Seven Things about Head Games

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Guernica_HeadGames_4FbReaders often ask me: Is HEAD GAMES autobiographical? Here are seven answers.

 Yes and No. Like my protagonist, Lisa, I am asking “Who am I?” Unlike her, my life isn’t a thriller with a neat beginning, middle, and end. I’m muddling through life. Lisa ends up knowing who she is. I’m still searching.

 Yes and No. Like Lisa, I’ve met men who tried to play God and shape me in their image, who told me who I should be, what I should do. Unlike Lisa, I gave them the boot.

 No. Lisa falls for a spiritualist who uses her to channel his lost sister. She is a natural medium. Unlike Lisa, I’m suspicious of spiritualists and séances. I doubt anyone can put me into a trance!

 Yes. Lisa loves to play scenes in her head, and that’s part of her trouble. She needs a reality check. I love to play head games, too, but I put them into my novels.

 No. (And spoiler alert) Lisa gets her man — The End. I got my man – and then lived with him. That’s a whole other story.

 Yes. HEAD GAMES is set in Argentina. I lived and traveled in Argentina. The description of the wild country on the Bolivian border is authentic, as are the references to the political climate in the early 80s when Argentina was in the iron grip of a military junta.

 No. Lisa is kidnapped and kept prisoner in a Quechua family compound. Nothing like that happened to me. In real life, the junta kidnapped, imprisoned, and killed many activists. I was lucky. The worst thing I suffered was a shortage of heating oil and gasoline. Oh, and the chaos of a run-away inflation, in which the money you had in hand turned worthless overnight. Banknotes were stamped in red with extra zeros to adjust to the new value. Taxi drivers posted new rates every day, supermarket employees changed price tags twice a week. The price of large items like cars or appliances could no longer be expressed in pesos. Too many zeros! They had to use a dollar equivalent. On a flight to Brazil, I was asked during a stop-over to pay extra because I had bought my ticket two weeks earlier and the peso was no longer worth what it had been then. Come to think of it, I should have put that into my novel! But I bet you the editor would have said: Nah, too contrived.


Book Description:

Publisher: Guernica Editions; 1st edition (April 30, 2013)
Category: Literary Fiction, Adventure, Suspense
Tour Date: November 2013
ISBN: 978-1550716870
Available in: Print & pdf, 200 Pages

Argentina, 1979.  Life has gone stale on Jim, an expat working in Catamarca. Everything is predictable until he meets Lisa. She has the starry eyes, the sensuous lips, and the tango steps that make all rational assumptions go away.  Jim gives her top marks for animation but there is a flashing beacon at the end of his tip sheet: Danger. Lisa is a little too intense, a little too crazy, a woman with too many scenes playing in her head.

That doesn’t faze Santos, a curandero looking for a medium to channel the spirits of the dead and attract his lost sister. He lures Lisa to his compound in northern Argentina, where she becomes a pawn in a deadly family feud. Jim goes in search of Lisa. Tracking her down turns into a double mission – delivering Lisa from her captors and himself from the confining routine of his life.

It takes a fantastic journey through rugged back country for Jim to realize how much he loves Lisa.  The story unfolds against the background of a country in the grip of a military junta. It is a place where kidnapping, violence, and death no longer make headlines, a place where you learn survival skills.


Praise for Head Games:

“An author with a powerful imagination. A complex plot that takes us to Argentina in the late seventies with compelling characters even though you often feel like beating some common sense into the heroine. Many ironic remarks indirectly criticizing our modern time that make you smile. A good read, beautifully written.”-J. Ragache C.T., Reviewer


“Identity’s a big theme in this work, so if you’ve ever felt you were someone other than yourself, if you thought you might like to try living in someone else’s skin, if you’ve wondered whether your friends and loved ones were not exactly who they claimed to be, then this psychological labyrinth might just be your winding road to a good read”.- Carole Giangrande, Words to Go


Having read Rummel’s “Playing Naomi” I couldn’t wait to get hold of her next novel. And I wasn’t disappointed – as one often is with second works. What a fertile imagination she has to dream up.  As before, Rummel offers some quirky characters, lovingly sketched, and twists and turns in the plot that kept my interest throughout. I love her sense of humour, her wonderful irony. And the way she makes you enter the head (games) of the heroine. The three men are wacky and interesting too. The trip to Argentina you can take for free!  The novel is beautifully written. A joy to read. Can’t wait for the next one!! Keep writing.”- Katarina, Reviewer


Praise for Playing Naomi:

“Suspenseful & riveting.  What a wonderful debut novel! Once I started reading, I simply couldn’t put it down. I want a sequel! This imaginative story about role playing is not just about the protagonist (Liz) impersonating an eccentric author (Naomi), but touches on broader issues about what can happen while we play roles.  What I found particularly fascinating and unique about Playing Naomi was how Rummel interrupts her narrative with excerpts from Naomi’s (fictive) novel. This novel within the novel provides a suspenseful and compelling backdrop to Liz’s story. Rummel’s psychological insights, fine sense of irony, quirky characters, fluid style, and ability to create and keep the suspense make this a riveting read.”- Carina, Reviewer


“Playing Naomi is a tightly woven novel with great descriptive passages and a gripping story. I really felt for Liz when she is confronted by one of Naomi’s old friends without warning, while impersonating Naomi. It explores the complexities of taking on someone else’s life while trying to live your own, against a back drop of reviving the past in order to make peace with it. It was a quick read, but the characters and story stayed with me.”- N. McIntosh, Reviewer


About Erika Rummel:

Author Erika Rummel
Author Erika Rummel

Erika Rummel was awarded a Random House Creative Writing Award in 2011. She is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction  books (social history, biography, translation) and two novels, Playing Naomi (2009) and Head Games (2013).

Erika came to Canada from Vienna and obtained a doctorate from the University of Toronto. She divides her time between Toronto and Los Angeles, but has also lived in small villages in Argentina, Romania, and Bulgaria.

Playing Naomi has been praised as a wry comedy “reminiscent of the corrosive but jovial cynicism of media satires like The Larry Saunders Show and The Newsroom” (Cynthia Sugars in University of Toronto Quarterly).

Erika Rummel’s Website::

Erika Rummel’s Blog:


Head Games Web Tour Schedule

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This article was written by Rebecca

Rebecca is a book coach and editor. She guides aspiring writers, coaches, entrepreneurs and speakers to become self-published authors so they share their expertise, knowledge and passion. Thinking about writing a book? Contact her today to start writing your book.

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