Monday, July 15, 2013

David A. Ross and Fizzy Oceans

David A. Ross is a writer, editor and publisher. From 1984-1985 he was a columnist and contributing editor for Southwest Art Magazine. His novels include The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans, Sacrifice and the Sweet Life, A Winter Garden, Stones, Xenos, How High The Wall, Good Morning Corfu, and his award-winning first novel The Trouble with Paradise (republished by Open Books under the title Calico Pennants).

In addition to his career as a novelist, he established Escape Media Publishers in 1992. Today, he works with Escape Media imprint Open Books as Acquisitions Editor and marketing strategist. He is also the publisher and editor of the online literary magazine, Moronic Ox Literary & Cultural Journal.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, he currently lives on the Island of Corfu, Greece.  
 Welcome to the blog, David. You do realize that I could interview you much better if I come over to Greece, right?

LOL. Come on over, Susan.

In my dreams!
Living in Greece has surely affected your writing.

While I was born in the United States, and lived there for forty-eight years, I always wanted to live in Europe. In 2001, I moved to the Island of Corfu in Greece. The experience of being an immigrant has had far-reaching effects, both personally and professionally. The process of immigrating to a foreign country is not a simple one, and it has posed many challenges, yet, after 13 years on this wonderful island, I consider that process to be one of my life’s most valuable experiences. Has living on a Grecian isle had an effect on my writing? Of course! How could it not? In fact, three of my books – two novels and one memoir – are either set in Greece or are directly about Greek culture. But I am not one of those writers that depend on locale for my inspiration. My other novels are, respectively, set in France, in an unnamed American suburb, in the South Pacific and, yes, one is set in cyberspace.

How many books have you written?

Six novels, one short story collection, and one memoir.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.

Meet Fizzy Oceans—archivist, researcher, environ- mentalist and adventurer. On her travels she witnesses The Exodus, the Battle of Gettysburg and Hurricane Katrina, as well as many other historical and real time events. She meets notable individuals including Gandhi, Mark Twain, Jacques Cousteau, The Dalai Lama and Saddam Hussein.

Such unique experiences and encounters spanning the world and time as we know them would not be possible for a single individual—especially not for a woman named Amy Birkenstock who works as a medical clerk in Seattle, Washington—but Fizzy Oceans, Amy’s digital alter ego, is not in Physical Life. She lives, works and travels in the virtual world where the dead are very much alive, places like ancient Babylon and Pompeii have been reconstructed, and with the click of a button—WHOOSH!—one is transported throughout the Ages to events and destinations that make up our human history.

Even as Amy’s physical life existence is challenged by encroaching environmental disaster, economic instability, and societal breakdown, Fizzy’s virtual world offers instant realization of vision and inspiration. The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans imagines the bridging of two worlds—the literal and the metaphorical—and questions what it is we have created, what has been lost, and what might be possible for us as individuals and for the Human Race.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I actually love this question because I make no pretense about the fact that Fizzy Oceans is indeed my alter-ego.

Ah, good to know.
Do your characters take on lives of their own? If so, which is your favorite?

I think any character that does not take on a life of his own should probably be scrapped in favor of one that does. That is one of the real joys of writing fiction – when the character begins to behave differently than you first envisioned him. Where do such things come from? Only the muse knows…

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

I suppose the biggest challenge was that it takes place in several dimensions (or worlds) simultaneously: NL, or Natural Life; PL, or Physical Life; VL, or Virtual Life; NL, or Next Life; and ML, or Meta Life. Since all the characters are interacting in all five dimensions simultaneously, it took some author orientation to write lucidly about not only who each character was, but, more importantly, where he/she was in any given scene. But since simultaneous multidimensional reality is the book’s dominant theme (and there are several, from global warming to macro-economics, religion, literature, history, and even the nature of life and death, I also had great license to invent. Just as it is in VL, whatever I imagined, I could create. So, it was fun. The book took three and a half years to write, but considering it spans several millennia (seen through the eyes of a single protagonist), that is not too bad, I think.

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?

I used to travel extensively, and I always told myself it was for research. In fact, I think a trip to the grocery store might be as revealing, say, as a trip to Rome. Or maybe not… During a period of ten years, while I was in my thirties and forties, I crossed the ocean no less than thirty times. I visited more than 20 countries. So I have a traveling background. But for the past decade – even a bit more – I have not traveled. At least not in terms of geography. The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans required travels of a different kind, and my many voyages into virtual worlds such as Second Life and others were, to me, ever bit as fascinating as traveling in the physical world. The very fact that I was, and am able to immerse myself in VW’s made the book real and believable. And I think it says something about not only my mind and personality, but about all of us, about what constitutes our world-taken-for-granted, about what we label as real and imaginary. Surely those lines blur in our switched-on, instant communication world society.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?

KISS – we all know that one. And passion – gotta have passion for your subject.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?

Heavens, not on a spreadsheet!

I know, right? We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?

Online I use all appropriate social media; off line I shout from this highest mountain in Greece (Mount Olympus, I think – you know, where the gods lived).

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

I think I may not write any more novels; then again, one should never say never. A few readers out there are begging for more from Fizzy.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Anyone who wants to know more about my work, and about me, can begin here:
Once there, just follow the links. OR… You can just google David A. Ross. There is plenty there to keep any (insane or bored) person busy for a while. But be advised: there is more than one David A. Ross; I’m not the ‘Bill Viola’ guy, or the one who writes about fish.

Are your books available in print and ebook formats? 

My books are available in both print and in all eBook formats.
For TheVirtual Life of Fizzy Oceans the following link will give a full description as well as multiple buy sources:
For a list (with links) of my other books, start here: 
and, as they say, follow the bouncing…cursor.

Somehow, you’ll get where you want to go… We all will!

 David, it's been a pleasure to get to know you better.  I wish you the best of sales!

Thanks for having me over, Susan.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Counting Blessings

Early yesterday morning L&L Dreamspell lost one of its co-owners, Linda Houle. She's been battling cancer for several years. The co-owner, Lisa Smith, sent all of us word about a week ago that Dreamspell would be closing. Lisa simply doesn't have the heart to continue without her best friend. "The Dream Team", as we authors affectionately call each other, is devastated by the news about Linda and we truly understand how Lisa feels. They believed in me when other publishers didn't. I owe them more than I can ever repay.

I am sad. I count my many blessings.

My pal, Marta Stephens lost her husband this morning...unexpectedly. She is heartbroken and devastated. My heart goes out to her, and I wish we didn't live a thousand miles apart.

I am sad. I count my many blessings.

I have a multitude of blessings, many more than I could mention here. I'm truly blessed to have a wonderful husband, two fine sons who married fine women, and three grandsons anyone would be proud of. We've been hit with so much death and sadness lately. I pray several times a day, but this morning in church, I really prayed hard for Linda's family, Lisa and her family, Marta and her family, and for my own.

There are so many things going on in the world that I could focus on but none are more important than family and friends. I hope those of you who read this post know how much I appreciate you. As we move forward, let us always count our blessings and be a blessing to others.