Category Archives: writing

Interview with Brian Finney, author of Money Matters

Brian Finney, author of Money Matters

Recently, I had the privilege to get an interview with a Professor Emeritus and James Tair Memorial Book Prize-winning author. Brian has written 8 nonfiction books, but our interview focused on his first NOVEL, Money Matters, a literary detective tale.

THE SYNOPSIS

The main story of Money Matters is narrated by its protagonist Jenny, 27-years-old and a little lost in life. She is still just getting by with two part-time jobs. Asked to look into the disappearance of the CEO’s girlfriend, Jenny reluctantly turns amateur detective and soon finds herself up against a range of powerful and sinister forces, including big money, a corrupt politician, and a Mexican drug cartel.

So the novel is part (late) coming-of-age, part amateur sleuth, part social issues. Immigration, one such issue, permeates both the main plot and subplot featuring an undocumented young Mexican-American. Jenny’s search leads to her meeting the young, handsome director of an immigrants’ rights organization to whom she is strongly attracted. So the novel has elements of romance(as well!).

Money Matters

In our interview we learn more about Brian, his work, and interests.

THE INTERVIEW

– Can you share a little of your current work with us? (short synopsis)

Money Matters is my debut suspense novel that combines a number of genres. Its narrator and major character is Jenny, a 27-year-old woman who hasn’t got her life together. She still lives in her sister Tricia’s Venice apartment and survives on two minimal paying part-time jobs – one doing plant maintenance for Todd, the CEO of a mutual fund company, the other for a large detective agency replaying surveillance tapes.

She is persuaded to investigate the disappearance of Todd’s girlfriend by his Mexican-American housekeeper. Her amateur detective work soon brings her up against the interests of big money, politics (the novel is set during the 2010 mid-term election), and a Mexican drug cartel. 

It also brings into her life the attractive director of an immigrant rights organization. The reader is left unsure to the end whether she will overcome the powerful and dangerous forces opposed to her search for the truth.

– What inspired you to write your first book?

I spent much of my adult life teaching university students how to read and analyze works of fiction. When I retired I felt free at last to write a work of fiction myself. Also, the novel raises questions about immigration, and I emigrated from England over thirty years ago; so I felt a natural bond to my immigrant characters and their difficulties.

– Do you have a specific writing style?

I have written seven nonfiction books (including an award-winning biography of Christopher Isherwood) and in all of them I have tried to develop as colloquial style as the genre allowed. Once I turned to fiction I had unlimited use of colloquial language and developed the voice of my female protagonist to exploit this stylistic trait.

– How did you come up with the title?

Waking up one night it came to me. Its ambiguous meaning encapsulates so economically Jenny’s fight against the monetary society she is a part of which accounts for her lack of money, and the realization that you can’t ignore the role and power of money today. Her endless fights with her wealthy sister give this dual theme dramatic substance.

– What book are you reading now?

Currently, I am on vacation and reading travel literature pertinent to places I am visiting. Just before that, I read Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, an update of Cervantes Don Quixote set in contemporary America. It’s a wonderful hodgepodge of buffoonery, literary parody, social satire, and much more. I have written a long review of it for the Los Angeles Review of Books that will be published in late October.

– Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?

I loved Laila Lalami‘s The Other Americans, a novel that, like mine, focuses on immigrants’ experience, though her focus is almost exclusively on an immigrant community. The novel is short-listed for a National Book Award.

– As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Early on I wanted to be a train driver as I was under the influence of an elder brother obsessed by railways who eventually did become a train driver. I soon grew out of that obsession once my brother left home.

– Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I find I can write with ease, which doesn’t mean I don’t then have to do a lot of deleting and revising. With this novel, my biggest challenge was stopping myself from weighting the scales in favor of Jenny whose views I largely share. I had to spend much time and effort making Tricia’s arguments as convincing as Jenny’s. I hope I succeeded, as conflict is at the essence of narrative.

– Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

This book was set in Los Angeles where I live. But writing my biography of Christopher Isherwood brought me to Southern California to interview him and his friends, and that in turn led to my immigrating there.

-Who designed your covers?

Carl Graves at Extended Imagery, a talented book cover designer, as you can see from the cover of my novel.

LINKS

Money Matters, which is a Finalist in the American Fiction Awards, is now published as an e-book, paperback, and audiobook. It is available from Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W62XLY6/

I also have a website with details of all my books and other publications: www.bhfinney.com

Thanks very much to Brian, and his excellent PR team for getting us in touch. IF you want an interview on Writer Groupie, or a podcast segment, just let us know by leaving a contact form!

Hey, everyone, welcome back to Writer Groupie. We are chatting with Janie Franz, author of the paranormal fantasy series starting with Ruins, this time, Ruins Legacy .

Ruins Legacy by Janie Franz

We interviewed Janie a while back, at this link for episode 73 : Janie Franz, Acquisitions Editor

I hope you will listen to both of these great chats. They are linked (the two videos) in this one at YouTube. I am trying to create playlists there of dual/multiple interviews. If you like playlists, have a look on our Youtube channel and see what it looks like.

This time Janie and I have a good chat about the latest goings-on at Muse It Up Publishing, who is currently closed to subs, but you can bookmark the site anyway by going here: MuseItUpPublishing

And we also talk about her latest book, Ruins Legacy, which just came out in March.

Also, the audio in this chat is not as good as it needs to be…we were Skyping during a thunderstorm of epic proportions. Sorry about that!!!

You guys should try to glean all you can from our chat though, as Janie is very experienced at editing and writing, and she shares a lot of good info. Writers like me can learn a lot from her.

Hope you enjoy this one!

Eps 84 – R Weir-Mann in the Crossfire

Mann in the Crossfire

This is my second interview with Randy Weir, author of Mann in the Crossfire, his latest novel. If you want to see the first interview go here : https://youtu.be/JrB_la9bjNU

…or just read the blog here http://www.writergroupie.net/wgp-eps-80-r-weir-author-of-the-front-range-butcher/

Randy has just gotten back from a conference and he tells us all about what happened there, and if it was a good one for you to plan on attending.

We also discussed the latest book Mann in the Crossfire and how Randy hopes it is well received as it may be the last in the series. We talk about how to know when a series has reached its natural end, and what may be coming in the future.

There is a lot of good discussion about writing and the writing life in this video and I hope you will enjoy it.

You can get R Weir’s previous work, Front Range Butcher here at Amazon – this IS an affiliate link.

book covers
Front Range Butcher by R. Weir

Please like, share, follow, and subscribe to our various social media accounts. We love our subscribers!

R. Weir, author of the Jarvis Mann PI series
Website: http://www.rweir.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randy.weir.524
Twitter : https://twitter.com/RWeir720

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Are you a writer? Would you like to come on the Writer Groupie Podcast?

Drop us a line here at the website and let us know how we can book you for the show!

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Writer Groupie Flyby On Social Media Content Calendars

Welcome to another episode of my podcast. Today I am discussing social media content calendars and how far behind I am on my year. Look for a chance to get a social media content calendar coming soon *you will have to sign up for the podcast though* evil grin!

 

Butt-in-Chair Motivation

Welcome to another episode of my podcastf.

This fly-by episode is for writers. If you are not a writer, you might want to skip this podcast.

 

 

motivation

When you need the inspiration and motivation to write, remember this.

Welcome to another episode of my podcast.

overthinking
Momentmal / Pixabay

OVERTHINKING

Hey, everybody and welcome to another edition of Writer Groupie. Hi, I’m Kim and throughout most of my life thinking random and various thoughts the way I do has helped me to develop as a writer. That “what if” factor that everyone always tells you about. And yes, I just made air quotes around “what if”.

Sorry that I am not doing video so that you can see it. But I digress.

This deep thinking for most or all of us is a part of the human process.  Sometimes that deep thought thing can get us into trouble. We begin to act upon some of them, and that well, that can be a bad thing. But for the most part, we think about random things all the time such as what will I wear, what will I eat, who will I do something with tonight, why did my boss just roll his eyes at me, and so on and on.

When the thinking process becomes troublesome, well, that my dear ones is when thinking becomes OVERTHINKING.

This can also happen to a writer in big and uncomfortable ways.

For instance, if you are a writer, have you ever thought, wow, wonder what my character will do if they must endure this ____ (yes, again with the air quotes) ___and then as you play it out in your mind you get off on a tangent? When I wrote the scene in my first Shannon Wallace mystery about sending her to a funeral, I had to walk all the way through it mentally first. It was hard you see because recently I had been to several funerals and they were painful experiences personally. Before the end of my thoughts about my character I began reliving my own experiences and it was not pleasant. I almost didn’t write that scene. But when I realized that I was overthinking about it, and stepped away from it for a while the writing went a lot better.

So, my word to you is: if writing starts with thinking and thinking leads to re-enacting then it might be better to leave that writing for another day.

Another way we overthink our writing is when we write a scene that is completely filled with exact details or minutiae that is unnecessary. I will give you an example.

IN the scene the character wakes up, gets out of bed, goes to the bathroom, pulls on clothes, go to the kitchen, starts a pot of coffee and sits down to write out a check to the landlord. It might go like this:

She rolled over and stared at her house shoes lying on the floor, it would be a small thing to just slide into them. She slides into them. She stood straight and stretched before walking into the small bathroom just off the bedroom to splash water on her face. Then she strolled into the kitchen to turn on the ancient coffeepot. While it gurgled to life, she sat at her roll-top desk, pulled out a pen and her checkbook and wrote out that delinquent check to old Mr. Tom, the landlord.

Now-there is nothing wrong with that paragraph, technically, well okay maybe some grammar issues as it was not edited, but I mean you could write it that way. I think you could be a whole lot better with it though since I really overthought what my mind was seeing, and just say:

She slid into her house shoes, went into the bathroom, splashed water on her face, started coffee, and wrote out the check to the landlord, Mr. Tom.

And by the way, since we are overthinking this bit, why is he old Mr. Tom? Why did she have to think about sliding into her shoes? Yes, you can totally see what I mean. But that is exactly it. Overthinking. It can be a bad thing. But it can be a good thing. Especially if you are about to be a speaker at a writing event such as what I am doing today. You have to plan out what you will say. You should analyze it for a long time so that you do not totally go up in front of a captive audience and embarrass yourself.

Which is what I am going to do in just a few moments. Thank you for listening to my quickie flyby episode today. I am working on getting this podcast back on its feet soon and we may begin doing google hangouts instead of one on ones. I know that thrills your souls. Hang on groupies, I will be back soon with more good stuff.

 

Merry Christmas to all our fans and followers. May your holiday celebration be filled with love and laughter and all things good.

We will be back on December 27 with an interview with the ever-fabulous, Jack Wallen. Feel free to click on his name and check him out NOW.

Until we meet again, Joyeux Noelnoel

Episode 75 – Lori Roberts, author and living historian

roberts
Lori Roberts is an author, educator, historian and presenter for historical events and workshops. Lori has been an educator for more than twenty years, currently teaching United States History at the Middle School level.

Lori as a living historian, often portrays Mrs. Mary Anna Morrison Jackson, wife of Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

She has spoken at Civil War events in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Virginia. As a presenter, Lori has given first-person programs to the Southern Indiana Education Center/Living History Fellowship Grant, Journey Through the Hallowed Ground Conference, George Mason University. Lori was a 2011 nominee for the Guilder Lehrman Social Studies Teacher of the Year.

Lori has a passion for history, and bringing history to life for her audience. Bringing characters to life through historical interpretation is one method Lori uses to engage her students in the classroom.

Lori and I chat via audio podcast only for this show and you can see what books she has below.

Links to books (click on cover to be magically transported to purchase)

roberts

roberts

roberts

In this episode with Lori Roberts, we discuss:

SHOW NOTES

  • Her journey as a writer and living historian
  • How she can begin another book even in the midst of the current one
  • What she did about writing during Nanowrimo this year
  • How being a teacher has influenced what she writes and how sometimes hinders her writing
  • Discussion about free-writing and if an author can or should do it
  • Why she chose the Civil War era and if it was related to a familial connection
  • How Gone with the Wind influenced her decision about the era to write in
  • If she might write in another era-say, medival history
  • Insider details about how research has played a part in her writing life
  • Insights on how current opinion has affected writing historical fiction esp. in the CW era
  • AND SO MUCH MORE! INCLUDING HER ADVICE FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS

    PODCAST LINK

    You can find Lori Roberts online at:

    LINKS

    Website : http://www.stonewallswife.com
    Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/lori.crecelius.roberts
    Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/Lori-Roberts/e/B0089A94EG

    _______________________________________

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    If so, please do one (or all) of the following:

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Episode 74 Gerald Hausman, storyteller and author

gerald Gerald Hausman chatted with me about his work and the writing life.

gerald

Gerald Hausman is the author of more than 70 books. His live storytelling has been praised by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, History Channel, and the Bank Street College of Education. He and his wife have received numerous awards in the field of children’s literature.

“As a writer I have often been called a scribe. This is because in the gathering of oral tales, I have always tried to get the story right. To capture the flavor, the region and the moral as the original storyteller gave it to me. The NYT Book Review called my collection of American Indian stories, Tunkashila ‘an eloquent tribute to the first great storytellers of America.'”

In addition to his 22 years of story gathering and telling in New Mexico, Gerald also spent 13 summers on the island of Jamaica where he ran an informal writing school with his wife, Lorry. Together they collected Anansi stories, stories from and about the Kebra Nagast, and traditional West Indian ghost stories.

george-and-gerry-copy

“I remember when History Channel filmed tales from my book “Duppy Talk”. My best friend Roy was not an actor, but because of his handsome face he was cast as the man who was enchanted by a mermaid. When I saw him on film, I asked Roy how he was able to do the underwater scene and keep that look of astonishment when he saw the made-up mermaid smiling on the river bank. He told me, ‘That look on my face comes from the fact I can’t swim. I was very scared.'”

Gerald teaches writing workshops in various parts of the United States and is most recently the author of “The American Storybag” — 40 years of story gathering on and off the road. He lives on a barrier island in Florida.

Links to books (click on cover to be magically transported to purchase)

GUNS

Video Link

In this episode with Gerald Hausman, we discuss:

SHOW NOTES

  • We learn where Gerald started creating his stories and how his mother was instrumental in his idea development for stories
  • Why Gerald writes
  • What Gerald did when he quit writing for two years and how it brought him back to the writing of stories
  • We learn a bit about sun signs and moon signs and what that means for writers and creatives
  • Insider details about the Guns anthology that Gerald edited (mostly collected the stories from the interesting authors) and contributed to, and how some of the most famous characters in classic stories had ancestors and historians contribute to this book
  • Gerald reads to us from GUNS (Billy the Kid)
  • We get a great insider look at guns and how a spiritual life to a gun is a part of this anthology
  • How asking the right questions can get a book created
  • How listening to the answer to the questions can also bring about the story
  • We talk about audiobooks and how it impressed Gerald with its resonance
  • AND SO MUCH MORE!!!!!!!
  • AUDIO ONLY LINK

    Listen to my writing news info, personal update, and the AUDIO ONLY version of the interview here:

    You can find Gerald Hausman online at:

    LINKS

    Website : http://www.geraldhausman.com
    Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/gahausman
    Publisher : http://www.speakingvolumes.us
    Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gerald-Hausman/e/B000AQ4WEO

    _______________________________________

    Thanks for Listening to WGP (Writer Groupie Podcast)!
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    Did you enjoy this episode?

    If so, please do one (or all) of the following:

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    Episode 73 Janie Franz, acquisitions editor

    cropped-cropped-podcast-logo1.jpg
    This week we welcome Janie Franz, the new acquisitions editor for MuseItUp Publishing. Janie is an accomplished author in her own right.

    franz

    JANIE’S BIO
    Janie Franz comes from a long line of liars and storytellers with roots deep in east Tennessee. Her work is honed by the frigid winters of the Northern Plains and the high desert and mountains of New Mexico and influenced by her degree in anthropology. She is an author, a professional speaker, and reviewer. Previously, she ran her own online music publication (Refrain Magazine) and was an agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, a radio announcer, and a yoga/relaxation instructor. She is the author of eleven novels (fantasy, thriller, and contemporary), a freelance writing manual, and co-author of two wedding how-to books. “Refrain,” the second book of The Lost Song trilogy, was a Top 10 Finisher, Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy, 2013 Preditors & Editors Reader Poll.

    Links to books (click on cover to be magically transported to purchase)

    Video Link

    In this episode with Janie Franz, we discuss:

    SHOW NOTES

  • Janie tells us about her new “hat” as an acquisitions editor
  • We learn about what MuseItUp Publishing is looking for and when someone can submit
  • Insider info about the New Adult or NA category
  • Details about what an acquisitions editor does
  • We talk about the Muse It Up Conference and other cons Janie attends and speaks at
  • What the main thrust of MuseItUp Publishing is and what they offer authors
  • Info about cover art and distribution at MIU, including foreign translations
  • Details about author participation in promotions and marketing their work in today’s industry
  • Janie’s thoughts about Imaginarium, the con we both attend in Louisville, KY
  • Discussion about pitch sessions and how they are handled at a con (there are differences!) and why you should develop a good elevator pitch
  • AND SO MUCH MORE!!!!!!!

    AUDIO ONLY LINK

    Listen to my writing news info, personal update, and the AUDIO ONLY version of the interview here:

    You can find Janie Franz online at:

    LINKS

    MuseItUp Publishing site : http://www.museituppublishing.com
    Janie’s Website : http://janiefranz.fourfour.com/home
    Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Janie-Franz-Author-115142155208007/

    _______________________________________

    Thanks for Listening to WGP (Writer Groupie Podcast)!
    We appreciate your time!

    Did you enjoy this episode?

    If so, please do one (or all) of the following:

    Leave a comment on this page or ask a question if you need us to elaborate on the topic.
    Use the social media buttons to share this episode with your friends, family, and contacts.
    Go over to iTunes or YouTube to leave a rating/review and to subscribe to the podcast.
    We appreciate you taking the time to check out WGP! And we look forward to providing you with more content in the next episode!

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