Interview with Author P.A. Kane

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I grew up in a small three bedroom/one bathroom house with my parents and nine siblings in Buffalo, New York. Presently, I live in a suburb of Buffalo with my wife and three college age children, who don’t seem to want to leave.

As far as how I started to write. I went through a pretty aimless period after high school where I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and was in and out of college.  Finally, in my early twenties I started read in a pretty serious way—stuff like Kerouac, Philip Roth, the poetry of Anne Sexton—which led me to want to give writing a shot. Problem was by the time I was all read up I was in my late twenties and had the pressure of trying to keep a roof over my head and a pretty serious girlfriend, whom I would eventually marry and have children with, so I had to shelve the writing thing. But when the kids got older and needed me less, I started to get up before work (really the middle of the night) make some coffee and write for a few hours. Few years later I have two published novels and a book of essays on the way, plus a million other ideas for books.

 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

Leaving Jackson Wolf was intended to be a novella about Jackson’s friend McDougal. But as I got into it I realized the book was more about Jackson and his relationship with his father which was fraught with so much anger and dysfunction. This compelled me to explore how a fifteen-year-old kid would not only survive the violent dysfunction of his home life, but the possible outcomes on the other side of it. I also wanted to talk about male relationships and tried to portray Jackson and McDougal without all the tough guy underpinnings of traditional male relationships. Both boys are pretty tough, but they aren’t afraid to be vulnerable with each other and to care for each other in a way you don’t see much, but I think healthy. I’m pretty sick of the toxic way guys measure themselves with each other.   

 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I would hope when people read this they find value in owning up and being accountable for your life. Jackson makes his share of mistakes, but rather than wallow in his failures, he is persistent and moves forward trying to do better, always trying to find his power. Additionally, the boys love indie music and in dark times not only is it a friend that helps them feel less alone, but it also provides great perspective on life. So I would hope people might look into some of the fifty plus artists mentioned in the book and give them a good listen or just listen to good music in general. I feel sad for people who don’t have music or think good music is Coldplay.

  

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’m not really drawn to a genre. I just wanted to tell a story about two boys trying to make their way through a complicated world. The writing world seems to be genre and series driven, but all I really want to do is write stories about real people in real life situations regardless of their age or whatever.

 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Though she wasn’t in the book much I would like to sit with Jackson’s mom and get a update on where she was and what happened to her. Maybe this is a little voyeuristic and creepy, but I also would like to sit off to the side back at The Spot with Jackson and McDougal and just listen to them and talk music and the wonders of the female persuasion with a couple of beers. I’d like to hear the excitement in their voices as they talk about all the possibilities still ahead for them.

  

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Boy, this social media thing is so overwhelming and so competitive. Too much for the one-man operation I run. I mostly use Facebook and I mostly do a bad job with it. Going forward as I gather more resources I’m going to invest in some outside help.

 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Don’t be afraid to start small. With the recent baseball playoffs I was reminded of being in a school lavatory back in the day and some older boys had a transistor radio and were listening to the World Series. From that single image of the boys with the radio in the lavatory I got this pretty cool story Knox, O’Malley, Sheena and The Miracle Mets. From little seeds a tree can grow.

 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Presently editing a book of essays that I hope to publish in the spring/summer of 2019.

I have this new charter O’Malley that I’ve been sketching on my blog and a couple chapters of another novel.

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About the Author

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Growing up in a three bed/one bath house with nine siblings in Buffalo, New York was a just the facts, assembly-line type of childhood. However, one day in the late seventies, well into my clamorous teen years, that all changed when my exhausted mom uncharacteristically asked several probing questions about how I was doing, what I wanted of life and how I was going to get there… totally confounding me.  She was supposed to dish out commands and make declarative statements: …take out the trash …don’t come home unless you’re bleeding; …every time you masterbate it’s a hundred-years in purgatory. Not ask me to articulate inward looking, reflective questions about myself. Self-examination and contemplation, was light years beyond my transactional existence.

 Eventually, though, due to a certain amount of aimlessness and failure I did come to consider my mom’s questions and many more of people, time, place and heritage, which have become the basis of the novel “Written In The Stars: The Book Of Molly.” Seen through the eyes of young Molly Shea it is an exploration of the ways and means of 1979 Irish-Catholic, South Buffalo and an evolving girl’s place in that world.

Presently I am one neighborhood removed from South Buffalo in West Seneca, New York where I live with my wife, three college age children and a cat that hates me. I have a State University of New York background in English and I love trade paperbacks, quiet black mornings and The Ramones.

https://www.facebook.com/pakane14220/

https://twitter.com/PAKane14220

http://www.pakane.net/

http://buffalomud.com/

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Leaving Jackson Wolf by P.A. Kane 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 chaotic journey through high school, a troubled home life and racial bias on the rise make this coming of age story not only relevant, but important and emotional in author P.A. Kane’s novel, Leaving Jackson Wolf. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

Passing through the transition hallway at South Park High School was as mundane a task as passing along a text message. But not for Jackson Wolf and James McDougal. One spring day bullies randomly target them—teenage fists are thrown and suspensions are issued.

After school, Jackson is indifferent to McDougal’s overtures of friendship until the whiz-kid proposes they jam the security cameras of a local drug store with his iPhone and steal some beer. From there the two fringe boys, biracial Jackson and undersized McDougal, become fast friends. Together they combat bullies, their alcoholic fathers and bond over the beautiful—Syd and Lexi, indie music and extreme biking.

But as the boys grow in strength people start to exit from Jackson’s life, leading to him to question his choices and believe forces in the universe are conspiring against him. With the help of McDougal and the stunningly competent Jessica Lee, Jackson learns that he must draw on his own power and goodness as he confronts the possibility of his greatest loss yet.

The Review

This was an incredible read. Set against the backdrop of the 2016 US Presidential Election, the author explores what it’s like for a biracial young man living in an age where people feel empowered to showcase their darkest, most biased opinions, whether they be racist, sexist, or anything else in that realm. When your alcoholic and abusive father is also racist and a Trump supporter, what kind of mental state would that leave a teenage kid in that setting?

The story also explores themes of abandonment, friendship and the discovery of who we are as people and what we are capable of becoming. While the racial bias and election are the backdrop, the true story lies in the unlikely friendship that develops between Jackson and McDougal. These two unlikely friends fine common ground and push each other to be the best versions of themselves they can be. In that journey they not only discover true friendship, but a bond of brotherhood and family neither one of them knew they needed in their lives.

The writing here is amazing. A quick read, the story flows smoothly as we explore Jackson’s life at home and with his friends. We see young love blossom, tension rise as terrible parental figures weigh heavily on the minds of these young people, and the author’s use of setting really helps bring the characters to life in a real and profound way, making the situation feel like it could easily be non-fiction rather than the coming of age fiction that it truly is.

The Verdict

Overall this was a phenomenal, must read novel. This coming of age YA read was relatable and impactful as we live in a post-election era of Trump and the violent and racist upheaval that has followed that election. The author captures the raw emotions of both sides of the political divide while also showcasing the mindset of young people today and how they are often caught up in the sins of their fathers, both literally and figuratively. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Leaving Jackson Wolf by P.A. Kane today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HSM5V32/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07HSM5V32&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

About the Author

14141828_1582157662086499_7127312092596423076_n

Growing up in a three bed/one bath house with nine siblings in Buffalo, New York was a just the facts, assembly-line type of childhood. However, one day in the late seventies, well into my clamorous teen years, that all changed when my exhausted mom uncharacteristically asked several probing questions about how I was doing, what I wanted of life and how I was going to get there… totally confounding me.  She was supposed to dish out commands and make declarative statements: …take out the trash …don’t come home unless you’re bleeding; …every time you masterbate it’s a hundred-years in purgatory. Not ask me to articulate inward looking, reflective questions about myself. Self-examination and contemplation, was light years beyond my transactional existence.

 Eventually, though, due to a certain amount of aimlessness and failure I did come to consider my mom’s questions and many more of people, time, place and heritage, which have become the basis of the novel “Written In The Stars: The Book Of Molly.” Seen through the eyes of young Molly Shea it is an exploration of the ways and means of 1979 Irish-Catholic, South Buffalo and an evolving girl’s place in that world.

Presently I am one neighborhood removed from South Buffalo in West Seneca, New York where I live with my wife, three college age children and a cat that hates me. I have a State University of New York background in English and I love trade paperbacks, quiet black mornings and The Ramones.

https://www.facebook.com/pakane14220/

https://twitter.com/PAKane14220

http://www.pakane.net/

http://buffalomud.com/

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

Interview with J.G. Dow

  1. Q) Tell us a little about yourself. How did you find yourself becoming an author?  I was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire which is in the North of England and have always lived in the area apart from a few years away at University in Manchester which was much fun! I started out with poetry and have written a few other things but never anything in the ‘chick-lit’ category and so this was a new venture for me. I really enjoyed the writing process and so went from there really. It’s quite addictive once you start writing and fulfilling as well. I also like Snooker, comedy and reading.
  2. Q) How did Jane of Manchester come to be written? What triggered the idea for this novel? The book came into being as I wanted to write something that might have a wide readership and also, I felt like the challenge of seeing if I could write something I felt wasn’t in my comfort zone. Time spent in Manchester years before suddenly seemed like an interesting place to set a novel and I knew I could write about real bars and restaurants and areas in the city to make it authentic.
  3. Q) What theme or message do you hope readers take away from this novel? I suppose the message would be to not panic in life that others are moving ahead of you and try and keep to your own path and not be swayed. It’s not always easy to do any of this and looking around at others and how they are moving forward can make you insecure as a person and anxious even but you can’t let that beat you. I think I make it clear that family and friends and a sense of community are important as well for a happy life. Try and relax and enjoy life but don’t expect things to always be rosy otherwise, disappointment will find you every time.
  4. Q) If you could sit and chat with anyone in this story, who would it be and what would you ask them?  Maybe I’d talk to Kate, Jane’s sister and ask her why she has to have a superior attitude the whole time! Some people do think themselves better than others, especially if they have a good job like she does- Junior Doctor- and begin to think others are beneath them in some way. They probably don’t mean to be like this but people like Kate do make others feel unworthy sometimes and so I would put her in her place somehow!
  5. Q) What social media site has been the most helpful building your readership?Facebook is helpful and I have a page- J.G. Dow@homeofjane- which I use to post links to interviews like this and reviews and people check them out and hopefully sometimes buy the book or read it in the kindle library. Bloggers like your good self are also very important not just for reviews but also for giving new authors exposure on their sites, so thanks for that! Twitter is okay but I’m not great at using in effectively.
  6. Q) When writing a story what is more important to you as an author: developing plot or creating characters? The most important initial thing is to have good characters. You can’t do much if the characters are flat and lifeless so you need to start there really and have a good feel for who they are and treat them very much as if they exist in the real world. Plot is obviously important but depends on the book you are writing and as mine is more character driven, the story is a bit looser than a thriller or some crime novel would be where plot possibly comes before characters slightly.
  7. Q) What advice would you give to aspiring authors? To aspiring authors I would say it is important to like writing and don’t see it so much as work, but something you like to do. I think if you enjoy it, that will come through in the content of the writing and if you find it a bit tedious, that will show as well.
  8. Q) What future projects are on the horizon for you? Any future installments in the Jane of Manchester story? I have just recently finished the sequel to Jane of Manchester and will be putting it on Amazon next week sometime probably and will post a link to it on my Facebook page once its out. It furthers Jane’s exploits in the city and hopefully broadens her tale quite considerably as she slowly emerges from her shell and moves forward a bit, albeit at her own pace! That’s it for now really, although I have an unfinished book from ages ago I might try to complete if I can remember where I was up to with it!

 

Jane of Manchester by J.G. Dow Review

An intimate look into the life of a twenty-something woman living in the U.K. shines brightly in the debut novel from author J.G. Dow, “Jane of
Manchester”. The story showcases Jane as she goes through her life, watching friends and family grow and excell in life, love and friendship while
she feels as if she isn’t growing at the same pace. Here is the official synopsis:

Jane’s life on the face of it isn’t really too bad…she has great friends like party girl Natasha who’s always up for a laugh and her close pal Polly, always there for her and of course her loving parents, but things could still be better…

Most people she knows are either married or have kids and she has been single a while now and wonders if a good man is ever to be encountered again. The single life is far from a quiet one for Jane however, as she is constantly getting dragged to night clubs and bars by Natasha and the crew as well as enduring a particularly boozy weekend away at the seaside!

Jane loves a lot about her life, disregarding rude plumbers in her flat and dealing with annoying superiors and a smug sister, but as a certain someone takes her eye, is everything about to change and get a whole lot more serious or is the single life determined to keep her captive a while longer yet…

This story is definitely more of a chill and relaxing read, taking the reader on a personal jouney of one young woman who must decide for herself
what kind of life she wants to lead. While so many young women are constantly pressured to get married and have children, the world is also evolving
and women are finally being recognized and respected for wanting a career before family. Jane feels caught in the middle of these two ideologies,
as her sister is excelling in her career and her friends are all getting married and having children, while Jane herself kind of just lives her
life. Working as a florist and enjoying simple nights out with friends or curling up with a good movie and a glass of wine, Jane begins to
wonder what more she wants out of life.

The story is well written, taking the reader into the everyday life of this woman and showcasing her interactions with friends, family and
strangers. Showcasing things like drunken bar crawls, sexual harrassment and more, this story does a marvelous job of delving into the everyday
life of a modern woman and showing the struggles women face when the world seems to be waiting for them to decide who they want to be. While
this book is not an edge of your seat thriller, it is a pleasant and wonderfully simple read that drama and coming of age story fans will fall in
love with. For a debut novel this was a wonderful read from author J.G.Dow and I look forward to seeing what he has in store for the future.
Be sure to pick up your copies of Jane of Manchester today!