Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Author George Cramer

FrontCover of Written Across the GenresHIIn my anthology, George Cramer has an essay titled, “Why I Hate D.E.E.R.” in which he takes the reader on a ride to see why deer are a hazard when he’s on a motorcycle road trip. George also has a novel in progress excerpt in the anthology called “A Tale of Robbers and Cops” in which two brothers have to prove their worth in order to be included in a group of criminals. They execute a prank that is not only funny but brings them a bonus. Here is an interview with George Cramer.

Julaina: Who is your favorite author?

George: Without a doubt, Bernard Cornwell. He writes historical novels in such a manner that I can see, feel, and hear his characters. I’ve read all twenty-four novels in his Richard Sharpe series about the Napoleonic Wars. When I visited Salamanca, Spain and Porto, Portugal, it was as though his protagonist, Richard Sharp, was walking the battlefields with me.

Julaina:  Why do you write?

George: I stepped into your “Polish Your Writing” class by accident about two years ago. After my first writing assignment, I’ve been unable to stop. If I allow a day to go by without writing, I’ve wasted a day.

Julaina:  Where do you like to write?

George: At the Dublin Senior Center, this is where I’m most productive. When I have trouble with my laptop, I return to my home office.

Julaina:  What are you working on now?

George: I’ve got three novels in the works, two crime stories and one romance. In addition, I try to write at least one short story a week.

Julaina: I’ve read parts of those novels and I’m looking forward to seeing them in print. Thanks, George.

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Interview with Poet Fred Norman

If you missed my previous post, I recommended Fred Norman’s book, A Hill of Poems which has the Crosses of Lafayette on the cover. Here I will do an interview with him. His poem, “Top Loading Washing Machine” is in my anthology, Written Across the Genres (available on Amazon). At bookstore readings, people tell me they enjoy his poem even more when they hear him read it.

Julaina: Who is your favorite author?

Fred: Lately my favorite author seems to be the writer of the last good book I’ve read. For fiction that would be Chang-Rae Lee, the book is On Such a Full Sea. This is a book for writers as well as readers. It can be read for pleasure, an educational comment on our society with waves of tenseness and an ending that keeps the story fresh in memory for weeks after reading the last word. For the writer, it can be studied to learn how to do successfully what writers often are taught not to do, very long sentences, for instance and relatively little dialogue.

For non-fiction that would be Glenn Greenwald, the book is No Place to Hide. It has to do with Edward Snowden. It reads like a well-written novel, it’s difficult to put down, it stimulates the emotions. You can read this book and learn unpleasant truths or you can ignore this book and live in ignorance, happily, perhaps, but only happy for a while.

In poetry I long ago was hypnotized for life by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”. Oh, that vision of a dream. That Xanadu. Whenever I need a push to write, be it prose or poetry, or sometimes just to dream, I reread this poem.

Julaina: Where do you like to write?

Fred: I prefer writing at home, in my house, in a small room with windows to let in sunlight on a sunny day and to see out into darkness at night, quiet, and absolutely undisturbed by human contact.

Julaina: What are you working on now?

Fred: As you know, I committed myself to using whatever writing skill I have to oppose the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. To that I’ve added drones and whatever other illegal and immoral acts our government and military insist on doing. The list is endless. I’m set for life as far as reasons for writing are concerned.

Poetry works well in this endeavor, but as you also know, nobody reads poetry, especially my kind of poetry, so I’m not accomplishing what I set out to do. There are other genres I need to explore. For some of my ideas, the pamphlet is ideal, and there are publishers who specialize in pamphlets. That’s what I’m working on now. Look for the word “Occupy”. Blogging. My website is Short stories and essays. They’re next. I should be able to stay busy for a while.

Julaina: Thanks, Fred, for taking time for this interview. And good luck with your projects.

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More about Author Shannon Brown

In my previous post, I interviewed Shannon Brown who has two novel excerpts in my anthology, WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES. She attends our writers group in Dublin, CA. As the teacher, I give ten minute exercises to practice what we’ve discussed. Here is Shannon’s ideas about writing with some rhetorical devices.

Disneyland is fun in the morning. Disneyland is fun in the afternoon. Disneyland is fun at night. I am one of those people who likes Disneyland and doesn’t think it’s cheesy, however, the repeating stye of writing is coming out extremely cheesy. Not Gouda at all, it’s not better with cheddar, so go tell your Uncle Jack: “Don’t show up at the party unless you brought Havarti.”

The plot of Shannon Brown’s novel, ROCK’n’ROLL in LOCKER SEVENTEEN, involves seventeen-year-old  Steven White, the biggest fan of teen idol Ricky Stevenson whose fate Steven is determined to discover. The description on the back cover states that it’s “a hilarious novel about what happens to Steven when he discovers what really happened to the missing star.”

Find it on Amazon.




Filed under Anthology, Interviews, Young Adult Novel

Author Shannon Brown Interview

Author Shannon Brown Interview

Shannon Brown has two novel excerpts published in my anthology, WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES. One is from ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IN LOCKER SEVENTEEN and the other is from her work in progress, FROM BEYOND THE MUSIC. The anthology and Shannon’s young adult novel are available on Amazon.

Here’s a short interview with Shannon.
Julaina: “Who is your favorite author?”

Shannon: “I like Nick Hornby’s fiction. Even though it’s usually set in England, his work is relatable and funny. It also makes me want to visit London.”

Julaina: “Why do you write?”

Shannon: “To get my ideas on paper and because it’s fun.”

Julaina: “Where do you like to write?”

Shannon: “Mostly in my office at a desktop computer because I hate laptop keyboards. Occasionally, I will write in longhand on the couch if I’m not in a typing mood.”

Julaina: “What are you working on now?”

Shannon: “I’m editing the prequel to ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IN LOCKER SEVENTEEN. I have the first draft completed. My other project is PARLOR TRICKED, a first book in a series about a reluctant psychic.”

Julaina: “Thanks, Shannon.”

In my next post I will give an example of Shannon’s humor.


May 23, 2014 · 9:44 pm

Question about Posting Interviews

I intend to post an interview a week with authors that have stories, essays, and poems in my anthology, Written Across the Genres. I’d like to know if you’d like shorter interview posts or longer ones like Gary Lea’s whose is the first. Scroll down to see the length of Gary’s interview on my February 11th post.

I’ve wanted to keep my posts short and realized the interview was a long one. I can shorten future ones.

What are your thoughts?


Filed under Anthology, Interviews

Written Across the Genres Interview

I will be interviewing the authors who contributed stories, novel excerpts, essays or poems to Written Across the Genres. Here is the first one:

Author Interview with Gary Lea

“Countdown” by Gary Lea, appears in my anthology, Written Across the Genres. It is the story of a day in the life of a computer technician. It introduces Keith, computer repair man extraordinaire, who is endowed with a perfect understanding of computers, a photographic memory, and stamina.
One evening Keith searches for a particularly resistant virus that promises to destroy all of the important information on his client’s computer. The virus periodically predicts how much time is left before it takes action.

How did you get the idea for “Countdown”?

I originally wrote it as a storytelling assignment for my Toastmaster’s group. The story came out of my own experience in getting rid of a stubborn virus for one of my own clients and fervently wishing I had the traits displayed by the hero in this story.

 What is a writing day like for you?

Generally I sit down in front of my computer, bring up Word, and stare at the blank page for awhile trying to remember all those brilliant ideas I had while I was riding on Bart and had forgotten paper and pen. If I’m lucky, I will remember something and start writing. When I’m finished it won’t look anything like that original killer idea that I had, so I will start a re-write, straining to remember those perfect words that I had once strung together in my mind.

 What do you enjoy about writing?

I have spent a lot of time in my life daydreaming about what I thought my perfect life would be like. When I am writing, I can give all those wonderful traits to my characters with the power to solve all of the problems that come their way. Of course, I can’t make it too easy for them but Superman was my favorite comic book when I was a kid so I kind of automatically fall into that bent.

 What is the difficult part of writing?

The most difficult thing for me is to throw the monkey wrenches into the life of my protagonist to create challenges for him and to make the story interesting. It is far too easy for me to go off writing about this person who has a perfect life and is terminally boring.

How has publishing a story changed your life?

Publishing a story has reinforced my desire to continue writing. I hadn’t realized how fulfilling it would be to have one of my stories appear in a book where it can be read by friends, family and even strangers.

What are your plans now?

I have a novel in the works and some short stories. Suddenly there seems to be more ideas sprouting for new characters and plots.

What is a tip for aspiring authors?

For me it has been difficult to set aside a consistent time to sit down and write. When I have been able to do that, I seem to make progress much more quickly than I expected. I think this is probably the main key for anyone who aspires to write. Do everything you can to keep from getting in the way of your writing.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

When I was much younger and knew that I wanted to be a writer, I made it a point to be aware of what was going on around me. I trained myself to see the things that everyone else was too busy to notice, to overhear conversations when in public places, jot down interesting bits and pieces and think up stories I could build around them. I think it enriches my life and my writing.

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Filed under Anthology, Interviews