Friday, 19 April 2013
Author Interview & Book Spotlight: Red Haircrow
About the Author:
Both traditionally and independently published, Red Haircrow is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, poet, private chef and former law enforcement officer of Native American (Chiricahua Apache/Cherokee) descent who lives in Berlin, Germany. They are also a Psychology major and operate the independent publishing label, writer cooperative & review site, Flying With Red Haircrow.
Red Haircrow has various poems, shorter works and articles published in magazines like Sword & Saga Press’ American Athenaeum, Sibling Rivalry Press' Assaracus, Danse Macabre, and Indian Country Today. A winner in Rainbow Awards 2012 for Best LGBT Biography/Memoir: “Silence Is Multi-Colored In My World.”
Among other things, Red Haircrow enjoys photography, traveling, learning languages and cultures, and is quite active in Native American affairs, life, traditions and history.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I usually begin writing on a story in some way before I do a detailed outline on how I would like it to progress. Also, sometimes, depending on the type of work it is: very deep, complex or quite personal to me, I will meditate and think about it for a long time. That can often take months or even years, but when I do begin to write it down, it all flows out at once.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
In my fiction work, they are allowed to, because it is their story after all. Sometimes what I plan and what I want to take place doesn't work for what they need to express, so I let them change it, as it were.
What is your favourite food?
I am a person who will generally eat whatever's available if I am hungry, just being glad to have something. If I absolutely had to choose a favourite it would probably be kimchee.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I haven't slept a night through in over thirty years, so I am definitely a night owl. Yet I've had to do mornings in various professions also, so I would say I am a person of determination because after 3 or 4 hours sleep per night tops, but I still have to be someplace at 8am and work all day? I just get it done.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I have traveled extensively around the world already but I've not been to Australia and the islands of Oceania, nor to South America, so those are considerations.
Do distant places feature in your books?
My books reflect my life, so yes, in my latest "The Agony of Joy", it's billed as being "From London to Berlin, to the frozen seas of far east Russia..."
Do you listen to music while writing?
I more often listen to films or TV shows while writing, rather than music. And I tend to listen to the same film over and over again, somewhat like background or "white" noise. Films that I know all the dialogue to, but which are very compelling keep me focused but aren't distracting. For example, when finishing "The Agony of Joy", I probably listened to "Seven" with Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt more than twenty times. When I am editing I do listen to music, yet again it is almost always songs/albums I've listened to many times. I create playlists especially for editing and formatting.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
The Agony of Joy was published on Feb. 17, 2013.Taking almost ten years to complete, it incorporates many of my experiences and observations as a survivor of sexual abuse and violence. But far from being the central theme although psychological and behavioral after-effects continue for many, the novel focuses on the courage it takes, often in the face of opposition, misunderstanding and/or apathy to not allow anything or anyone to keep you imprisoned by that past, not even yourself. It is based on the Gestalt Theory: "“One should accept oneself completely. The relief comes with full awareness. It will help to be free from the burden, which keeps the person captivated and directs the individuality. The development starts after the individual acknowledges pain of the past and only when the person becomes free from fear and nervousness.”
One of the primary reasons I returned to university, completing a degree in Psychology (graduation Spring 2013) was to help others in this and other regards, as well as continue personal healing.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
Specifically: Stay focused on your stories, your characters, your messages, your writing. Don't be distracted by negativity. Generally, in that I already knew this but it applies to writing and publishing also: Remain true to yourself and your ideals.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
My son, in a positive way, as he has special needs but is extremely creative, honest and forthright. So when he was younger I told him some of the stories in my head, and now, I can pass story ideas past him, graphic arts and cover images, and he gives me good pointers and feedback. Although it began as a negative response, I chose to finally turn it into something positive...having made friends of sorts with a known author, they asked to read some of my work, which they cut to ribbons, laughed at and said no one will ever publish such a story. I didn't show anyone else my writing for almost seven years, choosing to focus on my primary profession at the time: law enforcement. Later, when I went back and reread my story, I still liked it very much and finally submitted it, and it was accepted almost immediately without changes.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Read well-written books so you can clearly see how a good book is produced, what it looks and reads like. Be willing to listen to constructive criticism, but whatever happens or is said, take it as a challenge to improve your craft.
What are three words that describe you?
Enigmatic. Loyal. Sincere.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
I have many favourite writers because I enjoy reading a variety of genres. For sci-fi/fantasy that would be C.J. Cherryh and Michael Moorcock. For non-fiction, Yvegeny Yevtushenko or specific subjects: world history and psychology.
The Agony of Joy
by Red Haircrow
Available from smashwords | amazon | b&n
Former model turned actor Adrian Lee can barely list age range '23-29' on his resumé anymore nor stand his life of empty social events and appearances, meaningless roles and casual partners. When he meets Alexander Skizetsky by clever arrangement of his agent, the enigmatic yet infinitely attractive Russian kindles a little light of hope in his aching heart. Yet even the beginnings of a friendship and love beyond his wildest dreams cannot assuage a life spiraling out of control.
The long estrangement from his devout Irish Catholic parents and family and the dark secrets they all share combine to drive him to the brink of despair, though Alexander is determined to stay by his side. After locking away his own memories of betrayal and loss, the Russian had decided never to love again but something in Adrian spurs the noblest intentions in his formerly jaded heart. Returning in pilgrimage to his homeland, he brings Adrian along on a journey of rebirth, revelation and redemption.
Adrian awoke alone, cramped and chilled from a gripping dream of formless dread. From the misty light streaming through one of the windows, it must have been very early morning, all colorsdrained to a dim gray. The house was strangely quiet, even the fire’s crackle seemed muted. No bird sounds from outside. No music from the radio. Adrian swallowed in an unpleasantly dry throat wondering where Lexx was, but unwilling to break the stillness by calling out. He climbed carefully from the bed, pausing to listen.
Could Lexx have gone outside? Adrian peered through the rippled glass of the foyer door. Then a faint tapping sounded through the bathroom door standing ajar, but it stopped as soon as he opened it and slipped through. A sharp ping from ahead of him startled him to pausing again. It definitely came from the grandfather clock room.
“Lexx?” he called, whisper barely above the regular patter of the clock, heart pounding as he crept into the extremely cold room. He froze in terror as the plastic sheeting covering the hole in the wall crackled.
Adrian bit his bottom lip with indecision. He had an irrational fear of the ragged darkness beyond the clear drape but knew he shouldn’t run away. It had to be faced. And if Lexx was in there, what was beyond? He took a careful step forward.
“Lexx?” he uncertainly called out again.
Seemingly disembodied, a hand appeared, pressing against the streaked plastic. Adrian stifled a scream. Though his mind screamed for him to do so, he found he couldn’t move, couldn’t run! When, scarcely a second later, Lexx’s tall form followed his hand into the room, Adrian collapsed back with a sobbing groan, glad the bed was behind him.
“Adrian!” Lexx exclaimed. “What’s wrong?” The man dropped to his knees, grabbing his upper arms. “You look like you were going to faint. It’s just me!”
“I—I’m, sorry,” Adrian said shakily. Helpless against the tears that formed in his eyes, he brushed them quickly away, smoothing his hair with a distracted hand to cover the motion. “I don’t know what I thought, but—I’m alright now.”
Standing, he pushed Lexx’s hands away while trying to smile, still stammering that he’d only been startled a moment, but received a frown. Lexx must have known by his reaction, there was something more involved that simple fright, and despite his best efforts he couldn’t pull his face into anything approaching normal.
“Adrian,” Lexx said seriously, simply. Then using the affectionate Russian “little” name he’d bestowed upon him, “Asha, tell me.”
“I—I can’t,” Adrian said. “Not now. It’s too close.” Adrian stopped at the door leading to the bathroom. He thought to apologize again, but Lexx began to speak, to explain calmly, apologizing in his turn.
“I’m sorry I awakened you. There is work I do in the room on the other side. I had some ideas in my head, and didn’t want to lose them, so I thought I would at least get the basics down.”
“It’s alright really,” Adrian replied, finally accepting Lexx’s hand upon his shoulder, letting himself be guided back into the main room, determinedly pushing his fright away. He looked at the clock upon the shelf above the bed, noticing the radio alarm was now on, music played softly.
“Only six a.m. and Sunday...."
website | twitter | glbt bookhself | goodreads
Books and Tales will be closing in January 2018.