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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
MIDWEEK MEET & GREET. Cynthia Vespia's, LIFE, DEATH and BACK.
Welcome! Tuesday has arrived and with it, the Midweek Meet & Greet. Crawl Inside a Writer's Mind. Today I'd like to introduce author Cythia Vespia. Must admit, her work sounds fantastic. I won't keep you waiting a moment longer. First, a bit about Cynthia, then it's on to the interview!
Cynthia was drawn to writing at a young age. After high school she established a successful career as a freelance journalist writing everything from features and fillers, to reviews and human interest stories.
Her first novel, a medieval fiction entitled The Crescent, was published in August, 2005. The novel was unanimously praised as "an engaging, descriptive read" which prompted a sell-out at Borders Bookstore in less than one hour during the first official signing.
A short story (a satirical look at the afterlife) titled Death's Grand Design was published online shortly thereafter and once again met with reviews that honored her attention to detail and the flow of her prose.
In May of 2006, Theater of Pain was released. This suspense thriller unfolds within the eccentric world of professional wrestling where competitors would do anything to reach the top...even murder.
Today Cynthia writes quality, character driven novels full of suspense as well as dark fantasy. Cynthia likes to refer to her novels as "Real life situations that you could find yourself in, but hope to God you never do." In her spare time she enjoys reading, movies that involve a strong plot/characters, and keeping active through various forms of martial arts and as an active fitness competitor.
Let's learn more about Cynthia's latest release, LIFE, DEATH and BACK.
Life goes by in a blink.
One moment can change everything.
For most, death is the eternal end.
Bryan Caleb has unfinished business. Even as he struggles with his own mortality Bryan must find the compassion within himself to help guide Lisa Zane, an emotionally and spiritually drained young girl, through her troubled life to find her purpose. For it is only with Lisa's help that Bryan can rescue his very own son from the life of crime he has fallen into before Kriticos Caleb's fate mirrors his father's...in death.
SKY: Welcome, Cynthia! So glad to have you over to chat about your latest paranormal suspense, Life, Death and Back.
CYNTHIA: Thank you for having me, Sky. It's a pleasure to be here to discuss Life, Death, and Back. I've already been receiving some great feedback on the novel and it is only a few months old yet. People are intrigued by the unknown, that's one of the reasons I wrote this particular novel.
SKY: Congratulations on the feedback! I love anything paranormal and your character, Bryan already has me intrigued. Would you mind sharing a bit of his back story?
CYNTHIA: I made Bryan out to be a bit of the “every man.” He doesn't have tremendous strength, or super intelligence. He wasn't endowed with super powers or mutations. Bryan is just a regular loving husband and expectant father...until he is suddenly struck down by a drunk driver in the middle of the street. That's when everything changes. Now the rules have changed. Bryan is no longer amongst the living. He's something of a ghost, an apparition. But I let him keep his emotions...there's no story without emotion to draw in the reader. What I wind up with is a very complex and juicy character that I really had no limits with. You tell me how someone who comes back from the dead is going to act? Its creative freedom at its finest.
SKY: No doubt! Sounds intriquing. Lisa, young and troubled, also sounds like a very complex character. Let’s hear a bit more about her. Anything you’d like to share.
CYNTHIA: Lisa came to me from tapping into that side that all humanity shares and it is the capacity to just give up on life. Most of us fight that evil and find a reason to pull ourselves out of bed in the morning. But there is a large portion of society that just takes up space because they've quit on themselves. Unfortunately a lot of that population is young teenagers. I wanted to paint a picture of a girl who has really had a bad run in life and is deserving of this second chance I'm about to offer to her.
SKY: Nice. We’ve read the blurb for Life, Death and Back and looked a little closer at the two main characters. Tell me, what inspired you to write such an intriguing story?
CYNTHIA: Again, its fascination with the unknown. I'm no stranger to death in my lifetime. No one gets out of life alive and I think because of that it is very natural to want to explore what goes on afterwards. We've seen some very successful depictions of the afterlife in contemporary media such as movies and stories like Ghost, The Lovely Bones, and The Crow. I had my own version of the story I wanted to tell.
SKY: You’ve already published other stories. What makes Life, Death and Back stand out for you? Was it a story that’d been in your mind for some time or did it form because of other tales you’d penned?
CYNTHIA: Life, Death, and Back is actually one of my earlier works that had been repackaged and brought back to life (excuse the pun) to become this story within a story. Essentially the novel itself spans three different generations. The timeline is one of the more complex I've had to work with because I put these characters aside for a time and revisited them years later to complete the tale.
SKY: Did you plot out this story or did it speak to you as you wrote and the characters took over? If it was a bit of both, share!
CYNTHIA: I don't like to plot much because you lose the spontaneity of the story. When I write it is like reading the novel for the first time and I like to see where the characters will take me. Life Death and Back was one of those stories that just flowed. I had bits and pieces in mind of where I wanted to head with it but ultimately the novel wrote itself.
SKY: You could sum this story up with three powerful words. What would they be and why?
CYNTHIA: Ha, Life, Death, and Back! The title itself catches you because I'm sure at first it sounds like a non-fiction. At closer introspection you come to realize it isn't. Its a tale woven of realistic elements that surprises you as you read it. And I suppose hope, faith, and gratitude could be another three powerful words to choose but that basically comes from my own life's mantra.
SKY: It was great having you visit, Cynthia. Wishing you the very best with this title. I know I'll be picking up a copy. I say we slam out with your favorite excerpt from Life, Death and Back. The floor’s yours!
CYNTHIA: Thank you Sky. This is an unedited excerpt from the opening chapter. To find out what happens next visit:
The first sojourn from life to death was very much the epitome of birth. Brilliant flashes of light were aglow all around bathing snapshots of memory, minute but hardly trivial.
When the ride stopped and the suspension of disbelief released him, Bryan was curious to find his own corpse stretched out at his feet. It lay on the grassy lawn in front of his office building, twenty feet from where he had initially been walking.
The corpse, his corpse, stared up at him through one wide eye. Sightless now it still echoed the feeling of shock that he had felt the very moment the vehicle had struck him.
Though he wanted to look away from the tragic scene utter terror and confusion gripped him still. Pedestrians and motorists surrounded the accident and sirens wailed in the distance. He was oblivious to it all.
All Bryan wanted to do was crawl back inside his body, stand up and say, "Hey, look at me, I'm fine. Not a scratch." Then there were strong impulses pulling him into the belief that this was just a nightmare. At any moment he was going to respond with a shudder and a cold sweat but he would wake, frantic at first, until he found himself in bed next to his lovely wife, Holly.
He hadn't bothered to wake her that morning. She was radiantly aglow in her pregnancy as she slept. It was their very first child and they were overjoyed to be experiencing this miracle after only one year of marriage.
Bryan had kissed her on the cheek and gone on his way to the law firm. His place of business was another joyful experience to be able to share with Holly. Bryan was the youngest of his class to seek and sustain a substantial position within a reputable law firm. Of course it helped that his father had owned and maintained the firm since Bryan had been a boy. But now it was his own, inheriting it when his father had passed away just two years after Bryan had graduated from law school.
It was an unusually cloudy day in Stanford, but nevertheless Bryan was in an upbeat mood. Whistling as he crossed the street to his offices he had never even seen the drunk driver's vehicle coming. Perhaps he had not wanted to. As the saying goes he had been looking upon the world with rose-colored glasses up to that point. No harm could befall him, he was indestructible. Throughout life Bryan had truly felt blessed, now it was all gone. In an instant his entire life had been snuffed out. His promising future was no more. All that was left was another casualty in the war of drinking and driving. He was no longer Bryan Adam Caleb outstanding lawyer, loving husband, expectant father, and genuine nice guy. Now he was just another statistic.
But Bryan didn't understand what was happening. If he was dead, why was he still on this Earth? What happened to the other side? So many unanswered questions tore through his mind.
He refused to believe it.
As paramedics encompassed the accident scene Bryan turned and ran. His mind was in frenzy and he just needed to get away, get some space to determine what in the world was going on.
His pace quickened to the point where he felt as though he had wings and could lift off. Finally he came to a stop at the end of the block and to his surprise he was not at all fatigued. His leg muscles did not ache and he was not breathing heavy. In fact, he was not breathing at all.
Still in disbelief he went to check his pulse for some sign that he was still alive. His fingers passed straight through his arm. There was no solidity to his wrist at all. He tried two more times with nothing but the same result.
Bryan looked around frantically for help. With his head on a swivel, something above him caught his eye. Lights gleamed up in the sky like as though a great crystal was wedged between two clouds precariously placed for the sun to shine off it.
He stood awed looking at the magnificent colors waning in every direction. It brought him a smile and a sense of peace. After a moment he even thought he glimpsed his loving father's face high above beckoning him to come forward and join him.
Bryan began to imagine just how nice it would be to be at his father's side again and to see his mother again in perfect and simple bliss.
The lights shone brighter and began to descend down towards him. Bryan stood stock still as they came closer and closer. The bright glare was such that he had to close his eyes but the pleasant images still remained. He felt his feet lift off the ground and he began to rise up with the jubilation.
Many wondrous memories were encompassing him now. Simple joys he new as a boy, more substantial and rich emotions of love and faith and virtue that he'd experienced as a man. Those worlds of days long since past were uniting on a grand scale and lifting Bryan up higher and higher into ecstasy the likes of which he had never known before. But with this cataclysm of extraordinary peace came relevance and a fear.
This illuminated structure of memories was a portal allowing him access to the other side. It was the ever after, bounty and life everlasting would be soon to come. Bryan's time here on Earth had been full but was now over. But he wasn't ready to leave yet.
"No," he stated. His voice was low at first as he still clung to the tranquility of the descending portal and the majesty of what it was.
He tried hard to shake it off, feeling indifference of a strong nature. Something was wrong. He did not belong here, not now. There was too much left for him to do. He did not want to leave his unborn child fatherless. The Caleb Family Law Practice was on a steady rise; Bryan needed to leave his legacy before he left this Earth.
As his will to stay grew stronger and stronger he shouted "No!" more defiantly than before and this time it broke him away from the suction of the light.
"For those who have often asked 'is there life after death', Life, Death, and Back opens our minds to ideas beyond traditional beliefs. While none of us really know what happens after our spirit leves our physical being, Vespia's novel helps us look at th afterlife from a new perspective. This book is a good story, told in a believable style, that has us wondering if there really are angels that are sent to help us through the rough times. Perhaps that's all any of us are looking for - just the possibility that we are not alone, even when things appear to be hopeless."
"I am … enjoying the heck out of your book. It is stunning and a quintessential page-turner. The story drew me in before I even knew what was happening. I was caring about these characters and their lives and situations and there was an invisibility about the craft that I do find characteristic of exceptional fiction. The story is so well told that you are drawn in, but you don't see the seams…. In short, I am riveted."
Award-winning New Hampshire native, Sky Purington writes a cross genre of paranormal/fantasy romance heavily influenced by history. From Irish Druids to Scottish Highlanders many of her novels possess strong Celtic elements. More recently, her vampire stories take the reader to medieval England and ancient Italy. Make no mistake, in each and every tale told you'll travel back to another time and revisit the romanticism history holds at its heart. Sky welcomes feedback from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington.com.
Contest winners are selected by me using the random generator shown below. Each commenter who follows the rules given each week-whether it's to answer a question or simply comment-is assigned a number according to when they left their comment. For example: Jane comments first, then Sue, then Maria. Jane becomes #1, Sue #2, Maria #3. If the contest requires an answer to be left and Jane and Maria answer it, Sue does not, then Jane and Maria have entered the contest. Therefore, Jane is #1 and Maria is #2. Make sense? All numbers are then entered into the Random Generator. The number selected is therefore the winner. Make no mistake, I welcome those of you who choose not to enter the contest. Kind comments are always well received by visiting authors! Thanks so much. ~Sky
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