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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Duchess of the Shallows by Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto Interview and Review

(( I would like to apologize for the lack of pictures. My internet was not being friendly and refused uploading/saving of any picture. When the problem is solved I will return and update this post. Thank you.))

A game is played in the fog-shrouded city of Rodaas, and every citizen, from the nameless of the Shallows to the noblest of the Garden, is a player or a pawn. And no one is as he appears.

Not Minette, brothel-keeper and obsessive collector of secrets. Not Uncle Cornelius, fearsome chief of the gang of brutes and murderers known as the Red. Not the cults of Death, Wisdom, and Illumination, eternally scheming and plotting along the Godswalk.

And certainly not the orphaned bread girl known as Duchess.

Yet armed with nothing more than her wits, her good friend Lysander and a brass mark of dubious origin Duchess will dare to play that game for the most coveted of prizes: initiation into a secret society of
thieves, spies and rumormongers who stand supreme in a city where corruption and lies are common coin.

The Grey.

What I liked about this book was that it is like a how to guide in manipulation. So many people played one another that I often found myself wondering how long they would be able to keep that little game up. But then again when you are a thief that is what happens.

I loved the kick butt action that kept me glued to the story as I became so involved in the story it was hard to put down. I was actually a day late getting this book read due to NaNoWriMo and other sorts of things that are going on in my life, so to become so involved and to loose my self in this great story, well it was a relief.

I liked the history behind the character's that made them seem life like. They had a background and could have been people you passed along the street in your day to day life none the wiser.
 The plot seemed very well thought out and dimensional, even the setting's were very descriptive. I expected to open my eyes, look out my window and find myself transported into the world the author's created.

The only problem I had with the book was the ending, always a sucker for cliff hanger's I love and hate them alike.

4.5 out of 5 Raven's.

About the Authors:
  • Neil McGarry
Neil is a former technical writer, former stand-up comedian and current indie author living in Philadelphia. While not working with Daniel Ravipinto on the sequel to THE DUCHESS OF THE SHALLOWS, Neil reads about World War II, plays both Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball, follows politics and tries to perfect the peanut butter cookie.

  • Daniel Ravipinto
  • (No information Found)

Interview with the Author:
 1. What got you started writing?

Neil: I was always writing as a kid, usually stories in which unlikely people became heroes, which is in some ways the story of The Duchess of the Shallows. Then I'd "self-publish", usually by stapling the mass of paper together in an unholy mockery of a book. We've done a better job with Duchess, I promise!

Dan: I've always been connected with stories as well, though I approached them from a different angle. From a very young age I was playing text-adventure and role-playing games – games that told stories. I did some atrocious fan-writing as well, and ended up writing a few games of my own.

2. If you could no longer write, what would your next dream be?

Neil: Well, I've already tried stand-up comedy, so I guess my next unlikely endeavor would be rodeo clown. Either that or singing in a rock band, which puts me just one convertible away from a mid-life crisis.

Dan: Gosh, the idea of not being able to write any longer is… a little paralyzing. I can't imagine storytelling not being part of my life in some way. I guess I'd probably end up still working on creative projects – composing music or creating games – but I can't imagine a life completely devoid of artistic endeavors.

3. How do you find time to balance writing and living life?

Neil: Not very easily! I play Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball, and there's always a book I want to read or friends I want to catch up with, so it can be challenging to balance it all.

Dan: Neil and I can't remember what we talked to each other about before we had these books! Right now we're devoting more time to writing than other things, but after the next book is published (mid-2013) we'll probably break for a while and try other things.

4. Which of your characters do you relate to the most and why?

Neil: For me, Duchess. She is crazy motivated but also somewhat ambivalent about the tough choices she has to make to achieve her ambitions. I'm about half as motivated but twice as ambivalent, always questioning the value of my decisions and goals. I think it's healthy to question yourself, but there's a point at which you're just mentally running in circles. I try to stay on the right side of that line.

Dan: Lysander. He wears his heart on his sleeve very much as I do. Though I think he's probably emotionally and physically tougher than I am, his toughness hasn't cost him his empathy. Like Neil with Duchess, I also admire his grit. Lysander knows where he is in life and knows precisely how he got there and I don't think I can ever really say the same for myself.

5. Which of your characters were the easiest to write for and who was the hardest? Why?

Neil: Minette's the easiest, hands down. She's so clever and cagey that when I sit down to work on a chapter that features her I have a smile on my face. Brenn was the most difficult, because he's much like Lysander but, obviously, his own person, and he doesn't get a great deal of page time to show it.

Dan: I often find Duchess and Lysander's dialogue together to come very easily. I can hear their voices in my head – the banter and ease they have with each other. I had some trouble with the Lady Anassa simply because of the word games she's constantly playing. Every word has at least two meanings.

6. What was your biggest fear about being a writer?

Neil: That we're pretenders, hacks who couldn't get a book deal from a traditional publisher so now we're going the indie route to cover up our inadequacy. When we submitted The Duchess of the Shallows to Kirkus for review, we were petrified that they'd call us out for the charlatans we feared we were. The day the review was due I was a nervous wreck, and Dan finally had to ban me from the computer where I was logged in to email, clicking "refresh" every two minutes. When the review turned out to be not only positive but glowing…well, it was the first outward sign that we were for real, and that as authors we could play with the big boys (and girls).

Dan: Much the same for me, though it often takes the form of delusion rather than deceit. I always have a little voice in the back of my mind that calls into question my own taste whenever I finish something and particularly like it. What if I'm fooling myself? What if I'm wrong?

Of course, the answer is that you just make sure you don't write in a vacuum. You get your writing out in front of other eyes (which makes having a writing partner particularly great) and see what they say. Everybody makes mistakes or overlooks things, but having readers who can give you real, critical feedback is invaluable.

7. How do you deal with negative feedback or reviews?

Dan: Indie authors often don't have an editor, so we have to be twice as attentive to criticism to ensure we're not sealing ourselves off in a little bubble in which we can do nothing wrong.

For us, every piece of feedback is taken seriously. We never dismiss anything out of hand. But some feedback is more germane than others, and if it feels like the advice or critique we're being given doesn't really fit the direction we were going then we feel comfortable disagreeing.

Neil: And of course our book's not for everyone. No book is. It's kind of like food; if you don't like fish, you won't want to eat it no matter how well it's been well prepared. So if we get a bad review we try to separate the objective criticism that deserves evaluation from the subjective this just isn't for me response we can't do anything about. So far we've had very little negative feedback, I'm pleased to say.

8. What do you do when you find yourself struggling with writer's block?
Neil: One of the nice things about having a co-author is that two people rarely have writer's block at the same time! So when I get stuck I hand off the manuscript to Dan, and he does the same. So far it has worked.

Dan: Also, sometimes you have to just force yourself past that kind of thing, and grind out a few pages until you get back to your creative spot. Writing, like any other craft, isn't always easy and isn't always fun.

9. What advice would you give your 10-20 years in the past self?
Neil: Take risks! Failure won't destroy you, and a little embarrassment is good for the soul.

Dan: Honestly, I have the same answer. Looking back, there's almost nothing I've done that I regret, but I definitely regret some chances I didn't take.

10. Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to sit down and talk with us here at Wonderland Reviews. I really appreciate the time and effort. Before you leave, are there any last words that you would like to leave with the reader's/followers

We'd like to thank everyone who spent their money and time taking a chance on a couple of indie authors. Indie publishing is hard – don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise – but when we get a message of praise from someone who's enjoyed the work it all seems worth it.

1 comment:

  1. I love your questions & boo on the internet not working. Thanks for being a part of the tour!



*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of numerous Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by the Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*