Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Author of the Month ~ May

Hello everyone! It's another new month and with that comes a new Author of the Month. This will consist of a post that includes an interview with the chosen author, along with featuring them in my sidebar for that entire month.  New feature I started on my blog in September (Refer HERE if you would like to see the original post & if you would like to be apart of this as an author).

May's Author:  Esther Dalseno

Esther Dalseno was born to a Malaysian mother and an Italian father in Australia. After living in both Portland, Oregon and Sydney, New South Wales, she headed off to see the world.

Writing and teaching, she has lived in Laos, Vietnam and South Korea and has traveled the world extensively, from Johannesburg to Bangkok to Barcelona.

She now lives in Berlin with her husband, daughter, and Pekingese dog, all acquired in different countries. She has no plans yet to return to Australia.

Esther loves museums, festivals, live music and can often be seen ambling about the graffiti-strewn streets of Berlin’s inner city.

She began her publishing career with the short Totoro’s Garden in the acclaimed short story collection, We All Need a Witness, published by Macmillan.

Her debut novel Drown was published in 2015. Her second novel, Gabriel and the Swallows will be released in March 2016.

Sabrina: Hello Esther! It’s super great to have you here on my blog. It’s also awesome to have you as my May author of the month!
Esther:  Thanks Sabrina!  I’m a big fan of your blog and love seeing your tweets and reviews!
Sabrina: Who are some authors you have begun to admire over time?
Esther:  I love all the authors in the world (it’s true), but my special and very deep reserve of admiration and respect go to the old-school masters of the magical realism genre: Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore, IQ82), Isabelle Allende (The House of Spirits) , and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (A Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera).
Sabrina: What inspired to write your debut novel Drown? How about Gabriel and the Swallows as well?
Esther:  Drown was inspired by my very great love of the original fairy tale, and my newly-found addiction to scuba diving.  Gabriel and the Swallows was inspired by a cross-county bus trip with nothing to do but look out at miles and miles of banana plantations – I created a little story in my mind to pass the time, and that evolved into the novel.
Sabrina: In three words, how would you describe Gabriel and the Swallows?
Esther: Italy.  Madness.  Magical-realism (I hyphenated that to make it one word, is that cheating?)
Sabrina:  You and Oftomes publishing had a meet up and signing back in March. Can you describe some things that were going through your head at the time?
Esther: I was really amazed to meet people I met through Twitter and Instagram, and readers who had not only previously read my books, but were wildly enthusiastic about them.  It was an amazing feeling.  I also loved meeting walk-ins from the street and learning their stories.
Sabrina: With all of the characters you have written so far, who has been the most fun to write and then who has been the most challenging?
Esther:  The Sea-Witch in Drown was my most exciting character – both during development and then while writing.  I also enjoyed creating and writing the character of Orlando Khan, a Turkish immigrant from Gabriel and the Swallows.  I found it rather difficult to write Volatile – there is a great deal of mystery surrounding her and I had to be very cautious while writing Gabriel and the Swallows, and utilized a lot of misdirection when it came to her character.  There is a very big surprise about her in Gabriel’s sequel.  She really isn’t remotely what readers are led to believe.
Sabrina: How did you decide on the settings that are found in Gabriel and the Swallows?
Esther:  I am half-Italian, and when I was travelling through Italy, I chanced upon the gorgeous ancient town of Orvieto and knew it would be a crime not to base the novel there.
Sabrina: What is a quote you created that you are proud to say you wrote and crafted?
Esther:  I am particularly partial to the opening line of Drown – “It was destined to fail because it was an artificial species” because it really sets the tone of the narrative and serves as a big warning sign to the reader: all the mermaids are dead, people, so don’t read on if you don’t like the sound of that.
Sabrina: Do you require anything in order to sit down and have a good writing or editing session?
Esther:  I need two large cups of coffee in me, solitude, and deathly silence.
Sabrina: When you are not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Esther:  Actually, I am really into fitness and I work out six days a week alternating between intensive cross-circuit training and 10 kilometre runs.
Sabrina: Are you working on any new books that you would like to share with us?
Esther:  I am always working on new books!  There’s the sequel to Gabriel and the Swallows, an epic fantasy about a utopian all-female society, and some literary fiction based in Buddhism.
Sabrina: It has been so lovely having you be a guest on my blog today! I can’t wait to see what future writing you bring! Thanks again Esther.
Esther:  You’re so welcome, it’s been my pleasure.
~Esther's Books~

Title: Drown
Author: Esther Dalseno
Publication Date: October 31st, 2015
Publisher: 3 Little Birds Books
Length: 260 pages
Description: Seven emotionless princesses.
Three ghostly sirens.
A beautiful, malicious witch haunted by memories.
A handsome, self-mutilating prince.

Belonging to a race that is mostly animal with little humanity, a world obsessed with beauty where morality holds no sway, a little mermaid escapes to the ocean’s surface. Discovering music, a magnificent palace of glass and limestone, and a troubled human prince, she is driven by love to consult the elusive sea-witch who secretly dominates the entire species of merfolk. Upon paying an enormous price for her humanity, the little mermaid begins a new life, uncovering secrets of sexuality and the Immortal Soul. As a deadly virus threatens to contaminate the bloodstreams of the whole merfolk race, the little mermaid must choose between the lives of her people, the man she loves, or herself.

A complete reinvention of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale, this is a magical-realist fable that captures the essence of sacrifice and the price of humanity.

Places you can purchase

Title: Gabriel and the Swallows {Volatile duology #1}
Author: Esther Dalseno
Publication Date: March 2016
Publisher: Oftomes Publishing
Length: 333 pages
"A lonely farm boy.
A girl with swallow’s wings.
An ancient city buried in a volcano.
A mystery old as blood and bone.

There is more to Gabriel than the life he’s ashamed of – the son of peasant winemakers, bullied relentlessly on account of his disabled mother. For Gabriel has a secret: the elaborate
dream world he descends into at night – a grandiose, vivid existence – is becoming more real than his waking life.

Everything changes for Gabriel when he rescues a wounded creature – a miraculous girl with swallow’s wings – from the voracious pursuit of Alfio Gallo, a dangerous old enemy. Aided by the beautiful and mysterious Orlando Khan, Gabriel is conflicted by unanswered questions: who is the Dark One that dwells in the medieval tunnels beneath their city? Is he just a figment of Gabriel’s powerful imagination? And is the foundling really who she says she is?

Wrestling with manhood whilst beckoned by ancient rites and foreign lands, Gabriel is about to make a deadly decision that changes the course of life as he knows it…as long as he can decide which reality he’s in.

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