Everyone, please welcome Stephen Whitfield to the blog today! He’s here to chat about other great historical fiction novels, difficult jobs in comparison to writing, and more! I’ve quite enjoyed Whitfield’s novel, Omari and the People. A big thank you to Jess at The Audio Book Worm for setting up this book tour. Swing by the tour page to catch more interview, reviews, guest posts, and giveaways (including audiobook giveaways!).
Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?
I believe modern fantasy reflects the culture which produces it. What entertains us says a lot about the best and worst of who we are, through fantastic tales of violence and magic, romance and natural beauty.
If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?
I have re-read the Aubrey-Maturin series of novels by Patrick O’Brian three times, and I intend to read them again. The man has a lot to say and he says it marvelously.
Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?
I’d like for the mundane details in life to only be used in my writing where there is meaning for them, without causing unnecessary offense. Gratuitous vulgarity can spoil a story.
What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?
Once I worked as a temp paralegal in Manhattan and I was so good at it the firm offered me a permanent job as an accountant. The problem was, I had no experience as an accountant, but the money was so good I could not turn it down. Lasted a week. I know something about writing, so writing compares favorably.
Which ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?
The Odyssey by Homer. Seems like it is a great, smart story.
In this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?
I enjoy the outcome of promotion more than the act itself. I like to see sales and even more, thoughtful reviews which come as a result of a successful campaign. I am not a big fan of social media but I’m told it is an essential part of advertising.
If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?
Leo Tolstoy, Patrick O’Brian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Phillip K. Dick, Malcolm X, Dorothy Day. (Is that five?) They would order Fish and Loaves.
What is the first book you remember reading on your own?
War and Peace
You have to run an obstacle course. Who do you invite along (living or dead, real or fictional)? Will there be a tasty libation involved?
I would invite the men of Com Platoon, 2nd Battalion, Second Marines,circa 1982. I would imagine there would be a great deal of tasty libations involved.
Chicago-born Stephen Whitfield began writing as a Marine Corps print journalist. His writing has appeared in military publications, as well as the Kansas City Star and the Jersey Journal. He holds degrees from from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Indiana University. His various adventures have taken him to such places as London, Paris, Trondheim, Johannesburg, Beirut, most of The Virgin Islands and the wilder neighborhoods of Chicago.
Synopsis of Omari and the People
In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based in part on the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home afire to start anew and to cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place which only he can lead them to, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The desperate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead – his very life – is jeopardized.