Thursday, November 29, 2012

Don Festge: Writer, Teacher, Youth Mentor, Role Model, Dreamer...

Don Festge

Don has been writing professionally since 1998. He began writing his first novel “Stopped By Time” while teaching at Poinciana Park Elementary School. In October of 2002 the first book in his teen/young adult series Night Of The Witches was released. “Night Of The Witches: The Beginnings” was followed by the release of “Night Of The Witches: The Bocor” on March 21, 2003. The third book in the series “Night Of The Witches: The Escape” is set for publication.

Don has also written several screenplays including “The Condiments” and “Extreme Lizards” (both Animation) as well as the super natural thriller “Blinded By Sight”. Following that script, “Night Of The Witches: The Beginnings”, based on the first book in the series, was finished. It was followed by the Middle Ages comedy “Knights in White Satin.” 

Don has also written the family adventure script “The Pass.” Following “The Pass”, He finished the “Prom King” set in the frenzied world of today’s high school scene. Don’s latest script “ExtraOrdinary” finds ordinary ten year old Joe Smith, after an accident, left with the power to do extraordinary things!
In November 2005, Don’s first short “Stolen” was shot and in March 2006 Don’s second short Horror script "Wiccan" was shot and premiered at the Tower Theater in Miami on April 28, 2006. In July of 2008, filming wrapped on Don’s latest horror script, “Hunters of the Sun.” 

He’s currently working on one comedy, two horror and one action adventure scripts. Additionally, Don has begun to write the Tween Series “The Adventures of Huntington Twixx” based on the film “The Pass.”

Jacqueline Wales, Author of "When the Crow Sings"

Jacqueline Wales, Novelist and Founder of Fearless Fifties

Jacqueline Wales  is the founder of Fearless Fifties, a motivational coach and consultancy company. She has four children and lives in New York City with her husband and dog, an adorable Coton de Tulear.

When The Crow Sings, a novel, is based on the real life story of a family caught up in shame, abuse and denial... a powerful story that explores the history of mothers who abandoned their children, until one person had the courage to break the chains.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

IBR's interview of Stopped by Time Author: Don Festge.

Stopped by Time: Interview of Don Festge, Author.

IBR:  Did you always want to be a writer?
D.F: I've always loved story telling, ever since I was young. What held me back from writing was that I was a horrible speller. "Thank you word processing!" LOL. That however, shouldn't have been an excuse. If you love doing something, do it.

IBR: What was the very first Book, play, script, scenario that you ever wrote?
D.F: When I was in school, I would write stories around the "White Space" of my text books. I like to write engaging stories. Stopped by Time was my First book. The Condiments was my first script. It is a story about an ordinary plastic bottle of ketchup who falls in love with a beautiful glass jar honey mustard princess.

IBR: You are still teaching High School, how do your students respond to your writing? Is it difficult to get them to read their teachers book without having it look like it is a school assignment or homework?
D.F: I believe if you're going to write a book, you're doing to be shared. I give everyone one of my students a free copy of my books so they have something to read in their classes if they have free time. I've had students read my books and tell me they hated reading but my book was the first book they've ever read and that they loved it.

IBR: Is Stopped by Time your first Novel of the Sci-FI / Supernatural/Fantastik Genre?
D.F: Yes. I love that genre.

IBR: What inspired you, when you were writing out the plot of the story?
D.F: I have so many ideas running around in my head. When I finished writing the first draft, I realized that I had actually begun the story in the middle and went back and wrote the beginning. I really didn't have an outline for Stopped By Time. It just sort of came to me. My following series Night of the Witches was all planned out.

IBR: How did you choose the name of your characters, their personae, their physical description…etc?
D.F: I always try to incorporate my students into everything I do. So, when I began writing Stopped By Time, I told them if they did better in their other classes and stayed out of trouble, I would use their names as characters. I usually use one person's first name with another person's last name.  Some times I'll use famil and friend's names as well.  I would say 95% of the names I've used in my five books and nine screen plays have come from students. They get really excited when they see their names.
As for personae, sometimes I'll relate the character to someone I've know in my life. Other times I'll just be in a "mood" and I'll turn on some music when I write and that character just comes to life. I love to listen to music when I write. Especially if there is tension building or a lot of drama getting ready to happen. I get so excited and it doesn't matter if it's three AM, it's as if it's in the middle of the day and I have hours and hours to write.

IBR: Back to Stopped byTime, what has been the response from your readers when you first published it? How was it received ?
D.F: Everyone who has read it has really loved it. It truly is an emotional roller coster.

IBR: One of my favorite Fantastic genre author is Edgar Allan Poe. There is a little of the Mysticism in Stopped by time that is reminiscent to Poe's Fantastic Novellas.  Are you a fan of that author, did he inspire you in any way?
D.F: I do like Poe. I am a big believer in the balance of things and where there is darkness, there must be light, good, evil and sadness, happiness. I think however,  I was inspired more by some writing when I was in elementary school based on the supernatural. I have always been drawn to the topics of ESP and telekinesis.

IBR:  Is Stopped by Time still available through or Barnes & Nobles? If not, will there be another edition of Stopped by time in the near future?
D.F: Yes, it is available on both those sites, as well as , many other Internet sites. It did sell in stores when it was first release but that was back in 1998. There were only 1000 original first print copies made, so if you can get your hands on one, that should be pretty special.

IBR: As you know I have a lot of French readers of my blog and a few Spanish readers as well. In that regard, do you have any plans to translate it in French and/or Spanish?
D.F: I would love to.

IBR: What is the next step for Stopped by Time? What are you plans for it?
D.F: I have written a treatment for Stopped By Time and would like to turn it into a one hour television drama.

IBR: What is your advice for any young and not so young aspiring author out there?
D.F: Write when ever you can. If you can write just a little every day, that would be awesome. But more importantly, share your writing. Let people read what you have created. That is the reason we write.

Thank you very much Don for this insight into your writer's mind.  With your permission, I'd like to repeat this for your other works. I am planning to read the "Night of the Witches" series next and interview you again on those so my readers can interact and ask you their own questions about each of your works.

For those of you who have not yet read my review of Don's Book: "Stopped By Time" click on the link or go back to the main page of the blog to read my review of this great book and don't hesitate to leave your comments directly on the Review posting. 

If you have any questions or comments for Don about "Stopped by Time" don't hesitate to ask it directly here. Whenever Don's busy schedule allows him some respite, he promised me, he'll come from time to time to respond personally. 

Thank you again Don for your time and consideration, it is truly appreciated.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stopped By Time Book review

Stopped by Time

by Don Festge

A strapping but burned out Firefighter from Fort Lauderdale is on his way to meet a childhood friend in Pennsylvannia and decides to take the scenic route on a Greyhound Bus. A runaway 12 year old fragile looking, beautiful girl with fierce green eyes, asian features, naturally blond magnificent hair and fiery attitude takes the same bus from her hometwown of Fayettville on her way to... wherever the bus will take her, Philadelphia or New York, it doesn't matter as long as it is far away from her cruel father. Add to the mix an Irish-Cherokee Indian Reservation Sheriff, over 6' tall and 250 Lbs of Muscle, with a gentle soul, kind eyes and Fiery Red Celtic Hair to match his Native American Red Skin. He responded to a call from the Station about the bus not reaching its next stop on the Tennessee side of the mountain, so he went to investigate.

Three strange people, who couldn't be further from each other on all levels, bond in the strangest of circumstances. The first two get trapped in a Appalachian Mountain Tunnel after a Bus accident, the third is the "Rescue" who gets the call and goes to investigate only to get trapped in the mystical tunnel as well. They realize that chance had nothing to do with their encounter and fate required for them to face the challenges they each meet within that tunnel. This book will keep you on the very edge of your seat from the very first pages and keep you guessing all the way to the last page. It will make you smile with wonder, cry with sorrow for the characters and laugh with relief at the end. But most importantly, this book will inspire you. The life's lesson it teaches should be remembered by all. Life is too precious to let Regret hold you back. 

I have been putting off reading this book for the past couple of years, because I had already made prior commitment to other reading materials about which I write regularly either professionally or for just for pleasure. I like to keep things in order and really just picked up Stopped By Time on Friday evening. I had planned to read as much as time allowed over the weekend and read it for an hour each day at least hoping to finish it by next weekend. I was enthralled by the plot from the very first chapter. I could not put it down. I was so captivating by the drama of each of the three main characters, that I read the entire weekend, putting it down only when I absolutely had to. I finished it late last night (Sunday). 

I am usually pretty good at guessing what comes next when I watch a movie or read a book. I've read so much in my 47 years that I can honestly say that I pick up very easily on the various hints , the authors drop either consciously  or  not, and deduce very often what the next scene will be or the general plot of the entire script. So I was taken aback at each turn of event. I guess wrong every single time. The plot was so unpredictable and yet so fluid that I was pleasantly surprised.

My highest recommendations for this book. Some mildly crude language would make me want to keep it from anyone below 12 years old, but beyond that age, it is a book everyone, from teenagers to Goldenagers should read. Lots of drama, but a great inspiration and heartwarming conclusion.

 International Book Review as interviewed Stopped by Time author, Don Festge. Read it HERE. Ask Don your own questions on that post. Don will respond as his very busy Schedule permits.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Revue de "L'Art Francais de la Guerre", de Alexis Jenni


 L'Art Français de laGuerre


de Alexis Jenni 


 Il s'agit, a premiere lecture, de 2 livres écrits simultanément. L'un est une série de "Commentaires" qui sont en réalité ce qui semblerait être une autobiographie du Narrateur, (personnellement, cette partie du livre ou ce "Sous-livre" est plus fade et barbante a lire, mais reste malgré tout pertinente et expliquerai peut être le manque d’enthousiasme de certains pour cet ouvrage). L'autre partie est une série de chapitres "Roman", dépeignant la vie, (fictive ou pas), d'un personnage nommé Victorien Salagnon (nom bien Bugiste) mais décrit comme Lyonnais. C'est un roman historique vraiment passionnant, assez bien écrit, et qui vous plaira certainement. Il couvre les événements de 1943 a 1962, (la vie en France sous l'occupation, comme l’a vécut un adolescent effervescent et socialement mal a l'aise), son entrée dans le "maquis", sa transformation en Guerrier par excellence et sa vie en tant que tel au travers des Guerres Françaises, de l'Indochine a la Guerre d'Algerie et  jusqu'a son "Abandon" par le gouvernement. Il est désormais condamne a vivre en tant que civil (militaire retraité), inadapté à la vie civile ou a la vie en société tout bonnement. Un homme qui a gardé toute sa lucidité, sa vivacité et l'amertume de la désillusion d'une vie gaspillée a ses propres yeux... Une force de la nature, toujours aussi cryptique et impressionnant dans son âge mure qu'il l'était en tant qu'adolescent, puis en tant que Guerrier, car il était et reste toujours, plus qu'un simple soldat, c'est un Homme de Guerre, meme si il ne l'est vraiment que par la force des choses et malgre lui. Ne' a une epoque ou la Guerre etait la seule issue de secours pour echapper a une vie, aux valeurs morales floues, une vie monotone, fade ou tout l'ecoeure. La guerre. comme ses peintures a l'encre de chine, est faite de tons tres nuances, de lignes tres definies, meme si parfois, l'encre bave sur le papier absorbant, comme en guerre, le bien n'est pas toujours bien demarque du mal, mais au moins on avance, on ne regarde pas en arriere. Ce qui est fait appartient au passe, c'est la fuite a l'avant pour tenter d'echapper aux demandes de justifications morales.

La partie relatant la vie du Personnage Victorien Salagnon vous passionnera, le reste.... je ne saurais vous dire. Les chapitres « Commentaires » decrivent la vie très courante d'un genre de personne que je n'ai jamais apprécié par principe. Le genre de personne que je ne fréquente jamais de bon gré, ni ne cherche à fréquenter. Le petit Baba-cool gauchiste, petit bourgeois envieux des grands, méprisants des petits, imbu de sa pseudo-intelligence, qui passe sa vie a végéter au crochet de ses parents tant qu'il peut, puis au crochet de la Société, à fumer ses pétards, partisan du moindre effort, passant son temps a se moquer des "besogneux", et critiquer, a grand coups de slogans préfabriqués, les "nantis" avec une haine et jalousie viscérale, dont il a hérite de la génération précédente (parents et profs qui l'ont formé). C'est un adulte qui a du mal a sortir de l’adolescence,  un Arthur Rimbaud du 20e siècle, sans le courage, la verve, l’audace et surtout le talent du verbe de ce dernier, mais atteint du même malaise, le "Rebel Dépressif" sans cause ni but.

Ce malaise est malgré tout le lien qui rattache les 2 personnages transcendant les époques et leur monde respectif, car chacun des deux vit dans le sien, dans sa tete. L’un plongé dans le choc de la réalité de la guerre, la seule qu’il connaisse tant le reste du monde et de la vie lui semble superficiel au mieux, factice au pire. L’autre errant sans convictions entre 2 étapes de sa vie, ne sachant vraiment ni pourquoi il est la, ni si cela vaut la peine de mettre un pied devant l’autre, flottant dans le brouillard du manque d'objectis et de raison d'etre. Leur rencontre et ce malaise qu’ils ont en commun permet a l’un de réorganiser sa vie par le récit de ce qu’il a vécut et ainsi en tirer une perspective qui lui apporte finalement un point de focus et de « paix », un sens final d’accomplissement. Cette rencontre donne aussi à l’autre, un aperçu d’un monde qu’il jugeait auparavant sans vraiment le comprendre. Un monde dur, solide brutal et tout aussi incompréhensible que le sien. Mais un monde sur lequel il peut s’appuyer pour bondir pour un nouveau départ. Mettant sur papier le récit de la vie troublante mais passionnante d’un autre, dont le personnage est diamétralement opposé au sien, mais qu’il comprend parfaitement, aussi étrange et illogique que cela puisse lui paraitre. Une bouée de sauvetage, un objectif enfin, celui de mettre sur papier l’essence même du vécu d’un personnage aux proportions épiques.

Je vous recommande donc de lire « l'Art Français de la Guerre ». Vous apprécierez le contexte historique, une histoire bien contée, qui ouvre une fenêtre sur l'intimité de la vie des familles sous l'occupation à Lyon et dans nos campagnes.
L'alternance des chapitres entre les "Commentaires" (Vie du narrateur de nos jours) et les Chapitres du Roman (vie de Victorien Salagnon de 1943 à nos Jours) est assez pénible. On est tenté de lire les chapitres 'Romans" d'abord, et omettre complètement les chapitres "commentaires" [que je trouve personnellement rasoir]. Mais tous ne le sont pas, certains chapitres sont directement liés au "Roman" tels que les chapitres ou le Narrateur et le Victorien Salagnon d'aujourd'hui échangent directement leur avis sur la vie et surtout sur la Guerre. Ces chapitres là sont passionnants, les autres, a mon humble avis ne sont que du remplissage, ou tout y est méticuleusement placé pour rentrer soigneusement dans la "Boite" étiquetée "Prix Goncourt": Un peu de sexualité crue, un peu de grossièreté pour faire "dans le coup", un peu de mots à rallonge et de phrases compliquées, même si elles sont souvent maladroites, pour faire "Intello", et toute la liste "académique" des typiques montages de métaphores, personnifications, simili, quelques citations de personnage célèbres de l'Intelligencia Internationale tel que Sun Tsu (L'art de la Guerre), Freud, et d'autres, facilement reconnaissables, le tout tres "politiquement correct", tres au gout du jour, bien joue'! Tout pour rentrer parfaitement dans le profile et marquer des points. Si tel était le but de Jenni, il a bien travaillé. En bon élève il s'est bien renseigné sur le Barème de correction du Prof et s'est assuré que tout les points nécessaires y étaient au risque d'en perdre tout âme et substance du récit, mais bon... l'âme et la substance, il les a mis en bouchées doubles dans les chapitres "Romans". Rien que pour ca, ca vaut le coup.

Je ne connais pas du tout Alexis Jenni, bien que nous ayons fréquenté le Lycée de Belley a la même époque, il était en terminale quand je suis entre en 2nde, mais on ne fréquentait pas du tout les mêmes cercles, bien que je connaissais très bien certaines de ses camarades de classe, je ne savais même pas qu'il existait. Pourtant son père était mon Prof d'Allemand en 2de. J'aimerais, par contre, le rencontrer un jour et parler de son bouquin. Le personnage de Salagnon est vraiment passionnant, j'aurais des milliers de questions sur ce qui l'a inspiré pour le choix du titre, des noms de personnage des lieux...etc. Il semble y avoir là, beaucoup plus que ce qui est écrit. Je pense que Jenni, pourrait murir en tant qu'auteur et si il reste dans le roman historique, il pourrait être un fabuleux conteur. Le talent est définitivement présent, un peu brut et reste à dégrossir, à peaufiner, mais j'aimerais le voir écrire beaucoup d'autres bouquins à condition qu'il garde la passion dont il a fait preuve dans les chapitres "romans" de son livre.