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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Through the Fire by Raj Lowenstein

New Modern-Day Romantic Thriller Released
Author Raj Lowenstein has written a compelling novel that appears more disturbingly real than fiction

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Author Raj Lowenstein has released her debut novel, “Through the Fire,” that follows the story of Michael, a beautiful woman who is mute and communicates through American Sign Language as she tries to escape her past while falling in love with her protector.

Filled with back stories, steamy romantic episodes, gender-related issues, investigation, and an evil antagonist this unique story for modern-day readers builds up to an intense and gripping conclusion.

Lowenstein has always had a passion for writing and created a lead character who was mute as she herself is deaf and communicates through American Sign Language and wanted readers to experience the life and struggles of a deaf person. She also explores the topic of gender-related issues as her family has strong ties to the GLBT community and knows this is a very important topic to discuss in America right now.

“Through the Fire” received the Gold Seal of Literary Excellence from Trafford Publishing and Lowenstein is already receiving critical praise:

“Key to Lowenstein’s writing style is the use of engaging dialogue to generate dynamic characters who are developing their relationships and facing life’s challenges…Kudos to Lowenstein for creating an edgy and eye-opening debut!” – Recommended by the US Review of Books

To learn more please visit the author’s website.

“Through the Fire”
By Raj Lowenstein
ISBN: 978-1-4907-6839-7 (e), 978-1-4907-6838-0 (sc), 978-1-4907-6840-3 (hc)

About the author
Author Raj Lowenstein has a Bachelors’ Degree in American Sign Language Interpreting with a Minor in Jewish Studies from the University of Houston. She started writing “Through the Fire” in 2004 while attending Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. for a semester. Even though she has had poems published in literary magazines, it took her only 40 years to decide that it was OK to actually have her book published. This is her first of many books so stay tuned! Lowenstein currently lives with her husband and fat Chihuahua in the Pacific Northwest and they have three children and three grandchildren.

Welcome to my blog Raj.  Please tell my readers and I about yourself and your latest book.
Tell us about your latest worktitle, genre, etc. — and why you wrote it?
Through the Fire is the title of my latest book. It is a romantic thriller which takes place in the Houston neighborhood of Montrose. I have always written, often for myself or for my family. The idea for Through the Fire was based on a comment I had heard, and the storyline fell into place.
What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?
I think writers write what they like to read. I enjoy romance, Sci-Fi, historical fiction, fantasy, as well as thrillers. When I sit down with an idea, I ask myself if it would be something I would enjoy reading. That along with would I enjoy reading my book if it was authored by someone else, are the litmus tests for what I write.
What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?
For me, the writing process starts with a concept. Sometimes it is a storyline. Other times it’s a character. Occasionally, it is a scene bouncing around in my head that I must get down on paper. Once I have the main character and a plot, I let the story unfold. Often what happens along the way is a surprise, even to me.
What kind of research was involved?
The internet is a fabulous thing. Through the Fire took place in Houston, a city I am familiar with. There was not much research involved. However, with my upcoming Trilogy, I did research locations, sites I wanted the characters to visit as well as the use of foreign languages some of the characters spoke in the stories. The internet allows a writer and the people who live between the pages to inhabit places they might never have been. I lived in Houston for many years, but Minnesota, Paris, or even Muleshoe, Texas are just a mouse click away.
How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
I think there is a little of me that always makes its way into my books.
I lost my hearing after acquiring speech. I bounce back between American Sign Language and spoken English. Deaf Culture is very important to me, so there is almost always some aspect of this in my books, especially in Through the Fire. The main character, Michael, uses American Sign Language to communicate. Daniel and his twin brother David, are hearing children of deaf parents and grandparents.  My family is very GLBT diverse. So my books are as well.   
Oh, I am a redhead…there will always be redheads in my stories.
How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
I have a schedule I try to follow. Within that plan, I have time set aside specifically to write. Also, my workstation is portable so even if I am out visiting family or away from home, I can work. By sticking to my schedule, I am allowed time to be creative, be a wife, mother, grandmother as well as time for myself. My husband is an avid football fan. I do an extreme amount of writing during football season, which works out rather well for me.
Have there been any authors in particular, that inspired your writing?
I have been inspired by many writers. Stephen King keeps me on the edge of my seat.
Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb has illustrated the art of a trilogy. Robert Heinlein’s Dune series introduced me to the universe. Clive Kessler has kept me in nail-biting suspense. I believe without these and many more authors who have inspired, awed, terrified and brought me to tears, I would not have been able to craft the stories I tell.
Is there a story you want to tell behind or about your work(s)?
The story I wanted to tell behind Through the Fire was one of hope and possibilities.  People can rebuild their lives after awful things happen to them. Michael Braun is a survivor, not a victim. She can be an inspiration to many. Finding love is often unexpected and frequently changes who we think we are. Daniel Hartman finds this out almost too late. Finally, religion is often used as a weapon. Michael finds herself at the end of a twisted religious fanatic’s quest to rid the world of their perceived evil. I wrote Through the Fire in 2004, yet it is relevant at this time more than ever. A woman’s right to live her life, a person’s right to love who they love, and religion used to justify hate and intolerance; today all these topics are in the forefront of our collective experiences.
What other projects are you currently working on or about to start?
I am currently working on The O’Connor Sisters Trilogy. The first book, The Cat and The Blue Sky should be released in February or March of 2018. The second book, As Long As You’re Here hopefully, will follow in June or July. The final book of the trilogy, A Blush On Rose, will make its debut three to four months after.
Could you share some of your marketing strategies?  Which ones are the most effective in your opinion?
Currently, Facebook is working well for me. Additionally, I am finding it useful to talk about my book whenever I can.  I carry postcards with information on the book along with my web page.  I work with local bookstores to do Author events. Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get. Tell everyone. Have friends and family share your posts with their Facebook Friends. There is a huge learning curve when it comes to marketing yourself as an author. Be persistent.
What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?
I would tell an aspiring author…
Every writer had to start somewhere.
Always trust and have faith in yourself.
Edit…edit…edit…then edit some more.
Failure is an opportunity to get it right.
Again, thanks Raj for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. We appreciate you and your work.

For Review Copies & General Inquiries Contact:
LAVIDGE – Phoenix
Lauren Dickerson

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