods in my books to try to get those points across. It's a very effective tool.
C. G. Cooper:
It really is. Especially if you do it well. I can't remember who I was interviewing last week about this. How flashbacks tend to be ... when we were reading craft books or seminars or whatever, there seems to be the rule of don't use flashbacks. But I think they're fantastic.
I like it too, yeah.
C. G. Cooper:
Use them the right way, they're fantastic.
Because you can drip feed information with them. You don't have to do it all in one chunk. I think it's a good way to reveal certain aspects of the story.
C. G. Cooper:
Amen. Alright, so Orphan X. What about your favorite book of all time? I know this is always a hard one for writers.
It is, yeah.
C. G. Cooper:
One, maybe two that are just your favorites that you keep going back to at least in your head. Or, maybe something that you read maybe every year.
You hit the nail on the head. I hate answering this question. Which books? Favorite book? You know, I'm not going to say one book because it's too difficult. I've read so many books over 36 years that it's too difficult to pick one. But what I'd say was the books that had the biggest impact on me as a person, I guess, were some of the books that I read when I was younger. So my early teens. And my favorite books at that point in time was Terry Pratchett's Discworld series which is completely different to what I write now. You know sci-fi comedies. I just absolutely loved those when I was a kid and those are still very familiar to me even 20 years after I've read them.
C. G. Cooper:
So you started with sci-fi? I started with fantasy and now we're thriller authors, right?
C. G. Cooper:
What was it about those books that just pulled you in? At what age do you think you started reading those?
I must have been 12, 13, I think, when I started to read those. And I read those all the way up to when I was 17, 18. And I think what pulled me in was that fantasy element. Something which is so different to modern day life. You know, there's lots of historical aspects in there. I'm also a big lover of things like Game of Thrones on TV. I haven't read that book series but I absolutely love the TV series. I just like things where you can get a real release and watch something that is completely different to real life.
C. G. Cooper:
Yeah, so does that mean you're ever going to write a unicorn into one of your thrillers?
You never know. It's probably not going to happen but it could do.
C. G. Cooper:
Well cool. Alright we've got something that you've finished, your favorite book of all time-ish. Obviously, we as writers and readers, we've a long list. How about a snippet or your work, did you bring something today that you could read for the listeners?
Yeah I did, yeah. This is ... I'm going to read a small snippet from the first chapter of The Red Cobra. So the Red Cobra was the first James Ryker book which came out in April this year. Like you said, at the start, the third book in that series is due out on the 17th of November.
The snippet I'm going to read here is part way through Chapter one. Just to give a very brief background before I dive into it, this chapter's opened up with an unnamed assassin, an unnamed female assassin who's on the run. So she's running away from a crime scene and she's being pursued by a mysterious character. So shall I dive in?
C. G. Cooper:
Yeah man. Go for it.
With each step she took, the roar of the crashing waves grew louder. Soon it filled her ears. On the distant horizon, the clouds began to part. A sliver of bright white light from the moon became visible. For the first time, she could see the endless expanse of inky water below. And the edge of the cliff just a few paces ahead.
She closed her eyes, preparing for the leap into the unknown…
The next second, she was shoved from behind. She lost her footing and ended up face down in the mud. Maybe he slipped too. Or maybe he’d simply thrown his whole body at her in order to bring her down. Either way, his big frame thudded onto the ground next to her.
In an instant, she turned onto her back, moving away from him, then leaped onto her feet. He did the same. She pulled out the long knife and swung it in a narrow arc as he raced toward her. She caught his arm and heard a slicing noise as the blade tore through skin and flesh.
He didn’t cry out. Didn’t even murmur.
He smashed into her. The knife flew from her grasp and they tumbled back to the ground, him on top, straddling her, pinning her arms with his knees.
Within seconds, two thick hands were wrapped around her neck, choking her. She rasped and gasped for breath.
The open wound on his forearm glistened in the moonlight. She reached out as much as his restrictive hold would allow, and dug her nails in. Dug deep. She squeezed as hard as she could.
Not so much as a flinch from him. It was like he wasn’t even there. No humanity behind those pearly eyes. Just a… machine.
His strength, his determination, his focus, was too much. Her eyes began to bulge. The shadowy vision of him on top blurred.
But then she saw it. A faint sparkle in the darkness. Metallic. Not her knife. A gun. On the wet ground next to them.
He was armed after all. At least he had been.
She stretched out her hand, the pressure from his knees on her upper arms giving her little room to maneuver. She clawed at the soggy mud. Her fingertips were just an inch from the weapon. Her whole body strained…
She got it.
Grabbing the gun’s barrel, she swung the grip toward his head. He never saw it coming. The thick metal handle crashed into his skull. He barely seemed to notice. She hit him again. Then a third time. Finally, the grip round her neck weakened. Slightly.
It was all she needed.
She bucked and pushed up with all the strength she could muster. His body gave a couple of inches. Enough for leverage. She swiveled and took him with her. A moment later, she was the one on top, the gun’s barrel pressing against his forehead.
In the darkness, all she could clearly make out of him were his sparkling eyes. When she’d first met him, she’d thought him handsome. Out in the cold, dark night, his penetrating gaze was sinister and unforgiving.
She stared down and he stared right back.
"If you were going to shoot me, you’d have done it already," he said, still eerily calm and composed. A stark contrast to how she was feeling. " Do it. Do it now. You won’t get a better chance."
Her finger was on the trigger. In fact, despite her hesitation, she was actually pushing down on the trigger as he made his move. He grabbed her wrist and pushed the gun up. She fired. Three times. The bullets sailed away into the night. The noise of the gun so close to her head was deafening. And disorientating.
The next she knew, he’d taken back the gun and was turning it round on her.
She was sure there would be no hesitation from him.
She was on her feet and hurtling to the cliff edge when he opened fire. A bullet caught her in the ankle. Then another in her side. As she leaped over the edge, a third bullet sunk into her shoulder.
She plummeted into the darkness below.
C. G. Cooper:
Nice. And of course you have to stop it there, right?
That's the end of Chapter one, yeah.
C. G. Cooper:
That's fantastic. So that's the very beginning of the story?
That's the beginning of the story, yes. They're both unnamed characters at that point but you find out that those are the two main characters in the book.
C. G. Cooper:
Man, I got to say, I like your style. That never stopped. When you go back and you read your own work, how do you feel? Are you still picking it apart? Or are you like, "Wow, I really like this story?"
It's a bit of both actually yeah. You kind of get into a mindset. Sometimes you read it back and go, "Wow. I can't remember writing that, I really like it." Other times, you can read something which you thought you liked the last time but this time, you can just see where the holes in it. It really does depends. If I have to read one of my books all the way through, I'll always make changes. So you always get to a point in time where you got to say, " Enough is enough."
C. G. Cooper:
Yeah. I mean I had to learn that early on. And of course, as you go farther in your writing career, you get better and better at self-editing. And now it's almost like I got to a point where it was easy to put them aside. And now I'm getting to the point again where it's like, "Alright, I'm having a harder time putting it aside because I know there's little things in there that I want to tweak a little bit more and make better." How do you balance that? The editor eye with the, "Hey, let's get this published?"
It is a balance, isn't it? I mean sometimes, I just say, "One more time," so I'll just do one more read through. And I know whatever happens after that, I'm done. Like I said, you could go around in circles for months on end otherwise. So I normally do it by the number of times I read through it.
If there's a big problem, obviously you've got to tackle it. I also rely a lot on the editors I use. So if something isn't quite right and I know it's not quite right, I don't try to hide it. I'll make sure I tell them, "I'm a little bit concerned about still. What do you think?" I think you've got to have that kind of collaborative approach. Otherwise, the worst thing to happen is you end up publishing the book with something you're not happy about it.
C. G. Cooper:
And then you can't change it, can you?
C. G. Cooper:
No, I know. Having that team whether it's editors, beta-readers, whatever that will give you that constructive feedback. I know my career would not be where it is without them. How do you use that team?
It's exactly the same. I don't have a big team of beta-readers. I think it's a useful thing to do. I can see why people do it. But I've always just trusted enough my own instincts and the instincts of the editor which I've used for seven books now. Between me and her, I think we kind of get onto the right page quite quickly. I have my family read it as well before it gets published. My wife and my mom and dad. And they give me some piece of ... tips. They're probably too nice.
The editor I use, she's not nice at all, she'll tell me exactly what's wrong. But she's good. That's what you need.
C. G. Cooper:
Yeah, yeah. Definitely need that honesty. Speaking of honesty, let's move on to the next part which is ... It can be your favorite or least favorite part of the show depending on the type of writer you are. Mean reviews. Did you happen to bring some mean reviews you can read for the listeners?
As most writers will have, I've got plenty of mean reviews and they're very disheartening, they do cut right through to the heart every time you read one of them.
C. G. Cooper:
Well, we like to laugh about them here. How about we hear about a couple and we'll laugh about it.
I picked a couple of snippets. I don't know how this will sit with your audience. I guess your audience is going to be mainly American. And one of things which kind of grinds me a little bit is when people point out the fact that I've got English spellings in my book because I'm English. My characters are English and it's set in England. But people point out the spellings as being incorrect. It's one thing to say it's being put in English. It's another one to say, "Oh my God this book was so bad because the spelling was all over the place," because that's not true. I use spell check and I spell my words in English. Just not American English.
This one I'll read out a snippet.
"There was no attempt to get beyond the weird British language usage and it becomes a distraction requiring looking up words like curb in the dictionary. Because I happen to be an American. There are ways through more a universal approach to language that supplies a smooth reading experience. So we have a self-serving main character who betrays the protagonist in an emotionally dysfunctional love relationship. An inept main character that constantly misjudges the situation and language that requires a dictionary, not too fun to read."
C. G. Cooper:
Is it really that painful to get through the slightly different English?
Well, exactly. It's slightly different. And the one they picked out was curb, which to be fair, looks slightly different. It's K-E-R-B versus C- U-R-B. It still says curb. When I'm reading an American author's book, you kind of just glide over it. I recognize it's different spelling but I know fine well what the word is.
C. G. Cooper:
That's a new one for me. I didn't know that one either. Alright. Maybe I'll throw that one into the book that I'm finishing right now.
C. G. Cooper:
And I'll quote you on it.
Alright, did you bring one more?
Yep. I won't go all the way through this one but again, it's a very similar thing that says, "Content good. Spelling horrendous." They then go through five different words which they accuse me of spelling incorrectly all of which were actually spelled correct. And at the end says, "Has no one ever heard of spell check?"
C. G. Cooper:
Oh geez. Do you put anything at the front of your book stating who you are and why you write that way?
No I don't. I could do but in fairness, these are few and far between. Like I say, when I get one, it feels very frustrating because I know that the book is ... Of course I use spell check and the editors have looked at it as being proofread and everything.
It's just more the frustrating aspect that people can't get over it. The most frustrating thing is they feel very aggrieved by it as well. And that's fair. I mean they've paid for my book so of course they want it to be perfect. It's very frustrating that you can't, as a writer really get over that because you can't respond to the review. You'll just going to dig a hole if you do that.
C. G. Cooper:
Right. And it's your baby right? That book is your baby. You put who knows how many hours into it. And you think it's a beautiful thing and you put it out in the world and then all of a sudden, you spell check. And oh, by the way, use American spell check when you write next time.
Well cool. Alright. Well let's move on to our speed round. I've got, like I told you, I added some questions in here which I don't think will trip you up at all. But actually some of these have been submitted by listeners. So listeners out there, if you have questions that you want us to add to speed rounds, just let me know. CGC@CG-Cooper.com.
Alright. So we'll get right down into it. Number one, what's your favorite thing about being an author?
Without a doubt, my favorite thing about being an author is just that I work at home. I work to my own schedule, completely flexible in life now. I don't have to take four or five weeks holiday a year. I get to go and pick up my kids from school whenever. Every day I don't have to leave work early and things like that. And just being my own boss. It's a great way to live to be honest.
C. G. Cooper:
I feel exactly the same way. I miss it when I can't pick up my kids from school or from the bus stop. It's part of my routine now.
C. G. Cooper:
Okay, number two. Where do you read? Like in what location do you love to read?
I would say in Spain. I know you're probably thinking [crosstalk 00:20:54]. I love to read on holiday to be honest. Somewhere sitting by a pool, on a lounge, in sunshine, sunglasses on, cold drink. That's my ideal place to read.
C. G. Cooper:
Do you read paperbacks? Or do you read on a Kindle or tablet or something?
I normally use a Kindle these days, yeah. Most of my books sell on Kindle so I'm a big proponent of Kindle and e-book readers in general. I think they're fantastic, I really do. Brilliant, yeah. Up in your holiday bags and you just put one Kindle in and have 10,000 books on there.
C. G. Cooper:
As a lifelong reader, I used to have a backpack full of books, every time we went somewhere. And one of my traditions and every time I go through an airport, I like to buy one book at the bookstore. It's just one of my traditions. But now, it's just one book plus my Kindle, so it's not that bad.
Alright, number three. What do you wish you can change about publishing? About the publishing industry or just the process?
Oh, that's a tough one. What I'd change about the publishing industry? My first three books were self-published. And they still are self-published even though as time's moved on, I've had two book deals since the Enemy series came out. But I still think there's a big stigma about self-publishing. Not just with readers, but actually within the industry as well. You almost feel like a spare part, or you're not really part of the crowd. And I think that's always riled me a little bit even though I had books out that I had self-published that were doing very well, I was still looked down upon by people within the industry.
C. G. Cooper:
Yeah, and we all struggle with that. I'm independent and I'm proud.
C. G. Cooper:
I now own a publishing company and we help other authors do it. But it is. There's that stigma and luckily with great readers, they get behind us and they're the reason that we can do what we do.
C. G. Cooper:
It's nice getting away from that establishment. And now for you, you've done both. You get to taste both worlds which is ... Of course and now-
C. G. Cooper:
Hopefully, my kind of experiences are helping to break down those walls. You obviously have got people like yourself in the independent camp. You've got people completely in traditional publishing camp. The more hybrid authors we get, then the more those walls are going to be broken down between the two camps.
C. G. Cooper:
Yeah, absolutely. Alright. Number four. And this is a weird one I know. If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would have to say pizza.
C. G. Cooper:
Me too. My wife and I talk about this all the time. Definitely pizza because you could go different flavors, right?
Yeah of course.
C. G. Cooper:
Alright, well that's good to know over on your side of the world that you feel the same way. Alright. Number five. What genre do you wish you could write in if you stopped writing thrillers?
I always come back to the sci-fi fantasy just because I still have a big interest in that. I love reading those kinds of books. I love movies like that. So I definitely want to be able to do that kind of genre but I'm not sure I can.
C. G. Cooper:
Yeah I know. I've done it. It's a different audience and it definitely takes a different voice to do. Well, that's cool. You always go back to your roots a little bit, don't you?
C. G. Cooper:
Alright. Number six. What is the best advice you ever received? And this does not have to be about writing.
You know I'm going to give a writing one and it's get your book professionally edited. And this is one that completely changed my career path in publishing because I was a self-published author or an author without a published book I should say. I was making so many mistakes. You know I'd send to ... my drafts off to agents and publishers left, right and center and was getting rejected all over the place. Rightly so because my book, at that point in time, was not very good.
And it wasn't until I had professional editing help that it actually started to take proper shape. So, anybody who's starting out in the business whether they're going to self-publish or they're going to send their book to agents, just get some help before you do it.
C. G. Cooper:
How would you tell new writers or even established writers how to find that good editor and to vet them? Because obviously there's a lot of people out there that say they're editors. But how did you find yours and how did your establish that relationship?
So originally, it was just through a Google search. You've got to bear in mind budget and that sort of thing, there's a vast range of prices you can pay for editing. And I went for one who was reputable in that she had a good CV. You could see who she worked for in the past. You could see which books she had edited. You know she had worked in a publishing house before she was a freelancer so you can see that she had a good track record.
And then after that luckily we kind of clicked in terms of me trusting what she was telling me about my book. So I think you got to have that relationship. Initially, you just got to find somebody who's got that right background.
C. G. Cooper:
And that can tell you the truth, right?
Yeah, absolutely, yeah.
C. G. Cooper:
Well cool. We're just running up on time. I want to thank you again for joining us, for being part of this interview, for giving us a little glimpse into your world and the books that you're reading. But can you give us a few last words for the listeners and let them know how they can find you?
Yeah sure. The easiest way to find out some more about me is on my website. It's Robsinclairauthor.com. You'll find a bit about me there and some intros to each of my books and some links to buy as well.
C. G. Cooper:
Sweet. Alright, well check out Rob's stuff. I know I already have and I'm going to be picking up a couple more.
And thank you so much again for being on the show, for listening in. This has been Books and 30 with C. G. Cooper. Thanks for listening and don't forget to email me at CGC (at) CG-Cooper.com to say hello. Or let me know of an author you'd like to see as my guest.
Thanks for tuning in. C. G. Cooper, out.
- Good Morning, Midnight
Visit Tabitha at http://TabithaLordAuthor.com
Support Project 3.8: http://www.3point8.org
C. G. Cooper: Welcome to Books in 30 with me, C. G.Cooper. Here at Books in 30, we discuss great books with some of today's top authors. Welcome to our listeners and a big Books in 30 welcome to today's guest, Tabitha Lord.
Tabitha lives in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where she grew up. She's married, has four kids, two spoiled cats, and a lovable black lab. The house is noisy and the dinner table full. She holds a degree in classics from College of Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at an independent Waldorf school where she now serves on the Board of Trustees. Her debut novel Horizon won the Writer's Digest grand prize for self-published fiction in 2016 and was named a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the Indie Excellence Awards. The sequel, Infinity, was released in June 2017. She also has short fiction published and soon to be published through World Weaver Press, Grimbold Books, and Belanger Books.
Welcome, Tabitha. How are you doing today?
Tabitha Lord: Great, thanks for having me.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. Well I read your bio. I know that's not everything about you, so would you like to give us a little more about who you are and how you became a writer?
Tabitha Lord: Well, yeah, it's an interesting path. I'm one of those people who, when they say, people ask "How long have you been writing?" I say, "Well, since forever, you know since I could hold a pencil." But I never thought that I could complete a full length novel. That was always sort of the stumbling block. I had a completely different career teaching and as the admissions' director in a small school. Before that I thought I wanted to be a doctor and I actually went to medical school for a while and dropped out because I had too many children, like Old Mother Hubbard, you know. I've had this really interesting happy career and as my kids got older I started thinking do I want to go back to medical school, is that a thing or has that ship sailed? The only thing that got me as excited as medicine was writing. Again the stumbling block was sort of creating the full length novel.
Tabitha Lord: The last project I did at the school I was working at was lead us through the accreditation. Anybody that's ever done an accreditation knows it's a two year process. You're writing this document, that I affectionately called my thesis. I did the document on behalf of the school, so I did all the single voice writing and all of the compiling of different data points and that sort of thing. While I was doing that, it was about a nine month project, I said "Wow you're in this habit of writing every day why don't you try writing something else in the evenings."
Tabitha Lord: So I started the draft of my first book and at the end of nine months, which I find as a mom kind of telling, I birthed this science-fiction novel. Of course, it was terrible in its initial form, but I had gotten over that stumbling block of "can you write a book?" So, I pretty much just dumped my whole heart and soul into turning writing into a career. I've had some interesting projects along the way. I write for a site called Book Club Babble (BookClubBabble.com). I think it's a little bit similar to what you're doing here except we actually do review and post about books. We don't criticize, but we promote. I've gotten to meet some great authors, so that's a wonderful piece of my career.
Tabitha Lord: I write short fiction as well that I've sold to a few places. I guest-post for Writer's Digest and Writer Unboxed and some other blogs. I blog myself and I've worked on a really cool nonfiction project last year called Project 3.8 working with families with children with cancer where I was profiling the families. That was about a six month assignment. So it's been an adventure.
C. G. Cooper: You have had an eclectic career haven't you?
Tabitha Lord: Yes, I have. I really have.
C. G. Cooper: Project 3.8, tell me a little bit more about that. That's fascinating.
Tabitha Lord: Yeah, it was an amazing thing. I have a very good friend who's a photographer and she took a picture of a little boy that had cancer, and he was wearing a set of boxing gloves. His name was Dorian. The hashtag Dstrong (#DStrong) went viral all over the world of this little boy in the boxing gloves. It was his wish that before he passed that he would be famous in China, that was his child dream. It spread all over the world. There's actually pictures of people spelling out #DStrong on the Great Wall of China. Then when he did pass, my friend who had taken that photograph was friends with his mom, said "You know there's got to be more. There's got to be more that we can do to bring light to this pediatric cancer plague," basically.
Tabitha Lord: She started a project where she was going to photograph 20 more children in the state of Rhode Island that were either in some phase of their cancer life. Basically, they're just recently diagnosed, in the middle of treatment, or some months out. Twenty families were a part of the project and about two months into it, she asked me if I would do the writing piece for her and interview the families and create profiles for everyone. We did that together. It was an amazing experience to go right into the homes of these families and have them open their doors and they're in the midst of probably the most difficult time they'll ever face. You know, watching their child suffer and struggle. Yet ... I still talk to some of them and we're still ... They're just amazing people and these kids are amazing.
Tabitha Lord: The reasons it's titled 3.8 is because only 3.8 percent of all federal monies for cancer research goes into pediatric research. While it's considered relatively rare in the grand scheme of all the cancers in the world, the amount of impact that it has is so huge that we really all just feel like 3.8 percent is just negligible and ridiculous. We had to bring awareness as best we could, so we did a bunch of gallery openings with the photographs and with the written pieces. We had a website and a blog and they were featured all over the place. We ran it for several months and I think did some really good work.
C. G. Cooper: That is fantastic and I'll bet it was probably comforting for the families as well. I mean I know when you're going through something like that it's tough to talk about but it's probably also therapeutic to talk about it.
Tabitha Lord: Yes.
C. G. Cooper: I mean, you must have felt like you weren't just taking something way, you were able to give something back to these families in that horrible situation.
Tabitha Lord: They really wanted their stories told. They really wanted them told on behalf of their children. The thing is that when you're so deeply into it you can't step back and do that yourself, but Robin and I who don't have children with cancer or with illnesses like that, could kind of be the observer coming in and have the wherewithal to walk away and do the work behind getting this out to the world in a way that can be received. I think these families are just in too fragile a position and too emotionally taxed right now to be able to do that. Some of them I'm sure will come back later and be able to tell their stories, but while they were in the midst of it you almost needed two people who were observers to be able to tell the story and that's what we did.
C. G. Cooper: Wow, well thank you for doing that. This is a perfect example, you know you do your own show, and one of the reasons I love this show is because I find out stuff like that. You know the general questions I'm going to ask, but I have no idea what your answers are going to be.
Tabitha Lord: Right, what direction you could go.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, I could talk to you for six hours about just Project 3.8, so we'll save that for another time.
Tabitha Lord: Okay.
C. G. Cooper: Let's jump into books, because that's definitely what listeners want to hear about.
Tabitha Lord: Sure.
C. G. Cooper: What are you reading right now, or what's something that you just finished recently that blew you away?
Tabitha Lord: Alright, so I do read for that site called Book Club Babble, and I have the pleasure of being able to sort of pick and choose what I get to read. I'll often say yes to things I don't know much about because I want to broaden my own reading experience. You tend to read the things you really like, I'll read military fiction until I, you know, or whatever, but I enjoy a good literary novel sometimes, or I enjoy a women's novel or something like that. So I will accept books that just look good based on the story.
Tabitha Lord: I got sent an arc several months ago now at this point, the book's been out for a while, and it was a book by a woman called Lily Brooks-Dalton, and the title of the book is Good Morning, Midnight. I just said yes to it, I said "Ah that looks like kind of a neat cover and interesting premise." I really fell in love with it. I would say it sticks in my mind, I loved it so much that I had my actual book club in the neighborhood, that I actually belong to, read it. They really enjoyed it and we had a great discussion about it. I know that it has mixed reviews because it's a literary sci-fi, if you can imagine.
C. G. Cooper: Really?
Tabitha Lord: It's a kind of paradoxical, but you know the premise is, it's speculative so it's set just in the sort of the near future, the sort of familiar future. It's not dystopian or anything. There's a team of astronauts that are on a Jupiter mission, so they're able to travel into our galaxy a little bit further. It's a long mission, so it has all this honest, you know, we've been on a spaceship for 18 months together and that kind of thing. It's a tight knit crew. Meanwhile, back on earth there's an old aging scientist who's up in the arctic circle studying radio transmissions, etc. All of a sudden, that outpost is evacuated, and the people on their mission lose all contact with planet earth. You actually never know why, you know, what has actually happened on earth that this man is stranded in the arctic circle by himself, and these guys are stuck in space not knowing what they're coming home to.
Tabitha Lord: It's a really interesting psychological sort of investigation of what happens when you actually think you're the last people alive, the last of your species almost. I just really really enjoyed it for that premise and that question, that existential question. I find, and her writing was so beautiful. It was very literary writing, and I think the complaints about it were that it wasn't, the plot wasn't as "science fiction-y" as some people like 'cause it is billed as a sci-fi. I thought it was really elegant and something really different that I hadn't really read before.
C. G. Cooper: That's very cool. That was something out of the blue that you got, that wasn't something that you were looking for?
Tabitha Lord: Yup, nope, it just came to me, somebody asked me "Hey, could we send this?" and I said "Sure, that sounds good. I'll give it a look." I actually did an interview with the author, a written interview with the author, and it was really fun to get inside her mind too.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. So that was called Good Morning, Midnight? Is that right?
Tabitha Lord: Good Morning, Midnight, yup. Lily Brooks-Dalton. I believe this is her fiction debut too. She had written something nonfiction before this, but she's a pretty, you know, pretty much a debut fiction writer.
C. G. Cooper: Got it. Well, very cool. Let's move onto the next question. The loaded question for all authors.
Tabitha Lord: Oh my God, no!
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. What is your favorite book of all time?
Tabitha Lord: Okay, I have to say two because they're two completely different things. If I really had to pick, I don't know if I could. It's funny because I read them all. I read these books ... I don't reread, I'm not a re-reader. There's so many good books out in the world I just can't bring myself to go back to something and read it again because I feel like I'm missing out on the new thing. The Stand by Stephen King is one of my all time ... I just, you know, is it the most fabulously written book in the world? No. Is it the scariest? No. There was just something epic about it and in its apocalyptic grandeur that I have thought about from the moment I read it and it's stayed with me ever since. I have gone back and I have read the unabridged edition that he re-released years later. Every once in a while I go back and just say wow, you know. It's, of course, dated at this point, time-wise. It's still, it's terrifying in its creepy apocalyptic whatever.
Tabitha Lord: So that's on my list. I don't read a lot of horror any more, that's one genre that I ... I'm dabbling with a little bit of writing in horror but I don't read too much of it, 'cause the darkness stuck in my head is not really where I want to go. That one is just a darn good book. If you remember it all these years later, I have to put it on that list.
Tabitha Lord: The other one would be East of Eden. I'm not a huge Steinbeck fan. I read some of his other stuff and I go "Oh God, shoot, stick pins in my eyes." It's so depressing, you know, but that is such a great story. It's such, you know, the Cain and Abel paradigm retold and with such beautiful writing. That was one of the books that I remember reading a long time ago and then rereading a couple of times since, so I said you can be both a good story teller and a great writer. Isn't that the goal?
C. G. Cooper: Is that the only Steinbeck that you've read?
Tabitha Lord: No, I've read most of them and I just don't love any of the others. I find that the subject matter, I mean I recognize them as the great fiction novels that they are, novellas, but I don't enjoy them. But I really enjoyed East of Eden and didn't want it to end and have gone back to it several times.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. So, you have reread one?
Tabitha Lord: Yup, those are the only two and that's why they get on this list. They're the only ones that I ever really go back and reread.
C. G. Cooper: That's a very good test. How many, I'm curious now, how many books do you think you read a month or per year?
Tabitha Lord: Oh gosh, I probably read between two and four books a month because I have to do that to put out content for Book Club Babble. I'm not keeping up well with my actual book clubs, of which I belong to two, so often if I'm hosting the book club, I will have them read one of the books I'm reading for Book Club Babble, so kind of economy of the soul. Yeah, I would say between two and four books a month.
C. G. Cooper: Okay. Alright. Good. I'm always curious to hear how much people read because obviously the listeners of the show read a lot. I mean I've talked to some people who read multiple books a day and that just blows me away.
Tabitha Lord: That's crazy. For me, two to four a month is about all I physically have time for between the writing stuff that I have to do and this line up of crazy deadlines and things that I'm sure, we've got the same ones, to be able to squeeze in the reading time. I love to read and I feel like, as a writer, I have to keep reading so that my mind stays fresh and I'm learning all the time from other writers. But, yeah, it's becoming more challenging. I used to be able to for sure read a book a week and I would have piles of books from the library, but the more that I'm writing the less time I have for reading.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, something happened to me when I really got going full-time that I had a hard time reading fiction. I can read nonfiction all day, especially business stuff or craft stuff, but I had to go to audiobooks for fiction because now I can just listen in the car or while I'm going for a run or going for a walk, and it's like it almost forces me but also lets me kind of tune out and get something while I'm doing something that I usually wouldn't accomplish anything except maybe some exercise. I feel it. I used to read a lot more physically, but now it's thank you Audible, make it so much easier for me.
Tabitha Lord: Yeah, I'm going to start shifting over to Audible too for my reading for pleasure. Not that the Book Club Babble books and all these books aren't for pleasure, they certainly are, but they're also now they've become part of the job. There are some books I want to pick up just by my favorite authors. When they release a new book, that I'm like I want to read that one, but when will I squeeze it in? I'm really working on getting myself into the Audible habit.
C. G. Cooper: Well good. I know I listen, I've ramped up, I think it's 2 to 2 1/4 times listening speed, so I really squeeze in a lot of reading now. You've got what, four kids, and I've got three, so we definitely have some driving time that we can use.
Tabitha Lord: We definitely do.
C. G. Cooper: Well, good. Let's move onto your work. Did you bring a snippet that you can read for the listeners?
Tabitha Lord: I do. I have a snippet. I'll just read a little bit from the beginning of my book, my debut novel Horizon of which the second book in the series released this summer. I think you mentioned that earlier. The premise, when I'm at Comic-Con or I'm doing a signing and people are always like "What's your book about?" The first Comic-Con I went to my son was my table buddy and I was signing and selling the whole weekend. I went off on this rambling explanation of the book and when I finished my son was like "Oh, Mom you have to do better. I saw their eyes glazing over." I'm like oh, no, he's right. I hadn't pitched it in so long, because once you go into production of it and you're in your editing and you've written your blurb, you don't really think about that piece anymore, in the same way as when you were pitching and writing your blurb. So I kind of lost the plot a little bit and couldn't talk about it so well. But now I'm back in practice.
Tabitha Lord: I would say there's a premise for me of: What if on a distant world there was a small population and some of the population evolved differently from their neighbors and could do things with their minds that their neighbors couldn't, like read minds or heal? How would that impact the fabric of the society? Of course, it doesn't go well, and the "cannots / have-nots" are threatened by their neighbors and so they stage an invasion, and a near genocide. My protagonist is a survivor of that. When we meet her, she's alone and on the run. She witnesses a spaceship crash near her camp and that pulls her into this greater intrigue of realizing that her world was once a colony and they'd been isolated for so long. Then now she's pulled back into the drama of the greater galaxy, I guess you'd say. It's a traditional space opera; in that sense, it's intended to be a trilogy. I will just read a little piece of chapter one.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome.
Tabitha Lord: Alright. "She felt them before she heard them. The sudden wave of panic gripped Caeli so fiercely that she fell to her knees. Sweat beaded on her forehead and her body shook with another person's cold fear. "We're losing altitude. I can't keep the nose up. Time is running out." A voice echoed in her head, frantic. The words were strange and foreign, but she felt their intent.
Tabitha Lord: A ship pierced the white clouds overhead. Frozen in place, Caeli tracked it streaking across the sky. Her consciousness now fully merged with one of the desperate occupants onboard. Her breath came in short gasping bursts. Seconds later, a shattering pain exploded through her body and she screamed. The ground shook violently beneath her and then nothing. She collapsed onto the ground barely conscious, her body spent and her mind blank. For a few silent moments, she lay empty and still.
Tabitha Lord: Her sense of smell returned first. She inhaled the earthiness of decaying leaves and the tangy scent of sea water in the distance. Familiar things. She'd fallen face down with her pack on the ground next to her, bursts of red berries scattered over gray-brown dirt. Her memory crept back in fragments. She'd been gathering fruit and exploring this section of the forest. The ship. The crash. Her eyes flew open, and she sat up trembling. Reaching her mind out, she searched for any trace of life. There it was, nudging against her consciousness like a persistent but incoherent whisper, and it was fading quickly. Whoever was in that ship wasn't going to live much longer."
Tabitha Lord: There you go.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. Now what, I won't ask what happens next.
Tabitha Lord: What happens next? Good. Good.
C. G. Cooper: What was the inspiration for that book?
Tabitha Lord: Well you know people ask me that all the time and I have to say, I've marinated in Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica. As a child that's been my whole ... So where my mind goes when I'm writing, right now at least, is certainly speculative fiction and sci-fi. I had this image of, like I had this scene playing over and over in my head, that very scene, of a girl feeling somebody nearby and a spaceship crashing near her and her having some kind of skill to be able to save this pilot. It was just like a kind of a freeform that would be interesting, what an interesting premise. Then I also had this sort of separate idea of what would happen if on a distant planet part of the population evolved differently and could do things? What would that do? What would that look like? Then I thought, well, maybe I'll make her one, and I married the two ideas and I just started thinking about that plot. That's, yeah, it's been spiraling around for years.
C. G. Cooper: That's awesome. Isn't it funny how that picture pops into your head and you can't get it out? I know that happened with my very first novel and it got to the point where it was almost like a headache and I had to get it out on paper. Is that how you felt?
Tabitha Lord: Oh yeah. It's just like it starts to swirl and swirl and swirl and itch away and kind of dig away at you until you start to tell the story.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, well awesome. Okay, so that's Horizon by Tabitha Lord. Check it out, make sure, so you can find out what happens after the first chapter. Now, let's move onto, I know you're excited about this because most authors are, mean reviews. Did you bring a couple mean reviews with you?
Tabitha Lord: Okay, I have a great mean review from Goodreads. I swear Goodreads is just so awful, they're not, I mean I love Goodreads in so many ways, and I have some great reviews on Goodreads, but I also have this. Okay, so now I just read the beginning so I don't think my book is this, but hey, you know what, it's her opinion. She wrote "This book is about as exciting as a bowl of plain tepid oatmeal. Seriously. The book is a snooze-fest." I thought wow, alright, she really didn't like it. Then there's a couple of others on here but they're just sort of generic "We hated it" "It was terrible" but there was one and I can't find it and I really searched because I was like "where is that review?" I know it was on Goodreads, and it was buried somewhere in here but I swear I've looked through everyone and I can't find it. Someone was making fun of my naming conventions in the book and was talking about how everyone sounded like a Disney princess.
Tabitha Lord: I'm like well for Caeli's name, the way I have it spelled is Latin for "sky." It means sky. It's the genitive singular, so it's a declined noun in Latin. I'm a classics major so I really did this right. I'm like I'm pretty sure there's no Disney princess named that. Then the planets you know I look up on star charts and I actually find real stars and real planets. I'm just like wow, fan fiction with Disney princesses, that like a stretch with my book. I really tried to find that review and I can't find it, so maybe it got pulled down, I don't know. Those are my fun favorites, bowl of tepid plain oatmeal and Disney princesses.
C. G. Cooper: Fan fiction with Disney princesses. I know I haven't gotten that one in my reviews, thank goodness. I mean, I love Disney princesses, but I don't think mine could be-
Tabitha Lord: Yeah, me too.
C. G. Cooper: That's interesting.
Tabitha Lord: In space? Alright, sure, there's I guess princesses in space, I guess.
C. G. Cooper: Maybe you should talk to Disney and get that into a show or movie.
Tabitha Lord: Get an option.
C. G. Cooper: There you go. Somebody believes in it. Well, cool. Let's move onto the speed round, if you're cool with that.
Tabitha Lord: Okay.
C. G. Cooper: I've got four questions. We've got some time, so you can stretch these out a little bit, if you'd like. We'd like to know, number one, what's your favorite thing about being an author?
Tabitha Lord: Wow, I like telling stories it turns out. I like the freedom of this lifestyle that I have now, of really being able to write until midnight if I feel like it. It's just a different flexible world that I live in now. Mostly, I like the telling of stories. That's the best part I think.
C. G. Cooper: Cool. Alright, number two, what is the best advice you ever received? Another loaded question.
Tabitha Lord: Well, so I guess it would be, I mean writing advice? I'm assuming you mean writing advice.
C. G. Cooper: No actually, life advice, it doesn't matter.
Tabitha Lord: Alright. How about if I give one piece of writing advice and one piece of life advice?
C. G. Cooper: Totally.
Tabitha Lord: Okay, so a college professor my freshman year of college said to us, and I remember feeling slightly offended by this at the time because I didn't realize how wise it was. She said "When you decide what it is you people want to do with your lives, and it may change over time," she said "choose something that you love and are passionate about of course, and also choose something you're good at." Now we grow up, our generation grew up hearing you can be anything you want to be, and you want to love what you do, it's not going to be ... You know, and I thought ... All these years later it's always going to be work. No matter how passionate you are about something, it's always going to be work. I think it's good to do something that resonates and that matches, suits your temperament and suits your skill set. That magic combination of "you love it AND you're good at it" was really a good piece of advice and I pass that on.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. Yeah, I feel like I'm hearing that more and more recently. Like it's not just about passion and what you love, it's also about what you might have a talent for and how hard you work at it. I love that message. Isn't it funny how you couldn't internalize that when you were that young? I know I couldn't either.
Tabitha Lord: No I couldn't. I was offended. To say, what am I good at. I could be good at anything if I just work hard enough at it. Well, no actually I'll never be an astrophysicist, no matter how hard I work at it. Even though I love many things about science, it's just not my natural aptitude. That was really good advice. I have a good piece of dating advice.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah, tell us.
Tabitha Lord: This is dating advice I give my children, and one of them is an adult, two are adults now actually. One's in college, one's out of college, and then I have two teenagers. I tell them, well I actually use the F bomb, but I'm not going to do it on the air.
C. G. Cooper: What! You use the F bomb with your kids?
Tabitha Lord: I did. I said, “don't date anyone more ___ upped than you.” That's my advice. I think it's pretty good advice. People are not projects.
C. G. Cooper: I wish somebody had told me that when I was 12.
Tabitha Lord: Don't you, though?
C. G. Cooper: Absolutely. God.
Tabitha Lord: That's why I didn't mince words for them. They seem to have taken me up on it and the few that have had little misadventures with dating and have had actually not taken this advice, they'll come back and go like "Mom, you were right. This is way too much work." It was like, "she's crazy." I said "Yeah, well, people aren't projects though. You want somebody that's, you know, everybody's got issues so, but you just don't want somebody with way more than you have."
C. G. Cooper: Yes. Just so you know I'm writing that down right now, 'cause I have younger kids, and I'm definitely going to be telling that to each and every one of them soon.
Tabitha Lord: I wrote a whole blog post about it. I'll send it to you when I'm done and you can save it, file it away.
C. G. Cooper: I'm in. Totally. Then did you say you had one about writing too?
Tabitha Lord: Yeah. Well the best piece of advice I would tell, and I tell people now too, is just finish something. I'm sure you've heard it too. If you don't have a draft, you have nothing to work on. So finish the piece, worry about that later. Then the other thing that I've realized in the course of this writing adventure is that, you know finish the piece, celebrate. Open that bottle of champagne. You did it! You wrote a book! Yea! Really own that.
Tabitha Lord: Then realize that only about half your work is done. Then move on from there.
C. G. Cooper: Do you have, and I know I've been doing this long enough now that I have a hard time with the celebration part, because I'm already onto the next thing. It's like okay, stop, and just take a deep breath, enjoy what you did, work will be here tomorrow, but maybe take a day for yourself and think about what you just accomplished. I'm trying to be better at that. Are you, is that one of your fortes? Are you really good at that?
Tabitha Lord: No, I'm not. I'm not very good at it 'cause I have, always, a million other projects. I do really try to take the day. The day that I finish a draft, I try to say "okay, I'm going to binge watch a television show now. I'm going to reward myself." Actually, when I finished Infinity, the second book in the series, I binged watched Jessica Jones. It took me only like two days. But that was my treat to myself.
C. G. Cooper: I like it.
Tabitha Lord: But, that was all I could do. After that, I'm like alright you've got that short story, you've got a contract to finish, and you've got to start working on the next. You've got this thing due. I'm like okay, so that was it, but I did do that. That was my reward.
C. G. Cooper: Good. Well I've got to think about that. I've got to remind myself. Alright, two more quick questions. Number one, what is one piece of technology you could not live without?
Tabitha Lord: Well I don't know, I guess you can live without it but I can't imagine writing longhand. I need my laptop. I can't think about how would I do that, how would you cut and paste, do you just squiggle and cross out? I mean obviously when I was a kid I used to write longhand, I mean we've all done it, if we're old enough we've done it, but boy, how do you live without your word processing programs?
C. G. Cooper: I hope I never have to be there.
Tabitha Lord: I don't want to ever find out. The other thing that I find that I use a lot, and this isn't really technology, but it kind of is similar, is thesaurus.com. I use that thing pretty much 20 times every time I sit down to write. I'm like I need a word for "blah." I guess it's made us lazy in the same way that MapQuest and ... what do you call it ... Waze has made us a little bit lazy about knowing where we are in the world. I guess that's made me lazy about actually thinking about all the words I know that mean the same thing as that word. But I hit thesaurus.com with absolute ease.
C. G. Cooper: Good. Alright, one more quick question. We're right up on time. Who do you look up to?
Tabitha Lord: Okay. That's such a tough one because I could always say my mom, then my dad, then my husband. But I would say in terms of the writing piece, when I really think about not being inspired, not being encouraged, but actually technically writing well, my tenth grade English teacher. I really have to say I am grateful to her. She held our feet to the fire about how important it was. It's like when you're a dancer and you have to take classical ballet training even if you're not going to be a ballerina, because you have to understand, you have to know how to do the basics. You have to be able to move in your body. You have to know how to write technically, in order to write creatively, I think. Maybe you don't, but it's my experience that you, that that's a gift to be able to do that so you can then focus on the creativity. So I am thankful and grateful and admired her dedication to that for us.
C. G. Cooper: Great. It's always good to have good mentors growing up. I know I still need them to slap me around and put me back in place every once in a while. Tabitha, thank you again, so much, for being with us. Can you let the listeners know one more time how they can find you and your work?
Tabitha Lord: Sure. I'm TabithaLordAuthor.com so all of my social media can link to from there. My first book Horizon is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and all the ebook ibook outlet distributors, and so is Infinity, now that's been released since June of this year. The short fiction, I have a contribution in an anthology called Sirens with Word Weaver Press and I'll have two more coming out in the next six months with other anthologies and other publishing houses, and they'll be linked on my website. That's how you can find me.
C. G. Cooper: Great. Awesome.
Tabitha Lord: Thank you so much
C. G. Cooper: Thank you. Listeners, check out Tabitha's stuff. We will have all the links on the website cg-cooper.com just click on the podcast tabs. This has been Books in 30 with C. G.Cooper. Thank you for listening and don't forget to email me at cgc (at) cg-cooper.com to say hello or let me know about an author you'd like to see as my guest. Thanks for tuning in. This is C. G. Cooper out.
- Chasing Hope
- Sure Thing
- Asking For Trouble
- A Broken Us
Visit Amy Daws at amydawsauthor.com
C. G. Cooper: Welcome to "Books in 30" with me, C.G. Cooper. Here at "Books in 30," we discuss great books with some of today's top authors. Don't forget that you can snag the full list of books we discuss in this episode at cg-cooper.com/podcast, along with the full transcript of the episode. So welcome to our listeners, and a big "Books in 30" welcome to today's guest, Amy Daws.
Amy is a Amazon Top 100 best selling author of the Harris Brothers series, and is most known for her punny, footy-playing, British playboys. The Harris Brothers and her London Lovers series fuel her passion for all things London. When Amy's not writing, she's watching "Gilmore Girls" or singing karaoke in the living room with her daughter, while daddy awkwardly smiles from a distance. For more of Amy's work, visit amydawsauthor.com. Welcome, Amy. How you doing today?
Amy Daws: Hey, good. How are you?
C. G. Cooper: I am good. I love that last line, " When Amy's not writing, she's watching 'Gilmore Girls'" and then "daddy's awkward smiles from a distance." How often does that happen?
Amy Daws: My daughter and I, we are a pair and my husband is just always shaking his head. He's just always shaking his head at us. So, yes.
C. G. Cooper: Well, cool. Tell me, where are you calling in from today?
Amy Daws: I live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I'm originally an Iowa girl, but I'm right by the border between Iowa and South Dakota. So I'm technically in South Dakota, but I always identify more with Iowans.
C. G. Cooper: So are you, do you guys have snow yet?
Amy Daws: No. We got a few flurries right before- I went to Las Vegas for a signing this past weekend and we had flurries when I was flying out. And then Las Vegas was, of course, super hot so that was just weird.
C. G. Cooper: Going back and forth between that.
Amy Daws: Yeah, yes.
C. G. Cooper: Cool. Can you give the listeners a little bit of a snapshot of when or how you became an author?
Amy Daws: Sure. I had kind of an interesting start in the book world. My first book was a memoir that I wrote called "Chasing Hope" and it was my story of infertility. I had a lot of miscarriages before I had my daughter, Lorelei, and it was just a really hard time then. But once I had my daughter, I was so happy, but for some reason I didn't want to forget the bad, I always like to say because the bad got me to the good.
So I started writing all my memories of the miscarriages that I had - very detail for detail, dialogue my husband and I would have - and I realized I was kind of writing it like a book. And I was like, "You know, I think I could turn this into a book and maybe other women that are going through this might feel a little bit more understood." Or they could pass it off to their mother or their sister who maybe doesn't understand what they're going through, and they kind of get a little glimpse of what the daily struggle someone who's either gone through either miscarriages or infertility goes through. So I wrote "Chasing Hope," and it was a really great experience.
But the problem is, I love reading romance. I've always been a romance novel junkie, and so I knew that I got the itch for writing but I didn't want to continue in non-fiction, so I started writing romance novels. Two months ago, I published my 10th book, so I have nine romance novels and one memoir. So as you can see, my career has taken a turn but it's a very fun story that I'm excited about, what "Chasing Hope" brought into my life, because it's brought lots of adventures. So, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: That is awesome. Isn't it interesting how therapeutic our writing can be sometimes?
Amy Daws: Yeah. Oh, man. It was totally therapeutic. I mean, it just really helped me see the whole picture of the experience I had. And even though I had so many dark years, by the time I got to the end it was a beautiful story. So, yeah. I totally see what you're saying there.
C. G. Cooper: Have you been able to have some good conversations with readers or friends, anybody that's experienced that book?
Amy Daws: Oh, yeah. There's always a tiny little pocket of readers that show up to these- Because most of the signings I go to are romance signings; they're romance conventions. Romance readers are ravenous, so they come in hoards for these big conferences where lots of authors all show up. But there's always one or two that have read "Chasing Hope," and it's always an emotional meeting because they really ... with "Chasing Hope," you get a really close glimpse of my life and I don't hold anything back. So it's very personal, it's very graphic, and it's heart wrenching. So I think when they see me, it's just a super emotional moment to put a face to the book.
And they're always really surprised because I'm a very happy person, and I think they expect me to just look like "Debbie Downer" or something. And I'm like, "Don't be sad. Look at my table of books. Look at all that's come from that." So it's a really cool ... I love when I meet readers that have read "Chasing Hope." It's very special.
C. G. Cooper: That's neat. I had a conversation - actually, her episode went live today - with Laura Pritchett. And she wrote ... it's supposed to be funny and uplifting, but basically her close, her struggles with death. And it's interesting because most of her other stuff is fiction, but this was very much based on her life. And it's amazing to me- First of all, kudos for having the courage to actually write something like that because as artists, we're a little freaked out by that sometimes, being in the spotlight and putting ourselves out there, so that's- It's just I love meeting authors that have the bravery to stand out and say, "Hey, this is my life. Maybe you can relate to it."
Amy Daws: Yeah. I'm definitely not a shy writer. There's a lot of writers that are introverts, and even going to signings really drains them. But for me, it feeds my extroverted personality. So I think I'm a unique one in that regard.
C. G. Cooper: Well, that's good. There needs to be more of us, right?
Amy Daws: Yeah, right.
C. G. Cooper: All right. Well, let's get into the meat of it. Let's talk about a book that you're currently reading or one that you've finished that you think the listeners would love to latch on to.
Amy Daws: Sure. I just got done reading a fun book. I like to try to space my fun books with my soul searching books. So I just finished a fun one that I'm going to talk about because it's fresh in my mind.
It was called "Sure Thing" by Jana Aston. Jana is an indie author like myself. I met her for the first time this year, actually, at a signing in Atlanta. And it was just this really fun, froppy, romantic comedy where the hero was British which, obviously with my love for London, that appealed to me. And the heroine was a twin and she was kind of posing as her sister through most of the book and the hero didn't know it. And so ... there's this really fun, a lot of information that they weren't telling each other, and you're just waiting until the end until they finally reveal who the other person is. Because it turns out that they guy, the British hero, was actually the girl's boss. And she didn't know that, and she's posing as her sister at her job. And so it was so fun. I laughed a lot. It's like one of those epic love stories, so the ending has this great, big, grand gesture, and that's what I love to read.
C. G. Cooper: Very cool. So I have a couple of follow-on questions for you. The first, because as guys we're like, "Oh, we don't want to read romance. It's not my thing." But I'm a great example, okay? I'm maybe a manly-ish man. I was a Marine; I do all these things that are manly-ish. But then I love movies like "Love Actually." "Notting Hill" is one of my favorites. "You've Got Mail"- all these romance-laced stories, but I've never read anything like that. So being a guy, how do you get into what you do? Where should somebody start if you've never even touched that genre?
Amy Daws: You know, my husband read my first romance novel. So I wrote "Chasing Hope" and then I wrote my first romance novel, and he was like, "So, you just made all this up?" It was so funny. And he's such a sports guy, so he's not a reader. Reading for him is not something he enjoys. And I always tell people that aren't big readers - because I have a lot of friends that are trying to read my books or they just never get around to them - I'm like, "Don't worry about it. If reading feels like homework to you, you might just not be a reader. That's okay."
But my husband, though, he started reading it and then he was hooked. And every night he had to grab it and pick it up until he got to the end because he didn't realize how much it can pull you into the story because it's not just the sappy romance exchanges. It's the funny secondary best friends that are the perfect punchlines. And it's usually an emotional journey for the heroine or the hero, where they're trying to find themselves either in a career or something like that, so there's always a secondary aspect.
For guys, though, I really do think they would like rom com just because it's lighter and fluffier. Sports romance, which is something I write a lot of, would especially appeal to them I think because there's usually always a good sports aspect in. And my husband's read my sports ones and those are definitely his favorite, too.
C. G. Cooper: I'm going to admit something right now that I actually didn't realize it until you were just talking. I'm going to admit something to you and to my listeners, and obviously to my readers who are used to military thrillers that I write, that I'm pretty eclectic. I just realized that I've read all the "Fifty Shades of Grey" books, and I've also read, I think three times through, all the "Twilight" series as well.
Amy Daws: See?
C. G. Cooper: So you got me. All right? You got me.
Amy Daws: That's romance, that's romance. Those are great places to start, especially because they have such a presence in our pop culture right now. So it's fun to at least be at a party and you know what they're talking about when they talk about, what was it, the silver balls or something. We won't go any further than that. Don't worry. But you know, there's people that make jokes about that because they've all seen the movies now.
I have a male, Australian reviewer that reviews all my books, and he's married with six kids. Him and his wife have six children together. I think his blog is called "Dave Loves Romance" or something like that. And he is so funny. He's kind of the token male in all the Facebook romance reader groups. And don't know, I think there's a lot of benefit from a man reading a romance novel. It just kind of makes your more hyper aware of the feelings of a situation, and just maybe being more in tuned to having more of an emotional connection with your wife or girlfriend, your partner, whatever. Because it's all the fields; we write all the fields in these books, so I think it could be highly beneficial.
C. G. Cooper: All right. You heard it, guys. If you're listening right now, Amy said it. If you want insight into the female psyche, you might want to start reading her stuff. All right, next question, which is the loaded question I think of the entire show: what is your favorite book of all time?
Amy Daws: That's a hard one, but I think I have to go with, it's called "Asking for Trouble" by Elizabeth Young. It's hard because you love different books for different reasons. But "Asking for Trouble" by Elizabeth Young, she's a British chick-lit author, and if you've ever seen the movie "The Wedding Date" with Debra Messing, the movie was based off this book, which most people don't know. I tell people in the romance industry and they're like, "What? I love that movie. I didn't know it was based on a book." And like most movies, the book is better only because you get more in a book than you ever can in a movie. They really have to condense a lot in a movie.
So it's "Asking for Trouble" by Elizabeth Young because it is just British chick-lit at its finest. It's like such- I don't know, the British humor to me has always been really appealing, which is probably why I base a lot of my books in London because I love their dry, sharp wit. It's what got my start in reading. I wasn't much of a reader in my 20's. I was in college and all I could do was read textbooks. And my sister's like, "You just try to read something for fun. Here, read this. It's about the movie. It's what the movie 'The Wedding Date' was based off of."
And I was hooked. And then I consumed all Elizabeth Young's novels. And then I got hooked on British chick-lit, so I moved on to Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, and just a lot of those British chick-lit greats. And now I'm basing my books in London, so I think it's kind of all come full circle for me.
C. G. Cooper: Well, that was actually my second question, was why the love for London? And tell us more about that.
Amy Daws: My first novel that I wrote after my memoir was called "A Broken Us." And I wanted, my goal with that was ... as wonderful as the memoir industry is and that genre, if you're not a Kim Kardashian book sales are never going to blow up for you because most people care about reading about the real life of Kim Kardashian or somebody famous than someone who's maybe just undergone a struggle.
So I really wanted to get the world of infertility brought into a larger platform, so I thought, "I'm going to write a romance novel with an infertility storyline for the heroine." And so I had my heroine break up with her boyfriend right at the beginning of the book, and she moves overseas to London to live with her best friend. And I just think I thought ... I remember when I was going through miscarriages that there was a time in my life where I was like, "I just want to get away. I want to move to a different country. Start over. Stop obsessing about babies and fertility charts. And I want an adventure that's not family-oriented."
And I'm in the Midwest. Women have babies in their lower 20's around here. It's just a very family-friendly place to live in the States. And so it was just around me all the time and I thought, "I could go to London. There's no language barrier." So that kind of started my obsession with London. And then the British chick-lit aspect I think added to that.
So yeah, my first heroine went overseas, and then she met all these cool friends, and I just kind of happily got stuck over there with the series called the "London Lovers" series, and then that spun off into my "Harris Brothers" series, and they're all a bunch of Brits.
C. G. Cooper: Do you have a big following overseas?
Amy Daws: Yeah. Actually, I do have a pretty good following. My best book signing to date happened in Birmingham, England. But the British are ravenous romance readers, too, I've noticed. And I think when a United States author comes over there, they want to buy all the books because- for signed copies at home, because I think they're ... you might never come back or it could be years until you come back. I did really well in Birmingham, England. That was a lot of fun. Those British readers are fun.
C. G. Cooper: That's awesome. That is cool. That is something that I still haven't done. I don't know. I've got three young ones at home, so getting away for something like that- Now, we do go overseas for research trips for books, but London is still on the top of my list. I've been all over the world; I've never been there before. I finally got to Paris for the first time last year and loved it. So I know as a history buff that London is right up my alley.
Amy Daws: Yeah. We had the best trip to London when we went recently. And it's always research for me, so I never say 'no' to a trip to London.
C. G. Cooper: Maybe we'll meet you over there sometime. How about that?
Amy Daws: Yeah, sounds good. We'll book that trip.
C. G. Cooper: There you go. All right, cool. Well, what about your work? Did you bring a snippet to read for the listeners?
Amy Daws: Yes. Let me find my page. I'm literally reading out of my paperback. This is just a little half a page I'll read from my book called, "Keeper." It's my book that just released two months ago. So this is the third book in my "Harris Brothers" series, and my "Harris Brothers" are about these four brothers that all play professional soccer in England; it's called 'football' in my books. They're British. I always have to be very clear about that because the British people or Europeans get mad at me if they hear me say 'soccer' in videos. And they're like, "But you write in England. You need to make sure you say football." I'm like, "All right, okay, I'm sorry."
So this "Keeper" is a best-friends-to-lovers romance novel about Booker Harris, who is the youngest of these four brothers, and he is the goal keeper for the team that two of them play on. And his best friend, Poppy McAdams from childhood, returns after being away for six years. She went to university and to grad school in Germany, and now she's back. And she needed a place to stay, and she's going to be staying with Booker.
So my heroine is British, but if I try to do this in a British accent, it's going to go Australian and it's going to get ugly. It's going to get ugly real quick, so I'm just going to read it in the Amy Daws accent of South Dakota.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. I do the same thing. Why do we slip into Australian? I don't know.
Amy Daws: I don't know. I just gets worse, it gets worse. I read some of my daughter's children's books in a British accent and it sounds so good. But my own stuff? I don't know. I just can't do it. I can't; I tried. So I'll go ahead. This is from Chapter 3, and it's in Poppy's point of view.
I'm moving in with Booker Harris. I'm moving in with Booker Harris. I'm moving in with Booker Harris. I sing the last bit in my head because then the statement seems to resonate a bit longer. It sounds peculiar, even in a B flat. I was prepared to take my time moving back to London when my lease started in July. But one good job offer later, and here I am in Booker's building with his brothers like nothing's changed.
Booker's offer was awfully sweet and incredibly unexpected, especially considering the last time we saw each other was six years ago, and it wasn't the best of goodbyes. But, commuting would have been a nightmare and his flat is very close to the school I'll be working at, so it was silly of me to try and refuse. Right? Right. That's totally it. Booker's my best friend and I haven't seen him since I was 19. What better way to reconnect with an old friend than move in with him for an extended period of time, where there's nowhere to run and nowhere to hide? Nevermind that I'll have to share a bathroom with him.
Oh, wait. I don't want to read the rest of this page and I want to stop. My humor can get a little saucy, so we'll just end it at that.
C. G. Cooper: Okay.
Amy Daws: It's clean. It's clean this way. I thought I could read the next paragraph, but it escalates.
C. G. Cooper: I think you were just about to dive into an Australian accent. That's why you stopped, right?
Amy Daws: That's probably it, yes. That's totally it.
C. G. Cooper: Well, cool. Well, thank you for sharing that. And again, just for the readers, that's "Keeper" right?
Amy Daws: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: And you said that's the third book in the one series.
Amy Daws: Yes. And they're all standalones because each book covers a brother. But it is the third one in the "Harris Brothers" series that's been released. So, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Good to know. So they can pick them up in any order they want.
Amy Daws: Yeah, absolutely.
C. G. Cooper: Fantastic. All right. Well tell you what, Amy, you ready for the speed round? You ready for some good questions?
Amy Daws: I'm ready. I did not prepare myself. I was like I just want to answer cold-
C. G. Cooper: Yeah.
Amy Daws: so I'm ready.
C. G. Cooper: It's more fun that way. Why prep, right? We're casual around here.
Amy Daws: Exactly.
C. G. Cooper: All right, first question: what's your favorite thing about being an author?
Amy Daws: Working from home in my pajamas.
C. G. Cooper: Yes. All right. What is the best advice you ever received? And it does not have to be about writing.
Amy Daws: I was going to say "just keep writing." The best advice I've ever received, it was "finish." You've got to finish what you're doing. It's very easy in the author world to start a project, leave it; start another one, leave it; start it, leave it. And then you have all these unfinished things all over, whether it's writing or business marketing tasks. You've got to finish everything you do before you can move on.
C. G. Cooper: Amen a thousand times. All right, third one: what is one piece of technology you could not live without?
Amy Daws: It's my phone. I'm addicted. It's my phone.
C. G. Cooper: Aren't we all?
Amy Daws: Yep.
C. G. Cooper: All right. What is one thing you wish you could change about publishing? And it could be about the industry, the process, whatever you want.
Amy Daws: Hmm. I need a quick answer, don't I? There's so much. For some reason, this came up - and this is going to get a little bit deep quickly - but it's very prevalent in the romance industry that interracial couples on covers is a big no-no, or people are afraid to market that because they think it won't sell, and that makes me really sad. And I think we need to try harder at pushing different races on covers besides just Caucasian people.
C. G. Cooper: I like it, I like it. Inclusion, right?
Amy Daws: Yes.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. All right. What genre do you wish you could write in?
Amy Daws: I would love to write a sick vampire romance.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah? Okay.
Amy Daws: Still romance, but I want some vamps sometime. Someday.
C. G. Cooper: Me, too. I have this thing about vampires. I've read all of Anne Rice's novels-
Amy Daws: Yes.
C. G. Cooper: -and her non-fiction stuff, too. I read that stuff back when I was I think in my early 20's. And I don't know, something about that vampire world. I tell my wife that I want to be a vampire one day.
Amy Daws: Yeah, right? Me, too. They never need sleep. We could write all night and all day. It'd be amazing.
C. G. Cooper: Heck, yeah. And forever and ever. What's wrong with that?
Amy Daws: Exactly.
C. G. Cooper: All right. What's on your bucket list?
Amy Daws: I really want to go to Africa on a safari.
C. G. Cooper: Safari.
Amy Daws: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: You are brave. All right, next one: if you could teach a college course, what subject or class would you teach?
Amy Daws: Probably ... no, not a writing class. I hate teaching writing; I think it's very hard. My background is in video production, so probably video editing.
C. G. Cooper: Really?
Amy Daws: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Video production?
Amy Daws: Yep.
C. G. Cooper: See? I love it. You figure out interesting things about interesting people when you do this kind of stuff. All right. Last one; this is a fun one since I'm a foodie: if you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Amy Daws: Oh, man. It's got to be ... I love British chocolate and I almost said that, but I'd get tired of it. It's probably something salty like chips, like Pringles, the originals.
C. G. Cooper: Ooh, the original Pringles. In the tube, right?
Amy Daws: Exactly.
C. G. Cooper: Yes. All right. Well, cool. Well, Amy, thank you again so much for being on the show. Can you give a few last words to our listeners and let them know where they can find you, and maybe something ... I know you've got a new book out, so please let them know about that.
Amy Daws: Sure. My newest, "Keeper," just came out on audio just literally on the first of this month. And my audio is really cool because it's duet style narrating for most of my audio books, all my "Harris Brothers," and one other book of mine. And duet style is a little bit different than what you're used to because-
So there's male and female point of view chapters, but the male reads all the male dialogue in any chapter, and the female reads all the female. So it's very conversational, and it's like a movie in your ears. And I'm always really proud about duet sound narrating because there's not very much of it in the audio industry yet because it's a little bit, it takes a little more production to do.
So, yeah. "Keeper" is available on audio now. All my books are on audio. You can always find more information about my stuff at my website, which is just amydawsauthor.com.
C. G. Cooper: Amydawsauthor.com. All right. Well Amy, thanks again. Listeners, this has been "Books in 30" with C.G. Cooper. Thank you for listening, and don't forget to email me at cg (at) cg-cooper.com to say hello, or let me know of an author you'd like to see as my guest. Thanks for tuning in. This is C.G. Cooper. Out.
BOOKS IN 30 Podcast