Brooke Moss, author of The What-If Guy is guest-posting for us! She is talking to the guy himself – Henry Tobler. To read my review of the book click here.

Thanks for having me here today! I’ve invited Henry Tobler, Autumn’s what-if-guy in my new novel, to talk to your readers today, I hope that’s Ok? He was very excited for the chance to meet some of his fans. So without further ado…let’s meet Henry!

So Henry, tell me a little about yourself:

Well, I’m Henry Tobler, I grew up in the San Francisco area of California, but now I live in Fairfield, Washington.

What are your hobbies?

I play the violin, though I’m a bit rusty. I’m working on forming a strings group at the school, so I can work on some fine arts with the kids. I also love art history, and could spend hours walking around an art show or a museum. There is something to be said about spending time with my dog, Sal, who is absolutely the worst fetch player you will ever meet.

What is your job and how did you come to do that?

I am a history teacher at Palouse Plains Junior High, and I absolutely love my job. I love the students I work with, and I am having a blast getting to know each of their families. I actually studied to be an art history professor, but changed my major during the last quarter of my senior year. I decided I wanted to work with kids, and I haven’t regretted that decision once. I love what I do.

Do you have an enemy or nemesis?

Naw….I don’t have enemies. I had a thorn in my side towards Autumn for a number of years, but that was because I never quite got over her. I was still harboring some pretty strong feelings for her.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

I am going through an ugly divorce that has been dragging on for quite a while, and just ran into the one woman I never stopped loving. I want to be with Autumn, but I feel like I need to finish up my divorce before I do. But there is this magnet pull between the two of us that is damn near impossible to resist.

What is the one event that you feel has helped to shape your personality?

I’ve always wanted to work in a small school in a small town. For years, I resisted the urge, citing that the better money was in bigger schools in more lucrative cities. But my heart was in those smaller schools. When I made the decision to move to Fairfield and pursue work with a smaller school, I felt more alive than I had in years.

What is your earliest memory from your childhood?

I was fascinated by my mom’s print of a Jackson Pollock print. I would spend hours and hours looking at it. When I got older, I wanted to know about the artist. Where he was from, when did he die, stuff like that. I guess that inspired my fascination with historical art, and ultimately took me to Seattle to study after high school.

Are you involved in a romance?

That’s hard to say….sort of. I mean, I’m trying to resist, but I can’t. My heart belongs to Autumn. It always has.

Beer or wine?

There’s nothing better than a Samuel Adams after coming home from a long day of student’s passing notes and trying to text message during class.

Favorite Sports Franchise? (if applicable)

Well, don’t tell old Billy Cole this, as he is pretty obsessed with the Seattle Mariner’s, but I am a die hard 49ers fan.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?

I want Autumn, Elliott, and I to be a family.

If you could say one thing to your readers, what would it be?

Never pretend to love someone. If your heart belongs to someone, replacing them with the nearest willing body will not take the longing out of your heart. Your heart wants who it wants, period.

If you could say one thing to your author, what would it be?

Does Brooke Moss really think I resemble Gerard Butler so much? I’ve always thought I resembled Eric Bana.

It sure was cool to revisit my character today. I’m thrilled to be sharing my debut novel, The What If Guy with the world! It tells the tale of single mother, Autumn Cole, who is returning to the miniscule town of her youth, to reluctantly reclaim her role as daughter of the town drunk. Her life becomes even more complicated when she realizes that her son’s history teacher is the college sweetheart she dumped but never forgot. I look forward to hearing from all of my readers, to find out what they think of The What If Guy.

The What If Guy is available at Amazon, B&N, Books On Board, and at your local bookseller. A special thanks goes to Entangled Publishing for their amazing prizes and giveaways. Thanks guys!

 

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As promised: the interview with author Andrew Oberg and the review of his superb book Randolph’s One Bedroom.

Interview:

1.       Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m originally from the state of Minnesota in the U.S., but have been living in Japan since 2001 (with a short break in 2003). I teach at two universities here and am basically waiting for my chance to get a full-time job at one of them (my application is being processed as we speak…). My wife is a photographer for a prefectural magazine, and we have no children yet but are planning to try very soon. I’m also a huge fan of the Grateful Dead. 🙂

2.       Tell us about Randolph’s One Bedroom

“Randolph’s One Bedroom” is a bit like watching TV, I suppose; all the stories revolve around one central character and setting, but are not necessarily related to each other. The book has been described to me as, “Coffee shop stories short enough for one latte” and “Kind of a cross between ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Twin Peaks'”. I think both of those descriptions are great and wish I had come up with at least one of them.

3.       Where did the idea and the characters come from? Did any of these stories actually occur?

No! (lol) Thankfully none of the stories actually happened. The setting is based on a real job I had years ago and the neighborhood I lived in at the time. Winter is a strong element in the book, as it is in Minnesota–and believe me, it really does get that cold–so in some ways I guess the reality of what very long and harsh winters do to people was a point of inspiration for me.

4.       Who was your favourite character to write?

I’d say Dave was the most fun. He’s pure id, constantly reacting to the world around him with no forethought whatsoever. A bit like Homer Simpson, really. And who doesn’t love Homer?

5.       Which story was the most fun to write and your favourite?

Probably “A Discovery”. The whole idea is just so ridiculous, and I love the interaction between the characters in that one, too.

6.       I would class this as comedy fiction, how would you classify this book and is this the genre you favour when reading?

I’d say comedy fiction as well. Most of what I read is actually non-fiction, though. I tend to go for Eastern religion, Western philosophy, history and anthropology books. I am a massive nerd!

7.       How did you get into writing?

I’m not sure. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, and my preferred way to do so is through writing, so I guess I’d say I just naturally fell into it.

8.       Is there anything else in the pipeline?

I’ve just started a new novel on one man’s journey through metaphysics. It’s still very much in the early stages, but I envision it developing along the lines of Hesse’s “Siddhartha”, Huxley’s “Island”, and the “Bhagavad Gita”. Ideally, I’d like it to be a blend of the feel of those three great works while effectively communicating my own thoughts.

I also have a graphic novel about the medieval Norse settlements in Greenland for sale on my site, and am hoping to find an artist soon for an Old West themed graphic novel that I’ve got tucked away.

Review:

This is a book that consists of 20 short stories, all of which revolve around Randolph. They are random and quirky, but funny! The stories are not all linked in one linear story line, they are just glimpses or episodes in Randolph’s life. He works in a coffee shop, so a lot of what occurs take place in that setting, although some of the stories are set in his home. Randolph lives in a place where it is winter for the majority of the year. This means people are trapped indoors and weird things happen as people suffer from cabin fever.

I liked Randolph. He seemed like an ordinary bloke that just comes across strange things – such as the Neanderthal man buried by the rubbish bins outside work. He smokes, swears, drinks and dabbles in drugs – but these aren’t the main things about him. He is a funny guy – he has wit and he isn’t afraid to say what he thinks, even if it is inappropriate.

My favourite character wasn’t Randolph however. As the majority of the book is set in the coffee shop there are other regular characters. My favourite was Dave – the new assistant manager who got his position by sleeping with his superior. He is not all there, a bit odd, struggles under pressure and is nosey. He was so funny to read. His actions and words just made me laugh, and I can see why Oberg enjoyed writing him the most. The other character I loved was the Pastor. If he didn’t get his way or didn’t like something he damned everyone to hell. He just made me laugh!

I don’t think I have a favourite story, I liked them all. The crazy lady who lived upstairs was funny, as were most of the scenes in the coffee shop. Anything that involved Dave was great – especially when the shop was being robbed and even then he couldn’t do what was being asked of him!

This book is not long, and neither are the stories. They are funny and enjoyable. I didn’t like the swearing or the pot smoking but other than that this is a great book. I read it in one day – I just couldn’t put it down. This comedy fiction at its best and I recommend it to everyone.

4/5

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