Monday, 4 July 2016

Interview: Lexi Miles (author)

Folk on Twitter know Lexi Miles for her cheeky *giggles*, good humour and positive vibes.  She's always there with upbeat comments and a smile. She is one of those adorable people who you just wanna hug. She's also an author so crazily in love, she spent her life pursuing her passion - writing.
I discovered, she's also got a lot to say on this... :-)

Author: Lexi Miles

So, Lexi, hello and welcome to Script Alchemy. I'm delighted to have you come and answer some questions about you and your books.

Thank you so much for having me Annelisa. It is my pleasure to be with you today. I love your website Script Alchemy, and we get along so well, so I am happy, honored, and thrilled that you invited me to do this!

Thank you. Let's find out a little about you first, before we talk about your books. I've been checking out your bio, and see you've lived all over the place - Vegas, Los Angeles, Reno, California - where in the world is the spot that holds your dearest memories?

Oh, that’s a tough one. For my best and most precious memories, it is a bit of a tie between California, the Bay Area (near San Francisco), and Reno, Nevada. Those two places are where I have spent the most time and where I grew up. And, the weather is perfect in those two spots and the people are incredibly friendly. And to me that is important. (giggling a bit as I respond here)

Downtown Reno, Nevada, one of Lexi Miles' favourite places

And, where does your heart most desire to take you?

My heart most desires to take me out of the country to tour Europe or the United Kingdom. I also would like to go a little closer to home, back to Hawaii and Napa, California for some rest and relaxation.

Tahoe Shore

I see you have a lot of things you love, including, of course writing and reading, but also bowling, cooking, the beach, photography, spa days, fitness, dancing... and two sweet pups. If you had one day - one glorious day - how would you spend it? (It might be your last ever, so think of all the things you'd love to do and who you'd spend it with)

If I had to make one day count—really count—I would spend it with my loved ones, including my pups and best friend Chloe Quinn, at the beach. Not doing anything except for giggling, talking, and wiggling my feet in the sand. I would be appreciating this magical immense world with profound beauty all around me. I would just be thankful for every moment and giggle that I had with them. That would be perfect! (Those are my favorite days, time with my love ones, beach or not.)

Lexi's Silver Yorkies, Harley Quin and Poison Ivy

So, let's talk books. You've recently released a novel - Custom Fit - and a book of poetry - Focused on Love - and, I believe, you have a further seven (yes seven!) books to be released in 2016? 

Yes, I do have seven that are very near to being released. I just find that so many things inspire me. That is code for 'I have a lot of ideas that dance around in my brain and I love sharing them'.

First, give us a quick run down of what Custom Fit is all about. 

So, you want to know about Custom Fit. Hmmm, how do I give you a snapshot of what it is all about? I have a structured synopsis, but today I will give you a fresh account of it, since I believe you are game.

What would you do if you found yourself walking into work and then being tasked to take clothes on and off of the extremely sexy man you are crazy about and have been for years? Well, that is what Sunni, our main character, faces at the top of the novel. Let me clarify, I know you are wondering with that sounding a bit spicy, Sunni is a style specialist and consultant with a long list of high profile clients. At the firm that she is working for, there is only one rule: no romantic entanglements with the professional contacts. However, throughout the book, even with the assignment only being for the couple weeks preceding and following the holidays, Sunni finds this to be harder and harder to uphold. What adds to that challenge is that Striker Clint, the alarmingly sexy actor and singer she’s adored from afar, is her ultimate crush, who is even more gorgeous and chivalrous than in his movies. She soon has to decide, is a shot at being with him, her ultimate desire, worth giving up the career she has worked so hard for? What will she decided? Or will the blue-eyed dreamy Striker decide it for her? Will she cave to his persuasive charm?

Cover: Custom Fit by author Lexi Miles
This romance novel about actors and fashion was a blast to write and has a load of twists, scandal, humor, and sexiness. It’s a highly fun read set during the time of Thanksgiving through the New Year, but is fun no matter what season. It involves fun social media references, romantic set-ups, and friendships.

Throughout all of the madness, I really like most how it is centered around and shows a sweet and intense love as they both deal with some pretty serious issues (past relationships and risk taking). There are some troublemakers, past and present, you are going to love to hate as well as some surprise characters that make you smile. Returning to the main characters, their forbidden relationship is a wildly sexy romance, making frequent trips to the brink of hot sexy love and will have the reader craving for more. It is a nice combination of attraction, strength from love, deep emotional connection, and searing passion.

That sounds awesome. We need that kind of honest synergy between love and the sensual side of romance. They are not exclusive of each other, as some think. Are your other seven books in this same genre?

Yes, the seven books that are coming out are all romance novels and in that sexy hot vein as Custom Fit. Each of the novels are so fire-hot you may need aloe as you read them! To answer your question further, some books are a part of series and others are stand-alone features. Although for the most part the novels are incredibly sexy that I write, outside of the handful coming out, the intensity of the hotness of each novel does change. I write a range on the spectrum of an arc from sweet to erotic. I do have to say, I ENJOY and most definitely like to spend my time—a lot of time—living in the land of highly sensual.

Do you want to tell us a bit about the other books?

Sure. Here's a quick break down of the seven coming to Amazon soon (not in order of release):

Dangerous Listing: A realtor named Piper rents out a listing and stumbles into a dangerous situation. She soon finds herself holed up with the ever sexy and mysterious Marko, and she’s not complaining. Is danger just the thing they need to kick off their sexy romance? (Vol 0.5 in the Sensual Protection series, proceeds Private Lessons)

Too Much Trouble: A lawyer named Sela steps in to help her scam artist brother with a legal issue and ends up having to work for the powerful family that he has wronged to keep him out of hot water. More specifically, Sela has to work for the egotistical head of the family, the oh-so-sexy, Gavin Brooks, who she has butted heads with on more than one occasion. But will she find that the arrangement has its advantages? (Vol 1 of Sexy Law series)

Private Lessons: Dorian DeVain, a travel agent, gets tricked into taking much needed self-defense classes by her best friend Piper. She is apprehensive, even given the looming threat of her past, until she meets the ultra-sexy brown haired instructor Jimmy Jalin. Will there be sexy benefits included with his training? (Vol 1 of the Sensual Protection series)

Convince Me: Josephine Summers, a feisty red headed chef has just been blacklisted for declining her boss’ romantic advances. Determined for a fresh start, Jo has a chance meeting with the dreamy lawyer with the penetrating blue eyes, Roger, who convinces her to become his live in chef. After that things really heat up. Is Jo going find it difficult to keep things strictly professional? (Vol 1 of Seductive Recipes series)

Mix Matched: Maxi is a bartender at a bar that the mega-hot Wolf Crane owns. Wolf, off the clock, is known for giving romantic help to others so they find their romantic match. She gets the idea to have Wolf use his skills to help her until she can get him to realize that she is his perfect match. Can she sway him to see her daydream for them? (Vol 1 of the Happy Hour series)(NanoWrimo Nov 2015)

Behind the Scenes: After an awful breakup, Markie has sworn off relationships. That is until a brief encounter at a café where she meets a devilishly handsome Johnny who steps in to help her shake a problem. Per her friend’s prior suggestion, Markie has just started one of the hottest romance novels out and Johnny notices it. Horrified when he picks it up and starts reading it aloud they soon fall into reading the story to each other. But will the love story stay within the pages of the book? (Stand Alone Novel)

Assisting Love: Dixie, tired of not living to her potential, quits an assisting job and gets commandeered for an upgraded executive assisting one. She is under the impression it is for someone else but ends up working for and living with the reclusive Cliff, a fundraiser whisperer. She soon finds that she helps him let his guard down and he helps her tap into who she once was years ago. Can she manage to keep her desires for him in check or will she risk it all to see if they have a chance at love? (Vol 1 of Romancing the Roommate)

Books by Lexi Miles, author

All of the stories, that are coming soon, show challenges that couples face and how they evolve as individuals and couples because of them. I think that love makes us the best versions of ourselves. You know, the most courageous people that we can be because we know that we are loved and accepted deeply. In my opinion, romantic love, centers us and makes everything about life more vibrant and beautiful. Love, in many ways, is like that spice of a secret recipe in cooking that makes life taste better!

What made you start to write this genre? And what do you feel, knowing others are reading it? 

Honestly, there are four main reasons I write romance.

The first, I love the romance genre. I am a mush. I adore scribing the magic of opening up oneself to another. That metaphoric nakedness is beautiful, raw, peaceful, and like art. Love, in all of its forms, especially romantic, is worth writing about and I love doing it.

Secondly, I got tired of reading about the bickering or “mommy-ing” that some of these books act like is sexy or romantic. I personally am annoyed by too much of that. I hate it when a woman picks apart a man or he acts as if he dominates her. Granted, I do love a good DOM book and write some sexual tension with a bit of spunky flirty quip dialogue, but not that whiny stuff. Or the brain went out for lunch stories or immature actions I can’t identify with. So, I was inspired to write because I wanted to do it, to add to the other books out there, and support that different view and offer a more unique alternatives for romance readers. I wanted to write something where women weren’t so meek damsel in distress, stubborn, not independent, or gripe focused. And on the flipside I want to write men positively where the men weren’t so one dimensional, negative stereotypical, emotionless, or jerks. I wanted to write something that gave more depth to each gender.


My next reason, I write romance because I like the naughty and fire-hot stuff. Some people may shy away from the beauty and physical fun you can have with your partner, but I think it is beautiful and thrilling to capture. Sex, sexual tension, and all of its spiciness is fun to write about time after time!

Finally, I just find it completely rewarding to weave together this fictional world and to sculpt something out of it. Creatively typing whatever my mind can come up with is refreshing. And really making it basic, romance is so fun to write! That’s why I write!

What do I feel knowing that others are reading it? Honestly, I hope they are enjoying it. I am happy to share the sexy and romantic stories that I do. My stories are also inclusive of all the genres, in a way, from mystery, quests, jumps through time, and strong storylines about all things in general with a definite emphasis on romantic love. I love that. I love what I write—the super sexy beautiful part of life. To me, knowing people are reading it feels as if I am sharing a good recipe with a friend. And it would be wrong to keep it to myself!

You say in your bio you make all your male heroes 'confident with a good sense of themselves'. What other characteristics do they have in common? 

Hmmm, good question. Let me think about this for a second. What do most of my male characters have in common?

They all have flaws, openness (once their walls come down), and are innocent in some areas (may not know how to cook, or they blush at things). Yet, still with that innocence, they are witty, sharp, intelligent, and knowledgeable (great at their jobs or handling the worst kind of threat). My male characters tend to all be incredibly strong (reader understands by the end of the story where that strength was forged in a younger part of his life). In some of the books, not all, a few of my male leads may have a frosty exterior (reputation of aloofness) or come across like jerks to others, but due to her spunk (or something else that jars them out of their routines) they warm up to their female counterparts.

In addition, for the most part, they have a good sense of humor, are gentleman, and see the best in my female characters. A common thread each male character possesses is that they are in the process of evolving in one way or another, just like the female characters.

I like that idea...that the male characters are evolving too :-)

The idea of my writing is that the couple as a whole balance one another. It is a case where each uniquely answers or satisfies something that is missing that the other needed. It is kind of like they are the “perfect” or imperfect recipe, if you will, blending together to have, her the sugar or him the spice, that makes sense for each individual couple created within the books. For example he may be super serious and she is a free spirit, yet each brings that brilliant balance to each other. It may not make sense to everyone around them, but it is exactly what the couple is craving for their life to be happy.

Cover: Focused on Love by author Lexi Miles

Do you think romances often create an image of men that perhaps a real man can never live up to, or an expectation in women readers that men should be like this and, so, all other men fall short and they find it difficult to find this 'perfect' man?

I loved reading romance growing up, I love reading it now, and in the back of my mind, I always thought of the characters as real in some moment of time; accordingly, in my head they were all flawed or more realistic than what was written down in the pages(for concise and story flow purposes). Which is why your question of “perfection” caught me off guard. Let me explain, when I read (and now write) books it is not in terms of 'is the guy perfect?' I know they burp among other things that all people do, but I view it more like a snapshot of moments the author is writing. 

Snapshots are to highlight someone and not to show their flaws. Like when looking at a picture we all understand that the beautiful and deep layers (including the flaws) of a person are there, but we are capturing a moment of life. And now as I write, I try to think of the characters as stepping out of the pages—living and breathing—and I know the strengths as well as the flaws exist. (I do a whole character flesh out process and scenarios thing before I sit down to write. It is so that I really have a chance to get into the headspace of my characters, and so I know they aren’t perfect. I am giggling as I say it, they're far from it.) And I try, as much as possible, to pull back the curtain and share the flaws as well as the silliness (or any other true feature) of the person to give a true to life texture to the characters in the book, so that they don’t feel “perfect” but real, as if you are living their life as they are living it.

Having said that, to actually answer the question, can “real” men live up to the hot book guys?

On a real guy’s worst day, they are better than the guy that does everything right, so to speak. Flaws are hot, perfection, in that sense, is a snore. If I define perfection, to me it is the combination of a guy’s strengths and flaws. When men are striving to be the best version of themselves, no matter the bumps as they go, that is even hotter than that “perfect guy” held up in some books. I think “fictional perfection” cannot scratch the surface of how awesomely unique and ultra-hot fellows are in real life. They are like diamonds and each part of them good or bad is like the glimmering facets that highlight the diamond’s handsomeness and shine. In my opinion, men are pretty darn amazing and sexy and—despite how I try—I can’t come close to writing how incredible they are in truth within the pages of my book. But I still love trying to do it. (I am giggling here.)

Do imperfections make for perfection?

Now returning to the subject of the “perfect” man of the books, I think my most exciting characters are the ones that are “perfection in their way” not some idea of it. You know, they may have to have the last word type, but a great sense of humor that outweighs it. That is better than a “yes honey” guy any day. I am giggling here because I know some people who prefer those, but I am not that way. I think that a couple should have the freedom to be exactly who they are and be loved by their partner for it—celebrated even.

And, moving on to this, do I think women find it difficult to find this “perfect” guy in “real” life? Hopefully not. At least I think of it as an aim for this type of guy deal that “us” ladies look for. But to me, flaws are beautiful and as women we should prioritize what’s important to us (of the characteristics that make those book guys so appealing) while we are looking for our match. And I think if you do that, use it as rough guidelines to what you desire, you’ll find it. That perfect man, for you in real life (unpredictable, layered, sexy, and refreshing) will be even better than anything that you have read. At least that is what I have found.

Well, that's given me a lot to think about. Thanks Lexi. Can you let us in a little on your plans for the near and far future? Let us know where you'll be and when in the upcoming weeks and months? 

Yes, I’d love to.

Coming up, I have the seven romantic releases I mentioned earlier, to be released in the next couple of months. These are: Dangerous Listing, Too Much Trouble, Private Lessons, Convince Me, Mix Matched, Behind the Scenes, and Assisting Love.

Cover: Food Party by Chloe Quinn & Lexi Miles
I also have another project that I am excited about, because I love to cook! I am co-authoring a cookbook with romance author buddy, Chloe Quinn. The cookbook will be jam-packed with tasty recipes, cooking hacks, and something that sets the book apart from other cookbooks, it will include recipes that we mention in our books. It is our spin on 'dinner and a movie' which, in this case, is 'dinner and a novel'. Anytime I get a chance to work with Chloe on anything or to cook together, it's a blast for me, so I hope that you will pop out and grab a copy to share in the fun when it's released. Release date is a few weeks away, so I am really excited!

Chloe Quinn & Lexi Miles, authors of Food Party

More details are listed on the press page of my website that I will include at the conclusion of the interview. In the early part of November, I will be participating in a signing in Las Vegas. I will be running a promotion around this as it gets closer, so stay tuned for the details!

And finally, in the not so distant future, July 13-27, I will be doing a special two week promotion “Christmas in July” around my holiday books, where readers will get their first in depth look at Close Quarters Vol 2 of the Holiday Fever series as well as a few other surprises!

What to expect in the future are lots and lots of sexy and sweet romance books!

Then, in the further reaching future? What are your dreams for in a year or two?

Dreams, and my focus for a year or two, is to write scripts for TV and Movies. I am working on two right now. For one, think sweet Hallmark meets Pretty Woman and the other Criminal Minds meets Person of Interest. They are in the story-boarding process, and I am very excited about each of them! Also, I will be writing a couple books in a few other genres (That is code for 'I am dusting off my mystery and suspense skills'.)  I am a romance lover all the way, but I do like the pulse racing action too!

Something else I wanted to ask you, what is this Heat Zone people are talking about?

Well, I absolutely love and was raised on soap operas, so I decided to write a free weekly serial of that nature on my website, posting every Friday (when not on hiatus). It is my way of regularly engaging with readers in a fun way as they wait for the novels. Currently, the second season is winding down and I just opened up the ability to subscribe to it. There are a lot of enjoyable insider things, like character backstories, with the “Heat Zoners” who are the diehard readers of the soap. They are a fun bunch, you should hear some of our super silly chats, groans and feedback on the episodes! I am so happy this came up so that I can give them a quick hello!

Author: Lexi Miles *giggles*
(For those who can't see, Lexi is waving) You were saying to me earlier, you have a lot happening on your blog you're rather proud of?

Yes, as I mentioned, I host it on my website and post twice a week, sometimes more often.
On Thursdays, I post blogs about random things or a blog within a series. Lately I have been sharing writer tips consecutive in the series and posts of that nature. Past blogs have included personal advice that has helped me: exercise information, past events, and extra cool and refreshing subjects like that! So, like I said, it ranges.
On Sundays, I post a recap of the events of the week and what I call a power quote to empower or encourage the person reading it. Kind of like 'powering up' the person like (careful my gamer side is about to show) in the video game Mario Brothers. You know, give them a powerful boost of support at the top of their new week!
In addition to these posts, I often post birthday shout-outs once a month, reviews, and other special events like November’s NanoWrimo writing event. The blog can be subscribed to as well.

Before we go, I think you just wanted to say something about your newsletter?

Yes, I'm glad you asked, because I typically forget to mention it. I touch in once a week with the individuals that follow my newsletter. There are giveaways, recipe shares, FREE content, oh and book release information. That’s important to say too. There are a lot of special things that happen in the VIP readers and friends list, but it is secret handshake stuff so that’s all that I can say here—*giggles* Everyone is welcome! And it is a fun way to stay in touch! I know that you are a part of it, Annelisa. I hope that you don’t mind sharing, what is one thing that you enjoy about it?  

Lol Well, isn't that just typical of you, Lexi, to turn the interview round on me! I must admit, one of my favourites has been the inspirational quotes. They cheered me up and were nice to have in the mailbox. A great way to start the day :-) 

Thank you so much for answering all my questions.

Oh, I am so delighted and happy to answer your questions Annelisa. They were all fun, refreshing, and it was just nice to hang out with you like this.

Thank you. Likewise :-)  To finish off, let's let readers know, where can they find you?

Lexi Miles still giggling :-D
I am on social media. I love Twitter (@leximilesbooks) (daily chats, author writing events, randomness), but few know that I am also on 
Facebook (author info posts, blog links, smiley touch-ins), 
Pinterest(recipes, romantic quotes, giggles), and 
Instagram (covers, day in the life stuff, fitness). I mix it up for each of the social media websites to keep it fun so that all of the information is fresh! I’d love to see everyone there too!
Press Page:

And, what was it you were saying about reviews? You don't want any? <wink>

Are you kidding? I love reviews! It’s so fun, refreshing, and reenergizing (especially while doing intricate or tedious edits on another project) to hear the feedback from someone after they've taken that book journey with you on something you have written. So yes, whenever you can please drop a review on AmazonTwitter GoodreadsFacebook , or any social media. I appreciate those! And please do me a favor and let me know about it so that I can share them!

Ha ha... nearly had you there. Thanks again for stopping by, Lexi. It's been a pleasure.

Thank you again for having me pop in to do this Annelisa!

Another of Lexi's Favourite places: Santa Cruz

Bonus: extra places you can find out more about Lexi:

Lexi Miles Author Bio

Interview at Silver Beans Cafe

Confessions of a Writer Tag

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Announcing Winners of the 3-Book Giveaway!

Thank you so much for everyone who took part in the Giveaway!

Yesterday, the Giveaway ended, and three random winners were picked to receive a signed copy of The Popish Midwife. And they might even receive it before everyone else, because I get to have advance copies! :-D

The Popish Midwife winners announced

The three lucky winners of the signed book, in the order they were drawn, are:

(1) Jennifer Stone (@JenStone4485 ) from the UK

Winner of The Popish Midwife: Jennifer Stone
(image: Twitter)

(2) April Parker (@AprilDParker ) from the United States

Winner of The Popish Midwife: April Parker
(Image: Twitter)

(3) Heather Wardell (@HeatherWardell) from Canada

Winner of The Popish Midwife: Heather Wardell
(image: Twitter)

Thank you to everyone who entered. If you didn't win this time, keep an eye on my Twitter page for other ways to win or get your copy in the future, or sign up to my mailing list (no spam, only good stuff - latest is my never-before transcribed poem written by Elizabeth Cellier, who was the Popish Midwife)

Monday, 20 June 2016

Interview - Shellie Blum (Author)

Today, the book description of my guest, Shellie Blum, is a spot-on introduction to her and her life:

Shellie Blum
Escaping instantaneous death and paralysis from a hangman's broken neck, and shattered right jaw endured in a horrific watersking accident is only part of this unbelievable story. Follow Shellie on her journey from the Ozarks to Egypt and even the back alleys of Hollywood streets as she perseveres through more than her share of grueling set backs. You don't have to be a waterskier to enjoy this inspiring true story told by the first female freestyle waterski ramp jumper in the World!

Hi Shellie and welcome to Script Alchemy. I'm honoured to interview you today and highlight your memoir Waterski Girl Wonder. I'd like to look behind the behind the book, behind the horrible accident, and find out a bit more about you.

On the Channel 7 interview back in the 1980s, before your accident, we get to see your skill on waterskis - not only were you fantastic and daring, but you look like you were really enjoying it. Are you able to ski now? Do you do any water sports at all, or are you unable?

Shellie Blum interviewed for Channel 7 1980s
(image: YouTube)

Thank you Annelisa, that’s the thing about professional show water skiing. It’s our job to make it look easy and fun. After all, we are performing. It’s a skill to be working so hard, but be able to smile and enjoy yourself. It’s an underrated sport for the athleticism it takes to do what we do, the audience is busy just watching and enjoying it. In competition water skiing no one cares or notices if you’re smiling. Performance show skiers are expected to ski anywhere, any time, in any kind of conditions, sometimes doing 4 to 5 shows a day. It takes a lot more stamina and athleticism than they get credit for, which leads me to the second half of your question.

I could ski, but don’t! I wouldn’t know how to hold back. I have never held back and, unless I can do “my thing”, it really wouldn’t be enjoyable for me. For all of my water skiing days, I was performing. I was pushing the limits. I don’t think I could ever hold back and, having been told that if I took any high velocity falls I would be endangering my life, I just can't take the chance. I do enjoy the water though. We have a Sea Doo and I play around on it. I get my water fix through the speed, sights and smells while riding my personal watercraft.

Shellie Blum on her Sea Doo

That's a shame you can't water-ski now, but I'm glad you found a fun way to carry on enjoying the water (I'd love to try that - it looks so cool!). Apart from this, what other pastimes do you most enjoy now?

I spend a lot of my time on Social Media. Is that considered a pastime? I guess not really, but most of my day is spent communicating with my newfound family (friends) that I’ve made online. I’m also trying to get exposure for my memoir. I try to find a not so annoying way of connecting with people but at the same time self-promote my book project. It’s amazing the advice I get from fellow writers and even laypersons. Some of the advice is good and inspiring, some of it, not so much. In the beginning, my feelings would get hurt, when someone would say, “You know, I wouldn’t… (do this or that)'. Now, I just shrug it off and chalk it up to, “You can’t please everyone.”

Shellie meets King Hussein
(image: Shellie's Twitter)

Thinking about other ways the accident affects you, I understand from your LinkedIn page that, even now, you still suffer pain from your accident? How harsh is that pain? Do you feel that that reminder is a good or a bad thing? I mean, do you ever feel the pain, curse it, then remember where it's taken you today?

I deal with chronic pain yes but, compared to other people and what they have to go through, I try not to complain too much about it. I am blessed to be able to deal with it, and hope that maybe I can inspire others. I mean, you hear so much about people becoming addicted to pain pills. Not to sound too braggadocios about it, but I’m proud of how I’ve been able to deal with my chronic pain.

Shellie Blum x-ray after neck surgery
(image:Waterski Girl Wonder)

Do you feel that you developed the determination that had you trying over and over until you achieved your 'forward moving back flip', and was it that learnt determination that helped you work so hard at recovery after your accident? Or, did you always have determination to do what you planned to do, whether it was a really nifty ski move or whether it was to recover and live a normal life again?

This is one of those “chicken and the egg” questions, or even, “nature versus nurture” questions. Did I learn determination or can some of those traits be inherited? Perhaps a little of both, everyone grows up with their certain set of experiences. And everyone is endowed with a certain set of genes. I do think, though, that a person’s strength of will can ultimately be the determining factor towards success or failure. And even more importantly is that the labels of success and failure are determined by a person’s own perception of reality. What one person considers failure might be another person’s success. (a nifty ski move learned or living a ‘normal life’) I’ve always gone with the idea that if I never give up, within my physical and mental limits, no one can say that I’m not successful.

Shellie Blum practicing the Back Flip (the Gainer)
 that eventually caused her accident
(image: Waterski Girl Wonder)

That's very inspirational, Shellie. But not everybody is so positive. In Susanne Jenkin's interview Waterski Girl Wonder – Shellie Blum you say you are disappointed how some people close to you haven't been as supportive as you'd hope them to be. Who has been supportive, and would you most like to thank?

Well, to be honest, I’ve grown past expecting support from people that I thought would be more supportive. This whole process of self-publishing has been an uphill battle. My expectations were likely too high, especially in the beginning. I’ll admit I’ve been somewhat Pollyannaish about the whole process. And I’m glad that I have been. It’s been a protective shield that I think I’ve had all my life. To not see the negative in others, to always be expecting the best and most positive sides of people. I don’t even realize to this day when someone is put off by my enthusiasm for my memoir. I find myself naturally gravitating to the positive people. And in return, I think they have been gravitating towards me. They know who they are, and they know I am grateful for their support.

Bob Forgiana - one of Shellie's best buddies after the accident
(image: Waterski Girl Wonder)

What would you like to be the main message people take away from reading your book?

Keep on keeping on…

Waterski Girl Wonder (book cover)

I have to ask, now you've written a book, and your readers are giving it a big thumbs up (I've seen the reviews on Amazon!), you say in your interview on that you'd like to make the film of your memoir next. Do you have plans to write another book? Perhaps another non-fiction stemming from this one or, perhaps, an inspirational novel?

I think I might have another book in me, but I’m really busy with trying to self-promote this first one. The ultimate success for it would be a movie. Wouldn’t that be awesome? A true story action adventure movie with a female lead that never gives up, I’d pay to see that movie! And see… some people will read that and think, “Who does she thinks she is?” And other people will read that and say, “That’s Shellie, she’s Waterski Girl Wonder.” And I’ll just leave it with, “Hey, a girl’s gotta’ dream!”

Shellie Blum reading
(image: Pierre Ducharme, The Ledger)

Where else can we find you?

I am trying to line up being part of a couple of book fairs. If I can make that happen I will post about it on social media. Plus, I’m trying to convince a couple of brick and mortar bookstores to add my book to their inventory. We will see how that goes.

Other places to connect
Website: Waterski Girl Wonder
Goodreads: Shellie Blum
On LinkedIn
On Twitter: @shellieblum
On Facebook
On Amazon: Author Page  Book: Waterski Girl Wonder
On Google Plus

Read more about Shellie (then buy the book! ;-) )
Waterski MagazineWaterski Girl Wonder, Shellie Blum's Memoir
The Right Perspective: Introducing Author Shellie Blum (An Author Spotlight)
Susanne Jenkin: Waterski Girl Wonder – Shellie Blum
The Ledger:  Shellie Blum's memoir details life of stuntwoman on skiis
Curves Welcome: Interview with Author Shellie Blum
Just Fooling Around With Bee or The Bee Writes: The Bee Talks with Shellie Blum
Betrayal of TrustAuthor’s Corner: An Interview with Shellie Blum

Friday, 17 June 2016

Interview - Madeleine D'Este (Author)

Today, I have the gorgeous Australian author, Madeleine D'Este, for an interview about her book launch of Evangeline and the Alchemist, a novella with a steampunk twist set in 1880s Melbourne.

Madeleine D'Este (Author)

First of all, Madeleine, before we talk about your book, it would be lovely to know a little about yourself. 
I see from your website bio that you list your interests as 'podcasts, knitting, forteana, indie films, kettle bells and long blacks', so let's hear a little about these pastimes. What kind of podcasts do you enjoy?
I do a lot of walking (to counteract the vast amounts of sitting), so I love my podcasts. At the moment, I like writing podcasts e.g. The Creative Penn or So You Want to be a Writer or Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast. I also like other non-fiction podcasts on personal development/entrepreneurship, films, health/wellbeing and forteana.

I understand 'forteana' is to do with Charles Fort (I remember the Fortean Times when I was younger) - what most interests you about this man, and how does it affect your writing?
Not Charles Fort so much but his legacy. I’ve been interested in the “unknown” for as long as I can remember, from aliens, ghosts, folklore and the unexplained.

And now, I'm dying to ask, what are 'kettle bells and long blacks' :-D ?
Kettle bells are cast iron weights with handles, originally Russian – fabulous for strength training workouts.
A long black is a black coffee in Australia, like an Americano but stronger. We take our coffee quite seriously in Melbourne.

Let's move to your writing career, and a little about you as an author. What was the first thing you ever wrote, that set you off on your writing path?
I might need to check with my mum about this one. I have been dabbling with writing for years and years, with countless unfinished novels in the drawer. I’ve also tried multiple genres, at one time I was trying crime, then urban fantasy but it didn’t seem right.
I was doing some soul-searching and realised that writing a novel was my number one goal in life, so I decided to get serious and have a proper crack at this writing thing.

I understand you have several other projects than your current release on the go at the moment (I'm sure you're dying to talk about your latest...patience, we'll get there in a minute ;-) ). What are they, and how have you managed to write them?

I’m currently querying with a dystopian female-led novel, Return to the Monolith which I wrote with the assistance of an editorial consultant. This is part of a trilogy. I also have seven other episodes of Evangeline in the works.

So, now we know a little about you, how about you tell me something about your book, Evangeline and the Alchemist?

Evangeline and the Alchemist (cover)
by Madeleine D'Este

In 1882, "Marvellous" Melbourne was flush with gold-rush cash and the British Empire’s second biggest city. Evangeline, a seventeen year old reformed urchin and acrobat, is settling into a new comfortable life in Melbourne with her long lost father, Professor Caldicott. But, learning to be a lady is awfully dull. Then, one day, the police arrive, seeking the Professor’s expertise in catching an Alchemist. Is this a chance for Evangeline to test out her new invention and save the day? With regular breaks for tea and cream buns, of course.
Cream cakes and inventions, fake gold and kung-fu, Evangeline and the Alchemist is a fun short read, perfect for a flight, commute or lazy afternoon.

That does sound fun. Have you any plans to write more about Evangeline?
Evangeline and the Alchemist is the first in a series of novellas of mystery and mayhem set in steampunk Melbourne. Other upcoming episodes in The Antics of Evangeline include Evangeline and the Bunyip – where Evangeline faces a mythical Aboriginal monster. I’m planning eight episodes in total.

Why Melbourne, and what was it that attracted you to setting the story in 1880s?
Steampunk stories are generally set in London but I was inspired by the history I see around me every day. In Victorian times, Melbourne was a major city, hosting the 8th World Fair in 1880. Even today, the streets of inner city Melbourne are filled with grand sandstone buildings and houses from this era.

I wanted to explore Victorian sensibilities in the Colonies, the clash of classes and cultures in the new world and the ridiculousness of wearing full coverage dresses with bustles in 40’C summers. All with a dash of science fiction fun.

What is steampunk?
Steampunk is a science-fiction genre based in the Victorian era but with anachronistic technology, generally steam-powered.

Steampunk creates an alternate world where Victorian innovations are taken to new heights and fun inventions are inserted alongside the Victorian clichés of parasols, whiskers and London pea-soup fogs.

Cool, so now we know a little about it, where can we find Evangeline and the Alchemist?
It's now available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to join us, Madeleine. 

Read more about Evangeline and the Alchemist, including an excerpt 

Madeleine D'Este

Other places you can find Madeleine are:

Website: Madeleine D'Este
Twitter: @madeleine_deste

Goodreads: Madeleine D'Este

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Interview - Lily Amis (Author)

I've known Lily Amis for some time on Twitter, but only recently found out some of her harrowing and lonely background. Having had my children make a local collection for refugees in Calais, I am already cued into some of the awfulness of life in a refugee camp, but only from the outside. Imagine that it's you who escaped from a place where you might be injured or die, or at the very least live in fear of this happening every day, only to spend years in a life worse than poverty, worse than the bombings, because the country you've escaped to won't let you in, won't allow you your own life. Lily tells her first-hand account of escaping a middle eastern country at war, to raise awareness for people still suffering as she and her mother suffered.


Hello, Lily. Welcome to Script Alchemy, and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions about your life and your books. I have so many questions, but I'll try to narrow them down to the most relevant, to give folk a taste of  what they can read in your latest book, DestinationFreedom. Please tell us a little of what it was like to live in a war zone, so bad your mother, Sima, made the decision to get you out of there and escape with you, at the age of ten, from war-torn Iran to the safe haven of Switzerland. How did it compare to what you knew before the war, in your younger days?

Lily Amis (right) with mother, Sima

First of all thank you so much for doing this Interview with me Annelisa. I really appreciate your interest in me and my story.

Living in a war zone from one day to another is one of the most horrifying experiences in Life, whether you’re an adult or a kid. As a kid you don’t really understand what’s going on because not even the adults know how to deal with this life-changing situation. I still remember and feel the uncertainty, insecurity and fear of death. Your daily life and the behaviour of the adults changes drastically. All of a sudden, people that gave you comfort and security are helpless too. Every moment can be the last, and you are totally conscious of that when you clearly  hear the bombings day and night. People always assume that war only happens in other countries. The truth is, our world is, was and sadly will always be a bad place. Why? Because of the stupidity of some “powerful” people who are ruling/destroying our world for nothing but greed for more power and wealth. These people forget that none of us will live forever!

Despite a horrible emotional-setback by my father, who left us when I was just five years old, I had a lovely childhood. I grew up in a home and neighbourhood filled with love and harmony. My mother’s parents were amazing and my mom, Sima, is the most loving, selfless and sacrificing human I have ever met. My family treated me like a little princess. I enjoyed school and loved my teachers and my schoolmates. I was a happy girl. Leaving everyone and everything you love behind, just to survive, is an emotional sacrifice that anyone who is trapped in the same situation would do. We all wish a fearless and safe life. And that’s our human right, regardless of where we come from.

Cover of Destination Freedom by Lily Amis
Last year, you had some national exposure in the Daily Mirror newspaper, and Frost Magazine, but, I feel, not enough, considering your ambition to raise awareness for those that suffer in the way you suffered every day.
I can only imagine, it must have been truly awful for your mother to want to take you from it. But, what surprises me more, is what you say, that you think it "...would have been better to be killed by a bomb in our own home rather than to go through a permanent fight for acceptance in a foreign country and being treated like dirt and robbed of all our dignity." That puts into perspective how bad your life as a refugee was... it's hard to imagine. Can you give an idea how, for a child, this new situation was so much worse than the old?

Well your feeling is absolutely right Annelisa. I really didn’t get enough attention by the British media for my goal, which is as you correctly say, bringing awareness to a delicate topic and avoiding all the negativity and prejudice that refugees face.

What many people don’t know about my book Destination: Freedom is that I first published the book in 2005. In September 2014, I republished it after re-writing and polishing the first version. And, when I decided to promote my memoir in England, Germany, Austria and Swiss (because the book is also available in German) last year in June 2015, I could not have predicted that the refugee crises would become a global issue.

To my surprise, even though my timing was perfect with an honest and eye-opening first-hand story, it was difficult to find a publicist to support me. Agencies in Germany and Switzerland told me I wouldn’t have any chance with my topic, because the journalists aren’t really keen on the refugee topic. As said, that was in June and look what happened ironically just a few weeks later. However, despite the support of a professional Book Agency in London and the perfect timing for my story, only three titles (The Mirror, Frost Magazine and Female First) of a hundred British national titles, supported me as an Indie-Author. The Guardian considered a story, but then didn’t published anything as hoped. But that’s fine.

As one of my inspiring Interview partners, the American Fiction Author, Bibiana Krall, quoted recently: “My spirit animal is the turtle. Dedication and patience wins the race.” I love her attitude and I also think that good things take time. The journey itself is what makes us who we are and not, the final destination. I also believe that I wouldn’t have become a blogger, if I didn’t feel unsupported by the media. Now I’m actually glad to speak out and reach people with my blog. And because of this lack of support and interest I have decided to support other creative people like myself. I feel it is my duty to help others on their journey. Selfless support is what Life is about and I love to help, because no ONE, except my mother, has ever supported me in my life.

Lily Amis and her mother, Sima,
work together at NasSima Designs

Now, to your next question regarding my brutal but honest quote. Honestly, without any exaggeration, my experience and fear of death during the daily bombings in my hometown were NOTHING comparing to what we faced later as refugees in Switzerland for over two decades! Rejection, humiliation, discrimination and a life in constant fear of existence were like a lifelong punishment - from the minute we entered the country as war-refugees until today, where we are (FINALLY) Swiss Citizens -That’s what I felt as a child and still do as an adult. A life without human rights, freedom and dignity is worth nothing!

Sadly, the news is full of how refugees are trying to escape from areas of upheaval and conflict and, after making sometimes dangerous journeys, they end up in refugee 'camps' like the one in Calais. Escaping the war zone is obviously only the start of a new set of problems. What was the worst thing you remember about the journey out of Iran, and settling into a new country?

Thank you for this question. There is something that bothers me ever since the daily mirror article about Calais was online. Someone has made an anonymous comment. I quote: “This is a very dishonest article. Here is a very attractive young lady who looks like a native of Europe. The millions who want to get here (and alas are succeeding) look nothing like this.”
Only a shallow and clueless man makes a thoughtless comment like this. I would love to ask this person: How would you look like if you had spent days without proper sleep and food? How would you look like if you had to fear for your life and leave everything and everyone that matters to you behind for a dangerous journey and an uncertain future?  These desperate people didn’t look like this, when they lived safe in their country. Nothing about this article was dishonest.

My journey from leaving my hometown and settling in Europe was, for sure, not as horrifying as the refugee’s fate now. We flew over 46 hours in less than a week and it was dramatic because of other reasons. (Don’t want to go into detail. It’s all written in Destination: Freedom) But, as you correctly say, the escape is only the start of a new set of problems. The journey is only the beginning of a lifelong misery. We see the images of the refugee’s journey these days, thanks to the media coverage, which is heart-breaking. But the actual tragedy begins from day one when they officially register as refugees in their new country.

Many refugees that entered Germany in 2015 full of false hopes decided to go back after just a few weeks of uncertainty in the refugee camps. I applaud them for this step. They may think that destiny was not on their side. But sometimes it is actually a blessing not to get what we wish. The children of these families will have a better future in their own homeland than having a future in a European country without any rights and dignity.

For me personally the worst thing was leaving behind my grandparents and my lovely home and personal belongings. That was an emotional disaster. I adored my grandparents and spent hours with my grandfather; who was also a father figure. I missed them like crazy. The first months without their love and care were horrible. It was also extremely challenging to spend months in a refugee house (in a room of 15 m) with complete strangers; families that I didn’t know. My happy world fell apart. Everything and everyone I knew was gone. My childhood was over and I had to grow up fast in a country, where I felt unwelcomed and rejected from minute one.  

Another setback was my Education. I was a very good student back in my hometown. I loved school and subjects like history, geography and biology. But, once in Switzerland, I first had to do a one-year preparation school for foreign kids. As a kid (at the age of five) I had already spent kindergarten in Germany because of a medical treatment I had back then. So in the back of my mind I understood the German language already. After the first year was over and I joined a Swiss Public School and I was shocked about the low level of education. When I showed my books from my hometown to my teacher he was very surprised. He couldn’t believe how further the level of schooling was in my own country. A higher education (also for women) was, and is still, extremely important in our culture. So, school wise, I was very unsatisfied and displaced. Unfortunately in the following years and during the most important time of Education I had to deal with a racist teacher, who made my life also a living hell. So, all in all, it was just a nightmare. I had lost everything that I loved: My home, my grandparents, my school, my lovely teachers and my schoolmates.

Everything I know today is from self-studying. I didn’t learn much in the oh so popular Swiss Schools. For example I learned English from watching cheesy American Soap Operas and not in School. God bless the Bold & Beautiful production and the Forrester Family! J

I see, from your website NasSima Design and YouTube channel of the same name, that you continue to be very close to your mother. You obviously have great respect for her. If you don't mind, I wonder if you would tell us something about this woman, brave enough to save you from a life of fear and bombs and travel to a strange country to start a new life? (Please be as expansive as you like. She is obviously as special woman.)
A young Lily Amis (left) with mother Sima

My mom is my BFF and the most loving, caring, understanding, independent and gifted woman I know. Without her strength, optimism and belief, we two wouldn’t have made it. Life was not easy on both of us. We had to overcome many obstacles and disappointments.  If anyone else would have experienced what my mom had as a single-mother, they wouldn’t have survived life.

As I said, I was raised like a princess and the new start in Switzerland was my emotional suicide. My childhood was immediately over.  But, I think, for my mom, the whole experience of becoming a refugee was much harder. Sima had lived in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy for many years during her twenties. She even lived in United Kingdom for six years and got married in London (Hampstead Heath). My mom lived in Surrey where her husband was studying Electric Engineering at the University of Surrey. In fact I have a half-brother, who’s a British and Canadian citizen. He was born in London (Surrey). Unfortunately, the marriage with my half-brother's father didn’t last and my mom returned to Tehran, where she met my father. My half-brother was very lucky; because of Education he stayed in London and moved later to Canada for University. Today he lives happily with his Canadian wife and my gorgeous niece in Toronto. He was lucky that he didn’t have to experience war.  

So, my mom was always used to live a free life in Europe. She sometimes even flew just for shopping with empty suitcases from Tehran to London.  But, when we left our country, because of war, and ended up in Switzerland (which was NEVER our destination) it was another story. After the revolution, and during the war, we were suddenly not welcome anymore. Sima already spoke fluent German and English and knew the culture and mentality very well. But the refugee law and bureaucracy didn’t care and treated us like sheet. My mom had to fight for us for years and I applaud her for her strong personality. Luck was never on our side. So Life made us stick stronger together. We have supported each other through so many emotional challenges in Life. Horrible men, terrible jobs, loneliness, social isolation, health issues, fear of existence etc. We are more than just mother and daughter. We are best friends, who could never rely on anyone else than on each other. No one has supported me like my mom. She is my rock! She is my everything. We complete each other and are also a great duo creative-wise. As naSima design we have worked on several projects and continue to do so. In fact right now we are working on a book (Title: The colours of Love) in which we document her incredible work as designer and her message for tolerance, hope, believe and faith.

She sounds like an amazing and inspirational woman, Lily. I have a lot of respect for people who 'do what they gotta do' with determination and bravery. You say no one beside your mom ever supported you. I can't help but feel sad about that. Nobody at all helped you, in all that time? Did you ever ask for help?

Oh, trust me, I did. But, even to this date, I feel that it doesn’t really matter what you say or to whom you talk to. People are too busy with their own life and no one really listens to what you have to say. Everybody is somehow trying to manage Life which is understandable. I learned from very young age on that you can’t and shouldn’t rely on anyone beside yourself.

Having said that, I have to mention one person beside my mom, who actually did try to help and heard my voice, my cry for help, so to say. It was in 2005, when I published the first version of Destination: Freedom. I sent a copy to many “powerful” people around the world to bring awareness about our hopeless struggle as refugees. I received encouraging answers but the only person who really cared and acted was Queen Elizabeth.

Our Queen? This I have to hear! Please tell more :-)

I wrote a very personal letter to Buckingham Palace and told her how my mom and I feel isolated, unaccepted, displaced and imprisoned (with our permission we were not allowed to travel outside of Switzerland for fifteen years).

The Queen passed my inquiry to Mister Jack Straw (the Foreign Minister) and informed me about it. And, when I didn’t receive any answer from Mister Straw’s office after months, I contacted the Queen again. It took a while, and then the British Embassy in Geneva contacted me and tried to find a way for us to move to United Kingdom, because of my mom’s history in UK and my British half-brother.  As you can imagine this experience was amazing. I was so full of hope. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, because my half-brother now lives in Canada. But it was a gesture of understanding and support that not many people have shown until this date. Queen was amazing. The world needs more caring people like her. God bless her.

What a lovely story. For us, the ones who were lucky enough to be born in a country without war, we see bureaucracy as an annoyance, an inconvenience, yet you say it was bureaucracy that made your life Hell. What changes would you like governments to make to reduce the misery and isolation refugees and their families are forced to endure?

Dealing with bureaucracy is a nightmare. I wish the governments would stop treating refugees like numbers of annoying folders on their desk. Behind every number is a destiny. And, for the love of God, Life is too short and precious to make it miserable for others. I want the governments to stop toying with people’s destiny. They didn’t choose to become refugees. None of them created war. They are only helpless and innocent victims of the stupidity of people in power. So instead of toying, support them and at the end everyone benefits. Include them instead of isolate them. Refugees are not a disease; they are human beings with the same desires as everyone else. Give them a life; give them the chance to build an independent life in dignity.

So, that's what the people 'in power' can do. What about ordinary people? It seems you weren't only isolated by the government's actions, but by those of the communities you moved within? How could they (we) have behaved differently to help you become an accepted part of them?

RESPECT, ACCEPTANCE, TOLERANCE and KINDNESS. That’s what I wish from people. That alone would help. Treat ALL people the way you want to be treated, when you are helpless and hopeless and desperate for understanding and emotional support. Easy as that!

All of us are going to die. Nobody stays forever. We all are nothing but guests on planet Earth. And the only thing that lasts is our actions of Love and kindness. Not what we have achieved (money, success, fame etc.) If you want to be remembered, leave a legacy of Love and kindness and not hate and betrayal. This year, almost every month, the world is losing a legend. And, once they are gone, it is totally unimportant what they have done professionally. All that we will remember is the emotions and feelings they created. The best example is THE Greatest Muhammad Ali. May he rest in peace and may people take an example of his exceptional personality and goals in Life. He used his voice for others until his last breath, despite his illness. It is not hard to be kind and selfless.

In Frost Magazine, you said you still feel like an outsider as an adult today. What makes you continue to feel this way, and what could authorities do to better integrate refugees and make them feel less as an outsider even after years of living in their country? Also, what can everyday folk do to help refugees and raise awareness of their plight?

Yes, I do feel as an outsider. Despite my Swiss citizenship, I still have to fight for acceptance. Regardless of what I do; in the eyes of Swiss people I’m not good enough. I still have to explain myself and apologize for my destiny as a refugee and as a foreigner in this country. That’s why I say: “Once a refugee, always a refugee. Once a foreigner, always a foreigner. “

The authorities and the folk should stop treating refugees/foreigners like criminals. They should stop punishing people like prisoners.  Discriminating people because of their look, race, nationality, skin colour, religion etc. is an emotional crime.

I was somewhat disappointed that the two images that represented what you felt as a refugee weren't in the online interview. Is it possible to share them here?

I love to share my work. Thank you for asking. Both drawings were done twenty years ago in 1996. The original size is 50X70 cm. One is expressing that my only hope to ever feel and find Freedom is death! And the other one is expressing how I felt as a Refugee in Switzerland. They both hang to this date in our living room.
Art by Lily Amis 1996

Art by Lily Amis 1996

Thank you for sharing your drawings, Lily. They are very special, but also, I think, a little disturbing, a reflection on the turmoil you've gone through, I suspect. I understand you're writing another two books about your experiences. Please tell us something more about them.

That’s right. Destination: Freedom is the first part of my trilogy. The follow-up story Definition of Freedom, which I published last year, is about the following years and the misery we went through, because of more bureaucracy and discrimination.

My mom and I lived in fear of deportation for the following years. We had to fight for acceptance and pure survival for almost two decades. So I missed out on Life. I really did. I feel as my whole childhood, teenager hood and adult hood was stolen only in order to be allowed to stay in Switzerland.  I was so busy with the bureaucracy nonsense that I have neglected the really essential and valuable things in life. When the government tells you to your face, after a decade, to either marry or leave the country, and you marry the wrong guy for the wrong reasons, your whole future is screwed.

Recently, someone who works in a government office told me something that is sad but true. She said we call the generation that experience war and becomes a refugee “The lost generation”. I am one of those lost generations. The fundament for a normal life was stolen once I became a refugee, and the result was predictable. After more than two decades of constant fight for acceptance and integration, I ended up having anxiety and depression. I never experienced true love, a caring and supportive partner, family, children or at least a career. This year I’m celebrating my round birthday and all I’m left with are my books.

Cover of 'Definition of Freedom
So, I tell myself, all this mess must be good for something. Maybe sharing my story is my duty to bring awareness about delicate topics such as Refugees' fate, discrimination, depression, bullying: false and thoughtless people, who poison your soul with lies, cheats and betrayal to achieve their own goals at your cost.

Definition of Love” is going to be the last part of my trilogy. But I must admit that I’m struggling writing it because of recent events in my life that I’m still trying hard to adjust too.

So I put the script aside and in the last couple of months I was working on the second part of my children’s book – series.Bon Voyage - Monsieur Jac & Lily travel to Europe” is going to be available in August 2016. Lily and Monsieur Jac will discover the beauty of the European cities and even have an afternoon Tea with her majesty, Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace on her ninetieth birthday. They also do a sightseeing tour throughout London with Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Cover of 'Angel of Hope & Lily'
featuring Monsieur Jac Couture

Cover of 'Bon Voyage: Monsieur Jac & Lily
travel to Europe'

Another exciting project I’m working on right now is my first Fiction book “America’s Royal Family”. I’m doing colourful Illustrations these days. Publishing this book with a provocative cover is kind of a trial for my long-term work as an Indie-Author. The story is reflecting the stupidity of our superficial society and I wouldn’t be surprised if I get more attention and readers with this book than with Destination: Freedom and Definition of Freedom. A funny and sweet story that turns out to be not as superficial and stupid as expected.

Do you have any plans to go back to your home country to live?

No. Never! Home country is where your house is and where you feel loved. A place where you are surrounded by your family. Unfortunately my beloved grandparents have both passed away. The other one live across the globe. Unfortunately war not only separates families physically but in away also emotionally. Also after living outside of my birth country for over three decades I feel more as a foreigner than home when I go back there for visit. But I also don’t feel at home in Switzerland. Never did, never will. So I don’t really know what home country means or feels like. I lost it when I was ten. And to be honest I have given up on the idea and desire of ever finding it again. 

I'm so sorry that you're life has been so hard since you left Tehran, Lily. And that you haven't felt accepted and welcomed is truly a sad state of affairs. But, I have to ask you, have you had any periods of happiness amongst all that unhappiness? Has it all been bad?

Yes, thank God we had moments of happiness. The first time we really felt Happy was when we felt FREE after fifteen years of being imprisoned in Switzerland and were finally allowed to return back to our home country. In the following years my mom and I travelled allot and each holiday was periods of happiness. It’s all written in my book “Definition of Freedom”. The highlights of all were our stays in America. We fell in Love with New York. In Europe London is the city where we feel home. Actually as soon as we leave Switzerland where we (still) feel unappreciated and unaccepted we are happy.

It’s ironic how people treat you differently outside of your new country just based on your passport. Showing the Swiss passport is like having an Academic title from Oxford or Cambridge University. I remember once we were in London visiting a castle where they asked us where we come from and when I said Swiss and we entered the Castle my mom and I were officially introduced as “The Queen and Princess of Switzerland”. That was hilarious! :-) Beside traveling music, Live concerts and Musicals are an injection of happiness for us.

Thank you for all your open and heartfelt answers, Lily. I'm sure others will find it as interesting and moving topic as I do, and I hope that you find peace with it all one day. Finally, where can people find you? 

Buy the book: DestinationFreedom
Twitter: @nassimadesign
Instagram: @nassimadesign
Youtube: sndesign2011