Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Interview with guest blogger, Eric George

Today my guest blogger is author Eric George from the Coral Sea in Far North Queensland. I hope you will welcome Eric, ask questions, and leave comments.

I also want to thank Eric for chatting with me and hope he will visit again. Here's Eric's interview.

I’ve always longed to visit your country. Please tell us what it’s like to live on the shores of the Coral Sea in Far North Queensland?

Warm, of course! When I left the oil industry we looked for somewhere with coconut palms (meaning it is never too cold); somewhere in the country but not too far from civilisation; and somewhere small but big enough to have a hospital where Jola (my lady) can pursue her career as a nurse. Cooktown is wonderful – 1500 souls and big enough for a minimart, 3 pubs and a library. We have bush on one side and a warm sea on the other. And the nearest traffic signals (traffic lights in Aussie) are more than 200 miles away. Lots of wildlife with kangaroos in the garden most days. Lots of snakes, but we don’t see them too often. The crocodiles are a BIG negative, meaning you can’t swim in the rivers at all, and you need to be careful on the beach as well. The Great Barrier Reef is only 20 minutes away by boat and that is one of the places you must see before you die.

2) What’s it like to work on an oil rig? What are the 15 different countries you visited? What were the new favorite foods you found while traveling?

In some ways, the oil industry demands the same devotion as the Army, and a very high level of discipline. The difference is that there are no sergeants; you either work hard and well, or you’re on the next plane out. There is a country out there called The Oil Patch, and you find yourself catching up with the same people all over the world. Sure the language and climate differ, but the great drilling adventure stays the same. Mmmh – there’s a book in there somewhere...

On the rigs, the food is pretty standard – not too much concession to country, although pork is taboo in some places. As I was normally living away from the rig, I got a chance to try lots of things. Overall, I die for the various spicy foods of Malaysia and Indonesia, but most places have some interesting things. Cous-cous in North Africa, viande fumee in Montreal, meze in Mediterranean Turkey, the wines and cheeses in France, huevos rancheros in a farmers’ diner in rural Texas – you’re making me feel hungry! And the worst food? Sorry, but country Australia wins hands down. Our idea of a good meal is a factory made pie and a can of coke.

3) Yes, men are allowed to be romantic. I wish more men were romantic, and if they are, to admit it. What are your favorite romantic stories?

Mmh – favourite romance. I don’t read romances as such – Mills & Boon have no place on my shelves. I want my romance in context and out in the open. How would War and Peace read without its romantic themes? It would be a very much diminished book. Le CarrĂ©’s The Little Drummer Girl is a good robust romance. The heroine has real substance and plays by far the biggest part in the story. I dare you to resist the romance of the ending.

I find myself in a quandary; I just don’t get on with the love & kisses romances that fill three-quarters of the shelf space in our library. On my shelves I have romances on a grand scale – take Lord of the Rings as an example – where female characters are admitted only grudgingly and the romance has only the slightest hint of sex. I have had to write my own, and my females are leading characters who run their own stories. And get their partners in the end.

4) Do you belong to any writing organizations? If so, which ones? Do you feel they help you as a writer?

No – I’m not a natural joiner. There is a great web of writing groups in Australia and even grants in support of politically acceptable projects. But for all that chat and all the Degrees in Creative Writing there are (apparently) only 9 people in the whole country who can support themselves by writing fiction. For me it is a lone craft and although I am happy to exchanges drafts with a couple of web friends, I can’t imagine belonging to a writer’s group. If you know of one that specialises in getting my work out in front of the reading public, I might just be more positive...

5) What are your goals for the future? 5 year goals? 10 year goals?

Apart from staying alive? Staying active. Having the resources to travel for pleasure and stay over in places that catch our fancy. Take Jola to lie in the spring sun on Greek island beaches. My parents are just now getting seriously old, and I definitely do not want to make their mistake of always saving for the future but never getting there.

6) What is your typical day like?

I’m a house husband; Jola works a full week on varying shifts so I have a lot of house managing to do. Except ironing. Ironing is just masochism in a climate where everything is moist and limp as soon as you put it on. But I do find time to ride my push bike over the hill into the village several times a week. We have an open air cafe at the mouth of the Endeavour River that does the most wonderful iced coffee. It also acts as an informal meeting place for lazy locals like me, especially at this time of year when it is too hot for tourists.

In Cooktown we are at the end of the road – literally – and everyone turns their hand to whatever is necessary. I finished building our house a year ago – a very open building on tall stilts and surrounded by nascent coconut palms. The centre of the house is a our living area, and it is completely open to the weather from both sides (but we have foul weather shutters). Although it is finished, there is still a lot of work to be done, outside especially.

I am a geologist by training, and now I have a part time job doing site investigation for building foundations a few hours a week. It keeps me fit and dirty, and also keeps me in beer.

7) What do you do to relax and find enjoyment when you’re not writing?

The only club I’m a member of is the Hash House Harriers, and they don’t have a membership. Every Monday evening 20 or 30 of us get together to go for a run (or walk if you prefer) on a trail laid through the bush by a host. Then we get back to the host’s house for beer and a feed. The Hash is an international organisation and we get frequent visitors from around the world. It is also a good place to meet a wide range of folk you would not come across at work – meaning either the hospital or the building game for us.

Apart from that, we both enjoy riding our push bikes and walking. We REALLY enjoy visiting the bright lights of Cairns every month or two, going to proper restaurants and catching a film. And shopping, of course, especially for Jola. But one or two nights of city life is enough!

The link for Foreign Affairs is http://shop.renebooks.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=GEORGE%2D01

The link for Her Master’s Voice is http://shop.renebooks.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=GEORGE%2D02

The link for Nuns in Love is http://shop.renebooks.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=GEORGE%2D03


Eric George said...

Thanks Ashley, for doing such a good job of hosting fellow authors on your site. I know you have been reading one of my books - do let us know what you think of it...

Lisabet Sarai said...

Eric! Hearing that you're a Hasher makes me feel that I know you. Though I'm only an occasional guest at Hash functions, I've got friends who are rabid. On-on!

By the way, I love your covers. Nice to see a muscular woman instead of some burly guy.

Eric George said...

Thanks for the comment Lisabet. I'm afraid that Renaissance eBooks is quite male, and we do appreciate a fine rounded bum. I'm looking for an alternative to get my books in front of thinking women - they are wasted on us men.

Now listen to this: I don't paticularly talk about my books in our village, and no-one asks me because why would they? Some two hours after Ashley had posted her interview, I got an email from our local paper titled 'Secret's out!' The editor had been Googling for Ashley Judd and somehow entered Ashley Ladd instead.

Mmh - I wonder what tomorrow will bring. We're all a bit strange up here in the Far North so I'm sure it won't be a problem, but...

Unknown said...

Eric, have you submitted to TEB (total-e-bound) or to Ellora's Cave? Both publish erotic romance for women and I highly recommend both publishers.

Unknown said...

I'm loving Eric's book and I have to share. I'll have to post an excerpt from it when I get home - I'm still stuck at the day job.

I should have thought to do that with your interview. Bad bad me. I don't know what's happening to my mind lately.

Unknown said...

Oh wow! What a coincidence! He found you through Ashley Judd. Small, strange world.

I hope you don't mind your secret being out. I don't say much locally about my writing now either that it's romantica. Ashley is not my real name, so it helps to protect my identity for reasons of employment (I work for a Christian ministry)and from my church and because even sweet romance highly embarrasses my children.

However, some people where I work know I write and they've been asking me more and more what I write and where they can get my books. On the one hand, I really want to publicize and build a following, but on the other hand, I'm afraid to lose the day job or have the bishop of my church come down on me.

Eric George said...

"Eric, have you submitted to TEB (total-e-bound) or to Ellora's Cave? Both publish erotic romance for women and I highly recommend both publishers."

I did write a note to Total-e-Bound but no answer yet. I guess they are snowed under. As for Ellora's Cave, they seem to have a robot answering their emails. It is programmed for handling submissions but not for answering business emails. Not a good sign if they can't treat authors as individuals.

Eric George said...

"I'm afraid to ... have the bishop of my church come down on me."

Mmh - now there's a thought!

Unknown said...

Eric -- what a dirty mind you have. LOL

Unknown said...

Once again, thank you so much Eric for being my guest today and for dropping by to comment. It's time for me to put up the next interview - hate to do it before it's officially the bewitching hour and another day, but the day job boss sort of likes me to get to work on time in the mornings. :)

You rock and it was great chatting with you. Good luck with your writing and all your books.

Caffey said...

Nice meeting you Eric! I'm off to check out the books! I do love the newer covers there for the Rene books!

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