Friday, June 10, 2022

Friday Featured Author: Reed Stirling, Spotlight Interview By Connie Vines #Spotlight Interview, #Featured Author, BWL Publishing Inc., #Shades of Persephone, #Literary Mystery

Today's Spotlight Interview is with the author Reed Stirling     

Welcome to Dishin' It Out!   

  Connie: Reed please tell  us about your upcoming release from BWL Publishing Inc. (Books We Love) 


Reed:  Shades of Persephone is a literary mystery: the fusion of history, philosophy, espionage, and romance, the central mystery being the contemporary identity of mythic Persephone.

 Connie:. What was the inspiration for this story?

Reed: While traveling around the Mediterranean, I fell in love with the old Venetian harbor of Chania, a city on the north coast of Crete, reputed to be the oldest site of western civilization in Europe. What a setting for fiction! What plots might have unfolded here, given the fascinating history of the island! Why not a contemporary one?

Inspired by ubiquitous mythical signage, but especially by Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet and John Fowles’ The Magus, novels I was reading at the time, I began sketching out plausible characters of varying backgrounds, foremost among whom, Steven Spire, a young ex-pat as narrator and central character of artistic temperament in need of purpose. Bar and café conversations led to hints of foreign intrigue. Ancient ruins gave way to Nazi runes. Crooked laneways led to mountain retreats and buried secrets. Hydra-headed truth demanded a place on the table along with the ouzo and artichoke hearts. And love, naturally, raised all expectations with the birth, mirroring Aphrodite’s rise from the sea, of Magalee De Bellefeuille.

 Connie: Why do you write Literary Mysteries? 

Reed: As a student of literature, I am inspired by literary achievements that span the ages, from classical myths and tragedies to the modern novels of Joyce, Woolf, Proust, Durrell, and Banville. I attempt to create well-developed, articulate characters who find themselves involved in mysterious or troubling circumstances in my writing. As for the literary side of the equation and the intricacies of language, authors like the above mentioned I call on as guides. 

 Connie: Do you believe your writing has the power to change people? 

Reed: I believe good fiction should challenge the intellect as it brings aesthetic delight. I make every effort to write literary fiction that entertains while being socially relevant. If my novels present for readers a new way of viewing old truths or effect a change in attitude regarding a controversial issue, I count that as a bonus.

5.  Connie: Do you have a favorite paragraph/line of dialogue in this novel?

Reed: “Drawing lines in the earth with a pen and analyzing the finds with words, I have embarked at Magalee’s insistence upon a species of archaeological delving. Scratching the dusty surface of a scene is one thing; digging in the clay of character is another. Sifted-out shards get scattered all about me, and I wonder what to do with the pieces and the skulls and what to do with the dirt. Motives are maddening, like something rock hard. Connections prove difficult to uncover. All too frequently, the metaphor gets buried in its own inadequacy. Most frustrating of all, the present obscures the past."

Connie: What do you find the most challenging part of writing a mystery novel? 

Reed: Plausibility of plot and the avoidance of obvious red herrings. Consistency is not making the antagonists too villainous nor the protagonist too sympathetic. Most of all, not letting the writing distract from the story.

 Connie: How do you connect your emotions to your story?

Reed: Through the characters. It’s like “role-playing for the soul” in the words of Ricky Gervais. And through the projection of a persona. However, I try to maintain objectivity when it comes to dramatizing beliefs contrary to mine. My protagonists need not always be the only source for understanding what it is to be human. They can remain as mystified as the author by what passes for normal or abnormal behavior depending on what plot and theme determined, the latter often contributing a great deal of emotional charge. 


Connie: What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

Reed: I sit down to write every day and try to leave the desk having achieved at least a workable page. Frequently what comes of my effort amounts to no more than a serviceable paragraph, a single sentence, or a metaphor that might work in a context yet to be imagined.


Shades of Persephone is a literary mystery that will entertain those who delight in exotic settings, foreign intrigue, and the unmasking of mysterious characters. It presents a story of love and sensuality, deception and war, spiritual quest, and creative endeavor. The resolution takes an unanticipated turn but comes as no surprise to the discerning reader. Like Hamlet who must deal with his own character in following the injunctions of his ghostly father, Steven Spire discovers much about the city to which he has returned, but much more about himself and his capacity for love. 

August Release:



Crete in 1980-81, more specifically the old Venetian harbor of Chania, provides the background against which ex-pat Steven Spire labors in pursuit of David Montgomery, his enigmatic and elusive mentor, who stands accused in absentia of treachery and betrayal. The plot has many seams through which characters slide, another of them being the poet Emma Leigh, widow of Montgomery’s imposing Cold War adversary, Heinrich Trüger. In that the setting is Crete, the source of light is manifold, but the significant inspiration for Steven Spire comes from Magalee De Bellefeuille, his vision of Aphrodite, and his muse. “Find Persephone,” she directs him, “and you’ll find David Montgomery.”  Her prompts motivate much of the narrative, including that of the Cretan underground during the Nazi occupation, 1941- 45. 

Where may our readers purchase your novels and locate you via website/social media sites?

Reviews for current releases:

Séjour Saint-Louis

“Stirling does it again, entertaining the reader with a parade of engrossing characters. Through a complexity of allusion, simple truths are revealed. Contemporary, relevant, challenging, Séjour Saint-Louis is fused with ambiguity and subtle humor.”

Lighting The Lamp 

Lighting The Lamp dramatizes the efforts of Terry Burke, a sympathetic, at times caustic, and critical, but ordinary old guy, to come to grips with who he is and what his life has been.

Happy Reading, Everyone!



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