Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Once Upon a Time in Real Life

Once upon a time, I believed in fairy tales, and in an end to the pandemic. I still believe in fairy tales.

Yesterday's daily evening half-hour walk extended to over an hour as I rediscovered the wonders of nature along two separate paths. With the sun lowered behind high rises, the temperature had cooled a bit, making for a more leisurely outing. Birds along the parkway playfully zoomed overhead - no internet required for their informal gathering. In the canal, several ducks paddled in the wake of a slow moving motor boat while others congregated along the bank. All was quiet in a town often filled with sounds of police and ambulance sirens, revving motor bikes, and never-ending traffic.


Long ago, I blocked out most daily street noises and prefer the bustle of active life. But lockdowns and extended stay-at-home orders have now become a way of life that requires imagination and patience to navigate. Keeping busy is not an issue, but rather taking time to relax and enjoy small pleasures is what needs reminding - every day.

*****

 .

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

MYSTERY AUTHORS TURNING to YA #WriterWednesday

One of my projects has been to explore and experiment in the craft of writing stories in various genres and topics. An example is the 26 short stories I wrote in an eclectic assortment of genres for an April 
AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The research, reading, and writing involved were all beneficial learning experiences for me. (The master plan is to include the stories in a wider project.) 

Many writers focus on one particular genre. Mystery writers can choose from a plethora of subgenres: Cozy Mystery, Police Procedural, Hard-Boiled Detective, Soft-boiled Mystery, and Thriller, for starters. Sub-sub genres can include vampires or fairies or science fiction characters that meld with cops and robbers. But even with all these choices, mystery writers sometimes decide to branch out into a totally different genre, such as Young Adult fiction.

Stories in every genre hold a mystery, and mysteries remain at the top of my list for reading and writing. Yet all genres have unique appeal, with young adult fiction ranking high. Some of the articles concerning YA fiction writing are timeless in their information or advice. Much has changed in the marketing industry, but when writing novels for a specific genre the rules, guidelines, and writing process remain fairly solid. 

As has my addiction to dark chocolate.


Of course, YA and Mystery aren't necessarily exclusive genres, but writing for adults and for young adults can feel like writing for two completely different worlds.

For those of you interested in or toying with the idea of writing YA, several timeless blog posts I've found interesting offer excellent advice for writing in the Young Adult fiction genre.

Links are included below.
*****

Cherie Colyer wrote an article, Writing for a young adult audience, that gets right down to basics of audience, character development, and protagonist backstory.
http://cheriecolyer.blogspot.com/2016/07/writing-for-young-adults-audience.html

This is an interview of author Stacy Juba by author/interviewer Judy Penz Sheluk:
http://www.judypenzsheluk.com/2015/07/24/interview-with-an-author-stacy-juba/
plus: 10 YA Sports Novels for Teens and Tweens:
http://stacyjuba.com/blog/2015/07/20/ya-sports-novels/

Brian Klems welcomed teenaged writer Jamie S. Margolin to his blog site, The Writer's Dig, to discuss What NOT To Do When Writing YA Books:
http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/what-not-to-do-when-writing-ya-books-advice-from-a-teen-writer

This is a post about the " Top 5 Dos of Writing YA Lit" on the WiseInkBlog (actually 4 with a "don't" included):
http://www.wiseinkblog.com/self-publishing-2/the-top-5-dos-of-writing-ya-lit/

And here are some writing tips from editors concerning authenticity, subject matter, and trends when writing YA:
https://blog.reedsy.com/editors-tips-write-young-adult-novel

*****

With this information at my fingertips, I may decide to write a young adult mystery of my own. Of course, this will require a whole new mindset and a willingness to take myself back to the days of my youth. Maybe I'll begin by stocking up on chocolate - and rereading a good YA novel by a fellow mystery writer to get me in the mood:


THE RAINBOW CONNECTION by Laurie Hanan


Review comments:
The character development is awesome
Wonderfully interwoven twists and turns

Monday, August 16, 2021

Author Arti Jain's "and all the SEASONS in between" - Book Review

Every so often a book comes along that leaves you with a smile and a feeling of peace. One such book for me is "and all the SEASONS in between" by Arti Jain. She has written a remarkable fairy-like tale woven through with delightful childhood memories.


A novel for all ages, toddlers to the ageless young-of-heart, this is an uplifting narrative of sunny days in India spent under the tutelage of loving grandparents and an uninhibited imagination. Every sentence and phrase is exceptionally well-written prose, which at times feels almost poetic in style.

Artemis, a young girl living in a valley surrounded by hills and Himalayan mountains, divides her days between a fairy world of imagination and real life with a loving family. In an early scene, she spends time with her grandfather, Papaji: "I planted myself on the cool soil next to him; my face turned up towards the lush vines watching the sun dabble with its leaves -- a dapple of bright here, a dash of dark there." Each setting is made vivid with unique descriptions, whether referring to dragonflies or radishes or yoghurt baths.

What has me most enamored of the book, along with the pleasing book cover and writing style, is Arti's reading of the final chapter, "He carried dirt under his fingernails".

*** 

Visit Arti at her web site: My Ordinary Moments (artismoments.blogspot.com)

Check out her book at Amazon.com in ebook and paperback formats.

Listen to Arti's reading from the book: He Carried Dirt Under His Fingernails | Arti Jain | English Spoken Word - Bing video

*****


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Switching Genres: Interview with Author Laurie Hanan #NovelResearch

Following is an interview with author Laurie Hanan from 2018 in which she discusses the process of switching genres, from writing mysteries to young adult (YA) fiction. Laurie is a charter member of Sisters in Crime/Hawai'i and we have shared many writing experiences during our friendship over the years. After a career with the Honolulu Post Office, she took up writing full time. You can read her interesting biography and more here: Amazon.com: Laurie Hanan: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

*****



Author Laurie Hanan joins us today to discuss her most recent novel, The Rainbow Connection, a YA novel set in Hawai‘i. Laurie has a successful mystery series, also set in Hawai‘i, featuring mail carrier Louise Golden who gets tangled in mysterious situations she uncovers on her mail route. With four Louise Golden novels published, Laurie took a break to write a young adult novel. 

*****

From a synopsis of The Rainbow Connection
by Laurie Hanan:

With graduation looming, Emmy’s only friend in her new school goes missing. Brett’s run off before. Her mother and even the cops figure she’s done it again. But Emmy is convinced Brett can’t wait to begin college in the fall, and she would never ditch her super-hot boyfriend. Something bad must have happened to her. Emmy is determined to find out what.

***** 

Gail: Thank you, Laurie, for sharing some of your thoughts today on your latest book, The Rainbow Connection. After writing mysteries for so many years, did that discipline allow for an easy transition into writing a young adult story?
 
Laurie Hanan: Mahalo, Gail, for inviting me to your blog!

     I don’t know if  “easy” is a word I’d use for transitioning to the Young Adult genre. It’s been a long time since I was seventeen, and of course teens today live in a totally different world from the one I grew up in. Developing an authentic voice for Emmy’s character took trial and a lot of error before I felt I was even close. My teen years were painful. Imagining my own seventeen-year-old self in the same tough situations Emmy faces, re-experiencing the raw emotions, and sorting through what my thought processes might have been at that age, gave me more than a few sleepless nights. I also paid close attention to my teenage daughter and her friends, taking notes on their mannerisms and quickly jotting down samples of their lingo. 

     But it was a natural and enjoyable transition to take a peripheral character who I love in my Louise Golden series, develop her personality even more, and give her a mystery of her own to solve.
 
*****
 
Her search leads to a secretive religious group. Emmy suspects there is more to the group’s simple lifestyle and ecstatic dance rituals than the peace and harmony they preach.
 
***** 
 
 Gail: Your comments about re-experiencing raw emotions of teen years and sleepless nights reminded me of the Ernest Hemingway quote — 'There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.'

     In The Rainbow Connection, protagonist Emmy’s maturity has developed through an array of responsibilities within the family, at school, and on the job. Can some of her more questionable decisions that draw her into precarious situations, such as the isolated meeting with Byron at a retreat for a secretive religious group, be attributed to the still-developing reasoning of a teenager?

 
Laurie Hanan: Absolutely. Science shows us that a teen’s brain is not fully developed. They tend to act on impulse, misjudge precarious situations, and misread social cues and the emotions of others.

     Emmy is impulsive, prone to exaggeration, at times irrational, and makes choices that are downright dangerous. Being a teen necessarily makes her an unreliable narrator. The reader is given insights into the missing girl only through Emmy’s skewed remembrances of her, adding another layer of questions about her disappearance.

    
Gail: You have taken the characters Emmy and her brother from your mystery series and created a new storyline for them in the YA genre. What, if any, details from their backstories play a role in or contribute to the plotline of The Rainbow Connection? How important is it for a writer to develop a character’s backstory, in a series or a stand-alone novel?
 
Laurie Hanan: I will answer your questions out of order. When writing a series of stand-alone novels, there can be a fine line between including enough backstory to help readers understand the character, and throwing in so much backstory it confuses the reader and bogs down the flow of events in the new mystery. While each of my novels stands alone, reading the series in order does offer a broader view of the characters’ development over the years.

     In my fourth Louise Golden mystery, Stairway to Heaven, seventeen-year-old   Emmy makes some misguided decisions, resulting in her being kidnapped and held for ransom on a small sailboat during a hurricane. Twelve-year-old Jackie is pulled into the rescue efforts and ends up killing a man to save his sister. While these events play no role in the plotline of  The Rainbow Connection, the experiences do bring about dramatic changes in both Emmy and Jackie, and permanently alter the dynamics between brother and sister.  I originally included some of this backstory in The Rainbow Connection, but my editor felt it “belonged in a different book.” I reluctantly agreed. So, I am currently working on a novella-length recreation of the kidnapping and rescue from the perspectives of Emmy and Jackie. I hope this will shed more light on how the traumatic events affected the two kids.

 
Gail: This coming of age story has a missing person at its center, supporting the idea that stories in all genres involve a mystery. Having written mysteries, and now YA, did you develop a specific preference in genre for future works, or will you continue with the YA series while adding to your Louise Golden series?
 
Laurie Hanan: A big part of why I write is to make my readers happy. Louise fans are clamoring for more time with Louise, while Emmy’s new fans are pleading for the next Emmy Hanlin YA novel. My hope is to continue writing more in both series. 

     I’m currently working on another spinoff from the Louise Golden series, a humorous, classic whodunit starring Louise’s eighty-something-year-old stepmother and her geriatric neighborhood watch group.
 
 
Gail: Mahalo for sharing so much personal insight into your writing style and  character development, Laurie. The information about backstory is especially educational. I look forward to reading your YA novella and the humorous geriatric mystery. 
 
Laurie Hanan's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lauriehanan
 
 
 

Laurie's books are available at Amazon.com in trade and e-book formats: 
 
 
*****
*****
 
 

 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Reviewing the Practice of Reviewing Books

Today's review is not a book review but rather a review of the practice and art of reviewing books in general. I will focus not on professional reviewers but bloggers such as myself and the myriad readers (including me) who offer reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub.

Shopping venue in the "good ol' days"

In certain instances, a book review requires a star rating; a short synopsis of the book; and a narrative of likes and dislikes. The point of this review is to give potential readers information upon which to base their decision to read or not to read a particular book.

The star rating may be influenced by any number of factors and categories, including
1. book cover attraction
2. genre faithfulness
3. character development
4. plot progression, and
5. editing level

First, some hypothetical questions about this list:

A. How often have you heard that a cover design can make or break a sale? But also that you can't judge a book by its cover?

B. Should a genre book stick to just one category: Mystery. Romance. Sci-fi? Or is a mixed genre story more appealing?

C. Can characters make or break a story if the novel is character driven? Must they all be likable protagonists and despicable villains? If the story is plot driven, must the action be non-stop?

D. Editing level - this, now, is the impetus for my post: a novel I read yesterday. What if a book doesn't conform to standard punctuation rules - of which there are many? Should the book then be avoided? After all, life is short. The world is filled with an abundance of classics and best sellers and award-winning tomes.

Austen, Lee, Orwell, Brontë, Hemingway, Melville, Lewis, London, Woolf, Shelley, Marquez, Stowe,
Tolkien, Twain, Dickens, Steinbeck, Dostoyevsky, Stoker, Hugo, Dumas, Stevenson, Doyle, Fitzgerald, Poe . . .
 
Why waste time on a rule-breaking story that doesn't conform to an acceptable level of editing? I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to proofreading, but for me, the answer is easy.

Because.

Because, if the story/plot line appeals to me, I will read the book for its entertainment value, regardless of missing punctuation such as end quotes or the Oxford comma (don't get me started); skipped words; and unique sentence structure or dialogue format. And my review will reflect the high points of the book that held my interest. 

Because there are many diamonds-in-the-rough with interesting story value that receive discouraging reviews for reasons unrelated to story content when, to me, the story is what reading is all about. (Besides, can you even hear that Oxford comma on an audio book?)

Some believe it is important to let other readers know what foibles or foul-ness they may encounter in a book so they don't enter into a reading experience unequipped for the situation. 

But isn't reading meant as an adventure best experienced "through one's own eyes"?



What is your criteria for choosing a book to read, and whether to submit a review?


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Developing Traits For a Novel Character

After years of gradually-increasing issues with my right hip, and a slow progression from osteopenia to osteoporosis, I had a total hip replacement in 2018. My years-long experience (often referred to as "aging"😉) was the catalyst for the through-line of my genealogical novel, SHARDS OF MEMORY - Oral History In A Heartbeat.

Even flowers have personality traits

In my case, adjustments prior to surgery included a lessened pace in activities and a shift in diet. This may have slowed the pace of loss, but whether as much or more than medication would have I don't know. The ultimate result was surgery.

The novel's character, a young child injured in a car accident, experiences prolonged hardships due to a damaged leg. Noticeable 
public traits of the child include a sensitive nature, shyness, reticence, and quiet demeanor. 

The through-line of the story illustrates an emotional growth as the child adjusts to adverse circumstances. Assisting with this growth are the four grandparents who entertain the child with ongoing tales of ancestors' lives in their homelands and their immigration to America.

My situation was temporary, and dissimilar in cause to that of the novel's character - ageing verses accident. The condition did, however, give me insight into the emotional impact of a long-term physical disability. 

The standard advice for authors working on novels is to "write what you know." In this case, I wrote about what I knew and then embellished accordingly.


Excerpt from SHARDS OF MEMORY: 

Art’s thoughts of late drifted to stories about ancestral lands he heard as a kid. According to his mother, tales about the old country provided a bridge of acceptance for new generations. But Art’s interest in past events paled in light of concern for his grandchildren’s future. This proved especially true of Gahlen who suffered physical and emotional scars of present day.

The accident had occurred several months after the child’s third birthday. Acute pain in the mangled right leg faded over time, to everyone’s relief. And Gahlen’s sunny disposition encouraged others to accept the tragedy as the will of a higher power.

*****


What personal experience have you used to flesh out a character in your writing?


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Michele Drier - Author: "Novel Research" Interview

In 2011, when ebooks were just beginning to hit their stride on Amazon, Michele Drier and I met through an online writers' group, the Guppies chapter of Sisters in Crime, Inc. We had both dipped our toes into the phenomenon of electronic novels. SNAP: The World Unfolds was the debut novel of Michele's series "The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles."

Michele is a fifth generation Californian. During her career in journalism at daily newspapers in California, she won awards for investigative series. She is the past president of Capitol Crimes, a Sisters in Crime chapter; the Guppies chapter of SinC, current vice president of NorCal Sisters in Crime, and she co-chaired Bouchercon 2020.

Michele enjoyed journalism; but one thing she reveals that I didn't know about her was that she really wanted to be a Formula 1 driver and spent several years hanging around and driving sportscar time trials in California.

Because she has graciously accepted an invitation to discuss the novel research for her latest book, Tapestry of Tears (see Monday’s book review on this blog,) I now welcome author Michele Drier.

*****


Author Michele Drier

Greetings from California. Thanks so much for inviting me. 

As career choices go, if I had it to do over, I’d be an archeologist. I have a deep, abiding love of history, particularly medieval Europe. This love led me to the plot of Tapestry of Tears, the second book in the Stained Glass Mysteries.

Roz Duke, an internationally known stained glass artist, has accepted a commission to reproduce a section of the Bayeux Tapestry in glass for a university in Wisconsin.

To understand the history behind the 11th century depiction of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England, and to further study medieval stained glass, she takes a sabbatical from her studio in Oregon and moves to Hythe, a medieval city in the south of Kent, England. From here, it’s a ferry ride to northern France and the Tapestry Museum in Bayeux, France.

See: History of the Bayeux Tapestry - Bayeux Tapestry
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (uwosh.edu)
An odd fact, the discovery of 30,000 pieces of medieval stained glass in the attics of Westminster Cathedral, was the impetus for getting Roz to England. 

And it’s a true fact, giving me the initial plot for Tapestry of Tears.

I’d been to Bayeux and spent the day at the Tapestry Museum and had been to the south of England a few times, including Hythe and the tiny town on Dymchurch. And on one trip, I stood on the cliffs overlooking Omaha Beach, where the Allied assault forces invaded France and broke Hitler’s hold on the world.

As I was writing, I went down the rabbit hole of Google a lot of times, checking and double-checking my recollections; I bought yet another book on the Tapestry; I looked up ferry times and crossings of the Channel (even priced the Chunnel but decided Roz was too cheap to spend that much money!); went through some of my old pictures and wore the pages in my European atlas to shreds checking on all the small roads and sites in Kent.

At one point in the book, I have Roz moving some of her belongings from north of London to Hythe with the help of Hal, a Kentish policeman. I turned to my trusty atlas, tracing their route on the M25 and found the town of Waltham Abbey, a convenient place to stop and spend the night.

As I Googled Waltham Abbey, I discovered they had a medieval cathedral which was the burial site of King Harold, who was defeated by William the Conqueror. Well, of course Roz had to visit it.

I love research and can spend far too many hours chasing leads and tidbits. In an earlier book, Labeled for Death, about vineyard workers found dead, I managed to wheedle a visit to the Wine Library at UC Davis. After interviewing one of the oenologists, I was taken to the stacks and watched as a librarian, wearing white cotton gloves, reverently placed a large (maybe 20” x 24”) loose-leaf book in front of me. It was sample wine grape leaves from 1870 with hand-written descriptions and was how they determined varieties. The same method (with pictures instead of actual leaves) is still used today at all the wineries in California.

On the whole, I think my years in journalism has led me to relish finding sources and unearthing facts—from large to small. At this late date, I doubt I’ll ever be an archeologist, but I can pretend as I follow link to link to link and tuck interesting facts away…or write them on sticky notes that I immediately misplace.

*****

Michele’s Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death. A stand-alone, Ashes of Memories was published May 2017.

Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, was named the best paranormal vampire series of 2014 by PRG and she’s currently writing Book Eleven, SNAP: Pandemic Games.

Her new series is the Stained Glass Mysteries, Stain on the Soul and Tapestry of Tears.  She lives in Sacramento with her cat, Malley, and she’s working on the third book in the series, Resurrection of the Roses.

Visit her webpage, www.MicheleDrier.me

Or her Facebook page, ,http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleDrier

Or find her on her author page at http://www.amazon.com/Michele-Drier/e/B005D2YC8G/

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P41FKJY or

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tapestry-of-tears-michele-drier/1138556280?ean=2940162911357


*****


Monday, July 19, 2021

Book review: Tapestry of Tears by Michele Drier

Interest in reading mystery novels began in my preteens. Fascination with stained glass, however, predates memory - at a time when I was surrounded each week by sun streaming through stained glass windows during Sunday mass. Over the years, my experience of viewing stained glass has ranged from daily exposure to church-lined walls during mass in grade school; to the Rose Window of the Notre Dame in Paris; to the front window of Waikiki’s St. Augustine Church by the Sea, which has greeted sailors as their ships approached Honolulu since the late 1800s.

Imagine my delight, as an enthusiast of stained glass and mysteries, in reading the novel Tapestry of Tears, a story about a stained glass expert traveling to England and France to research the Bayeux Tapestry then becoming involved in a murder investigation and a baffling theft.

'TAPESTRY OF TEARS' by Michele Drier

Author Michele Drier's novel suggests an enormous amount of research, which she has condensed into an entertaining and fast-paced mystery. 

As the plot unfolds, along with characters’ relevant back stories, protagonist and stained glass artist Roz Duke prepares to examine the Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidered cloth and unique 11th century artifact/artefact representing numerous historical events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. 

Her self-proclaimed sabbatical from home life in Oregon, intended as a quiet research project, soon turns complicated when Roz happens upon a dead body in a dark corner of a church in England.

Expecting Tapestry of Tears to be a cozy mystery, I was surprised to discover a thriller unfolding. As a Scotland Yard type of investigation unfolds, Roz becomes more deeply involved in not only a homicide case, but theft of priceless property and possibly even seedier activities with even more dangerous suspects. 

Who to trust, and how to remain alive, become her focus - when all she wanted was to immerse herself in the task of transferring historical details from a tapestry to stained glass.

* * * * *

Upcoming post - Wednesday July 21: “Tapestry of Tears” interview with Michele Drier. Get to know more about the author and her process of weaving a well-researched tale about stained glass - and murder.

* * * * *

Tapestry of Tears is available at Amazon.com in paperback and ebook.



Wednesday, July 14, 2021

What's in an Irish Name: Novel Research

Interviews and blog posts for “Novel Research” are focused on
interesting topics that participants have researched before or while
composing a written work - whether fact, fiction, or family history.

*****

My ancestors from Tipperary, Ireland have the name McKeough. The family, including my gggrandmother Margaret, emigrated from Ireland to Canada and later settled in eastern Wisconsin. Generations later, I heard my relatives pronounce the name as "McKey". While delving into the Irish branch of my family tree, I researched the purpose of beginning a name with the prefix Mac, Mc, or O, I learned the following:
 
In ancient Ireland the population was much smaller than it is today and the mass movement of people was uncommon. Therefore, for a person to be known only by one name was usual. This single name system began to break down during the eleventh century as the population grew and there was a need for a further means of identification. The solution was to adopt a prefix such as Mac (Mc is an abbreviation) or Ó.
 
Mac means "son of" whilst Ó means "grandson of".

Idyllic Irish Farmland
 
In the years before my ancestors left Ireland, many rural families in Ireland lived in single-room cabins made of mud and without windows or chimneys. People often lived together in communal clusters called clachans (a small settlement or hamlet) spread out among the beautiful countryside. Up to a dozen persons might occupy a cabin, sleeping in straw on the bare ground, sharing space with the family's pig and chickens.

In the 1840s, my ancestors moved from Ireland to Lower Canada, later known as Quebec. No records of movement for free emigrants to Canada were required until 1865. (The USA required these records since 1773.)
 
Engaging in genealogical research and then writing stories based on the information garnered from the research is my idea of an exciting pastime. It's not climbing Mount Everest, or kiteboarding on O'ahu (no, that's not me on the water!) but the "high" is still there.

Kiteboarding (or kitesurfing) with Mōkapu Peninsula in background

*****

What names of relatives or locations have you researched in your family tree?


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Novel Research Interview with Tara Tyler

Aside from a possible trip to a land of paternal ancestors, and a tropical cruise if opportunity allows, my traveling days to other countries are mostly behind me. But a journey via literary access is always a possibility - and far less expensive. I recently took on just such an excursion within the pages of Pop Travel, a sci-fi historical novel by author Tara Tyler. Eager to learn more about Tara and her unique research topic of sci-fi technology, I asked her to participate in the Novel Research project.

***** 

Gail: Welcome Tara, and thanks for participating in this Novel Research interview today. I recently read your intriguing and well-written novel, Pop Travel, the first book in The Cooper Chronicles. Is writing novels your main career?

 

Tara Tyler: Thank you so much for this opportunity! I'm actually a math teacher by trade—to prove it’s not so bad and anyone can do it! I’ve also had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering over the years.

I’ve lived up and down the Eastern US and traveled worldwide, gaining diverse perspectives. Now I live and teach math in Ohio, but still travel to see my three active boys with my Coach Husband. The city of Atlanta holds a special place for me—it’s where I got my first teaching job, went on adventures, and got married. All of which have inspired many of my stories.


 

Gail: Your eclectic employment background suggests you seldom have idle down time. Is there anything else you do in your “spare time”?

 

Tara Tyler: Yes, I also write screenplays and am in the process of writing a musical!

 

 

Gail: Then I imagine you can envision Pop Travel as a movie someday and have researched accordingly. What is your favorite research method?

 

Tara Tyler: The internet of course! But I’m also inspired by reading similar novels, getting advice from my friends, other writers and readers, and my husband. My own curiosity and love for mapping things out helps me know what to research. And my research is a never-ending journey: I’m always wondering “what if…” and writing things down to improve a current manuscript or include in a future novel.

 

 

Gail: And what interesting details can you share today about technology in the future?


Tara Tyler: The Cooper Chronicles, or Pop Travel series is a near future detective thriller. Technology is at the center of it—and we all know how glitches and nefarious hackers can turn our lives upside-down. My favorite sci fi writer, Michael Crichton inspired me to write it. I love his style and it can be seen in some of my writing, though his medical and scientific expertise far outreaches mine. He was a true genius.

Since no one knows what the future holds for us, it’s easy to invent gadgets we’d like to see developed. But the gadgets and technology need to be plausible, so I research possibilities and embellish. For example, NOVA had a tempting video about teleportation possibilities for Pop Travel which is pop teleportation used by everyone in the future instead of planes. I read some articles about quark technology—the internet may soon be overtaken by the quark-net for faster speed in transmitting overwhelming amounts of data, especially when we use my invention of 3D imaging on our wrists: holographic smart watches called QVs (Qnet Viewers). I made some "prototypes" to give away with my books.


Since Pop Travel takes place in settings all over the world, I had to research places like Sydney, Australia and Mumbai, India. With a good portion of action in India, I relied on my neighbor who is from there to get details about specific locations. She also gave me some key Hindi phrases to use. And one of my favorite parts of research is finding layouts and maps and adapting them. Another big part of the story takes place on a renovated plantation which includes details from the historic South and the Underground Railroad. It’s a blend of history and science fiction.

 

*****


You can visit Tara at any of her social media sites

and check out her books at Amazon.com:

Pop Travel , Simulation , Disposal - POP TRAVEL series, The Cooper Chronicles
Broken Branch Falls , Cradle Rock , Windy Hollow - BEAST WORLD fantasy series


Read Monday's Pop Travel book review here:

*****

If Pop Travel, the sci fi technology of teleportation, were available for humans to travel long distances in
short periods of time, would you choose this as your main mode of transportation,
or do you prefer to have a longer travel time to acclimate yourself to changes in destinations?

*****  *****

Monday, July 5, 2021

Book Review: Pop Travel by Tara Tyler

A majority of the books I have read could be classified as murder mysteries, with subgenre categories of soft-boiled, hard-boiled, thrillers, and cozies. But I have always contended that every good story, regardless of genre, has a mystery embedded within the plot. In that regard, Tara Tyler's “Pop Travel” is no exception; more specifically, it is a murder mystery wrapped in a science fiction technological thriller. 

At one time, in my mind the term “science fiction” for a literary work conjured up thoughts of space travel and light sabers ala Star Wars. But recently, I’ve read several sci-fi novels that have lifted the genre to a new level of entertainment for me. “Pop Travel” is one of those novels. 

"POP TRAVEL" by Tara Tyler

The characters that populate Tyler’s story are well-developed normal human beings, living in a very near future, with a logical amount of technology developed on the shoulders of research beginning with physicist Albert Einstein. Teleportation, pop travel, is an imaginable probability. 

Unscrupulous business owners are also imaginable and, where money is concerned, problems with technology are often swept under the carpet while improvements are being considered (if not actually implemented.) Death caused by lax morals, even in a near future, is still murder. 

If Jameson Cooper, private detective, doesn’t want to face such a fate, he must first face the inevitable need to “pop travel”, a perceived danger he has avoided out of well-placed fear. During an attempt to prevent unnecessary deaths, he becomes attracted to Geri, a modern day femme fatale possibly even more dangerous to Cooper’s success in meeting his objective. 

The entertainment value of this novel is well-worth the time invested in dwelling within Tyler’s near-future world of active teleportation and the resulting consequence of human greed that tends to teleport itself throughout millenniums of history.

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Upcoming post - Wednesday July 7: “Pop Travel” interview with Tara Tyler. Get to know more about the author and her process of weaving a well-researched tale about teleportation.

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"POP TRAVEL" is available at: Amazon.com: Pop Travel - Kindle edition by Tyler, Tara. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.