Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today I Welcome Author Brett Lane

Good evening, Brett. Thank you for taking the time out to interview with me. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Some say that I have writing in my blood. My father made his living as a writer and both his father and his uncle had books published. However, I never followed in their footsteps and instead chose a life of service to my community. I have been doing my best to clean up the streets and make your neighborhoods safe at night for greater than fifteen years now.

Much of my detailed stories stem from things that I have personally witnessed. These inspirations were not copied exactly and were tailored to fit the story and most were not very pleasant.

So how did this cop become an author?

I always felt that I had a story to tell, but never put much belief into my ability. That all changed when I located an app called "The Novelist" in the iTunes Store. The brand new app was created to bring aspiring authors together for a contest. Each week the authors when get an assignments and write a story using a certain number of words. Each week, fans would vote for their favorites and the one with the least would be out. The grand prize was the winner got their book published by the sponsors of the app.

Much to my surprise, I won the thing and now have my debut novel "The Cain Children" published and available for purchase through 

Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?
My novel is titled "The Cain Children" and is about scientists discovering the gene in a human beings
 DNA that makes them susceptible to killing for enjoyment. As the book says, not everyone with the
 gene turns into a serial killer, but every killer has the gene.

I have often had a curiosity for what makes killers tick, what makes them do it. There are no real 
answers, so I thought about what if they were just born that way and the story came from there.

 What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
My debut novel is only a few weeks old and I haven't received any feedback other than from my family.
That is really the hardest part for me, being just another unread book author. If I got bad reviews, at
 least I would know what to change and fix for next time, but just being ignored feels like a waste.

I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the gasps and noises that my wife made as she read through each
 chapter of my book. She really liked it, but I guess wives are supposed too.

On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?
Spending time with my daughters, my wife, my mother, my yard, my grocery store, or our friends. I
 don't often find free time anymore and unfortunately writing takes a backseat to life.

 What genre are you most looking forward to exploring during your writing career? Why?
I would love to write a children's book. I would to write something that my daughters could actually
 read and something that they would enjoy and make them proud of their old man.

Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?
My family as a whole, but more specifically my wife for her support, input, critique, and her
 unbelievable ability to put up with me.

What are you currently reading?
The David Moody Hater series. I am on the third volume of the three, "Them or Us"

Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King is the absolute best. I will also occasionally step into the fantasy world with hobbits, or 
wizards from Hogwarts. 

 What authors inspired you to write this particular novel? Why?
I try to copy Kings style, but I often think to myself about whether or not he would enjoy reading what 
I wrote. He is so versatile and has written so many different genres and styles.

What 7 words would you use to describe yourself.
Humorous, fun, morbid, motivated, dedicated, loyal, and Merlin

 Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?
I want people to enjoy what I have to offer. I am certainly not for everyone, but give me a chance 
before you decide. I only ask for one thing from my fans, an opportunity.

 Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
Mike. He is the good guy in every sense of the word. He saves the girls life, catches the culprit, and then
reads to her while she is in a coma.
 Book Blurb:

From Brett Lane, the winner of The Novelist: Season One, comes The Cain Children:

Could you take a life? Maybe, but could you kill a child?
What if you knew that the child would grow up to be a monster and there was nothing you could do to stop it... Other than euthanasia. Could you, would you, kill a seemingly innocent person (child) to protect society in the future? Would you detest those that sentence a child to the death penalty before they have even committed a crime?
In the not so distant future, scientists stumbled upon a discovery. They learned to isolate and identify the gene in a child's DNA that makes them susceptible to killing for pleasure, to become a serial murderer. Not every child with the gene kills, but every serial killer has this gene, called the Cain gene after the first murderer in the bible. 

There is no cure for the gene and since not every child with the gene kills, a new government agency called the guardians is created. They are instituted to monitor the children born with the genes and to take appropriate actions once the genes manifests itself and they prove to be killers.
Only carriers of this gene can pass it along to their children, so even those that don't kill, can sire children that may. 

There is the dilemma, end the outbreak by possibly killing the innocent, or eliminate all carriers to end all possible murder in the future.

Follow this story of the Cain children as well as the scientists that monitor them while posing as their parents.

Today I Welcome Author David Litwack

Please enjoy this interview with David Litwack, author of the gripping contemporary novel, Along the Watchtower, and the deep, dark dystopia, There Comes a Prophet. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

 Along the Watchtower is a powerful blend of contemporary fiction and fantasy that demands the reader's attention from start to finish. What was your inspiration for writing this work, and for combining World of Warcraft with a casualty of war and a dream world? I’ve always been fascinated by how we perceive reality. Think of the film Rashomon, the classic exploration of multiple realities, where several witnesses to a crime describe events completely differently, each bringing their own life experience and biases into play. But it’s when we’re ripped from our normal life and placed in extreme circumstances that our reality becomes totally fragmented. Such is the case with hospitals and war. At the same time, I’d become engrossed in playing the online fantasy game, World of Warcraft, with my son, an avid player. With me on the east coast and him on the west, he suggested we meet weekly in the fantasy world of Azeroth—an invitation I could hardly resist. For several months, we had a Wednesday evening appointment, where our avatars would meet in this virtual world and go on quests together. I was struck by how totally immersed I could get in the game, how quickly time passed, and the surreal mood of wandering around in castles and crypts, solving riddles and following quests. The fantasy gaming experience has a dream-like quality to it. And I began to wonder: how would this experience affect the dreams of someone whose reality has been fragmented by war, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury. These concepts—war, hospitals, and the fantasy world of online gaming—came together in Along the Watchtower.  

Without giving away too much, can you introduce us to the main character Lieutenant Freddie, and tell us how he's similar and different in both worlds he inhabits? When Freddie comes out of his medically-induced coma in the VA hospital, he’s nearly given up hope. Everything he had to live for was gone, and he was racked with bad memories and guilt, in addition to his physical injuries. Prince Frederick doesn’t have the luxury of giving up. If he yields to despair, the kingdom that depends on him will fall into darkness. Because of this, he’s more willing to struggle through his trials. It’s through the prince in the fantasy world that Freddie is finally able to confront and overcome his personal demons in the real world.

 Your first novel, There Comes a Prophet, explores the roots of the dystopian fiction category while also reinventing it for a younger generation of readers. This genre boasts many great classics including Slaughterhouse V, 1984, and Brave New World to name a few. What are your favorite classic books? Dystopia literally means dysfunctional utopia, not necessarily an evil, power-hungry regime oppressing its people, but a well-intentioned system that has lost its way, resulting in a world gone awry. My favorite such dystopian is Arthur C. Clarke’s The City and the Stars. In this near perfect world, there’s no disease, hunger or poverty, and people are effectively immortal. But all are afraid to venture outside the walls of their city or even look beyond them. The thought of the open expanse of stars in the night sky terrifies them. All of this had been put in place to protect them from some past too horrible to mention. Yet the unfulfilled aspirations of a single individual drive him to discover the lost truth and let humanity move forward again. Lois Lowry’s The Giver is another great example. In a simple but beautiful writing style, she tells the story of a seemingly perfect world where bad memories have been abolished, except for one person, the keeper of memories. But the people are left unable to feel anything much—good or bad.

 People read books for many different reasons. Of all the different reasons you've seen in reviews, can you relate one story that really stood out for you about a reader's experience? One reviewer read Along the Watchtower and it brought back memories of being a young college student, witnessing the twin towers fall on 9/11. The book touched him deeply, because it reminded him that, as a result of that tragic event, we’ve been at war his entire adult life. The shock he felt on 9/11 all came back to him in reading the struggles of the recovering Lt. Freddie Williams. Interestingly enough, that same reviewer had a powerful reaction to the dystopian world of There Comes a Prophet. In that book, a ruling power limits learning and growth. This reviewer associated my story with the courageous young Malala Yousafzai, the Pakastani girl who the Taliban tried to kill for advocating education for women.  

 Along the Watchtower features a veteran's healing process on the physical, emotional, and intellectual levels. What role do you think fantasy role-playing games and dreaming can play in a healing process? When we’re confronted with trauma too terrible to comprehend, our mind sometimes shuts the experience out to let us heal. But the memory still lingers in our subconscious. Sometimes it’s easier to confront those feelings through fantasy, like dreams or video games, rather than facing them head on in the cruel light of reality. Then once confronted, we’re better able to move on.

Symbolism and description play a huge role in the opening chapters of Along the Watchtower. As the lines between reality and fantasy become more and more blurry, did you find it difficult to remember which 'character' you were talking as? Freddie and Prince Frederick were undergoing the same trials at an emotional level, even though their circumstances differed. The hardest part in writing the two was to maintain a distinct voice for each—for Freddie the gritty language of the VA hospital and for Prince Frederick, more of a high fantasy tone. This difference was important to make each world believable. But since the book was written in a first person point of view, it was also critical to quickly alert the reader whenever there was a switch in worlds.  

 Ocean imagery features prominently in your book Along the Watchtower. What's your favorite place to visit, and what scenery do you find most inspiring as an author? I almost hate to mention this because it’s such a well-kept secret. But my favorite spot is a place called The Knob in my home town of Falmouth. It’s a raised spit of land rising up dramatically into the harbor onto a domed rock, reachable only after a half-mile walk through the woods. I’ve actually used it as a setting in my upcoming novel, The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky.  

You run a very active blog and website, though the demands of marketing yourself can be overwhelming for many authors. How do you find balance in your life, and time to enjoy your surroundings in a highly technical world? Coming from a software background, I'm sure you might have unique insights on balancing the 'real' world with the technical one. I’ve spent most of my adult life in front of a computer, first as a software engineer and now as an author. The key is to take advantage of non-computer time to get out and enjoy yourself. But all writers want to be read, so you have to spend time reaching out to readers. The software equivalent was that I used to enjoy taking a break from developing software to visit customers and see how they were using what I’d developed.  

 You've published two books, Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet. Is there anything you'd like to share with readers and your future writing plans? I’m in late stage edits with an alternate world story called The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. It’s about a world divided between the Blessed Lands, a place of the spirit, and the Republic, whose people worship at the altar of reason. A mysterious nine-year-old girl from the Blessed Lands sails into the lives of a troubled couple in the Republic and seems to heal everyone she meets. She reveals nothing about herself, other than to say she’s the daughter of the sea and the sky. But she harbors a secret wound she herself cannot heal. I’m also currently planning what will be a sequel to There Comes a Prophet. I’ve always wondered what happened to Orah and Nathaniel after their world changing heroics and what became of the contemporaries of the keepmasters who had crossed the ocean. Stay tuned.  

 What do you like to do to unwind? You know, in those rare moments when you're not writing! Since writing and social networking are indoor activities, I try to get outside as often as possible. I go for long walks on the seashore, play some golf, bicycle, and generally try to stay active. I’m fortunate to be able to split my time between Cape Cod and Florida, both beautiful places in their respective nice seasons.

Watchtower Tour Badge

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, both Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack are on sale this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
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  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
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  5. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.
Along the Watchtower tells of a tragic warrior lost in two worlds; a woman who may be his only way back from Hell. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes. There Comes a Prophet A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a time of violence and social collapse. Nathaniel has grown up in their world of limits, longing for something more. For what are we without dreams? Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes. David Litwack, the once and future writer, explores the blurry line between reality and the Visit David on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.