Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2015

Interview: Anna Faktorovich, Phd

Gender Bias in Mystery and Romance Novel Publishing
Mimicking Masculinity and Femininity 
by Anna Faktorovich, Phd
Published April 29, 2015

Synopsis - 

Examines gender bias from the perspective of readers, writers and publishers, with a focus on the top two best-selling genres in modern fiction. It is a linguistic, literary stylistic, and structurally formalist analysis of the male and female “sentences” in the genres that have the greatest gender divide: romances and mysteries. The analysis will search for the historical roots that solidified what many think of today as a “natural” division. Virginia Woolf called it the fabricated “feminine sentence,” and other linguists have also identified clear sex-preferential differences in Anglo-American, Swedish and French novels. Do female mystery writers adopt a masculine voice when they write mysteries? Are female-penned mysteries structurally or linguistically different from their male competitors’, and vice versa among male romance writers? The first part can be used as a textbook for gender stylistics, as it provides an in-depth review of prior research. The second part is an analysis of the results of a survey on readers’ perception of gender in passages from literature. The last part is a linguistic and structural analysis of actual statistical differences between the novels in the two genres, considering the impact of the author’s gender.


Interview
With Anna Faktorovich


1) What made you feel the need for such a topic?

I have been an avid reader for thirty years now. When I was in high school, I read widely in both popular and literary fiction. My favorite authors even in college were Alexander Dumas, George Sand and Anne Rice. But then, I read Harry Potter and a few of the other popular genre novels and they turned me off entirely from popular fiction. In parallel with this, I started my graduate studies in Comparative Literature and English Literature, with a focus on the 19th century. I started teaching college English, but I kept feeling a need to attempt to write and publish fiction in addition to my academic publications. But, there is an incredibly small market for literary fiction and an enormous one for popular fiction. I kept feeling an aversion for the latter that kept me from really pushing to compete in that market. Meanwhile, I published my first academic book with McFarland, Rebellion as Genre, and during this study I was surprised to find that there were repeating formulas even among my favorite literary 19th century writers like Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson. So, I started research into the intersections between classical literary genres and current popular genres and that became my second academic book with McFarland, Formulas of Popular Fiction. When I was writing this book I realized that the mystery novels were more engaging and denser than romance novels and that for some reason most of the mystery novelists were male. These questions gradually developed into the book before you now, Gender Bias. It was initially requested by Purdue UP, Columbia UP considered for several months and expressed interest before rejecting it, and McFarland kept reviewing it twice for a year in total before finally rejecting it. While I waited for them to get back to me, I published half-a-dozen novels, both popular and literary, and really saw a clear need for the book. So, when McFarland finally rejected the MS a week ago, I formatted and designed it myself and released it with my independent Anaphora Literary Press. I think this book is important reading material for writers and academics alike. 

2) Do you feel the same bias in Paranormal books as well?

There is a gender-split between science fiction and fantasy novels, with most science fiction writers being male and most fantasy writers being female. I have tried writing fantasy novels, like my The Great Love of Queen Margaret and Battle against the Olden books, but these have turned into satires or semi-literary projects because I just can’t naturally write with the softer “female” sentences necessary to pull off serious fantasies. I wish I could write science fiction for a major publisher, but in part because of gender bias, it’s unlikely that regardless of how many books I’ve published they’ll ever be interested in a science fiction novel from me.

3) If no to the previous, do you think Paranormal authors have more respect for women, or are just more in tuned to what their readers truly want?

I discuss the paranormal genre in my Formulas of Popular Fiction McFarland academic book. The Twilight series come to mind as I think about your question. I read the last book in this series closely as part of my research and it was pretty painful to read it. The only thing that got me through it was laughing at some of the absurdities when they pushed beyond the lines of logically necessary gore. If you remember the book, the heroine finally marries her vampire boyfriend, who has extremely violent and painful sex with her, and then she gives birth to a vampire baby that nearly kills her. If this is what women want today – a bit of rape and baby-killing-mother violence – I’m not a member of this demographic. I’ve included violence and sex in my own novels, but usually it pushes over the edge to be obviously meant to be a criticism of the heroine/hero-antagonist/protagonist – the main character might be even despite being at the center of the story, and their deeds are blatantly unacceptable. Since there is rape, violence, and many other ugly things in reality, we should not feel ashamed about seeing these in fiction, be it paranormal, romance, mysteries or science fiction. I just think that writers should go beyond basic formulas that require a certain amount of escalating violence to keep a reader’s interest. Fiction should be surprising and characters should be fully explained and explored by ethical writers. 

4) Have you always seen yourself as a writer?

Yes, I started writing a journal and poems when I learned the alphabet in preschool, and I haven’t stopped writing daily since that point. I can’t imagine how a writer would start writing and seeing themselves as a writer any later than this point. A mind is formed by 14, so anybody that still hasn’t started seriously writing before 14 is probably not going to succeed in this field.

5) What do you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hope that my studies into formulaic fiction will help other writers to improve their craft, and will help readers to choose fiction that is more than a repeating surface formula.

6) Do you feel as though this bias has been getting better or worst over the years?

I explain in the study that most women today perceive a lack of bias against them. In reality, whenever I have received a job across my life, I’ve always been paid less for the same work in comparison to men with less education and experience than me. Women are still paid less overall than men. It’s harder for women to find jobs in the fields that lead to the top positions, and it’s near-to-impossible for a woman who is anything other than 10 times better than her male competitors from breaking into working as a director or a manager of a major company, unless she founds that company herself. Women are frequently sexually harassed in the workplace and fired if they refuse to comply with their boss’s demands, but they have few legal venues to pursue when this happens. Because they perceive due to popular misconception that there is no longer any gender bias in the workplace, they fail to respond with the necessary indignation when they are paid less, or when they are harassed at work. The US is near the bottom of international lists that rank women’s rights, so much so that I’m considering moving to the United Arab Emirates for a job, for which I’m now a finalist, next year, and I expect that I will have more rights as a woman and will be paid more on the dollar there vs. if I found a similar Assistant Professor job in the US. So, according to my research, there has not been any improvement in gender equality in the US since women in the US have given up this fight three decades ago.

7) What type of books do you personally enjoy reading?

I work from the time I wake up until I go to sleep, seven days per week, all-the-year-round. I read books when I write interview questions for interviewees for my Pennsylvania Literary Journal. I also read and edit books when I prepare them for publication with my Anaphora Literary Press; since I’ve released over 120 books with Anaphora so far, I review these pretty quickly. I receive around 100 emails daily, and at least a dozen of these are new book submissions from writers that want to publish with Anaphora, which I have to review/ read quickly to decide if they are right for a publication. This past year I wrote around a dozen books, and for each of these I read at least a dozen books as part of my research. I also finished a fellowship with the Kentucky Historical Society, and wrote an essay based on my research, reading around 50 books as part of this project. Out of all the books that I read this year, I guess the most enjoyable were history and biography books, which helped me to write honest and researched fiction and non-fiction, but no particular book stands out as outstanding out of this enormous pile of books. I hope that answers your question.

8) How do you feel about writers that write just to sell, as opposed to writing on subjects, or genres, they are truly passionate about?

Earlier today I received an email from somebody that wants to pay me L5,000 to ghostwrite a book for her. If she hires me, these funds would keep me going and writing my fun literary and academic projects for a couple of months. I’ve made only around $150 for each of the books I released with McFarland, so I’d have to write 33 academic books for McFarland to match this offer. Writing an academic book takes me around 3 months. I can finish the generic ghostwriting book in a month. If you do the math, it’s easy to see how writers fall into the trap of writing for money, instead of doing it for art. There are five giant publishers left in the world, and they need to sell 100,000+ of each of the books they release. They’ve calculated that they sell more copies if the writing style is less literary, less dense and more formulaic, so that’s what they hire writers to do. I personally have an addiction for writing literary and academic books, so I keep writing them in addition to my commercial ventures because of this drive. I guess I think it’s important for writers to do both make money and write about something they’re passionate about, regardless if these ventures intersect or take them on two different simultaneous paths.

9) How do you feel about any negative feedback upon writing this title? 

When I started writing this book, I received great positive responses from the head of the British Green Party, and various feminist academics, who participated in my survey. I have received one adoption request from a college in New York after I released the book, and a few review requests, so it’s too soon to say if I’ll get negative feedback. I do feel a bit bitter about the extremely long and harassing review process that happened between the time I finished this book 1-2 years ago, and the present. Publishers like Columbia UP, Purdue UP and McFarland should respect an effort to speak up about the gender bias in publishing and should not have been impediments that slowed this book’s release by almost 2 years. When they finally rejected this project, they said that it just wasn’t right for their list, but as would be clear to any reader, it was obviously because there is more negative truths about publishing in this book than they could tolerate going into print.

10) Have you had more positive or negative feedback upon publication? And do you feel as though it may have been different if you were a male author?

I’ve previously published a book under an assumed name, and it went up to 700 on Amazon’s bestseller ranking, while books I’ve published under my Russian-sounding name haven’t broken past 4000 or so. There have been several studies, including my own, that prove that there is bias about perception of a writer based on their name, be it male or female, foreign or domestic. I have received mixed reviews on most of my previous books. I guess at this point, I’ve published so many books and have had so many successes both as a writer and as a publisher that I can’t complain about this problem on my own behalf. I’m really complaining on behalf of myself a decade ago, and for other young female writers who are currently trying to break through the glass ceiling. 


About the Author:

Anna Faktorovich is the Director and Founder of the Anaphora Literary Press. She taught college English for three years before focusing entirely on publishing. She has a PhD in English Literature. She published two scholarly books: "Rebellion as Genre in the Novels of Scott, Dickens and Stevenson" (McFarland, 2013) and "The Formulas of Popular Fiction: Elements of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Religious and Mystery Novels" (McFarland, 2014). She completed two other scholarly books: "Gender Bias in Mystery and Romance Novel Publishing: Mimicking Masculinity and Femininity" and "Wendell Berry’s New Agrarianism and Beyond," for which she received a Kentucky Historical Society fellowship. She also published two poetry collections "Improvisational Arguments" (Fomite Press, 2011) and "Battle for Athens" (Anaphora, 2012). (Goodreads)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Spotlight: The Mirrored Room

The Mirrored Room by Anthony Crowley
Self Published January 20, 2015 

Synopsis- 

Simon Kessler, is a reality television Psychic about to embark on the biggest show of his career. But eventually learns that he has been living in denial since the murder of his true love, Isabelle.

Gradually he discovers a secret conspiracy which has been undiscovered for many years. This is a story of deception, lies, and betrayal of the untold truth of Simon Kessler's life as he begins to learn more about himself, and the dark magickal past of his friends and family.


Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

As wind swept through the midst of the midnight hour, with only a sound of rattling trash cans and cats that prowl Denver street nearly every night, an echo of footsteps began from the corner of the street, as if someone was about to run to catch the last train home. Out of the shadow, from a distance, a figure in black panted like a tired dog with his leather gloved hand shifting through a dark trouser leg pocket, as if seeking some money. A blood-stained blade appeared, however, while a hellish scream kissed the night in a tormented moment of glory. The slim-looking shadow of a man began to laugh while shining his blood-stained weapon.

What just happened? I cannot believe I just had another nightmare! Its always the same. Damn! I’ve got to get ready for another day at the studio.’ Said Simon Kessler.

Simon had an athletic physique and stood about six feet tall. He wore his blonde hair short and enjoyed a very good complexion. He took pride in his appearance at all times, but he was also a man on a very important mission, especially during his Television broadcasts as a Psychic communicating with deceased relatives of his audience. Two hours away from the five hundredth broadcasted live to a majority of cities, Simon Kessler had his work cut out for a special show with the afterlife. He wanted to express to his audience how well he could do his job. As Simon woke, disturbed by another dream, his face appeared pale as the moon, as if he had slept rough on the sinister streets.

Is that the time? I only have an hour to get ready and to show the population how good I can do this!’

He dragged himself out of bed and he went to the bathroom to freshen up for the forthcoming event. Simon donned his favourite pinstripe suit and his shiny, carvela shoes. He looked like a member of the Sicilian mafia.

These shoes look very familiar,’ he said as he began searching within his suit pocket for his business diary. Eventually he got himself together to go to work and headed directly into his kitchen for a quick fix of Oreo biscuits and tropical juice. He was starting to panic because he did not want to miss the  event deadline. He was quickly drinking the fruit juice when the glass slid out of his grip and shattered on the floor with a deafening impact.

Shit! I’ll clean that up later,’ he said while he shuffled in his pocket for his wagon keys.

A bit nervous of what might become of him after the show, he popped the lid from a bottle of anti-depressants given to him by his Manager/Agent, Mr.Jack Hodges. In his car, and about to rev up his engine, he startled when his phone began to ring. It was his Manager.

He instantly answered his phone,

Simon, where are you? This is your special moment, so please get your ass over here to make history!’ said Mr.Jack Hodges whom was always impatient and thought he was above most in his profession of reality television media.

‘I would be halfway there if you didn’t keep pestering me. See you shortly, Jack.’ Said Simon in a hurried voice, while he began his short journey to the Television Studios.

 On his way, he felt a little drowsy due to the anti-depressant tablets he had taken, and they also gave him a frequent food craving. He decided to stop by at Duquette’s French cafĂ© for a quick sandwich of his favourite, a cheese and red onion chutney on wholemeal bread. He slapped his face to keep awake.

‘Stay awake. Not long to go now, and it will soon be over.’  He said, giving himself some relief. Within a matter of minutes, he reached the studios. He carried a good luck charm which he kept close to his chest pocket daily and kissed it every morning without fail. The charm was given to him by his spiritual guru and friend. Finally, Simon arrived and wanted to park his wagon near the entrance of the studio complex. The building was of an enormous structure, dome-shaped with a huge metal framework that resembled a dungeon. Atop the building was a sign large enough to be seen for miles. It read Spectrum Network Communications Centre. The fact that the car park was in total gridlock and the centre’s futuristic and alien-like appearance made Simon more nervous than ever. Huge revolving doors allowed him to see a modernised shopping centre, and an ornamental water fountain with a statue of Nostradamus whom was an ancient Prophet from a region of France. By the revolving doors, Jack Hodges walked back and forth at a brisk pace, making a call on his cell phone. Simon waved at Jack, trying very hard to grab his attention. When this didn’t work, Simon, whose mission was to satisfy his audience and make a very good impression, started to shout at Jack.

‘Hey! I’m here!’

When Jack finally took notice, he turned his phone off.

‘At last, you are here. You haven’t been taking pills again? We haven’t got long before the show begins. Oh, by the way, a woman rang the office asking for you’

Simon wondered who wanted to make contact at short notice.

‘Did she leave any details or say what she wanted?’

I told her to ring back when youre not too busy and told her you’re a very important person,’ said Jack in a jealous tone. While meditating before the show, Simon began to hear voices in his head of a strong, surreal nature. The atmosphere surrounding him grew very cold and isolated, like he wasn’t alone anymore in the dressing room. Someone or something was sharing his private space with him. The room temperature was dropping at an alarming rate, and he felt more isolated than he ever had before. Being a Psychic had its advantages, but sharing his own emotions and privacy was a totally different matter, especially for him. Was it a sign from someone who had been close to him and who was trying to escape the wrong kind of spiritual path? But who? Simon continued to meditate, or at least tried to. A clear vision appeared of a silhouette- a female with long silk-like wings who stood motionless yet drawn into a pool of blood, like an Angel sinking into a swamp of evil, unnatural thoughts. Simon considered that the vision could be two spirits from the afterlife, one good and one evil, attempting to communicate with him, to send him a message of some great importance. But the time had arrived for his special show. How could he fully concentrate after such an episode? His heart pounded at a catastrophic rate while he clicked the well-manicured nails of his fidgeting hands. The time had come from Simon Kessler to enter the arena. He was like  a Roman Gladiator entering a stadium with a pack of lions, but there wasn’t a lion in sigh- just well-respected people who paid good money to see their favourite Television Psychic on this special anniversary. A cameraman counted down the seconds to broadcast time, ‘Three, two, one, and action-!’

Simon began introducing the show.

‘Hi there, and welcome to a special episode of ‘The Afterlife with Simon Kessler-‘

He perused the audience while his manager wore a pessimistic frown, as usual, behind the arena curtain like a scared child being punished. 


Biography

Anthony Crowley (born 1979, Birmingham in U.K). From a young age of 6, Anthony began to take an interest in English literature and Poetry from an early childhood.Then throughout his teenage years he studied music and achieving song-writing skills,whilst still creating his visions. He also achieved a diploma in creative writing with a college located in Oxford,England. Anthony has also written short stories for student newsletters,horror monthly's and appears on the 'A LIST' of the IDPA (International Directory of Published Authors), NFAA (Non Fiction Authors Association). The present day Anthony Crowley is also a featured contributor to 'Haunted after Dark' with his very own dark haven of 'Crowley's Crypt' and has written many works of literature & poetry for publications such as Massacre Magazine,The Horror Zine, Sanitarium magazine, HelloHorror, Sub-Verse and Fiction Terrifica. Anthony Crowley has also appeared as an official Judge for the 'British Horror Film Festival 2014' and recently his forthcoming anthology of Horror tales 'Doomsday After Midnight' is nominated at the 'AuthorsdB' BOOK AWARDS 2014. The dark verse of 'The Fallen Angel' featured in Sanitarium Magazine,issue 14. The work itself was mentioned via a live radio podcast on the evening of Halloween 2013. The Devils Foot Soldier' was another dark verse which was inspired by the 'Slasher Icon' movie of 2011 'The Orphan Killer' which was positively recognised by the movies creators and the written piece is now featured at American based Blood Born Magazine several more features and frequent media interviews and being ranked as "one of the best Modern Authors in recent years" Horror-Web described him by the following statement 'Anthony Crowley is one of the most prolific and talented authors of dark prose and poetry During a recent interview on the 'Sinister Scribblings' Mr Crowley has been placed amongst the likes of Poe, Lovecraft and Clarke Ashton Smith. Forthcoming Novella 'The Mirrored Room' was ranked in the 'Semi-Finals' at 'AuthorsdB' Book Awards of 2013,and ranked four times in the 'Top 100' list of popular Authors and not forgetting being a trending Author for many consecutive months and a featured Author on numerous literature and Horror themed websites and more. Presently, Anthony Crowley has published best-selling Horror anthology 'Tombstones' which was described by US Horror podcast show 'The Mouths of Madness' as "Beautiful Dark Prose" and the introduction to a new dark series 'The Black Diaries' which is currently being introduced as a new edition paperback edited by Simon Marshall-Jones (Spectral Press). Anthony Crowley dubbed 'the Master of Realities' is always creating new and exciting projects within the subjects of speculative literature and Horror,Occult and Historic references..Anthony is Currently residing in England.

Interview from Zero-Signal Magazine

I’ve never met Anthony Crowley. We have exchanged messages on FaceBitch and via email but other than what he has posted and what he’s told me I know nothing about him. He does seem to have a dark twist in his creative soul and, of course, that caught my attention. Since I knew so little about him I decided that the best way to learn about him was to conduct an interview. That’s what we have here. My/your/our introduction to Mr. Anthony Crowley; author, poet and musician. 

Jim Dodge) Why should people know the name Anthony Crowley? What are you doing to bring attention to yourself? 

Anthony Crowley) Because I am an entertaining, slightly eccentric connoisseur of horror. Many people can relate to my literature, whether in dark poetic verse or fiction and non-fiction. I am extremely honest as a person; sometimes people say I am too honest. But I believe that is a good thing. It can be a circus out there amongst certain circles. I tend to be my own ringmaster. 

Jim) Besides being a poet and an author, in what other ways are you creative? Anthony) I am also a magazine contributor and very passionate about music and art, photography. Jim) Who/what inspired you to write? 

Anthony) Writing has always been a part of my life. As a child I was inspired initially by my grandfather. Gradually through the years I observed everything around me, whether good and bad times and channeled those energies into my literary escapes. 

Jim) Do you aim for shock value or is your dark side sincere; a reflection of your inner self? 

Anthony) I believe we all have a dark side within us. It is healthy balance to keep us sane. I also believe that if anything is achieved just to gain attention it wouldn’t last. Hard work and confidence achieves the best outcome. 

Jim) You seem to release books pretty rapidly. Are you self-published or do you have a company (or companies) that release your work? 

Anthony) Both. I do self-publish my work and have my work published by companies. 

Jim) Do your books sell well or is this more of a vanity project? 

Anthony) My first release was a short story “The Light of Keeps Passage”, that hardly didn’t sell on release. But when my readers saw and noticed my continued works it changed because with every creative



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