Fiction

Deliberate Acts of Random

Deliberate Acts of Random - Jon Nikrich

As I've stated before, I love short story compilations. Ray Bradbury will forever hold a piece of my heart with his selection of tales for The October Country and Long After Midnight. 

Deliberate Acts of Random by Jon Nikrich is a fun, and at times sarcastic, collection of short stories that left a warm smile on my face. I particularly enjoyed the tongue in cheek style of writing that the author has gone with, which very much resonated with my sense of humor. 

Overall the book is very well written and although it's possible to read a couple chapters at a time when you can, I had no trouble reading the entire book in one setting as some of the short stories connect and lend to a smooth transition from one to the next. 

If you're looking for a nice little break from your ordinary reading list, I highly recommend this set of short stories. Nikrich provides a very entertaining break from reality. 

 


Some Bio Information

Jon Nikrich was born in Northern England, but now lives in Calgary, Canada. He has worked as an engineer, a technical writer and a barman. He also accepted threats and insults as an operator on a customer complaint line. He has changed jobs and changed countries, but he has always been a storyteller. He writes mysteries when he feels serious and comedies when he feels silly. Jon is married with one son.


Q&A

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

I was working on a long, complicated novel, the same one I attempt every other year. I developed some health issues that dented my energy levels and I decided to attempt something less ambitious. Instead of writing the novel, I started writing some short stories.

Initially, I didn't intend to publish them. They were for me, they were fun and they were exactly what I needed at the time. What I liked most about the anthology was that it allowed me to attempt genres I hadn't previously tried. It encouraged me to attempt stories and styles that I wouldn't have considered for a novel. Writing this collection was a valuable escape in an otherwise difficult year.

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

After I decided to publish the short stories, I raided my stash of old manuscripts, the ones I had written and saved long before my jump into self-publishing. Some of them were two decades old. I selected and rewrote my favorites, and then I added them to the new tales. In all, this took me about twelve months, give or take twenty years.

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

I have a full time job and a very long commute. My best opportunity to read and write is during the hours I spend on trains and buses. Given this opportunity, I read more than fifty books per year.

I also have plenty of time to write. I scribble all my first drafts on paper. When I'm blocked, I immediately switch to a different scene or story. This means that by the time I type, I have entire notebooks of disconnected paragraphs. This makes the writing process easier and editing a complete nightmare. I don't recommend it, but it works for me.

4. What was your least favorite part of the writing process? 

I love storytelling and every aspect of the creation process. I've been writing every chance I can get for 30 years. However, I'm new to self-publishing and I have no enthusiasm for marketing at all. This is probably obvious to anyone who has ever seen my attempts at marketing!

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

My writing style is probably a little quirky. I have my English sarcasm, my introverted self-deprecation and the influence of far too much television. I try to keep this in check when I write mysteries, but I let it go wherever it wants with comedy. I'm aware that my brain works a little differently, but hopefully this translates into entertaining, unpredictable tales.  

6. What is your ultimate writing goal? 

I have modest writing goals. I hope people read my stories and I hope they enjoy them. Anything beyond that is a bonus. I plan to keep writing regardless. Telling stories will always be important to me and I will always be grateful for what it adds to my life.

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

I have tremendous respect for writers who can inspire a reader. This is certainly not that kind of book. If you read it and it makes you smile, that's enough for me.

High Cotton Country

High Cotton Country - Leta McCurry

This book went in a completely different direction than what I anticipated. After the introductory chapter, I assumed that we'd be looking into the reasoning behind the suicide of the young mother, and I expected to find an abusive husband on the other side of the coin, but I was extremely impressed with the turn in plot that McCurry took. 

Cazzie is an amazing lead character, as is Nine. But beyond that, they are characters that I respected and cared for. I was just as desperate that they succeed in their endeavors as they were. 

This was an excellent read that I couldn't put down. One of my favorites from this year. Highly recommended. 


Some Bio Information

Tale-spinner. Revealer of secrets. A dog’s best friend. Cornbread and fried okra country girl.
Lives on the Oregon Coast and enjoys writing, reading, a large, fun-loving family, her Min-Pin dog, Daisy Mae, the open road on a motorcycle (as a passenger), good food, and travel. Favorite destination: Ireland.  She is presently writing her second novel. A Shadow Life, with publication expected in early 2016.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book? 

The inspiration for High Cotton Country came from a tragic story I heard as a child. That story haunted me for years and I knew I had to write my version of what happened.

2. Was there a deciding point in your life that made you want to become an author? 

I don’t think there was a precise deciding point. I have always been an avid reader. My mom said I was reading by age three. I think wanting to be a writer was kind of a natural extension of my love affair with books. I have been writing since I was about twelve.

3. Are there any authors who influence your writing? 

Oh, my! There are so many who have influenced and continue to influence me. Fanny Flagg, Ayn Rand, Susan Crandall, Robert Morgan, Carson McCullers, James Lee Burke, Larry McMurtry. I could go on and on.

4. Can you tell me a little bit about your writing process? 

I sit down at the keyboard and “let’er rip”. Editing comes later.

5. Who is your favorite character in your work? 

Again, this is a hard one. I love all my characters. In High Cotton Country, definitely Cazzie. I also really like Nine and Bama. Oh, can’t forget Havi. I want to marry him!

6. How would you describe your writing style?  

Raw, earthy, and I like to think, a little John Steinbeck-ish. I particularly appreciate what one reviewer had to say: “Leta has the knack for the humor particular to the South like so many southern women writers, authors like Rita Mae Brown, Eudora Welty, and my all-time favorite, Ellen Gilchrist.”

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

To touch readers in some meaningful way, from simply entertaining them for a time to inspiring them to reach for their every dream.