Dec 17, 2011

Author Interview/Excerpt/Giveaway: Vik Rubenfeld - Conquest

Hey all! I have a very special guest on the blog today! His name is Vik Rubenfeld, and he's worked in television and the book world! He is pretty awesome and funny, so please check out this interview and excerpt from his new novel, Conquest. It sounds pretty awesome. Then go enter the giveaway for a free ebook copy of the book for two winners! Woo! Happy weekend, y'all!

Vik Rubenfeld - Conquest

• Pub Date: November 30, 2011
• Publisher: Vik Rubenfeld
• Format: ebook

Want to know what it feels like to be a rock star?

Reid Taylor started out with nothing and became part of one of the biggest bands in the world. Now he wants to tell you about the hard struggle every step of the way, fame, the craziness of being on the road, the groupies, and how he found real love that meant more to him than all the groupies in the world. And he wants to tell you about the conflict he had with one of the members of his own band, that threatened everything the band ever hoped to achieve.

Mickey: Hi there, Vik Rubenfeld! Thanks so much for being on the blog today. Please introduce yourself.
Vik: Hi Mickey. It's great to be here. Thanks very much for inviting me. I'm Vik Rubenfeld. I created the hit CBS TV show "Early Edition," starring Kyle Chandler as a guy who gets tomorrow's news today, and uses it to save people. It's been seen in 73 countries around the world. I'm married, and live in Los Angeles.

Mickey: The tagline for your new novel, Conquest, is, "Want to know what it feels like to be a rock star?" Is that how this novel came about?
Vik: Yes. It seems like almost everyone wants to know what it feels like to be in a hit band that's on the road. I wanted to capture that. Guys who join together to form a band and then set out to try to make a success out of it, are really on an epic journey, and it happens every day. The epic journey part appealed to me, as well as the band-of-men-on-a-mission part of it. There's also the love story, that the whole novel turns on. Reid is the bass player who tells the story. Early on, before the band has even recorded, he meets Kristy, and they build a real, true love together. Then his band gets hot and he has to leave town on this tour that could take months or, as their album starts to take off, could even take years. Can their love survive these kinds of pressures? Especially with all the groupies on the road? This really happens. I could name bands that this kind of thing has happened to.

Another part of it was that I lived that entertainment biz thing, of trying to do something that seems impossible, and then getting it to happen - getting EARLY EDITION on the air - and I wanted to write about what that felt like. I just put it into the life of a rock star.

And also, for some reason, I wanted to write a lot of pages about groupies. :)

Mickey: You mentioned that you've worked in television, creating the series "Early Edition." What made you want to write a book after that?
Vik: In college I met a teacher, Mrs. Bettina Olivier. She taught me what a work of art is, and she believed I could write one myself. As soon as she said it, I felt it was going to be one of my top goals.

At the same time, my experience in TV contributed a lot to the book. In TV you learn how to, as they call it, "break a story." In other words, you learn how to tell a story in a suspenseful, page-turning manner. I think that contributes a lot to how much fun the book is to read.

Mickey: Short stories are something you've written as well. Do you prefer those over the novel length?
Vik: I like both. But having just finished a novel, I have to say that I loved writing it. You can put so much into a novel. In "Conquest," there's the love story between Reid and Kristy. There's the question of whether the band will succeed. There's the conflict between Reid and one of his fellow band members, that threatens to wreck everything they are working so hard to achieve. There's how they feel about fame and how they deal with it. There are stories of people who are around them and part of their lives. So there's a lot going on.

Mickey: On your website, you talk a lot of about literature, poetry, and plays. Do you have some favorites you can share with us?
Vik: Sure. Here's one. You may know the Doors song called "End of the Night". But you may not have heard that the lyrics were inspired by a poem by William Blake. Here are lyrics from the song:

Realms of bliss, realms of light
Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to the endless night
End of the night, end of the night
End of the night, end of the night

Here's a quote from the poem by Blake that inspired Jim Morrison:

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

Morrison was a famously dark character. Could he have felt that he himself was "born to endless night"? It kind of takes your breath away to think about, doesn't it?

Mickey: Besides the arts, what are some of your other hobbies?
Vik: Eating the delicious food my wife cooks. :)

Mickey: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Vik: I don't think so. Wait. Some of that food my wife cooks probably qualifies. :)

Mickey: What novel or idea do you wish you'd written or come up with first?
Vik: Harry Potter. How cool is that? He's in a school, which is its own self-contained world, and there are four competing groups within the school, and one of them tends to be evil. All that plus magic. It's really fascinating.

Mickey: What are your plans for the future? Will there be more Vik Rubenfeld novels?
Vik: Definitely. I loved writing "Conquest." I didn't want it to end.

Mickey: Thanks so much for being here :o) Any parting words?
Vik: You're very welcome. Some readers may be interested in knowing that most of the events in "Conquest" are inspired by true stories that really happened to one band or another. Fans of rock history will enjoy spotting the references, and other readers will just get a kick out of the surprising things that happen. It's kind of my take on the greatest hits of true stories from rock history. Thanks so much for inviting me! I really enjoyed it.

Excerpt from Conquest
From Chapter 1
The thing is, I never really liked our drummer. I never liked the guy. Our singer I could tolerate, even though he thought he was beyond human. I’d seen him on the way up, when nothing like that was ever in his head. Mostly what he thought then was how afraid he was that he was blowing it and he’d run out of money and become a street person, sleeping in doorways. He had an unnatural fear of that, as though some fortune teller had put it into him. It was like it haunted him, a vision of his own future. Then when we really hit it, something else ridiculous happened – he felt like he had won against some supernatural power, like he’d overcome his own destiny and become more than normal. It was just irritating, but I still liked the guy.

Our lead guitarist – what you see looking at us is not what you see if you’re inside looking out. Barry O. – the Fireman, if you know his nickname – to you guys he looked like he had it all under control, but I knew that every second he was just waiting for it all to fall apart. He was just convinced that this was going to last for, maybe, another ten seconds. This went on for years.

I played the bass. I guess it was only natural that I’d be the down-to-earth guy, since that’s what I did for our sound. My bass was just like the anchor that kept the kite from flying off into the sky and getting lost. I guess I tried to do that for our band too. And you know how that turned out.

But why get ahead of things? Everybody always wants to know how it all got started and what happened, and to hear about all the craziness and everything. So now that it’s all over and I’ve got time, I’m like, why not?


Actually it was kind of spooky. I’ll never forget the day because my girl friend just broke up with me that same morning. She just finally got fed up with me for being the way I am. She was excitable. She didn’t mind that I wasn’t excitable, but it was the way I wasn’t that finally she couldn’t take any more. I’m just sort of a, get up every day, get the job done, don’t get distracted by stuff, just keep moving forward kind of guy. I sort of feel like a tank on a battlefield. I just keep going. Stuff can be blowing up around me, so what, I don’t care, I’m still going ahead. Meanwhile she felt like I was a snail, just going along too slow, getting nowhere. Like I said, she was excitable. She started getting crazy about it, hysterical. Which didn’t even faze me because I’m like what I said, and that drove her even crazier, and so it was just that same morning that she just said she was breaking up. Which was kind of like, I mean, even to a tank, a bomb goes off right underneath of you and you’re going to feel it. So I was trashed and in no mood to go anywhere, much less to an audition.

I’d heard about this audition Barry was having out in some old barn or shack or something. I wasn’t going to go in the first place and now I definitely wasn’t planning on going. I’d met him once or twice and my impression was that he was a little frayed around the edges. A little flighty. Maybe not serious enough. Tanks don’t wait for guys like him, we run guys like him over. So the hell with it, was basically my approach to the subject.

I was in no mood to see anybody, and then my phone started to blow up. All these calls were coming in. I tried to remember, did we always get this many calls on a weekend? Did my girlfriend used to just answer the phone? It seemed like way more than usual. All these people asking me to go here or there or come out and have a drink or let’s go to this party or hear this band or whatever. Some of them already knew about the breakup and wanted to cheer me up, and some had no idea. Finally I had to go out just to get away from the phone calls. So it was getting late already and I just took off for the bar to play pool and have some beers.

So now I’m out and my cell phone starts blowing up and I just don’t answer it. I’m not in the mood, as you can easily imagine. I’m playing pool, having a beer, trying to not think about anything. The misery is sitting on me like a wrestler that’s got another wrestler pinned. I can’t do anything about it and I know I can’t do anything about it, so I’m trying to not think about it.

And then this guy walks right up to me out of nowhere and says, “Hey man, can you give me a lift to Barry’s audition?” I don’t even recognize this guy. I’m so stunned that I actually forget to blow him off. I actually let myself get into a conversation with him.

“Dude, I’m not going to Barry’s audition.”

“Aren’t you Reid Taylor?”

“Do I know you?”

“I’m Travis. I saw you sit in with Sammy Marshall at Harry’s a month ago.”

“Yeah, well, I’m just hanging out here tonight.”

“Everybody says you’re going.”

“Everybody? Who?”

The guy looked around vaguely. “I don’t know. People.”

“People? Who? Who said that? What was the name of the person who said that?”

“It wasn’t one person. It was at least two people.”


“That guy over there.”

He looks over at somebody and at that exact split second, before I can see who it is, the guy he’s looking at turns and walks out of the place.

Find Vik:

Giveaway Alert!!
Now that you've read an awesome interview and an intriguing excerpt of Conquest, you can enter to win an ebook copy of the novel below! Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. Ends 12/24. Winner will have the book emailed to them by the author. The prize is an ebook, so this is international. And there will be two winners! Questions? Comment here with a way to get back to you. Thanks and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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