Genre: YA, General Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Biblio Publishing
Number of pages: 222
Cover Artist: Ekaterina Zagustina
"Did you know I spent the whole of my fifteenth year in my room?"
Briar’s impromptu, mid-afternoon confession stirs up distant memories of the lonely time she spent trapped in her home; suffering agoraphobia - fear of open spaces.
Now it’s six years later.
She’s free, but the year's isolation has left serious personality disorders; disorders which will resurface as she relates her own story, and that of those in her orbit; Melodie, a pretty valley girl who Briar desires to be, Justine, her oldest friend, who has her own dark secret, and Dermot, a man who thinks he's the reincarnation of Robin Hood - stealing from the rich to give to the poor.
Slowly Dermot begins to draw Briar into his ever-so-exciting world, but who is leading whom on their slow descent into crime? Duel periods of Briar’s life intertwine like a rope around her neck as her lost year begins to overtake the present. It leads her to the answer to one very simple question:
“Is it what I always feared - am I losing my mind?”
~ Book Trailer ~
~ Excerpt ~
~ Interview ~
1. Hello! First of all, I wish to say how happy I am to have you on my blog. To begin with, I'm sure everyone wants to know when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I always loved writing since a child. It’s one of those things, like art or music, which once you begin a love affair with you never fall out of love. Although there was a period, perhaps 5 or so years ago when I didn’t write much – I had in some ways given up. Mainly because I had been trying to get work published in my own country of New Zealand and received no support at all here. I think now it’s because it’s a very small, incestuous country, so it comes down to who you know, as opposed to whether you a good writer, artist, creator. But I visited Europe and America and that rekindled my passion – of course it never really went away. So I can back and wrote an American novel and submitted it to some American publishers this time. Pretty quickly 4 came back with an interest in publishing EXIT. So I felt a bit vindicated, that American editors had faith in my work and would support it, whereas those in my own country wouldn’t. I then propped some stories to publications in the UK, and they too were accepted. So I think this is where my future lies. I wouldn’t write anything else for the New Zealand market.
2. I'm really curious how did you choose the genre you write in.
EXIT is Contemporary Fiction. I suppose General Fiction. Chic-lit, or such. The story chose this, I guess. I admire genre fiction, and will likely write something like this at some point, although it might not be a novel. A novel is very involving, so for me it needs to be something that I must write, that I will live with for an extended period, and at the end a book will appear that no one else could have written.
3. Tell us about Exit. What inspired you to write it?
I remember suffering very mild agoraphobic symptoms as a teenager and young adult. Having a fear of answering the door. I would often hide and stay quiet so no one knew I was home, and also a fear of answering the phone, or talking on the phone, which began to develop into a fear of talking to people in general. Michael Stipe wrote an early REM song called “Conversation Fear” about this topic. Partially what broke that was getting a writing job where I had to phone people and interview them – so it was very sink or swim. Luckily I swam and the fears subsided. I do believe that it’s important to put yourself in situations where you have to face your fears to have a hope of overcoming them. So although other things inspired the book, perhaps it had its genesis here.
4. Are any of the characters in your book based on actual people?
Yes, but perhaps less so than my second work in progress novel, which has two characters very much based on people I knew. So the characters of EXIT are much more composites of personalities, incidents and lines that people may have said. Briar, the main character, certainly came to life and left whatever her early influences were, well behind her.
5. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
That when I began it, I was clearly writing in my own voice. I too had left whatever influences I had, well behind me.
6. How about your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I live alone with a very old cat, so my interests may not be that exciting. I write. I read. I draw. Sometimes I walk around the city, ideas running through my mind, sometimes I watch people as they pass like shadows, sometimes I hear something someone says that might be filed away to use in a story. Sometimes I take the cat for a walk.
7. What are your favorite books, films and types of music?
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (book and film). I have a bit of a love affair with Czechs. Dracula, (and Romanians). There are many great books aren’t there? Joy Division and the Smiths were probably the two perfect bands for me. No one else came close. Having said that Bach and Mozart give them a good run for their money.
8. Before asking you the last question, I would like to say good luck in your journey as a writer. Romania looks forward to reading Exit and your next books. Lastly, what are your future plans?
I want to go and live in Europe and be inspired, surrounded by the beautiful architecture and culture and people, and write more books, stories. Perhaps Romania!
Thank you so much for answering my questions!
Yes, we have great books here.
Yes, we have great books here.
Romania would be so lucky to have you!
~ About the Author ~
Shane grew up in provincial New Zealand, a small place where options are small, were people wear PJs to the mall, a small place where dreams of being a writer or artist are not only actively discouraged, they are actively quashed. Nevertheless he fell in love with books, comics and writing at a young age and his early influences include Oscar Wilde, Alan Moore and Dr Seuss.
After many years of trying to get books, documentaries and films accepted in his own country, Shane gave up and settled for working in the fairly creative world of video-making and advertising.
A trip to Europe and the USA rekindled his love of writing, and he wrote the American-based novel ‘Exit,’ submitted it this time to American publishers and immediately, received several offers for the work. He chose one and ‘Exit’ will be released December 2nd 2013 in the USA as his first novel from Biblio Publishing.
It is the story of Briar Averill who spent a year trapped in her room, suffering from agophobia. Six years on, she’s free, yet ripples from the year's isolation still lap at the edges of her life, and that of her friends: Melodie, a pretty valley girl who she wishes she could be… Justine, her oldest friend, who has her own dark secret and Dermot who thinks he's the reincarnation of Robin Hood — stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Ripples echo down through the years, leading her to the answer to one very simple question: Is it what she always feared — is she losing her mind?
Shane has since had comic book scripts accepted in the UK by DC Thompson, publisher of the long-running ‘Commando’ comic, fulfilling yet another dream for his child-self.
He lives with a very old and very vocal Tonkinese cat, and they both dream of eloping together to the USA or Europe.
He likes oranges, orange juice, and orange furniture — in fact even the color orange. Why? Well, because it's the best color, of course. While he believes that being a grown up is not all it's cracked up to be, he still enjoys ruining his appetite before dinner, and staying up past his bed time.
~ Giveaway ~
Good luck everyone! I wish you a great day! \^o^/