Rhi Etzweiler Interview

Today I'd like to welcome author Rhi Etzweiler to Fallen Angel Reviews. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us today, Rhi.
Thanks for having me, it's great to be here!

Please tell us about your upcoming book Blacker Than Black.
Blacker Than Black is a speculative fiction novel about chi-whores and energy vampires, preconceived notions, nepotism, and power plays. It's got murder and romance in it, a little humor and cynicism to spice things up. The first person POV and present tense style leave the reader to reflect their own assumptions and perceptions onto Black, the main character, to varying degrees throughout the story.

What is your best quality as a writer?
I'll admit my self-perception probably isn't the most accurate, but my best qualities are clean lines and gritty subjects - I see them as different facets of the same quality. I'm not a confrontational person by nature, but when I write I have a tendency to tackle difficult topics. I don't always do it directly - sometimes it's between lines, instead of in them. Nothing is as simple as it initially appears, though. I enjoy weaving puzzles into my stories. Like any other piece of artwork, with detail layered over detail and you see something different each time you look.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Though most readers will likely consider this within the parameters of what they've read and find it hard to believe, the thing I struggle with the most is plotting. It doesn't come easy for me. Often I slave over "what comes next?" for more time than it takes to actually write the story. I can usually see the emotional journey and the dynamic shifts I want the path to involve rather clearly; it's the events, the external conflicts, which trip me up.

What's the easiest part of writing for you?
Description. Stringing the input together and fashioning it into a sensory experience for the reader. I strive for full engagement - it's not enough for me to get the reader to simply "see" - I want them to be fully submerged. "Show, don't tell" is just the beginning. For me, "show" implies a single sensory channel, sight. There are at least four others you can make use of, or manipulate with deliberate omission.

If you could be a character in any movie, which movie and which character would you choose?
Ah, I want to be Vin Diesel's Furyan character in the Chronicles of Riddick. The honed warrior, the anti-hero, striving for the "optimal" outcome for the "wrong" reasons. I also wonder what it would be like, to have the mystery of darkness stripped away and be blind in the light instead.

What would you say is your favorite time of day?
I'm rarely functional and fit for human company before midday, so usually any time after that. I'm a night owl - I much prefer that still silence of the world asleep, with the clear night sky, the moon watching as I work furiously on the next scene, churning out words.

If you could meet any famous person in the world who would it be and why?
What qualifies one as famous? As opposed to obscure, or notorious? Okay, okay, I'll behave. I'd very much like to meet Andrej Pejic one day. I'm not one of his rabid fans or anything, but after reading a number of his interviews as a result of research and curiosity, I find his perspective on a great number of subjects are rather parallel to mine. At such a young age, Andrej's maturity and insight, self awareness and perceptions, are downright fascinating. The media continues to harp on his sex, sexuality, his gender identity, and he continues to assert that he is simply himself, nothing more and nothing less, and he doesn't think his gender-or identity within the parameters of such-should calculate.

He's so right.

What's a household chore that you really hate doing?
Ha! I hate them all, indiscriminately. But I hold a special place of abhorrence for Washing Dishes.

What place would you love to visit?
I must just pick one? Oh, very well. The Sea of Tranquility.

Do you have any unfinished projects sitting around?
Absolutely. The unfinished outnumber the completed ones, in fact. May it always be, so I'll never lack for something on which to focus my creative energies. You don't want to see me bored. Nor do I.

What would you say was your favorite invention?
It has yet to be created. I want a brain-computer interface chip so that I can think my stellar writing ideas, and scenes, and concepts, and they'll automatically be saved in digital format so that I don't lose them-don't have to worry about trying to scribble them down in the middle of the night.

And will someone please invent earbuds that are made from that squishy shit they make firing range earplugs out of? So that they take the unique shape of the wearer's ear canal without being too large, uncomfortable, and painful to wear? I'm spreading this idea everywhere I can, because I'm just baffled nobody has thought of it yet.

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your works?
Sure! I have a few. My website - there are some free reads on there, as well as book blurbs, buy links, and short descriptions of what's on the writing desk right now. I've got a whole page with social media links, in case you want to know where to find me. There's also links to my various themed blogs, #soldierporn and All Things Trans, and my main writing blog, where readers can keep up with my progress on various projects, and read some WIP excerpts and teasers.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you're on GoodReads, stop by the Q&A Group I've set up where there's more insider information and conversation about Blacker Than Black, as well as a number of other interesting and pertinent topics. Like the Jekyll & Hyde Syndrome of Super Hero Rhi and Villain Rhi. And other random stuff.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Rhi!
You're quite welcome, I've enjoyed the visit immensely. Hope everyone enjoys Blacker Than Black, as well! Riptide's holiday release, a big meaty novel.

Here's the blurb from Blacker than Black:

Apparently, my twin and I are two of York's most notorious criminals. We've been Nightwalkers in the blue-light district since the vamps took over the world. Don't know how many years it's been. Long enough that a stream of fellow 'walkers have come and gone. Most don't last long selling their chi. End up face-down in the gutter, or worse.

For us, one night and one sale change everything.

Monsieur Garthelle is the first john to hunt me down. He calls me a chi thief in one breath and offers absolution-servitude-in the next. Maybe I'm a sucker, but I like living and breathing. Strange that such a powerful vamp would show leniency to a mere human. And something's not right with the chi I took from him. It won't go away.
Neither will he, and he's forcing us to spy on his peers. Then a vamp turns up dead, and we go from playing eyes and ears to investigating a murder. This isn't what I signed up for. All I ever wanted was to sell a little chi, maybe steal some in return. I should've kept my damn hands to myself.

This is my story. Look through my eyes.

Read an excerpt and purchase Blacker than Black.

Interviewed by: Tammy