Saturday 25 February 2017

Interview with A. J. Kohler & Review

I'm excited to welcome Anthony Kohler to my blog today for an interview and a review of his book, Repeat, which can be found below. Here's a bio about Anthony:

A.J. Kohler has done insurance sales, collections and even, for ten years, the practice of law. Colorado winters were never enjoyable, and skiing and other winter sports always seemed like nothing more than a waste of time and money. This is heresy in Colorado, of course, so when A.J. retired, he headed south for a warmer climate. He now lives on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, in the heart of the Sonoran desert, and can honestly say that his heart goes where the saguaro grows. He happily grows many kinds of cactus in the garden, and in the desert, learned (the hard way) that gardening can be a blood sport. The lovely, if short-lived, blooms ensure that he donates blood regularly. Writing and editing was a late career move. He’d been told for years that he should write a book, but it was only after moving to Tucson that a framework and then a story began coming to mind. A.J.’s first published novel was written in 2010 and polished/self-edited/rewritten for three years before being accepted for publication. By the time it was published, two more novels had been completed and were going through the rewrite and polish stage. They have now been published by the same publisher. A.J. has become a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the use of the English language — some of the people he has edited for would call him a grammar Nazi. Repeat is his fourth novel. A.J. currently lives outside of Tucson, Arizona with a partner of the opposite sex and one sweet long-coat Akita female with issues, who thinks and acts, at mealtimes and just before her morning walk, as though she is still the puppy she was eight years ago.

And onto the interview:

1 - What made you want to be a writer?
I’m not entirely sure. I do remember trying once, back in grade school, to write a novel, but all I can really say about that is that I’m awfully happy that the effort didn’t survive. I’ve said for years that I wanted to write a book, but it took a long time for me to actually do so.

2 - What kind of books do you read for pleasure?
Generally science fiction/fantasy and the occasional mystery along with some World War I and II history.

3 - What kind of writer are you: plan or not?
Plan? What’s that? [insert smiley face] I usually have an idea where a story is going, but that is a far cry from planning the story. Actually, until the one I’m getting ready to start shopping around, my books have been written in disjointed pieces that I later had to assemble in order and fill in and smooth over the joins.

4 - How does your average writing time go?
As the spirit moves me. I spend a lot of my free time editing other people’s books, so when something in my brain produces a scene on a book I’m working on, I write it. Otherwise I make myself productive in other areas.

5 - What book/character of yours is your favourite?
My current book, Repeat: A Love Story For The Ages is definitely my favorite book, but it’s a bit too personal for me to claim either protagonist is a favorite character; he is largely modeled on me or on what/who I would hope I could be if something like that story happened to me. Likewise the female protagonist is modeled on a dear friend for whom I would have the same hope. Them aside, my favorite character is probably Amy Youngston from my first three books. She’s a serious toughie, almost endlessly capable and determined to do what she sees as her duty at any cost but with a deep core of caring and compassion that she has to keep well-hidden from any but her closest friends..

6 - If you had the chance to write anywhere, where would you choose?
It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve written in front of a large-screen TV, in a quiet study, or wherever the urge finds me and there’s a computer.

7 - What attracted you to your chosen genre?
Chosen genre? Pardon me while I chuckle. My first three (No Third Choice, No Other Choice and Ripped in Two)are mystery/thrillers. My current one, Repeat: A Love Story For The Ages, is being marketed as a romance, although it’s not really genre romance and I usually characterize it as a love story for men and a war story for women. The one I’m getting ready to shop around, Tales of the Rhadamantha, Vol. 1: Amaranna is a magical fantasy. I don’t worry about genre; I write the story that comes.

8 - How have other writers influenced your own writing?
I’m sure they have, but I’ve no real idea how.

9 - Do you prefer to type or hand write?
I work on a computer in a word processing program. I have to; my style of self-editing, rewriting and revision doesn’t really lend itself to anything else. Change a word here, insert a sentence there – I can’t conceive of doing it any other way.

10 - Do you have a writing playlist? Or do you prefer silence?
Oh, definitely a playlist. It’s lengthy, horribly varied and extremely eclectic: ABBA, Shania Twain, North Sea Gas, Dierdre Reilly, Victoria Police Pipe Band, the Brothers Cazimero, Χάρις Αλεξίου, The Tenors, Celtic Women, Trijntje Oosterhuis – I could go on, but that, I think, touches at least the farthest bases. I have wide-ranging tastes.

11 - Do you have any hobbies?
Target shooting — pistol, clay bird (shotgun) and soon, rifle. I used to be heavily into photography, but it’s getting harder and harder to work with film and digital doesn’t satisfy the same way.

12 - What's your favourite kind of scene to write?
One I can see distinctly in my mind’s eye. The more clearly I see it, the more I like writing it.

13 - Would you ever like to branch out to a different genre?
Excuse me? [insert smiley face] I already have books in three very disparate genres. Not sure I want to go much farther than that.

14 - What does your writing space look like?
Oh, God, don’t look. It’s a mess that I regard as quasi-organized and my partner considers close kin to a total disaster. I’ve got a couple.

Repeat: A Love Story for the Ages
Paul and Angelina are old friends who dated in college, briefly, years ago, and recently reconnected via email. During their correspondence, they realized that they both regretted not taking up with each other back then, especially given their difficult and tumultuous first marriages after college.

When Angelina is killed, she is offered a choice of what to do next and opts to have both of them return to when she and Paul first arrived at college and do it over again … while remembering what happened to them over the years. They make many changes in the way they live their lives and find true happiness together. Although they don’t repeat those mistakes they made before, they definitely find new ones to experience and explore.

My Review: 5 stars

This seemed like an interesting concept. Two people miss connections in their first go of life and then as Angelina's life ends, she gets the chance for a second go around. Both of them sent forty years into the past with the majority of their memories and the tag line is right, it is a love story for the ages! I was hooked from the first page and loved every page of the book. It was hard to put it down and did not disappoint, and is an author I will be watching from now on. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a good tear-jerking romance!

You can follow A. J. Kohler on Facebook.

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