It’s about time I have Aviva on the blog. We’ve talked about her being interviewed here forever. Aviva has had a lot of success. Her novel, Blood Matters has just been re-released thanks to Edge publishing. Aviva is an independent author that has worked her way up into the ranks and is gradually making an impact. We met at the local Chapters in her neck of the woods in Calgary to talk about books, special needs, and life in general.
Joshua Pantalleresco: How has your year been?
Aviva Bel-Harold: Crazy.
JP: Mine too.
AB: Not in the writing productive kind of way. I adopted a kid and his adjustment into our home has taken up a lot of my time. It’s a slow process. One that takes a LOT of time and patience.
Between that, and being on the road with Brian [Hades, Publisher of EDGE publishing] I haven’t had nearly enough time to do as much writing as I’d like. Next year, I hope things will settle down and maybe I can get some help with the boy.
JP: I can kind of understand that. My grandmother was taking care of my grandfather who was suffering from dementia. Even though you do have some help and support, having someone completely dependent on you is taxing.
How did the signing go?
AB: Pretty good. This store is generally very good to me.
JP: It’s sad that stores like these are coming to an end.
AB: I know. You can see how they display their items here. You see they have pans, cups, and stuff right iat the front. They[chapters] are still trying to sell books primarily. You can go over the back and around the bookstore to see them, but at the end of the day, they got to make money.
JP: In about ten years all of them will be gone.
AB: I know. The problem is that if you go here, and the one up the street or the one downtown, they are all the same.
JP: I truly think that the small bookstores have a shot. I mean there’s a whole experience you can create in those bookstores you can’t here. Not to mention the fact that the volume of books just aren’t there anymore.
AB: I know.
JP: That said, congratulations on Edge.
AB: Thank you.
AB: No. When I made the deal with Brian, he looked at my whole catalogue. I had some things he was interested in. Blood Matters was the first thing that he scooped up. There’s another book I had self published. It’s about a girl who survived a plague that only had one survivor in three thousand. I got
this idea that she would have superpowers. There is this organization that hunts down these people, and one of them goes undercover at her high school to kill her.
JP: Sounds intriguing.
AB: It’s one hundred ninety two thousand words long.
JP: That’s a heck of a fantasy novel. It’s two books.
AB: At least. The problem with this book is that it’s written in two first person perspectives. The story is built on both of them, so taking one out for the other just doesn’t work. Brian is interested in it, but I told him for now that you don’t want this. It’s something I’ll be working on next year.
JP: What’s it called?
AB: Chip. I know, it doesn’t seem quite right. I might rethink the title.
JP: Did you keep any of the books under your banner?
AB: I kept Safe.
JP: What’s Safe?
AB: Want to hear my elevator pitch for Safe?
AB: It’s about this girl that goes to commit suicide, and the ghost that saves her.
JP: Wow. That’s a pretty good pitch.
AB: Thank you. I wrote the story because my daughter at fifteen decided to attempt to commit suicide. I wanted to help her and this book was my way of doing that.
JP: It sounds like an intriguing read. I’ll have to get a copy the next time I’m here. Why didn’t Brian pick it up?
AB: I still have a couple thousand copies of the book. When I finally sell all of them, he may be interested, but at this point it’s still mine.
JP: Fair enough. It’s strange. Ever since high school I’ve always seem to be around girls or women that don’t seem confident in themselves. That’s starting to change a bit as I get older – meeting and talking to you for example. But even now, I still know a couple of women in abusive relationships.
AB: Don’t think I have it quite altogether. Even now there are still days where I have my moments, but now I know how to hold it together a lot better than I did in the past. But still, there has to be something about you that draws them in.
JP: There’s this one girl I know; she was a friend of my roommate and she walked right up to me and said, “I’m a slut.” It was literally after she introduced herself. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, what do you say? Finally, I settled on “as long as you can look yourself in the mirror”.
AB: Next time something like that happens, say “I accept you.” When someone comes out and says that to you, they are telling you up front that they are not a good person. They expect rejection. They expect to be discarded. By saying that you accept them, it eases it.
JP: I just didn’t know what to say…
AB: I know that. This is for next time.
JP: Thank you.
AB: Can I say something?
AB: There has to be something about you that attracts this kind of woman. I mean, I know that in this case, your roommate had something to do with it. But there is a small part of you that wants to explore a relationship at some point again, and you need to confront whatever it is that introduces this.
JP: I will try. I think I know what it is.
JP: So is there anything else coming up?
AB: I have another project that is currently on Brian’s desk. I am trying to get him to speed up on this project in particular. It’s a great idea, and would fit in perfectly with the release of the next star wars.
JP: There are ties?
AB: Perhaps. At this moment in time, YA fiction is going through another transformation. We had Wizards and schools with Harry Potter. We went into vampires with Twilight…
JP: Some things about Twilight made me laugh.
AB: I actually liked the series.
JP: All in all, I did too. The first two books are not the best though.
AB: The first book reads like teenage smut. And don’t even get me started with the second book. I have this bad habit with series to read a book and get to a point where I ask someone I know if the series gets better.
JP: It does around the end of book two.
AB: It really does, but getting through that second book in particular was painful. Once Edward left the book just becomes drudge. Afterwards it’s much better.
JP: Even in the early books, I really enjoyed Stephanie Meyer’s voice. She captured that very well. Even if the baseball scene made me laugh. That said, I really enjoyed the last book especially, and really think the whole thing came together quite well.
AB: It did. And we got a movie series out of it. Then we went into dystopia, which was so strong it released two very strong movie series with The Hunger Games and Divergent.
JP: I really enjoyed Divergent. It was a solid trilogy, and overall I thought a little stronger than the Hunger Games series. Though I think The Hunger Games itself is an amazing book.
AB: I really liked the first one. The third book to me there wasn’t so good.
JP: I liked the third book – minus the epilogue – better than the second one. I thought Catching Fire was too much a rehash of book one. Mockingjay actually explained quite a few things that the first two didn’t.
AB: I just saw the third book primarily as a sequence of events. Reading it, it didn’t feel like a story so much as things happening, one after the other. On the plus side, the movie fleshed out those events and made it a very intriguing story.
JP: I hate that it’s two movies though.
AB: You know they are going to flesh things out. It’s how it’s done. Anyway, like I was saying earlier, dystopia was the current trend and now I think it’s moving into something else.
JP: It’s obvious to me. Transhumanism. The idea of making a better human being or a different one is stronger today thanks to all the technology out there than there ever was. The story I submitted to Brian ties into that.
AB: Same here. Both Chip, and my other project. That’s kind of why I’m trying to push it through.
JP: I hope it goes well for you. Good luck.
AB: Thank you! And to you as well!
JP: I guess going full circle here, what are your goals for next year?
AB: I want to get back into the writing groove. A lot of my time was taken up by other things. This year coming up I am having a support group make sure that I can remain on task. I’m at the point I can do one book a year. I’m hoping to keep that pace up.
JP: That’s cool. So Blood Matters is in March?
AB: Yes. It’ll be available as an ebook and paperback then. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue that trend every year.
Blood Matters is available now wherever books are sold. The Edge website is located here: http://www.edgewebsite.com/books/bloodmatters/bloodmatters-catalog.html. Aviva’s twitter account is @avivatheauthor. Feel free to drop by and say hello. I want to thank Aviva for her time and hopefully the next interview won’t take so long.