Character Interview: Erik Burks from Beverly Stowe McClure’s Middle Grade paranormal novel A PIRATE, A BLOCKADE RUNNER, AND A CAT
We’re thrilled to have here today Erik Burks from Beverly Stowe McClure’s new Middle Grade paranormal novel, A PIRATE, A BLOCKADE RUNNER, AND A CAT. Erik is a thirteen-year-old student living in Folly Island, SC.
It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so much for this interview, Erik. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
Yes, I think I was fairly portrayed. I had a hard time adjusting to a new home and new friends, but it all turned out okay. At times, I tried my mom’s patience. Hey, I’m a kid. I’m not perfect.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
Yeah, Ms. McClure showed my personality pretty much accurately. After my parents split up I tried to be nice to my mom cause I knew she was having a hard time. But a guy can take only so many “nights out with the girls,” meaning my mom and aunt. I sometimes did things with my twin neighbors that I didn’t tell Mom about, like sailing up the Carolina coast with a couple of ghosts.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
Gee, that’s a tough question. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging but I’m great at baseball. Is that a trait?
Umm, I’d say holding a grudge against my dad for leaving me.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
A movie about me? Wow! Let me think. Maybe Zachary Gordon. He’s a little older than me, but in the movies they can make you look any age.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
You’re kidding, right? I’m thirteen, and to tell you the truth, I don’t understand girls. Star’s cute but she’s a pain too. Always reading my mind dream. That’s embarrassing sometimes.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
When we were on board the “Revenge,” Pirate Stede Bonnet’s ship and Blackbeard showed up it got kind of scary. The pirates fought each other with their cutlasses. Sharp, let me tell you. And Blackbeard trapped the twins and me in these spider-like webs. I was afraid they’d make us walk the plank or just toss us overboard. I’m not telling what happened, but I don’t want to see those pirates ever again.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I wouldn’t want to be Stormy. He has to live with his mind-dream reading sister, Star. It’s bad enough when she reads my mind when we‘re together, but imagine never having a break. Twenty-four hours a day she knows all of Stormy’s thoughts. I shudder at the thought.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
I guess the book ends the way it has to. I have a feeling, though, it’s not really an end, but maybe a beginning. If that makes sense.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?
Haha. Good question. I’d like to be a bit smarter in the next book and not so intimidated by Star and her mind reading. I’d like to solve my problems easier. You hear that Ms. McClure?
Thank you for this interview, Erik. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
Thank you for the neat questions. I smile. No more books have been planned, but you never know. I feel the ghosts are restless, that something is left unfinished in their lives.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat
Author: Beverly Stowe McClure
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Purchase on Amazon
Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks’ life is falling apart. When he discovers a lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car, his mom leaves his father and drags Erik from being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.
Just when Erik thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he and the twins notice lights radiating from the lighthouse. Stranger still, a ship materializes in the moonlit harbor. Curious, the twins and a reluctant Erik investigate and discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a cat, and a pirate who prowls Charleston Harbor, and the fun begins.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When Beverly Stowe McClure was in eighth grade, her teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and she was soon a published writer in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry. Today, Beverly is a cum laude graduate of Midwestern State University with a BSEd degree. For twenty-two years, she taught children to read and write. They taught her patience. She is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.
Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices in her head tell her. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps photos of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. She also enjoys visiting with her family and teaching a women’s Sunday school class at her church. Her articles have been published in leading children’s magazines. Two of her stories are in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ANTHOLOGIES, and she has nine novels published, two of them award winning novels at Children’s Literary Classics and other competitions.
Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road.
She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna dreamed of being a writer when she fell in love with the worlds of Narnia and Roald Dahl attending school in a magical English castle where her dark imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included). She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.
Her latest book is the paranormal romance, A Hidden Element.
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Donna. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
I have several works published so far, with more on the horizon. A Hidden Element, book two in the Element Trilogy, is my recent paranormal suspense novel out now. Book one, A Human Element, released in July of this year. I also have a short story collection out, The Dark Inside, featuring stories about characters in the Element Trilogy, and the first two books in my children’s book series, Joshua and The Lightning Road, releases in 2015.
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
I chose a small press publisher for my debut novel as she believed in the story. It was a hard sell being a cross-genre novel. And while my debut novel was published with a small press, I was lucky to get my rights back this year and breathe new life into it by having it re-branded with the sequel by my new publisher, Imajin Books. Yes, there are second chances even in the publishing world!
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
It took six months. Publishing with a small press generally means getting the book to print faster, often in less than six months. My publisher for my children’s fantasy series, Joshua and the Lightning Road out in 2015, is much more traditional with an 18-month window time from acceptance to publication.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I had a book launch party at my local independent bookstore to celebrate with friends and family.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I scheduled a blog tour. And what a fun experience it was! I had the chance to talk about so many topics in my book that came from my personal life like being adopted, and being a U.S. Navy photographer stationed in Hawaii, and growing up on a mountaintop as an only child. Being part of a blog tour is a great way to connect with readers through book bloggers on a personal level and let your personality shine through.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
I’ve learned that this is the most exciting time to be an author, and the most challenging. We have multiple paths to choose from to become published yet we must also understand how the industry works and keeps changing, and we must be social media and marketing savvy. We have to get out of our comfort zone and take risks to keep moving forward to make our author dream come true, in the face of great adversity. I don’t regret any of the lessons learned along the way as they all add to my knowledge about the writing craft and publishing industry. My first publisher for my debut novel may not have been the ideal experience, but it opened many doors for me as it enabled me to become an International Thriller Writers Debut Author. In that role, I presented my novel at ThrillerFest and made many wonderful connections with legendary, bestselling, and other debut authors that have enriched my path as a writer. I’ve also learned that we must keep improving on our writing craft and challenging ourselves as writers.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
That it is much more complex than I thought and in a continual state of evolution that I have to maintain pace with.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
So many wonderful things counteract the tough days. A favorite love is the camaraderie amongst writers to help each other and lift each other up. This isn’t a competition. We all can be successful and are eager to share what we know and pay it forward. Then there’s the times I hit a low in my writing and think “I can’t do this! Why am I a writer?” Well, every time I think this – I remember how I sat down in my grief and wrote my first novel without knowing anything about writing a book. And I remember how it came from my heart and came from the deep places inside me where I most love, where I most hurt. And then I think about all the wonderful reviews I’ve gotten for that debut novel, A Human Element, and how people love the story and I KNOW. No matter how much I think my writing is terrible at times – I KNOW that I am a true storyteller. And this is what I was born to do.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Get out of your writer’s cave and join writer communities and organizations now, no matter what level of writing you are at. I wish I’d done this before I finished writing my first book as there is a great camaraderie amongst writers. Also, I wish I’d learned about how to write a book before writing my first book. I took writing workshops after I finished that first book and it required going back and fixing a ton of things! However, I don’t regret the learning that took place afterwards because it taught me how to write a better book from the beginning. Keep learning your craft and keep filling your writer’s toolbox! And remember that this writing business is not GOING to be easy – it’s going to be worth it! Visit my Writers Corner for inspiration, advice, and resources on writing.
We’re happy to be hosting William R. Leibowitz and his Miracle Man Book Blitz today!
About the Book:
Title: Miracle Man
Author: William Leibowitz
Publisher: Manifesto Media Group
Genre: Cross-genre Thriller
Purchase at AMAZON
REVERED REVILED REMARKABLE
The victim of an unspeakable crime, an infant rises to become a new type of superhero.
Unlike any that have come before him, he is not a fanciful creation of animators, he is real.
So begins the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history. But where did his extraordinary intelligence come from?
As agents of corporate greed vie with rabid anti-Western radicals to destroy him, an obsessive government leader launches a bizarre covert mission to exploit his intellect. Yet Austin’s greatest fear is not of this world.
Aided by two exceptional women, one of whom will become his unlikely lover, Austin struggles against abandonment and betrayal. But the forces that oppose him are more powerful than even he can understand.
A tall figure wearing a black-hooded slicker walked quickly through the night carrying a large garbage bag. His pale face was wet with rain. He had picked a deserted part of town. Old warehouse buildings were being gutted so they could be converted into apartments for non-existent buyers. There were no stores, no restaurants and no people.
“Who’d wanna live in this shit place?” he muttered to himself. Even the nice neighborhoods of this dismal city had more “For Sale” signs than you could count.
He was disgusted with himself and disgusted with her, but they were too young to be burdened. Life was already hard enough. He shook his head incredulously. She had been so damn sexy, funny, full of life. Why the hell couldn’t she leave well enough alone? She should have had some control.
He wanted to scream-out down the ugly street, “It’s her fucking fault that I’m in the rain in this crap neighborhood trying to evade the police.”
But he knew he hadn’t tried to slow her down either. He kept giving her the drugs and she kept getting kinkier and kinkier and more dependent on him and that’s how he liked it. She was adventurous and creative beyond her years. Freaky and bizarre. He had been enthralled, amazed. The higher she got, the wilder she was. Nothing was out of bounds. Everything was in the game.
And so, they went farther and farther out there. Together. With the help of the chemicals. They were co-conspirators, co-sponsors of their mutual dissipation. How far they had traveled without ever leaving their cruddy little city. They were so far ahead of all the other kids.
He squinted, and his mind reeled. He tried to remember in what month of their senior year in high school the drugs became more important to her than he was. And in what month did her face start looking so tired, her complexion prefacing the ravages to follow, her breath becoming foul as her teeth and gums deteriorated. And in what month did her need for the drugs outstrip his and her cash resources.
He stopped walking and raised his hooded head to the sky so that the rain would pelt him full-on in the face. He was hoping that somehow this would make him feel absolved. It didn’t. He shuddered as he clutched the shiny black bag, the increasingly cold wet wind blowing hard against him. He didn’t even want to try to figure out how many guys she had sex with for the drugs.
The puddle-ridden deserted street had three large dumpsters on it. One was almost empty. It seemed huge and metallic and didn’t appeal to him. The second was two-thirds full. He peered into it, but was repulsed by the odor, and he was pretty sure he saw the quick moving figures of rodents foraging in the mess. The third was piled above the brim with construction debris.
Holding the plastic bag, he climbed up on the rusty lip of the third dumpster. Stretching forward, he placed the bag on top of some large garbage bags which were just a few feet inside of the dumpster’s rim. As he climbed down, his body looked bent and crooked and his face was ashen. Tears streamed down his cheeks and bounced off his hands. He barely could annunciate, “Please forgive me,” as he shuffled away, head bowed and snot dripping from his nose.
About the Author:
William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years. He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses. At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group).
William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University. He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George.
William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times – when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero –and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle Man.
For More Information
Bible Bands is a fun, educational how-to book for children who love making jewelry. Not only does it teaches how to make lovely designs, but it also strengthens children’s faith by combining hands-on creativity with Bible verses and stories.
Rubber band jewelry seems to be the hottest new craze, so Eden’s book comes at the right time. Though at first glance, when you look at the jewelry, it might seem complicated and difficult to make, especially for kids, the author demystifies it with simple step-by-step instructions accompanied by colorful photos. I found the language and descriptions clear and straight-forward, easy for most kids to understand, though the younger ones will need guidance from an adult, at least at first. There are over 12 designs, from the simplest to the most elaborate.
Bible Bands doesn’t come with the looms or bands, but you can find these at most craft shops. This will make a lovely gift for any child, especially those who are into crafts. It is also a good book for those long summer and Christmas holidays, as it will keep children entertained for hours. Recommended!
Find out more on Amazon.
My review was previously published in Blogcritics.