Sunday, January 07, 2018
Augustine Sam @austin_sam001 #PsychologicalSuspense, #RomanticSuspense, #Sexual Awakening.
I’d like to welcome Augustine Sam, author of Take Back the Memory to my blog today.
RW: Tell us about your latest book. What motivated the story? Where did the idea come from? What genre is it? Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
AS: My latest book, Take Back the Memory, ironically was my debut novel which went out-of-print at the expiration of my contract and is now being republished under a new imprint. It is mainly women’s commercial fiction with elements of romantic suspense. Interestingly, it was conceived originally as a single chapter in another novel I was working on at the time and it was meant to create a minor distraction for the protagonists based on events of a date night. But for some reason I couldn’t write it, the more I thought about it the more the story expanded, slowly detaching itself from the original plot until it became clear to me that the story of my protagonist, Paige Lyman, deserved more than a chapter. As every writer knows, when a story is ready to be told, there’s nothing an author can do to stop it. So, I put the other novel on hold and focused instead on the plot development that later became Take Back the Memory.
RW: How much does reader feedback matter to you? Do your fans’ comments and letters influence you in any way? Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?
AS: There’s no doubt at all that reader feedback, positive or negative, is of paramount importance to an author. There’s a saying in publishing: If you are writing for money, then write what people want to read. In other words, if you are not writing for your personal consumption then what your readers say must influence you somehow. However, not all comments from fans are complimentary and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because sometimes critiques and the so-called ‘bad reviews’ contain valuable insights and suggestions that can be quite useful to an author.
Having said that, one of my favorite comments from fans after reading Take Back the Memory is: “I can’t believe a man wrote that story.” Some readers are curious and others shocked, “wondering how a man could delve so deeply into a woman’s emotions…”
RW: What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
AS: My second book, Flashes of Emotion (a collection of poems), was perhaps the easiest to write because of the genre. In my creative mind, poetry comes before prose, so working on that collection was like a homecoming for me. While that was the easiest, Black Gold was the hardest to create because I actually set out to write a short novel out of a rather complex plot and it was difficult to tell the story in its entirety without short-changing the reader. The most fun, without a doubt, was Take Back the Memory, because, funny enough, at every turn there was a woman reading over my shoulders, trying to determine if part of her soul was being stolen for literary narration.
RW: Which comes first, the story, the characters, or the setting?
AS: It depends on the book. In Take Back the Memory, the story came first. In fact, the unusual life story and choices of Paige Lyman, the protagonist, stood out for me as clear as day. In The Conspiracy of Silence (my mystery/thriller novel), the characters came first. The moment I “met” Rita Spencer, I knew she was going to be my lead, I only had to look over her shoulders to see the other characters lining up. But in Black Gold (my short novel), the setting came first. The places evoked the story: from Monte Carlo, Europe’s smallest state, to Manhattan where dreams can be built and shattered in one breath, to Venice in Italy which boasts of ancient, mysterious charm, and finally to the underrated dynamics of Nigeria which many western reviewers are blissfully ignorant about.
RW: What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
AS: The hardest part of writing is the presentation, I suppose. Even when writers have a complete story in their heads, they must still find a way to tell it in a manner that makes sense, not only to them but to the reader as well. The easiest part, of course, is the story’s conception. Now, while it is not effortless to conceive an idea, writers are mostly blessed with a vivid imagination. That, after all, is what distinguishes a creative mind from a non-creative one. So, I’d say presenting the story to the reader is the hardest part of writing and I hold the view that a novel should possess elements of complexity and finesse, in tone and in language, that distinguish it from coffeehouse chatter among friends.
RW: What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
AS: I hope their mind soars with heights of insight after reading my work, whether it is about the exploration of the mystery of love or the highlights of the complexity of the human mind. I hope the work leaves them with an impression similar to the sensation of walking out of a theatre after watching a really good movie. You know, sometimes we read fiction to “escape” but we can do so to learn as well because fiction can, in manifold ways, give us valuable insights into many of life’s realities.
RW: What is your secret guilty pleasure?
AS: Well, my guilty pleasure—smoking an aromatic pipe—is not really a secret. You know, a quote attributed to Albert Einstein which I agree with says: “I believe pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs.”
RW: If you were stranded on a tropical island, who would it be with? You can choose any living, deceased or mythical figure.
AS: Bob Marley. (We’d sing and smoke and forget we were stranded on a tropical island.)
RW: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
AS: Absolutely unpredictable. Handle with care.
RW: What can we expect from you in the future? Where do you hope to be five years from now?
AS: Readers can expect my long-awaited trilogy—the first part of which I put on hold to write my debut novel, Take Back the Memory. It is a literary thriller with romantic elements. With regards to the second question, I try not to hope for anything either now or five years from now.
RW: Those are all the questions I have for you. Thank you for speaking to me.
AS: Many thanks indeed.
Take Back the Memory
Paige Lyman, an accomplished psychiatrist, is on the verge of madness but she doesn’t know it yet. The madness begins when she gets it into her head to write her memoirs. As her brilliant mind assembles bits and pieces of her life for the book, ugly skeletons, long forgotten in the closet, begin to rear their heads.
It had all begun with a simple act of love. And love, for her, was a blond-haired Irish boy named Bill. So when Bill abandoned her for priesthood, the world around her collapsed. Seized by a different passion—vengeance—she seeks her proverbial pound of flesh in the beds of various priests…
Until she meets Stern W, a medical researcher, who sweeps into her life like a hurricane and marries her. They live happily ever after until he dies in a helicopter crash and she discovers the startling truth about who he really was. Now, transformed from psychiatrist to patient, Paige is seared by damning memories she must decipher in order to be free.
Take Back The Memory is the saga of her compelling backward journey through her own life on a psychotherapist’s couch.
Diane was dreaming about her husband, John, when suddenly, a strange sound woke her. A sensation of foreboding followed by a shower of gooseflesh gripped her as a loud, familiar voice came to her from the direction of the living room.
“Okay folks,” the voice said. “Today we won’t dwell on the notion that women are biologically castrated men because that has already been rejected as scientifically unsatisfying.”
Diane’s jaw dropped. “Oh, no,” she muttered; she inclined her head, and listened, scowling and gaping. A shudder followed.
It was nearly half past seven in the morning. Thin rays of daylight trickled into the room through the window, illuminating her face.
“Aw,” she croaked, and struggled to a sitting position, her hand instinctively caressing her slightly protruding belly. Stifling a yawn, she swung her feet from the bed, and carefully placed them on the Persian rug.
“Stay safe, John,” she said, as her thoughts embraced him, alone in Detroit, a determined courtroom brawler, steeling himself for his first real legal battle. She hoped he would win his case.
She rose from the bed and pulled a chiffon robe over her shoulders. Fluffing her hair, she walked to the window of the small, all-white room in her mother’s cottage. In silence, she parted the blind, squinting.
A late September sun rose over the Manhattan skyline. The delicate cast of its rays captured the cloudless sky in a halo of naked beauty. Intrigued by the sight, Diane patted her baby bump and gazed, fascinated, at the rising sun, perched on the horizon like a giant ball of fire. She pulled the window ajar, and leaned against the pane, gazing animatedly at the people on the sidewalks.
A whiff of slightly chilly wind fanned her face. “Like a romantic breath on the cheek,” she muttered. As she did so, she recalled her husband’s tender hug and whoop of delight at the prospect of becoming a dad, and her mother’s invitation for a weekend in her luxury cottage while John worked on his case in Detroit. The thought of her mother jolted her, as the loud, familiar voice, seemingly on cue, reached her.
“Not again, for Christ sake.” She closed the window and turned away hastily.
As she hurried out of the room, her heart racing, she fretted about this new habit her mother had developed of talking to unseen people at home and walking around the house naked. Worried about the speeches, though not about the nakedness, it occurred to her that the habit had begun when Paige got it into her head to write her memoirs.
Unshed tears in her eyes, Diane entered the living room to find her Mom, barefoot on the Persian rug, striking a professor’s pose in a black negligee. The sight brought her to an abrupt halt. Paige, her back to the door, was explaining the theories of Sigmund Freud at some length to a non-existent audience. Her imaginary psychiatry class.
Diane gazed in bewilderment at the gorgeous redhead she had admired all her life. She pulled the chiffon robe tightly around her body and then treading softly, planted herself directly behind her negligee-clad mother.
“Hi, Mom,” she stuttered. Her voice came out grouchy, her breathing erratic.
A loud silence followed the frozen movement and speech of her mother.
“Talking to yourself again, aren’t you?” Diane said softly, brushing back her hair. “How weird is that, Mom?”
Paige stiffened. Out of habit, she ruffled her hair and puckered her lips. She turned around slowly, neither surprised nor mortified and regarded her daughter keenly.
“What?” Diane hunched her shoulders in puzzlement. “Weren’t you talking to yourself just now?”
Her redhead mother, in her characteristically graceful manner, lifted her shoulders in a deft bogus shrug, ignoring the accusatory tone of her daughter’s voice.
“Good morning to you too, Diane,” she said, derision obvious. She paced slowly around the living room, her black negligee swaying around her voluptuous body.
Enthralled, as always, Diane regarded her in silence, her eyes following her mother’s movements. Over fifty and now in semi-retirement, Paige was still an object of fascination to Diane. She still possessed the loveliest pair of legs on Riverside Drive, and when she wore skirts, which she did often, even young men from the nearby Columbia University, turned to stare. Diane knew her mother’s wonderful head of hair still caused whispers in elevators.
Paige suddenly stopped pacing, brusquely interrupting her daughter’s stare of admiration. “I wasn’t talking to myself.” She wheeled around in a slow, composed manner, her gaze turning in the direction of her treasured pet.
“He listens to me,” she said, pointing at the parrot.
Diane’s face darkened. She frowned both at her mother and at the parrot.
“Your monologues are beginning to worry me, Mom. Can you do something about it?”
Paige, a strange smirk on her surprisingly fresh, makeup-free face, took a step backward. Her gaze averted, her shoulders hunched, she appeared to sense Diane’s eyes scrutinizing her the way custom agents scrutinize a suspicious baggage. She looked both amused and irritated by the way her daughter’s pregnancy seemed unwittingly to turn the table on them, causing them to reverse roles.
“Stop mothering me,” she blurted. “I’m the mother here, Diane.”
Diane stared at her.
Paige frowned. “You don’t understand, do you?”
“No, I don’t. Make me understand, Mom.”
“He listens,” she snapped, turning her gaze to the parrot, “He never interrupts, he just listens. Do you know he’s a better listener than your father ever was?”
Diane’s heart lurched. She clutched her chest with her left hand and stared fixedly at the floor, her thoughts somersaulting. Her mother’s nonsensical talk had suddenly caused her worry to crystallize into trauma.
“Mom?” she cried, “is this all because of Dad’s sudden passing?”
“Mom, please talk to me,” she sobbed, convinced now that she knew what it was all about.
Paige turned, and like the mercurial being she was, brightened suddenly, the frown on her face, gone. “Now, let’s go and eat some breakfast. Come on.”
Diane’s eyes bulged. Breakfast? Was she kidding? She gazed at the redhead as she waddled coolly towards the door and shakily remembered that in the days following her father’s death, Paige had acted unbelievably controlled.
She hadn’t even cried at the funeral. Her mother had refused to betray any emotion, keeping all the pain inside until she was ready to explode.
So, explode, she did, eventually. Images flashed across Diane’s mind. She remembered that night, five months ago, when Paige, rising from the dinner table, had cracked unexpectedly. She had yanked her clothes off, walked around the house naked, and to the amusement of her daughter, who thought it was a joke, slowly began to unleash her pent-up emotions on her parrot in a stream of invectives she considered her magnum opus. The following morning, when she carried the parrot’s cage to the balcony the multi-colored creature in its high-pitched voice amazingly repeated her diatribes to giggling passers-by to her mother’s utter delight.
“Mom, I know what this is about,” Diane said. Paige paused at the door of the living room and turned slowly.
“It’s about Dad’s death, isn’t it? The loneliness, the bereavement; it’s beginning to hit you now.” She gazed at her mother. “You’ve got to seek help before it drives you beyond the bend.”
“Give me a break, Diane,” Paige snapped. “You don’t know a damn thing about any of this.”
Diane made no reply and a strange silence enveloped them.
Video Trailer URL: https://goo.gl/Sm3o2h
Publisher: AuthorSuite Books
Contact Augustine Sam at:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00QOREIB0