Thursday, June 27, 2013

The awesome author, Justin Bog is being interviewed @KevinSwarbrick 'Deliciously Scandalous Blog Tour'

Once again thank you for joining me and my wonderful guest each week on my '@KevinSwarbrick Deliciously Scandalous Blog Tour'. I promised you the reader lots of  laughs, I promised you plenty of creative minds and I also promised you that I would show the personality behind the author's mind! I am delighted to say that I have achieved that with the fantastic guest that I have had on here each week. I was asked by one person, 'what is your aim in this and why are you helping other authors promote their work when you have your own to do?'. I did reply to the question, stating that he must not been following my tour. I am a true believer in support and without that support I wouldn't be here today. In the time that I have been self published, I have seen authors write their work and just give up, not realising how much work is actually involved; I know I do have a long way to go yet. People think you write a book and that's it, everyone will read your story and know your name! Erm... Think again! Anyone in this business will know there is a hell of a lot more to it than just writing a book, and I for one take my hat off to all authors out there for not giving up... 

Now my next guest is another awesome author who did just that and not give up... Wait just let me take this call...   "Hi mate where are you? The virtual tour has started.... What do you mean you're at the pub and you left the bio on my desk... Wait I see it now, just hurry back mate, you don't need a drink to be on here, just be yourself.... Yes I will explain. Catch you soon".  Ok everyone I do apologise for Justin Bog being a little late, here is a little bit about today's awesome author,  Justin Bog...

It comes as no surprise that Justin pursued an English Degree at the University of Michigan, followed by Film and Music Appreciation classes---finally graduating from Bowling Green State University with an MFA in Fiction Writing. After teaching creative writing, Justin began apprenticing in a number of bookstores and editing fiction. Currently residing in the San Juan Islands just north of Seattle, Justin has the opportunity to focus on his own novels and short stories, while contributing commentary and reviews of Pop Culture. Justin continues to engage his life long passion for writing in combination with his curious mindset as the Senior Contributor and Editor at In Classic Style. Sandcastle and Other Stories was his first book, followed by the literary suspense eNovella, The Conversationalist. Look for Justin Bog's first novel, Wake Me Up, a psychological family drama, to be published by Green Darner Press in January 2014.

Hey Justin take a seat, good to see you my friend. I was just about to say what an awesome bio you have there and how delighted I am to have you here. It is awesome that you have achieved the goal you set out to do. I have seen how hard you have worked in the time I have known you. I have watched you grow and to see you where you are now makes me very proud indeed. I am biting my nails here a little mate, I might have to stop this interview if you get all intellectual on me... You are talking to a Salford boy whose upbringing wasn't the best, but that's another story that we all get to read in the near future, but... 

Sometimes in life we all want more than what we can have, but if you had one wish to have anything or anyone, what would that wish be and why?

I’d like to have back what I've lost these past five years, since the economic crunch blasted through what I thought was sound footing beneath my family structure. Hoping the surprising interest that has come from sharing my writing with the outside world continues, and begins to lessen the stress. I have always lived in the present. I'm not much of a futurist (unless writing fiction), and I seldom live in the past, so this helps. I remain an eternal optimist though despite hardship.

I can relate to that Justin. My mum left when I was 11 and then my dad got re-married to what he thought was a nice person. That nice person along with bullies at school and the rest that went on in my life back then, did turn my life upside down. I am not one to forget the past if the past has hurt you that much, ok you can move on from that and turn the other cheek and be a stronger person as I am, but the hurt is still there, writing for me took this hurt away and I was heard. Well by most people apart from the people that still don't want to hear, but that's another story in progress! Speaking of stories... 

I would like you to make a short story up using no more than 400 words containing every one of these 14 key words; Hen, Game, Nail, Cotton, Figure, Window, Government, Dog poo, Sex, Lamp, Spoon, Knife, Moon, DM!

The Apple
I continue to cotton to the old ways like any yapping dog that poos in public too often. My wife changed. A Game.
She bobs her hen-like head to the mighty iPhone every Goddamn second. I picture her head pounding in the nails on my coffin, and this macabre image soothes me.
“Just got a DM from Catherine. The grandkids are figure skating! Here’s Emma!”
She thrusts the iPhone screen in front of my face, a desperate habit: “Here: look!” I see our only son’s daughter smiling wide, and then, my grandson’s image, an insolent stare, tiny arms crossed, slumped after a fall on the ice, grandkids chirping with future needs. (During one drunk visit, my son confessed Catherine forced him to get snipped after the second kid, that the sex dwindled. I turned away, embarrassed, unable to say anything fatherly to guide him---poured more good scotch. We had our concerned-parent sex talk long ago now. I felt my weak and prudish nature rise.)
“Bully for them.”
She goes back to her texting. I want to tell her the government is listening to her blather. We sit in the dark, the iPhone screen brightening the dim living room. The sliver moon disappears from window view as I turn on the side-table lamp, and even this weakens me. I sit in my chair and begrudge every thing and every single person chasing dwindling dreams.
“Do you want me to turn the television on? Refresh your drink?”
“No,” I say. I don’t mean to hurt my wife’s feelings. She can’t understand where my mind is.
I picture a last supper. It’s coming soon enough. Silver forks, knives, and spoons lined up, the good china from our wedding (long ago) placed in perfect order on the English antique table, and what my wife would serve. Does she know I hate the rubbery taste of chicken now? My taste buds have vanished. What would make me happy at this point? The most flavorful apple. I want my family there around the table when I serve them slices I’ll cut like I used to cut the Sunday roast.
“What’re you thinking?” Her tone’s cautious.
“About apples.”
She takes my hand, leaving her iPhone. Presses too tight as we make eye contact. Seconds pass. I can see her worries.
“I’ll get you one.” She’s happy doing something so simple for me while she still can.

I enjoyed the story Justin, and boy you can tell a good one, but you didn't answer the question right, I think you have the pub on the brain at the moment. Try to relax and please can you put your iPhone down when we are chatting. I can see this being a long night if you're on that all the time. 'Giggles'...

When I first started writing I had a lot of negative people around me, I know I  had to lose that energy in order to continue writing and fulfilling what others thought I couldn't do. Did you ever experience any of this when you first started writing or were you lucky enough to have the right support around you?

I was very lucky my parents were both creative artists, painters, teachers; they met in grad school as they pursued degrees. They understood how hard any creative field is and would always be truthful and honest. I saw how much work an obsessed artist can accumulate, and how difficult it is to get anyone to notice. I've had several writing mentors over the years as well, and my fair share of other peers who could not be bothered to inspire or help in any way, but no one is obliged to offer assistance whatsoever. The hard turn-backs become life lessons in any writer’s life, and we can use them to build characters that have both strengths and weaknesses.

You are very lucky to have great support. I know I have come out of the woodwork so to speak with my writing. I never started writing until three years ago, I was never good at it because it was a fear of mine and now it's a passion. When I first started telling friends and family what my aim was, all I seemed to get was put down for my achievements and goals, my true family and friends never went away and have been a rock to me when I have hit my lowest points in life and they  have always believed and cared about me. Even when my work was published I still got put down because there were grammar mistakes in their eyes!  'This is Kev, he can't write?' Oh please, the reason why I haven't before is because I had no one to push me in the RIGHT direction and to show me a new way of life, my life was filled with negative energy. 'People'. I have been a survivor through life since my teens, I  was always trying my best to please everyone around me, I got in with bad crowds and also good crowds, but always wearing my heart on my sleeve when it came to women, but boy I have learnt from that too. I know everyone is not the same and like I said I have learnt the hard way... Sorry, I am getting a little deep now, that's me saying it and not Louie. On that note let's move on, I have a pint calling! 'Giggles'.

If you had a chance to run any country and make a difference, what county would it be and why?

Well, at this moment with all of the hatred forming their government policy towards homosexuals, I’d very much love to begin to shape social policy in Uganda. The country has been trying since 2009 to pass laws saying it is okay to execute its gay citizens, and it’s backed by almost 90% of the country. Here’s a link for the complete story:

I personally think there is a lot more to worry about in life than homosexuals, the government does need to wake up. It's 2013 and if the same sexes are happy together then so be it. They're not doing anyone any harm. Ok some people might not like to see that kind of thing, but in my eyes it's each to their own and if that makes them happy then so be it what's the problem... One second just let me take a quick read at your link before I go on anymore... It states in there they could get up to 14 years in prison for homosexuals. Now that kind of reminds me of a program, Cila Black used to do years ago, what was it called... Yes that's it. Blind Date. 'Giggles'. Sorry I had to slip that one in  :)! I will move on, I can see you're not impressed, but you are on my 'Delicioulsy Scandalous Blog Tour' after all, 'Giggles'...

What would you say the worse thing a reader has ever said to you and what was your reaction?

A good friend told me she had to stop reading Sandcastle and Other Stories after finishing the second story because she became too disturbed. I took this as a positive comment even though I did say: Well, if you continue reading, there are six tales ahead that aren’t in the literary suspense world that you may like---but skip stories 8 and 9! I like that the writing, the stories, made someone feel anything. Another person, someone I don’t know, said my stories crossed moral and ethical boundary lines. I disagree, but welcome that point of view since it’s so different from my own.

That's the problem with some people, they don't read on. One thing I have learnt is to take constructive criticism on board, anything else just goes over my head these days. Speaking of over your head... 

I would like you to envision yourself walking down a busy high street with your partner and suddenly there was a noise that came from your partners bottom and people turned around looking at you. What would your reaction be and why?

Total chagrin on my part, and I’d probably duck my head and walk faster . . . it isn't something I would speak to my partner about until later when we could both laugh.

Now that's interesting, I know I would have to make some kind of joke, after all you're already in the spot light. I would probably look at the person standing in front, I would turn to my partner and save her the embarrassment, take her hand and point to the person in front moving her away very fast from this tragic ordeal, but at the same time I would be giggling, after all we all know if you smile then the world smiles with you. This happened last weekend to me, it wasn't wind, but I would still like to share. I was dinning out and we ordered the same chicken dinner, the waitress came over with the dinners and asks whose was whose? I sat there with a smile on my face thinking 'she is joking right?' and my friend I was with said, 'yes that was hers'. The waitress placed both dinners down on the table before going to walk off, but I had to say, "Sorry love but mine is the chicken." She apologised and picked the plate up before realising that they where both the same dinners. We all laughed of course :) 

Use only two words that would describe you?


You can be a perfectionist, but it still doesn't mean it's going to be perfect all the time. You just have to do your best :) Great choice of words though mate, but...

Have you ever been…

A. The owner of a lonely heart
B. The owner of a broken heart
C. None of the above?
If the answer is C, please can you tell the reader how you have done it, I can see the reader would be interested to know that one, I know I am.

A, The owner of a lonely heart --- I was a lonely kid, teenager, and young adult, and didn't make friends easily, still don’t. Never dated, or pursued dating, but I met my mate almost 25 years ago, and we've had a wonderful journey together, ups and downs with outside stresses, but nothing major internal to our relationship. We laugh a lot.

I met my first mate over 25 years ago, well they came in a pack of 3 and were called mates. I thought you had to blow them up at the time. I now know later in life why they are called mates with plenty of ups and downs just like mates. Saying that, I thought to keep one in your pocket for 25 years is a long time to be talking to one. I know you said you were a lonely teenager, but I think it could be out of date now mate! 'Giggles'. Sorry I had to get that in ;)  Really though I can ditto what you're saying about teenage years. I wasn't popular back then too :( 25 years is a long time together and if you are both still laughing and joking after 25 years, then I think you have met your mate :) 

It's time for a little fun, I would like you to do the rhyme ‘Humpty Dumpty’. Using your own words and without holding back.

Zippy and Kipling howled at the coyotes from their perch in a row,
Zippy and Kipling’s coyotes ripped them to shreds in the back meadow.
All the veterinary surgeons and all the dissembling animal experts
Didn't believe how Zippy and Kipling could remain so stoic and alert.

Lmao!! I love the rhyme and I love Zippy and Kipling, they are so adorable Justin. Speaking of adorable.. 

When you are writing, do you ever think, 'Erm' my partner and me did that last night, that has to go into the story as?

I felt this way more in the early days, when I was trying to create story after story. Now, I think more about a character, and the character’s need, or want. Each character has something he or she craves, wants, needs, and the story part happens when the characters succeed or fail in their journey. But most of my writing isn't autobiographical. Settings are more closely linked to my real life.

Sounds great to me, I am working on a little fiction at this end also, but I do need to finish a couple more non-fiction first, mind you. As we're speaking fiction...

If you could be a musical instrument, what would you be and why?

I would want to be a piano. It’s a tough instrument to master well. But once someone takes the time to learn, with year’s of practice, beautiful music can pour forth.

It sounds good to me. Everything in life does take a lot of practice, but it's never to late to start learning :) ...

If you could change one thing about you as a person, what would that one thing be?

Not to be so hard on myself. I'm my worst critic, and this stems from my tendency to be a perfectionist. It’s held back my writing at times since I never believe anything I write is good enough.

I know you can beat yourself up too much in life on how perfect something should be and how good it should be, that's the one reason I would have never dreamed of writing until 3 years ago. Like I said writing was my fear and the only thing I would write would be invoices and estimates, but I am making up for all that lost time now. What was once a huge fear is now a passion and a great talent I never knew was there until my story was being written, the main character in my book was the main inspiration behind all this new journey. After it all came to an end, the first story I was working on when I was with her got put on hold. My heart had to tell the story where it was all still very raw with the pain and emotions still up in the air. I typed my heart away and it came out so natural. It was then my true friends around me that spotted the talent and gave me the confidence and support I needed to believe in myself and to push my writing further, I felt great that other people could relate to my story...    

I know we all remember our first kiss, would you say yours was a good experience or a bad one?  Please explain why.

My first kiss was a good experience because I've never had a memorably bad experience, but I don’t remember it well at all, or who it was with . . . probably with someone else just as lonely as I was.

Are you sure you want to be a piano, I can get the violins out here if you like for both our stories! It's true what they say, after a drink those lonely times do come back to haunt you. I might as well ask you this question were you spilling the beans in a manner of speaking. 'Giggles'...

Do you ever remember a part in your life that’s made a huge impact on you as a person? If so would you like to share that part with the reader?

I was a voracious reader, and read books and comic books daily for decades, all my life, and I knew I wanted to write my own stories early on, and began to force myself to write stories, even if the result was mediocre. As I continued to write and write, the technique improved and I was able to submit writing for admission into a higher level undergraduate creative writing class as a University of Michigan sophomore. From that moment on I always took writing classes. They were freeing, and I produced a lot of work, and learned from really terrific professors what rules were for, and when they could be bent just enough. Reading short fiction along with these classes helped point out technique and people who mastered and improved and jumped off from any of the set rules. I like authors who take risks. So, this early education was crucial to my own development.

It does sound fantastic Justin, I wish I did have those chances in life back then, I went to art collage after leaving school; don't get me wrong, back then art was the only thing I enjoyed doing and was great at it too, it was a way of slipping in my own little world and becoming one with what I was drawing at the time. My passion back then was art... But things change and circumstances get in the way at times and stop you being that person you are meant to be. All I can say my past may have been an eye opener to many, but it is my past that has lead me here and made me the person I am with many fantastic stories to tell. Am I bitter? Am I hell, I'm more of a lager man myself, 'giggles'... 

Who inspired you to write or was it always a dream to be an author?

My parents inspired me to be a creative writer, as I said, but other writers I respected and learned from were: Rachel Ingalls, Shirley Jackson, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Stephen King, Peter Straub, Cris Freddi, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood

Your family sounds awesome Justin and I know they will all be very proud of you and your achievements as I am mate. You're a great guy and It's has been a real pleasure having you on my tour Justin, even though your answers got me reminiscing for a moment!  Don't worry I have given my head a good wobble and I am Ok now... I will race you to the virtual pub mate, but before we do that though...

Can you tell the reader about your latest work and also tell the reader where they can find you.

My new book is a literary suspense novella called The Conversationalist, and it is the story of a young single man who seeks human companionship but doesn’t know how to date well (not autobiographical hehe) . . . it begins during one such date, and the man does something very rude . . . as the days pass after this date, someone begins to try to teach him a lesson.
Here’s the book description:
The Conversationalist---a novella of literary suspense
There's something wrong with Patrick. People whisper about him; most want to help him, as if he's a songless bird with a broken wing, make him a project, set him up on a date with a best friend . . .
On one such date, Wendy sits across from Patrick and tells him she's afraid to die. She wonders what it's like. What if this is all there is? "My mother died a year ago . . . horribly," she says. Patrick listens; it's all he's pretending to do.
There's something wrong with the way Patrick treats the women he dates, his friends, his family . . . no one can ever get close to Patrick, and no one will ever be able to uncover his secret.
Enter Justin Bog's dark world and strike up a dialogue with The Conversationalist.
Included: a Foreword by Rachel Thompson, author of Broken Pieces, and a bonus short story, Mothers of Twins, from Justin Bog's first collection of psychological tales, Sandcastle and Other Stories.


  Amazon Author Page,

Thank you once again for taking the time out and reading this interview. I must say it did get me thinking a lot. One reason I beat Justin to the pub. That guy can get me thinking to much, but in a good way of course... "Can I help you Sir?" "Yes can I have two pints of larger and a packet of crisp please?" "That's £8.20 please Sir" ..... I reached down in my pocket and thought, 'Damn, my money is in the virtual office, Justin said on my Virtual phone, that he would get the beers in tonight. This is not good for the simple reason he has no idea where this pub is... I can't just think he's here. It doesn't work like that, he has to be here as the bar staff still need paying you know ;) Until next week have a fantastic weekend and be safe ;)  

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  1. ~rushes in with beer money~ What's a pound worth, eh? Thank you very much, Kevin, for allowing me to drown in my past . . . wish it could've been as exciting and "sordid" as some of my characters' lives. Cheers, mate :-)

  2. Hey... The interview is over now Justin, no more questions, just use your card and you will be fine ;) It was my pleasure mate, I enjoyed it and you did a great job. It's awesome to have you on board. I must say this post did get me reflecting a lot on how peoples life's are so different, but yet them different life's have lead us on the same path and passion for writing. I think that's pretty cool :) Keep up the awesome work mate and I do wish you all the success this world can offer you. You deserve it mate :)

  3. Awesome interview you guys! :)

  4. Awesome guys! Great story Justin, make sure you read your little zippy and Kipling story to them, lol!

    1. Thank you Kim :) I am sure there is plenty of Kipling and Zippy stories that Justin can tell us, and I'm listening :)Xx

  5. The concerned-parent sex talk is often awkward. That's why I'm doing a PowerPoint presentation.

  6. How lovely to find Justin here! Great to read such a candid interview. I understand about being your own worst critic, and I am happy to see it has not stopped you from writing.

    It would have been a great loss to those who love your writing if it did.