Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sailing to Byzantium by L.F. Ranner - Book Tour

Literary LGBTQ

Date Published: 5/29/21

Publisher: Blue Fortune Enterprises, LLC

Three friends, one life-changing summer.

Vana, the math prodigy with a voice that is 85% Sarah Vaughan, 10% Billie Holiday, and 5% Aretha Franklin and an attitude to match. Desperate to leave her chaotic family and become the independent woman of her imagination, she lands a summer job on an aging Greek cruise ship as a member of the house band.

Marko, who failed his university entrance exams, is on the trail of bouzouki god Markos Vamvakaris, in hopes of claiming his own artistic identity.

Stepan, agronomist, accordionist, occasional mystic, has spent the last ten years hopelessly, secretly in love with his only friend.

Stranded in the surreal microcosm of a cruise ship, the three friends stumble across a series of dark and dissolving frontiers: between love and friendship, memory and forgetfulness, sacrifice and redemption. On this voyage to the heart of an ancient world, can the bonds of a friendship forged in childhood survive the tests of tragedy and self-discovery?

Author Interview
1. What would you consider to be your Kryptonite as an author?
Personal Kryptonite: lack of dedicated time to write. As an academic, summer holidays are my saving grace in this respect.

2. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
This is going to take a while.

3. If you could dine with any literary character, who would it be and why?
Does Jesus count as a literary character? Because I have some rather pressing questions for him. Otherwise, probably Zorba the Greek.

4. What fantastical fictional world would you want to live in (if any) given the chance?
Middle Earth, no question about it!

5. Did you want to be an author when you grew up?
Absolutely. From fourth grade onward -  when I read Little Women and started imagining myself as Jo.

6. What is your most unusual writing quirk?
I plan all my novels in pencil, in the same composition notebook. When I run out of space, I just add a new notebook to the previous ones by duct-taping the covers together! At this point, in the middle of book four, it’s become quite hefty: three notebook’s thick.

7. What’s one movie you like recommending to others?
“The Mission” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Anything by Wes Anderson, really.

8. Have you ever met anyone famous?
No, but I stood on the steps of the Munich State Opera House about ten feet away from Stephen Frye! I couldn’t get up the courage to disturb him, though.

 9. What is the first book that made you cry?
|Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess.

But almost all of them make me cry - for one reason or another.

10. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Depending on the length of the book, between nine months and a year.

11. How do you select the names of your characters?
They select me! With very few exceptions, none of them are names that I would ever name my children, for instance.

12. What creature do you consider your "spirit animal" to be?

13. If you were the last person on Earth, what would you do?
Eat all the chocolate that the others left behind. Break into museums and wander around in the dark with a flashlight. Unroll all the carpets in the carpet store, that sort of thing. Generally create havoc. Also, I’d probably pull a Goldilocks and sleep in a different person’s bed every night - and definitely raid their closets.

14. What fictional character would you want to be friends with in real life?
|The four main characters in my books: Stepan, Jules, Marko, and Vana.

15. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Writing works on its own timetable, not yours. If you are serious, you have to accept this as part of the package. It will come when and how it wants to, and you have to be ready to make space for that in your life. It sounds terrible, but writing has to come first: if for no other reason than (for me at least) if I try to rearrange my priorities in a different order, all the areas of my life, including the writing, seem to suffer. Have sacred writing time every day - even as little as twenty or thirty minutes - and don’t let anything interfere with that.

16. What book do you wish you had written?
No regrets! I am quite pleased with the books I’ve written so far and don’t begrudge anybody else theirs!

17. If you could live in any time period, what would it be and why?
Classical Greece - but I’d have to be a man to enjoy it properly.

18. What is your favorite genre to read?
LGBTQ+ literary fiction

About the Author

Lori Frey Ranner is a New Orleans native and Oxford-trained Byzantinist. For the past twenty years she has taught history, theology, and Classics in various New Orleans institutions. Married and mother to three children, Sailing to Byzantium is her first novel.

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