As part of the audio blog tour for Omari and the People, I interviewed author Stephen Whitfield.
How long have you been writing?
I remember my first story was a horror tale about something or someone who devoured people during the Great New York Blackout of 1965. My audience was my family, who particularly got a kick out of one line which described a murder scene: “No bones, just blood.”
What inspired you to write this story?
A multitude of images, mini-stories, personal experiences involving disasters natural and unnatural, big and small, Exodus (the book) all begged for expression.. I got it in my head that I had something to say about love, friendship, betrayal, community in crisis.
Did you have any quirky habits while writing this book?
I found that searching for abducted children in the streets of Chicago, especially in the dead of winter, encouraged me to work harder at writing so I could quit that job and live the life of an independently wealthy author.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Do not live a life of wild abandon. Learn to play piano, then master one particular Chopin . seize my education and create a vocational path to become a medical doctor. Floss at least daily.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Conrad Rivers, my 10th grade English teacher who shot himself over Christmas break. I’d want to talk him out of it.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Check reviews, sales, metrics, analytics, listen to music watch movies, time travel and contemplate infinity.
Audiobook Title: Omari and the People
Author: Stephen Whitfield
Narrator: Curt Simmons
Publisher: ShirleyCastle Press
Length: 11 hours and 17 minutes (unabridged)
Audio Release Date: June 20, 2016
Synopsis: In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based in part on the Empty Quarter in Arabia) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home afire to start anew and to cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place which only he can lead them to, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The disparate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead his life and the success of the caravan – is jeopardized.
©2014 ShirleyCastle Press (P)2016 Stephen Whitfield
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Chicago-born Stephen Whitfield began writing as a Marine Corps print journalist. His writing has appeared in military publications, as well as the Kansas City Star and the Jersey Journal. He holds degrees from from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Indiana University. His various adventures have taken him to such places as London, Paris, Trondheim, Johannesburg, Beirut, most of The Virgin Islands and the wilder neighborhoods of Chicago.
Curt lives in Seattle and produces and narrates audiobooks in his home studio. He began his performing career in college as a stage actor and radio personality. After college, in addition to acting, Curt also did voiceovers for commercials, which he also wrote, directed, and edited for broadcast TV. Following the birth of his daughter in 1984, he left the performing arts to pursue a more “stable” profession managing projects. Then, in 2014 he returned to the professional stage for the first time in over 30 years as Walter Flood in Becky’s New Car by Stephen Dietz. He has also appeared recently as Lyman in Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz and Ralph in The Last Romance by Joseph DiPietro. Omari and the People is Curt’s sixth audiobook.