Friday, June 1, 2012

Author Spotlight - E. Milan


      

      
   Erin and I welcome E. Milan, Author of 'The Truce' which I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing on our blog here earlier in April 2012. 
     
    E. Milan lives in New York. He grew up on Long Island and attended college in Florida. He is a career pilot and an independent author of this very interesting novel, available now and others in the works. You can also visit him on his Website which he updates regularly.
  
    He has very generously provided us with 4 autographed copies of his book for a giveaway for you lucky readers! Good luck to all that enter the giveaway at the end of this post!  We sincerely thank him for the time he took to thoroughly answer our questions, and provide us with this giveaway opportunity!

     

     Now on to our interview!
    

How does a pilot living in New York also decide to write a novel? Did you always want to write?

I’ll do my best to answer this without putting you to sleep in the process. When I was in sixth grade, I believe, I read The Running Man by Stephen King. Prior to that I had read but I wasn’t the avid reader that I became. After The Running Man I started reading everything I could get my hands on (though I am a bit of a slow reader compared to others). That was also when I first sat down and started writing. I still remember sitting in front of my Commodore 64 with Bank Street Writer III, ah those were the days. Of course anything a sixth grader writes isn’t much but it was the beginning of my love for writing. Since then I’ve written when I could, started several books and only finished one other before The Truce. I finished that one in college and, considering how awful it was, it hasn’t seen daylight since. But throughout my life I’ve always enjoyed story building in my mind. I have so many stuffed in there that I know I could never get them all on paper, but I love them all. Growing up I had two desires, to write and to fly. I decided to follow the flying route for a career and to write for fun. I always hoped that one day I would have the chance to get published but knowing how hard it was and how variable the industry is I knew there was more stacked against me than with me. But when I was laid off during the recession I chose to write and begin my post-graduate work. The last thing I wanted was to look back and realize that there was a dream of mine that I hadn’t fought for. With the self-publishing window open my wife bought me a gift certificate for a website that aids in self-publishing and away I went.

     What inspired you to write this specific novel/plotline?

Let’s see. To be honest, it isn’t anything too dramatic. Back in the late 90s I was in college. I remember listening to a song by Steve Miller Band, Jet Airliner. In it there’s a line, “you’ve got to go through Hell before you get to Heaven.” I just remember thinking, “that’d be a cool idea.” The idea itself at that point was pretty empty really, just someone choosing to walk through Hell to reach Heaven. It was just the shell. But since music tends to be my biggest inspiration to write, more songs added more to the idea. Looking back at all the music that inspired the whole story, they could probably fill several playlists. The song, We’re In This Together, by NIN added the idea for it to be two people. But there was one song that was the most important. When I heard the song Anywhere by Evanescence the story really took shape. Prior to that Purgatory, Hell, Heaven, they were all concepts without structure. When I heard Anywhere, however, I started seeing everything. The mansions of Purgatory, the dissdents, fiends, and the landscape of Hell started coming to me. I remember seeing a man jumping through a window while being chased by some lion-like creature and grabbing hold of a flying, skinless horse. It was odd at the time but it all gave way to the characters. More years passed and more songs inspired more scenes (I’ll refrain from mentioning them to prevent spoiling anything). Eventually, I chose to sit down and write it. I still don’t know exactly why I started with this story, but something about it seemed right. The further into the story I went the more purpose for the characters came out and the deeper it became.

     There were some very powerful, disturbing scenes in this novel involving the unfortunate events that greatly impacted Amber and Aaron individually.  Without giving away too much information to readers, specifically the bathtub scene with Amber and what she was made to face, and Aaron’s encounter with his sister in the tunnel. Was it difficult to come up with and put those scenes to paper?

Not particularly. I think the most difficult part for me was coming up with Aaron’s backstory. I found Amber’s to be much easier to devise. The bathtub scene made sense to me when I wrote it. The tunnel was a little more difficult but by the time I wrote that part I had, for the most part, fleshed out his story so it was more just a matter of thinking about what could ravage his mind. Thinking of that allowed those images to come through. I wanted to keep it honest and real. I also felt that, if they were truly in Hell it would have to be difficult and the scenes would have to be fairly harsh but real as well. Ultimately, I hope that people felt that there was an honesty to it.
   
    There were two distinct but intertwined plot lines in this novel, which I greatly enjoyed. What specifically inspired you to the idea of the rebellion by the existing souls in hell against Satan?

This storyline was fairly loose at first. Even the first draft of the novel was much less. But when I first thought of the idea of Aaron and Amber walking through Hell I wanted there to be more. I wanted the story to be richer. I felt that Hell should be a very dynamic place. Since I felt that Aaron and Amber’s self-acceptance should be central to the story, I decided to expand on that and delve deeper into human nature. That gave rise to the idea that if Aaron and Amber are going through self-actualization then others should be too. The ultimate form within Hell of trying to bring about true self-acceptance would be to fight against the manifestation of what brought a person there in the first place, which would be Hell itself. Therefore, a rebellion in Hell would be the eventual outcome of Hell’s existence. The more I wrote about it the more I found that the rebellion was far more important than I had originally planned. The idea was very central to the story and I began to really care about the characters and their struggles. I know it was very long-winded but they became people, with hopes and desires. They wanted to find peace and I was really caught up in developing them as more than a backdrop. I felt that to be truly honest to the story I needed to develop them as more than just evil but, instead, as multi-faceted people.

      I found the idea of those souls being ‘killed’ during this battle and evolving into or morphing into other creatures was pretty original. You had a wide array of creatures, big and small. How did or what inspired that idea? 
      
    To be honest I’m don’t fully remember how each one came about. The dissdents and molen were creatures that I saw when the storyline came to me. As I worked on the story I devised back stories for them. The transformation was something that I thought would be interesting. Once again music, the common theme, had a large hand in it. I visualized the transformation one day while listening to a particular song and I knew that I wanted to integrate it into the story. 

      
     Many readers will read this and take with them different ideas or feelings. Is there a message that you, as the writer, wanted to convey with your novel?
       
    Yep. Simply put, that we all have struggles. Shame or the pains of life are a fact of life. But, ultimately, the one person that we all need to look to for acceptance is ourselves. Whatever each individual believes in, the reality is that the one person that needs to forgive is oneself. Aaron and Amber go through the struggles that they do because they are unable to accept who they are. Instead they want others to forgive them. They walk through Hell because they don’t see any other choice, and because a piece of them feels like they deserve to be in Hell.

     Are you working on any future novels at the moment? If so, are you able to tell us a little of what your next novel is about?

Right now I’m working on several different projects and concepts. One novel, in particular, I’m planning to follow The Truce. Though different there are overlapping concepts. It takes place in New York City and follows Aaron’s cousin. If I had to fit it into a genre I would have to say it would be more horror/fantasy. Other than that I am also working on a book of short stories and novellas.

      What has it been like to independently publish your first novel? Have you enjoyed the experience and feedback? Has it been what you expected?

To say the experience was eye-opening is putting it mildly. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I started the process. I definitely feel like I should have done some things differently but that’s what learning is all about. The reviews I’ve received have all taught me areas that I need to look at, areas I need to work on, and things that I need to take to heart. It’s been a real growth experience. There have been days where it’s been tough and days where it’s been fun. All in all, I think it takes a willingness to roll with the punches to push through it. I do plan on taking the required steps to make myself better and the feedback that I’ve received, all of which was worthwhile, is only going to help me with that. But it’s also been the encouraging feedback that has helped me. It’s shown me that there is more of a purpose to writing than simply self-actualization and self-fulfillment. It’s also about reaching others and interacting with those that you otherwise never would have had the chance to meet. I’ve thoroughly loved that aspect of it and it’s those interactions and those experiences that make me understand the beauty of it all. Before I released the book I knew that once I released it, it would no longer be mine, it would belong to all those who read it. It’s amazing how differently people can perceive things and how impossible it is to predict where things will take you.

     As evident by your website http://www.emilanfiction.com/ you are also a reader! What is your favorite genre, and favorite authors?
 
Hmm, let’s see here. Favorite genre, ouch that’s tough. All in all, I tend to read most genres. I love fantasy, horror, legal fiction, thrillers (depending on the author), classics, literary fiction. I like some sci-fi, though it depends I guess. 

Looking at it from an author perspective my favorite is J.R.R. Tolkien. I also love Stephen King and Tolstoy. The Simarillion is my all-time favorite followed by Lord of the Rings and War and Peace. It would probably round out my top four. I grew up reading Crichton, Grisham, Clancy, King and others. Recently I found the R. Scott Bakker series which I think has been exceptional so far. I also found Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series to be very good. I find that I tend not to read much YA and I don’t tend to find myself reading much of the vampire fiction or urban fantasy that has become fairly popular. Not to say that I would dislike it if I tried it, I just don’t feel called to it like I am to other books.

If anyone is looking for any aviation related books that are great for laypeople and non-enthusiasts here are three:

SkyGods: The Fall of Pan-Am by Robert Gandt
Northstar over my Shoulder by Bob Buck
Fate is the Hunter by Ernest Gann

The first two were two great reads. Loved them, and with the whole Pan-Am show I thought reading about its history and the story of the pilots was fun, and it’s not dry whatsoever. Right now I am trying to help other indie writers by reviewing their work. I’ve fallen behind though and I’m trying now to catch up to my TBR list. But reading indie writers has been wonderful because you can find great stories that were written for the love of it and not for some major publishing house. There are some real diamonds out there. Plus interacting directly with the authors has been a lot of fun.


    What advice or words would you share for aspiring writers out there?

First of all, be true to yourself. What I’ve found through the process was that people will always have their opinions and reviews will be what they are. Good and bad they need to be taken as ways to make yourself better. And don’t be afraid to open yourself up. If you don’t take the leap you’ll never learn. It may be tough, there will be painful moments, but if you don’t allow the world to deconstruct you, you’ll never have the chance to grow and build yourself up. It’s an experience, and each and every part, good and bad, is worthwhile. Last thing is to never lose sight of why you’re doing it in the first place. It’s for the love of writing, and for fun. Don’t let anyone else drag you down and make you lose sight of that. There will be many times where things become difficult, but if you keep yourself grounded and stay true to yourself you can push through them and reach your goals.


Purchase Links:


Amazon Kindle Edition


Visit E. Milan's Website Here!

Visit E. Milan on Goodreads Here!





Thank you for joining us for this interview with E. Milan.
Don't forget to enter this great giveaway!
(U.S. & Canada only)




a Rafflecopter giveaway

17 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great read! Awesome interview!!

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  2. A good storyline and I would love to win and read this book.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

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  3. Sounds like a great story! I'm definitely entering the giveaway! I hope to win!

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  4. Love to win books and this one looks awesome!
    Kim pyrros

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  5. Hi Lily thanks for iniviting me to this im folllowing you now on gogle friend connect thanks for the chance to win one of this book micheleann oboyle
    angelwolfmystic@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Very welcome and thank you for stopping in! Good luck to you on the giveaway!

      Kim, Lisa, & Marjorie, thank you all for leaving your comments, and good luck to you as well!!

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  6. I would love a chance to read this.It sounds really interesting. Thanks for the chance.

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  7. I would love a change to read the book, thanks for the giveaway! Kretch1@att.net

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  8. This sounds really interesting, and what a great interview - some good questions and answers here! Thanks for the giveaway, too - here's hopin'!

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  9. This sounds like an amazing story, thanks for the giveaway and I hope to win!!!!

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  10. Sounds like a great book! Great giveaway :)

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  11. Thanks for this awesome giveaway and blog!!

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  12. Congratulations to our four winners!

    Teresa Gabelman
    Curtis Hempler
    Elizabeth Lessard
    Helen Bush

    Thank you all for your interest and for stopping in!

    Lily & Erin

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    Replies
    1. Woo Hoo....thanks so much E.Milan, Lily and Erin!!!! :)

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  13. Thank you everyone for your participation! And thank you Lily and Erin for your support. This was a wonderful experience.

    E.

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