Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to Know Writer, Editor, Translator... ÉLISABE...

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to Know Writer, Editor, Translator...
: Get to Know Writer, Editor, Translator...   É LISABETH VONARBURG  É lisabeth Vonarburg NK -  Élisabeth, you were born in Par...
Get to Know Writer, Editor, Translator...
Élisabeth Vonarburg

NK - Élisabeth, you were born in Paris, France where EVERYONE would love to live and yet you don't. What brought you to Canada, and, specifically, to Chicoutimi, Québec?

ÉV - I never lived in Paris and certainly wouldn’t love to live there, although I like to go there as a tourist! It has its charm, in certain places. I am a country girl at heart. Chance or, as I like to believe, serendipity, brought me to Québec and more specifically to Chicoutimi, thanks to a program of “military cooperation” between France and Canada—various young scientists were sent all over the world instead of doing their military service. I was just part of my then husband’s luggage. But we both wanted to leave France, which in the early Seventies, post-68, was an even shittier place to be than it is now.

NK - You are a fiction and non-fiction writer, a poet, an editor and a translator (you've translated the works of Tanith Lee and Marion Zimmer Bradley to French, among others). You are a lecturer, and for eleven years have been literary director of the science fiction publication, Solaris. You hosted the radio show Demain la veille on Radio Canada, and won Le Grand Prix de la SF francaise for Le Silence de la Cité/Silent City, and a Philip K. Dick award special citation for In the Mothers' Land/Chroniques du pays des mères. You have published...I've lost count of the many dozens of novels and short stories in French! Some of your work has been translated into English, German, Japanese and Romanian. What in the world fuels you?

ÉV - I’m easily bored. But seriously, words fuel me—I did read a lot, still do, although quite a bit less. Dreams fuel me—I still dream a lot. The world fuels me. And fortunately “reality” has only a limited hold on me. I fell into SF & Fantasy and genres in general at fifteen, which was the Golden Age in the early Sixties. I would likely never have written a line if not for SF. And I have been blessed with what we French call une heureuse nature, i.e. mostly a lot of energy. Winding down, now, but still…

NK - Folklore has it that you had a Big Dream and out of that emerged your Tyranael series, the initial book Dreams of the Sea/Les rêves de la mer. Please talk about that dream and that series.

ÉV - As with many folktales, that one is true. I had just fallen into SF etc. and begun voraciously reading everything I could find, a very œcumenical (read: everything and the kitchen sink) approach to genres, for which I am extremely grateful, in French then in English. After about a year of that diet, I Had A Dream. Which amounts to one sentence in the journal I was then keeping. And I could say that all that I wrote from then on was contained in that one sentence—until I met Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, that is. 

I started writing at sixteen, wrote four complete versions of it, 2000 pages each, first long-hand, then on a rickety-tick-tick typewriter, and finished the fourth version in 1978. I dabbled at it for two more versions (incomplete) while growing up and writing other stuff like Silent City and In The Mothers’ Land. Found out at some point that the damned thing was still very much alive in my heart and mind and decided to Finish It for my fiftieth birthday. So it took 34 years. It evolved from a trilogy (it was a series from the very beginning—I’m a cathedral builder!) to a pentalogy (five books); it is a loving hommage to classic SF (i.e. what I’d read between ages 15 and 25), with a few twists of course. It's a planet story (two planets in fact) taking a thousand years to unfold, with Terrans and Others, mutants, colonists who break away from Bad Mother Earth, and Diversely Mysterious Stuff. I wanted to stay true to the original dream and what I’d found (partly) it meant to me, not betray it by “modernizing” it, i.e. adding all I had learned (and read) in the interval SF-wise as well as myself-wise (or unwise). It is still the only world (and story) in which I would like to live, of all those I've created. I literally lived there for at least fifteen years, from inception to the fourth version. I grew up with it—it helped me grow up—in more ways than one.

NK - What are you working on at the moment that would be of interest to English and French readers?

ÉV - Well, I am always amazed that anything I am interested in writing can be of interest to anyone but me. But since you asked: a science-fiction novel (after two pseudo-fantasy series taking place in a parallel universe, one from a XVIth to a XIXth century and one mostly set in a XIIIth century). An honest-to-goddess SCIENCE-fiction novel, yeah, with which I hope to come to grips with what we are currently going through. But I am not an almost-here-and-now kind of SF writer, I must take wide detours to grapple with contemporary questions, be it feminism, politics, economics or ecology (which will all be motifs in the novel). So: two planets, and multi-parallel universes. Ah: and a black hole!

NK - You are a translator of many books and your writing also has been translated. Any thought on both processes?

ÉV - My first translation from English to French dates back to my encounter with SF: I spent a depressed month of July 1967 translating John Windham’s The Chrysalids. I loved the experience and later on, it helped. At some point, I had the opportunity of translating for a Belgium publisher (a novel by Tanith Lee). After that, I begged the literary editor of Denoël's SF line Présence du Futur to allow me to translate Tiptree’s Up The Walls of the World and, seeing a sample of what I could do, she let me do it. Since then I've translated a lot of American, British and Canadian authors, with the added bonus that at some point I worked for a French publisher who let me choose what I wanted to translate. 

I love translating. When I have to do it instead of writing, to earn a living, it is still writing. And my luck has mostly held, translating what I like—not that I choose anymore, but I usually like the stories I translate. I am very happy about introducing a new readership to them. Translators are what we call in French passeurs, people who serve as links between cultures and people. I’m glad I’ve been given the opportunity to be one, in my modest measure, for the genres I love. 

As for being translated, that’s a whole other bag of beans. And also a comfortable one for me, as I have been blessed with two wonderful translators, very different, but both excellent, Jane Brierley and Howard Scott, both recipients of the Governor General Award for translation—not for my books I hasten to add, although they might as well have been, in my opinion! Jane knew nothing about SF and I educated her while she educated me, much more importantly, in what translation means when you are the one being translated. Howard knows and loves SF but I learned as much from him as from Jane, translation-wise. I collaborated with both of them, as much as 50%, I’d say, and they were nice enough to let me do it. I certainly became a better translator for having been translated, thanks to them. And a better writer, too. Jane has a writer’s soul. It helps. When she and Candas Jane Dorsey (the then publisher and literary editor of Tesseract Books, and also a genre writer, and an excellent one) revised In The Mothers' Land with me, they persuaded me to change some important things (something that wasn’t in character for one of the protagonists) and they were so right! I realized then what a really good translator and a really good literary editor could do, how much they could help a story be the best it can be. Which is why I bemoan the downward spiraling of quality in both translators and editors nowadays (and especially with the laxism in auto-publishing). But that is another rant.



Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to know Graphic Artist andPhotographer ISTVAN...

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to know Graphic Artist and
Photographer ISTVAN...
: Get to know Graphic Artist and Photographer ISTVAN KADAR... Istvan Kadar NK - You work with images. Did that interest in v...

Get to know Graphic Artist and

Photographer ISTVAN KADAR...

Istvan Kadar

NK - You work with images. Did that interest in visual art come about in childhood, or later?

IK - It started in my childhood. My parents told me that I liked to draw and paint rather than playing with others in the kindergarten.

When I finished high school, I knew I wanted to be a professional in the art field. For a while, I was torn between acting and going along the path of visual art, but very soon I realized I'd feel more comfortable working behind the curtain, so I went to college for graphic design. I am a self-taught photographer.

NK - What led you to this work professionally?

IK - After I finished my studies I got a job as a graphic designer at Icon Magazine where I worked with images and I fell in love with that process. Later I held the post of Art Director at notable advertising agencies, both in Budapest, Hungary and in Toronto, Canada. Now, though, I focus more on my own art, and I work as a freelance graphic designer from home.

NK - You have a large body of work and I know your images sell on the Getty sites. Getty site

IK - I love traveling and that's a huge part of why I started to take travel photos and sell them on Getty. It's almost like a dream job: go see the world and meanwhile you take photos and make a living from that. But unfortunately, I'm not employed as a travel photographer. I pay my own travel expenses, and while there is an income, I can't make a living from only selling travel photos. Stock photography pays about 15%-20% of the price charged for a photo. Still, if you want to sell, I think it's worth it to work with the big agencies. Large companies and corporations search for stock photos because they can browse millions of images on the major sites. That, by the way, brings up an interesting question: why wouldn't someone just Google my name and buy my photos much cheaper from my website: Istvan Kadar Design

NK - You've won the National Geographic first prize in the Nature Category, and the Hungarian Press Photo Award. Clearly, there are some photos that are closer to your heart, like your amazing images from Transylvania, where you were born. 

IK - Taking photos where I grew up is always close to my heart. The great memories and nostalgia give them a special value.

NK - You designed the fabulous covers for my new series and I know you've done covers for several other writers' books. Can you say something about the process of doing a book cover?

IK - Designing book covers is my favorite graphic design work. It involves combining photography, illustration, and typography. I've always admired writers because I am not that great with words, so it's a terrific feeling to create visual art for another artist. I love creating something that's in the writer's mind and bringing it to life as an image.

NK - How can people contact you to see or buy your photos, or to hire you for graphic artwork?

IK - Anyone can reach me on my contact page here: Istvan Kadar contact

Photoshoot in Pamukkale, Turkey

Buffalo Farmer, Guilin, China

Cormorant Fisher, Li River, China

Lambs, Transylvania, Romania

Bran Castle, Transylvania

Art Photo

The Toad Prince

Book Covers

Cover Designs by Istvan Kadar

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Get to know writer & software genius RICK CHIANTARETTO... 

Rick Chiantaretto

NK - You're a writer of fiction and also a software genius. It's unusual to be both a word and a visual artist. How do those two careers get along within the same human being?

RC – I’ve always joked that my day isn’t complete until I’ve exercised both halves of my brain. My day job is incredibly logical—I’m a software engineer who develops large-scale commerce solutions for some of the world’s leading retailers. It’s all about problem-solving and solution architecting. But I also need an inspiring, creative outlet. I used writing as an escape from the worlds of math and science pretty early on in my schooling. I didn’t fall in love with writing until my senior year in high school, where I had an incredible A.P. English teacher.

I feel like graphic design and website work help unite my two interests. I get to be logical on the back end, but with the caveat that the finished project has to be a visual delight, polished, and user-friendly.

NK - What do you love most about graphic design, and what do you love most about fiction writing?

RC – I’ll be honest here: I think these two loves feed into two sides of my ego. I love being the source of information and the person people ask for when they need a problem solved. I like being the expert and the recognition that comes with that. At the same time, I also love entertaining people and am a story-teller at heart.

NK - You recently moved from Costa Rica back to the U.S. How has that move affected your work and your writing?

RC – I thought I would be extremely creative in Costa Rica. We had this amazing opportunity to experience life in a foreign country and I thought it would inspire me to move toward a slower way of life. It was a dream come true but ended up being a challenge for me creatively. I’m still not sure I understand why, but I’m glad to be back in the USA. I’m sure all of the Costa Rica experiences will become inspiration over the course of my life (in fact, some of their urban legends are just itching to be written), but while I was there I found myself preoccupied with my day job. I think maybe my creativity was zapped by things like finding creative ways to get internet to my house (true story)!

NK - You're busy. If you have any spare time, what do you do with it?

RC - I've often been accused of having done more in my life than the average person my age, but if I were completely honest I'd have to tell you my secret: I'm really 392. I enjoy the occasional Bloody Mary, although a Bloody Kathy or Susan will suffice. Mostly, I just try to keep a low profile so people don't figure out who I REALLY am.

NK - Lastly, can you mention a few projects where people can see your design work and read your fiction?

RC – Of course! Thanks for the opportunity! In the fiction world, I’m most proud of my Crossing Death trilogy (I’m working on the last book, Death of the Soul, now). Death of the Body (book 1) and Death of the Spirit (book 2) are available on Amazon. This is the series that finally made me feel like I can call myself an author, and the feedback I’ve gotten on them blows my mind. I also have short stories published in Nevermore! and a twisted fairy tale anthology titled Twice Upon a Time.

I wrote my first novel while still in high school. It was a YA vampire tale, Façade of Shadows. The first professional to ever write a blurb for it was YOU, Nancy! I don’t think you realize how exciting that was for a high school kid to have his work taken seriously by someone he looked up to for so long. I’m glad we’ve kept in touch.

My latest graphics/engineering project is my new website, This website marks the first time I’ve brought my creative vision, engineering skills, personality (it’s a little kitschy, just like me), spirituality (there’s a whole ‘nother interview in there), and writing together into one project. Hopefully, it’s going to be a huge, ongoing part of my life (and it’s probably not in a state today where I should even be talking about it, but I’m excited for the potential). I also designed my website: 
And these: 

Rick's Latest Novels

Rick's Short Stories

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to know writer CARO SOLES...Caro SolesNK - ...

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Get to know writer CARO SOLES...

Caro Soles
NK - ...
: Get to know writer CARO SOLES... Caro Soles NK - When did you start writing, and why writing instead of, say, singing? CS - Actuall...
Get to know writer CARO SOLES...

Caro Soles

NK - When did you start writing, and why writing instead of, say, singing?

CS - Actually, I did start with singing first, but writing soon took over. I wrote as a child, lurid tales of daring do, long story ballads which all ended badly, and even an opera. Very short. It was called Sigismundo in the Tower. No idea what he was doing up there, but he did sing. Briefly. I even managed to win my school’s Essay Competition with a short story. Never been done before, or probably since!

NK - You've written in many genres: SF, mystery, fantasy, horror and more. A lot of writers, the majority,  stick to one or two genres.  Why not you?

CS - I don’t read just one genre so I don’t see why I should stick to writing just one, either. Writing is about exploring the inner and outer landscape for me and sometimes I like to make up that landscape. My last two books have been mysteries, one in New York City in 1916, one in Toronto in 1985. The one I am working on now is sf and the book coming out next year is literary fiction. It’s all about the story and how it is best told.

NK - You have what today might be deemed a 'space opera', a series of hermaphroditic dancing aliens from the planet Merculian. Where did this wild idea come from?

CS - The first novel I ever wrote was a Star Trek novel, or at least I thought it was. I have the rejection letter framed on my office wall. My main character (and my big mistake) was my own invention, an emotional hermaphrodite from Merculian who had joined the Enterprise after his graduation from Star Fleet Academy. He was everything the military ship was not and this intrigued me. I kept thinking about the idea and eventually, the Merculian sagas were born. There is a strong gay element in the books and originally they were marketed as gay SF. Three will be republished this year and the new one will appear when it is ready. All have dance in the title, since dance features prominently in the stories.

NK - What are you working on atm and when can we expect to read it?

CS - At the moment I am working on the fourth novel set in the world of the Merculians, but this time it is a murder mystery. Who killed the young dancer from a powerful family who was favored to win a prestigious dance competition? It is interesting to think about how a pleasure-loving peaceful society copes with sudden violent death and how their police force operates. This may take a while, though I hope to have it ready to go late this year. And then there is the fifth…lurking in my notebooks so far.

Caro`s latest Mysteries

Caro's latest Sci Fi

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Icy Rain and in a Plane for...Costa Rica! That w...

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Icy Rain and in a Plane for... Costa Rica!  That w...: Icy Rain and in a Plane for... Costa Rica!   That was a wonderful experience, leaving the cold behind and landing in a tropical clim...
Icy Rain and in a Plane for...

Costa Rica! 

That was a wonderful experience, leaving the cold behind and landing in a tropical climate for 10 glorious days. This holiday was under the auspices of a dear friend, once-in-a-lifetime, to be sure.

From Costa Rica's Liberia airport, it was a 3+ hr. ride to Arenal, the closest town being La Fortuna, not quite halfway between the west and east coasts of the country, in the north close to Nicaragua. The town is fortunate because the early settlers found it a fertile region and also because lava from the volcano stopped before it reached the town.

We stayed for the first 4 days in close view of Volcano Arenal. This is one of the 200 or so volcanos in Costa Rica. Only about 5 or 6 are still active. This one last erupted in 2010.

Volcano Arenal 

Mostly I lounged by the pool and swam daily, and visited the on-site hot springs (the general area is awash with hot springs), basically just getting acclimatized to the warmth and humidity, drinking my share of Pina Coladas, the only rum drink I like.

Yes, there were bugs.  I'm that person who frees bugs caught indoors (except mosquitoes. No, not mosquitoes). I spent time every day trying to rescue various bugs from our luxury room. Oddly, there were no screens anywhere so the little things could get in easily.  One early evening (sunset is around 5:30 pm and it gets dark there by 6 pm) I was reading in bed when a giant moth flew out from under my bed, flapped crazily around the room and finally landed on a beam above the glass door. I'd already freed one giant moth the night before that either was playing dead or really was in that state—I found it on a pillow. Either way, I put it out on the balcony. It was gone the next morning. If it didn't fly away, the wind took its corpse afar.

Fortunately, there were no mosquitoes, although my arsenal contained: BUG (an anti-mosquito natural spray I bought on Amazon); Citronella (my friend bought for me on Amazon); Deet (which my friend had brought along for herself and I had access to); Skin So Soft by Avon (which another friend gave me because it has a rep as a mosquito repellent). I didn't use any of these products.

We did one rafting tour over very small rapids and saw Howler Monkeys high up in trees, lots of birds of various sorts, long-nosed bats resting on a tree's bole for the day, iguanas of different colors, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 hrs. through water surrounded by a dense growth of trees and plants of all sorts that produced some of the best air in the world.  I wanted to stay there just to keep breathing the oxygen as it likely should be found on this planet.

This Spectacle Owl couple was the highlight of that raft ride.

Spectacle Owls

The place we stayed in is a hotel/spa and I had a pedicure while my friend had a mani-pedi. There were a few flying bugs in the spa and the pedicurist said (translated by my friend) that they were not mosquitoes but bees. Until a yellow one landed on my leg which she picked off with her fingers, dropped on the floor, and it crept away stunned. Fortunately, it didn't sting me. Translation said it was NOT a bee but a wasp!

We headed south on what was supposed to be a 3-hour car trip but took 5-1/2 hrs., stopping only twice, once at a hotel that sold papaya jam by the jar, which of course I bought.  On the deck was a charanga, a small rodent-like animal that was given a slice of bread by one of the servers.


On the road, there were many other animals, from the domesticated horses, cows, cats, and dogs, to these guys, members of the raccoon family.

A community of Coatis

Our new location was Tamarindo, a beach/surfing town on the Pacific Ocean about half-way between the northern and southern-most boundaries of Costa Rica. Our wonderful hotel had a huge pool surrounded by forest on all sides, and I swam in the shade of the palm trees several times a day. My friend went to the property's private beach for the sunsets, and I was there once, but I have delicate, pale skin that requires me staying out of the sun (and which keeps me from many things in sunny climates).

The spa therapists gave free 10-minute neck and shoulder rubs by the pool which convinced my friend and me to buy full body massages. I've never had a massage outdoors before. It was in a curtained area surrounded by forest, the curtains blowing in the small breezes that wafted through which caressed the skin. What a lovely experience.

This area had lots of little black bitey bugs and mosquitoes and I suffered maybe a dozen bites overall during the last couple of days. We had a cabin to ourselves, which was amazingly wonderful. These small buildings sit here and there within the tropical forest, narrow winding paths to each, ours fortunately near the pool and the restaurant. The room didn't have many bugs but I did notice a twig on the bathroom floor moving very slowly, not the multipeds we in the north are familiar with as it seemed to have no legs. It took two days for it to reach the shadows under my bed where, apparently, all bugs were destined.

We took another tour, this time on a boat, to where the ocean (salt) and inland (fresh) waters meet. It was a terrific couple of hours with a super friendly and knowledgeable guide and we saw many birds, monkeys, and two crocodiles. Costa Rica takes care of its wild animals with no-hunting no-feeding laws. Tourism is their 'green gold' as the guide said, and they recognize the value of nature. This is why the boats can get near the shore and people can see the animals, which are not afraid and which do not come for handouts of people-food.

Young crocodile

Beautiful Blue Heron

I can't say enough about how wonderful it was to get out of winter clothes and into near-naked warmth. There are many things I could have done, like seeing the turtles laying eggs on the beach, but in truth I was pretty beat from the horrible weather in December and January which kept me locked indoors with a long and horrible cold/flu thing (icy cold weather which I've returned to in early February!) I had work to do, but really didn't mind doing it in the warmth.  

I swam several times a day. Ate papaya and mango each morning. Read books!!! Enjoyed two meals a day and lost a few pounds. Listened to Howler Monkeys every night that sometimes jumped on our roof, and saw them close up as they visited the pool area in the afternoons. Raccoons converged on the outdoor restaurant during the dinner hour and one night I saw 7 of them in the restaurant. Neither hotel was crowded with humans and that worked for me. (And OK, I fended off mosquitoes towards the end but didn't use products. If I've contracted Malaria, Zika or Durango Fever, it's my own fault!). I guess this is called a vacation. 

I'm exceedingly grateful to my friend—who wishes to remain anonymous—without whom I would not have had this incredible trip. 

I'm so lucky!!!

(in Arenal)
A break instead of a breakdown