Monday, September 8, 2014

#MondayBlogs Meet @Hans_Hirschi Author of New Release The Fallen Angels of Karnataka

If you do not yet know this face, then you clearly didn't see the book spotlight I recently posted for this talented guy. Scroll down! Go ahead! We will wait for you.  

Back already?


So, as I was saying, Hans recently released a new book and I wanted to pick his brain about it, as well as about his writing in general.  But before you get wrapped up in the interview, scroll to the bottom and enter his giveaway for your chance to win a free copy of his newest book--assuming you didn't already enter the contest on the Book Spotlight Page. 
So here's what happened:

The Writing

Why the switch from nonfiction to fiction?
Switch back, you mean? Ive written fiction decades before I wrote my first non-fictional book, and my first published work was poetry. But yes, I did publish three books in the realm of corporate life, two on e-learning and a management handbook (which is on my to-do list to revise.) Thing is, Ive always dreamt of writing a novel. As a teen, I started several, but being the Gemini I am, the next morning another shiny object caught my eye and all these fantasy, Science-Fiction or whatever projects fell by the wayside. As a young adult, heartbroken more often than not, I wrote poetry, sullen, dark, nothing Im particularly proud of. Then I studied literature, and the process of getting that degree was so gruesome in terms of reading demands that I completely lost the appetite to read (and all literature.) I barely read from the age of 30 until I was 45. Then I had an amazing opportunity to take a leave of absence (I was basically unemployed) before the birth of my son. I had just gotten back into reading fiercely and somehow my brain came up with a story. Within five weeks, I had two finished novels in my laptops hard drive.
Your new release THE FALLEN ANGELS OF KARNATAKA has a great title? How did you come up with it?
The story deals with two very different topics. HIV and child abuse. I recall the amazing play Angels in America by Tony Kushner where the connection is made between the disease and HIV, and how the angels fell from the heavens. For me, children are angels, but in my book, I write about how literally tens of thousands of children are abducted (or sold by their parents) from their homes in various parts of India (sadly a harsh reality, and not fiction) and are sold into virtual (real) slavery, either to work off family debts in factories or to work on fields or in prostitution. In the book, there is an organization that works with such children, and the organizations name is Fallen Angels. Since much of the Indian part of the plays out in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, I suddenly had an epiphany of sorts and the title appeared before my eyes. I had no choice. *laughing*
Where were you when you started writing FALLEN?
At my desk. LOL I do all of my writing at my desk, unless we have guests (my office also serves as guest room.) Then youll likely find me in one of our reading rocking chairs with my laptop burning on my lap or at the dining table. I am fortunate (and cursed) to be able to work from home. I get up with my husband in the morning, make sure our son gets his breakfast, is dressed and ready for pre-school. Once they leave the house, I read the news, drink copious amounts of coffee before sitting down at my desk to work. Am I allowed to say that I often forget to shower until lunch as I get so engrossed in work? Its really a curse working from home. Easy to focus, but hard to draw the line between work and whatever else youre supposed to do in a household. And it does get lonely at times.

Youre a dad! Is it really hard to balance family life and writing life? Any tips for those parent-writers?
We live in Sweden, where we are fortunate enough to have a great welfare system. Our son is entitled to full time pre-school from the age of one, and hes been doing great and loves his mates and teachers. So I do get to write and work from (technically) 7:15 in the morning when they take the ferry until 5 pm when they return. However, being the stay-at-home dad, I also run parts of the household on the side. I manage.
I dont think I should be the one giving tips. Not my thing, but I do try NOT to work on weekends unless its absolutely unavoidable. I dont blog on weekends, and spend that time with my family instead.

You also work as a badass blogger. Did you blog then write or write then blog?
*blush* thank you I started blogging because for me, as an exhibitionist about to happen, blogging is the ultimate diary. Ive always written, and I started my first blog back in 2007 or 08 on my own website, as I didnt want to lose control over it. I moved over to Blogger in 2011, but I had been writing before and Ive always done articles, contributions to others and what not. I cannot not write. Its impossible for me not to write.
Do you often draw your inspiration from other books or a different mediums altogether (movies, anime, etc.)?
I guess I do. However, the process for me is very unconscious and I rarely remember how or why I started writing something (except for my blog posts, which are very real time commentaries to things happening out there) In FALLEN, the thing that got me going was a book from a fellow author friend Larry Benjamin, What Binds Us. There is a short sequence about traveling that inspired me to write a travel novel. But the real meat on the bone came from things that happened in my real life, friends and acquaintances who are troubled, and books Ive read. Im always amazed how my brain takes these things, chops and mulches them into nothingness to then build my stories from the rich earth those inspirations provide.
When you write, do you have a process that helps get you in the mood?
Coffee? I dont do drugs, never have, not even a little. I remember being scared after The Opera House, my third novel, to have run out of inspiration. I started to plan to work on something else, non-fiction, squeezed out the book about our parenting journey (non-fiction), Dads, and had my mind set on working on the second edition of my management book Common Sense. Then I read Larrys book and I knew I better sit down and get going
What are you working on now? And what can we expect to see from you in the future?

Right now I’m working on the most successful launch possible for FALLEN. It’s a challenge, as I’m a writer, not a marketing executive. But I cope and I try to do my best, along with the publishing duties of my company. But I’m back to where I was last december, after the previous novel got released. What now? What next? Do I still have another novel in me? If no inspiration comes, I’ll just work on “Common Sense”, that book deserves a better fate than the first edition received at the hands of its publisher.
You live in Sweden…? Is it cold there right now?
LOL It depends. Is it cold in America? Sweden is immensely long, north-south anyway. So the northernmost points, which reach far beyond the arctic circle, there’s snow falling already (as you’d likely see in parts of Alaska by this time of year). In our part of the country, the south-west, it’s still summer, albeit late, and we’re currently plagued by the left overs of your Atlantic hurricanes. Once they turn north-east, they eventually hit Scandinavia and bring stormy weather and tons of rain… So the answer for Gothenburg, where I live, is no. It’s still fairly warm.

If the world was burning and you could save but one book, which would it be?
My iPhone? It contains ALL of my books… LOL This question is impossible to answer. If I say “my latest” I’m a prick, and if I say something by Shakespeare I’d be lying… I honestly don’t know. By the time I have made up my mind, all books will probably have burned up already.
What’s your go to snack food?
Something salty, chips, pretzels, or fruit.
If you could have any (but only one) super power, what would you choose?
When my brother and I were kids, we used to play super heroes. He was the Batman, I was the Flash. I loved to run, so that would be cool. to be really fast (too bad it’s never been turned into a really good film, the ones I’ve seen were soooooooo bad) When I was in my teens and tween years I would’ve like to have x-ray vision. These days I’m glad I don’t. So let’s stick with being the Flash. Fast!
If you could pick the brain of any famous person anywhere across time and space, who would it be and why?
Alexander the Great, Ceaser (great author btw), Cleopatra, Lord Buddha, I would’ve loved to have met Gandhi (I hear he was quite the self-righteous prick) and of course the amazing one and only Madiba, Nelson Mandela. But as an author, it is equally interesting to get to know the real villains, people like Nero of Rome, or Hitler or Stalin, to find out how they tick. And who knows, in terms of the still living I’m curious about the new pope (is he as genuine as he appears) or the Dalai Lama (same question), or Putin (what makes him tick?)

Now these are all famous ones, but I find that I often get the most inspiration out of people like you and me. I recently met a reader of my books. We’ve known each other for about a year now, she stumbled across my first two novels and devoured them. She then wiggled her way (thanks to my unconscious mind) into my third book, 8 months before I met her. I was amazed at the resemblance between the real person and the nurse in the book.

If you could have lived in any from any of the fictional universes, which would it be and why?
StarTrek, I’d be Captain Kirk. No doubt about that. To me, Roddenberry’s creation is the ultimate utopia, a sort of communism of good, where human needs are expressed through art, the betterment of humanity since our bodily needs are all met. Utopia for sure, but I’ve always wanted to leave earth and fly to the stars…
What is your favorite word?
I’m an author. I love many words… But since you want one, I’ll give you Sascha, my son’s first name.
What is your least favorite word?
Invoice. (unless it’s sent by me)
If Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell existed, which circle would you be trapped in and why?

LOL That’s a good one. I would definitely choose the second circle. Sounds like a lot of fun and the perfect playground for my libido… *blush* Although, when you read about being blown back and forth by terrible winds without rest? Keats puts it like this in “On a Dream”:
... But to that second circle of sad hell,
Where mid the gust, the whirlwind, and the flaw
Of rain and hail-stones, lovers need not tell
Their sorrows. Pale were the sweet lips I saw,
Pale were the lips I kissd, and fair the form
I floated with, about that melancholy storm.
Who decorates these places? Nah, on second thought, not a good place. No sex, no fun…
As an atheist and fierce critic of organized religion, I’m probably also a candidate for the sixth circle of heresy, and I believe the people I criticize so fiercely would probably stick me into the inner ring of the seventh circle to reside in the desert of flaming sand, with fiery flakes raining from the sky
Dante was such a douche. I’m glad no one needs to take him seriously any more…
Is that it? Thanks for the opportunity! :)

My pleasure, Hans! Good luck with the new book! :)

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