Today's guest is Edith Parzefall, author of Strays of Rio. Edith studied literature and linguistics in Germany and the United States. After graduating with a PhD, she worked as a technical writer. Drawn to a more challenging career and increased opportunities for traveling, she moved on to management at a global IT company. Now a full-time writer and free-lance editor, she strives to combine her two passions: writing and traveling.
She is supporting a street kids project in Recife, Brazil, and visited Grupo Ruas e Pracas where she took part in a music and crafts workshop with the children. During her stay in Rio de Janeiro, the idea for Strays of Rio was born.
Lisa Kerry witnesses a private death squad attack street kids close to her bookstore. When the police take no action, she vows to purge Rio of the ruthless killers. To keep him out of the line of fire, she must quell her affection for the one man cut out to exorcise the demons of her past. Drawing strength and rage from the abuse she suffered as a young girl in a juvenile detention center, Lisa closes in on her marks.
Unable to get to the rich and powerful leader of the recreational killers, she enlists the older brother of one of her street urchin friends—a drug lord. Lisa's pursuit of justice spirals into a violent struggle to survive, for herself, her young charges, and the man she loves.
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I was on writing withdrawal, racking my brain for a new story idea, So I
followed the old advice: write what you know about. I made a list with books
and minerals at the top. So I sent a bookstore owner and her geologist
boyfriend to Brazil. The story didn't kick off, but the research I'd
done inspired Strays of Rio. Only the bookstore owner survived, but with a
very different character taking on the job, and I relocated her to Rio de
Janeiro. A geologist later made it into my Chile road trip novel, Crumple
Q) How long did it take you to write?
It took seven years from that first idea to publication of a very different
novel. This is my most rewritten manuscript so far while I honed my writing
and plotting skills and learned more about Brazil. The final story only
developed after I visited Rio de Janeiro and a street kids project in Recife.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Exploring the human condition, living someone else's life, sharing my
fictional characters' emotions, hardships and triumphs.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
With most books, I'd say the third or fourth editing round, but in the case of
Strays of Rio it was something far worse: fully identifying with the
villain. I had jotted down a background story for Félix, my main antagonist,
but shied from tackling his point of view for a long time. Then came the
moment when I had to slip into his head and body and make him a living being.
After writing the first four pages, I felt drained and unhappy. It took me
a while to struggle out of the dark hole I'd written myself into, but there
was more to add. The task became easier, but never fun. Still, the story
needed these additional scenes. I shudder at the thought of how Joyce Carol
Oates must have felt while she wrote Zombie.
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I'd be tempted to pick one of the world leaders in the hopes of making a
difference, but I have the strong feeling I might end up a major
disappointment, if not disaster... So I'm going to wimp out and pick John le
Carré. Can I keep his insights and skills once I'm me again?
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Hold on, gotta check. Hm, not too bad: Dijon mustard, expired in August. That
stuff is a little too strong for me, but it's nice to add half a tea spoon to
a creamy sauce. I must have bought it two years ago or more. When did I last
open the jar? Probably some time last year.
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Scheduled for release in November is Knights in Dark Leather, the sequel to
Wind Over Troubled Waters, a post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure I co-wrote
with UK author Francene Stanley. Two more books in the Higher Ground series
will be published next year by Double Dragon Publishing.
In February, MuseitUp Publishing is going to release Crumple Zone, my
psychological suspense road trip though Chile.
Still under revision are Rapunzel Plan, set in the Austrian Alps, and the
sequel Cinderella Conspiracy, unfolding in Tenerife. Both are action
adventures featuring the tour guide from hell and a control freak manager.
Now I'm undecided if I'll dive into a third book in my "fateful fairy tales"
or start something completely new. I've already picked the location:
Australia. Scenes are floating in my mind while I wait for a quiet month to
dive into a first draft writing frenzy, always the most exciting time for me.
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