Creative Nonfiction

Angels Three Five

Angels Three Five - Don Candy

While military thrillers don't usually find their way onto my reading list, I love the change to expand my reading horizons and challenge myself with a genre that I don't normally read. 

I often find that military thrillers are written for people in the military. The lingo, abbreviations, codes, etc. often go over my head and leave me feeling like I'm missing out on a huge aspect of the plot. 

Fortunately, Don Candy has written Angels Three Five with easy to read prose that answered all of my questions regarding lingo and other military terminology before I even had a chance to mentally ask the question!

In addition, the characters were incredibly well developed and I had no trouble forming attachments to them. It all seemed very realistic and plausible, which also made it a terrifying and eye-opening read. 

If you're a fan of military thrillers, I definitely recommend Angels Three Five. And if you're just looking to test the waters a bit, this is a great book to start with. I never felt lost or as though the author was speaking over my head. It was a highly enjoyable read. 


Some Bio Information

Engineer, commercial pilot, flight instructor, sailing instructor and retired CEO, Don Candy led a life of adventure. His life experiences and his respect and admiration for the U.S. Special Forces led to this book, the first in his series of Sam McKensie novels. He, his wife Karan, their son Stephen and daughter Sara and their four grandchildren enjoy traveling, sailing, skiing, and water sports. 


Q&A

1. Tell us a little about what inspired you to write this book.

Angels Three Five was inspired by my love for Special Forces thrillers; the Tom Clancy, Stephen Coonts, genre. And my life as an engineer, pilot and sailor. A35 is the first of three Sam McKensie Novels and contains many of my life’s experiences. The next book, Dawn’s Early Light, now about half complete, will contain much less of my life and much more of my imagination.

2. How long did it take you to put your work together?

A35 took me a year to write and six months to edit. I intend to complete the next book in less than a year, and the third in less than that.

3. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

I have a busy life with not nearly enough time to devote to my writing, so I spend much more time than I should having to review what I’ve already done to be sure everything fits and this is what I like least about my writing process. I tend to be very chronological with only a few flash-backs. I cherish the opportunities to work through several chapters without interruptions.

4. How would you describe your writing style?

I tend to structure my work much like James Patterson; several intertwining but related stories leading to one or more false climaxes before the finale with short to medium length chapters.

5. What is your ultimate writing goal?

My goal as a writer at this point is to finish the trilogy I have started and make the books successful.

6. What would you like readers to take away from your work?

I want my reader to enjoy my writing and come away with an appreciation for the sacrifice and dedication of our country’s Special Forces and for the technical savvy, innovation and effort of those in the background who develop the systems and equipment that help keep them safe.

Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl

Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl - Iris Dorbian

There are times in life when you experience a time in your life when your body seems to make decisions without your heart or your head being involved - almost like an out of body experience. That's how reading Love, Loss, and Longing. . . felt to me. I felt as if I was experiencing everything the MC had, but was in no way in control of the choices I was making. 

I chalk that up to the excellent writing and detailed descriptions in this, well, almost coming of age, type story. I was looking for a little more of a conclusion or finale, but often life doesn't give us that. So it seems all too realistic. 

This book felt very real to me - leaving me with the feeling that I'd experience all the MC had, instead of simply reading about it. 

Very well written. Highly recommended. 


Some Bio Information

Iris Dorbian is a former actress turned business journalist/blogger. Her articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, DMNews, CFO.com, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions.

She is the author of Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater, which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Skirt!, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal and Gothesque Magazine. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

 I had been wanting to write a fictionalized book inspired by my experiences attending college in New York City in the early 1980s for some time. It was an insane and chaotic time, very turbulent but also very exciting, at least for this sheltered girl from the ‘burbs.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

When I'm working on a long-form narrative, I will try to outline beforehand the beats I want to hit in the initial draft. At the same time, I don't want to impose too much structure or order for fear I might squelch a genuinely good idea in the making. Then after I'm through with the first draft, I'll go back and revise, revise and revise. What doesn't work, I'll cut; and what does work, I'll keep in, of course, and maybe expand upon. 

3. Describe your favorite scene in this book. 

If I had to reflect upon which part of the book was the most entertaining for me to write about, it would have to be the chapter devoted to Edie's job as a cocktail waitress at the downtown New York City rock club The Ritz (now known as Webster Hall). This section is completely inspired on my own experience working as a waitress at the club during my junior year in college while juggling a full-time course-load. But as fun as it was to write, it was also the most demanding and labor-intensive thanks to the the sheer volume of detail I tried to recall and evoke--from the club decor and music to the other waitresses and cast of characters who used to hang out at the club. 

Although I've never disguised the fact that this novel is a roman a clef, I've also never backed down from admitting that many of the conversations, characters and events depicted in Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan are fictionalized. For instance, I NEVER got accosted by a madam of a call girl agency in the bathroom at the club. That entire exchange never happened. But it was a lot of fun to write. 

4. What does the perfect writing environment look like to you?

Quiet, calm and well illuminated!  

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

Sardonic, methodical, observant and precise. 

6. What would you like readers to take away from your book? 

It's better to be honest with yourself and follow your heart rather than lose your soul by emulating a constricting or socially prescribed ideal of cool. 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

I'd like to write a best-seller. Why not?

Wounds of the Father

Wounds of the Father - Elizabeth Garrison

It is always difficult to read stories of abuse. I usually struggle to get through the books and end up skipping sections and chapters. For that reason, I was nervous to begin reading this book. Having a two year old of my own, any stories that include child abuse leave me nauseous and in tears. 

However, Garrison tells the story in such a way that even though your heart is hurting for her, you can see a light at the end of the tunnel. The fact that it's a memoir, made me optimistic that the powerful message would be worth the difficult journey. And it was/is.

The book is well written and includes a powerful message that everyone can relate to - regardless of their past experiences. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. Garrison conjures some powerful imagery. 

A highly worthy read, even if you think you may find the story irrelevant to your life. It's positive message of perseverance and overcoming the odds is one that we should all take to heart.   

 


Some Bio Information

Elizabeth Garrison has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and works as a researcher for the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. Her research focuses on the effects of childhood abuse and developing interventions to help children recover. She also is a well-known celebrity ghost-writer. Given her talent in helping others to tell their stories, Garrison decided it was time to tell her own story. Visit her at www.elizabethgarrison.info.


Q&A

1. What made you decide to put your story into book form? 

Initially, I did it to help me make sense of all of the holes in my memory and blank spaces in my life from drug use and abuse. I was reading through pages of old journals I’d kept (including one that was tucked away in my seat when I lived in my car) and as I was reading, I started writing. I didn’t start writing my story with the intention to share it with the world, however, as time went on, I realized that people could benefit from hearing my story. 

2. What would you like your readers to take away from your work? 

First, your labels don’t define you. I can’t count the number of labels that have been attached to me. I've been diagnosed with everything from schizophrenia to mild mental retardation. None of these things are true and none of these things are my experience. You are not who people say you are. Period.

Second, don’t ever give up. The only thing that separates me from all the other people who didn't make it out of the darkness is that I didn't quit. I kept going no matter what. It’s the thing that will separate you from those who don’t make it. The line dividing the successful from the unsuccessful is not based on any hidden factor or secret formula other than the refusal to quit. Successful people have had just as many failures as the unsuccessful, they just kept going until they got where they wanted to be. All you have to do is keep moving forward and you will too.

3. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

I have a notebook that I am constantly scribbling in throughout the day. I don’t have time to sit and write during the day because I’m juggling a career, a second grader, and a marriage. I don’t have the time to sit down and write until the evening once everyone is in bed. This is the time I can pull out my computer and refer to the frantic notes of things I noted to write about during the day. I’d love to have more time to write.

4. How long did it take you to write your work?

It took me two years to go through my journals. Putting together the notes I’d written into a narrative that others could read took an additional year. 

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

I don’t know if this will make sense, but I write how people think. I think one of the reasons people can relate to my book so well is because it gives you an inside look into the mind of an addict and a child who has been abused, but doesn’t realize what’s happened to her constitutes abuse. 

6. What’s the great piece of advice you can give to your readers? 

To learn from their mistakes. I wish I could say that I've done things perfectly, but I haven’t. Nobody does. The one constant in life is that we will all make mistakes, but some of my biggest mistakes have been my greatest teachers. They can be yours too.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

I’m moving into writing psychological thrillers that blur the lines between fiction and non-fiction given my own life experiences as well as the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with. I’d love to write the next gripping page turner in psychological thrillers