Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Valley of Steel by Ivan King

Fate can be unkind. Would you dare to look back and risk her wrath?

When you’re a child of the favela, in the Valley of Steel, you know that Fate comes like a whirlwind, lifting some to great heights and slapping others down with no reason.

Ivan, rescued first from an orphanage in the slums of Rio de Janeiro and then from the bleak streets of Ipatinga in Brazil’s Valley of Steel, has been favored by Fate. When a call from Brazil interrupts his privileged life in America, he learns his best friend has committed suicide in the rugged Valley of Steel and only he knows the real reasons why.
This is the story of one man’s journey home after a self-inflicted exile. The story of a boy who saw more than any child should, and the man he grew into—and how that man came back to the Valley of Steel to avenge his childhood and stare down the demons of his past.  It is a story of survival, redemption, and joy. Of childhood memories that burn in the soul—and what happens when one man has courage enough to fan the flames and face the fire.

When Ivan gets the devastating phone call that his best friend Nene is dead by suicide, he immediately plans to fly back to the Valley of Steel.  He has not returned to the Valley of Steel, a rural part of Brazil in almost  years, a place he grew up and where his father lives.  Instead, he has spent years of isolation pouring himself into a bottle and working.  He may have made something of himself, but he wasn't truly happy.

But going back, he will have to confront what he left, and who he was and whom he has become. Author Ivan Steel manages to tell his story straightforward, holding nothing back.  He writes about his rough childhood years, and they were extremely rough - I had tears rolling down my cheeks.  He is clever and witty, and doesn't take anything for granted.  A multi-faceted memoir that will stay with you long after the last page.

A quick Q&A  with the author!!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 12; I read Hemingway’s In Love and War and I cried. Till this day it remains as the only book I have ever cried to. That’s when I knew that I wanted to inspire people in that fashion.

 How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?

Wow, let’s see, I was a Graphics Designer (2years), a McDonalds Manager (4years) then I worked as a Marketing Consultant for an Advertising Firm (10 years); However, I have been writing full time since 2007.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Tough, depends on the genre; in general I would say about 45 days. Though my Children’s Lit book only took me 3 days. I wrote my first (Valley of Steel) in 18 months, but that’s by far the longest I have ever taken to write any book.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I only like to write at night; when the world sleeps I write.

Do you have a routine that you use to get into the right frame of mind to write?

I can’t seem to be able to write around noise so I barricade myself in some place soundproof and then I turn everything off; tv, cell phone, and the internet. No twitter and no facebook; just me and my thoughts and feelings.

Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?

I am very creative, have been ever since I was a kid; However, reading over 1,000 books has helped me to get the inspirational juices flowing.

 How do you decide what you want to write about?

My writing style reflects my personality; very eclectic. I have written 11 novels so far and in ten different Genres; my favorite is CAPIXABA (the children’s book)

Find Ivan on Facebook or Twitter

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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