Last week I read Luke P. Narlee’s new book The Appointment: Lost and Found Book 1. You can see my review below, my Q&A with the author, and enter the giveaway for a free copy of his new book!
I read Guest Bed last year and really enjoyed it, so I was super excited to see that Luke Narlee had written another book. This dystopian novel is totally unique and nothing like what I expected.
Everyone’s on lockdown and forced to remain inside a wall. Not only that, pretty much EVERYTHING has been taken away, even photographs. People are depressed with no emotion or feeling left. Jacob, the main character, is on the road to wasting his life away when he gets an invitation to an appointment. He’s quite reluctant, but with nothing to lose, he decides to take his friends advice and go. He’s been selected for a “special” project. This is where the adventure begins!
This story is different from any other books I’ve read with a dystopian setting. I couldn’t figure out what was happening in the story and really didn’t get close until the end. Even now after reading it, there are mysteries. Jacob winds up in multiple different memories and places-it’s like Dark Matter meets déjà vu with not much down time at all. I had to find out what was going to happen with Jacob, Mara, and Lena. In a way, I feel like the only element I wanted more of was romance. It was there, but maybe too subtle for me.
I have to say that this isn’t one of my favorite genres, but overall, it was definitely intriguing. I was pretty involved in the story and it kept my interest. I could feel the emotions of the characters and their development was good. I got a tad bit distracted in the middle of the book during the different phases with everything going on, but was still able to follow along.
I really like the way this author writes and I can’t wait to read the next book. I’d like to thank the author Luke Narlee for sharing a complimentary copy of his new book with me.
Depression has swept across the nation since the initiation of the Lockdown. The public has been systematically deprived of anything that brings them entertainment, or allows them to express emotion.
When an utterly hopeless Jacob Johansen receives an invitation to attend a mysterious appointment at an anonymous facility, he agrees, considering he has nothing to lose. He takes this opportunity to peel himself away from the drab repetition of the day-to-day routine he’s come to know and reignite a sense of purpose in his life.
Jacob agrees to go forward with a series of tests in which he is immersed in a dream realm that reminds him of the man he was and shows him the potential of the man he could become.
As Jacob engages in his own self-exploration, he is met with the sober realization that his own actions, decisions or avoidances could have a ripple effect, deeper than any dreamer could have fathomed. – Goodreads
Continue Reading for the Q&A and GIVEAWAY…
Q: Could you tell readers a little bit about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
A: I’m a romantic at heart. When I was young, I went through a period where I was watching Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” all the time. I just loved the romance in it (not to mention the music). I would sing along to songs like “kiss the girl” and try to imagine what it was like to actually kiss and fall in love with a girl like Ariel. I guess that’s why all of my stories include bits and pieces of what I think of as “realistic, attainable romance.” Not fantasy romance. I love human relationships and I enjoy putting them under a microscope and analyzing what makes people tick. What causes couples to connect or disconnect. Then I try to put all of it into words. But I also love to be scared. Horror is my favorite movie genre, but contemporary fiction about regular people, their relationships, and what goes on in their lives is my favorite thing to read. So I guess you could say I found a way to combine the two in my writing: what causes people to love something or someone, and what is it that scares them about everyday life.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: Writing has always been a hobby of mine. I can remember being seven, eight-years-old writing short stories in a small yellow notebook. I took creative writing classes in high school and it was around then that I started writing poetry as well. I found that it was a great way to express a few of my many frustrations and desires. I’m actually quite fond of writing poetry, I just don’t do that often anymore. In my opinion, true poetry tends to be draining to the soul. You have to really put yourself out there, even more so than with novels.
Q: How does writing make you feel and does it come easy for you?
A: I find the initial writing of any story to be quite exhilarating. When the words and characters just to flow from your mind and write themselves, it’s a beautiful thing. This can also occur during subsequent re-writes, but never quite like it does during that first or second draft. The re-writes and self-editing stages can be tedious and exhausting, but well worth it in the end. Generally speaking, writing does come fairly easy was for me, yes. Once I commit to actually sitting down and doing it, it all come’s very naturally.
Q: Do you always try to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A: I always try to stay original and true to myself, while also being aware of what people do and do not enjoy reading. But I don’t believe in pandering to a certain audience just for the sake of more money. When I write, it’s partly because I have a story in me that I know won’t exist unless I write it, and I really want it to exist. And also because I have thoughts and ideas that I want to share with the world and hopefully get people thinking and talking about it. In my opinion, authors need to make themselves happy first, by writing what they want to read, in order to make others happy. Your book may not be as popular that way, but I guarantee there are people out there who will love it and appreciate it. It’s like the line from a song that my oldest son sang in a musical recently: “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing, than a hundred people’s ninth favorite thing.”
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors and which of them heavily influence your writing?
A: I absolutely adore Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Something about the way they wrote stories back in the 1920’s and 30’s inspires me like nothing else. As far as modern day authors go, I really enjoy writers like Dave Eggers, Brett Easton Ellis, and Haruki Murakami. And I love the short stories of Charles Baxter. He’s definitely an influence in terms of the type of stories I like to write.
Q: What is your favorite childhood book?
A: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. It was the first novel I ever finished as a child. The story always stuck with me.
Q: What does literary success look like to you?
A: Finding an audience that feels passionate about what I write. If a person reaches out to me and tells me how much they loved my book what it meant to them, then I feel successful. If I happen to wind up making a decent amount of extra money from it in the process, then that’s an obviously bonus. But that’s not what drives me to write.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I haven’t done any research prior to starting a book so far. I just go off imagination and life experience. Once in a while, while I’m writing it I will do a Google search here and there to make sure something is accurate, but that’s about the extent of it.
Q: Are you a pen, type writer, or computer type of person when it comes to writing?
A: I’m primarily a computer person when it comes to writing. I’ve never actually used a type writer, but I’d love to give it a try someday. And my hand writing is atrocious, so I find it fairly painful to write more than a couple sentences at a time.
Q: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A: Yes, I definitely read all my reviews. I’m sure that I won’t as much as time goes on, but being that this is all fairly new to me still, I love reading anything and everything that people have to say about my books. I appreciate both good and bad reviews, just in different ways. Good reviews feel reassuring that am doing the right thing and making the right choices in my writing. I feel an instant burst of success and its very life affirming. I look at bad reviews as constructive criticism. Tips to take into consideration going forward. I love learning what people did and didn’t like about the stories and characters. What they took from it. What they learned. I live for that kind of feedback. Once in a while I’ll receive a review that is very negative and just nasty for the sake of being nasty, and while it makes me question where they’re coming from, I’m also able to brush it off pretty easily.
Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A: It varies. It only took me about a year total to complete Guest bed, from starting it, to writing multiple drafts, changing the ending two or three times, to having it edited several times and then publishing it. Whereas I spent five years working on The Appointment before it was published this past May.
Q: Do you believe in writer’s block, and have you ever experienced it?
A: I definitely believe in writer’s block and have experienced it many times. But in my experience thus far, the best way to kill writer’s block is by reading. The more you read, the more you will write. For me, it’s like when I read a book, it fires up the parts of my brain that I use for writing and the ideas just start flowing. I honestly don’t know how or if anyone writes a whole book without reading other books at least half the time.
Q: Did you make any major edits to this book?
A: Yes, I rewrote several chapters over the years. Added characters in. A couple of the chapters (like the ones where he enters through the doors) I removed entirely and replaced with any entirely new idea. I’ve been fine tuning it for several years now, so yes it’s been through a lot of editing. But I didn’t want to put it out there until it was exactly what I intended it to be.
Q: How did you come up with the character names in the book?
A: When it comes to character names, I usually just go with what every comes naturally to me as I’m writing it or brainstorming the story. It’s like my brain automatically gives them a name as I think about/imagine the character and that’s generally what I stick with because it just feels meant to be. I rarely change the names after that because it feels wrong, but once in a while I will if it continues to stick out like a sore thumb. Sometimes people will ask me why I named a character a certain way because they hate the name, and all I can really say is “that’s just what their name is.”
Q: This book is so different from Guest Bed. What inspired you to write in this genre?
A: My inspiration for this book actually started back in 2011-2012ish. I had just watched the movie “Moon” starring Sam Rockwell (a very underrated movie by the way, I highly recommend it), and I just loved how they were able to create this story where Sam’s character had a touching relationship with a robot (voiced by Kevin Spacey), and I started toying around with ideas in my mind as far as to what extent I could take that idea. I liked the idea of exploring a loving relationship between a human and Artificial intelligence. And of course, I realize it’s been done before in various ways but I wanted to create my own take on it. So it all started when I wrote a short story which is now the chapter that Jacob meets Mara, who may or may not be a robot, for the first time after he arrives at the facility. From there the idea just kept coming and the story kept building into what it is today.
Q: When can we expect book 2 and how many books are planned for this series?
A: I hope to have book 2 available in about a year. My plan, as of now, is for it to be a trilogy.
Q: Can we expect the addition of any new characters?
A: Oh yes. There will definitely be a handful of new characters introduced in the next book.
Q: Do you have anything else that you’d like to share?
A: I’d like to share that I’m currently working on my first collection of short stories, which I’m very pleased with so far. I will be publishing it between the first two “Appointment” books. Also for anyone who happens to be in the Baltimore area in September, I’ll will be selling my books at this year’s Baltimore Bookfestival on Friday, September 22, 2017. I’d love to see you all there. And in the meantime, thanks for reading!
I’d like to thank Luke Narlee for taking the time to complete this Q&A so that I could share it with other readers.
CLICK BELOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY – STARTS AT 12a.m. 6/10 – ENDS 6/17
Luke P. Narlee is an American author from Maryland. He grew up in a small town in New Hampshire, where he always aspired to be a writer. In 2012, Luke finally decided to write with the purpose of becoming a published author. He spent four years working on a new book; the first of a planned dystopian trilogy about the importance of human connection, titled “The Appointment.” In 2016, Luke took a break from The Appointment, and began working on Guest Bed instead, a much more personal story about the daily struggles of adulthood, particularly marriage and raising children, while also serving as an entertaining mystery, full of suspense, twists and romance. In October of 2016, Guest bed was published, and became what is now Luke’s debut novel. His next book, The Appointment is now in it’s finishing stages and is set to be published on April 28, 2017.
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If you’d like to read Guest Bed, you can find it on Amazon by clicking HERE.
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