Friday, July 29, 2011

Doctor Who Finally Gets Some Literary Respect!

Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks (Story 78)For a show that's been around longer than Star Trek (1963 vs 1966), with 32 seasons and 777 episodes to date, Doctor Who has never seemed to garner the respect it deserves. Just about anybody with even the faintest interested in science fiction seems to have favourite Doctor (there are 11 of them), or at least a significant memory of the series. For what it's worth, I'll always be a Tom Baker fan (he's the curly haired fellow with the lovely scarf to the right).

Despite all of that, it seems like the good Doctor has always been relegated to cult status, remembered as much for cheesy costumes and special effects as for strong story-telling and great character actors. After a nearly 10 year absence, however, Christopher Eccleston provided a triumphant return for Doctor Who, putting a famous face to the infamous Doctor, and paving the way for David Tennant and Matt Smith to follow in his footsteps. Suddenly, Doctor Who isn't just popular again, it's cool.

Doctor Who: Coming of the Terraphiles HC (Doctor Who (BBC Hardcover))More importantly, the BBC has loosened its grip on the franchise, allowing 'celebrity' authors to provide their own take on the legend. No longer afraid of having their creation overshadowed by the creators, the BBC first stepped up in 2009 by allowing Michael Moorock to take the reigns for a novel. Almost as quirky and eccentric as the good Doctor himself, the author of the eternal champion saga (and it's most famous incarnation, Elric (The Last Emperor of MelnibonĂ©), numerous science fiction classics (such as Behold the Man), and fantastic histories (such as Gloriana) provided us with a tale of the current Doctor, as played by Matt Smith, in Coming of the Terraphiles.

Doctor Who: Season Six, Part 1While the book has had a decidedly mixed reaction from fans (who seem to either love it or hate it, with no in-between), the BBC continued to push ahead, allowing Neil Gaiman to write an episode of the TV series. Another quirky celebrity with a cult following, Gaiman has brought us beautifully surreal graphic novels (Sandman), gorgeous urban fantasies (Stardust, American Gods, and Neverwhere), and even some young-adult fiction (Coraline and The Graveyard Book). His entry into the series, entitled The Doctor's Wife, aired in May of this year and was very well received. While not quite as dark as fans may have expected, the episode still ranks as one of the best of the Matt Smith era.

Doctor Who: Borrowed TimeThe next celebrity author to be invited into the Doctor Who universe was an odd one, but a clear indicator of just how far the series has come. Naomi Alderman, a serious literary novelist, published her Doctor Who book earlier this summer. Her literary debut, Disobedience, was a controversial novel about the lesbian daughter of a rabbi, whole her second novel, The Lessons, was a story of sex and drugs, set at Oxford. Her Doctor Who novel, Borrowed Time, has been well-received as a satirical take on the financial banking industry, and the excesses to which the common man falls prey.


What's next for the good Doctor? Well, that's where the story gets really interesting. The BBC is leaning on some hard science-fiction heavyweights to reach back into history and provide new tales for older Doctors. Stephen Baxter, author of Flood, Ark, and Evolution, is going all the way back to the days of the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, who graced TV screens from 1966-1969. Meanwhile, it has just been announced that Alastair Reynolds, author of the Revelation Space saga as well as the stand-alone novels House of Suns and Terminal World, is reaching back to the days of the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, who was the face of Doctor Who from 1970–1974.

Allowing these authors to dabble in the Whoniverse is a great idea, and giving them the liberty to write about the Doctors who matter to them is even better. I really hope this is the start of a new era for the BBC and Doctor Who, with more literary crossovers to come. Not that I'd wish to see the regular run of Doctor Who novels come to an end - there are some great authors involved there - but if these celebrity authors can bring even a fraction of their readership with them, not even the Daleks can stop Doctor Who's revival.

INTERVIEW: Chloe JonPaul (author of This Business of Children)

Good morning, all! It's time for another lovely stop along the The Virtual Book Tour Cafe's literary route, this time featuring Chloe JonPaul, who has stopped by to promote her latest work, This Business of Children.

Chloe Jon Paul, M.Ed., is a retired educator and writer of several published articles and a previous book entitled What Happens Next: A Family Guide to Nursing Home Visits . . . and More. Her many achievements since the age of 55 include the title of Ms. Maryland Senior America (2003); recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship Seminars Abroad award to South Africa (1996); volunteer internship during the Maryland legislative session as a Legacy Leadership Institute graduate (2005); lead facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project in prison and community workshops on conflict resolution for ten years; state representative for the National Family Caregivers Association's caregiver community action network (2006-2008); advisory board member MD, Healthcare Commission and the Interagency Commission for Aging Services, Maryland Dept. of Aging; hospice and homeless shelter volunteer; coordinator for the Good Samaritan Project at her church; and a world traveler - all 7 continents!

Before we get into Chloe's interview, let's take a quick look at This Business of Children.

This Business of ChildrenVera Harriss, Deidre Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are elementary school teachers in the fictional town of Blevins, Maine whose secret, private lives change dramatically as you read. Vera, who is about to retire, vents her anger during a Board of Education meeting with a speech that brings the audience to its feet. Why does Deidre, an exceptional teacher, leave the job she loves to become a corporate trainer down South? Then there is Mark, the perennial job hunter looking for a corporate position with more prestige and pay but then turns down the perfect offer when it finally comes through. Stu, one of the most popular teachers in the school, struggles with a deep, dark secret that he can only share with Deidre. What causes Stu's untimely death? Vera Harriss, Dee Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are eager to share their intriguing secrets and entangled lives with you.

Without further ado, please welcome the lovely Chloe JonPaul!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

♥ Tell us a little about yourself. 
I’ll simply share a few things I’ve accomplished since the age of 50. Otherwise it would be too lengthy (smile). I have three published books since 2003 (2 non-fiction, 1 fiction); I won the Title of Ms. Maryland Senior America 2003; In 1996, I was the recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship Seminars Abroad award to South Africa; I was Lead facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project in prison and community workshops on conflict resolution for ten years; I was State representative for the National Family Caregivers Association’s caregiver community action network 2006-2008; I have traveled to all 7 continents of the world –fulfilling a lifetime goal in 2005.

♥ Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
I think the quirkiest story I can share is that I actually trashed this novel after I wrote it.  My good friend Helene retrieved it saying, “You are NOT throwing this away!”  So I took it back, shelved it somewhere, and practically forgot about it until last year when I began seeing things in the news about teachers that are actually in my novel that I wrote back in 1991.  I said to myself: “Wow! Everything I’m reading is actually in my book!

♥ When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
I have always loved to write – even as a young child but I never really thought about doing it seriously.  As an adult, I wrote occasional articles for small magazines and newspapers.I started writing my first published book in 2002. 

♥ What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?
My high school English teacher, Margery Harriss, was a great inspiration for me.  Now, laugh if you will, but Isaiah in the Old Testament and the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are my favorites.  They contributed to the Greatest Story Ever Told!

♥ What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?
Perhaps the most surprising thing was being able to get “inside the skin of the male characters – capturing their thoughts, words, and actions.

♥ What inspired you to write your novel?
This came about as a result of having experienced the joys and sorrows of being a classroom teacher as well as the union activist I had been in the past… and as Vera says in the Prologue: “ because the story that claws at my brain and keeps me awake nights has to be told.”

I had lived much of what your readers will discover in reading about the problems teachers face in the classroom. 

♥ Can you tell us a little about your novel?
Vera Harriss, Deidre Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are elementary school teachers in the fictional town of Blevins, Maine whose secret, private lives change dramatically as you read.

Vera, who is about to retire, vents her anger during a Board of Education meeting with a speech that brings the audience to its feet. Why does Deidre, an exceptional teacher, leave the job she loves to become a corporate trainer down South?  Then there is Mark, the perennial job hunter looking for a corporate position with more prestige and pay but then turns down the perfect offer when it finally comes through.  Stu, one of the most popular teachers in the school,struggles with a deep, dark secret that he can only share with Deidre.  What causes Stu’s untimely death?

Vera Harriss, Dee 
Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are eager to share their intriguing secrets and entangled lives with you.

♥ Where can we find your novel?
If your readers visit my web site, all the major bookstore locations are listed there.
My web site is http://www.chloejonpaul.com/.  I have a fan site on Facebook for This Business of Children.

♥ Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
My closing advice is simply this:
  • Identify your target audience.
  • Network with like-minded people.
  • Prepare an outline of what you want to accomplish.
  • Set a date for completion.
  • Think POD: persistence,organized, determined
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥


Thanks so much to Chloe JonPaul for stopping by. If you'd like to follow her virtual journey in support of This Business of Children, check out her schedule on the Calendar of Events page at The Virtual Book Tour Cafe.

Hops, Follows, and Tag Alongs, Oh My!

The 18 & Over Book Blogger Tag Along has become the Adult Book Blogger Friday Hop, courtesy of Paranormal & Romantic Suspense Reviews!


It's time for another Book Blogger Hop, courtesy of Crazy for Books!

Book Blogger Hop

Q. Highlight one book you have received this week (for review, from the library, purchased at the store, etc.) that you can’t wait to dig into!

A. I just got my review copy of Whatnots And Doodads, by Stacey Kennedy, that has me really excited. It's a tale of love and witchcraft, set in Strange Hollow -a place where being different is not only acceptable, but encouraged.

It's also time for the Friday Follow, courtesy of Parajunkee's View!



Q. Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?

A. I have a ratty old black t-shirt from my high school days that I still love to wear around the house: "I know the voices aren't real, but they have some really great ideas!"

As always, I urge you to hop around to some new blogs, tag along with some new friends, and find some great new reviews to follow. I always find something new to delight me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday - Saints Astray and Legacy of Kings

"Waiting On" Wednesday spotlights upcoming releases that everyone's excited about (created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.)


This week I'm featuring two series that are near the top of my to-be-read pile, and which I suspect will get a good kick-start, knowing there are new entries coming for both:

Saints Astray (Santa Olivia)Saints Astray (Santa Olivia) by Jacqueline Carey: Fellow orphans, amateur vigilantes, and members of the Santitos, Loup Garron-the fugitive daughter of a genetically engineered "wolf man"-and Pilar Ecchevarria grew up in the military zone of Outpost 12, formerly known as Santa Olivia. But now they're free, and they want to help the rest of the Santitos escape. During a series of escapades, they discover that Miguel, Loup's former sparring partner and reprobate surrogate brother, has escaped from Outpost 12 and is testifying on behalf of its forgotten citizens-at least until he disappears from protective custody. Honor drives Loup to rescue Miguel, even though entering the U.S could mean losing her liberty. Pilar vows to help her. It will take a daring and absurd caper to extricate Miguel from the mess he's created but Loup is prepared to risk everything... and this time she has help. [November 22, 2011]


Legacy of Kings: Book Three of the Magister TrilogyLegacy of Kings: Book Three of the Magister Trilogy by C.S. Friedman: The young peasant woman Kamala has proven strong and determined enough to claim the most powerful Magister sorcery for herself-but now the Magisters hunt her for killing one of their own. Her only hope of survival lies in the northern Protectorates, where spells are warped by a curse called the Wrath that even the Magisters fear. Originally intended to protect the lands of men from creatures known only as souleaters, the Wrath appears to be weakening-and the threat of this ancient enemy is once more falling across the land. [September 6, 2011]


How about you? What are you anxiously awaiting next week? Share your comments below, because there's no such thing as having too many books in your TBR pile!