Monday, April 22, 2013

Dark New Orleans in Audio - Roland Yeomans

An elusive interview in a town known for the Mardi Gras, New Orleans. The advance news: Dark New Orleans fantasy by Roland Yeomans will be available as audio books this summer!

Roland agreed to meet me at his haunted jazz club, Meilori's. I wore black so I could blend in with the background of shadows. I've heard stories. . .


Here's Roland to tell his version of the interview:

The atmosphere in Meilori’s was somber tonight.  Too much death too soon does that to this club. 
Melody Gardot was singing “Your Heart Is As Black As Night” as the twin palms by my table swayed to the beat of the music, their leaves hissing through the shadows like claws through sand. 

***
 





D.G. Hudson was sitting opposite me at my table, her eyes round as she saw F. Scott Fitzgerald slowly dancing with his wife, Zelda, not two feet from us.

She cleared her throat, “Why did you decide to do audio books at this time, Roland?”

I smiled.  “Millions of eBooks on Amazon.  Two hundred thousand audio books on Audible.  Easier to stand out in the crowd in a small one.”

D.G. started as Fitzgerald winked at her as he danced by our table.  Um, why did you choose New Orleans for the location of many of your novels?”

I said, “Ever since I moved to Louisiana from Detroit, New Orleans captivated me. Since my high school class toured the city, it has captured my imagination. Spending harrowing days on its streets after Katrina with my blood van broken down in the city let me see the underbelly of the city and the terrible hopelessness and unimaginable corruption and incompetence of the rescue efforts or lack of them.

The roving gangs of drug addicts without access to their drugs. The helicopters with supplies turning away as looters shot at them in the sky. Finding an enclave that could be secured from looters, gangsters, and addicts without their fix.

D.G. shivered. “That would have been scary.”


Rites of Passage by Roland Yeomans


 I nodded.  “It was. I also saw everyday men and women become heroes against all odds. The Salvation Army won my heart as, with their own homes in ruins, the local officers attended the hurting and homeless.”

D.G. took a sip of her drink and said, "Hubs' Dad and grandparents belong to the Salvation Army in Winnipeg, something more common in the forties and fifties."

"And what happened to you after that, Roland?"
 
I looked off into the shadows.  “Surviving that stint, I stayed in Baton Rouge, working again as a blood courier and had access to research materials in the local B and N, where I spent a few hours after each day's work. My days off in Baton Rouge, I volunteered for church groups or individuals who needed someone familiar with the devastated streets of New Orleans.”


 
The Legend of Victor Standish by Roland Yeomans



Alice Wentworth giggled as Victor whispered in her ear as they danced by Melody and D.G. asked, “How is Alice Wentworth different from other paranormal characters?”

I smiled sadly, “Alice is a ghoul ... not a zombie. She has the curse of remembering each of her victims whom she has eaten. Alice was raised with Victorian sensibilities and so is appalled by what she has become.

But have you ever been starving so that your fingers, your very hands shook, that your entire stomach seemed to be a burning hollow inside you? So hungry that all you can think about is what you can eat and how fast can you eat it? Alice can only go so long without eating human flesh.

Victor's mother was instrumental in salvaging her from the ruin that her own mother ineptly voodoo cast her. She gave Alice a time of hibernation between each deep feeding so as to save her sanity.

Unlike vampires, she can go out in the daytime. Unlike vampires, her ashen face, her sunken eyes cannot be mistaken for a normal human's. She is forever apart, forever cursed to be alone ... until Victor, who sees in her a fellow outcast and the beauty residing inside her tortured heart. Since he has been living on the knife's edge all his life, Alice's curse is just a thorn to a beautiful rose.

And since he has eaten out of garbage dumps all his life, kissing the lips of a hauntingly beautiful ghoul is no stretch. And since she has been bathed in the waterfall of Eden, Alice's breath and body smell of apricots. Before then, Victor only cared that she seemed to care for him. Odors he could live with if only he was with someone he loved who loved him back.

Alice has conversed with Carl Jung, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner when they visited New Orleans. She has read widely and is highly intelligent -- no mindless shambling zombie her. Only her wit sparks -- not her body!”

D.G. nodded, saying, “I feel like I know her better now. Apricot is a better smell, I agree.”


The Bear with Two Shadows by Roland Yeomans



As Victor led Alice into the shadows, D.G. said low, “Who was your inspiration for Victor?”

I felt the darkness bleed into my chest.  “When I was six, my father abandoned me on the street in Detroit Mother called Skid Row. He did it to punish Mother for beginning divorce proceedings against him for his untreated alcoholism. I spent six terrible weeks on those streets. A derelict named Maude and her little dog, Tufts, adopted me. She had a paranoid fear of uniforms so it took me coming down with pneumonia before she could bring herself to take me to the Salvation Army.”

D.G. slowly shook her head. “That's terrible, Roland, when parents use their kids as bargaining tools. I never got along with my dad, who wanted a son first, and a stubborn little daughter arrived. But mothers save the day. Now I understand more about some of your characters.”

I smiled sadly, “I wish I could tell you I was just like Victor -- but I wasn't. I wanted to be though! As the idea of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH occured to me from remembering my times on Skid Row, I thought what a teenage Robert Downey, Jr. would be like on those rough streets. I smiled wide at the thought of a teenaged Tony Stark surviving like Ulysses on mean city streets ... and so Victor Standish was born.

Paladin of HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL was the inspiration for Samuel McCord, a haunted man with a past, a classical education, and deadly fighting skills. I just made him a supernatural Paladin! So the Lone Ranger was not my model for Sam. As Sam was the Merlin for Victor, I knew he needed a Merlin himself, so Elu, the Apache diyi, was born as well. So Merlin, not Tonto, was Elu's stepping stone!”

D.G. murmured, “I like the role models you've picked for Victor and for Sam. I like Paladin, he was smart and had a cultured manner.”

She stiffened as Samuel tipped his Stetson to her as he led Meilori to the dance floor.  “This club gives me the shivers, Roland.”

“You should be here when DayStar visits,” I replied.

(Thanks, Roland. Now where's that cab?)

***

Have you considered having some of your writing available in audio format? Do you know Roland's blog? Don't forget to check out his other titles.

Please share in the comments if you know Roland, read his books, or if you like the paranormal element in your reading.

***

References:

http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.ca/  Roland's Blog, Writing in the Crosshairs

http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.ca/2013/04/k-is-for-key-as-in-audio-books-could-be.html  Roland's blogpost about audio book format

***

55 comments:

  1. As always, an interesting interview.

    I haven't really made up my mind about doing audio books yet. Yes, it's a smaller pool, but there's so much to learn about that. And I just got to figure out how to format for paperback.

    And yes, I've been to Roland's blog, but it's funny, Meilori's is everywhere. I feel comfortable around Roland's peeps.

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    1. You're right, and I'm glad to know you like the club. It was interesting to see Roland's world.

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    2. I know we would feel comfortable if you ever visited the club!

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  2. Thanks, D.G., for braving Meilori's to interview me. I was glad to see you brought your pepper spray as I suggested. McCord was watching from the shadows so we were mostly safe ... mostly.

    THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS and THE LAST SHAMAN look like they may be available mid to late June. FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE has just been accepeted to be made into an audio book as well. Wish me well. Thanks again for braving Meilori and for inviting me to your cyber-home, Roland

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    1. It was interesting, but I didn't see Hemingway, so I may have to visit again.

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  3. There's an open invitation for you to visit Meilori's. Someone asked me how to pronounce the word (May-Lore-rees)

    The exit doors to Meilori's open unto different locales so be careful if you come! Sam will help you though. :-)

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    1. Open invite, hmm. I'm glad you added the pronunciation. That's the way I was reading it. Beautiful name for Sam's beloved.

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  4. Looking forward to getting one of his books in audio form!

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    1. I'd like to check them out, too, Alex.

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    2. I'n eager to listen to them, too! Is that silly?

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  5. I'm not much for ghouls and zombies, so I have never read a paranormal book. But I like Roland and his blog, and D. G., I'm very fond of you. My husband is from New Orleans, I mentioned that he is Creole. We have many, many relatives in New Orleans who lived through Katrina, some stayed, some left during the storm. Oh, the stories....This was a fascinating post. Good luck with your audio, Roland.

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    1. Thank you Inger, and back at you.

      I've read a few books but most recently - Roland's, It's the literary aspect to Meilori's that draws me. I recognize the characters and enjoy the interplay and jostling between the powers.

      One day, Inger, maybe you can share some of the good stories. With your hubs' okay of course.

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    2. LET THE WIND BLOW THROUGH YOU has nary a supernatural element to it. It is a novella that Sandra calls FRANK CAPRA meets Louis Lamour meets THE GODFATHER!

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  6. I'm curious about how to set up the audio book. In fact, WiDo is going to release one of its older titles as an audio book and currently researching options. These links will be helpful! Good luck, Roland!

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    1. ACX is the most viable right now since it lets you Royalty Share. Some voice artists charge $200 to $400 an hour and most books take 8 hours! Ouch!!

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  7. I've never been to New Orleans, but it seems to me to be a haunted yet vibrant city. Still can't believe Roland's story (I mean, that an adult could do that to a child, and yet many often do worse). So tragic.

    And cool idea going audio. Best of luck!

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    1. L.G.:
      I couldn't believe it when it was happening to me. My last sight of my father was his car pulling farther and farther away as I yelled, "Daddy!" over and over again.

      I hope going audio is the way to go -- I believe it is!

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  8. Hi, DG, hi, Roland,

    Such an intriguing place to hold an interview!

    I think audio books is a great idea! One of my cliets is blind snd always asks when my books will be audio... So the market is a great place to publish in...

    As soon as I finish the final edits I certainly will be looking into it.

    And yes, I am happy to say Roland is on of my closest blogger friends... He has inspired me his amazing prose since I first starting blogging over three years ago!

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    1. I did want to see the interior of the club, I admit.

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    2. Michael, you're one of my closest blogging friends, too. I hope you choose to do an audio book soon so we can compare notes! (Selfish me!)

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  9. I love New Orleans and am going back to visit next winter. I have a sister who lives in Picayune.
    Roland is a real all around guy. Is there anything he can't do? Is there anyone he won't help?

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    1. I would love to visit there one day. It's always been on my list. Basin Street and all that jazz.

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    2. Susan, Sam just swatted me with his Stetson so I wouldn't get a swell head from your nice words! New Orleans has never quite sprung back from Katrina -- too many old timers are gone and with them, the essence and history of the place. But it is still magical! :-)

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  10. Terrific interview! Wishing you boundless success with your audiobook venture, Roland. As you know, I adore New Orleans. When I say that, most locals assume I've never been outside the Quarter—they'd be wrong. I know firsthand that New Orleans has a prodigious underbelly, but it remains the city of my heart.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Thanks, VR! Yes, New Orleans is a deadly mistress. McCord found himself the Quarter's defender when former President John Adams asked him to say the first city that came to mind when he thought "beautiful but diseased."

      But New Orleans is a city that does capture your heart if you linger long enough ... and stay alive.

      I love your excerpts from your Wicca novel in progress. :-)

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  11. I would actually like to see, no hear, more audio books out there. My husband and I love to listen while driving on long road trips.

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    1. Julie, so do I. I hope my audio books can add a little enjoyment and laughter along weary miles.

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    2. That's what many authors love to hear, Julie. It's great for commuters and on long trips. I wonder how this works out if you have a child with you. Great to hear for authors converting some of their work to audio format!

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    3. It is more difficult to listen to audio books with little ears around who want to listen to their own music, movies, etc. and be discerning what I would have those same little ears overhear! But, I'm hoping someday soon we'll get him situated with headphones... (especially to go with that new iPad mini he just got for his birthday!) So, for now, audio books are for adult-only road trips or when the little passenger is sleeping! A note on the latter: listening to an audio book is far less disruptive to a slumbering backseat passenger than music, while still able to help keep the driver awake.

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    4. My BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS is WIND IN THE WILLOWS meets LORD OF THE RINGS done Native American style. I believe it would be suitable for young ears as the story is based on the tales my Lakota mother told me at my bedside while I was ill.

      Thanks for the helpful not about audio books being less disruptive to young sleepers on long road trips than music. :-)

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  12. Hi DG and Roland .. what a great interview - intertwined with reality .. and your struggles, reminding us others have many more difficulties and we really can do more for life with life.

    I'm so looking forward to hearing your books Roland, and my Kindle might really be up and running once the A-Z is over .. bliss!

    Cheers to you both - great interview DG and I'm so pleased you enticed Roland and Victor out across to the RainForest Writing arena ..

    PS I love the music of Melody Gardot and such appropriate words!

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, Melody blows you a kiss from Meilori's stage. The interview was made great by D. G. doing it. I hope my audio books will soon be out. THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS seems to be the one nearing the finish line first. :-)

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    2. Thanks Hilary, Roland definitely has interesting stories to tell. I'm reading The Bear with Two Shadows now, Rites of Passage is next and I've already read The Legend of Victor Standish. See my book reviews. I love Melody's voice and music too!
      Thanks for visiting, Hilary, during the hectic A to Z.

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  13. New Orleans is certainly a colorful place. Nice interview!

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    1. All it takes is a fertile imagination. Roland has one and so do you, Sherry.

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  14. Sherry, New Orleans is certainly a colorful place -- even more so at night (but more dangerous too!)

    D.G., thanks for the kind words!

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  15. I can't imagine anything more exciting than New Orleans and murder! It's perfect!
    Good luck Roland, and thanks to D.G. for being so generous and supporting the writing community. :-)

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    1. It was my pleasure, Lexa. I'll be reviewing a few of Roland's books soon.
      Congrats again to you!

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    2. Yes, Lexa, congratulations to you. The only thing more exciting than New Orleans and murder is SURVIVING being murdered in New Orleans! :-)

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    3. Thank you once again for being so gracious as to interview me, D.G. And I thank you in advance for those reviews! :-)

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  16. Lucky you visiting with Roland and AT Meilori's. Roland is an incredible writer and an absolutely awesome person.

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    1. Hi farawayeyes, I was lucky to be able to visit the famed Meilori's. It's something I won't forget, but darn, didn't get to see Hemingway. . .

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    2. farawayeyes, that is very nice of you to say. Being a rare blood courier is draining, so it has taken me so long to say this THANKS. Meilori's has a spot for you if you ever wish it. :-)

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    3. Golden Eagle, driving long hours have sold me on audio books. Odd Thomas, Harry Dresden, and Mercy Thompson have been old friends now from their audio books!

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  17. This was a fantastic interview!

    I've never actually listened to an audiobook. I feel like I should get around to changing that in the near future!

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    1. Thanks, Golden Eagle, I think I'd like to have audio books on long trips, too.

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  18. This was a great interview! How very sad about his father, though.

    Good luck with your audio book!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. Thanks, Shannon. I survived, and my father robbed himself of more than he knew. Thanks also for the well wishes for my books. It seems THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS may be the first of my books to come available. Or THE LAST SHAMAN. I think you would like either, Roland

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  19. Glad you liked it. I wanted to get more background on a few of those characters.

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    1. Alice says no wonder that you wanted to know more about her since Victor seems to hog the show so often! :-) Thanks for having me here. May your Sunday be healing. I slept most of yesterday. Man, am I a fun guy!

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  20. hi, DG, thanks for visiting my blog :) great interview with DreamSinger. isn't he terrific?

    hey Roland! it was illuminating getting to know some of the inspirations behind some of your characters. Victor should be honored, btw. not every character gets born from a Lakota Shaman-Warrior-Samaritan-Magician-Creator person.

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    1. Yes, Roland, what she said. (thanks,Victor)

      Thanks Words Crafter, and I agree, 'DreamSinger' indeed dreams well.

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    2. Thanks, WordCrafter. D.G. is the terrific one. :-)

      Victor thinks I should be honored to be the teller of HIS tales. LOL.

      It is so good to be re-united with you. I've missed you, Roland

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