Interview with Author Elan Barnehama

Elan Barnehama, Contemporary Fiction Writer

Continuing in this series of interviews with my Running Wild Anthology colleagues, it’s my pleasure to welcome Elan Barnehama. His story, “Just Be,” truly moved me.

Welcome, Elan!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your writing. What do you like best to write?
I like writing flash fiction and novels. Opposite ends of the story spectrum – but I like the way they influence each other.

Where do your stories fall on the plot-driven vs. character-driven spectrum?
I would say my stories are more character driven as I like knowing who people are, who characters are. Of course, it’s impossible to separate who they are from how they are in a situation. So maybe the easy answer is both. Clearly, plot influences the choices a character makes, but how they respond reveals who they are.

What authors did you love most as a kid? Now? What authors have influenced your writing most?
When I read EAST OF EDEN as a kid – my mother gave it to me– I loved it and it was the first time I thought to see what else a writer had written. That was followed by falling in love and in awe of the characters and the writing of J.D. Salinger, John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Bob Dylan, and others. Later Toni Morrison and Thomas Pynchon came and knocked me over.

Is there a place that you’ve lived (or visited) that most influences your writing?
I was born and raised in New York City, and while I have lived away from the city more than I lived in it, New York continues to be a large part of who I am. But I have also spent time in Los Angeles, and it’s become a part of me and is the setting of the novel I am working on.

What have you been up to since the Anthology came out? Any other news?
My story in the anthology, “Just Be,” is an excerpt from my novel, ESCAPE ROUTE – which is making rounds with agents/publishers. Since the Anthology was published, another excerpt of Escape Route, “Raining In The Holy Land,” was published in JewishFiction.net, September 2018.

In July, I had a new piece of flash fiction, “Snowflakes and Earthquakes,” published by DrunkMonkeys.us. A book I helped edit, “A Mile In Our Shoes — Personal Stories of Global Journeys,” will be published by Whyte Tracks Publisher, Denmark, in September 2018. And, my flash story, “Everyone to Dance,” will be published in the October issue of BostonAccent.com.

What do you plan to work on next?
I am working on a new novel about starting over and taking risks that is set in Los Angeles.

How can readers connect with you?

Twitter: @elanbarnehama
Website: elanbarnehama.com
Facebook: facebook.com/elan.barnehama
Instagram: elan32
Email: Elan32@gmail.com

Thank you for joining me on my blog, Elan! I’m happy to hear of your ongoing publications and wish you many more to come.

Interview with Author Rebecca House

Rebecca House, Writer of Dark Fiction

To continue celebrating the six-month anniversary of RUNNING WILD ANTHOLOGY OF STORIES VOL. 2 , I’m delighted to welcome author Rebecca House. Her story, Visiting Friends, left me chilled and rather wide-eyed, honestly.

Welcome, Rebecca!

Our Anthology, as several people have commented to me, has an evocative cover that hints at a collage of varied stories inside.

 

What part of the cover reminds you of your story?
There is a picture of what appears to be a body lying face-up on the ground. It’s a good hint at where my story ends up.

What element would you hypothetically add to the cover to hint at your story?
I may have added a ghostly figure looking down at the body.

What do you like best to write?
My writing leans towards dark fiction. I like to explore the darker aspects of the natural and supernatural worlds or more precisely, what is it that drives people to the edge either in struggling with their own personal demons, external forces or both combined. Sometimes I just like to throw a character into a tension-filled situation and see what happens.

What’s the biggest stretch for you to write?
Romance. The style of writing I lean towards does not naturally lend itself to typical commercial romances. Now in saying that, gothic romance, that I could do and have done in another published short story titled, “Frozen Beauty.”

Where do your stories fall on the plot-driven vs. character-driven spectrum?
Definitely character-driven. With a psychology background I love to poke around in the inner world of people, dead or alive.

What authors did you love most as a kid? And now? What authors have influenced your writing most?
As a kid I was drawn to mystery/thrillers like Nancy Drew and Christopher Pike. That evolved to a slight obsession with Anne Rice, Tolkien and Stephen King as a teenager. Now, I read so many different kinds of authors. Interestingly, because I write darker fiction I’m not as drawn to read it (which I should!) but instead like to sit with a good literary novel, Marian Keyes or non-fiction.

Is there a place that you’ve lived (or visited) that most influences your writing?
I am very influenced by setting of places I have lived and travelled. “Visiting Friends” was interesting because I wrote about a place I researched whereas a lot of the settings in my other stories are typically based on a place from my past or present. I’ve used my hometown in Southwestern Ontario, my grandparent’s farm where I spent a lot of time as a child and of course my current home in Prince Edward County. One story was a combination of where I live now and the French countryside and a small costal town in Spain called Tossa del Mar. I love wandering in places and often take pictures of setting, buildings or scenes that catch my fancy and use them as prompts for a lot of my stories.

What’s the first piece you wrote that you’re still proud of/happy with?
Actually, “Visiting Friends,” was one of the first short stories I wrote that I felt captured what my style of short story writing was – it opened up creative flood of short stories that I wrote over a year and felt confident enough to submit.

What have you been up to since the Anthology came out? Any other news?
Since the Anthology launched I’ve had two other short stories published. One called “Monika Unraveling” in Weirdbook Magazine #39, and an online story production site, thebreakroomstories.com, published one of my previously published short stories, “Silent Houses.”

What do you plan to work on next?
This past summer I took a bit of a writing break so now I’m back at it. I have a few short stories I am submitting and a whack of them to finish. I also am working on my third novel and debating whether to finish it or fine tune my two other manuscripts. Decisions, decisions.

And finally, a question from your own interview of other authors that you would like to answer:

Are you a panster or a plotter?
I am a panster by nature. For various reasons, time constraints and how my brain works, I need to let a story or character develop organically and sometimes in frantic spurts. I akin it to an Advent calendar and opening up those little doors to get glimpses of plot or follow the story/character. I have to be very disciplined to sit down and commit to a plot, which I have done when it needs to be done, but it’s not my nature of writing. It can be good and frustrating to write. I’ve learned to write an outline on longer projects, although I’ll go through at least two or three until the story reveals itself enough for me to make sense of a manuscript.

How can readers connect with you?
www.smalltowngal.com. All my social media information is there as well as links to my blogs and where to find my published works.

Thank you for having me answer the questions! I hope the readers liked the entire anthology. It was great to work with Running Wild Press and meet an amazing group of authors.

I agree entirely, Rebecca – the Anthology is full of excellent stories, and it’s a pleasure to get to know some of you. I’m glad to hear of your recent publications. And thank you for taking part in my blog!

First Book Signing

Poster by Cindy Cavett

 

When Cindy Cavett  invited me and Laura Selinsky (@huzzahlns)  to join her for a book signing in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, at first I hesitated. Rehoboth is a long drive from where I live. But it’s the setting for Cindy’s fun pirate tale, and Laura’s lovely and poignant story Seawall is also set along a beach, so the place is perfect for the occasion. Laura gladly accepted Cindy’s invitation, though it’s a longer drive for her. And to turn down my first chance at a book signing would be nuts! So, Carpe Diem! (You should understand this upfront: I am such a word nerd, this is on one of my favorite t-shirts. You’ve been duly warned.)

Bright and early on April 21st, my husband and I got to downtown Rehoboth. Excited, I spotted the big green awning of Browseabout Books, our host for the signing  (I love how the sea lurks in their name).

Art by Susan Thornberg : Postcard from Browseabout Books, Rehoboth, DE

Honestly, running late is my norm, but for this event we were so very early, the friendly young lady behind the counter told me they wouldn’t even set up for another half hour.

I could have easily gotten lost among the books and treasures in Browseabout, but that would’ve been chancy — it can be difficult to extricate me from a bookstore. Besides, it was a beautiful spring day. So my husband and I went out to walk Rehoboth’s handsome boardwalk under the blue sky and brilliant sun. The town was pleasantly bustling, the air was fresh and crisp, and frothy waves crashed on the beach – a perfect and invigorating stroll. Any other day, I would have been happy to walk with no mind of the time. But today we had an Event! We found the lovely bandstand, central to the pirate’s exploits in Cindy’s story, and it guided us back to the main street and Browseabout.

Printed by www.LanternPress.com Postcard from Browseabout Books, Rehoboth, DE

Cindy arrived just before us. We had never met, but we hugged like friends – the camaraderie of writers! My lovely critique partner Laura soon joined us, and there were excited greetings and introductions. The bookstore staff made us wonderfully welcome at a table in a prime location just inside the door, covering it with a sea-green tablecloth that perfectly matched Cindy’s shawl. Synchronicity!

Cindy’s husband and brother-in-law helped us set up. She had brought lots of fun things to bedeck the table: a chest overflowing with chocolate gold coins, a treasure map, a miniature telescope Laura and I had fun playing with. I brought pieces-of-eight replica coins (because I’m also a history nerd and such things delight me), and a small brass figurine of Bastet. (Why Bastet? One of my anthology stories gives an inkling). I think she brought us luck!

Before long, people began showing up. It was heartwarming how many friends of Cindy’s came to support her and buy our anthology. They were the first people whose books we had the pleasure of signing.

I’ll tell you – that was a bit of a thrill. I had practiced my rusty cursive ahead of time and decided what I would write – and still my hands were rather vibrating with the delight of it.

We greeted incoming customers and welcomed them to our book signing, and lo and behold, many came up to take a look at the books and pause to chat. One man had a remarkable connection: he had gone to school many years ago with a different author in the book. Though she now lives in Florida, and his home is out West, by chance he was in Delaware in time for the book signing! More synchronicity.

We also got to talk to aspiring writers, young and old, and this meant a lot to me. We all gave them encouraging words: if you want to write, do. Put words to paper. Tell your stories. Find support like good critique partners, as Laura urged, and good groups, as Cindy suggested. You’re neither too young or too old. And though publishing can be hard, there are opportunities, like Running Wild Press, where the publisher looks for excellent writing that hasn’t found a niche.

The two hours sped by. By the end, the stacks of books had dwindled to just a few – we had sold most of the copies, and most of them to people who did not even know us! And the best parts were the camaraderie and conversation with readers and writers.

Many, many thanks to Cindy for arranging the event and inviting us, and to Browseabout Books for being such welcoming hosts. And to Running Wild Press, who made all this possible through their mission to give voice to the imaginations of authors whose work may transcend typical genres.

If you’re near the Delaware beaches on Sat., May 12th, you can meet Cindy at Browseabout Books’ launch party for Beach Love! I think you’ll find both Cindy and the bookstore delightful.

Anytime you’re in the area, visit Browseabout to see the vast variety of treasures they offer (among them, the beautiful postcards on this page). And if you’re looking for more great stories, you can find them at Running Wild Press.

If you want to connect with my wonderful book signing colleagues:

find Cindy at https://seasidecindy.com and on social media @seasidecindy

and Laura on Twitter at @huzzahlns.

Happy Reading!

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