Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Blog Tour: Firsts Coming of Age Stories by People with Disabilities #interview @beloism #giveaway

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Memoir/Creative nonfiction/anthology
Date Published: October 1st, 2018
Publisher: Oleb Books

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Take a step back in time with some of the best writers with disabilities as they recount their first adventure, their first heartbreak, and the first time the unexpected treaded into their life. From body transformations to social setbacks, to love affairs and family trauma, Firsts collects the most thought-provoking and exciting stories of our time by people with disabilities. Contributors include Nigel David Kelly, Kimberly Gerry-Tucker, Caitlin Hernandez, Andrew Gurza, and David-Elijah Nahmod


Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
Well, the anthology compiles stories about disability and I hope that able-bodied readers are able to get a glimpse into a world unknown to them. While several of the story touch on tragedy, I think the authors do a great job in showing that having a disability does not mean that one has a life that is less rich.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Because I am blind and use adaptive tech to write, some aspects of writing are challenging to me. For instance, my computer reads my work out loud in a robotic voice; however, this makes it tough to edit dialogue because the software does not read it as a person would.  

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I have written 3 and I don’t have a favorite. I do, though, feel really close to the characters in the novel I am working on now. I am sure that once I start working with a book editor, I will have a tough time changing things around.

If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

 My first book, Blind: A Memoir is about my experience of losing my sight in my late twenties. If it ever got turned into a movie, I would like to have a blind actor play me.

When did you begin writing?
I began writing after I lost my vision. I took classes but did not feel like a real writer until I went to get my Master’s degree in creative writing.

How long did it take to complete your first book?
My first book took about a year to write and a year to edit.

Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
I didn’t know too many blind writers so when I met Susan Krieger; I was inspired to tell my own story. Susan was not only a motivator, but also a great mentor.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I like doing research and have been known to spend hours at the library. I also like to interview people and apply my findings to my fiction.

Describe your latest book in 4 words.
Authentic stories about disability

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

 I started a new press that will publish the work of writers with disabilities. Its called Oleb Books and we have several great projects coming up in the next few months. We have also pulled three stories from Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People With Disabilities and produced a mini documentary series, which people can find in the Oleb Media Youtube channel. 

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Belo Miguel Cipriani is a columnist with the Bay Area Reporter. In 2017, his column on disability issues was recognized by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

He is the author of Blind: A Memoir (2011), which received an Honorable Mention for Best Nonfiction Book by the 2011 Rainbow Awards, and an Honorable Mention for Best Culture Book by the 2012 Eric Hoffer Awards.

He has received fellowships from Lambda Literary and Yaddo, and was the first blind writer to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Cipriani has guest lectured at Yale University, University of San Francisco, and University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, and was the Writer-in-Residence at Holy Names University from 2012 to 2016.

His writing has appeared in several publications, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Business Insider, and HuffPost. He was a contributor to the Ed Baxter Morning Show on iHeart Radio, and was also a frequent commentator on San Francisco’s KGO Radio, as well as on several NPR shows.

Cipriani has received numerous awards for his disability advocacy work, including being named “Best Disability Advocate” by SF Weekly (2015), an “Agent of Change” by HuffPost (2015), and an “ABC7 Star” by KGO-TV (2016). He was also honored as the first blind Grand Marshal at San Francisco’s 45th Annual Gay Pride Parade.

He currently works at the Center for Academic Excellence at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, where he helps students improve their writing skills.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for hosting

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