interview with author aaron blaylock

hello readers of mine! i understand that my last blog entry was dated october of last year. i guess you deserve an explanation. i’ll try to make a blog post about that soon. instead, we are now interviewing the author of The Land of Look Behind, Aaron Blaylock.

a brief background

Born and raised in Arizona, Aaron is proud to call the desert home. He came of age in the suburbs of Sacramento, California and as a missionary in Jamaica, where 7769270he fell in love with the people and their culture, but he has always been drawn back to the valley of the sun.

He married his childhood crush, and the girl of his dreams, in 2001. Together they are raising four beautiful and rambunctious children. He worked as a freelance sports reporter for The Arizona Republic for nearly ten years, combining his love of writing and sports. In his storytelling he draws heavily on his love of history, adventure, his faith, and his own life experiences.

Source: Goodreads

the interview

1. What are your three most favorite books?
Picking just three is hard and I’m sure to leave out books I love but as I read the question three books came to mind.  First, I love The Adventure of Huckleberrry Finn.  I just love Mark Twain and his two most iconic stories, to me at least, are highly re-readable.  Then I’d probably have to pick a Harry Potter book since I love that series so much, probably the Goblet of Fire as that has so much of what I enjoyed about young Harry’s story.  Third, I’ll throw in one of the last books I finished The Martian.  It was so different and compelling and yet so much fun to read.  That’s quite a feat considering it’s about a man trying not to die alone on Mars.  Shoot, I just realized I didn’t pick a Tolkien or a Dan Brown book.  Dang it.  Picking just three is tough and I didn’t even include The Land of Look Behind.  Is it uncool to pick your own book?  Probably is.  😉

2. Why did you decide to write this story?

This is a passion that has grown over the years.  I was introduced to the culture and history of Jamaica as I lived and served on the island as a missionary.  I love Jamaica and her people so much and found the history fascinating.  When I returned home I studied more about it and wanted to tell their story.  The idea of this modern day adventure as a means of sharing so much of what I loved really thrilled me and I am so happy I finally got to tell it.

3. Which scene did you most have fun writing and why?

Probably when Gideon, Todd and Bigga first meet Tara.  The idea of her character actually came about after I started writing the book and I couldn’t wait to get to their interactions.  Her strength and charm was something that these boys had yet to deal with on their adventure and really changed the whole group dynamic in a fun way.

4. Why did you focus on Jamaican history?

There is so much to draw from in the island’s history, I really haven’t even scratched the surface.  I found these stories entertaining and knew that the vast majority of people would be unfamiliar with them.  Plus there are so many holes found in the history books and it’s fun to be able to make up the details.

5. Describe your writing journey in making this book.
It started as a pure adventure story.  I wanted to tell a contemporary tale of adventure in our time with a historical context.  As the story unfolded, however, the historical narrative became more crucial to the story until they were equal partners in their shared journey.  That was only able to happen through the symbols borrowed from ancient times.  They brought a depth and meaning to the story that I didn’t initially plan for.

6. If you were a historical figure, who would you be and why?
I don’t know.  My first thought is I’d probably want to be a king or a Pharaoh or something because for everybody else life was pretty rough.  I enjoy the modern comforts of life today so it’s hard to romanticize how they really lived when I sit down and think about it.  If I were to allow myself to romanticize the past and forget the rigger of everyday life I’d probably pick someone from the old west.  I love Wyatt Earp but I wouldn’t want to have to fight for my life all the time.  I’d probably pick Porter Rockwell because he was a faithful and loyal friend and also a tough son of a gun who lived life on his terms.

 

the land of look behind

The Land of Look Behind is a historical fiction book, set predominantly in Jamaica. It was just published last month, on the 9th. There are two perspectives, one in present day and the other, centuries ago. The summary in Goodreads goes:

When Gideon discovers a mysterious drawing tucked in an old journal he returns to his mission area in Jamaica with dreams of finding a legendary treasure. Some would kill to keep the treasure secret. This thrilling adventure takes you deep into Jamaica’s treacherous cockpit country and back in time for a spine-tingling mystery you won’t be able to put down.

If you like action, history, adventure and relationships blended into one, check this book out.


thank you for reading and um, bye!

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laekan zea kemp // author interview

Hi.

So, today I’m interviewing Author Laekan Zea Kemp! She wrote a book I recently read: “The Girl In Between”. My questions are crap but her answers saved it! Let’s get started.


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Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, and Breathing Ghosts. Follow her adventures here on Goodreads, on her blog, or on twitter.

Source


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1.) What/Who inspired you to write this book?

I started working on this novel in April of last year and, to be honest, I can’t really remember where the original idea came from. Probably because I can’t really remember what the original idea even was. I know that it started out as a contemporary standalone and I’d been really interested in exploring dual narrative again but I suppose the story started out the way all of my stories have–with the central relationship. It isn’t always a love story that’s central to my novels but I do like to focus on human relationships, whether that’s familial or within the context of first love. The characters always come to me first and the various means of torturing them always comes later.

2.) What is the hardest part in writing? How did you push through the hard times?

All of it. I’ve written six novels so far and each one has tested me in different ways. Depending on my mood, on the random stress of life, on my strengths and weakness that day that seem to vary as often as my mood, I can be stumped at any point. I re-wrote The Girl In Between from scratch probably six times because I just couldn’t find the story’s true identity but when it came to writing the third novel in the series, the first draft just fell out of me. I wish there was one area that constantly gave me difficulty because then I could focus all of my energy on improving it but stories are wild things and it takes something different to tame each one.

3.) If you were to switch lives with a fictional character in any book, who would you pick and why?

So tough…thirteen-year-old me probably wished she was Lena in The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants. I was obsessed with Italy and Greece in my teens and was convinced that I was part of some ancient bloodline.

4.) Do you like to read? If so, what are your favourite books?

Absolutely! My mother read to me all the time when I was a kid and my love of stories really started with these beautifully illustrated Richard Scarry books. I was always really imaginative and incredibly thoughtful and could spend hours just asking myself strange questions and coming up with even stranger answers. Books really activated those most powerful parts of myself and gave me a safe place to explore my own thoughts and opinions. It’s so hard for me to choose a favorite novel but it usually boils down to whatever Melina Marchetta’s or Maggie Stiefvater’s latest release is. I’m in love with Jellicoe Road and am totally crazy about Marchetta’s Chronicles of Lumatere series. I’m also about to start reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Steifvater and can’t wait to see if it takes the place of The Scorpio Races as my favorite novel of hers.

5.) If you traveled back in time and told your 13 year old self that you would publish a novel, how would your 13 year old self react? Doubtful? Excited?

My thirteen-year-old self would be neither excited nor surprised. She had very high expectations. I just hope that despite not being president or a millionaire, she’d at least be proud of all I’ve accomplished so far.

6.) Who is your favourite character in “The Girl In Between”? Why?

Bryn is probably the character who is most like me so I’m a little biased. Of course all of my characters are some version of my best or worst self so my favorites tend to vary but I always have a huge soft spot for my side characters. After reading the initial reviews for The Girl In Between, it looks like readers agree, and everyone is team Felix! He’s Bryn’s best friend and provides the much needed comic relief throughout the series.

7.) Do you have any writing tips? If so, what are they?

The advice I would give to aspiring artists in general is to dive into your passion with a clear vision. It doesn’t have to be glamorous or grandiose, it just has to be clear. In fact the more specific it is the better. So many of us struggle with validating our choice to pursue the arts and because of that sometimes we have a tendency to shy away from the risk and rejection that comes along with it. We tow the line between our dreams and the more practical expectations of the people around us and wonder why we’re unsatisfied. Don’t be afraid to make declarations and definitely don’t be afraid to make them loud enough for other people to hear. Be honest about what you want, regardless of how silly it may seem to others, and do something every day that brings you closer to that goal.


Check Laekan’s blog for more updates about her books. The Girl In Between is a pretty good book. I am a fail on writing reviews so I didn’t get to publish it immediately but I liked it! I won’t be surprised if you’re interested in it!

Thank you for reading and um, bye!

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