About the interviews:
When I published my first book, I looked for ways to reach new readers, and being a brand new author, participating in various book bloggers interviews was a good way to start. Some interviews were standard questions, while others had more individuality built into them.
I then did a twist on the author interview by interviewing myself (Leon Interviews Himself). I then thought it would be fun to get to know some of the authors I was cross-promoting with, and the Friday Conversations were born. Guess what? They are a lot of work. I look up the authors information, visit the website so I can craft a unique set of questions (OK, there are a few standard ones) to let my readership get to know these new authors. Worth the work? You bet. Here is today’s conversation:
A. R. Silverberry writes thrilling fantasy and science fiction for children and adults. His novels have earned numerous awards, including three Florida Writers Association Awards and the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal.
Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author A.R. Silverberry. Thanks for dropping by. Can I offer you anything to drink?
If you have French roast coffee lying around, that would be wonderful.
I think I can do that.
[various kitchen sounds]
[15 minutes later]
You have a few awards listed on your website. Which one means the most?
Some of them go back years, and the feelings they aroused have faded. The most recent, three Royal Palm Literary Awards for my forthcoming YA science fiction, Shadow House, floored me. Judges were composed of agents, editors, and writers. In other words, no slouches. I hoped I might place in one of the categories, but to grab two golds and then first runner up for unpublished book of the year, that sent me over the moon. Reading the judges’ comments added high-octane rocket fuel.
Do you remember what the first story you wrote—or came up with—as a child?
I do! I was probably six. I use to dictate them to my mom in our tiny upstairs bathroom. She sat on the edge of the tub while I acted out what was going on. We had a three-step metal ladder that I used as a prop for an X-Ray machine. Can’t remember anything more about the story, other than crawling under said ladder. I asked my mom to note the machine sound I made and to show me how she’d written it. She pointed to nondescript scrawl I was skeptical of. Shouldn’t it have been Gshiuzzzzzzzz?
Gshiuzzzzzzzz. That’s definitely a machine sound.
California was hit hard this year by wildfires and drought, not to mention the pandemic. Is this something that affected how you write?
I can’t write if I don’t have something to say. The plight of the world figures big in my recent novels and inspires the story’s theme.
You are also a psychologist. Does this influence your writing?
Actually, very little. There’s a far stretch between theory, research, and static academic description of people and what they are really like. Writers want to capture something true. So I think very little about what I “know,” and just open up and listen to what my characters are telling me. Freud nailed it: “Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me.” I would add: and penetrated to the heart of things. Shakespeare and Jane Austen profoundly understood human nature.
It’s always fun to have another musician to chat with. You play piano and also compose—
Wait! You play as well? What’s your instrument? What style?
Classical and acoustic guitar. I compose more than I play though. Performing just wasn’t my forte. Neither is recording my works, so it takes me quite a while to get things finished. Do you have a favorite composer?
My favourite? Don’t make me choose! Let’s start with classical: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Stravinsky.
Do you listen to any other musical genres?
Jazz: Miles Davis, Coltrane, Monk, not to mention that Brazilian wave of the 60s. Better not get me started on Rock. I would have to mention The Band, Bob Dylan, Crosby Still and Nash, Sting, The Who, The Beatles, The Stones, Van Morrison, Cream, Fairport Convention, and any permutation of Steve Winwood.
Some good choices on that list! Are you ready for the lightning round?
Camping or hotels?
Big Sur or Big Mac?
Favorite TV show?
I’m not watching any currently. Going for movies instead. The first few seasons of Arrow were fun—but favourite? This is going to date me: Frasier.
Drive south of the sleeping lady and her soaring redwoods, cross a golden bridge—where on a clear day you cast your eyes twenty miles out to sea and just make out the islands—and you find it. Most days you hear the foghorns.
You could go to the marina. Today you don’t. You pass an expansive park, housing two grand museums. Then you’re heading down Van Ness. Better stop at Tommy’s Joynt for the world’s best pastrami on rye. Afterward, there are more destinations than you can explore in one day. You might walk the wharf and fight the seagulls over a loaf of the greatest sour dough bread on the planet. Or head to Chinatown, the largest and oldest outside of Asia, for dim sum. Or take in Jackson Pollack at MoMA. Or drive the up-and-down dizzy streets. Or the crookedest. You might take in a ball game or the strains of the world-class symphony orchestra, or simply head to Telegraph Hill for the panoramic view.
Whatever you do, you’re charmed and seduced, and it never leaves your heart.
So … San Francisco.
Aisle, window or middle seat?
Do you feel sorry for Pluto—the ‘planet’, not the dog?
Naw, I’m not prone to anthropomorphizing rocks with layers of frozen gases.
What is your favorite palindrome?
The square palindrome
R o t a s
O p e r a
T e n e t
A r e p o
S a t o r
is pretty cool. There were some in Poisonwood Bible, but I don’t recall them. [Spoiler Alert!] The ending of The Lacuna, one of my all-time favourite novels, feels like palindrome.
That’s a good one. Hadn’t seen that before.
This has been a pleasure. Thanks for chatting. Any links you want to share?
Thank you, this has been fun! Here are some helpful links.
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon Author Page
New BookFunnel and StoryOrigin Promos
The story behind Free Book Friday:
I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?
Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.
Author Offering Free Books
Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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