Hello, L.M. David doing an interview of Tami Egonu, author of A Rhapsody of Dreams. Again, this was done last year and dropped down the black abyss when I fell off the grid. Hopefully Tami’s can forgive me, as I hope the others were able to. I am almost caught up.
So, let’s get into the interview. Welcome Tami.
Q. Tell me about yourself.
A. I was born in the old Charing Cross Hospital in London, which might be the reason why I adore the city centre so much, especially along the Thames. I was very much a daydreamer as a child. I think my Primary School reports stated this often. I wrote silly little stories that entertained me, but mainly all of my stories were stored inside my head. It was a happy refuge from boredom or unhappiness. I remember friends at the time, maybe when I was five, who had make believe friends, and I did not have one so I created one. It’s amazing how vivid the imagination can be. I can’t remember his name, but he seemed very real until adults and other children told me he did not exist.
I grew up in Camden Town a short walk away from the world famous Camden Market. This might be where I gained my first inspiration for travel, being immersed in crowds of people from all over the world. I have a passion for travel that never falters. I would even say it’s equal to my passion for writing.
Q. A Rhapsody of Dreams is your first eBook. Can you give a little insight into it?
A. A Rhapsody of Dreams is a tale of the extraordinary happening to ordinary people. It’s a magical contemporary story about Tyler, Molly and Evelyn, who are all very different from one another. Tyler believes in miracles, Molly is a skeptic and Evelyn has been waiting to die for over sixty years, although what they have in common is hope in a fractured twenty-first century when it seems hope is in short supply.
Tyler abandons a conventional life, much to the chagrin of his family and tandoori tanned girlfriend, to embark on a spiritual quest that begins in Middlesbrough of all place, whilst unbeknownst to Molly (an independent single parent who has given up on romantic love) fate and the wind have led her into an encounter that will change her life forever. She comes to experience vivid dreams, ghosts, a tree with photographs of a great love, and a field of sunflowers that not everyone can see, amongst other oddities.
However, Tyler’s past must catch up to Molly’s present. Keeping them all company along the way is Bagel the dog and Rosie the cat.
Firstly, what inspired me to write this tale were real life stories of regrets and heartaches, told in passing and in depth, of pain impossible to cure even decades after the death of a loved one. The regrets were many. Living a wasted life spent with someone who they did not love intrigued and saddened me.
Secondly, I was (still am) so fed up with all the depressing news in the media that I wanted to write an uplifting story. There are many contemporary themes woven in, of everyday realities that people will recognize, however I wanted to tap into the possibility of the extraordinary occurring to people who have lived pretty ordinary lives, and who find they are not ordinary at all. It’s also about taking that leap of faith into the unknown. As a child I was curious to know what existed beyond our perception of reality. This novel doesn’t claim to answer that, but I had a lot of fun imagining.
Q. Tyler seems like a man lost within himself. Tell me about his character.
A. Tyler is very restless because for too long he has been living a safe kind of life. He is hungry for answers to questions from boyhood curiosities about the bigger plot. He is scared of sleepwalking through life and senses a veil has been cloaked over him, which he seeks to shred. His side-kick and counter balance for a little of his journey is his cousin, Mark, a property developer ensconced in logic. Refusing to be derailed on his quest, Tyler’s spirit grows despite disappointments and disillusionment, although inevitably his leap takes him on an inspiring journey that he always sensed existed beyond the veil.
Equally, Molly and Evelyn are filled with loneliness and regrets, and their stories slowly unfold in-between Tyler’s. The two women also embark on a journey together, albeit one that is set at Evelyn’s home, of self-discovery that produces surreal and magical results.
Q. A Rhapsody of Dreams has magic and takes Tyler on a spiritual quest. Why did he decide to do this?
A. Tyler has lived life pretty much by the book. He is in a job that he hates (opening chapter) and for years he has daydreamed about quitting and doing something else. Finally, after a lucid daydream in which he holds onto a giant balloon that carries him far above London, he can take it no longer. There are burning questions that can’t be repressed. Tyler knows there is more to life and his safe nine to five existence is killing his spirit. So he takes that leap into the unknown. We meet him first as a thirty-one year old who gathers the courage (even when others call him a nut) to follow his own path.
At a beach, Tyler has an amazing sighting of a flying steam ship that is collecting souls, which only he and his cousin’s dog, Bagel, can see. However, the more he searches for miracles the more elusive they become.
Q. What is your favorite part in A Rhapsody of Dreams?
A. Blimey, my favorite part. Now this is hard because I enjoyed writing every part of A Rhapsody of Dreams, so I would have to say it’s the gradual movement of the past catching up with the present.
Q. What about the character Tyler frustrated you when writing A Rhapsody of Dreams?
A. Tyler is quite an easy going character, as is Molly, although Molly frustrated me in parts because of her reluctance to be as open to life and the unknown as Tyler. That’s fine though, because she slowly comes to realize her gift of seeing what others cannot, and it was therefore satisfying to see her grow and accept magic into her life.
Q. Do you believe in the spirit world?
A. I believe I’m a balanced enough person, so on one side of the scale is logic that causes me to be skeptical of things that I can’t see, however I have seen things that I can’t put a logical answer to. So, yes, I believe in the spirit world. That rests on the other side of the scales. There, I bet you’re curious now. Ha!
Q. What about A Rhapsody of Dreams will appeal to readers?
A. A Rhapsody of Dreams will appeal to anyone who wants to take an ultimately uplifting journey. It will transport them above rooftops, drop them from a plane into a steam ship that travels through time, and they will be invited to a field of sunflowers where anything is possible. So if you want to get to know Tyler, Molly and Evelyn on their quests to find love, self and magic, then the voyage starts here.
Q. Do you have a current work in progress and can you tell me about it?
A. Yes, I am currently editing an historical fiction (possibly YA as the main protagonist, Emily, is between 17 to 18 years old for the most part) entitled ‘Bird’ (book one of two) that I will be publishing as en eBook in June. It is a story set in Victorian England, when inter-racial relationships were taboo and the consequences fatal. There are many other elements to it, although the majority of the book is Emily’s story about her coming of age, and discovering the world and her family are alien to her. There are elements of the supernatural that will be more evident in the sequel, which I am also in the process of completing. Although my eyeballs and finger tips may have dropped out/off by then.
Q. You are a self-published author. Why did you choose it over traditional publishing?
A. I thought of self-publishing years ago and never took it further until recently. I had travelled the old traditional route of attempting to get an agent. I found one years ago, but alas she turned out not to be trustworthy. Never ever give money to an agent for reading your manuscript. I bailed out when this update appeared. Anyhow, after countless rejections from agents (apparently Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, struck gold after 60 rejections) I finally took my fate in my own hands at last, and am so glad I have. I could be sixty before I get a traditional publishing deal (if ever), and my sole purpose is to write and have my books read. That is what is happening and it feels very satisfying. A Rhapsody of Dreams has already been downloaded a few hundred times since March. These were all on the free days that are a part of Amazon KDP select book promotion. It could be that readers store the book for weeks or months down the line to read, but regardless it’s in their virtual shelf ready and waiting. I have physical books on my actual shelf that have been there waiting their turn patiently for me to read them. Not enough hours to do it all, but I’m giving it a good go.
Q. What advice would you give other writers just starting out?
A. It’s easy to find distractions. If you can, set aside a routine, even if it’s every other day, but at least get a good amount of time writing every week. I know, even a passion can sometimes be hard to muster depending on what kind of day or night job you have, but you somehow make the time because writing is in your blood and soul.
Don’t ever give up. If you don’t get any encouragement from those around you, believe in yourself. You have the talent. And if you do have encouragement, then blinkin’ marvelous. Inevitably, it’s just you and your keypad, so utilize everything around you, and remember to look up a lot and keep your eyes and ears open. Keep a note pad and pen handy so you can write down those brilliant ideas, or observations, whenever they strike. People can be fascinating. Quirks and sayings and all kinds of everyday stuff are vital to a writer. I am always over hearing bits of conversations, by total strangers usually, and like a magpie take them back home with me to store. It helps to bring characters to life. Talking of life, it can indeed be a lot stranger than fiction, although catching even the simplest details are important. It all balances. Jot it all down before another thought takes over.
Times have changed. We can all self-publish and that is beyond wonderful. If you want to go the traditional route, then buy the Writers & Artists year book, or subscribe online. Check they are right for your book genre and then blitz them with your brilliance, making sure your letter is top notch. Be prepared for rejection. Actually, it always stings a little, though the skin gets a tad tougher but no matter what – PERSERVERE!! And stay away from sham agents who want money upfront. Lots of luck.
Author’s Personal Bio:
I was born in London, England, which is such a great inspirational city, especially as I grew up only minutes away from the world famous Camden Market.
I believe in writing outside of the box, in love deep and rare, in great authors, in making dreams real, and I am grateful to be born after the invention of air travel.
I have met so many interesting people, or overheard bits of conversations on buses, tubes etc., that coil their way into my writing. It’s the world around us that influences me, seeing it with different eyes and conveying that to characters.
I now live in the North East of England and am equally enthralled with the surrounding countryside, cities, villages and coast, which all offer different kinds of stimulation. It still hasn’t sunk in that it takes as long for me to get to Durham or York as it does to get from one part of London to another. Ha!
A Rhapsody of Dreams is my first self-published eBook, and is itself a dream come true.
L.M. David: And that concludes this interview.
‘Can you see the field of sunflowers and the memory tree? Good, then you have an eye for magic.’
A Rhapsody of Dreams is a literary contemporary fantasy dusted with lost loves, ghosts and the hunt for magic.
Tired of the monotony of life, Tyler hangs onto a magnificent balloon that takes him far above his London office. Seeing countless other daydreamers, Tyler is snapped back to reality and immediately abandons his stale life to begin a spiritual quest. However, his travels around a world void of magic makes it hard for him to keep believing miracles exist.
Meanwhile, at a Georgian house in Yorkshire, Tyler’s long lost first love, Molly, encounters a heartbroken and bitter poet. But nothing is as it first appears in this story of a powerful enchantment, a field of magical sunflowers, a memory tree, and the search for love … even beyond death.