Tell us about yourselves.
Lorraine and I have lived for three years in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Before that we built a log cabin in Pender Harbour, a quiet fishing village on the magnificent Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. We have been married for 31 magical, wonderful, adventure-filled years. We have no children, but travel and dear friends have filled our lives. We are both retired. Lorraine went to school for a degree in French to become a teacher and later got her Masters to become a counsellor. I was educated on the mean streets in Canada, which aren’t really very mean and became a Youth Worker and Parenting Worker in education.
This is Lorraine’s first foray into co-writing. She has always been my frontline editor (she’ll probably be editing my answers hereJ.) Preferring to remain behind the scenes, she has relegated answering the questions to me, but she might drop in a few of her own thoughts here and there.
Who is your favorite author and book?
For me I love Elizabeth Smart, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. A very difficult read, but written by a genius and similar to Moby Dick in quality of writing. My other favourite who I must mention is Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World. Lor here…The Curve of Time by Wylie Blanchet, but I read at least a book a week, so that is changing all the time.
What is your preferred genre?
Is great writing a genre? That’s what interests both of us, as opposed to say fiction or non-fiction.
How did you start this journey to become a writer?
When I retired, I wanted to do something that I felt passionately about and since I loved reading, I decided to try my hand at writing. During our travels, my writing was inspired by the new worlds we discovered.
What have you written so far?
Silence and Circumstance published by Untreed Reads, The Singing Bowl by Green Dragon Books, I, Bully by Authors Place Press, The Rubicon Effect, out now and A Penny For Your Thoughts, coming out this August/September by Melange Books and Rendezvous in Carchemish by Pen It Publishing, coming soon.
Tell us about your current book.
Converging Paths is a book we are very proud of. It is so timely for what the world is experiencing now and for the foreseeable future. Environment, the rising influence of China, and the converging paths with Buddhism and quantum physics?
What is the inspiration for your current book?
Today’s world sits on the head of a pin and we seem to be going toward a destination of which we have no control. But we sincerely believe that common sense and good intentions can converge into a different and better tomorrow. Lor here…we travelled extensively in Japan and needed to memorialize the experience, since it was such a deep and intense adventure.
Who was your favorite character to write and why?
Can I have two, as asking me to pick one is simply too difficult. One character, nicknamed, The Seeker for his unrestrained interest in learning. His name was given to him as an insult and make him stand out in the Chinese Central Politburo. My second choice would be Rebecca who took on adventure and believed in a better future. Lor here…I like Akio…he’s a small character who has a big personality and works behind the scenes (something I relate to).
Is there anything of you in that character?
I think there is something of me in every character I have ever written about. That may not be a good thing.
What sets your book apart?
Are there other books out there that compare the similarities of quantum physics and Buddhism? I don’t think so.
What’s your favorite part in the book?
The first chapter…We think it captures the reader’s interest.
The ancient Alexandrian bookstore had been boarded up for decades. As Rebecca inserted her key, the metal lock creaked from lack of use and with a firm shove, the old door gave way, rust flaking from its hinges. Finally, after too long, a warm breeze rushed in and manuscripts fluttered with gratitude.
Rebecca closed the door behind her, shutting out the gentle Egyptian breeze and silence settled again over the once bustling bookstore. She frowned at the dust and cobwebs and her nostrils flared as a slight musty smell aroused her senses. Mold, she thought, the enemy of all book-lovers.
Stepping cautiously, she glided across the sand that had blown in, and willed her dancer’s legs deeper into her grandmother’s bookstore. Memories flooded back and she forlornly muttered, “How I miss you, old woman.” Absent-mindedly, she wiped dust from a thick, leather-bound tome. She then lifted a stack of disintegrating newspapers from a rickety chair and ignoring years of grime, sat down. Seeing a humidor, no doubt filled with the husks of dried cigars, her olfactory memories ignited a vision of her grandmother dancing with a massive cigar clenched in her teeth.
Tears swelled in Rebecca’s violet eyes. Her head collapsed into her hands, and her pale body shook with emotion.
Wiping away tears, Rebecca recalled that fateful day; she was only eight when her grandmother had died. That was thirty years ago, and this was the first time she had been able to enter the store bequeathed to her. Previously, even the mere thought of entering the bookstore had been overwhelming. There had been too many memories, too many shared laughs. Rebecca fought her way back to the present where the knowledge she carried was too heavy for any one person.
Rebecca had spent a month cleaning, rearranging and organizing the stock, then another month looking for just the right person to help run the bookstore. Her search had been futile because few were qualified to even begin categorizing a tenth of the scattered knowledge. Then one day, a very peculiar man appeared, humbly asking if he might be considered for the position.
He was older, extremely skinny, with sunken eyes that penetrated wherever he looked. Wearing a crumpled light-green shirt, creased grey slacks, and well-worn black loafers, he introduced himself simply as, Akio.
Rebecca felt comfortable in his presence and his impressive résumé listed experience at universities in both Kyoto and Tokyo. After rejecting so many applicants, she gratefully hired him.
Akio’s mornings began early reorganizing manuscripts, then cataloging and referencing until late into the evening. After two months, Rebecca and her new employee had formed a bond of true friendship.
One afternoon, Akio tapped the computer screen and excitedly gasped. “Finally! This is what I’ve been waiting for.”
Rebecca leaned back from the books she was classifying and peered over his shoulder. He pointed at the computer screen while muttering enthusiastically, “Yes. Yes. This is it. At last!”
Rebecca read: Will meet you in Nara. Immediately! The email had been sent only hours earlier and she asked, “Why is that particular email of importance to you?”
Feigning confusion, Akio responded, “It is not important to me at all.” He smiled. “It is, however, tremendously important to you.” This elicited no reaction, so he added, “Well it’s plain, don’t you see?” His skinny finger annoyingly tapped the computer screen. “A message for you to go to Nara—you must leave immediately—see, right here, it says—immediately.”
Exasperated, Rebecca muttered, “Why in the world would I go to Nara? That’s in China.”
“Japan.” Akio corrected.
“Fine, Japan! Why would I go there?”
“Because you are no longer needed here. The store is almost ready to reopen, and I will be here while you will be there—meeting whoever sent this email.”
“Even if I do go to Nara, how will I find who sent this message?” “That will not be a problem. He will find you.”
“He?” Her eyes searched the email, but it was only a generic address.
Akio’s eyes focused on the computer screen and for a moment seemed lost in thought. He examined her frustrated face and smiled benevolently. “Just go to Nara. You know you must.”
Rebecca guffawed. “What in the world makes you think that I must?”
“You are one of them. That is why I am here. I know the weight that you carry.”
“One of who?” she asked hesitantly.
“A scientist. One of those people who plays in the world of quarks and multiple dimensions. What is that called?”
Rebecca sighed. “Quantum physics?”
“Yes.” Akio smiled inwardly. “Quantum mathematics.”
It had been her decision to isolate herself from colleagues within the scientific circle. Her mind was such that it inherently led to constructs larger than itself where great satisfaction lay in the vast world of string theory with its quarks and branes. Nevertheless, there had been a price to pay for that choice, leaving no time for relationships, and she paid for it every day with deep unrelenting loneliness.
Rebecca narrowed her eyes and for the first time, Akio noticed that they were cold like amethysts. “How do you know what I do for a living? I’ve never mentioned it.”
He shrugged off the question as if it was of no consequence.
Rebecca wouldn’t let it go and repeated, “How exactly did you know?”
“Quantum physics has taught you much. Existence is ethereal. Sometimes the tangible world is here and then simply not here. At the smallest level, material sometimes exists and other times it does not. You are fully aware that things are not as they appear. Are you not?”
Rebecca clenched her teeth, but said nothing. As part of their friendship, she had accepted his annoying habit of asking questions despite already knowing the answer.
“I know your hobby is astrology. What do the stars tell you?” He had hit a nerve.
Rebecca blanched. They had been predicting travel in the future and so much more. He was also right about one other thing—she was going to go to Nara. Rebecca had always dedicated her life to the search for something larger than herself. The insatiable curiosity that had made her commit to physics had been piqued.
Rebecca admitted to herself that this had the making of an intriguing mystery. Why had Akio been waiting for that specific message and why was he so certain that it was from a male? She seldom turned down an adventure and considering there was still time left on her leave from the university… Akio had been right; the store was ready to open, and he was more than qualified to oversee its day to day operation. Besides, there was something about Akio that she inherently trusted.
What was the most difficult part to write?
The ending. Endings are always painful, challenging and just plain hard. Partially because the author is saying good night to characters he has spent a great deal of time with. Also, endings have to be fulfilling for the reader. I have to say of all my books, I sincerely believe that the ending of Converging Paths is the best.
What was your favorite book to write?
No, nope, won’t answer that, can’t be done, simply won’t do it. Which of your children do you love the most? Even if you did love one more that the other you would never say. Shame on you for asking.
Lor here, I loved The Rubicon Effect. I think it would make a great movie, plus Roy was the first to predict a South American Pope!
How do you write? Do you have a set time or place? How many hours a day?
There are times of the day when authors aren’t writing? Either in their head or actually on the tabula rasa. I prefer morning, but morning so often turns into afternoon, which bleeds into evening, before sliding gently into night.
How did you share responsibilities in the writing?
It first started out that Lorraine would complete the first edits on my writing. That was tough! She tried to be diplomatic and I tried not to wring her neck 🙂 Seriously, though, I set aside my belief that every word I wrote was gold and we remain married. To write Converging Paths, we took a similar approach. I would start an idea and Lorraine would run with it. Sometimes she would say, “I think I have an idea for the next chapter”, and I would pick up where she left off. The biggest difference from writing alone was that there was a lot of discussion before there was any writing. You can only do this successfully with someone with whom you are compatible. Writing together enriched the experience and made the story more dynamic and was also a lot of fun!
Why did you want to be a writer?
I love reading and love telling stories. It is a world I control and I can take my characters wherever I want. I love the research, of which I do an enormous amount, and finally, the simple quiet world that is mine when I write.
How do you get your ideas?
By just sitting quietly and observing the world, I am given more stories than I have time to write. Lor here…we have no car, so during our endless walks we talk and talk and flesh out ideas.
What do you have planned next?
I, Bully a book about cyber bullying has been bought up by a second publishing house, Authors Place Press and is being re-launched. A Penny For Your Thoughts was picked up by a second publisher, Melange Books and is launching this August/September. It is a story about a teacher who feels unfulfilled and begins a journey of redemption finding what is missing in so many lives. It is co-authored with my good friend, Jeff Leitch, and I am very proud of our effort. Finally, Rendezvous in Carchemish is being published by Pen It Publishing. It is a story of Agatha Christie’s governess, who goes on an adventure trying to discover if there was actually a third nuclear explosion at the end of the Second World War. Few people know that there is some evidence including eye witnesses accounts that there was.
What advice would you give new writers?
New writers MUST do two things. First, read every type of book and as many books as they can and secondly, although this may sound trite, it is fundamental to success, they must write. Everyday. And when they are finished and have competed their masterpiece and every word is brought down from the writing Gods themselves, and it is perfect, then they MUST take their perfect manuscript and put it away for as long as they can, Two weeks to two months , then later, bring it out, re read it, set your ego aside, and eliminate twenty percent of what is there. Then and only then will they have the story they really wanted to tell.
How can readers get in touch with you?
Converging Paths can be found at Black Rose Writing https://www.blackrosewriting.com/home