Author Interview: R.D. Crist

The Interview

Q1). A little bit about myself and how did I get into writing.
Just a little?  Wow.  There is so much that I don’t know where to start.  I’ve been through a lot.  I’ve experienced so many adverse circumstances that I had to sit down and develop a new perspective, which is why I chose a degree in marriage and family therapy.  Originally, I was amazing in math and many people saw me in a more technical field, but here I am, trying to figure it all out.  What I do learn, I love to pass on, which is why I write…
I began writing mostly by chance – a long story, but…  I decided to write stories because I felt people learn through experiences, even other people’s experiences, and I learned that people fight grown when it is expected.  If you put the two concepts together, it’s better than peanut butter and chocolate – you get entertainment and growth.  A self help book can help people, but so can a good story.  If you get one lesson, or just feel a little better about yourself, in one of my stories, then it was all worth the effort.
Q2). What inspired you to write this book?
Adolescence is a difficult time for many people.  Long story short, I believe this book has the opportunity to facilitate a feeling of acceptance and normalcy.
Q3). What theme or message do you hope to convey?
I put the theme right smack in the dedication: “fitting in.”  The entire book – from the love story, the school, the parental aspect, and even in little pockets – was designed to support the theme of a young woman trying to find where she fits in regarding her immediate situation and in the outer world.  It’s not about witches, love, shoes, or even the individual characters: it’s about how Natalie begins, how she negotiates the circumstances, and where she ends.  An example is: some people wanted more love in the story, and some people wanted less love, but the love interest was perfectly designed to help Natalie feel like a normal teenage woman.  Also, the reader may notice how Natalie’s shoes coincide with her influence over the other girls; the more she is accepted as one of them, the more they wear her style of shoes. 
Q4). What drew you to this particular genre?
I didn’t begin in this genre, and I’m not fixed in this genre, but there seemed to be an opening for more empowerment in Young Adults.  Fantasy seemed the perfect catalyst.  I thought I’d experiment with a first chapter, and I liked it.  From there I set aside my other projects to finish this book; and the second one.
Q5). If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
This is such a fun question.  My characters are made from envisioning extreme personalities, and picturing how each would react is exciting to think of.
I love knowledge, and Ms. Haggle knows everything, but she also has no patience for, well, anyone, and can be very temperamental.  I’m drawn to people who need help, and I see myself drawn to Melissa; but I wouldn’t ask her why she’s so angry, that wouldn’t be smart.  I think I’d ask her, “how can I help?”  But she’d probably just reply, “by leaving me alone.”
Q6). What social media sight has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Goodreads by far.  The bloggers there have been patient, honest, and extremely helpful.  Their sites are fun to read and informative.  I think if this book has a great start, it’s because of them.
Q7). What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Do not quit, and do not stress about it?  Advice I still need to follow.  I have walked away from writing and come back so many times, but I just keep getting better.  This story was actually written about five years ago, but it is now just coming out.  Also, I wrote another book before this one, but was frustrated when a similar story came out before I published it, even though it was about four years in the making.  Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.  I think my stories get better each time anyway.
Q8). What does the future hold in store for you?  Any new books/projects on the horizon?
Yes, yes, and yes.  I am working on about ten different stories at the moment.  I piece them together in my mind until they are complete enough to start a treatment.  I am always building them and have numerous treatments written down.  I promised myself I would publish the second book to Scarlet Reign next year, which has been written and needs to be revised, but there are several more I can’t wait to complete.  There are four books in this series, so we’ll see where it all goes, but first I must consider writing as a hobby because I have other responsibilities.  I am happy with my financial situation and would be ecstatic to just have a fan base even if I don’t make money, but the truth is, books will come slow in my current routine.  I will do everything in my power to have one Scarlet Reign book come out every year.  It shouldn’t be hard as the last two are all pieced together and ready to be written – but there may also be a spinoff.  I have already put forth great effort to piece them together so that they connect as a complete story.  Book one is filled with set-ups that are very imperative to the other seven (yes, seven) books.
I will try to keep all my fans updated on our monthly notes, which can be found on our website: www.scarletreignbooks.com

Author Bio:

R.D. Crist is a psychotherapist who generates creativity via long walks and majestic views of nature. True inspiration to write, however, derives from personal hardships that have sparked a desire to help others manage life’s various struggles.

 

Although R.D. Crist has only released one book, three have been written and several more begun, which span a variety of genres.  The focus of these stories are intended to center on Crist’s favorite dynamics of a story – personal conflict, relationship development, inner growth, and social revelation.  Each story is created with a greater purpose to stimulate a person to reflect on common challenges, be they personal, interactive, or in principle.

 

Childhood influences include Ray Bradbury stories and character conflict movies like Twelve Angry Men.

 

Socializing, listening to people’s stories, spending time with family, and relentlessly exercising (as if those last ten pounds cared) are some of Crist’s favorite ways to pass the day.

Thank you again and I hope this helps,
R.D. Crist
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Longevity: The Wardens of Time by Caleb Smith Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One young man’s journey of self-discovery leads to a world of magic and danger in author Caleb Smith’s novel Longevity: The Wardens of Time. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

Noah Thomas is a scrawny seventh grader who is bullied to the brink in his new town. Friendless, except for sassy tomboy Wendy Sherman, who seems to lend him the confidence he needs to stand up to his oppressors. Upon stumbling into a bookshop one afternoon while on the run from some teenaged tyrants, Noah is hurled into an unexplainable adventure. Noah learns that the bookshop does, in fact, lead to the Akashic Records – a place that holds all spirit lives recorded in tablets of light. With this new found knowledge, Noah begins to grow in wisdom and confidence to face his fears. His biggest challenge comes in the form of five demonic spirits that he accidentally lets loose from a lost tablet. Will Noah succeed with the help of his guardian angel cat he calls Keeper, or will all Hell’s henchman prevail?

The Review

This YA Paranormal/Coming of Age story was an incredible read. The author does a marvelous job of blending the struggles of a young middle school child struggling with his status as an outsider and being bullied with the magical and mythical circumstances he finds himself in throughout the book. Noah is a very relatable and heartbreaking character. In an age where bullying and even cyber-bullying are at an all time high, Noah’s struggle with the bullies at his school and it’s affect on his life was an emotional struggle that readers will be able to hone in on. Meanwhile Noah also struggles with maintaining his first real friendship with Wendy, while also coming of age and discovering his independence while dealing with a worried single mother and no father to help guide him through the hardships of life.

While children will identify with Noah and his adventures, parents will immediately love Noah’s mother and Wendy’s father as they both serve as single parents struggling to raise children on their own. Meanwhile the paranormal element of the story helps illuminate Noah’s real life struggles by giving him a taste of heroism and showing the power that stories and words really have in this world. Delving into the lore of a surprising mythology, the story turns to a classic yet epic battle of good vs evil, and what happens when a small, frightened young boy grows into an adult and becomes the protector he was always meant to be. The writing here was well done, using the mythology told throughout the story to paint a fantastic image of what ancient forces descending on a small town would really look like.

The Verdict

Overall I loved this story. The characters and story really did an amazing job of drawing me into the book and created a fantastic new YA mythology that has the potential for far more stories in the franchise. It’s a story of finding hope, discovering your inner strength and standing up to the bullies and evil of the world around you. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of Longevity: The Wardens of Time by Caleb Smith, available for pre-order now and set to release on October 25th, 2018.

Rating: 8/10

Check out the Author’s Facebook page down below, as well as a special giveaway happening for the book on Goodreads!

https://www.facebook.com/calebsmithauthor/ 

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_kindle_giveaway/284681?utm_medium=api&utm_source=giveaway_widget

To Squeeze A Prairie Dog: An American Novel by Scott Semegran Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A group of state employees discover who they are and dream big in author Scott Semegran’s novel “To Squeeze A Prairie Dog: An American Novel”. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

This is the story of J. D. Wiswall, a sincere young man from a small town, who joins a state government agency in a data entry department comprised of quirky clerks. Quickly endearing himself to the diverse group in Unit 3, J. D. learns his coworkers have a pact to share the $10,000 prize if they win a cost-savings program for a suggestion that could save the government money, in turn helping them rise above their own personal struggles. A multimillion-dollar cost-savings suggestion is accidentally discovered by J. D.’s supervisor, the goof-off alcoholic Brent Baker. This lucrative discovery catches the attention of crotchety Governor Dwayne Bennett, a media-hungry demagogue, who turns the coworkers of Unit 3 into props for his selfish political reasons. The publicity surrounding the clerks piques the interest of a newspaper reporter, Esther Jean Stinson, whose investigative reporting threatens to reveal the governor’s career-ending secret, as well as jeopardizes the prize that the clerks so desperately desire.

Along with J. D. and Brent, the lives of the amiable coworkers in Unit 3 are revealed. There is Rita Jackson, the kind matriarch of her large brood, who spends her time outside of work caring for her five struggling children and thirteen wily grandchildren. Then there’s Deborah Martinez, a single mother to a felonious son, who struggles to keep her head above her sinking financial woes. There’s also Conchino Gonzalez, a quiescent giant of Mexican and Japanese descent, who street races at night to relieve worries about his ailing grandfather in Japan. Finally, J. D. has dreams bigger than his small hometown can provide, and Brent wants nothing more than to drop the bureaucratic routine to become a rock star with his bar band.

A few blocks away from the agency that houses Unit 3, Governor Bennett, a smarmy politician who whizzes around the Governor’s Mansion on a gold-plated wheelchair, parades the unwitting clerks in front of the local media in an attempt to raise his sagging poll numbers. But reporter Esther Jean sees through the governor’s bald-faced motives and uncovers secrets not meant to be revealed. Will her revelations keep Unit 3 from receiving their elusive prize?

From award-winning writer Scott Semegran, To Squeeze a Prairie Dog is an American, modern-day tale with working-class folks—part fable, part satire, and part comedy—revealing that camaraderie amongst kind-hearted friends wins the day over evil intentions. 

The Review

This book was very well done. A classic literary tale filled with humor and down to earth characters, readers will instantly connect to the characters that make up the book’s core group, Unit 3. The struggles and personalities of each character were both relatable and recognizable, making the story feel real and personal to the reader in a unique way. The story was not only funny in many spots, but also was a great story of greed, dreams and hope for a better tomorrow, all themes explored throughout the novel.

The novel also does a great job of exploring those in power who use everyday people to get ahead in their own personal goals. Politicians, state employers and those enchanted with greed all seek to further their own gains, but this book does a wonderful job exploring what happens when a makeshift, dysfunctional family works together and stays true to themselves to overcome the odds. The writing in this book was real, honest and funny, and did an incredible job painting a picture of these individuals and the life they led.

The Verdict

This is a must read for anyone who enjoys classic, American literature. A real world look into the life of state employees in the state of Texas and the everyday people who come together to make the system run smoothly was a fascinating read. Filled with humor, wit and relatable characters, there was something for everyone in this book. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of To Squeeze A Prairie Dog: An American Novel” by Scott Semegran today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

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Scott Semegran lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, four kids, two cats, and a dog. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English. He is a bestselling, award-winning writer and cartoonist. He can also bend metal with his mind and run really fast, if chased by a pack of wolves. His comic strips have appeared in the following newspapers: The Austin Student, The Funny Times, The Austin American-Statesman, Rocky Mountain Bullhorn, Seven Days, The University of Texas at Dallas Mercury, and The North Austin Bee. Books by Scott Semegran include Sammie & Budgie, Boys, The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood, The Spectacular Simon Burchwood, Modicum, Mr. Grieves and more.

https://instagram.com/scott_semegran

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3409317.Scott_Semegran

https://www.twitter.com/scottsemegran

https://www.facebook.com/scottsemegran.writer/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/scott-semegran

https://www.rifflebooks.com/profiles/172809

https://www.amazon.com/author/scottsemegran

And my website:

https://www.scottsemegran.com/