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Monday, December 31, 2012

Author of the Week, Christopher Velis, Interview & #Giveaway! #FMBAuthor


While earning a Masters in Psychology at Governors State University and the University of Chicago, Velis studied at Duke University's F.R.N.M (Foundation for Research on the Nature of man) founded by the famed Dr. J.B. Rhine, where he studied psychological and physiological aspects of telepathy and clairvoyance. He wrote numerous articles and lectured and the psychological and parapsychological aspects in man. Later, he was a manager of a successful international Information Technology (IT) consulting firm where he wrote articles on evaluating talent and acquiring the right fit candidates for talent acquisition for company IT resources. He created, developed, and implemented tailor-fitted seminars for companies and trained people in becoming high producers in sales and recruiting in the highly competitive IT industry. With these experiences, he learned the four basic ingredients for which we all share in the human experience: faith , hope, love, and friendship. He lives in Illinois with his fiance and their collie Charis. 


www.christophervelis.com

Facebook Christopher velis

Twitter @viecnv



Interview with Christopher Velis



Holly: Hi Christopher! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Christopher Velis: I’m an author now but I was a researcher at Duke university. Studied with JB Rhine who coined the term ESP 50 yrs before I studied there. I researched the psycho-physiological aspects of telepathy and clairvoyance at the F.R.N.M (Foundations for research on the Nature of Man) Then, with a MS. in psych., I got into IT and became a mgr for an international consulting firm. But I always wrote. And, now, Sophia is an outgrowth of a lot of different life experiences I’ve had.

Holly: Can you tell us a little bit about your book Sophia?

Christopher Velis: Sophia is the title and the book is about a female vampire but unlike any you’ve ever known in movies or books. No biting. Not dead. No sleeping in a coffin. Fast. Strong. Living virtually forever. Yeah that’s her. Has faith and hope too. And, is more like a superhero than a plague carrier. And, she wants to be normal. It’s a book about faith, hope, love and friendship and being good to each other in a fantasy horror genre. Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe she’s syfy. Hmm…Gotta think about that.She does move fast. Turns blue as she approaches you and red as she moves further away; like a  beam of light. Let me think that one through.

Holly: Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?

Christopher Velis: Both actually.  Sophia was always the main character and the other 6, David, my narrator, Lana, Sheetal, Duke, Craig, Carlos, developed out of my experiences and wanting to make the core group, multi-cultural and Big Bang Theory intelligent…which they all are. But the plot is a format to show values for new ears to hear. Kinda like a Michael Blube concert. Old songs for new ears. The Sophia Series characters will get older as the series moves forward and their adventures get more dangerous.  But, so does real life for all of us.

Holly: What was the inspiration for this novel?

Christopher Velis: To show that geek can be chic. I’m one. A geek that is, or maybe I used to be in school. I wanted to show that anyone can be cool and hip if you get to know them. And that, being mean and ostracizing folk, bullying, is wrong. Bullying or being mean just because someone is different, or have and accent or they don’t wear the right clothes or wear nobby gibble ties, or maybe they’re too smart and not as cool as you is WRONG! Mean is easy. No risk. It’s wrong any time and anyplace. Mean is cowardly especially picking on weaker folk. Getting to know someone first is risky and takes courage. And if you’re with a cool group and you’re in with the in-crowd but decide to befriend a geek, that’s courageous. Those are heroes too. Being good to each other is good for the soul…like chicken soup for the soul as jack canfield says.

That’s why I made Sophia a vampire. reviled; considered evil; killing people for food. But what if a vampire was really a superhero? And all those stereotypical myths were wrong? And there was no biting. Not dead. No coffins. And wears a Christian cross. Eats garlic. I mean Sophia is Greek and that’s means it’s all about garlic and oregano, like me. And, she uses salt on her food. What if the vampire myths were all wrong? Upside down or backwards? Then you’d have Sophia.  And she knows what it’s like to be an outsider looking in; an observer in life and not a participant. Many YA’s feel like that in real life every single day; like they are on the fringes and really only observe life, afraid to participate in it.  

Holly: Where can we purchase Sophia?

Christopher Velis: www.oldlinepublishing.com  www.amazon.com  and www.bn.com nook

Holly: Are you working on anything at the moment?

Christopher Velis: Sophia book three. Sophia book II is being edited. And, the Sophia and friends cookbook. It is part of the series. Sophia and her group of friends, these highly intelligent outsiders make tapas from their own cultures to bring whenever they get together. It’s described in the book. There’s Russian, Greek, Jewish, Hispanic, Indian, and Creole. A good mix. And they talk and eat. Just like we do when we go to ethnic restaurants. So I though why not!

Holly: Your life is a romantic comedy; what humors but very embarrassing thing happens on your first date/when you meet the love of your life?

Christopher Velis: My fiancee’s name is Natasha, she’s Russian like I said. When I first met her I was in NY with clients and they took me to dinner and afterwards to see the
Russian Bolshoi ballet. I mean it was the Bolshoi, best ballet troupe in the world. Of course, yeah I went!  After the performance which was outstanding, they went backstage because they were patrons of the theater. I met some of the performers and saw my Natali.  A few guys were around her too, like bees around the queen at her hive. So, I waited my turn and spoke to her.

            Upon introducing myself and she stating in a heavy Russian accent that her name was Natasha, Natalia, I decided to see about going to dinner with her. I mean I played sports. Baseball and basketball. I’m competitive. Like HE says, Seek and ye shall find. Ask and Ye shall receive. So I thought…
            “I loved the performance,” I said staring into her blue eyes. “The troupe is going across the street to the café there. Would you have dinner with me there?”
            She smiled and promptly said, “No.”
            Okay, I thought, probably having dinner with some of the dancers after all she was one of the choreographers.
            “Would you like to go dancing?  I heard that some of the people are going dancing to one of the clubs.  Would you like to go with me?” I persisted.
and my hands nervously getting wetter by the minute waiting for her answer.
            “No,” she promptly stated again with her big bright smile.
            Damn, Strike two. Well If I’m going down tonight, I’m going down swinging. So, I tried once more. I hoped I wasn’t going to be Casey at the Bat. Here goes….
            ’’If you go there with them would you save one dance for me? Or, we could just sit here and talk. Would either be ok?”
            “No,” she said again still smiling.
            STRIKE THREE!!! Damn! Just like all those other guys before me. Ok. I shook her hand and left to join my clients who were talking to the male and female lead dancers.
            As I got there and began to talk with them, another woman approached me, tapping me on the shoulder to get my attention.
            “Natasha wanted to speak with you. You left her there and she felt bad.”
            “I asked her do eat with me. She said No. I asked if she wanted to go with her troupe and dance with me and she said no. I asked if she would save one dance or maybe we could sit there and talk and again she said no. I get the hint.”
            The older woman chuckled at me.
            “Americans. What do you know? I went to the washroom and when I returned you were leaving her. She wanted to talk with you.  I am her interpreter. Natasha doesn’t speak any English. She can say her name and no only!”
            The new at bat begins!
            I went back to Natasha took her hand and walked to the couch and sat down with her. No nervousness and I wasn’t a hot mess!
            “Now you must learn English, Natalie. And, tonight there is only one word for us…Da!”

That was really how I met her in New York

Holly: How much of you or people you know do you think make it into the characters in your novel(s)?

Christopher Velis: A lot. All my characters are composites of people I know. Most of the characters are multiple people I know or have known in the past. And, truly, as a write you can do things to people you can’t do in real life. Or, at least you shouldn’t do in real life. Writing can be a cathartic experience.

Holly: Do you think you will have a follow up book to this novel or is it just a stand-alone novel?

Christopher Velis: This is a series. And book two will be out next year. Probably next summer. I hope in hard back first but I’ll see. I may get another publisher or stay with this one. Depends. Yes, it is what you’re thinking; depends upon the advance.

Holly: What is the hardest part of writing in your opinion?

Christopher Velis: The first part. Getting the story out regardless of grammar, spelling, punctuation and plot. Just getting it out. Then you have to make sense of it. Getting it out isn’t the creative part for me. It’s the hard work. Takes me time and effort.

Holly: What is the easiest part of writing in your opinion?

Christopher Velis: Dialog and editing. Editing is creative to me. I love it. Just love it. getting the book out line by line, paragraph by paragraph in the beginning is hard.  Once that’s done editing is fun. The book takes shape and form and grows. That’s the creative part to me. Plus I’m good with dialog. I have an ear for dialog like because I like what people say and how they say it. it’s interesting to me especially different dialogues form various cultures. I find myself going out with my fiancée and dipping into conversations all around. Listening and hearing varieties of speech patterns. And, yes, I do listen to my fiancee and her speech patterns too. She’s Russian. She would say instantly, “My Christopher is good man for me. He listens to me all the time. I just can’t get him to obey!”

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Christopher Velis: Sophia is a book about faith, hope, love and friendship against a backdrop which is horror and fantasy.  I would say to your readers to never give up your hope. Never to surrender to your fears. And, to be good to each other.

Holly: Can you tell us a few do’s and don’ts for aspiring authors?

Christopher Velis: Never give up your hope. Hope will keep you moving forward. Never surrender to your fears. Fear is immobilizing any time. Fear cripples you into inaction. It’s negative and you make no decision. Which in and of itself is a decision.  It’s a no.  And, everyone who is NOT your friends will tell you a million reasons why you will fail. Persevere and don’t get your feelings hurt.

Don’t listen to the major agents you may send your writing to for representation. Most will turn you down…at least at first.  You have to know that most of them wouldn’t know good writing from bad if it bit them in the ass. They want the next big seller. Remember, it’s the book BUSINESS!  It’s not for fun and artistic development. No matter how good or bad the writing is they’re looking for sales. A hit.  Best sellers don’t equate to good writing, just remember that. Best sellers equate to good marketing. Therein lays the difference. Just continue and keep the faith. Something will break for you if you’re persistent. I will say this too as well:  Learn how to market. Doing some of the heavy lifting with your own book does wonders. And you’ll learn what really makes books read.

Random Quickies!


Holly: Vampires or Werewolves?  

Christopher Velis: Vampires of course. They live longer almost indestructible. Especially Sophia type vampires. The males vamps are the ultimate bad boys, right. That’s why all you women love them so! Lol. You women must remember though, the original vampires were first women NOT men! And that goes back to Egyptian times and Greek city states thousands of years ago.

Holly: Supernatural or Psych? (TV Shows)

Christopher Velis: Both actually.  One makes me laugh and one is interesting. I like the unexplained.

Holly: Pepsi or Coke?   

Christopher Velis: I’m a coke kind of guy. Does that mean I’m a “cokeaholic”? Perhaps. Sophia loves cold coke too.

Holly: Favorite genre to read?

Christopher Velis: Horror; supernatural; fantasy

Holly: Night or day?

Christopher Velis: There’s two types of human-like birds in this world: early birds and night owls. I’m a night owl who has to at times be an early bird. I like the night.



Books by Christopher Velis


Sophia



Christopher has offered to giveaway a print copy of Sophia away to 5 lucky winners! To enter just leave a comment below! Be sure to leave a email address so you can be contacted if you win. Open to US and Canada only! Ends Jan. 7th


What if a blonde female was called a vampire but really wasn't? What if all those vampire stereotypes were all wrong? Dead wrong! And, the big one was the biggest misconception; NO BITING!!! No draining humans for sustenance. Not afraid of sunlight. Christian crosses don't have an effect. makes a killer garlic dip! What if a virus caused something we thought were vampires but were really superheros? Or, maybe something else only history convoluted everything which was seen, and out of fear and legend they became that reveiled name. Then, you'd have Sophia and her world.

Now suppose, just suppose that military and para-military groups want Sophia to join them because of her superhero abilities. Terrorist groups and bio-medical groups worldwide want to clone her. And, many of her kind want her dead. And, she's not the hunter but rather the hunted. Then you'd have Sophia's world as well.

Her and life and world has been spent observing life and not participating in it. deadly when she participates. However, now, Sophia has no choice.

David Goodman, student, game designer and geek, wakes up from his recurring dream of dying in pre-revolutionary 1917 Russia. The high point is a blond "hottie" who shoots light bolts from her hands. He decides she will be the star of his next game design. Then, on the first day of school, junior year, she walks into his life. Intelligent, beautiful, blond, blue eyed, preferring his nerdy Big Bang Theory type super intelligent multicultural friends to the normal "in crowd". She's the girl of his dreams.

Mysterious, alluring and packed with secrets all around her with a past she must keep hidden, a romance draws David and Sophia together as she chooses to follow his crowd; observers in life and not participants...just like she is. She vows to protect these new friends from the dangers involved all around her. Even her unusual superhero like abilities may not be enough as she and her new friends become immersed in her secret world. But, she is strong, determined and filled with hope. She is Sophia.


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