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!

Interview with Author Tori Eldridge

Tori Eldridge, Suspense Writer

Today, Sept. 15th, marks the six-month anniversary of when I became a published author, and I want to celebrate!

In honor of RUNNING WILD ANTHOLOGY OF STORIES Vol. 2 I’m delighted to feature author Tori  Eldridge. Her story, Life After Breath, made my heart race and left me honestly breathless.

Welcome, Tori!

First, a bit about the Anthology and your story.
A number of people have commented that the Anthology has got a beautifully evocative cover, and that it hints at many varied stories inside.

What part of the cover reflects/reminds you of your story?

There’s an element of nostalgia in the cover of our Anthology that reflects my protagonist’s state of mind as she strolls into an ominous fog along the beach. Memories of her late husband and regret for what they’ve lost is a driving force.

What element would you hypothetically add to the cover to hint at your story?
I would have loved for the anthology cover to suggest the ocean or, better yet, a glimpse of a dark and grasping kelp bed. That would have been awesome.

Now a bit about your writing in general:
What do you like best to write?

I gravitate toward suspense, often, as with my short story Life After Breath, involving psychological tension and some aspect of the supernatural. I also enjoy stories steeped in culture, either from my own multi-cultural heritage or other intriguing and especially exotic cultures. And naturally, as a 5th degree black belt ninja, I do tend to sprinkle in some action. *wink*

What’s the biggest stretch for you to write?
The biggest stretch for me to write is anything I know nothing about. On the other hand, I love learning. So an assignment that takes me out of my comfort zone always leads me to some cool research from which an unexpected story emerges.

Where do your stories fall on the plot-driven vs. character-driven spectrum?
Right in the middle. I like to keep a story moving with action, turning points, reversals, and climax. But at the same time, I am fascinated by the human condition—the commonality of our internal struggles with love, loss, fear, integrity… everything that speaks to the core of what makes us human, as well as our unique perspectives that make us so different. I love those gray areas where the line between villain and saint get muddled and you find out too late you’ve have it all wrong.

What authors did you love most as a kid? Now? What authors have influenced your writing most?
As a kid, I was often too serious for my own good, so my favorite authors were Pearl S. Buck, Leon Uris, James Clavell, and later Stephen King, Ann Rice, and Michael Crichton.
When I became serious about writing, I paid attention to Ken Follett, Barbara Kingsolver, F. Paul Wilson, David Morrell, Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel series), Lisa See, Jonathan Maberry, and Lisa Gardner.

Is there a place that you’ve lived (or visited) that most influences your writing?
I was born and raised in Hawaii, which is unlike anywhere in the world. Not only do Hawaiians have our own rich culture, language, and heritage but we also benefit from the cultures of people who populated our islands during the plantation era, most notably the Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Samoans, and Caucasian missionaries, seafarers, and colonists. Many cultures. Many perspectives. Growing up in Hawaii has not only influenced my writing but how I look at the world.

What’s the first piece you wrote that you’re still proud of or happy with?
My first short story, Call Me Dumpling, was published in Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2014 issue and remains one of my favorites. In fact, it inspired a novel and a potential mystery thriller series.

What have you been up to since the Anthology came out? Any other news?
In the last six months, I finished the revisions of one novel, began the sequel to another, wrote a short story, and am currently working on a new novel inspired by another of my short stories. It sounds like a lot, but I’ve been approaching it all in a relaxed way since I’m still building back my strength and agility from hip surgery!

What do you plan to work on next?
I’m having a blast writing my dystopian futuristic thriller.

How can readers connect with you?
Readers can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, of course, my website torieldridge.com. Just google Tori Eldridge and I’ll pop up everywhere.

Thank you for helping me celebrate our Anthology’s semi-anniversary, Tori! I wish you the best of success with all your projects.

UPDATE Dec. 8th, 2018
Exciting news! Tori’s story Life After Breath has been chosen as one of RWP Readers’ Choice Best of 2018*. Congratulations, Tori!

*Check back for more results soon.

 

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