Title: All This Time
Author: Tiffani Burnett-Velez
Publication Date: April 3 2015
Book Link: Goodreads
Syrian-American, Lydia Fadoul, has spent a year waiting for her fiancé to return from war in Iraq, only to discover that he is broken by trauma and the devastating effects of PTSD. Just when he finally agrees to seek help, he takes his own life and leaves behind a story of murder, betrayal, and mystery.
In her second, contemporary fiction novel since Budapest, Tiffani Burnett-Velez weaves a fast-paced literary tale about the rumors we believe and the prejudices we create in order to protect our hearts from the truth.
I found this novel to be thought-provoking, educational and enjoyable. As the main character Lydia is of Syrian-American descent, I found myself learning about the culture as well as her Eastern Christian religion, an area where my knowledge was sorely lacking before picking up this book.
The story opens at the funeral of Lydia’s fiance. A marine who suffered from PTSD and was accused of murdering two comrades, he took his own life. It’s a huge news story, the media are all over it and public life for Lydia becomes increasingly more difficult. She knows that there must have been some reasoning behind the murders and is determined to find out what really happened. Together with an ex-marine journalist she tries to uncover the truth.
There are many issues dealt with throughout this story – PTSD, military cover-up, the impact of the media to name but a few. For this I really admire the author; she managed to bring a string of serious issues into the forefront of our minds and to be honest days after finishing the book I’m still thinking about them.
There were a couple of things I was less keen on in this novel. Sometimes the dialogue felt rather unnatural to me. I was also rather disappointed by the ending as it was somewhat abrupt. It’s not a long novel anyway but the nature of the ending didn’t quite work for me, I would have preferred a bit more detail.
All in all though I enjoyed this book. I took a lot from it – including an overwhelming craving for tea!
Her first novel, Budapest, was featured in the New York Book Festival and the 4 2nd Annual Conference of Jewish Librarians and it’s re-release became a 2014 Amazon Bestseller in Literary and Inspirational Fiction.
Her second contemporary novel, All This Time, will be released by Booktrope in 2015, and the second, A Berlin Story, in her bestselling WWII novella series, Embers of War, is an Amazon Historical German Fiction Bestseller.
She has studied English Literature at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania and holds a BA in Cognitive Science from Ashford University. She is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
By Tiffani Burnett-Velez
Writers get this directive all the time, and I’m here to tell you that this is damn fine advice, but for reasons you might not expect. I have been a successful freelance writer since my first published article in 1996. Since that cold March day, when I was recovering from a near-fatal autoimmune disease and was four months pregnant, and (bored out of my mind, started clacking away at my husband’s ancient DOS computer), I began learning what it means to be a writer. I sent Sam Is My Fat Dog to a local pet publication, and the rest is history. Well, sort of. There were a lot of rejections between that acceptance and the next one two years later.
Being a writer means having ambition, fortitude, and an endless well of creative ideas. It means having respect for the deadline, and a hardcore belief in yourself and what you can and want to do with your writing career. The truth is, if you’re not your own best friend, it’s nearly impossible to be successful as a writer. You need to embrace who you are and how you think and apply both parts of yourself to your work. This is especially true if you’re a freelancer. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. If you haven’t accomplished any paid writing gigs so far, and you’re starting to get hungry, search out one of those freelance sites, or send off a nice piece to a magazine. Write about something, anything, you know so well that you don’t even have do any research. And start snagging clients for your portfolio. Make yourself proud.
Last year, in early May, I signed my contemporary women’s novel, All This Time, with Booktrope and my initial publication date was September 2014. The fall came and went and I had nothing to show for it, except, a thick manuscript that needed rewriting. My first editor and I decided that everything really needed to start all over for this piece.
It was depressing, and Christmas was looking bleak for those who wanted anything tangible from me. I had dumped most of my freelance clients in order to complete The Novel. I write a lot of copy for marketing firms, articles for magazines and newspapers, and even some flash fiction for literary mags. The nonfiction stuff pays quite well. The fiction, not so much. But I had work to do and needed to get paid.
So, recently, I jumped back into the freelancing wagon, and I have to say, it feels good to get a paycheck. Yes, I have had two novels out in the past year – A Berlin Story (which sat at the #1 position in Kindle for two weeks) and All This Time, which was only released on March 12, 2015. Royalties are coming in, but they do not come in as fast as nonfiction freelance royalties do.
So, here I am, working away at copy and novel writing at night, when I get an email from two different clients (who do not know each other), and they both tell me that they have read one of my books, and that my handle on the effects of wartime PTSD has shown them that I can, most certainly, handle their nonprofit websites. Both organizations are rooted in tragedy and recovery, and both directors want me to make their sights more emotive, more human.
“You’re a writer,” said one client. “I’ve read A Berlin Story. I know what you can do with a tale of desperation and fear.”
Had I only ever written copy, had I not taken that next step and ventured past pet publications and newsletters, to submitted fully finished manuscripts (even if they needed complete rewrites in the end), I wouldn’t have landed the new nonfiction jobs. Life is weird how it sometimes turns upside down and takes circular paths back to the beginning.
And, so, I return to the moniker, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job,” Dear Writer, but if you’re consistent and you believe in the value of your own work, the day job can be writing anything at all – even novels. You can make it work.
Please note that this giveaway is being run by Good Tales Book Tours rather than strupag.com