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An Interview with Author Jay Gunter

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‘Left Hand Tree- Jay Gunter (Featured on welovequalitybooks.biz)

The much awaited ‘Left Hand Tree’ by Author Jay Gunter released in hardcover on January 19, 2017.

Kindle Edition is also out now!

 

A book makes its way to your heart and your bookshelf not only because of the content but because of the honesty with which the author presents his ideas to the readers. Only when a reader convincingly witnesses the author’s integrity and commitment do they ensure the novel is a bestseller. Author Jay Gunter promptly said yes to this interview to ensure his affection and involvement with all of you. He brings to all of us a Giveaway along with the release of Left Hand Tree.

If you are ready to witness the goosebumps of a suspense thriller, all you need to do is go get your Kindle Edition right away and then grab the hardcopy too at a bookstore near you!

Jay Gunter the author of “Left Hand Tree” generously answered our questions to make this a memorable interview.

 

Learn more about the author, and his novel and why it is impossible to ignore Left Hand Tree.

WeLoveQuality Books: Tell us something about yourself, Jay.

Jay Gunter: I was born in Great Falls, Montana. I currently reside in the Spokane, Washington area where I teach Communication Studies at Eastern Washington University.

 

WeLoveQuality Books: How about your favorite genre?

Jay Gunter: (With a wide grin!)Well, my interests range from action and horror films to supernatural and suspense fiction. I  have enjoyed things outré and frightening since I was a very young boy, although I may have disputed the fact at that young age.

 

WeLoveQuality Books: Go on!

Jay Gunter: Now with a throaty laugh!) “I can remember sitting on my dad’s lap one Saturday afternoon, watching Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster on our television set. Karloff was doing his genius performance as the monster, howling and growling and battering at this door in order to escape, and it was so loud and scary and awful, that I sat and screamed my head off while my dad fruitlessly tried to get me to realize that it was all just a movie. But that monster was absolutely real to me, and I just wanted it to go away. Finally, my mom had to intervene from the kitchen; she told my dad to just turn the channel, and he did. After that, if I even saw a hint of a Frankenstein, or a Wolf Man or other old-fashioned monster on the TV, I’d either leave the room, or I’d stare at the screen and whimper like a bird hypnotized by a snake. I’m sure that warped  me somehow.”

 

WeLoveQuality Books: When did you realize that you had a writer in you?

Jay Gunter: The one specific moment I can remember when I made a definite, concrete decision about actually wanting to be a writer, was in junior high school, right after I had just read Ray Bradbury’s story, Pillar of Fire, and I just loved it!  I went outside afterward, to the edge of where my folks’ rural property stopped being developed land and became a tangle of pine trees and wooded hills with a footpath worn through it.  I remember standing right where that path started, at the top of a short hill, and thinking to myself, “If only I could make someone as happy as I am right now with something I create.”  There were other moments like those, but that was probably the most dramatic.

 

WeLoveQuality Books: What are your first memories of your journey as a writer?

Jay Gunter: Up until about junior high school, I had every intention of being a cartoonist like Charles Schultz, but I’d draw monsters instead of Charlie Brown and Snoopy.  But then I got a hold of a book of Ray Bradbury’s stories at the school library, Long After Midnight, and here was something new and different.  The cover was filled with odd creatures, and the subtitle of the collection was “22 Hauntings and Celebrations”.  But inside were stories about love and loss and the frustrations and joys of the human condition.  And even though they frustrated my initial craving for stories about monsters and ghosts, instead of causing me to put the book down, those stories compelled me to keep reading, because of their language and their emotion and their ease of accessibility, even to a pre-high-schooler.  I soon got my hands on The Martian Chronicles, which was more solidly otherworldly stuff, and I loved it.  

Right after that, I discovered a big cache of paperback books left by Mark Greg, a young man who had once attended the church I went to when I was younger.  His parents and mine were friends, and my family would often visit the Gregs’ house.  Mrs. Greg would allow me to borrow those paperbacks and read them since he had left them in his old room when he graduated from college and moved out.  Among them were Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man, R is for Rocket, and S is for Space.  There was also Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions anthology, Gordon R. Dickson’s Hour of the Horde, Robert Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters, and a slew of other science fiction paperbacks.  And after reading all this material, I slowly started to want to be a writer instead of a cartoonist.  

 

WeLoveQuality Books: Your work has been compared to Poe’s. What is your fav book by Poe and what did you take from it?

Jay GunterWould you believe I never really got into Poe all that much over my lifetime?  I recognized his significance, and I saw his genius in creating iconic stories that were channeled toward eliciting terror in a reader.  But I just never considered him a hero or a big influence.  I really don’t know why especially when so many of the writers I did consider mentors were definitely influenced by him!  I guess if you wanted to see who really affected me in the field of horror, you’d have to start with the next guy in line, H. P. Lovecraft.  Lovecraft ate, drank and slept Edgar Allen Poe, but Lovecraft also had all the monsters and weird, otherworldly influences that I really craved as a reader, while Poe was pretty straightforward and psychological in his tales—even the supernatural ones—though his tales of terror were heavily gothic and atmospheric.

My education as a horror enthusiast really kicked in when I discovered Lovecraft from a Ballentine paperback book of his earlier tales, and then Stephen King with ‘Salem’s Lot, and The Shining.  Other guys, like Peter Straub, Robert Bloch, and Dean Koontz fell into place for me also.  And there’s a pretty special place for Arthur Machen in my heart as well.  I found a Pinnacle paperback edition of Tales of Horror and the Supernatural with a cover painting depicting an evil, fanged woman surrounded by demons in the fires of Hell who are busy tormenting helpless figures.  That edition introduced me to “The Great God Pan”, “The Inmost Light”, “The Shining Pyramid”, and other tales of otherworldly evil that used language as a magic spell that made you feel the presence of the darkness beyond our factual little world!  “The Great God Pan” affected me so much that for years while growing up, I couldn’t go out into the pine woods on my property for fear of turning a corner in the thinly-treed forest and running into some goatish presence that would turn its head, look right at me, and strike me crazy with a glance!

Much later, after I graduated from college, I discovered M. R. James, and found another Victorian-era writer who could create fear with a few well-chosen words.  James was so effective at creating fear in a reader, it was like being stabbed—one-two-three!—with a stiletto to the midsection.  The thing I responded to in James was that when he wrote a story of terror, he wasn’t writing to impress people with how smart he was, even though his prose and storytelling are both brilliant.  He wasn’t creating some ghostly presence that you could maybe dismiss as a possible extension of a psychological condition of the story’s protagonist.  He was creating a hideous revenant from a bygone era that some foolish person blunders into and pays the price!  Before I discovered M. R James, I had become used to post-modern horror writers writing about the bleakness of a meaningless existence, and not even bothering to try to frighten the reader, which to me is like a comedian not bothering to try to be funny!  James’ “Canon Albrecht’s Scrapbook” was so effective, that it took me fifteen minutes to work up the courage to turn out the lights in my bedroom.

 

WeLoveQuality Books: How did the idea of Left Hand Tree originate?

Jay Gunter: Left Hand Tree is what I’d call an anthology novel.  I’ve taken a number of separate stories with interconnected settings, themes, and so on, and bound them together with a central story.  This is kind of like what science fiction author Ray Bradbury did with his short stories about Mars to create The Martian Chronicles, or his Green Town stories, which formed Dandelion Wine.  Stephen King did this as well, I believe, with Hearts in Atlantis.  I initially wanted to create a series of stories that dealt with horror as a spiritual factor, and that all took place in a fictional place similar to my own Spokane home . . . but with certain unpleasant differences!

 

WeLoveQuality Books: Is it a complete work of fiction?

Jay Gunter: Yes, though more stories that take place in the “world” of Left Hand Tree are entirely possible!

 

WeLoveQuality Books: What were the challenges that you faced while bringing Left Hand Tree to the world readers?

Jay Gunter: As unromantic as this may sound, writing itself was the hardest thing!  Just getting my butt down in a seat and my fingers on a keyboard so I could finish the writing that I’d started was a big challenge.  It took me almost ten years to create Left Hand Tree, and there are many writers who would look at me after hearing that, and just shake their heads and think, Wow, what a lazy excuse for a writer!  And to be honest, they’d be quite right!

 

WeLoveQuality Books: As a writer do you think creating a Thriller is tougher than writing in other genres?

Jay GunterNot really.  Only if you look at creating suspense or horror stories like an inventor approaching the task of creating a better mouse trap does thriller writing become a chore or an insurmountable task.  You have to love what you write about.  If you love spies and espionage, you should write spy stories.  If you love car chases and action, you write stories that deal with those things.  And if you love being scared by stories of disembodied voices crying on the wind, or nameless things dragging themselves through churchyards at night, then you should pour every ounce of love you have for those things into your writing as you possibly can!

 

 

Larry Binion for welovequalitybooks.biz

A tête-à-tête with the ‘Wordmaster’

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While the ‘WordMaster’ was busy giving an interview, we tried to gate crash and join in the tête-à-tête. Being the generous guy that he is Larry Binion aka the ‘Wordmaster’ obliged us with his thoughts on different aspects of writing, editing, reviewing a work and a lot more. There was that calmness of expertise on his countenance as he shared his valuable insight for all book lovers and writing professionals. I am glad that I am one of those who has read his works. This interview made me realize that it takes a human revolution to make a writer. Larry Binion, the ‘Wordmaster’ definitely has gone through a conscious self-development to be the magnanimous person that he is. We start the extract of the interview with some of the thoughts the Wordmaster shared with his other friends and then with our team of We Love Quality Books. Here is what Larry Binion had to say:

 

Bo: What does it take to become a writer?

WORDMASTER: All you need to become a writer is what you learned in school. That is as in FREE, public school. Just ask the 10-year-old boy who wrote a book about the Star Wars characters. There are books published every day by those not yet in high school, and in high school. They were brave enough to just do it.

Writing is highly personal. What works for one works for one. It is like learning to whittle. You can read all sorts of books about how to whittle, but until you do it over and over, you can never whittle. See what I mean?

 

Sho: I heard someone say that you are not a writer unless you’re published. How many books do you have to publish before you can call yourself a writer?

WORDMASTER: You can read the book “How to win friends and influence people”, but reading doesn’t make you any friends. You gotta do it.

This being said it does not denigrate the fact that if you want to be a professional, you need to be one in every sense of the word and learn as much about it as possible. Whittlers whittle constantly. They don’t whittle once a month. They do it every day.

I have always maintained that if you do something wrong for 50 years, and do it wrong, it is still wrong. People who say “I’ve been a plumber for 50 years” doesn’t impress me. I want to know, “Can he do it right?” Regardless of long, you do something, can you do it right? Do you follow the rules?

The more you do it, the better you should become. But use the rules as you know them and learn as much as you can. Be sure to work on grammar, style, characterization, and description. Always try to do better than you did yesterday.

Practice. Yep. Babe Ruth practiced. He is known as the ‘Home Run King’. Many writers never make it. My wish is that you do.

 

(As you already know, we could not stop ourselves from interrupting and joining in the conversation. The Wordmaster smilingly obliged us with a smile and these answers.)

 

WeLoveQuality Books: We love what you have written. We are however genuinely interested to know if you have ever faced the infamous ‘Writer’s Block’?

I’ve seldom suffered from this malady. I’ve had too many things on my mind for too many years. I used to drive my mother crazy with questions. Of necessity, I created my own worlds to survive my inner torments. Torn between the true love of my mother and the corrupted, abusive love of my step-dad, I began writing down  my feelings. My father rejected me and some friends betrayed me. I became a thinker and thought about things I felt had not been thought before by humankind.

I delved into writing, not as art or literature, but as an escape mechanism. I needed to be in control, to escape. Once written, I could go back and rewrite anything I didn’t like. I often threw away entire pieces, sometimes a dozen or more at a time.

 

WLQ Books: Threw away what you wrote? Seriously?

WORDMASTER: Once, I threw away 60 pieces at one time. But most of all, the more I wrote, the more I could escape at a later date. Sometimes when I’d visit the pages of the past, I didn’t want to come out of my reverie. Not that my stuff was ever any good. Nay, but it did get better from time to time. I triumphed in my heart at those times, and I writhed in agony when I knew I’d created a disaster.

 

WLQ Books: : Wordmaster, we now understand you as a writer. Now please tell us what would you say is the best way of critiquing someone’s intellectual creation or shall we say, the book, the writer has successfully written and published?

WORDMASTER: I deal in viscous humor. On the serious side, I once belonged to a Writer’s group. One woman was so good at critiquing, that many people left in tears. To deflect the harshness of her words, she began hugging everyone. Now, I can’t hug you. All I can do is bite. Back to my friend.

Her explanation for her “harsh” criticism was that editors are not forgiving. The public is not forgiving. Readers are not forgiving. Take the criticism for what it is, and do better. There is no growth without pain. No pain, no gain. She would take the very best of us and rip them to shreds. But we all grew. I wrote a poem about her.

Now —- having said that——– she NEVER attacked anyone personally. She never called names. As mentioned above, it is the tone that destroys. You can take a sword and save someone’s soul, or rip someone’s heart out. Which way will you wield it?

On the other hand, some are more sensitive than others. Much more sensitive than they should be.

We can all do this. We can’t control others, but we can control ourselves. When we critique, we should do it professionally, keeping our best foot forward as if we were selling the critique to a publisher. When we read a critique, we should neither look for “pat me on the back” or I’ll get mad” or “tell me you hate it and I’ll get mad.”

Take what you want and discard the rest. It is only the opinion of others. C.S. Lewis and Tolkien were in the same writers’ group. They hated each other’s work. They were especially hard on each other. But they remained friends. Look at the astounding success they had.

 

To know more about Larry Binion- The Wordmaster visit https://www.facebook.com/fleaflyfloostories/?fref=ts

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Sunshine Blossom

Ron Button Shares his Thoughts

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While most of us ‘Book Beings’ were cashing in on the last few lines of romantic novels, Ron wasn’t! Our Author Ron Button was creating a ripple in the heart of art with his beautiful verses. Ron’s uniqueness as a writer is that he communicates his stories through verse. This gives his poems an unusual, beautiful charm. Something we can happily call a lyrical delight. Here are the experts of our interview on the topic ‘How to become a Poet.” with the Author.

 

WeLoveQuality Books: You have described your Work as ‘Rhapsody’. What do you mean by that in terms of your writing?

 

Ron Button: “Rhapsody: What is life without rhapsody. Real or fantasy, someone’s idea of world history.”

 

WLQ Books: And what do you think, are the qualities that a poet must have among others to touch lives?

 

R B: To be a poet, one must desire a subject,there is no right or wrong. Or possibly there is a scholar who will tell me what is wrong.
Century’s of prose and rhyme sheltered in books, while others lose their breath, and die.
As a child, little rhymes interested me, a few got me in trouble, so I stopped. (Ron says with a chuckle and continues)
In 1996, from love and jealousy, a star is born.

 

WLQ Books: Please read out some extracts of your favorite work.

 

RB:  Why not!

 

Sunshine Blossom.

As the wind would blow,shifting flowers in the breeze.
The pollen of one circle thru the air,like the waves of the seas.
Quickly it floated,exploring each open gate.
Always anticipating, making the choices, till it found the right mate.
As the particle of life embedded itself firmly.
It left a promise,a great commitment,of a being well worthy.
The restless seed shuffling, wanting to be more.
The breeze lifted it,planted it in God’s bed,now a reason to live for.
The roots and reason,although fragile and weak.
Pushing deeper,growing stronger,till the sprout reached the peak.
While resting and gazing,the sprout saw it’s first light.
With wonder,filling with nourishment,till it saw it’s the first night.
With each passing day,sprout turned to stem.
Virgin petals,innocent figure,beauty would soon set in.
Growing ever so rapidly, reaching for the light.
As spring left,summer came,a bud sprung upward in delight.
Stretching little by little, petals of red and yellow.
First outward,then inward, like the motion of bellows.
Quietly it motioned, in splendor it felt.
Places to go,things to see,much to be felt.
For the first time,confused with inspiration.
A bed of roses, a field of carnations, the thought of creation.
The thankful ones,the harmful masks.
In matter,the causes,to deal with the task.
A Confection is the purpose, maturity, the battle.
To live,to grasp,God and Satan rock the cradle.
With love and hate, she learns in awesome.
To appreciate, to comfort, to be…
Sunshine Blossom.

By Ron G. Button ©2000



WLQ Books: What a wonderful poem! Please tell us more about your literary journey.

 

RB: “This poem began the journey that produced over 100 more poems and metaphors to relive what I titled, ” My Simple Thoughts”  ©2000.
Years pass, the pages sit in a folder, until 2011, when a smile of an online profile inspired me. Extravagant would be the word used to define her. Confident.  I sent my poem, and cashmere surrounded me.”

 

WLQ Books: This is romantic and inspiring Ron!

 

RB: “Inspiration is key: A closed mind ignores the obvious reality that times change, and minds change. When I researched to write a book about “Sunshine Blossom”, words of RUMI, guided me to Persia, to then to Pardis (in my imagination).
Ever feel pressured to write something new every day? Once I began thinking  what I was writing about, I didn’t have to think, words flowed through my mind onto paper.”

 

WLQ Books: What makes you stand out as a poet Ron?

 

RB: I’ve never been to college, attended writing workshops, I even failed English in high school, but I’ve seen the world with an open mind. My poetry has introduced me to all walks and cultures on the earth.

For more information and to read more of Ron Button’s work reach https://www.facebook.com/Ronald.G.Button/

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Why Writers’ Write

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