Thursday, August 22, 2013
Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Join Louise Patterson’s life in Hell, literally, in Awake in Hell by Helen Downing. What a hilarious version of Hell from one dead woman’s point of view. I should not be saying this, but Hell doesn't sound so bad; that doesn't mean I want to go there, though. Hell is not as we often picture it –- not according to Awake in Hell, at least. The protagonist actually has a job down there. Louise Patterson is a woman who seems to cope with life in a world where all humans strive –- or not –- to avoid. Some readers may find it hard to get used to the vulgarity of the language in the beginning chapters, but once they get past that, I can guarantee that readers will have fun reading Louise’s wacky adventure in Hell.
Helen Downing has written something different than my usual reading. By no means that this novel is preachy, but depending on each reader, the religious aspect of the story, which is in the Christian perspective, may or may not be a comfortable matter. Nevertheless, this is not a flaw but just a matter of how open-minded you are. Personally, I consider this story as spiritually wise, charming, and funny as hell (no pun intended). I love the plot and the characters, and the prose is flawless. Ironically, this book about Hell does make me hopeful and see my life in a new perspective. On the whole, readers will laugh and learn something from Awake in Hell.
You can see the review at Reader's Favorite!
Monday, August 12, 2013
Today I'm with Tony Schumacher, a fabulous author with a great story....
1) First, I would love to welcome you and thank you for taking the time to tell my readers about your current project. Can you begin with a little background? Where are you from, a story about growing up? How you became a writer?
Firstly I’d like to say thank you for being so nice as to ask me! I’m from Liverpool, England, where
everyone looks like a Beatle (I look like John or maybe a borderline Ringo (it’s the nose)). A story
from growing up would have to be something I’m writing about at the moment which is being found
in a cupboard by my grandfather. I know it sounds like I was being badly treated by my parents but I
wasn’t! I used to sit in dark cupboards apparently and create imaginary worlds where I would talk to
people and pretend to be somebody else.
I don’t sit in cupboards anymore (most of the time) but I do create imaginary worlds and pretend to
be someone else.
2) And let's talk about your current book. Tell us all about it! (Including where to get it!)
I’m useless at marketing, which is a shame because it now seems that every author needs a degree
in it. I always think of my current book as the one I’m writing, but seeing as you can’t buy that yet
I’ll have to say it’s Rear View Mirror. The book is a compilation of stories from when I drove a taxi in
Liverpool for a couple of years. I’d just come out of a very dark time (not in the cupboard) and found
myself literally at the bottom of the ladder. I’d quit my job as a policeman, lost my house, the baby
boy I’d thought was mine and the wife I loved dearly all in the space of two weeks. I was pretty low
to say the least. To make ends meet I found myself driving the cab until I managed to pull myself
together, I thought it was just going to be a stop gap, but over time I realised that I found myself
amongst the lost and lonely, the lovers and the louts that live in the night time of Liverpool.
I started to write about them and over time I got happy again and you got a book to buy on Amazon.
My author page is here: Tony Schumacher Amazon
3) And can you include your favorite line or paragraph from the book?
My favourite line has to be the first line of the first story “My father died not wanting to make a
fuss.” I could have spent years trying to write about my Dad, years trying to describe his personality,
trying to tell the reader how much he loved his family and how hard he worked for them. But that
one line sums him up completely, he knew he was dying and didn’t want to scare the people who
were kneeling around his chair.
4) What genre do you write in and why?
Rear View Mirror is a compilation of true stories, but I don’t think you could describe them as such,
the book is about me, my time on the streets, but it isn’t autobiographical. It’s about a place and a
time, it’s funny, it’s sad, it makes people cry, it made me cry when I wrote it, but it is also warm. If I
had to describe its genre I couldn’t, best thing I can say is that it’s a little bit of me for you.
5) Share with us a little of your process. Do you write during the day? at night? With background noise? In silence? From an outline? off the cuff? etc...
I write mostly of the afternoon and early evening, very recently my dear old dog Boo died (this is
turning into a country and western song!) but while he was sstill with me I used to write after his
afternoon walk. I found it a lovely way to slip into writing mode. One thing I would advise anyone
looking to start writing is to get a dog, they are great listeners and always give you an excuse to go
and have some thinking time.
I sometimes like a bit of BBC Radio Four on but recently I’ve found I’m sitting in silence. I have no
idea how people write in coffee shops, I’d be too busy listening to conversations around me.
6) Who is your favorite author? Your favorite book?
My favourite author at the moment is Robert Crais. His ability to mix humour and tension is in my
opinion second to none. His character’s are warm, the kind of people you’d like to know, and yet
they are flawed, sometimes broken, but always believable.
My favourite book? Oh wow, that’s a tough one, after saying my favourite author is Crais I’m going
to confound it by saying my favourite book is one I’ve not read in more than thirty five years. It’s
called “My Pal Spadger” by Bill Naughton. I read it as a kid and it was the first book I ever read and
then re-read straight away. I’ve an old copy on my shelf I bought a few years ago but I’m scared to
read it in case it’s not as good as I remember.
7) Can you give us one marketing tip that you feel best promoted your book?
Trust me, you don’t want to marketing tips off me. But, if you insist, it would be to find as many
blogs that you can looking for guest posts, that’s the only thing that shifts them for me. Either that
or bribe a celebrity to say they like it; I’m still working on that one though.
8) Now for a little daydreaming...Hollywood just called and wants to turn your book into a movie!! And you get to cast the lead characters! Who would you pick? and Why?
Me, because then at least I’d know my family would go and see the movie.
9) Now I'm going to steal a question from my book "Awake In Hell". If you could ask God himself one question, what would it be??
Do dogs go to heaven? Because I miss my best friend.
10) Are you currently writing full time or do you still have a "day job" ? What are the pros and cons of whichever one you are?
I’m just tipping into full time writing, I do a few other things, a little radio stuff and the odd bit of
freelance writing and I’m praying someone is going to pick up my just finished new book Jacob’s
Treasure. It’s out there with agents at the moment so fingers crossed!
11) Are you happier today than you were yesterday? Let us know what makes you happier than anything else in the world!
I am happier, a lot happier than I was. What makes me happiest? Walking on the West Shore beach
at a little place called Llandudno with my girlfriend Christina watching the sun set, The wind blows
hard there and you can feel it rip the city layers off you and carry them away, if you ever see us there
please come over and say “hello”.
Tony's answers to my questions revealed a sense of humor and a great point of view on life! His book will show you even more of that talent!! Go get it here!
Thank you so much! And please come back for more I'm Tellin Helen!!