Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Interview - Threshold by Patricia J. Anderson- Exclusive Excerpt

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style depends on whether I’m writing fiction, nonfiction, flash fiction, or poetry.

Do you write in different genres?

Yes, I do. I’ve done straight realistic fiction, a little magical realism, and now, with Threshold, I’ve wandered into the wonderful world of the fable. Fables may seem like a marginal genre these days but if you look at the proliferation of animated feature films, you’ll see we’re actually awash in fables. Movies that include talking animals are big. And if you think about it, a lot of the fantasy books, films and television series we love are really fables in disguise. They are filled with a wide range of human, animal, and mythic creatures all living in stories that purport to teach us something; something about life or love or what is admirable in life and what is not so admirable. That’s the exact definition of a fable. It’s really a very popular genre, we just call it by other names now.

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

I love them all. Each one asks something different of you and each one has its joys and challenges (and by “challenges” I mean ---  “arrrrggggg.”) Any kind of fiction is really fun because you’re creating a world in your head and every morning when you sit down to write, you make that world a little more real. It’s pretty neat really.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

It came to me in a dream. Seriously. I’m not kidding. I was working on the second draft of Threshold and one morning I woke up and realized I’d dreamt about walking along a path in the woods and suddenly there was a kind of gateway made of trees whose top branches arched overhead to create a beautiful tunnel-like entrance to something wonderful. Unfortunately I woke up before I stepped inside to the something wonderful, but I knew then that was my title – Threshold.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

Occasionally I know from the beginning but usually it’s better to wait. Sometimes books start out being about one thing and wind up being about something else, in which case, as I say, it’s better to wait until you know what you’ve got, then name it. 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

If we are greedy and fearful, we actually help to create and reinforce a greedy, fearful environment. If we are compassionate in our actions we actually create a more humane path in our lives, in our communities, and ultimately in our politics and our world. Matter and consciousness interact. Physicists are beginning to realize that this is true. Quantum mechanics is proving it. Hopefully, this will become something we realize is also true in the most ordinary, everyday way. Every action we take creates the future.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

No. Except for the dream of the trees. Wait. Are dreams “real life?” 

What books are in your to read pile?

“Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?” by Frans De Waal
“Natural Causes,” by Barbara Ehrenreich
“Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,” by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
“Sapiens,” by Yuval Noah Harari

Patricia J. Anderson

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Common Deer Press

Date of Publication: March 27, 2018

ISBN Digital: 978-1-988761-17-6
ISBN Print: 978-1-988761-16-9

Number of pages: 240
Word Count:  66,000

Cover Artist: Carl Weins

Tagline: Fantastic Mr. Fox meets The Tao of Physics

Book Description:

The population of Ooolandia (a world much like our own but with an extra "O") is hypnotized by the culture of MORE. Citizens of all kinds and colors go about their lives unaware that hidden in the fog of everydayness a great calamity is approaching.

Banshooo, an amazingly mindful monkey, works for the Ooolandian Department of Nature with his colleague a mathlete mouse. Together they have amassed data proving, beyond any doubt, that the natural world is losing the stability necessary to sustain life. Unfortunately, their warnings are ignored by the authorities who are planning to phase out nature altogether.

Freaky winds, icy earthquakes, and mutant anemones plague the landscape. After a wildly devastating storm, Banshooo has a vision revealing the connection between Ooolandia and the Unseen World -- a connection that lies deep within and far beyond all that is seen. This connection is vital to Ooolandia's survival, and it is fraying. He realizes he must take radical action. Along with his quirky sidekick (a one-off of unique appearance whose primary interest is snacking), he sets out on a journey beyond the surface of the Seen to bring back proof of the true nature of nature.

Threshold Excerpt 2

It comes in the night with no warning, a fierce force, unknown to anyone before now. Even the nocturnal beings are caught unaware by the sudden, swift difference. Beneath Banshooo’s house in Blooo Meadow, a low, rumbling sound moves along the ground. The windows rattle. Banshooo stands up from his desk, listening. The rumbling grows louder. Everything begins to throb. A lamp crashes to the floor. He hurries to the porch and looks out into the abruptly foreign night.
            Stinging bursts of light flash like knives cutting open the sky. Wind charges across the meadow, leaving the field grass flat against the ground. Banshooo holds tight to the porch railing. A slice of the roof flies off, disappearing into the dark. He watches in shock as a whirlwind spawns funnels in the field, each funnel creating a vortex that lifts grass, leaves, and soil into the air then plunges them back down, as if some huge hand is scooping up chunks of ground and smashing them against the earth. He’s in the middle of a storm like none he’s ever known, beyond memory, beyond ken.
            Deafening claps of thunder burst around him like some unholy beast exploding in anger. Rain pours down in frantic sheets as if trying to escape the roiling darkness above. The atmosphere is filled with an electrical charge so strong it makes his teeth ache. Tree limbs crack, nests break open, and burrows flood out. A tree swallow swoops and staggers over the railing, banging into the front door. A blue-tailed shrew scurries, breathless, onto the porch, his eyes full of fear and surprise. Two squirrels and a beaver follow close behind, drenched and shivering. Above their heads, jets of lightning morph into blue flames sending spikes and streamers dripping down from the sky. A sulfurous smell permeates the air. The rain seems to be exploding in on itself, releasing particles of fire.
            Banshooo watches an ancient tree break apart, slowly, like a time-lapse explosion. In the next flare of lightning he sees a fawn trembling on stick legs on the far side of the field. He puts his head down and pushes into the wind. The pelting rain stings his body and his fur stands on end as lightning flashes all around him. Breathing hard, he stumbles forward, ducking a flying branch, his shoulders hunched against the flailing debris. He reaches the deer. Her front legs are cut and bleeding. He struggles to pick her up. She leans in to him and closes her eyes tightly. They stand together in the whirlwind. He looks back toward the house, a shadowy outline intermittently visible in the strobed light. It might as well be miles away. He grits his teeth and begins to stagger back toward the porch.
            Suddenly a massive tree trunk crashes down directly in front of them. He pulls up sharply, and the deer cries out. The trunk is so close to his face he can see rivulets of water rushing along the thick ridged bark. He feels the fawn’s heart beating fast against his chest in concert with his own. Alone he might’ve made it over the top but it’s much too high to climb with this wounded being in his arms.
            Girding his strength, he works his way slowly around the fallen tree, fighting the wind, one demanding step and then another. After what seems like hours, the porch is, once again, in sight. He begins to think they might make it when a sudden surge of muddy water knocks him off his feet. The deer falls to her knees, her head dropping under the rushing stream. Banshooo tries to gather her up but he slips in the current. The deer flails wildly. He tries again. He slides sideways. He can’t get his footing. He’s about to go under when two big paws pull him upright.
            “Really? We’re rescuing Bambi? This’ll make a great chatterdee post.”
            “Boook! Shut up and help the fawn.”
            Together they struggle the last twenty yards to shelter. Clambering up the stairs, Taboook releases the deer who stands bleating on the porch. Banshooo follows close behind. They shake themselves in a vain attempt to get dry. Taboook eyes the water swirling around the base of the stairs. “What’s with the flood?”
            “I don’t know.” Banshooo shakes his head slowly. “In all the time I’ve been here, and in all of Algernon’s time, this meadow has never flooded. The topography argues against it.”
            “Oh yeah? Well the topography seems to have lost the debate.”
            Another explosion of lightning reveals a monkey, a one-off, a shrew, two squirrels, a beaver, and a young deer shivering on Banshooo’s porch and peering uncertainly into a whole new kind of storm. Suddenly a free-tailed bat and three different species of migrating birds fall dead out of the sky. The acrid odor of burning feathers and flesh hangs in the rain. “Whoa!” Taboook steps back. “Zapped in midair?”
            A tortoise washes up against the stairs and as they reach down to pull the heavy creature onto the porch, another bird is slammed down in front of them. Still alive, writhing in pain, her mottled feathers drenched, she waves her long legs in the air trying to turn herself upright in the swirling water. Banshooo gathers her up and brings her inside. The shrew, the swallow, the squirrels, the beaver, the tortoise, the fawn, and Taboook follow.
            Inside the trembling house, the drenched and shaken beings huddle together. Banshooo is passing out blankets and Taboook is trying to get a fire going. The lamps are dead, the darkness leavened only by continual flashes of lightning that leave red-tinged afterimages outlined on the window glass. Loose branches smack against the roof and the rain has turned the entire house into a snare drum. The commotion is so loud it takes a minute before Banshooo realizes someone is pounding on the door. He opens it to find Sukie leaning, soaked and bedraggled, against the doorframe. He helps the mouse inside and Taboook pushes the door closed behind them.
            “My nest is washed out. I had to swim to get here. Swim!” Sukie is exhausted, her glasses are twisted sideways across her nose, and her whiskers drip onto the floor. Banshooo wraps a blanket around her shoulders. “Come in, sit by the fire.” She allows herself to be led but her face reflects a fierce concern.
            “Flood waters? Here? How can that happen?”
            “I don’t know, my friend. I don’t know.”

About the Author:

Patricia J Anderson’s essays and short stories have appeared in numerous periodicals including The Sun, Tricycle, Chronogram, Ars Medica, Glamour Magazine and Rewire Me.com. Her books include All of Us, a critically acclaimed investigation of cultural attitudes and beliefs, and Affairs In Order, named best reference book of the year by Library Journal. She is the recipient of The Communicator Award for online excellence and has produced exhibition, kiosk and website copy for such institutions as the American Museum of Natural History and the Capital Museum. She is the editor of Craig Barber’s Vietnam journal, Ghosts in the Landscape. She lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.

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-blessed b9, Catalyst4Christ said...

Coming to my BIG-ol,
John Belushi, party-hardy
in ultra-extraordinary
N eternal Seventh-Heaven ..??

Yes, earthling, Im an official NDE.
So I now know s'up... literally.
God bless your indelible soul.