maandag 24 september 2012

Interview with author Ruud Antonius

Hey again :)

Today I am talking to author Ruud Antonius who was born on the 3rd of December 1959 in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands where he lived until the age of 13 and moved to England with his family in 1973, continued his schooling and studied art in Hampshire. After that, in 1979, he moved to Bielefeld, Germany and 9 months later to Hameln, a small town close to Hanover. For a period of 5 years he painted there, did a short spell being a musician and in 1984 returned to The Netherlands to become a full time artist. In March 2006 Ruud decided to move back to England to see how things had panned out there but finally ended up in Spain on one of the Costas where painting and writing seem to fill most of his days.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Ruud Antonius: The first serious piece I wrote must have been somewhere around the 1990’s. It was called ‘Mart Meissner’ and told the story of an autistic artist who lived life with the same intensity and vigour that he experienced in his work. At the time I was working in the Netherlands as an artist and wrote it in Dutch. Being a surrealistic painter I found it an interesting initiative to see what would happen if I’d write a story in much the same fashion as I paint, using identical thought processes to bend and contort reality into the strange and wonderful world of surrealistic imagery. So I bought an electronic typewriter (can we remember them?) and locked myself in the office after work for a couple of hours a day. What had started out as a small experiment soon turned into an unfinished story more than 200 pages long, packed with insane ideas but at the same time it was an interesting adventure to have taken on. It is now stacked away in a cardboard box somewhere where it will remain. I just might read it again some day but I haven’t had the courage as yet.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Ruud Antonius: About two years ago I was asked by Carter Kaplan, a professor of the English language in the USA to join the board of editorial advisors of International Authors which is a consortium of writers, artists, architects and critics. They publish works of outstanding merit dedicated to the advancement of an international culture in literature primarily in English. I accepted and was thrilled with the stories in ‘Emanations’ an anthology edited by Carter. Shortly after that I started writing Son upon Tine, not with the intention of ever having it published. When Carter came over to stay with me in the UK to attend a meeting of International Authors in London we got talking over the piece I was writing and he urged me to finish it. That and meeting up with a bunch of authors on a terrace at St. Pancras station did the trick.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Ruud Antonius: The strange phenomenon that I can actually feel and see the world I am creating, the details, choosing the bits you want and having the luxury to discard things which are surplus to the story but set the mood all the same for me to write in the right frame of mind. It just might be an addiction, a form of escapism from the real world, but hey, I am not too impressed with the real world at the best of times.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your trilogy Son upon Tine and the main characters?

Ruud Antonius: The trilogy is an analogy to the real world we live in, the absurdities of politics, money and corruption. At the same time it tells the story of friendships, society, science, love and fear with all its mechanisms and complexities in a bizarre community, yet never losing touch with reality. The reader is put in a position where the situations created never seem implausible and thus becomes familiar and attached to the weird and wonderful world of Son upon Tine without questioning the surreal undertone of the complete novel.

Book 1 tells the story of how Mark Miworth Caerphilly acquired his status and wealth through his position as Mayor of Cornbridge Town, bending the rules and regulations where he can to achieve his goals but when Anthony Bridewell, a casual worker in the nearby village of Son upon Tine happens to stumble upon a freak incident whilst on his way to work, the two main characters are bound by fate.  Angela Hilsop, the personal secretary to the Mayor defects after finding secret information regarding the Lower Decks, a remnant since the Great War and a sinister place in the cellars of the Council building where ‘difficult’ individuals are locked away to safeguard the Mayor’s powers. At the same time Anthony is aided by Abram Young, a milkman, one of the few in the small rural community who defies the heavy nature of the night, taking him out to the banks of the river Tine where plans have been made to build a modern power plant to generate electricity from a unique structure within the strange waters which flow through the country side. Soon afterwards more people join their struggle to topple the Mayor who makes great efforts to silence the small group but in doing so finds himself in more trouble than he bargained for. Joseph Young, the son and apprentice of the Milkman, Peter Outslogh a simple farmer who prefers to slaughter his pigs rather than rear them and Murphy Lawson a retired physics teacher who is married to a retired nurse who cannot accept the redundancy of her skills.  They all unite in an attempt to assist Anthony but are unable to prevent him having to leave his home, a house that struggles to retain its size and fights the structural changes Anthony has made over the years.

The story is told in two parts, with separate timelines, out of synchronicity, from Anthony’s and Mark’s point of view. As the story unfolds Anthony’s time line draws alongside Mark’s, in part two it surpasses his adversary. It is an hour-to-hour account from Ablebodyday 1, June 15th 1959 to Ablebodyday 8, June 22nd 1959 describing the absurd and preposterous events within the boundaries of Cornshire on a plot of land no larger than 12 by 12 miles.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the trilogy?

Ruud Antonius: The idea has been in my head for years and during that time I improved the initial concept, worked out the different layers, structured the themes and invented weird and wonderful characters. I had drawn a complete map of the village Son upon Tine and the area around the council offices in Cornbridge town long before I started writing. With all that already done the story nearly wrote itself.

Books & Writing: Why did you decide to turn the story into a trilogy?

Ruud Antonius: It was a logical choice from the outset. The first book tells a story on a very small piece of land, in a rural setting in the county of Cornshire with timelines which are offset between the two main characters living in two different towns. In the second book the consequences of the ‘troubles’ in Son upon Tine have repercussions with neighbouring country Scowaland. We then have two timelines and two storylines on either side of the border of two nations who are on the brink of war. The last book will be written in retrospective from Anthony’s point of view after the whole world has been plunged in a bitter war instigated from a relatively small incident in Son upon Tine.

Books & Writing: How many parts of the trilogy have you finished so far?

Ruud Antonius: Book one is completely finished and ended up 420 pages long which took me about 8 months to write. I am now half way through the second book which will be slightly longer by the looks of it and hopefully will be finished in April next year.

Books & Writing: When will you finish the remaining parts of the trilogy?

Ruud Antonius: The trilogy will be finished in 2014. So I will be hopping between my office and the art studio for at least another 18 months. That can sometimes be a little annoying, painting gets in the way of writing and writing can get in the way of painting. But on the whole it works pretty well, though I must confess that of late my breaks are getting longer and I need more and more coffee.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Ruud Antonius: On and

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Ruud Antonius: That is a difficult one and I hesitate in fear of saying something which only applies to myself but I find that a bottle of Rioja goes very well with writing.

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Ruud Antonius: I had always thought of author being autonomous, placed outside the rules and regulations of the community and being rather a stick in the mud by pointing the finger at society’s inadequacies. Alas, that is not true, society as a whole does not accept criticism but at the same time its ignorance does leave enough space to hold up the mirror and reflect the impact it has on the authors work. That is the niche where culture is made to survive in the modern world of today.’

Below is an excerpt from Son upon Tine!


June 16, 5:30 - 9:30, 1959

Anthony had lived in his house for as far as the viscosity of his memory would allow to be pressed through the ever decreasing diameter of veins that spread like a forest fungus away from the arteries of his everyday life, twisting and turning into the hidden niches of the grey soil where only incoherent dreams could be sustained on the faint suggestion of a promise to come up for air. After the first rays of sunlight shattered the darkness through the small opening between the brown curtains of his bedroom, evaporating all black matter that relentlessly pushed down his body into the mattress, dared he open his eyes to the world he lived in.

Anthony quickly stepped out of bed, put on his clothes that lay crumpled on the floor and did what he did every day as part of the ritual he had adopted to ensure all was well, that the night had not had any adverse effects on the structure of the home he so lovingly constructed over the years, despite what others in the neighbourhood might have said. It was a large house comprised of three levels and a large cellar, but when his mother passed away it had been considerably smaller, though it now accommodated a grand total of (at the moment) fifteen rooms, most of them empty for practical reasons since the troubles had started. Within an hour he measured all the rooms and concluded there were no changes to the measurements taken the previous day, nor the day before, and with a sigh of relief he realised the day could continue without having to worry about the house too much. Losing only one room over a period of six months was not bad; that was something he could keep up with. When it first started Anthony used to measure the outside of the building believing the overall size would give a clear indication of fluctuations regarding the volume, but that proved to be a mistake and one he would not make again.

After a quick check of the mortar and brickwork Anthony was adequately put at ease to go and search for the milk the Milkman would have put somewhere on his property and after a ramble through the garden he eventually found it by the shed amongst the building materials in the concrete mixer. The Milkman was a brave man, defying the night in his black Float delivering bottles filled with the whitest of fluids, thus serving the community. There were one or two people in the village who had ever caught a glimpse of him in the very early hours of the morning but none were able to give a clear description of this solitary man.

It was now around 7:30 in the morning and the first enormous transparent blocks of the day ahead squashed the dew from the grass and shaped another fine day into that what could be expected in June in the small village named Son upon Tine.

zaterdag 22 september 2012

Interview with author Elizabeth Barlo

Hello all!

Today's interview is with author Elizabeth Barlo (35)who has recently completed her first novel, ‘Ruth 66’, about a music-mad teenager who is forced to babysit his crazy grandmother on a summer road-trip down Route 66 that will change his life forever. Elizabeth is a mother of three who works part-time in the family business. After completing a Bachelor Degree in International Business & Languages, she forwent a legal career for an adventure in London, UK, where she worked in finance journalism. Her heart then took her to Sydney, Australia, where she worked for a boutique corporate communications agency for several years. She is now in the process of trying to build a career as a novelist.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Elizabeth Barlo: Yes I do. I was about eight years old and really into books about girls having adventures at their pony-riding clubs. My first story was about a girl whose pony was stolen and her quest to find him.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Elizabeth Barlo: I grew up with a grandfather who was a great storyteller, and from the moment I was able to read I got my inspiration from books as well. I really enjoyed reading books by authors such as Roald Dahl and Astrid Lindgren.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Elizabeth Barlo: I love that a story never unfolds the way I thought it would. Before I start writing I come up with a beginning and an end, but I don’t know how the characters will get from A to B until I’m actually writing the story. They are telling me what happens, not the other way around.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book ‘Ruth 66’ and the main characters?

Elizabeth Barlo: ‘Ruth 66’ is a novel aimed at young adults about a music-mad teenage boy, Charlie, who has to babysit his crazy grandmother, Ruth, on a summer road-trip down Route 66 that will change his life forever. Charlie is a quiet boy whose once middle-class, now bankrupt, parents are divorced. His dad was sent to prison for tax fraud and assault, forcing his Mom to move to the shabby side of town with him and his evil twin Becky. When his only real friend, his grandfather opa Bill, dies unexpectedly, he is devastated and tries to find solace in his music.

The morning he is supposed to start his dream job at the local record store, his grandmother and former country club maven, oma Ruth, shows up out of the blue in an old bus with Bill’s ashes on the dash and says she is going on a summer road-trip in the spirit of the ‘60s, along the iconic Route 66. His Mom goes nuts at Ruth’s seemingly uncharacteristic transformation and orders him to ditch his job so he can babysit Ruth on her trip. He initially hates the idea of having to spend the whole summer with his crazy grandmother, especially when she bans all modern means of communication, including social media, but soon realizes it’s a great way to escape his family for a while. When he discovers Ruth’s hidden agenda and meets a mysterious girl in the middle of nowhere, the trip takes a turn that will change his life forever.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Elizabeth Barlo: A few years ago I bought a certain music player that can hold many songs, so I could start building a music library for my family (we love to sing and dance in our household and have regular after-dinner-swing-sessions). It got me thinking about how music has influenced my life. The music you hear over the years is like a soundtrack to your life, and while one song may give you memories of utter bliss, it may bring deep sadness onto someone else. And that's the magic of music. It just becomes part of who you are and you carry it with you for as long as you may live. In ‘Ruth 66’, Charlie carries this soundtrack of life with him, in his head, and every situation in which he finds himself is accompanied by a song. His soundtrack is heavily inspired by the music to which his grandfather introduced him when he was a little boy.

So that's how ‘Ruth 66’ came to life in my mind and the rest of the story just flowed on from there.

Books & Writing: How long did it take you to write the book?

Elizabeth Barlo: I started writing in February 2010 and wrote about a quarter of the book before I fell pregnant with our third child. I can’t write when I’m pregnant or looking after a little baby (my brain goes into baby-mode and sleep-deprivation doesn’t help either) so I didn’t start again until March this year. I really got stuck into it and finished it in June. So all together it took me about nine months.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Elizabeth Barlo: I am still only at the beginning of my career as an author, but from my experience thus far I’d say:
Get organized and make time to write.
Trust your characters and don’t be afraid to let them take the lead.
Believe in yourself.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Elizabeth Barlo: There are several authors who have made lasting impressions on me. I always love reading Isabel Allende, John Irving, Gabriel García Márquez and Margaret Atwood. The Secret History by Donna Tartt is one of my all-time favorites.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Elizabeth Barlo: You can check out my blog:

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on the internet?

Elizabeth Barlo: On Facebook:

Below is an excerpt from ‘Ruth 66’!

Hesitantly he walked to the front door, not knowing what to expect when he got outside, but not even in his wildest dreams could he have imagined the scenario that was about to unfold.

He opened the door and walked down the three steps. As he got closer to the bus he saw that it had been converted into a camper, with cosy red curtains behind each window. He could now see what looked like a woman behind the wheel. She honked again – he cringed at the sound – and when she saw him approach she smiled and opened the bi-fold door.

Who was this woman?
There was something familiar about her, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. She had long, dark hair with a hint of grey that fell over her shoulders and was wearing a long, flowing yellow dress with bright flowers - its wide sleeves blowing behind her in the breeze as she walked towards him on her platform sandals. She was wearing a long beaded necklace and a plethora of bracelets around both wrists, which jingled at every step.

She looked like she had been teleported directly from the sixties. He vaguely recognized the dress and the shoes, but couldn’t remember where he had seen them before.

“Sjarlie!” she called out, waving at him as she came closer.

He froze on the spot and his mouth fell open.

Holy shit! It was oma Ruth...

She smiled at him, and her face... it was different... her frozen mask had disappeared. He saw little wrinkles next to her eyes and her mouth and she looked so... alive.

“Close your mouth, darling,” she said as she stopped before him, “you look like a fool.”

He snapped it shut.


He looked up and saw Mr. Wolzicki, who lived across the street, hang his pasty, bloated torso out of the window.


 “Sorry Mr Wolzicki!” he yelled, and put his hand up apologetically. But before he had the chance to say anything else, oma Ruth did the same, but then turned her hand and flipped Mr. Wolzicki the bird.

“CLIMB THIS, TARZAN!” she shouted back.

He gasped.

So did Mr Wolzicki, and he saw the man’s stunned face turn purple with anger. He pulled himself back inside and slammed the window shut with a bang.

maandag 17 september 2012

Interview with author Zella Compton

Hi all!

Todays interview is with author Zella Compton about her upcoming book "The Ten Rules of Skimming", and her writing!

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Zella Compton: I have always wanted to be a fiction writer, and so obviously have dedicated myself to everything but fiction writing! I’ve tried my hand at a few businesses, including running a bed and breakfast and importing bouncy castles (to Canada), but mostly I’ve made my living from feature writing, magazine editing, and as a columnist. I wrote bits and pieces of fiction in my spare time for years and years. And then one day I got the idea for Skimming and knew that it had to be written.

As well as writing, I do some contract work for the government (which sounds far more mysterious than it really is), and when nothing else is going on, I potter around my garden plotting slug genocide. I like to dance, I like to sing, and I like to bake without recipes.

Currently I live on the South Coast of England, overlooking the Solent. I grew up here, left when I was seventeen, and came back with husband and three children when I was in my mid-thirties, a few years ago.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Zella Compton: My attic is stuffed full of stories and plays I’ve written which my parents kept hold of over the years. The first ones (that are decipherable) were written when I was about ten. Foxy and Friends was an epic thriller about the difficulties of getting a chaise longue into a den. That was closely followed by The Nurdles (about very small people who lived in a giant statue).

I remember the first story I submitted. It was for Jackie (a young teenage magazine), and I still have the handwritten rejection letter. It was about a girl who realized that she was a character in a book and didn’t like having someone else control her every thought and action.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Zella Compton: When I was a kid, the digital age was a science fiction dream. At home, we had three TV channels and the content I was allowed to watch was pretty dull. Having the box censored was ironic considering the books which I had at my disposal. I read whatever I could lay my hands on. From Enid Blyton to James Herbert, Nevil Shute to Tove Jansson. It was very eclectic. So while I wasn’t inspired by one particular author or person, I was inspired by my parents’ collection of books and of course, my local library.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Zella Compton: When I’m writing I enjoy the surprising things that my characters do. I always have a rough plan, and then someone goes and does or says something quite unexpected, and I have to rethink everything, or pull the character back into line. I love keeping a list of all the strings which need to be tied together, and then ticking them off when they’re done. I write myself notes on scraps of paper to remind me. Sometimes it takes me hours to remember quite what I meant, but when I do, well, it’s a glorious moment! You know what? I love everything about writing except the sicky feeling I get when someone reads my work for the first time.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book The Ten Rules of Skimming and the main characters?

Zella Compton: The Ten Rules of Skimming is about Adam, a teenage boy, discovering he can skim through people’s minds. Joy riding through minds is a dangerous hobby, especially when the Board (who govern skimming) are chasing you down. When Adam’s sister goes missing, he has to face the wrath of the Board in order to find her.

The book has graphic novel elements, so it has sequential illustrations on each page by the lovely Jess Swainson. It was fabulous to look at those as they were created, seeing how she brought people to life. There are lots of powerful characters in the book, and Jess has very much captured their essence. Like the gruesome questioner who opens the story, after locking Adam in a room with him.

I particularly like the way that Jess has drawn Adam’s friend Jenny-Ray (or Spod as she’s known), she has awesome curly hair – like me!

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Zella Compton: I was sitting on the beach, and I suddenly thought: what if? What if you could skim through minds, how would that work? And wouldn’t it be dangerous? And with a power like that, wouldn’t other people want to use it for their own gains? And what would you do with it? And what if you had it, and then couldn’t do it anymore? The ‘what ifs’ kept coming and coming, and so I scrawled it all down on the back of an envelope, and that’s how it started.

Books & Writing: How long did it take you to write the book?

Zella Compton: I have no idea. I am a binge writer, so I sit for hours and hours and hours, and then take a month off, before bingeing some more. It took me a long time to show Skimming to anyone, but the first publisher I sent it to, said ‘yes please’.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Zella Compton: Stop talking about doing it, and get on with it. Only you can write your book, no one else can. And when you’ve done it, read it, edit it, put it away for six months, and then read and edit again. Don’t stop because you’re tired of writing it, stop when you’re done.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Zella Compton: Every single one of them! They have been through the slog and made it out the other side, that’s inspiring.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Zella Compton: The Ten Rules of Skimming is available from, and via all good bookshops in the UK. It’s also available from (my publisher). Ask your local library to stock a copy!

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Zella Compton: Please come and say hello either on my website:, on my facebook page Zella Compton, or on twitter @zellacompton. Years ago I interviewed an author for a magazine, and she told me of the joy of seeing someone reading her book on the Tube. I would love to see people reading my book, so take a picture of yourself and send it to me!

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Zella Compton: I really hope that you enjoy the book! Thank you for reading, and thanks for interviewing me.

The Ten Rules of Skimming: excerpt

Chapter one

It was a simple question. “I need all the details,” the Questioner said. “The only way I can help you is if you tell me everything.”

Adam looked at the older man sat opposite him. He’d followed him into the basement of the hospital. The place had endless corridors with hundreds of sweaty feet squelching up and down in sandals, rising and falling, keeping time with the births and deaths. Now Adam was regretting his decision. He was going to be stuck here for hours and there was no guarantee that this man could save him from the fury of the Board and the consequences of his actions.

“Where shall I begin?” Adam asked.
“At the start. How did you discover you could skim?”
“It started in this hospital, a ward somewhere above here.”

Adam smiled at his Questioner, hoping he could remember all the details. He relaxed back into his chair and spoke so softly that the Questioner moved the old fashioned Dictaphone further forward and started taping their conversation. 
“It happened like this...” 

Adam put his hands behind his head and began his story.

ISBN: 978-1-906132-26-2
PRICE: UK £7.99
FORMAT: Paperback
AVAILABLE: Sept 2012

zondag 16 september 2012

Interview with author Christopher Dahl


Todays interview is with Christopher Dahl who is a 42 year old ex-rugby player from the Bronx.  He went to Fordham University and then got a Masters degree in teaching high school English (basically).  There were no options in life for him other than being involved with words, writing and books -- nothing else mattered besides beer, sports and women. His writing topics -- like all things he enjoys -- are bold, bloody and excessive spectacles.  On a dreary intellectual note, he believes that words are the threshhold over which humanity must step in order to move from the concrete to the abstract.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Christopher Dahl: Yes, it was a story about my father.  I found a picture of him in his army uniform, so I grabbed some paper and wrote a story about a brave young soldier saving New York City from a sea monster.  I cut up a shoebox to make my first cover.  I also cut up the picture to make my first graphics.  (This was before PhotoShop).  My mother found it and was astounded that I could spell "illustrated". I was about seven years old.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Christopher Dahl: The only other thing I ever thought life with any serious aspiration was a soldier, but it turns out I cant follow orders well -- so i decided writing was the way to go.  The inspiration was seeing my father's first ghost-written book about he first home computers, circa 1976.  I just thought it was so cool to creae something with all those symbolic words in it and tell other people news, information ... whatever.  So, my old man.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Christopher Dahl: I love telling stories because they expose the truth. As I said, Ilike things bold and bloody; thus, I like to hit tough subject matter and hit a nerve.  I like things that people will love and detest in the same breath; rebuke and acknowledge all at once.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book Blood calls To Blood: The Story of Wyrd John and the main characters?

Christopher Dahl: Blood Calls to Bood is the third installment of the Death Row Stories series ( and is the most unique.  John claims to be a witch, a lifelong pagan and a kind of modern sorceror.  he is like a character from a King Arthur tale transplanted into the 20th century, which is te whole idea of the book: he just didn't seem to be understood.  John Lived by the "old ways" and in the "craft".  He literally crafted spells for vengeance and power -- very wild stuff in a cyber-age.  I mean, I had never met an actual witch.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Christopher Dahl: The story is based on all of the letters that John sent me from Death Row in Raiford, Florida.  He committed a rather heinous murder an ended up getting himself a spot on the Row.

Books & Writing: What attracts you in horror?

Christopher Dahl: Since i like my spectacles bold, bloody and excessive,these "horror" stories are just down my alley.  Perhaps it's because my life otherwise is pretty middle-class: I teach high school, work out and cook dinner each night.  Horro is my indulgence in what Abraham Lincoln called the "darker angels of our manger."

Books & Writing: I understand you have written a few other books so far. Could you tell us a bit about those? And are they all in the horror genre?

Christopher Dahl: I have the Death Row Stories ( which are based on the lives of killers awating the lethal injection.  Robert bailey shot a cop on Easter Sunday.  Loran Cole killed the nephew of Senator John Edwards.  I have a book of their art.  Night of the Beast is actually a paranomral investigation where I tried to solve a murder from 1977 using psychics and  ... well ... all that stuff.  My first published book, though, was jut about my exeriences as a high school teacher.  Mostly, I deal in dark material.  Honestly though, I''m just another English major from the Bronx.

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?

Christopher Dahl: My mother had multiple personalities. My father found her journals and sent them to me. So i am working on vert weid memoire about my life as the son of a schizophrenic. At the risk of tooting my own horn, it will be fascinating.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Christopher Dahl: Writing is work.  Don't sit around waiting for the finger of God to touch your keyboard.  Don't limit yourself: write what you want when you want.  After that beautiful initial phase of writing, clean it up and try to get a publisher.  Keep a thick skin.  You WILL be rejected but that doesn't mean you stink.  Just keep plugging away.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Christopher Dahl: Jack Kerouac was the first author that got me inspired.  He showed me there were no limits, no boundaries. He also demonstrated that if you wanted to be a working writer it may well kill you.  On the other hand, he showed me that he would rather be a dead writer than a miserable retail manager.  He showed me the green light that  blinked at the end of Jay Gatsby's dock-- to strain a metaphor to breaking.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on the internet and read your work?

Christopher Dahl: Here are some links to some free content:

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Christopher Dahl: Please fell free to contact me any time you want to chat via e-mail.  I really like talking abou books and getting published.  Also, i would be happy to sign any hard copies if a reader wants to send me one.  Just hit me up via any one of my sites.

Below is an excerpt from the book "Blood calls To Blood: The Story of Wyrd John"!

Kathleen and I often walked to the forest that bordered my father’s property. Some of it belonged to him but the majority did not. Being far from the coast there were hills, rocks, and streams. The nearest town was or 8 miles away, so we were in the rural area, but not exactly too far from civilization. It was enough outside the city that nature held on by tooth and nail, but just barely. Even so, we took refuge there and sometimes we could get away deep enough to find the innocence we looked for, undisturbed by the hum of tires on asphalt roads or tractors in the field.

One day in July, we took such an excursion walking, talking, and sometimes remaining silent; going from one patch of blackberry bushes to another. It was summer. I was 14. She had just turned 20 and we had all the time in the world. After stopping for lunch, we had packed up and we took our return trip by taking another route, breaking new trails just to see what we would find.

Exiting the undergrowth, we came to a broad clearing, dappled with sunlight and silent. Partially buried in the leaves of the past autumns we saw a rack of antlers were sticking up. I immediately was drawn to this curiosity. Kathleen by my side, I reached to pick it up, but she grabbed my arm. Shaking my head, she said, “No that belongs to Herne and a if you wan it, you have to trade something you value for it.” The tone in her voice told me this was important, so we left it there and continued on our way back. She told me Herne was the god of the forest and animals who lived there. Herne’s symbol was the stag as well as the bull, a now-extinct bull called an auroch. He is also called Herne the Hunter, and by other names. The druids called him Hu Gadarn and others called him Cernunnas.

I listened and learned but Kathleen usually left me wanting more and forced me to search out more answers. She told me about other gods and goddesses, some Celtic, some Germanic, and some Norse. “Blood calls to blood.” We are the children of the Gods and, as such, Gods in our own rite yet to mature into our full potential. When we pray or do rituals, we honor them but do not bow down to worship them. I absorbed this. She continued to explain to me that all religions, once stripped of the trappings of man, society and various influences are, for the most the same, except each group of people carry their own distinctive understanding and connection to their teaching, religion and beliefs. “Blood calls to blood.”

I thought about this and I knew that I wanted the deer skull and antlers. I also knew I wanted to come up with something of value … but what? For weeks, I thought about it, going through my stuff, trying to come up with something a God would find acceptable as a trade. Kathleen had left me to move to Danville, Virginia, leaving me to find my own way in all of this. By the end of July, I had made my choice.