Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway ~ UNREST by Victor Arteaga


Unrest (Blood Moon Saga, #1)
by: Victor Arteaga
Series: Blood Moon Saga
Genre: LGBT Paranormal Sci-Fi
Release Date: April 22, 2020
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
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Remembrance Day is just an excuse for vampires and humans to throw themselves a parade. They like to pretend they did us werewolves a favor. But I guess it's not all bad. I do get cheap booze, live in an underground lunar city, which some would find cool, and I am employed. Sejanus Industries isn't a benevolent corporate ruler, but they're the devil I made a deal with. My life is quiet and mostly non-violent but one message from my cousin could cause me to lose everything I've sacrificed for my peaceful life.

Hi Victor. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
I’m excited! A little nervous, but otherwise good!

I’m going to warn you now, that was probably the easiest question you’re going to get from me. Let’s talk, shall we?
Let’s do it, I’m ready!

You’re first-generation American, and as of this interview, you’ve been sober for five years and forty-five days. How has this affected your writing?
It’s the only reason I’m able to write at all. When I was drinking I did zero writing. My addiction existed to keep my mind from working. I wanted to be numb, to quell the trillions of thoughts every second from overwhelming me, of letting my pain fuel that little demon in me. It wasn’t until I got sober that I learned to channel all the energy, fleeting thoughts, ideas, questions etc. and weave them into a narrative. Sobriety fuels my writing, and my writing fuels my sobriety. It’s a surprisingly symbiotic relationship.

Being first-generation American means a lot of nebulous things. I feel as though I’m torn between multiple cultures. My parents are from different countries, Nicaragua and Peru. Growing up I had a blend of the two when it comes to food, the accent I speak Spanish with, and at the same time, most of my life is filled with Americana. And yet, I still miss a lot of American cultural references because I just didn’t grow up with them. Brady Bunch? Who? I never get any of those jokes. I wasn’t allowed to watch Ninja Turtles because Raphael “has a bad attitude.” Things like that I only know because it’s been mentioned so much but I don’t get it beyond a gliding on the surface level.

That kind of internal conflict with who I am, where I belong, what do I/can I do to belong are things that I use to flesh out my characters. It’s easy for me to write internal conflict because I’ve lived it for so long and it makes it really easy to add an extra dimension to my characters.

Congratulations on your sobriety by the way. Your blog post on March 30th was heartfelt and personal. It was real and inspirational. How did it feel to write it?
Thank you! Honestly, it felt weirdly routine. Like, I’ve gotten to the point in my sobriety where I don’t have to think too much about it except on especially hard days. At the same time, I am filled with pride when I can say “Five Years Sober.” It’s a great reminder that my relationship with my children, my wife, friends, family are all so good because I put in the requisite work to improve myself and my surroundings. My son told me the other day that when he grows up he wants to be a great daddy, like me. So that broke and melted my heart in the best way. In more practical ways, self-reflection, introspection and taking account of my actions was one of the techniques I learned in rehab to get sober and it’s just good practice to have a yearly check-in.

What has this quarantine taught you about yourself?
I guess it’s really shown that as much as I used to think I was an extrovert, I’m more introverted than I really thought. Having so little time to myself has been immensely difficult for me, and for my wife. I think I’ve honestly learned more about the people I live with than I have with myself. Most everything that’s come around with me I’ve known thanks to having to do a total investigation of who I am to get sober. I guess I’ve also learned I’m more adaptable than I give myself credit for.

Alright. Let’s take a deep breath. Thank you for allowing us an insight into your world and who you are. It was a pleasure! Thank you for asking such great questions!

Now for the reason, you’re here. Let’s talk about your book Unrest. Unrest is the first book in the Blood Moon Saga. Please tell me about the world you have created.
Well the world is ours, but the veil of secrecy surrounding werewolves and vampires was ripped away on live streaming to the entire world. The book deals with the fallout from that on a social and political level. The way it shook out has werewolves as the villains, and vampires as the savior but the whole truth is rarely what’s made public. There’s a space elevator, a city that’s in an underground cavern connected to a telescope that’s built on the surface of the moon, there’s a lot of civil unrest especially when it comes to being/dealing with werewolves. On a more pleasant side, there’s a ton of awesome technology that I deeply wish we had right now. Like pants that automatically change their shape, fit and feel to however you like. Want compression leggings? Change the setting, boom. Want flowy comfy pajama pants? Change settings, now you’re living in comfort. Want a dress where the skirt changes from tight-fitting to loose and flowy? Done. I’d kill for all of that.

Okay, the clothes part does sound appealing. What can you tell me about your protagonist, M. Alessandra Silva? What drives her?
Guilt and shame mostly. Aless made some bad choices when she was a part of a rebel group that was devoted to fighting against vampire aggression. As a result, she turned herself in to receive a pardon and get a second chance on the moon to be away from the ghosts of her mistakes. Mostly she wants to be left alone, numb, drunk, and unhappy. So she’s not exactly the most pleasant person to be around, but she has her moments. Beyond that, she’s South American, sarcastic, unabashedly opinionated, and maybe a little stubborn. Ok, a lot stubborn.

What can you tell me about Unrest?
Oh my gosh, where do I start? Well, basically Unrest is Aless’ story. She’s a werewolf that’s been labeled a war-criminal with a pardon and lives in a section of Galilei specifically for werewolves with that same designation. The city is run by an all-vampire corporate entity that rules with as much compassion as Verizon customer service, and there’s a small movement of werewolves led by Aless’ public defender to rally numbers and lobby for a more democratic process. Of course, Aless wants no part in that. She spent too long fighting vampires on Earth and losing to see any point. On the anniversary of the Silver Accords being signed into law, she gets a message from her cousin that precipitates a series of events that put the entire city on edge.

It’s got gritty action, a touch of romance, and a diverse cast of interesting and multi-dimensional characters.

Can you please tell me about some of the other characters?
I’d love to!

Nate is Aless’ best friend. He came with her when they fled Earth. He’s an ex-marine who runs a gym and is kind of her level-headed balance.

Rosa is essentially the Venezuelan Godmother of Galilei. You need contraband, it’s her you go see. She’s a bit of a mystery, with curious motives.

Nokomis was Aless’ public defender who moved to Galilei to help organize the werewolves living there to create a community. She’s Aless’ mother-figure.

Then there’s Nova. The foul-mouthed Scot with a double Ph.D. in astrophysics and A.I. Programming. She was a lot of fun to write. She’s a tiny red-head who takes zero s*** from anyone.

What is Sejanus Industries?
Sejanus Industries is a private security firm comprised entirely of vampires. It’s run by an ancient vampire named Julius Serrone, and they are also the governing body on Galilei, the lunar city in which Unrest takes place.

How many books are you envisioning will be in the Blood Moon Saga series?
I’m seeing three. I already have the titles picked out for them. The reason I went with Saga instead of trilogy is because there are some short stories, and a Patreon web-series that I’m writing that all feed into the novel. It didn’t make sense to me to go with trilogy since there’s just so much that I’ve written for it outside the books.

Why did you choose to have the series so far into the future and make it dystopian?
Regarding the future, that was more a function of science than anything else really. The question was about putting people on the moon, so in order to make the idea marginally believable, I had to put it in the future where technology could’ve advanced far enough to accomplish that. As to dystopia…I’m not sure I’d agree that it is one. Yes, it’s bleak, there’s a lot of hard topics involved but society didn’t break down, there wasn’t an entire collapse and/or restructuring of world systems. It’s more that the conflicts we see today are heightened in the future especially when it comes to dealing with one narrative of horrible events conflicting with another exacerbated by the advances in technology. We see that every day in the news, especially now, with things like social media, so unless we want to call our current situation a dystopia, which I’m sure some people would, I don’t know that I’d classify the setting in Unrest as one.

Okay. Fair enough. What have you learned from writing Unrest that you know you want to change or enhance with your second book?
I’ve learned how to properly write engaging dialogue. That was so hard for me when I started writing. I thought I was good at it, then I had a couple of editors hammer me about my structure, the dialogue itself, and I had to eat a lot of humble pie. Those were all invaluable lessons in turning off my ego and learning to how to take, keep and discard certain feedback. I learned how to write much more efficiently to cut down editing time. Writing scenes with little action but a lot of progression, like when we meet Rosa for the first time, was a skill I look forward to exercising more and putting in book two.

Things I hope to change is just writing with a more robust outline. I’m not great at pantsing my way through narrative. I like to have a clear idea going forward. I mentioned before how my brain just races all the time so when I have to write without an outline I tend to go all over the place and it gets convoluted. It makes editing take so much longer than it needs to so now that I know that, book two will come easier, I think. Get all the haphazard brainstorming done in the early stages so I can focus on the important things like character development, arcs, conflict, etc.

Are you currently writing the next book in the series? If so, how is that going?
I’m working on the outline for it. I have always had a general idea of where I want the story arc to go but with the quarantine and kids home all day every day, I have little time to do any real work.

Victor, thank you again for taking the time to answer some questions for me.
It was a true pleasure, thank you for having me!

Abandoned hope thickened the air as people streamed between polished stone pillars that fronted this house of false promises. Equity and justice for all were laughable concepts the powerful wielded to fit their will and whim. The sky drizzled and misted enough to be cold, damp and miserable. Its gray cloud cover blunted the vibrant colors of the sparse, yet immaculate landscaping, and the wet air smothered the flowers’ sweet fragrance. I trekked past the throngs of caged miscreants as a lone wolf would pass through a swarm of rodents. The weight of my misdeeds forced my shoulders low, lined my mouth, and left my gaze fierce and steady. Guilt over leaving the cousin who called me sister slowed my steps. Betrayal of my chosen family left the bitter taste of regret on my tongue. Lady Justice, the sullen patron saint of my temporary home, was painted and carved on every available surface. We were told the cloth around her eyes meant Justice was blind and fair. But I know now she didn’t mask her eyes to symbolize the blindness of her virtue. Justice wasn’t blind. She just couldn’t bear to see the truth.

Purchase Unrest from:

The Blood Moon Saga:

Victor Arteaga is a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories. Though he’s always been an avid reader, his dream to be a writer was jump-started when he got sober in March of 2015. What began as an exercise to keep his sobriety billowed into a deep and unbridled passion to create. His experiences with addiction and being a first-generation American from immigrant parents inject a flavor of unique authenticity to his characters and worlds that he creates. His imagination is given free rein to conjure worlds and experiences on the page which enthralls and captivates readers.

Places to find Victor Arteaga:

You can follow the Unrest Blog Tour here.

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14 comments:

  1. Congrats on this tour and thank for the opportunity to read about another great book out there to read. It helps out so I can find books I know my family will enjoy reading. Thanks as well for the giveaway.

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  2. How did you come up with the title of the book?

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    Replies
    1. I thought about what the main issues and themes in the book are and tried to distill it down to a word.

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  3. The cover is eye catching, I really like it!

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  4. The perfect title for our times!

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  5. Thanks for hosting, really enjoyed doing this interview!

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    1. You're welcome. Thank you for answering my questions.

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  6. I liked the excerpt. Sounds like a good book.

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  7. Great interview, thanks for sharing!

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  8. I enjoyed the interview and the excerpt.

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  9. Congratulations on your sobriety! What has been the most challenging aspect in writing this novel?

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    Replies
    1. The hardest part was writing through some of the more difficult, triggering emotions. Some scenes would put me in a foul mood because I had to draw on some really dark parts of myself and my history. Early on, writing through the drinking parts were incredibly difficult to combat the cravings, but it got easier over time.

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