The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution
by Lisa de Nikolits
Genre: Humorous Thriller
Print Length: 291 pages
Publisher: Inanna Poetry and Fiction Series
Publication Date: September 30, 2019
The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution is about a couple experiencing a crisis. The husband, Lyndon, loses his job as editor of a financial magazine. Neither are happy with aging. Lyndon has gotten by with charm and frozen emotions. The wife, Margaux, has no idea how angry she is with him for his detachment. It is her idea to sell the house and just travel. But he is not coping well with retirement, so he simply walks off a ferry in Australia and leaves her. He steals a cat (well, he steals an expensive SUV that happens to have a cat onboard) and he flees Sydney, ending up in Apollo Bay, a few hours south-west of Melbourne, where he falls in with a group of anarchists and punk rockers in a tattoo parlour, planning revolution.
Meanwhile, Margaux sits tight in Sydney with no idea of where her husband might be or what happened. She moves into the red-light Kings Cross area, befriending the owner of the hostel, a seventy-year-old ex-cop drag queen from Saint John, New Brunswick, and waits to hear from her husband.
When she learns that her husband is fine, she is consumed by wrath and she invokes the angry spirit of an evil nurse, a key player in the terrible Chelmsworth sleep therapy in which many patients died (historical fact). While Lyndon gets in touch with his original career ambition to become an artist and wrestles with anarchism versus capitalism, Margaux learns to deal with her rage.
A serio-comedic thriller about a couple who embark on an unintentionally life-changing around-the-world adventure, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution is about the meaning of life, healing from old wounds, romantic love at all ages, and how love and passion can make a difference, at any age.
Lisa de Nikolits is the international award-winning author of nine novels (all Inanna Publications). No Fury Like That was published in Italian in 2019 by Edizione Le Assassine as Una furia dell’altro mondo. Her short fiction and poetry have also been published in various anthologies and journals internationally. She is a member of the Mesdames of Mayhem, the Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, The Australian Crime Writers, The Short Fiction Mystery Association and the International Thriller Writers. Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits came to Canada in 2000. She lives and writes in Toronto.
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What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
I read so fast and so much that it’s hard to keep track or even remember! Here are five that come to mind:
• Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews (and most of his books. They are so surreal and I love the writing)
• East of Eden and Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
• A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
• The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
• Anything by Stephen King (never fails me!)
How long have you been writing?
Since I was eight! So that’s 45.5 years!
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Most of them come to me but there are a few elusive ones that I have to chase down! It’s literally like chasing a stranger down the street! They keep just in sight enough that I catch glimpses of them but then they vanish and off I go, pounding the sidewalk, a burning stitch in my side, gasping for air, bent over double. Then they’ll peer out from an alleyway, flash a grin and take off again! I do prefer the ones who come fully-formed and attitudinal: ‘don’t mess with me, I am what I am, I’m writing this book, baby, you’re just my writing tool!’
I have entirely rewritten characters though, more than once. I realized that I didn’t like them or they weren’t convincing or have any redeemable qualities and if I felt that, then how would the reader feel?
And of course rewriting a character has all kinds of fallout. The plot changes as that person would no longer do that action or behave in that way. In the beginning, the thought of rewriting a character seemed like a crime, a travesty. Also, l lacked the confidence. If I killed this character in his or her current incarnation, did I have anything to replace them? I’ve learned that the answer is yes I can. Not easily at times, but I can! That’s where the blood, sweat and tears come in and you can’t give up – you get out there and work it harder!
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
It all depends. And actually, I try to do the research after I’ve written a first draft!
Why? For a few reasons. One is that you can lose all kinds of hours on research – you think you’re writing but you’re actually just surfing the Net, finding one fascinating fact after another but you’re not writing. And you end up finding too much information which isn’t needed and then you try to cram this amazingly astounding fact into the book which is a big fail or you
Do you see writing as a career?
Financially? A resounding no! I must admit, I’ve always found the word ‘career’ (when associated with writing) to be somewhat negative, for reasons I can’t pinpoint exactly! I guess because sounds so unmagical and so calculated! I’ve always believed there is a magic to writing. Magical in the way of any God-given gift but if you don’t get out there and hone and stretch and tone that gift, it will sag and flag and flop down into the dust and die.
I think too, that the word career, implies a certain control. You can plan a career, right? Plan the trajectory, plan the outcome. Map it out. I don’t think you can map out your writing life.
If you look at my art directing career, and it was a career, I planned it very carefully, going from this job to that job to the next. Of course it didn’t always work out that exactly way. I didn’t get a lot of jobs that I really wanted. But, through good luck and sheer determination, my overall mapped-out career path did happen. For example, I didn’t get Elle South Africa magazine but I got Vogue Australia. And I did end up doing some work for Elle Canada so it all worked out!
So my art directing career was definitely a career, one that is sadly on the wane as magazines die. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hello! Canada turned out to be my last magazine gig but I’ve had a great run, working in London, the USA, Australia and here in Canada. And it got me visas to live and work in countries, so that career certainly did work out!
But writing as a career? I don’t see it that way! My end-goal objective is to keep writing the best books I can and to keep improving. And, to find a way to get those books read.