We’re so pleased to welcome author M.D. Neu to TNA today on the tour for his new release from NineStar Press, The Calling. He’s answered a few interview questions for us, and he’s also offering a giveaway, so be sure to check out the entry details below!
It’s day five of my Blog Tour and I’m thrilled to end it here on The Novel Approach. Thanks for having me I really appreciate it. As this is my final stop I thought I would answer some questions provided to me by The Novel Approach. Here we go:
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
Something that people don’t know about me is that I love to cook. I share a little of this here and there, but for the most part it’s something that not a lot of people know. There is nothing like going into the kitchen and creating something. Sometimes it’s wonderful and other times we end up ordering out. In some regards it’s like writing. I get to be creative and build what I hope is something wonderful that people will enjoy and come back for seconds.
If you could spend some real-life time with one of the characters in The Calling, who would you choose and why?
I would choose Amanda. She’s amazing. Amanda is Juliet’s Keeper (a Keeper is a human who is bound to an Immortal to assist them and to help take care of them. They can also provide them with a regular source of blood). Even though Amanda is bound to Juliet she’s not a ‘yes-person’ who is mindless and a slave. Amanda is intelligent, quick witted and sensitive. She’s just a lot of fun and I’ve often thought she is kind of like Kirstie Alley in certain regards.
Anyway, I love strong female characters and I think it would be amazing to sit down with Amanda, share a hot chocolate and hear all about her life. It would also be amazing to hear what she thinks about all the things that have happened in the story.
I’m also kind of jealous about her Christmas ornament collection. I would like to learn more about as well.
Let’s take off your author cap and put on your reader cap for a moment: what do you look for in a book, what sort of protagonists do you love, do you have a favorite genre?
Honestly, I love all kinds of books. I will read just about anything. However, what I look for in a book is something fun that I don’t have to think to hard on. I’ve read some heavy dramas and enjoyed them, but they are not my favorite. When I read I like to unplug my brain and relax.
As for a genre, I tend to gravitate to Sci Fi and Fantasy. I also love Horror, but it has to be smart horror and not a slaughter fest.
When it comes to my protagonists I love a clear-cut good guy or good girl. I don’t really enjoy the perfect character (looks, body, friends, life, whatever) they aren’t real to me and I have issues relating to them. Character flaws (the more flaws the better) are great, but what I don’t like is the whiny ‘Emo’ type of character. These kinds of characters make me want to throw the book against the wall. Surprisingly I don’t mind the dark hero because they often have the best banter and one-liners of any type of character.
What books and authors would you say influenced you to become a writer yourself?
The author and books that have influenced my writing is hands down Anne Rice and Interview with the Vampire. I love how she told this story. I love how flawed everyone was and how the story was dark but still enjoyable. But I don’t just like her. I love Stephen King, Misery, Carrie, The Stand and so many others. The way he crafts his stories and his characters are amazing. Alice Walker’s The Color Purple was gutting but so powerful. It was a difficult read but worth it and it still sticks with me. Another author who has affected the way I write is Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. Not really an author, but he still has influenced everything I do and that is Harvey Fierstein, The Torch Song Trilogy. Harvey Fierstein doesn’t apologies for his story telling and he is fearless, something I hope to become more like.
Star Trek, Star Wars, both or neither? Explain.
Star Trek or Star Wars, why not just ask me to chop off an arm. I’m so glad that I can pick both, because I love them both so much.
Star Trek shows us a future where humans have gotten passed all the BS that we have going on now. There is amazing technology that helps us make the world and the universe better. Now I’m talking more about the Gene Rodenberry Star Trek not the new Trek that is out there. Still Star Trek is all about a hopeful future that I want to strive for and I hope someday we’ll achieve.
With Star Wars, it’s just fun. It’s good vs. evil at it’s best. The characters weren’t perfect and there were problems and issues a plenty, but in the end good prevailed. Plus, and I can’t stress this enough, Star Wars had light sabers. I mean come on how cool is that?
Thank you for allowing me to answer some of these wonderful questions and thank you for hosting me on my last day of the tour for The Calling.
About the Book
Title: The Calling
Author: M.D. Neu
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 1, 2018
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Length: 290 Pages
Genre: paranormal, gay, dark, immortal, magic users, psychic ability, vampires
Buy Links: NineStar Press || Amazon || Smashwords || Barnes & Noble || Kobo
Blurb: Being a nobody isn’t Duncan Alexander’s life goal, but it’s worked for him. He has a nondescript job, a few good friends, and overall he’s content. That’s until one fateful trip to San Jose, California, where he is “Called” to meet the mysterious Juliet de Exter. Juliet is a beautiful, wealthy, powerful Immortal who is undertaking The Calling—a search for a human to join her world of Immortals. Inexplicably, Duncan’s calling is more dangerous than any of the Immortals, even Juliet, ever thought it would be.
There is more to this nobody, this only child of long-deceased parents, than anyone thought. When Duncan experiences uncontrollable dreams of people he doesn’t know and places he hasn’t been, Juliet and the other Immortals worry. Soon, his visions point to a coven of long-dead witches. The dreams also lead Duncan to his one true love. How will Duncan navigate a forbidden romance with an outcast Immortal? How will he and the others keep the balance between the Light and Dark, survive vicious attacks, and keep the humans from learning who they truly are? More importantly, who is this implacable foe Duncan keeps seeing in his dreams?
What is death?
I once believed there was only one definition: your body stops functioning, your soul leaves and what’s left turns to dust. That was what I thought, until it wasn’t.
I’ve discovered when you’re a nobody, the world can be an amazing place if you want it to be. Your life can change in a heartbeat and not make the least bit of difference to anyone but you, or so it would seem.
That was my case.
I’m by no means whining or complaining. I had a job, a small place to live, and friends, but no real family, and that was something I desperately missed and wanted. My life wasn’t bad and I was happy. However, I was just a random person, one of the many faces you see on the street and never glance at twice. It was dull. Of course, as with me, the majority of society didn’t know our world had hidden secrets, unseen by most.
The other important thing I want you to realize about me is that before I met her, I wasn’t a lucky man, not with money and certainly not with love. I made enough to live on, but never enough to take fancy trips. My idea of travel was staying at home and watching movies. That was my price range. And as for love, it was forgettable.
The day my life changed was like all the others, until it wasn’t. It was August 19. The year isn’t important. But we had finished celebrating the Olympics, and in a few short months, the country would be picking between the lesser of two evils for president.
I sat at an outdoor café in Santana Row. I’d spent the afternoon going on a tour of the Winchester Mystery House. Once my stomach had started to growl, I decided to grab a bite to eat.
I had come to San Jose, California for a vacation that I couldn’t afford and didn’t particularly want to take. Why San Jose? Why not San Francisco or Monterey or Vegas or Yosemite? To be honest, I don’t know, but it’s like everything inside and around me pulled me there. Out of the blue, I got emails from the San Jose Visitor Bureau. My dreams were filled with images of the city and the surrounding hills and mountains. It seemed that old song, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” by Dionne Warwick constantly played. Still, San Jose isn’t the place most people consider for a ten-day vacation, especially someone alone who had never been to the Bay Area before.
Despite my appreh, from the moment I arrived, I immediately felt at peace. I’d never been this calm or relaxed anywhere before, not even at home. There was another reason for me coming here, one I didn’t understand yet, at least not on a conscious level.
I would find out why soon enough.
I don’t want to get things out of order, so back on point. I sat at this Italian-style outdoor café watching people walk by, enjoying the scent of roses and vanilla that filled the air. The aroma tickled the back of my brain. I smelled it everywhere, which should have been my first clue that something was different.
After enjoying my Italian-style chicken marsala, and while I sipped my strawberry lemonade, I felt a sharp pull in my brain. It wasn’t like I heard voices—it was more like vague images filled my head: a house, a woman, gardens, a gate, hills covered in trees, and a pair of eyes. My hands shook, and my glass fell to the floor and shattered. An intense pressure grew between my eyes, and I pinched the bridge of my nose to ease it.
When the tug came, three things happened to me at once.
First, I had the realization that I had an important meeting in Los Altos Hills. I had never heard of Los Altos Hills and even had to look it up on my phone to see if it was real. I would have to check my GPS when I returned to my rental. I knew the address of the house and who I was going to meet. She had blonde hair and mysterious eyes. I knew her, but I didn’t understand how.
Second, the waiter came to my table.
“Sorry about the drink,” I said.
He gave me an odd look and informed me my meal had been paid for and to enjoy my evening. Flabbergasted, I stared at the server.
I glanced around the café and wondered who paid the bill and why. I wasn’t even done yet.
“Mr. Alexander, are you all right?” The waiter scanned me up and down. “Do you need me to call someone? You look pale.”
“No.” I shook my head. “I’m fine.”
How did the waiter know my name? Stranger still, when I checked the table, my drink sat there and nothing had fallen to the floor. I wasn’t sure what was happening.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Sorry. Just a headache,” I said.
“All right. I hope you have a pleasant afternoon.” He smiled and started to walk off but turned back. “Oh, I almost forgot. I’m supposed to remind you about your meeting tonight.”
A lump stuck in my throat, and I nodded. It was spooky, but I wasn’t scared.
The last thing: I got a text from my closest friend, Cindy Martin. Good luck tonight. I’m sure it’ll be you.
I remember thinking, What does she know that I don’t?
I’ve known Cindy for years, and for her to say anything that short and sweet was rare. In fact, I don’t suppose I ever got a message from her without any emoticons.
As bizarre as all of this was, I realized that no matter what, everything and everyone I cared about would be okay. Clearly, there was something more to this trip and my being here. I didn’t know what. But it wasn’t just some free meal. It was bigger than that. If I was selected for what? I had no clue. And if I wasn’t, then I would get to see them again. There would be no questions.
Part of me wanted to worry, but I wasn’t bothered, which in itself surprised me. I’ve been a pessimist for as long as I can remember. It probably had to do with the strange death of my father when I was a kid. A death never fully explained. So, for this not to make me worry was one more mystery. What was about to happen was something that would just be. Instead of freaking out and worrying, I was calm and accepting of whatever adventure or fate awaited me.
Even though I was short on time to get to the house in Los Altos Hills, I wanted to enjoy my lunch. Reflecting on it now, I’m pretty sure that was the cynical part of my brain trying to exert some kind of control. I took my time, finished my meal, and when I was done, I tipped the server and left.
I walked back to my rental car. I wanted to take in as much of the classical European architecture and lush landscaping of the outdoor mall as I could. I managed to get a few decent cell phone pictures of the place.
I stopped my lollygagging and got moving. I had someplace to be and what appeared to be no choice in the matter. Before you go crazy, understand this wasn’t like one of those stupid movies that you watch, shaking your head, yelling at the screen for them not to go into the dark forest or spooky house or whatever. It wasn’t like that.
I’d like to hope I’m explaining this well enough so you don’t sit there and think, “Oh this is stupid. I’d never do anything that dumb.” It wasn’t like I had a choice. I had to go—something compelled me to her. I had to meet this woman, calling me. It was hard-wired into me, no matter how much I tried to slow down or stall, I moved forward.
I moved toward her.
When I finally got in the car and took a breath, I wasn’t clammy or shaky, and my heart wasn’t pounding in my chest. I should have been anxious, but I wasn’t. I was fine.
Knowing without understanding what I had to do, I headed to the freeway.
About the Author
M.D. Neu is a LGBTQA Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.
Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man, he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.
When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric, his husband of eighteen plus years.