FF Fiore, Author of MURRAN

MurranWhat is your book about?

MURRAN is an Upper YA crime-drama with a positive message.

Trey Davis wanted to belong. He wanted respect. He wanted to be a man.

With his father dead and his mother a drug addict, Trey and his sister Nichelle are forced to go live with their grandmother in Brooklyn. Surrounded by inner-city crime and conflicting ideologies, Trey seeks security and recognition by becoming a member of a small street crew. When he’s framed for a crime and facing prison, Trey flees to a Maasai village in Kenya with his English teacher and mentor, Mr. Jackson. Though initially repulsed by the Maasai customs, Trey slowly comes to value their traditions and morals. As he goes through the Maasai warriors’ rite of passage becoming one of their own, he learns what Black African culture is truly about. Only after confronting lions, disapproving Maasai elders, and his own fears does Trey begin to understand that men are made and not born.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

The theme underlying the story is one of alienation. I underwent a period of alienation when I was in my 30s. I did a lot of research and pretty much self-medicated myself. I find that most of my stories have a theme of alienation running through them – sometimes very small but other times, like in MURRAN, an important part of the story. The story of Murran led me to the African-American culture and it also gave me the vehicle to pursue the alienation theme for the book. If any ethnic group in our country has been alienated the most, it’s the Africa-Americans because of the manner that they arrived to America. When asked what tribe are you from of an African-American – there is no answer. But almost every other ethnic and European culture in our society can point to a ‘tribe’ they came from.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Often quite a bit of the story is already in my mind. In fact, over the past 20 years, every story I have written is in my head before I begin. And the message I want to convey is there at the beginning as well.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it?

Yes – A LOT! I drew on my experience of travels in Africa and my study of the Massai tribe. Also much of the research of this era, the 1980s of Black culture, was based on the book “Black Lies, White Lies” by Tony Brown. Brown attacks white racism, black self-victimization, and the whole concept of integration, which he feels has been disastrous for blacks and the country as a whole. I gathered from his probing that the core fabric of the African-American community was torn apart when middle-class Blacks moved away from the core neighborhoods leaving it open to devastation and drugs.

What is the inspiration of MURRAN? What would pique a reader’s interest?

Life is about choices. MURRAN illustrates this theme. The inspiration of the book is based on some of my experiences growing up in 1980s Brooklyn, where I was aware of gang members. On the streets you had no choice. Those young teens saw themselves as ‘warriors’ – bad asses, having to prove themselves. As a writer, I thought what if one of the teens in the gang really wanted to prove his courage. Really show he was a ‘warrior’. Like hunting a bear with nothing but a knife. But then I thought, that wouldn’t work. No bears in Brooklyn unless you break into the Brooklyn Zoo. I didn’t know where to go with that at the time so the idea just sat in the back of my head. A decade or so later, I went on African Safari and learned about the Maasai tribe and of their ‘rite of passage’ to manhood by killing a lion. Hey, I thought what if the gang member tried to hunt and kill a lion? But there where no lions in Brooklyn. That’s when I realized that if the gang member was an African-American, and I could figure a way for him to get to Africa and kill his lion to become a warrior, I had a tale. The story of MURRAN just fell into place after that.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading MURRAN?

I wanted Murran to show that I felt Black America once had a true unique culture that was abandoned in the mid 20th century for what is now claimed to be the African-American culture of today. African-Americans had a unique Black culture. It was called the Black Renaissance and it took place in the early part of the 20th century. A Renaissance steeped in values and a culture unique to Blacks. The music, literature, way of life and culture of that period were a big draw to the ‘swells’ in Manhattan – drawing well-to-do individuals to Harlem at night to enjoy and revel in it. I hope that MURRAN allows for the opportunity to open discussions and also perhaps provide a way for the threatened culture of the African Maasai tribe – a proud and brave culture with a strong rite of passage for their youth – to be introduced and hopefully embraced by today’s African-Americans who seem to want to live a true African culture. And, maybe some of the traits of Black Renaissance could return to inner cities and an improvement of opportunities for Black youth could happen.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

I let one reviewer of MURRAN, author Alan Black, answer this for me.

“MURRAN is a startlingly accurate portrayal of the slim options offered urban African-American youths in the 1980s and even today. It is often politically incorrect and in-your-face real, yet it is so compelling and well written that a reader will continue to eat and digest page after page of this indictment of America’s failure to nurture our own young.”

What are you working on right now?

A book called Ijin – which means ‘alien’ or ‘outcast’ in Japanese. I’m writing a historical fiction with a twist. It is similar to ‘Winds of War’ but from a Japanese viewpoint.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your work-in-progress?

An American teenager is adopted by a Japanese family and must find out who he is against the backdrop of World War II Japan.

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

First plot. Then create characters that drive the plot. Character drives plot but plot demands characters to drive it. And I like to add plot twists – hiding some information from the reader o surprise them alter – even if I gave small hints ahead of time. Second, “show don’t tell. Or to quote an author,” Finally, “Make everyone fall out of the plane first, and then explain who they were and why they were in the plane to begin with.”

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

A fellow author in the beginning of my writing career told me the secret at the chance of becoming a noted author. It was – Write, Write, and Write. Don’t write a story then spend all your time mareting it. Continue to write story after story until one of them gains popularity. THEN, readers will say “Gee. I wonder what else he or she wrote” and they will go to what is called your ‘backlist’. The bigger your backlist the more chance of getting known – and making some coin.

What genre are your books?

I write in many genres of fiction. Techno-thrillers, Action/Adventure, SyFy, speculative fiction and general fiction. Much like Michael Crichton who I love to emulate.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My author site is http://www.frankfiore.com

My blog is https://frankfiore.wordpress.com/

My Twitter handle is @followthenovel

And the digital media kit for MURRAN where you can download the first 10 chapters FREE is http://indigoriverpub.com/mediakit/murran/

 

Candy, Heroine of “Zomprom: A High School Zombie Romance” by Chris Everheart

Interview with Candy, heroine of “ZomProm: a high school zombie romance”
Title: ZomProm: a high school zombie romance
Genre: YA; paranormal; romance
Format: e-book – Kindle and Nook
Length: 57 pages

What is your story?

I liked a boy so much I bit him – or I let our lab rat bite him. The rat had a virus that was about to turn every teenage boy in the world into a zombie – but I swear I didn’t know that!

Who are you?

My name is Candy. I’m in eleventh grade and I’ve had a huge crush on Ryan since long before he became a zomboy.

What is your problem in the story?

When the boys went undead, so did prom. Now I’m in a school full of girls with paid-for prom dresses and no dates. I saw Ryan outside the gate one morning and I’m sure he’s still somehow good. I need to convince him to help me save prom. Otherwise, I might as well be on the other side of wall with the rest of the walking dead.

Do you run from conflict?

I try to run, but trouble keeps shuffling after me!

How do your friends see you?

My friends are mad at me for getting Ryan infected with the zomboy virus that made him bite another boy and give him the virus and so on and so on.

What do you think of yourself?

I feel stupid for ever having believed that my plan to get Ryan’s attention would work.

Do you have a goal?

Make prom work and get everyone off my back – even if all the boys are undead.

Do you have money troubles?

I never have enough money, which is why I drive an old rusty hatchback. But Ryan never made fun of it. It’s one reason I know he’s special.

What do you want?

I want to be Ryan’s date to the prom. The fact that he’s a zomboy now doesn’t mean that he’s not relationship material.

What are you afraid of?

The Crud – a hoard of wild zomboys that attack the outskirts of town every night. I didn’t know about them until I snuck outside the Monster Wall and Ryan explained the war that goes on where the living can’t see.

What do you regret?

I wish I’d had the courage to just talk to Ryan instead of thinking up a scheme to get his undivided attention with a rat bite. The “Nurse Candy” plan sounded good in my head, but obviously it backfired!

Have you ever betrayed anyone?

Does telling my dad that I wouldn’t go into the U.Z. (the Undead Zone) alone at night then doing it anyway count as betrayal? He might think so – even if I explain how badly I needed to talk to Ryan – so I guess that’s a yes.

Are you healthy?

I’m fine! There’s no zom-girl virus that we know of so I’m as healthy as a Ukrainian gymnast. Wait … does love-sick for an undead boy count as an illness?

Who is your true love?

I think it’s Ryan. And I think he could feel the same – alive or undead.

Was there a major turning point in your life?

Seeing my friends so mad at me that they cried and stopped talking to me was the lowest point in my life. That’s the moment I decided to go into the U.Z. and confront the zomboys face-to-face to save prom.

Name five items in your purse, briefcase, or pockets.

In my pockets: a mini-flashlight which I won’t turn on because it will attract zomboys; a tube of lip gloss, strawberry-flavored – Ryan’s favorite, if he even cares anymore; my school ID so if I get eaten by a pack of hungry zomboys the Army will be able to identify my body; a pair of leather gloves for climbing up the rope to get back to the other side of the wall; that reminds me of the fifth item I’m supposed to have – I forgot the rope!

If you were at a store now, what would be in your shopping cart?

A tuxedo – very narrowly cut to fit over Ryan’s bony frame on prom night.

If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?

I would eliminate the virus and cure all the zomboys, bring them back to life.

What makes you think that change would be for the better?

Because now I can see that as much as the boys annoyed us when they were alive we really, really miss them.

If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

Ryan – alive or undead.

Book link: http://chriseverheart.com/zomprom-a-high-school-zombie-romance/

Lee Chambers, Author of “The Pineville Heist”

What is your book about?

The Pineville Heist is an edge-of-your-seat YA adrenaline rushed story, full of twists and turns.

It’s about a 17 year old who stumbles into the aftermath of a $5m bank heist gone wrong, witnesses a murder and is relentlessly pursued in his locked down school by one of the psychotic robbers. Not only does he have to keep himself alive but also his young drama teacher. So there is that slightly heightened sexual chemistry, that is sometimes found when the stakes are high and lives are at risk, although the tension doesn’t cross the line.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The Pineville Heist started life from an idea I jotted down about ten years ago about a kid under a canoe.

That kid was me. When I was about 12 years old on a camping trip with my elementary school, we played hide and seek and I hid under the canoe. I remember watching the feet of the people looking for me; they never looked under the canoe. That gave me the idea of, ‘what would happen if a kid was a witness to a murder while hiding under a canoe?’ Of course, I never actually witnessed a murder.

Why will readers relate to your characters?

It is about an everyday young man facing the everyday challenges of growing up; the difficulties of relating to his father, fitting in with his peers, having a crush on his young drama teacher. All the difficulties and emotions that are experienced, and what readers can relate to, with growing up. The only difference being, Aaron finds himself entangled in an exciting life and death fight for survival, while trying to prove himself to his father.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

Each character is different, as they have their own voice, motivation and flaws. I think that while I write, I’m writing as if I’m almost them and take on their persona. I also read out aloud, which enables me to hear that the dialogue is real, that it takes on the age of the character, their status, where they are in a particular part of the story and give them their own uniqueness.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

Although The Pineville Heist is marketed to the young adult reader, it does contain violence, although not gratuitous, and some sexual tension, although at the same time not crossing any boundaries; so it does also cross over into the new adult market as well. The original story, which was developed from a script I co-wrote with Todd Gordon, had quite a bit of swearing. We consciously made the decision to modify that aspect of the script to enable both a cross section appeal and rating.

What is your goal for the book, ie what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

The Pineville Heist is a non-stop, action packed thriller which is for pure entertainment value.

It does touch on the transverse journey from childhood to adulthood; touches on the difficulties of growing up; and explores the strenuous relationships between father and son.

But in essence The Pineville Heist is a good fun, action packed thriller.

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what accords would you like to see playing your characters?

Have a guess what? It is! The Pineville Heist is currently in the funding stages of being developed into a major motion picture. Booboo Stewart, who plays Seth Clearwater in the Twilight Saga Eclipse and Breaking Dawn has signed on as the main lead, Aaron Stevens.

Although, why not check out a recent table read to find out some of the possible actors who may be involved http://www.youtube.com/user/pinevilleheist?feature=results_main .

In all seriousness, and while the table read spoof was fun, I do have a list of who I would like to see play the remainder of the characters, the funding model we are seeking contains specific criteria of the actors we are able to have come on board the project. Also, the other partners involved in the project will also have input. So it will be a case of negotiation and at this stage it wouldn’t be prudent of me to go into who I would like to see on set.

But as some fun and a challenge for your followers, maybe they would like to come up with a dream cast! There are already You Tube videos of dream casts for The Pineville Heist, so let’s see what they think!

Who designed your cover?

The Pineville Heist’s cover has actually undergone a number of changes. The initial cover was designed by LA artist, Jose Pimenta, who has also produced a number of the storyboards for the movie. Although the original version of the cover had more of a graphic-novel feel about it, which perhaps appealed to a much younger audience, rather than capturing the young adult audience it is intended.

So I updated the cover and gave it a more mysterious, vampish look. With Booboo coming on board the project, I recently did an update to include his image as Aaron Stevens on the back of the cover. What do you think?

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Research. Write what you know and if you don’t know… research! If you wanna write a book or movie about cops, don’t base your research on other books and movies. Go out and talk to real cops! Find out what it is to be in their shoes… on their beat… experience it firsthand.

Do you keep a pen and notepad on your bedside table?

Not quite the pen and notepad but my iPad. Not only is it great for keeping notes, but I also have a lot of fun with the creative applications it allows me freedom to explore with. I shot my 2011 short film, Eyes on the Road entirely on my iPad.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

Too many! I love and have a passion for telling stories, so there is always an idea popping all the time.

What are you working on right now?

My main priority at the moment is getting The Pineville Heist fully funded so that we can start shooting in spring next year.

From a creative aspect, I am currently working on my next screenplay, again teaming up with writing partner Todd Gordon, to develop definitely more of an adult thriller, which is has a lot more of a gritty, raw edge to it.

For a change of pace I am also working on my next novel, which is a comedy and good fun. It is based on a screenplay I worked on about ten years ago with Olly Perkin and Ra-ey Saleh.

Where people can buy The Pineville Heist

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Pineville-Heist-ebook/dp/B005DST2U8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348364570&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Pineville+Heist
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The+Pineville+Heist
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s?keyword=The+Pineville+Heist&store=allproducts&page=%2Findex.asp&prod=univ&pos=&box=
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/the-pineville-heist/id452654748?mt=11
Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Pineville-Heist/book-dqlBoe938keFQUpfMlT83Q/page1.html?s=58eoZL69Gk2MSXKJgwLa5A&r=1