Greetings, my faithful readers!
This month, I have a shitton of tours and cover reveals to get through. With any luck, I’ll remember when and who and where. 😉
To begin the tours this month, we have a contemporary fiction filled with murder, mystery, and intrigue. It’s called All This Time by Tiffani Burnett-Velez.
Keep scrolling through for my interview with her, and the giveaway! One of you could be the lucky winner! Good luck to everyone and have fun!
Title: All This Time
Author: Tiffani Burnett-Velez
Publication Date: April 3 2015
Book Links: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N
Syrian-American, Lydia Fadoul, has spent a year waiting for her fiancé to return from war in Iraq, only to discover that he is broken by trauma and the devastating effects of PTSD. Just when he finally agrees to seek help, he takes his own life and leaves behind a story of murder, betrayal, and mystery.
In her second, contemporary fiction novel since Budapest, Tiffani Burnett-Velez weaves a fast-paced literary tale about the rumors we believe and the prejudices we create in order to protect our hearts from the truth.
AN INTERVIEW WITH TIFFANI BURNETT-VELEZ
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A: When I was six years old and wrote my first sentence. I know it had something to do with Sherlock Holmes, because my father was a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and used to read the stories to my older brother and I all the time. I remember looking up at my dad and asking, “Daddy, how do you spell Sherlock?” That was the beginning, and I told him that I was going to be a writer when I grew up. He said, “Lot’s of people say that.” I guess I took it as a challenge, and I have surprised myself. It’s not a pipe dream if you’re a hard worker and have some talent, which can be cultivated.
Q: Why do you write so often about war?
A: That’s a great question. My first novel, Budapest, is not directly about war, but Anna Laszlo, the main character, is searching out the home her grandmother lived in before she was murdered in the Holocaust, so I guess war influences the story. But it is also about human trafficking and domestic abuse, while still being hysterical and quirky in places. In A Berlin Story, I was compelled to learn what it was like for a young woman surviving the Fall of Berlin in 1946. I had this image in my head of her sitting in her living room, the walls are shaking, the windows are crashing with the violent rumble of Soviet tanks as they move down her street, and she knows, at that moment, her life is going to change forever. All This Time was originally a story about a man who dies immediately after sustaining serious injuries in Iraq. However, my original editor and I, decided on a major plot change, and I immediately went to the Syrian community in Allentown, Pennsylvania and murder in Iraq. I have no idea why I am drawn to write about conflict and PTSD so much. I guess, because both my father and stepfather are veterans, and both have PTSD. I saw the effects up close, and I know the effect every area of a person’s life.
Q: About your latest novel, All This Time, specifically – Why did you choose to write about a Syrian-American family in All This Time? Are you Syrian?
A: I love this part of writing, peeling back the layers. No, I’m not Syrian, but I learned from “The Albanian Virgin”, a short story by Alice Munro, that one does not have to be part of a culture to write it well from the inside out. Also, Syria and its people are complicated, beautiful, and ancient. How could one not be attracted to that? Additionally, Syria is experiencing a horrendous civil war right now and innocents are dying every day, but we’re not talking about it anymore. I want to get it back into the American discussion.
Q: Why isn’t Lydia Fadoul Muslim? Aren’t most Middle Easterners Muslim?
A: Firstly, people from that region of the world don’t use the term “Middle East”, as it is not a real place. What we consider the Middle East is Africa and Asia, and within those places, there are large pockets of Christians and other religions as well. In fact, the largest Christian Syrian population outside of Syria lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, just a few miles from my home. I drive through the neighborhoods where my characters live, move, and eat fine hummus, nearly every day.
Originally, Lydia was Muslim, but because I was raised Catholic (and have extensive experience with Eastern Catholics and I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy a few years ago), I run a much greater chance of NOT offending whole religious groups and people by writing what I know. I would have loved to have made Lydia Muslim. However, I just didn’t feel that I held the appropriate knowledge to do so. I’ve ventured out into worlds I’ve never been to with Budapest and A Berlin Story (but I’m connected to both places and experiences, so it’s not completely foreign), and “Little Syria” as it’s called here in the Lehigh Valley is only a short drive away. I’m getting bolder, though, and I’ll venture out further each time I write.
Q: Did you have to do a lot of research for All This Time?
A: Yes, quite a bit, actually. Besides the cultural learning curve, I spent several hours pestering my father and stepfather (both US Air Force veterans) about military rankings, whether or not this idea or that was plausible, etc…
I HOPE YOUR BOOK DOES WELL AND THAT YOU CONTINUE FOLLOWING YOUR “SUPPOSED” PIPE DREAMS! 😉
Her first novel, Budapest, was featured in the New York Book Festival and the 4 2nd Annual Conference of Jewish Librarians and it’s re-release became a 2014 Amazon Bestseller in Literary and Inspirational Fiction.
Her second contemporary novel, All This Time, will be released by Booktrope in 2015, and the second, A Berlin Story, in her bestselling WWII novella series, Embers of War, is an Amazon Historical German Fiction Bestseller.
She has studied English Literature at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania and holds a BA in Cognitive Science from Ashford University. She is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing.
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