#BookReview of A Perfect Square by @IBlackthorn

A perfect square book coverA Perfect Square

by Isobel Blackthorne

Fiction: Literary Fiction/Metaphysical & Visionary. 242 Pages (KINDLE). Odyssey Books (August 27, 2016)

4_stars_gold

Author Biography

A Londoner originally, Isobel Blackthorn currently resides in Melbourne, Australia. She received her BA in Social Studies from the Open University, and has a PhD in Western Esotericism. She has worked as a high school teacher, market trader and PA to a literary agent. Her writing has appeared in Backhand Stories, The Mused Literary Review, On Line Opinion and Paranoia Magazine online. She is the author of the novels, Asylum, A Perfect Square and The Drago Tree, and the short story collection, All Because of You.

Book Description

When pianist Ginny Smith moves back to her mother’s house in Sassafras after her breakup with the degenerate Garth, synaesthetic and eccentric artist Harriet Brassington-Smythe is beside herself and contrives a creative collaboration to lift her daughter’s spirits: an exhibition of paintings and songs. Ginny reluctantly agrees.

Mother and daughter struggle to agree on the elements of the collaborative effort, and as Ginny tries to prise the truth of her father’s disappearance from a tight-lipped Harriet, both are launched into their own inner worlds of dreams, speculations and remembering.

Meanwhile, another mother and artist, Judith, alone in a house on the moors, reflects on her own troubled past and that of her wayward daughter, Madeleine.

Set amid the fern glades and towering forests of the Dandenong ranges east of Melbourne, and on England’s Devon moors, A Perfect Square is a work of remarkable depth and insight.

 

Book Review

A Perfect Square combines two mother-daughter stories into one book. Are their similarities? Yes, but not as many as you might think. Both mothers are artists and accustomed to living alone when the daughters decide it’s time to move back home due to the ending of relationships. There ends the similarities.

My favorite storyline was that of mother Judith and the young somewhat rebellious daughter Madeleine. The Judith/Madeleine story flowed well in the alternating structure the author chose. One chapter you have Judith and Madeleine, the next is Ginny and talented pianist daughter Harriet.

The two stories are linked by a mystery that is revealed in the final chapters. It was a surprise to me, although I think I should have realized if I had only known to look for it. The Ginny/Harriet story is obviously well researched from the various subjects discussed and how the author weaves them together to unite mother and daughter.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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Q&A with @NatachaGuyot #Author and much more.

Variety, versatility, vigor, all words to describe the vibes I felt as I went through this interview with my guest today. Also the words of “how did I get this interview” kept coming to mind. As I researched and found words in my guests educational background such as Sorbonne and King’s College, I quickly discovered I was speaking with someone who wasn’t just the average science fiction fan. It’s rare that one comes across someone that can flip a coin and appeal to the intellectual or the fan boy. But you get to meet such an author today. Meet . . .

Author

Researcher

Illustrator

Public Speaker

Fangirl

Natacha Guyot

natacha_guyot_author.jpg 

 

Note: With such a versatile woman in writings interests the interview will be divided up to reflect those interests so as to focus on one at a time.

 

RW: With Sorbonne in your educational background I am thinking you are possibly not from my part of the Southern United States although I suppose it is possible but unlikely.

NATACHA: I am French. I was born in Paris, spent most of my life in Versailles and the Paris area. I moved for a year to London, United Kingdom, when studying for my second Master’s at King’s College. Since 2011, I’ve lived in Brittany, near Rennes. I am currently looking for a job in either the USA or the UK.

RW: I didn’t think you were going to say Paris, Texas. I always like to ask an Author who their favorite authors are to see what perhaps shapes their creativity, so who are yours?

NATACHA: My favorite fiction authors include Timothy Zahn, Joan D. Vinge, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, Vonda McIntyre and J. K. Rowling. My two favorite non fiction authors are Joseph Campbell and Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

RW: What brought you to the world of words?

NATACHA: I always loved telling stories as far as my memory goes, even before I learned how to read and write. I started writing stories when I was in elementary school, and moved to my first novella when I was in my teenage years. It was a children oriented Science Fiction story, which I still hope to get published one day. My first novel was written between age 18 and 21. This one I hope to go back to and polish for publication as well. My stories were in French back then. For the past few years, most of my work – and now all of it – has been in English. I haven’t dabbed into original fiction in a long time, focusing instead on academic and non fiction, about Science Fiction, children media, gender studies and transmedia.

As for my formal background, I was in the literary section when in high school and then went for film and media studies when going to university. I also improved my writing skills in English a lot thanks to my roleplaying experience, since I joined a Star Wars post by post roleplaying board in summer 2008.

Regardless of fiction or non fiction, I love writing. It is a vital part of who I am. Storytelling as well as researching and analysis are passions to me. I find as much interest in fiction and non fiction. To me they are the two sides of a same coin, which is writing.

RW: With your background in film and media studies I don’t think the title of one of you books will be a shock, would you share a few of your books with us now?

NATACHA: The one book I have completed is “Women in Science Fiction Television”, which will be published by Rowman and Littlefield in early 2015. It is far from tackling all of the female characters who appear in Science Fiction Television series, but I’d love this book to be the first in a series of volume. The chapters focus on certain characters and draw comparisons between different shows and Science Fiction subgenres as well as iconic themes of the genre.

RW: That really appeals to the History guy in me as well as the TV and Science Fiction geek in me. I so need to take a look at that when it’s out. What brought you to this project?

NATACHA: “Women in Science Fiction Television” is a huge milestone for me. I published before, including other things I wrote alone as well as volumes I co-edited, but signing the contract for this project was special to me. Writing about female characters is one of my primary fields, and when I discovered the collection it will be published in, I just had to submit something.

RW: I know you have two others you are close to having ready for us as well. Tell us about the one that will really get to my Science Fiction geekdom, your essays.

NATACHA: They are a small collection of essays about Star Wars, which doesn’t have a title yet, that I plan to self publish via Amazon Kindle in the upcoming months, and mostly focuses on the question of storytelling and representations (including women and children). I had worked on several isolated pieces about Star Wars for the last year. Then, I realized that they worked well together and could make perfect sense as a gathered volume. The collection of essays on Star Wars came out of nowhere, as in, I didn’t think about self publishing non fiction before. 

RW: And you have a collection of short stories as well?

NATACHA: I recently completed the outlines for the first ten pieces. The series will be entitled “Clairvoyance.” “Clairvoyance” will tell the stories of a vast range of characters, lycanthropes, shape shifters (which aren’t the same species in the universe), Fae (Light and renegade) and humans, as well as some special other types of supernatural beings. You’ll notice I didn’t mention vampires. It’s because they don’t exist in this universe, at least not under the guise we know them. By aiming for short story format, I hope to be able to describe diverse experiences and points of view when choosing a general direction. In the first volume, I have a main villain whose action will put things in motion to several characters, directly but mostly indirectly.

The idea  first came to me back in 2009. I took notes about some of the characters and the world back then, but then left it alone until this summer. I organized the different groups and species much better and many characters appeared, making the cast more compelling and better knit. It was also when I decided to go for a short story format, as it felt like a better option given the multiple points of view I wanted to bring into this project.

**I told you varied came to mind when thinking of Natacha.

RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?

NATACHA: Representations of women is something dear to my heart, and I do consider myself a feminist, so this is a theme that shows up both in my fiction and non fiction. Diversity and acceptance, whether gender, age, religion, backgrounds, sexual orientation related, is also something that has a significant place in my writing.

RW: In what do you believe your characters will connect to your readers?

NATACHA: All my characters are flawed and most are profoundly human, even when not actually from this species, in the sense that they have struggles and weaknesses to deal with. I don’t like tossing my characters into tons of hardships for sheer fun, as I like when everything is constructive down the road. I love writing characters who learn more as life goes on, regardless of their age and situation. The learning curve aspect, as well as how they relate to one another and are able to have healthy relationships with their loved ones, is crucial to me as a storyteller.

RW: When can we expect to see all these creations in our hands?

NATACHA: Right now, none of them are available, but “Women in Science Fiction Television” should be available in early 2015. It should come in print and be available via Amazon and other shops. I will post updates on my blog.

The collection of essays on Star Wars should be released in 2015 too, and will be exclusively available on Kindle format via Amazon.

RW: I’ve grilled you enough about your creations, now for my oddball questions.  What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?

NATACHA: I can’t live without sparkling water or earl grey tea (with one sugar and a drop of cold milk in it!

RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.

NATACHA: I don’t have representation for the time being. If I was to work with an agent, I would like them to be willing to work with both fiction and non fiction projects, as I can’t imagine giving up on either of these types of writing. I would also like them to be interested in Science Fiction, as well as children and Young Adult material. I have learned to work with publishers’ and editors’ feedback and requirements for the past year. I am social media savvy and do well with meeting deadlines, so I believe this would help me in my relationship with an agent.

RW: That social media savvy is so important these days along with that working with feedback. What are you working on right now?

NATACHA: I am working on my collection of essays on Star Wars, as most of the pieces are ready, but there are one or two last to make. I am also outlining a Young Adult Dystopia book trilogy that was loosely inspired by one of my roleplaying characters.

I have also been researching a publisher to accept a book proposal I have about Dana Scully from The X-Files. The complete proposal was finished a while ago and I already have submitted it to a few places.

RW: No rest for the creative. What book are you reading at this time?

NATACHA: Star Wars: Outbound Flight by Timothy Zahn. He is one of my very favorite authors in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

**I have to say that Timonty Zahn is one of the masters of the Star Wars universe. I know I have the Thrawn trilogy for sure.

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

NATACHA: Organization, patience and perseverance. I would also recommend a good beta reader! Also make sure that you write something you love. Without passion, inspiration runs dry very quickly.

RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?

I don’t think that two authors can write the same book. So I don’t wish I had been the one to write any book that exists. I am glad they had their own author’ voice in them. And I am happy I got to read them the way they are.

RW: Many Authors say they don’t have an exploding point when writing. But I personally have those moments of just needing to step away. What is your escape from writing during moments like that?

NATACHA: I have multiple escapes. The first is more writing, but a specific kind. My Star Wars roleplaying writing InterviewPic2always helps kickstart sleeping muses and keep me going when in need of a break.

I also love vidding (creating fan videos about movies, Television shows and even video games I enjoy). It still is storytelling but in a different way. There is a strong emotional aspect to my vidding and it can help me just unwind or get lost in another type of project for a while.

Grabbing a nice book or catching up with a movie or show on my to watch list are also working escapes.

If I am really close to the explode point, jumping into a video game and shoot enemies can do wonders as well.

I also have a soft spot for baking when I want to relax. Cooking books are one my favorite non fiction books to read, when I don’t get something related to my research and writing fields!

RW: What did you learn about yourself while writing whatever work you are sharing in the interview?

While writing “Women in Science Fiction Television”, I felt that I was earning my stripes as an independent researcher and writer. All my previous publications and guest speaker appearances matter as well, but this book felt like a validation of all that I have been building for the past years.

The collection of Star Wars essays will be my first step into self publishing, which I didn’t expect to be for non fiction. The different essays were opportunities for me to dab into elements of the Star Wars universe I hadn’t worked on as much before. So I was able to expand on what matters to me.

My work on “Clairvoyance” has helped me reflect on my personal journey over the recent years, as well as how I have developed my storytelling in comparison to previous fiction works I did when I was in my teenage years or in early twenties.

**I especially enjoyed that first one of “earning my stripes” answer. Research is so important.

RW: What is your favorite word?

NATACHA: I don’t have a favorite word. I love languages a lot, including many I don’t speak. While I mostly write, read and interact in English, I still have great fondness for my mother tongue, French. Picking a favorite word or even a few is too difficult! As you can tell, picking a favorite or a few of these, isn’t something I am so good at!

Proving how media savvy she is, here are Natacha’s places to connect in internet land:

Blog, “Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom”: NatachaGuyot.org

Twitter: @NatachaGuyot

LinkedIn: Natacha Guyot

Google+: Natacha Guyot

Amazon Author Page: Natacha Guyot

Email: guyot.natacha [at] gmail [dot] com

 

I do so enjoy discovering Authors who get into their work so much. Some write and then others live, breathe and eat their work. We all like to say we do, but you can tell in the details who does and does not. I know, some just can’t relay that passion to the page, I’m one of them. Hey, if we all could magically put what’s in our minds on the page there would be best sellers for everyone. Well maybe some people would be locked up. But Natacha Guyot did not disappoint today. In fact  she brought more than I ever expected. All I can say is Wow. Visit her Amazon Author page there is something there for you to get that she didn’t mention. And as always, remember . . .

Read a Book, Write a Review.

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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