Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An Interview With Author, Linda Riesenberg Fisler (Blind Influence Blog Tour)

An Interview 
With Author, Linda Riesenberg Fisler
Blind Influence Blog Tour

Where are you from?  
I was born in Southwest Ohio and still live in Southwest Ohio around Cincinnati.  I always thought that I’d end up somewhere else, but that hasn’t happened yet.  I have traveled to some great places though and enjoy that!
What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, this has been a long process, so not sure which inspiration to talk about!   Way back in 1979, I was reading Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Identity.  I was so engrossed in that book that I was staying up way too late to get to the end where Jason Bourne and the Jackal would face off.  They did and then the Jackal got away!  I was like: Are you kidding me?   I went to the library the next day deciding that I’d give him one last chance.  I picked up the next book in the series and started reading.  Needless to say, the Jackal got away again.  Furious, I threw the book against the wall!  I yelled that was it, never again.  I have never read another book in that series.  Loved Robert Ludlum’s style but being young and naïve I couldn’t understand why this brilliant man couldn’t come up with another villain!  So, I challenged myself to write a book that was better.  Blind Influence was born that night.  Is it better?  I’ll have to let the readers decide that. I personally like writing books that have multiple plot lines so that there is something for everyone. 
Do you write full-time or part-time? How do you balance your writing life with your family/work life?
I resigned from a consumer products company to become a fine art artist.  After years of interviewing master artists of today during my Art Chats show (Art Chats with Linda Fisler), I began to realize that my first love has always been writing.  The artists I interviewed would always talk about how they were drawing, coloring or painting since childhood. I began to reflect on my childhood and realized that I had been writing since I was kid. At one point I sent a script off to Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was rejected and I kept it all these years.  I took it out a couple years ago when a friend asked me about it.  I looked it over and realized that it was no ordinary rejection.  The script coordinator wrote me back personally.  He not only wrote me back, but he included submission guidelines and a page of agents with circles around the one I should contact. Of course, being the young kid I was at the time, I just put it aside thinking that I wasn’t a good writer and they gave this response to anyone. So I went to work, telling myself it was just a dream and I didn’t have what it took to be a writer.  When I pulled that information out a few years ago I realized how stupid I was!!  The script coordinator gave me everything except the rewrite of my script!!  (Headà Wall)
 There is so much I want to accomplish that there isn’t enough hours in a day.  There’s a rebel side to me and when I hear everyone giving advice on how often and how much they should write, I kind of rebel. I wake up in the morning and ask myself:  “What do I want to create today?”  This comes from my study in ReiKi.  I’m a ReiKi Master and the ReiKi precepts start with “Just for today….”  I need to focus on the present and work each day to be creative. Do I paint?  Do I write?  Do I teach?  It is all I can do and when I come to the end of the day I give gratitude and thanks for what I have accomplished.  That is the balance I strive for –that and not listening to others tell me what or how to accomplish what I want to accomplish. Just for today…I’ll do it my way. (cue Frank Sinatra singing My Way) J
How did you come up with the title?
Wow—it went through a lot of iterations. I think it started out as Blind Justice.  I focused on the political and conspiracy aspects at one point and then I centered on Nicole and how she was being used through this whole series of books.  I knew I wanted “Blind” in the title, because Nicole is blind to how she is being used even though she is a trailblazer and a feminist.  She hasn’t yet taken the power that is right at her fingertips.  As I created the outline, the word influence came to me, as in look at how much others are influencing her.  The title “Blind Influence” came from that thought.  

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think the message is to understand that no one influences you unless you let them.  There are a number of characters in this book that are being influenced:  Nicole, Jenkins, Thompson, Chapman, but there are really only two that are not influenced:  Sean and the Serpent, but even they are influencing each other.  The message is to be aware of your choices and how others are influencing you. Is that influence positive or negative?  You control how people influence you.  Take back your power.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
While I don’t hang with assassins or politicians, each character in this book has a hint of someone I have known or was aware of but may not have known personally.  I’m not saying that you will read the book and say, “Oh—that’s definitely [insert name here]” because that isn’t true.  I took something I liked or disliked, a character trait if you will, and built a character around that trait.  These traits are so general that anybody who reads the book will probably be able to say, “Wow, that character reminds me of my friend.”  Or even more fun, “Wow, that character is just like that evil person I met the other day.”   :-D    The “Be careful, I may make you a character in my book and kill you off” thing is definitely true.  {chuckling}  I remember coming home from work one day so utterly frustrated that I killed off almost all the characters in one scene.  While it felt really good, it did nothing for the plot!   That scene as deleted shortly after writing it!
What books have most influenced your life most?
Difficult question—none really pop out in my mind because I have taken what I need from so many books.  There is one book that I read repeatedly and pick up to read in times when I need to focus.  That book is called “The Seat of the Soul” by Gary Zukav.  It has given me some great perspective.  So many good things have come since discovering that book.  I read Science Fiction when I was young and I always enjoy reading Tolkien and such. The authors I have read the most are probably Ludlum, Arthur C. Clarke, John Jakes and a number of fine art artist books as I studied painting.  Also, Syd Field wrote a wonderful book that has helped my novel writing even though its focus is screenwriting.  The name of that book is Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting.  I think I did a good job of dodging this question.  J
What are your current projects?
Current projects:  I just finished up a short novella that is free.  It is a prequel to Blind Influence which provides some back story on Nicole, Sean and Jenkins. It is called Blind Intention (free over on Smashwords or my website).   I have been free writing a lot on the sequel, Love is Blind, and I am now at the point that I want to flesh out an outline to nail down the plot points.  During this process I figure out what twists and turns I want to take.  I may even write a couple outlines with different plot points.  Then I’ll choose which plot points I like and weave that into the outline that I’ll follow for the book. 
I’m also free writing the Tales of Reginnis story as well. Tolkien is my inspiration Tales of Reginnis: The Discovery of the Oracle.   I wrote a short story called “The Prophecy” for BBC Opening Lines contest.  I hope it gets short listed there.  I offer that short story for free on my website for signing up for my updates (http://bit.ly/1N9n8ac).    I really want to get Tales out there, but feel I need to also work on the Blind series as well.  

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have a group of friends and creatives that are supportive.  I’d be hard pressed to name one entity which has supported me because so many have done so in so many different ways.  I appreciate all who do support me and feel that I don’t say thank you enough when they do.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
To the actual book, no, but I would probably change some things that I did in the process to get it published.  I’m quite pleased with how Blind Influence turned out.   

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
A little teaser from Love Is Blind:
Darkness! Winter always appeared to be dark and grey, even on the sunniest of days.  Maybe it was because the trees were barren, their charcoal black branches a shade or two darker than the grey puffs of clouds that billowed upward away from yet another grey shape that formed the foothills of the mountains beyond.  Darkness seemed to envelop everyone’s existence encroaching itself in both their surroundings as well as inside their soul.  Making the darkness it all the more difficult to endure was that it followed the gorgeous, warm complementary colors of red and green which brightened the moods and decorated every type of establishment.  Those bright, happy colors were now tucked away marking the end of the typically joyous holiday season.  December seemed to be a stark contrast to the bleakest month of the year; January.  The joyous refrains were but an echo among the inhabitants of not only this quaint town nestled in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountain, but also only a memory to those that lived in the Northern Hemisphere.  The darkness engulfed the north in January making their labors hard. It seemed this particularly harsh winter weighed heavily on a few souls in particular.  The darkness calling out their demons in the cold blustery winds that whistled outside their windows.  Oh, the darkness, that only those who suffer in its continued terror could understand its horrors and hold on them.
A man walked the lonely streets of this small North Carolina town.  While the man had been seen about town to buy the basic necessities such as food, personal care items and of course libations to ease the pain of what some folks considered a broken marriage or a refuted lover, he never spoke of his problems.  In fact, he never spoke to anyone.  He simply walked into their town and rented one of the vacant houses out by the nearby lake.  His payment of rent was made in advance in cash.  He didn’t bother anyone and made it clear he didn’t want to be bothered. His beard, although now trimmed nicely, was still present and his hair was getting long.  Speculating on misfortunes became the favorite past time of the locals.  Whole dinner conversations revolved around the latest theory or rumor invented earlier in the day.  The one thing that everyone knew about this man was that he was not from ‘these parts’. 
And just for kicks a short teaser from the Tales of Reginnis: The Discovery of the Oracle.
Artan looked confusingly at the Elf that he held in high regard as well as his surrogate father.  Ohn bowed from the waist again as he gently moved his right hand from his heart and swept it graciously toward the circle of the wise Anarym Elves.  Artan swallowed and quietly cleared his throat.  “My friends,” he started looking at the wise ones in the circle, “and those I consider my family,” He looked at Ohn and Ohn-son in turn.  “I do not deserve this reverence.  You do not bow to me.  If it were not for you, I would not be alive to see this day.”  He took Ohn by the arm and walked to the circle.  “And whatever must be accomplished, I surely will not be able to do so without your guidance, wisdom and aid.” 
Artan sat down and the circle followed his action.  “I must confess, I am a bit confused and concerned about this and how it has come to me.”
In the center of the circle, Ari-lyn appeared with her staff and with Foxitt next to her.  The Anarym tried to move quickly to their knees to greet Ari-lyn, who motioned such action was not needed.  “Greetings, my fair Anarym.  As you can see the time has come for us to inform Artan of his destiny. And never have I been more touched by his actions and words.  Can it be the Oracle has found its new home?”

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
There are probably two things I find challenging.  First is finding enough time to just sit and write without interruption.  The second is not being able to type fast enough for all the conversation that is in my brain.  My characters never seem to shut up!  [laughing]

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite right now (and it changes often) is JRR Tolkien.  His creation of Middle Earth and all the creating he did for that story, from the language of the Elves to the different regions to the story itself was a huge undertaking.  If you read the seven original books of the Lord of the Rings and the original Hobbit, you’ll discover that not only did Tolkien write the story; he wrote poetry throughout the book and wove that into the story.  It is brilliantly written!  Some would say that it is a labor to read, but never the less, he was an extraordinary writer. All of this research I have done on Tolkien and his creation inspired me to create my own world for Tales.  

Who designed the covers?
Blind Influence’s cover was done by someone at Dog Ear Publishing.  I gave them (my contact at Dog Ear) instructions on what I wanted and provided photos from a stock photo gallery they work with.  I believe they did an awesome job.  I wanted to catch the triangle between the Serpent, Nicole (Lady Justice since Nicole is a lawyer) and Senator Jenkins (the Capitol Building) along with the conspiracy that is occurring.  I wanted the foreboding feeling that the colors and darkness of the cover provides.  I have been told by many folks that this cover looks like a movie poster.  Others said that it reminded them of a Hobbit poster they saw (they saw it and thought of my book).  Either way, I consider both compliments and have my fingers crossed that it is an omen that this book/series will have me heading to Hollywood to witness its creation, or maybe even helping on the script. 
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
By far the hardest part for me is editing and proofing before it goes to the professional editor.  And then proofing after the professional edit and formatting has been done.  After the fifteenth (or more!) time reading it to make sure you caught all the typos, missed words or improvements to the story, you are so tired of it.  It also hurts your head when you find mistakes after it has been published.  Walls can be pretty hard!  :-D  

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
How much easier it is to research any aspect of your book with the internet! Of course, with some of the subject matter that I research I’m a bit afraid to try and board an airplane.  I’m wondering if I hit the no-fly list with all the MI6, IRA and such word searches I do!  {laughing}
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m always cautious about giving advice that is very structured.  To me, telling someone who is creative that they need to have a word count that they achieve daily, or a painting a day completed goes against my rebellious nature.  If you love what you do, you will do what you love.  I may not be in front of my computer typing 2000 words every day, but I guarantee you that I’ve written two or three scenes in my head at a minimum every day.  I also may have designed a painting and even painted it in my head.  All of this is preparation for when I do sit down to write or stand behind my easel.  That’s the way my mind works.  That doesn’t mean that is the way your mind works. My advice is to find what works for you and go for it.  Don’t let anyone define for you what “being an author” should be.  I’ve had a peek behind the green curtain and even the best in each craft have their own way of creating whar works for them.  The difference is that they made that work for them through their hard work and commitment to get it done and recognized.  Commitment on your journey is big too.  It’s your journey, so commit to it and then do what you can each day.  Wake up and ask what creative thing you are going to do today.  Keep it simple and live in the present.  <clearing throat> Guess I threw caution to the wind on this answer!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I have to say to those who have reached out to me so far in regards to Blind Influence that I have enjoyed hearing their reactions to the plot and which characters they love and which characters they don’t care for one bit!  It was surprising what some of the reactions to a few characters have been.  No matter what has been said, I have belly laughed with joy and excitement that I can cause such reactions in my readers.  It is a great validation to know that I have entertained them and that the book has held their attention.  I know there will be those who read this and know it is not their thing. Just like painting, you put yourself out there for others to judge.  It takes courage and I appreciate anyone who takes a chance on me; to allow me to try and entertain them.  I appreciate my readers very, very much.  I love telling stories, I really do and I do see myself as a story teller.  Hopefully my readers will too. 

What do you think about e-publishing versus technical publishing?
I was a project manager for computer systems at the consumer products company, so I have a lot of computer skills.  I understand those who want the convenience of having the eBook.  I also understand those who want to hold the physical book and dog ear pages. I think my generation is the bridge between the two.  I don’t think physical books will disappear anytime soon.  What I do love about the industry now is that my stories are getting out there.  I just hope that they will be found and given a home.  I hope that I don’t disappoint anyone and I hope that they entertain people well into the future. 
Do you have an agent or publisher? How did you go about finding one?
I don’t have an agent or publisher.  Hello?  Anyone out there who would like to talk to me, I’ll listen.  Hello?  ;-)
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Ahhhh…this question is always so tricky.  When I was younger it was California—Los Angeles because I was going to be the next Steven Spielberg and I wanted to meet and sweep George Lucas off his feet.  (Ha!)  Now, when it is winter here in Ohio, I want to load up my cats and husband and head to New Zealand.  There is a part of me that wants to live in France as well.  So when some genius makes that transporter thing work, maybe I can do that.  Wait!  Who am I kidding? Even if they made a transporter work, I highly doubt I’d let them scatter my molecules and zip me through space!!
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Haha—this question made me laugh because of a television ad that I’ve seen a couple times now.  It starts out something like “Even the world’s evil masterminds want a button that will wreak havoc…”   I heard that and said out loud, “I want a button that will wreak havoc.”  To which my husband laughed and answered.  “You’re an author, you already have one!”  OMG!  He’s right!
So, I want a button that wreaks havoc and to be a Jedi Knight.  That would make me Luke Skywalker, right?  Ahhh..the constant battle between good and evil; that age old constant conflict.  Even Luke wasn’t immune to that conflict.  Neither are we.  (Cue the evil laugh now.)

When Linda Riesenberg Fisler isn’t working on her next book she is painting in her studio or riding her Trek bicycle along the many bike trails of Ohio. The former Fortune 500 consumer products manager explores art through her worldwide Internet radio show, “Art Chats with Linda Fisler”. Linda has been creative since childhood, writing stories and scripts of movies and TV shows to entertain friends. She discovered oil painting in the 1990s and began trying to express words visually.
Writing Blind Influence helped Linda realize she had been blind to letting others run her life, so she began to transition to the more artistic life she has today. In addition to The Blind series of books, Linda has created a fantasy book based on her exploration of spirituality. She hopes readers will learn how to open their own eyes instead of blindly following the expectations of those around them.

“Progress?” the vice president questioned, taken by surprise by what he
selfishly thought had been a flirtatious remark.
“Yes, Mr. Vice President. I now know that what I am saying is getting into
your head. The next step is to make sure you process the information.”
Nicole smiled, satisfied that she had again caught him off guard.

 Blind Influence

Successful, sexy attorney Nicole Charbonneau feels content with her life and career as a star at a powerful law firm in Washington, DC. She is blind, however, to the circumstances that will put her at the center of a web of deceit, murder, power plays and conspiracies. Across the ocean, British MI-6 Agent Sean Adkins is tracking a cold-blooded assassin known as the Serpent, who’s been hired to kill President Andrews. The Serpent cares only for the millions he’ll get, not why the powerful group of men wants Andrews killed.
The Serpent, a master of disguise, completes his job, but will it be his last? Sean will stop at nothing to get revenge, which includes setting a trap. Nicole, through her work and her connection with Robert Jenkins, a powerful young senator who happens to head the Intelligence Committee, pieces together who hired the assassin. Will the senator reveal to the public all he knows, or will revealing the identities of the powerful businessmen, politicians and government officials be too much for a country already in a fragile state?
Blind Influence, set in 1979 when the United States was on the brink of its second oil crisis, takes readers on a wild ride of political intrigue and personal discovery.

Twitter page   (@lfisler)

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