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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Isabel Allende, an interview by Lucy Hannau

19 books,translated into 35 languages. More than 57 million copies sold. 12 international honorary doctorates, 50 awards in more than 15 countries and 2 international movies; these are Isabel Allende’s impressive numbers. Our super media coordinator Lucy Hannau contacted her for an interview and was rewarded with a prompt and kind answer. We at Lost in Fiction thank Ms Allende immensely for her friendship and we praise her for her incredible modesty, since there aren’t many award-winning and internationally famous authors who answer ‘yes’to an interview request in less than 48 hours! This is an incredible gift to you, fiction-fans, from the Lost in Fiction team and one of the most sensitive and talented living authors in the world. Her next book, Maya’s notebook, will be out in English in 2012, please don’t miss it, it would be a shame! In fact, you can already order it here.

And here is some more biography for those disgraced enough not to know this amazing author:
Isabel Allende Llona (born in Lima, Peru, on 2 August 1942) is a Chilean writer with American citizenship. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the “magic realist” tradition, is famous for novels such as The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) and City of the Beasts (La ciudad de las bestias, 2002), which have been commercially successful. Allende has been called “the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author”. In 2004, Allende was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2010, she received Chile’s National Literature Prize.
Allende’s novels are often based upon her personal experience and pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism. She has lectured and toured many American colleges to teach literature. Fluent in English as a second language, Allende was granted American citizenship in 2003, having lived in California with her American husband since 1989. In 1996, she founded the Isabel Allende Foundation, in honour of her daughter Paula, who passed away when she was only 28. The foundation’s goal is to empower women and girls worldwide.

1) Which of your characters do you feel more connected to? why?
I heard once that the author is in every character and that every character represents an aspect of the author. I don’t identify with one character in particular but in most of my books the main female protagonist is a strong willed, independent and rebellious woman who struggles to beat the odds against her. She is also sentimental and passionate. I feel very connected to those protagonists.

2) What does “writing” mean to you?
Life. Telling stories is the only thing I want to do. Writing is like breathing. Literature has given me a voice, has given sense to my life and it has connected me with millions of readers worldwide.

3) Getting published is always hard, how did you find Carmen Balcells?
My first novel, The House of the Spirits, was rejected by several publishing houses. One day the receptionist in one of those publishing houses told me that there was no hope of being published without a good agent and she mentioned Carmen Balcells. Later, Tomas Eloy Martinez, an Argentinian writer, gave me Carmen Balcells address in Spain and recommended her as the best agent for Latin American literature.

4) In one of your interviews you said, you have a cinematographic vision when you write. New technologies are changing our lives today, almost everybody is on facebook or tweets daily and then there is the e-book revolution: how do you relate to them both as an author and as a person? what do you think about e-books?
I don’t have facebook and I don’t tweet because I have no time: I am too busy writing. Usually I have a pile of books on my night table waiting their turn to be read. I like to touch and smell books, but I prefer E-books when I travel because I can carry as many as I want in my iPad. I think that in the near future books will be rare items for collector and libraries and we will be reading everything on a screen.

5) it’s been many years you have been living in California where your “tribe” lives too. How do you keep your written Spanish so “polished”, without even a minimal English interference in the vocabulary or in the syntax?
Oh! I wish that was true! My Spanish has deteriorated gravely. Willie, my American husband, thinks that he speaks Spanish but is syntax sounds like Polish and when he doesn’t know a word, he makes it up. After 25 years in his company I am writing the way he speaks. A young man in Spain, Jorge Manzanilla, corrects my manuscripts to eliminate Willie’s pernicious influence.
©Lost in Fiction, all rights reserved.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Anaquana, an interview.

And here we are, interviewing a new, exciting writer: Anaquana. She’s not published yet, but is represented by Donal Maass Literary Agency, one of the 3 American top agents.
Some info about the author: Ana Ramsey* is a crazy cat lady-cum-author repped by the fabulous Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. She just recently finished rewrites on her first novel. Where Demons Fear to Tread is the first in an urban fantasy series set in a world populated by all manner of Fey creatures, vampires, shapeshifters, and demons. She can usually be found lurking on Twitter (@anaquana) or gallivanting around the world from the comfort of her chair. She has also an interesting blog:
*Name changed to protect the guilty
1) When did you decide to be a writer? Was it your dream since you were a child, or it happened ‘by accident’?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t start seriously writing until I was in high school. The first novel I ever started writing was a YA version of The Fugitive. I’ve
still got the notebook it was written in, so one of these days I’m going to dust it off and update it.
2) Tell us a bit about your agent: when did you find her and how? Was it a long and painful process or was it easy?
I’m repped by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.
I knew right from the start of my querying process that I wanted to be represented by somebody from DMLA because most of my favorite Urban Fantasy writers are
repped by them. My query to Jennifer Jackson in 2009 was rejected (and rightly so)
because neither my query nor my writing were quite up to par. So, I took about half a year off to not only focus on my upcoming wedding, but also to polish up my query
letter and manuscript.
When I jumped back in the querying pool in the fall of 2009, the first two queries I sent out netted me requests for more. Yay! They both ultimately rejected me after
reading the full manuscript as did many more agents.
When I queried Cameron in March of 2010, I had already queried almost half of the 100 agents on my list. I was becoming quite dejected to say the least. She responded
fairly quickly asking to see more and when she responded just as fast asking for the
full, her email practically screamed for more. Talk about ego boost!
Unfortunately, she wasn’t quite as thrilled with the rest of the book. There were characterization issues and plotting issues that weren’t up to snuff. So, she asked for a revise
and resubmit, which I gladly did for her. Unfortunately, she didn’t think I’d taken
the revisions far enough, so she ended up passing on it because she wasn’t sure I was up to the work of bringing it up to her standards. She did offer a few referrals to other
After emailing back and forth a bit to clarify a few points on the referrals, I asked her if she would be willing to take another look at it if I were to really dig in deep and do
whatever work was necessary to get it up to speed.
I will readily admit that I was a bit desperate. I was *rightthere* and I was not going to let this opportunity slip away without doing everything in my power to stop it.
She agreed to take another look at it because the premise and characters really intrigued her. She also asked to have a phone conference to talk about the changes.
The call went very well, we talked for almost an hour and we really clicked on a lot of points. I could tell by her enthusiasm over the phone that she really wanted this to
work out. And so did I!
So, I buckled down and dug back into the revisions. In that same time, I received a firm offer of representation from another agency. The second agent agreed to wait until
I’d completed the revisions and heard back from Cameron to make my decision.
I finally finished the revisions and sent them off to Cameron at the beginning of July. When I heard back from her several weeks later, she was encouraged by my progress,
but she still didn’t feel like I was quite there yet. However, she was willing to offer me
representation on the condition that I do another round of revisions. But she wanted me to take a few months off because she thought I was a bit burned out on this
manuscript. And I was. The thought of doing yet another round of revisions made me cry.
Here I was faced with a decision: go with the agent who wanted the manuscript as is or the agent who wanted me to do more work on it. I decided to go with the agent who
was willing to push me past my limits. The agent who believed so strongly in not only
my book, but in me and my abilities as well.
I did take Cameron’s advice and took a good long break from the manuscript. I signed with her at the end of August 2010 and didn’t start the third round of revisions until
March 2011. I finished them in June and am just waiting for her to get her latest set
of notes back to me.
3) What are your thoughts about self-publishing and the new ebooks world?
For those who are drawn to it, and I have several friends who are going the self-publishing route, I wish them all the best. However, self-publishing is not the correct path
for me. I feel like I can go farther with a team of professionals on my side than I can
going it alone.
As for ebooks, I, personally, don’t read ebooks. I don’t like the experience and find it inferior to the experience of reading a paper book. Other people’s tastes obviously
differ considering how fast the ebook market is expanding. Hopefully, the world of
book buying is large enough and profitable enough to accommodate both ebooks and paper books.
4) Recently, best-selling self-published author Amanda Hocking explained in her blog that she decided to sign with St. Martins because she had become ‘a corporation’ and
was so busy marketing her books, that she didn’t have any time left to write: what
about you? Do you still have time to write after having being on Twitter, written your blog, etc?
Some days I do and some days I don’t, and I’m just an unpublished hopeful at the moment just coasting along not really worrying about building a fanbase at the moment.
The thing writers need to remember is that if you don’t have an amazing finished
product, all the marketing in the world isn’t going to help win you fans. So focusing on the writing aspect needs to be a writer’s number one priority.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Harry Potter and the The Deathly Hallows", part 1

 Contrary to the last few Harry Potter movies, ‘The Deathly Hallows’ is a pleasant surprise for those who have until now missed the work of the wonderful Chris Columbus.
It might be because J.K. Rowling is one of the producers, or it might be because everyone wanted to end it with a bang, but the film truly fulfils one’s expectations from the very start.
The atmosphere is dark and promising at the same time and the faithful fans cannot help to nervously grab their popcorn, waiting for what’s next.
So, the story: Voldemort is getting more and more powerful, all Death Eaters are at large and even the Ministry of Magic is part of the Dark Lord’s arsenal.
It’s a dark time especially for muggles/not ‘pure blood wizards’ who are now persecuted by the said Ministry who has created an institution, very similar to the Spanish Inquisition, to eradicate the presence of ‘mud-blood’ in the magic world.
In the meantime our three heroes, Harry, Ron and Hermione, are heroically ‘playing truant’ to go in search of the mysterious horcruxes, magical objects where He Who Should Not Be Named has hidden parts of his soul, so to become practically immortal. Harry and his gang will have to find and destroy them to be finally able to kill the darkest wizard of all times.
The film adapts the seventh book as faithfully as possible which is good news for the many fiction-fans who felt outraged at the many cuts and changes inflicted to the previous films of the Potter saga.
As for the actors, Ralph Fiennes gives us an outstanding performance as Lord Voldemort. He is slippery, slimy, supremely menacing, never over the top but always damn scary.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same of Helena Bonham Carter, who impersonates the evil Bellatrix Lestrange. The characters of Lord Voldemort’s most faithful ally is clearly describe in the books as pitiless and cruel, but also lucid in her cruelty and always calm and under control. God knows who made or let such a good actress playing Bellatrix as a total nutter who makes faces and speak with such an unpleasant and ridiculous squeaky voice.
As for the Daniel Radcliffe and his gang don’t disappoint and Emma Watson especially gives us a brilliant Hermione, sad and profound, with shades we hadn’t spotted in the previous movies.
The big strength of the Deathly Hallows is that it doesn’t rush. It allows time for the three leading performers in a way that the previous films haven’t.
The only negative side of this film is that it ends too abruptly and all we can do is patiently waiting for part II, in July.Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part I
David Yates
Steve Kloves (screenplay), J.K. Rowling (novel)
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint

J.K. Rowling's mysterious announcement: Pottermore

Author J.K. Rowling has launched a mysterious website called “Pottermore.” The site links to a YouTube page counting down to “J.K. Rowling’s announcement” in six days (as of this June 16 writing).
So far, the site (pictured) features a picture of two owls and a “Coming Soon” message from the author. The site’s Twitter account already counts more than 35,000 followers.
Rowling’s spokeswoman explained in The Bookseller: “It is not another Harry Potter book but we cannot reveal any more at this stage, fans will have to keep an eye on the website. It will be launching soon.”
According to Digital Spy, Rowling had patented the word internationally in 2009. In February, Rowling told BBC News that she had several new projects in the works. Last year, actor Daniel Radcliffe claimed that Rowling promised to reward him by not writing anymore Harry Potter books.
Hollywood Crush and College Humor offer several theories on what she may be working on next. Rowling has never published a book not set in the Harry Potter universe; her last publication, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, is a collection of wizarding world fairy tales released in 2008.

Super 8, a review

This film is for those who rode a BMX, for those who grew up with no internet and preferred to spend the time dreaming with their friends than getting stupid in fornt of a PC screen. This film is for those who had no idea about one day there would be mobile phones and had long, free afternoon exploring their neighbour’s attic, free from their parents’control.
This film is for those who got embarrased when talking to a new girl or boy and could still marvel at the sight of a monster or an alien, not like nowadays kids, who would probably just dismiss it with a “it’s a fake, I saw on the internet how you make it”, right before being devoured.
What a wonderful breath of nostalgic fresh air this film has been!
Here’s the plot:
summer, 1979; a group of young friends are filming a Super-8 movie when a pickup truck derails a speeding train. When the locals start to disappear and even the inquisitive deputy can’t come up with answers, suspicions emerge that the incident was anything but an accident. As the truth finally begins emerge, no one is prepared to learn what now stalks the unsuspecting citizens of this once quiet community.
I was lucky enough to watch this movie’s première in London and not a second of it disappointed me. It’s a mix of the best movies of the 80s with a touch of Cloverfield, with a cast of talented young actors everybody is already talking about. It’s nostalgic but modern, sometimes even poetic still, absolutely packed with action. Will be out in every UK cinema on 5th August. Don’t miss it.
Louisa Klein
Super 8
J.J. Abrams
J.J. Abrams
Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka and Kyle Chandler

Monday, June 13, 2011

Why this blog

Many thanks in advance to those who are reading this. If you don't know me yet, my name is Louisa Klein and I'm a former children's and young adult's editor, now a freelance editorial PR specialist after a very productive time working for South West News, the biggest press agency in the UK.

I coordinate a group of independent editors and artists, all coming from the publishing and marketing field and I'm the concept developer of Lost in Fiction (, a portal for fiction-fans, where you can find virtually anything regarding not only books but, generally speaking good stories, good fiction: films, comic books, plays … We're not posh, we just like a good story.

Lost in Fiction is mostly a professional site, I say “mostly” since there are plenty of my film reviews, but it's full of updates about the publishing world,  serious book reviews and contributions from other colleagues, while this is MY SPACE. Here, I will of course share the material I already post on Lost in Fiction, since I know the blogger community is completely different and most of the bloggers here, might not have heard of the website.

The main difference will be that on blogger, I will write what I think without censorship. I know, those who have already read Lost in Fiction are probably surprised, believing that I was already writing there without censorship, well, I wasn't! So brace yourselves and be ready to rock.
Of course, please let me underline that the opinions here are mine only and do not represent in any fashion any of the other Lost in Fiction contributors

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Something Borrowed", a review

     If you’re planning to go to watch “Something borrowed”, thinking it’s an amusing, light romantic comedey able to light-up your day, please don’t do it. Don’t go, since It’s not a pleasant romantic comedy, but just a waste of money, your money in this case. and after 5 minutes watching it you will want to inflict a slow and painful death to the whole cast, the director and the screenwriter. Here’s the original and exciting plot:
Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a talented and rather ugly attorney at a top New York law firm, a generous and loyal friend, and, unhappily, still single-as her engaged best friend Darcy , played by an outrageously old-looking Kate Hudson, is constantly reminding her. But after celebrating her 30th birthday, perpetual good girl Rachel unexpectedly ends up in the arms of the guy she’s had a crush on since law school, Dex (Colin Egglesfield)…who just happens to be Darcy’s fiancé. As one thing leads to another in the frantic weeks leading up to Darcy’s wedding, Rachel finds herself in an impossible situation, caught between her treasured friendship with Darcy and the love of her life. Meanwhile, Ethan (John Krasinski), Rachel’s constant confidante and sometimes conscience, is busy evading the affection of Darcy’s hopelessly love-struck friend Claire (Ashley Williams) while harboring a secret crush of his own; and the charming and irrepressible Marcus (Steve Howey) has designs on Rachel that don’t necessarily exclude any other woman who catches his eye.
The whole story could work as a nice comedy in the style of Noel Coward, Feydeau or any other great playwriter of the past century. It could, if it had been written by any other talented screenplayer of the current century. Instead, all we’ve got is a list of banalities and clichés, two ugly and old women who are supposed to be thirty (muahhaa! In what universe?), a bunch of boring, spineless men and a story dragged along by a good-to- do- nothing writer and a chauvinistic director, according to whom women in their thirties should marry the first wreck they find in the street, since they cannot “afford to be picky”. Well, maybe when you have Kate Hudson’s face you can’t dude, or when you have the sex-appeal of a toaster, like Ginnifer Goodwin, but regular, no-nonsense girls tend to be picky in matter of marriage, you know, when you’re supposed to stay with someone for the rest of your life you tend to give it a thought …
Also what about self-respect? And independence, personal strength, the concept that a woman can be many things in life and being a wife is just one of them?
This film shows the most unlikely story ever , gathering some of the most utterly unlikable characters you’ve ever met. Inevitably, a few questions come to mind after a few minutes this movie has been inflicted on you:
  1. why Rachel and Dex never told each other how they felt at Law School, when things would have been much more simple?
  2. Why is super-cool and definitely stolid Dex in love with shallow, dull Rachel (a fridge is sexier than her)?
  3. Why is Dex’s billionaire family so eager to see him married to an old, fat, penniless goose who is also clearly a gold-digger?
The answer is: you’ll never know. No explanation is given.
I suspect most of us would rather stick a pencil in our own eye to avoid any contact whatsoever with the insufferable twats populating this gruesome rom-com. I would personally do the same to avoid to meet anyone involved in the production of this boring nonsense.
Mark my words: just save your money, stay at home and read a good book instead: I suggest some engaging, profound French novel, like Madame Bovay, or Mademoiselle du Maupin, you won’t regret it, trust me.
Director: Luke Greenfield
Writers: Jennie Snyder (screenplay), Emily Giffin (novel)

Stars:Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson and Colin Egglesfield