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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Writer interview - Greta van der Rol

Let's get this out of the way right now - I am not a fan of romance novels. I don't enjoy plots that circle slowly like vultures only to land on an unrealistic and pompously-described sex scene. So, believe me when I say, I approached Greta van der Rol's Iron Admiral: A Conspiracy with much trepidation because it has been described as a kind of space romance novel.

Surprise! This one had a plot - and a good captivating one! Yes, there was romance and sexual tension, but it was simply one of the components of the story rather than the central portion thereof. From one sci-fi fan to another, you can get plenty of enjoyment out of this book and even skip over the "mushy" romantic parts if you'd like: it has plenty of other elements to sustain your interest. An inter-species conspiracy, a deadly virus, planetary politics - you catch my drift.

Much to my delight, Greta had graciously agreed to an interview.


What is your favorite virtue? Oh, dear. Chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility… They’re all so polarized, aren’t they? If I must pick, then I guess it would be kindness.

Your favorite qualities in a man. Strength and ability. By that I mean the sort of man who can ‘do’ things like build furniture or fix things. A sense of humour is good, too.

Your favorite qualities in a woman. I like women who can talk about things other than shoes, handbags, boyfriends, husbands and kids.

Your chief characteristic. I’m a smart-arse.

What do you appreciate the most about your friends? Most of my friends these days are on the net. I appreciate their support when I start to question myself.

Your main fault. I have a tendency to be judgmental and highly critical – not least of myself.

Your favorite occupation. As in what would I rather do? Easy – what I’m doing now; retired and writing. That said, I fell into computing by accident and when I picked myself up I was in love. That absorbing, all-consuming passion sustained me for near on twenty years before I realized it was time to move on before the stress killed me.

Your idea of happiness. Leaning up against a veranda post, glass of sav blanc in hand, watching the micro bats dart after insects as the last of the light fades from the sky.

Your idea of misery. I can’t imagine what it would be like, at our time of life, to lose everything and have to start again. I watch images from the Queensland floods, Victorian fires, American tornadoes, the earthquake victims in Japan and New Zealand and wonder how I’d cope.

If not yourself, who would you be? I wouldn’t mind being Morgan or Allysha or Jess – all heroines from my books. But I’ve never had an urge to be anything but me. I’ve been dealt a pretty good hand. I might have done things a little differently if I got another go, but that’s not how it is, is it?

Your favorite heroes in fiction. Top favourite would have to be Tim Zahn’s Grand Admiral Thrawn, in one of the first Star Wars spin-offs. He’s a villain who makes inroads against the fledgling New Republic with smart tactics that even the Force can’t beat. He gets killed in the end – but only because he’s betrayed. I rather liked the early Darth Vader, too. *winks*

Your favorite heroes in real life.
‘Hero’ is such an emotive word. I think it’s overused. There are individual acts of heroism, where people put their lives on the line for others. We’ve all seen those. Then there are people like Mother Theresa, who spent her whole life trying to improve the lives of others. That’s something else again.

Your favorite food and drink. Favourite food… that’s difficult. I like food and I have pretty high standards, so just about anything well prepared. Except stuff like tripe. Drink – wine. I love a good NZ sauvignon blanc or an Australian cabernet or shiraz.

What is your present state of mind?

Your personal motto.
If you’re gonna do it, give it your best.


To purchase one of Greta's excellent books or contact her, please use the information below.

The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy

- Amazon US for Kindle and print
- Omnilit
- Barnes & Noble for your Nook


- Amazon
- Barnes and Noble

Die a Dry Death

- Book Depository
- Amazon US
- Amazon UK

Greta's website: http://gretavanderrol.com
Facebook: Author – Greta van der Rol
Twitter: @GretavdR


Bill Kirton said...

Excellent. Straight questions and direct answers, all adding up to an interesting person to spend time with (which, of course, we do in her books - and I'd second what you say about The Iron Admiral). I think I'd only quarrel with the choice of Australian Shiraz - it's not the Australian bit I mind, but the Shiraz. I'll stick with the Cabernet.

Greta said...

I should have qualified. Shiraz is undrinkable until it's at least 5 years old and even then you have to pick the right one.

I reckon I'd enjoy spending some time with Bill, too.

Sessha Batto said...

Very intriguing peek at the woman behind the words ;) It sounds like you and I have a lot in common Greta, perhaps one day we'll have a chance to have a glass of wine together.

Maria K. said...

Thank you all, I am glad you like this interview concept. I've done five so far, including this one. Very similar questions, but the answers made it fascinating every single time.