Tag: Author Interviews

Author Interview: Dawn Chapman

Posted December 20, 2016

The Secret KingDawn Chapman has been creating sci-fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life and attention turned to scripts, and she started work on The Secret King, a 13-episode sci-fi TV series, with great passion for this medium.

In 2010, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon from 2012 who’s encouraged her away from fast-paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Letháo as an epic prose space journey.

Dawn lives in a country village in the UK with her husband, parrot and 30 koi.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing? 

My earliest memory is of wanting a typewriter, I was 6. And I wrote my first story titled ‘Roger the Fox’ I couldn’t use the typewriter well so my next door neighbour typed it up for me and I paid her from my earnings as around the village, shopping or car washing.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

I pretty much write anywhere, but a couch is as good a place as any. I do prefer no noise. Though the other half will put the TV on as soon as he comes in. I’m good at blocking out anything he watches, but if he puts a Sci-Fi program on I’m soon distracted.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I am usually home at 3:15 pm so anything from 4  pm onwards is my writing schedule till 8 pm when I’m usually too tired and turn to social media or critiquing for my team-mates.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Not really, of course, I’d love to earn a living, but I will do everything I can in my own time till I get to that point.

  • What inspired you to write the novel of, The Secret King- Lethao

It was a friend who pointed out NaNoWrimo (after scriptFrenzy was culled) and she said, have you ever thought about a TSK novel? I hadn’t but I was soon able to write it up after all the work on our TV show. 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Set 18 years prior to our penned TV series, is where book 1 begins.

Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with whom to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

No matter where I am in the whole series, I have to still say Taliri is my favourite character. He is the secret prince/king after all. His story is the first I wrote, back in 2007 when I broke my hand at work. I penned a feature film (yes, one handed) and after joining a website called Zhura and meeting my co-writer Steven it is where the TV series stemmed from. I spent a lot of time with Taliri, my co-writer, and the world around them. Everything else, of course, I still love, and my other two fav characters are Ainoren Broki and the human character – Sarah Mendoza, whose story is set far into TSK’s timeline. 

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider? 

I like to think there are a few hidden messages. The world around us, how we accept people no matter the race or religion, who they love. But mostly the story is about normal and some extraordinary people who struggle through life, and hope to protect those around them they love. Pretty much what most of us go through on a day to day basis.

  • Because we’re about to launch book 2, First Contact, I’m including a short excerpt from there.

A loud ringing echoed through the house. Prime Minister Robert Walker bolted upright. His wife, Christine, still slept, her chest rising and falling in even breaths. Is that… the…

His heart pounded in his chest, as the ringing stopped. Silence. No…

Glancing at Christine, he let out a breath seeing she hadn’t stirred. The chemo from yesterday had wiped her out. They were trying to rest, and now, he was terrified what little rest they’d had at their country holiday home would be ruined. As the phone rang again, Walker threw the covers off and reached out for it. Damn, this will wake her.

Monday, 23rd Sept 2041 – 1:14 AM flashed on his clock.

Picking up his phone. Walker hit answer and slid out of the warm bed into the cooler air of their hallway.

“Hello.”

Christine murmured, turning over, and searching blindly in the bed for him.first-contact

“Robert?” The Chief of Defence’s adrenaline-pumped voice almost screamed across the line. Walker listened to words he never thought he’d hear. “We’re at Threat Level Critical. A copter is on its way. Suffok will meet you at the nearest hotel conference room.”

What? Critical? The UK hadn’t issued critical status ever. What on Earth is going on?

“I’ll be right there.” Then, Walker thought of Christine. He couldn’t leave her alone. Not tonight. Phoning his sister-in-law, he asked her to come over and stay with Christine.

There were highly trained nurses stationed in the house, but they weren’t family. Guilt clutched as his conscience, as he headed back to the bedroom and dressed.

Christine had settled back, and he perched on the end of the bed, stroking the back of her head. “I’ve got to go out. Ani is on her way. She’ll stay with you tonight.”

His wife turned to face him. “At this hour, seriously?” The annoyance on her pale face and bloodshot eyes spooked him.

Walker sighed. Christine knew his job came before lots of things. “I’ll see you for dinner.” He kissed his wife gently on the forehead.

Christine didn’t respond. She turned her head away from him. Concern filled him, as he gave her one last look before hurrying to the door. He had no way of knowing if he would be home for dinner today, or next week.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing TSK?


The biggest challenge for me is and might always be I’m a born script writer, it’s the style I much prefer, writing prose is hard for me, and takes me a good amount of effort. I do think with my writing and editing regime that it is the best I can do though and I’m proud to put these books out there.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Secret King?

That not everyone will love your work, same as with writing scripts, there will always be a difference of opinion. But I do like to think I can take on board those opinions and learn and keep trying.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Just practice every day, join crit groups, make friends and grow together. The more you do for others the more you get back, don’t be selfish. Don’t expect people to read your work without helping them back in some way, supporting this community is very important. 

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Please click the link and download book 1 for free, from 12/12/16 to the 15/12/16 and if you’re an audiobook fan, the whispersync deal will be 2.99! bargain. I love Greg Tremblay’s voice, and for the first person to ever speak our conlang (beside its creator) sounds just perfect!

http://mybook.to/TSK

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Of course, the release of book 2 – December 20th.

We’re also working on two more audio shorts from Doctor Brie and Lieutenant Hadi’s story line. Narrated by Holly Adams and Greg TremblayJ
And a fully illustrated anthology, with illustrations by the very talented Andrew Dodd.
And also 50k novella from one of our TV episodes, penned by my co-writer, Steven Kogan!

I’m totally excited for next year! We’ve so much more planned and ready to launch, you have to follow us though to keep up.

Please click the links below for regular news and updates.

Thanks
Sites: Production Website & Main TSK Website
Twitter: Production & TSK
Facebook: TSK Productions Ltd & The Secret King Fan Page

 

 

 


Author Interview: Penelope Wallace

Posted December 7, 2016

Penelope Wallace We do not kill childrenI have lived in St Andrews, Oxford, Aberdeen, and Nottingham, and am old enough to remember black and white TV. I am a pedantic bibliophile, a sometime lawyer (in both England and Scotland), a not-completely-orthodox Christian (and churchwarden), a wishy-washy socialist, a quiet feminist and a compulsive maker of lists. In the distant past, I invented a world where the buildings and manners were medieval, but the sexes equal, and a few years ago Dorac Kingsbrother walked into this world.



1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

I wrote my first book at the age of six. It was a shortened version of “The Jungle Book”, in a notebook with a spotty orange cover.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write? The sitting-room.

The sitting-room.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really. The great question is scribble first, or go straight to the keyboard? On the whole, I scribble illegibly first.

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I admire the concept of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Darkover” series: books that are all set in the same world, but not necessarily at the same time period or with the same characters. I love world-building that feels solid and plausible (JRR Tolkien, George RR Martin), and also distinctive prose with a light touch (Jane Austen, Nancy Mitford). I also like stories where the author’s beliefs can be deduced but are not rammed down the reader’s throat. But these are high aspirations!

5) What inspired you to write We Do Not Kill Children?

For about a month in 2012, I experimented with writing daily snippets of description, story or dialogue in an unused diary. Then I forgot about it. A year later I picked the book up again. Two pieces gripped me – the condemned warrior Dorac, and the Place to Die, and I put them together. After a while, I realised that Dorac needed a time and place to live in, and remembered the continent of Ragaris I’d invented twenty or so years ago.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

It’s a story of murder and intrigue; a fantasy without magic; an attempt to see what would happen if women really were valued the same as men in a pre-modern society; and in places a courtroom drama.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Dorac is my protagonist. He is a xenophobic, violent, surly nerd, and I love him very much, but I’m not sure I’d want to meet him in a dark alley. Kai or Hassdan or Makkam would be better conversationalists. In the next book, the king is a bit of a scene-stealer…

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Every criminal justice system needs a court of appeal.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

The King stood up. Silence beyond imagining.
“Dorac Kingsbrother, I find you guilty of the murders of Ilda aged twelve years, Gaskor aged nine years, and Filana aged five years.”
It still seemed impossible.
Hands pressed on his shoulders, pushing him to his knees. Blood pounded behind his face. Possible and actual. At least he would soon be dead.
“You have served my mother and me and this land with great loyalty for many years. I do not doubt that you thought what you did was for the best. Words were spoken at Council that may have helped you to believe this. But whatever your motives, it was an abominable act.
“From this day, and forever, you are exiled from this land, and from the fellowship of the Thirty. If you are still within the realm one week from today, or if you ever return without the King’s word, I will have your life.
“I take back your companionship, I take back your land and your gold to comfort the bereaved, I take back your horse and your armour.” He paused. “Your sword you may retain. Go from here, make a better life, and may God forgive you.”
That was all. He barely noticed the eyes now. As he stood up, he overbalanced and had to steady himself on the floor. Someone almost laughed. He bowed to the King, turned, met Kremdar’s eyes one last time and walked out of the Hall.
So his life ended.
*
But still he walked and breathed, and had to decide what to do.

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing We Do Not Kill Children?

Getting to the end, and making the plot fit together.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing We Do Not Kill Children?

That I love writing emotional dialogue…

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Dreaming is fun, but you will never write a book without sitting down and doing the work. Anything you write you can remove later. The first draft is not a finished book.

13) Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you for having me on the show!

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

We Do Not Kill Children is the first of the Tales from Ragaris. I am currently waiting nervously to see what my publisher makes of the second, “The Tenth Province of Jaryar”, and trying to write the third.



Publisher: Mightier than the Sword UK


Author Interview: Nan Klee

Posted October 15, 2016

DreagonstarNan Klee’s resume as a writer includes eight years as a weekly newspaper columnist, while she worked as a freelance writer, editor, reporter, photographer, and technical writer. She used her Navy flight simulator training and knowledge to become a computer technician while working toward a Master’s degree in Writing and Rhetoric.

Nan worked her career as a technical writer, contracting with corporations that design and build combat aircraft and warships for our US military. She spent a few years as a college composition professor while she worked toward her Master’s degree in Rhetoric and Writing.

Nan Klee grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and later lived in Southern California for 37 years. Today, Nan has retired and lives in Eastern Tennessee with her 2 cats, a red kayak, and her 4 computers.

Published Works:

  • San Marco Beat – North County Times newspaper (now The Times Advocate), Escondido, CA. – a weekly newspaper column 1992-2000
  • Cranial Soup – monthly column, StellaNova magazine 1987-1996
  • Assist Syndrome – short story, StellaNova magazine 1995
  • Again Christmas – poem, StellaNova magazine 1994
  • Sweatpea – short story, StellaNova magazine 1992

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?  

When I was 8 years old , I discovered an antique typewriter in the basement. I wrote Spider-Man and Man from U.N.C.L.E. (TV show) stories – and home work – on it for several years.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

My office desk or my kitchen table (boring, huh?)

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

No, but there is often special music associated with piece I’m working.  None for DreaganStar that I recall.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Authors = Shakespeare (I teach it) and Mark Twain.

  • What inspired you to write DreaganStar?

A dream that I was a stowaway on a spaceship

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

DreaganStar (volume 1 of a trilogy), was published in August 2016.  It introduces readers to the fascinating universe of the first experimental faster-than-light (FTL) starship. Set on the moon in the five subterranean lunar colonies, DreaganStar tells of the espionage, intrigue, romance, and mad science surrounding the starship during its experimental stage.

Synopsis:  Doctor Samantha Alexander is the Senior Psychologist of the five Dreagan Corporation lunar colonies.  She is given the task of proving Jonathan Dreagan, the founder and Chairman of the Board, to be insane. This seemingly easy task is complicated by Dreagan, who is the architect of all of the technology around her, a brilliant scientist, statesman, celebrity, and a recluse. Samantha’s supervisors, knowing that she may fall in love with Dreagan, restrict her usual methods of inquiry, complicating her task.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

“Uncle Dan’l” Girdner

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?   

Just tells a story

  • What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing DreaganStar?

Challenges? Getting the science Achievements?  It is my first published novel.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing DreaganStar?

I tend to spend more time writing in the winter. Also, sometimes a character takes on a life of its own. This happens in the DreaganStar It’s a trilogy.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Know where/how your story ends by the time you start writing it.

If you’re blocked on one project, go and do something creative in a different medium, to “get the juices flowing”.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you for your time.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

DreaganStar is a trilogy. The 2nd book, DreaganThing, will be out in November 2016.

Next week, Vinakti Duet will be released – Unrelated to the DreaganStar trilogy.  This is a separate story, in a separate universe.

The final book of the DreaganStar Saga, DreaganFriend, will be released during the first half of 2017, and then I will focus on releasing MadMen – a 4-book series which occurs in the biblical “End Time”. See Revelation 3: 11.


 

Author Websites:  www.nanklee.com

www.Amazon.com/NanKlee

www.icrewdigitalpublishing.com/nan-klee/

Email: nan @ nanklee.com

https://www.facebook.com/nanklee

Linkedin

 


Author Interview: J.B.Rockwell

Posted October 14, 2016

SerengetiHello there! I’m J.B. Rockwell, archaeologist cum IT geek cum sci-fi and fantasy writer. Also, eater of chocolates and collector of cats. There’s a lot more blah-blah-blah about me and my latest novel, SERENGETI, on my website (www.jenniferbrockwell.com) and you can follow me on Twitter (@Rockwell_JB) if you like pics of dragons, foxes and other beasties interspersed with the occasional writing update and snarky witticism about the vagaries of the universe.

Oh, and cats. I post pics of my cats. Lots and lots of pics of my cats…

So, without further ado…The Questions!

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

Well, I first started writing about five years ago after spending pretty much the entirety of my life being a huge SFF fan and devouring books by the bushel. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I liked writing, much less loved it, at first. Writing’s hard folks, and 100,000 words…that takes a long time to write. Plus there’s plot holes and typos, character design…it takes a lot to string everything together and create something interesting and original. I’d say I really started to enjoy writing and eventually grow to love (and, at times, hate) it once I found my writers group (Anxious Appliances) and started swapping betas. I honestly think I like beta reading and providing feedback on my friends’ work more than writing my own stuff sometimes!

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

Two, actually. When the weather’s nice (sunny and warm): my patio, with the trees overhead and the crows giving me hell. When it’s not nice (especially cold and snowy) I like to sit in my living room by the fire. Both writing spaces come equipped with cats who don’t always help but often demand attention.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

BWAHAHAHA…oh, ahem. Sorry. Not really. I’m a complete trainwreck of a pantser—no process or routine at all other than I only have time to write on weekends. I work full time like most writers so there’s really no time during the week to do anything writerly other than think deep thoughts and scribble a few notes. So, I guess you could say my process is…DOWN WITH PROCESS!!!

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

C.J. Cherryh is my favorite writer and the one writer I most admire. It’s hard to say you ‘aspire’ to be like another writer without coming off like a copycap but she writes the most amazingly complex and broken characters and I just love that. Also a big fan of Elizabeth Bear who seems all around awesome in addition to writing some kickass stories. And I have to mention all my writer friends. There’s an immense amount of talent in the writer community and so much imagination.

  • What inspired you to write SERENGETI?

A somewhat random idea about a sentient being who dreamed of death but never died. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that for a while so I stuck it in a drawer and eventually wrote a short story about an AI warship that later became SERENGETI. I also wanted to write a story with a badass female lead that didn’t come across as male or some sex toy—I see that happen too often when a writer tries to make a female lead tough. Always disappointing.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

So, the basics: SERENGETI’s an AI warship that gets wrecked in battle and ends up abandoned by her fleet. The kicker is, no one knows where she is and she’s too damaged to contact anyone. Plus, her power’s failing and her crew’s cryogenically frozen inside her so she has to find a way to fix herself enough to get her crew home. So, it’s one part big space battles and one part Robinson Crusoe with a whole lot of other things thrown in in between.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

SERENGETI, obviously—she’s a kickass and caring and never gives up. I also love her Captain, Henricksen—a gruff, scarred soldier who cares just as much for SERENGETI and their crew as SERENGETI herself.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I wish I was that deep! Not sure about a message, but I tried to show a different view of AI than you usually find. To that end,  I invested SERENGETI with a lot of emotion rather than making her cold and cerebral or just plain evil—so many stories present AI that way. Basically, I wanted to challenge the reader to think about the possibilities of such an advanced intelligence and what she could learn.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

Serengeti dropped out of hyperspace into a quiet, empty section of the cosmos.

Too quiet. Too empty.

Sensors drank in data, feeding it to Serengeti’s AI brain. “Something’s not right,” she said.

Henricksen cocked his head, looking up at the camera. “Because we’re here or because the ships we came after aren’t?”

Serengeti shunted the sensors’ feeds to the bridge. “Take a look for yourself.”

Henricksen frowned and stabbed at a panel, parsing through the information it displayed. “Nothing.” He shook his head. “Doesn’t make sense. There should be something here.”

“There should,” Serengeti agreed, studying him through the camera’s electronic eye. “That’s what has me worried.”

 

If you like the sound of that, you can get more on Amazon—the whole first chapter for free, I think, and an audiobook excerpt besides: https://www.amazon.com/Serengeti-J-B-Rockwell-ebook/dp/B01BG8OHXU/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing SERENGETI?

Well, writing it in the first place—putting that in both the challenge and achievement columns. SERENGETI also got me my agent (the always amazing and ever patient Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group)—that’s a major achievement I’m proud of. The challenges are many—writing a sequel worthy of the original, marketing myself and my book, dealing with bad reviews—but I love connecting with readers and seeing them enjoying reading SERENGETI every bit as much as I enjoyed writing it.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing SERENGETI?

THAT I’M A TRAINWRECK PANTSER! Seriously, I tried outlining and being all squared away and prepared but it completely stressed me out and killed my creative flow. I don’t always write linearly and tend to jump around as ideas come to mind but I always get there in the end, and the lunacy works for me somehow. I’ve also gotten really good at queries, weirdly. I think I’ve even come to enjoy writing them *shudders* SERENGETI definitely made me up my game, though—seek out more and different marketing opportunities, put myself out there and take some risks. I’m still learning and I have a long way to go but I’m a better writer today than a year ago, and that writer better than the year ago writer before that.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

RUN AWAY!!! Just kidding. The biggest thing is to be patient because everything takes a long time. It took me 5 years and five manuscripts to finally find an agent but in some ways I’m glad it took that long because I’m a better, smarter and more educated writer now. Plus, Mark’s an ace—couldn’t ask for a better agent. Also, don’t be afraid to screw up. I have. Often. The contract for my first couple of books was not good but I learned a ton of things from that not-so-good contract that helped me be smarter about contracts I signed later on. And connect with other writers and learn to both give and take. One way I learned to be a better writer was beta reading my friends’ works and seeing how they wrote. Oh, and when you’re ready to query, try out a pitch contest or two. They’re loads of fun and a great way to meet other writers. I’ve got my first opportunity to mentor this year with Nightmare on Query Street 2016 and I’m really excited to be on the other side. I was lucky enough to score an Author Spotlight on Reddit Books a few months back and got a lot of questions from new and aspiring authors and it was a lot of fun interacting with them, answering questions and offering advice. I couldn’t wait for an opportunity to be more hands on.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Vote Quimby!

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Yes-yes-yes! I’ve got a sequel to SERENGETI written and just waiting on my agent and another, unrelated manuscripts he’s looking at to see if it’s ready to sub to publishers. I’ve always got two or three other projects going between books and short stories and novellas—I like to have a lot of options in the hopper in case an opportunity presents itself.

Links!

Blog: http://www.jenniferbrockwell.com/blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rockwellJB/

Twitter: @Rockwell_JB

 

 


Author Interview: Steven M. Caddy

Posted October 12, 2016

Steven M. Caddy Author InterviewHi, I’m Steven M. Caddy, or just Steve – only my sister calls me Steven. I live with my wife in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, UK, a beautiful, if rather unknown town in the east midlands, that boasts a busy market square dominated by the spire of the parish church is St Mary Magdalene, views of the river Trent, a castle (where King John I died), and thriving café culture. When I’m not writing stories, or writing computer programmes for a living, I enjoy playing the church organ, square dancing, and broadcasting on hospital radio. I like to write adventure stories that are either science fiction (with a liberal dose of science fact), or light fantasy.


1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

I used to love writing when I was at school, but I was never very good at spelling, and as a result of negative feedback from my teachers, I was put off developing my skills. I came back to writing in my early thirties, when I found I had more spare time, and I wanted to try something new.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?

No. I’m one of these people who can write anywhere! I think I do most of my writing sitting on my sofa, but I’ve been known to write in pubs and cafes, and often I’ll write when I’m travelling by train.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I have to carefully plan my stories. I’ve tried to write without a plan, and I end up with a story that goes nowhere. So I’ll spend some time setting out a series of writing prompts to keep me on track. I then try to write a chapter each day based on each prompt. After I’ve written my first draft, I then re-write the story, throwing away ideas that don’t work, expanding on good ideas, and fixing the mechanics of language. Gradually, over several re-writes, I end up with a novel. In Exchange took a bit over four years to write from starting my first draft to publication.

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I like different authors for different reasons. I like John Green, because he’s not afraid to let the reader “own” the story. He creates scenes in the story where a character will go off to do something, but without saying what they actually do in that time. As a reader, you can make your own guess at the missing detail, which could be as wrong or right as any other reader, or even the author himself.

I’m currently very fond of Susan Kaye Quinn’s books. She has the wonderful ability to create new slang that her characters use to describe their world. I think that’s really “mesh”.

5) What inspired you to write In Exchange?

It’s a cliché, but if I’d not read the Harry Potter books, or The Famous Five, I wouldn’t have written In Exchange. There’s something so charming about young people discovering their world through adventure. I also have a lot of time to think about what sort of story I’d like to write. I’m a church organist, and I often sit at the organ console with a notebook, dreaming up ideas in the near silence when I’m not actually playing. In Exchange was just a collection of random ideas for about seven years before I started writing the first draft.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

In Exchange is the book I would have wanted to read when I was ten or eleven. I loved adventures and I loved the idea of travelling in space (and I still do). Michael Morgan is the boy I would have loved to have been, living in space. But for someone who lives in space, I could imagine their dream would be to live on Earth. Peter Davies, is the Earth-bound reflection of that life. In Exchange is the story of these two boys’ dreams, and their adventure as they discover each other’s lives, and more about themselves.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Max is only a supporting character, but probably the person I’d most like to spend time with. Max is loosely based on several of my teachers from school and university. In Exchange is dedicated to my former tutor, Professor DavidIn Exchange Steve M. Caddy Author Interview Barnes, who unfortunately died suddenly before I finished writing the story, and so he only ever knew me as a software engineer, and not an author. The name “Max” was the name of a hexapod robot that was one of Dave’s showcase projects (for Dave was a space robotics expert). Max, the character, oozes wisdom and charisma, while not letting you in too close to his personal situation. I’ve kept back a lot of his story because it would over-shadow what the boys get up to. But maybe we’ll get to explore Max in the future?

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I’ll let the reader decide. The story means something to me, but I’d rather readers discover what it means to them. One of my favourite authors taught me the importance of letting go of your story like that.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

“Good morning, Michael,” said the well-built, and rather formal looking man in the middle of the group.
“Morning, sir,” Michael replied.
“Commander Marcsom.” Max gave a nod of acknowledgement to the mission director.
“Have you both had a good week?” Marcsom asked, trying to sound casual.
“Not bad,” Michael said with a little shrug, “Apart from the cosmic rays. One woke me up rather early this morning, so I managed to get ahead with my exercise programme.”
“Oh, good,” interjected the green haired man.
“Dr Kleets?”
“Err, yes?” the green haired man responded, sounding a little less confident.
“What happened to your hair?”
“Err. I wondered if you’d ask me about that. Everyone else has. Bit of a long story. Final year medical students having a bit of fun. You know,” Dr Kleets’s face turned a contrasting shade of red that clashed with his shocking green hair.
“Right.”
Michael wasn’t convinced, but it’d give him something to laugh about later.

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing In Exchange?

In Exchange was the result of my first attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This became badly derailed a couple of weeks into the challenge after I met Lorna… who is now, five years later, my wife. That wasn’t conducive to writing 50,000 words in 30 days, and why it took me three months to complete the first draft.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing In Exchange?

Mostly that I can do it, and that my I shouldn’t have been discouraged by the criticism that I gained earlier in life. I’ll admit it took a lot of hard work, and I did have a lot to learn in order to transform my ropey first draft into a publishable product, but it wasn’t beyond my abilities as I originally thought.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Find a writing buddy, someone else who is an author. You need someone who isn’t frightened to be brutally honest about your work, and is willing to let you pull their work apart at the same time. It took me a few years to find my writing buddy. She warned me that she might appear rude when she commented on my work, but I was so glad she was. Everyone else told me that my story was “good” or “nice”, and failed to tell me that my American characters sounded British, or that I wrote over complicated sentences. I think my writing (and editing) has improved as a result of that experience.

13) Anything else you would like to say?

I love this question. J K Rowling wrote the best answer to this question in one of her books: “There are great many things I’d like to say”. I think I’ll save my “many things” for future works, though.

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Yes. I originally said that I wouldn’t write a sequel to In Exchange, but I left so many ideas unfulfilled at the end, I left the door open, possibly for several more adventures. Just before I started my final re-write of In Exchange, I wanted to explore my characters a bit more, so I decided to write some new material to do that. And I changed my mind. So there are about 40,000 words on my laptop right now, and several thousand more in my head. Some of those words make me cry, sometimes with laughter, and sometimes in sorrow. That’s all I’m saying right now!



Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01DED72NW
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DED72NW
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stevenm.caddy/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29617658-in-exchange
Mightier Than The Sword: https://mightierthanthesworduk.com/authors/steven-m-caddy/in-exchange/


Author Interviews

Posted September 29, 2016

Author Interviews are available if you are an author of science fiction or fantasy, have a book published independently or with a small press or are in pre-launch.

The interview and encourages discussion about yourself, writing challenges/achievements and allows ample opportunity for you to discuss your book(s). You are not required to supply an author photograph, but I would require an image of some form (book covers are fine).

To request an interview, you can either download the Word document listed below, or email: michelle AT indiescififantasy.com

Click link to download:

author-interview


Author Interview: Roxanne Bland

Posted September 23, 2016

roxanne1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

Writing was a hidden passion for me. I’ve written stories since I was a child, but I didn’t take it seriously, even after I won a writing contest when I was about ten. I wanted to be a musician. Well, that didn’t work out, but though I still wrote little things to pass the time. Then I fell ill, and was basically bedridden for about a month. I started writing—to pass the time—and discovered I loved it. I haven’t looked back.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?

I write in my office. I have trouble using laptops—the keyboards just seem so small—and besides, my office has a lot fewer distractions. I really don’t understand how people can write in coffee shops, outdoors—too many distractions for me.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really. I just plunk myself down in front of the computer and write.

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I would love to be able to write as fluidly as Edgar Allan Poe.

5) What inspired you to write The Moreva of Astoreth?

In a way, you could say this book was over thirty years in the making. While in college, a friend and I collaborated on a story, the details of which I will not bore you. Years later, I read Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles series, in which he posits that ancient astronauts came to Earth, created humans, and founded the Sumerian civilization. Years later, I got the idea to meld the two stories in some way, and the result was The Moreva of Astoreth.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

In imperialistic Kherah, gods and science are indelibly intertwined. Moreva Tehi, priestess, scientist, healer and the spoiled, headstrong granddaughter of a powerful goddess, is banished to a volatile far corner of Peris for neglecting her sacred duties, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

The hero, Laerd Teger. He can be cold and harsh, but under that exterior is a warm and loving person, whose desire is to protect those he loves. My ideal man, really, which only makes sense since I created him!

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

About bigotry—it’s a soul crushing affliction. I think that sometimes our bigotries is but a reflection of what we hate within ourselves. If we look at those bigotries, examine them, and face them, perhaps we can practice self-love, and through that self-love, allow real love into our lives.

9) Would you be interested in sharing an excerpt?

“I could have you executed for this, Moreva Tehi,” Astoreth said. My Devi grandmother, the Goddess of Love, scowled at me from Her golden throne in the massive Great Hall of Her equally massive Temple.

Sitting on my heels, I bowed my head and stared at the black and gold polished floor, trying to ignore the trickle of sweat snaking its way down my spine. “Yes, Most Holy One.”

“You blaspheme by not celebrating Ohra, My holiest of rites. And this one was important—the worthiest of the hakoi, handpicked by Me, celebrated with us. ”

“I can only offer my most abject apologies, Most Holy One.”

“Your apologies are not accepted.”

“Yes, Most Holy One.”

“Where were you?”

“I was in the laboratory, working on a cure for red fever. Many hakoi died last winter—”

“I know that,” my grandmother snapped. “But why did you miss Ohra? Did you not hear the bells?”The Moreva of Astoreth

“Yes, Most Holy One. I heard them. I was about to lay aside my work when I noticed an anomaly in one of my pareon solutions. It was odd, so I decided to investigate. What I found…I just lost track of time.”

“You lost track of time?” Astoreth repeated, sounding incredulous. “Do you expect Me to believe that?”

“Yes, Most Holy One. It is the truth.”

A moment later, my head and hearts started to throb. I knew why. My grandmother was probing me for signs I had lied. But She wouldn’t find any. There was no point in lying to Astoreth, and it was dangerous, too. Swaying under the onslaught from Her power, I endured the pain without making a sound. After what seemed like forever the throbbing subsided, leaving me feeling sick and dizzy.

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Moreva of Astoreth?

For me, the hardest thing was dealing with time. The planet where the story takes place has a twenty-eight hour day. I’m so used to thinking in twenty-four hour segments, I had to draw a clock to keep me straight. As always, the achievement lies in finishing the book. I’ve learned it’s very easy to put a work aside and work on something else, and the next thing I know, months have gone by and I haven’t done a thing with the work I’ve put aside.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Moreva of Astoreth?

That there are some things you write that just won’t work in the story, and you have to be a tough enough editor to pull them out. Save it for another story.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write. Write as often as you can, every day, if possible. Don’t worry if it’s garbage; that’s called a first draft. Like any other skill, from music to calculus, you must practice if you’re going to make it into something. Read. Read everything that interests you. Take what you like and weave it into your own writing style. That’s how you develop your unique voice.

13) Anything else you would like to say?

Believe in yourself, follow your passion, and one day, you might find yourself living your dreams.

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Right now, I’m working on rewriting my first book, The Underground, to release as a second edition. Then I will continue working on its sequel. And then…


Website: www.roxannebland.rocks (under construction)
Blog: http://roxannebland.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Roxanne2
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roxanne-Bland-Author-289392377750996/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoxanneBland2

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Worldwind Virtual Book Tours


Author Interview: Richard Paolinelli

Posted September 17, 2016

MaelstromRichard Paolinelli began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 and his sports writing career in 1991. After retiring he returned to his fiction writing roots, releasing two short stories and a full-length sci-fi novel, Maelstrom. He has since released a sports non-fiction, the first book of a mystery-thriller series and was a part of a Sherlock Holmes anthology.

He currently lives in Thousand Oaks, California.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing? 

I started reading at an early age and we started moving around the country a lot with my dad’s business so to pass the time in the back seat of the car, I started writing my own stories. It just kept growing from there. 

  • Do you have a favourite place to write? 

I have a pretty nice home office setup that gives me a nice environment to write in. 

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to? 

Not really, no. 

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to? 

No one specific author, but I try to take a little bit of what I like most from the writing styles of Frank Hebert, Jack McDevitt, Harry Harrison and Edgar Allan Poe and work it into my writing. 

  • What inspired you to write Maelstrom?

There had been a lot written about the possibility of a meteor striking the Earth and there had been two films, Deep Impact and Armageddon, released. I got to wondering what would happen if someone figured out a way to prevent such an event but in doing so actually caused the very extinction-level event he was trying to prevent. 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book? 

It tells the story of Dr. Steven Collins who devises a way to use the Earth’s own magnetic shield as a way to deflect any foreign object from penetrating the atmosphere. But when he tests the device it tears open a hole in space and time and hurls him forward a century into the future. There he discovers that his creation has very nearly destroyed the Earth and only one million human beings have survived and the numbers are dwindling under the shield as they are trapped underneath it. Collins now has to find a way to shut down his creation and save what is left of humanity. 

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters? 

Man, that’s like asking me to pick a favorite of one of my kids. I am kind of partial to a species of telepathic miniature polar bears that Collins runs into on Europa though. 

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider? 

Redemption. No matter how far you fall, no matter how bleak and dire things may seem, there is always a chance to win through as long as you keep fighting. 

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?  

Certainly:

 

“Where am I?” he asked, trying to comprehend what he was seeing.
“You’re still in San Francisco, Dr. Collins, just one hundred and two years later. A lot has happened since you last saw the city.”

“You have a talent for understatement.”

The hellish scene outside bore little resemblance to the San Francisco he knew. There were bits and pieces strewn about, the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance with the northern half of its span missing, a building here and there that he recognized, but precious little else. The rest of the city that was laid out before him was like nothing he’d ever seen.

Where the city had once been a collection of skyscrapers towering above the bay, now there were only a handful of buildings that stood above six stories in height. Instead of reaching for the sky, they were buried into the hills like bunkers. No doubt they were buried into the ground below as well, but he couldn’t tell how far down they went. There were barely any pedestrians on the streets below and even fewer ground cars. Most of the traffic, he noted, was in the air. Flying boxes with windows flashed by in silvery streaks. There was a pattern to their flights, as if there were paved streets in the air.

But the real horror lay in the sky behind the flashing streaks. The sky he grew up under was blue, spotted with clouds and the occasional gray overcast of a storm. The sky he now beheld was an angry orange, as if the atmosphere was on fire, shimmering and dancing in waves and laced with the occasional purplish-white fingers of lighting that ripped through the air. The bolts never struck the ground, silently lacing through the upper layers of the sky. It struck him that the combination of strange colors reminded him of the ball of energy that had formed in his lab just before the explosion. When he could no longer stand the bizarre sight and the sickening hue that it cast below, he let the drape fall back over the window, sealing him away from the nightmare outside.

“What happened?”

“History tells us you did, Doctor,” she answered, “or rather, your shield did.”

“But if there was an explosion, how could it be working like that? The lab must have been badly torn up…”

“It was. In fact the entire building was leveled. There was hardly anything left of it and no trace of your body was ever found. It was assumed that you died in the blast, but apparently that is an incorrect assumption, for here you are.”

“Then how…?”

“How is the shield functioning over a century later, if you never built it?” she finished. “In the aftermath of the accident Microtech’s ties to the military were exposed and you were accused of developing a super weapon. Your brother Scott and your assistant came to your defense and fought to prove that your project was intended for peaceful purposes.”

“That sounds like Scott and Laura, my assistant’s name,” he added for Elizabeth’s benefit. “I had a sister, Mary. Does your history tell you anything about her?”

“It does,” Elizabeth replied, a strange looking passing over her face. “She joined with those denouncing your project. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, that sounds like her, too. She never could see the big picture…,” he paused. “Well, I suppose she’s dead now and I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. Her middle name was Elizabeth. You know, you remind me a little of her.” He paused, again blinking hard against the moisture building in his eyes. “You were saying?”

“Your brother was able to recreate the equipment in your lab with your assis… with Laura’s help,” she continued as that sad little smile reappeared on her face. “He came up with a plausible theory about what you had done to trigger the accident and made some minor corrections. Then, much like you had done, he tested the generator without telling anyone first.

“He intended to show the world that you had been right, that such a shield was possible and that it would do what you had intended,” she continued sadly. “Only he chose to do so on a much grander scale than you had. The shield he generated covered the entire Bay Area, an impenetrable dome centered over San Francisco that extended one hundred and twenty miles in every direction. Your shield.”

“Son of a bitch did it,” Steve muttered under his breath, a look of joy on his face. “The damned thing actually worked!” Then, remembering where he was and what he had just seen, he suddenly sobered. “But how did it lead to that?” he asked, pointing at the window.

“Your first test had every military branch of every government on alert, many still believed you had developed a weapon, others believed you had created a defense that gave the United States an advantage that it would use against other countries without fear of reprisal, ” she explained. “At any rate, when your brother erected the shield over San Francisco somebody, history does not tell us who, hit a button and launched their arsenal of nuclear missiles at the shield. Others launched their missiles in support or in defense against the initial launch and it dominoed from there. Within minutes, every nuclear weapon in the sea, on land and in space had been launched. World War III had begun.”

“Oh, my god.”

The holocaust he had been trying to prevent, the complete extermination of humankind, had happened and it had been he, not some mindless piece of rock from space, who had caused it. He sat back down on his bed heavily, trying to come to terms with what he had been told. But she wasn’t finished with him; there was more to come and he was sure it wasn’t going to be any better than what he’d already heard.

“If it’s any consolation, your shield deflected the missiles aimed at it. The Bay Area was spared death by fire,” she continued. “But the rest of the planet suffered mightily. No corner of the globe was spared from the explosions, the fire, and the fallout that followed. Very few people, we estimate less than a half million, living outside the shield survived. At some point after the missiles struck, the shield expanded to encircle the entire globe. We haven’t been able to determine how or why.”

“It was part of the original programming,” Steve explained, his voice barely above a whisper. “The shield was designed to use the magnetic field to protect the entire planet. It probably expanded in response to the missile strikes and all of the energy being released from the explosions.”

“San Francisco didn’t escape unscathed, as you have noticed,” Elizabeth continued. “For the next ten years the Bay Area was ravaged by quakes, the last one occurred in twenty-nineteen and was so savage that nearly half the population perished. California was split into two separate pieces. The entire Los Angeles Basin is underneath two hundred feet of water….”

On and on she went, reciting the death toll and damage done, how they tried to rebuild over and over, only to have it destroyed by a new catastrophe, until they finally started to get it right in the third decade following the war. A ruling council was in place now and she was its president.

At the end she added that their records showed Laura’s remains had been found at the generator, her body torn apart by electrical discharge. Elizabeth’s security advisor had silently entered the room — when, Steve couldn’t recall — and had kept quiet during her recital. He had offered to show Steve the record regarding Laura’s death, as if Steve would take some pleasure in seeing firsthand the suffering he had caused. Steve declined and asked instead about Scott’s fate.

“No sign,” the advisor answered. “Much like you he vanished and no body was ever found. Perhaps he suffered the same fate as you and he’ll miraculously reappear. Then you both can take a tour and celebrate your wondrous accomplishments for humankind.”

Steve shot an angry look at the man, but otherwise let the comment pass. They were telling him the truth; the view of the outside world left no room for doubt. Billions dead, the planet’s population down to just barely above one million and an entire planet ravaged. Nice going, Steve, he accused himself bitterly.

“There’s more,” Elizabeth added softly. “If you’d really like to hear it.”

As if what he’d heard so far hadn’t been hard enough to take. He nodded for her to go on.

“We have made great strides in extending the human life span in the past few decades to well over one hundred years. Even so, there are only two people remaining who were alive when the war began who are still alive today. I am one and the other is a man named Andras. He’s the other reason why you are not much of a celebrity here.

“He’s out there, on the other side of the shield, pinning us down here and keeping us from establishing colonies on the moon and Mars until we can repair the damage done to Earth and make it livable again,” she explained. “There is one good point about the shield. While we are trapped down here, at least it keeps him out there.”

“The shield was designed to keep objects out, not to prevent objects from leaving,” he said, puzzled. “But I don’t understand; it was also designed to be lowered to allow for spacecraft re-entry.”

“Perhaps,” she conceded. “But that is not how it has functioned over the years. We can send ships through the shield and into space. We’ve even found a way to navigate through the shield to allow a ship to reenter. But the shield cannot be turned off or lowered. Even if we could find a way to do so, we wouldn’t dare.”

“You mean the shield has been up and running non-stop for over one hundred years?” he asked incredulously. “Impossible, it was never designed to do that.”

“It seems your shield has done quite a few things you never intended it to do,” Carel jabbed.

“Intended or not,” Elizabeth interjected, “that is what it has done. There are as many theories as to why it has as there are as to why the shield expanded in the first place. I believe the leading theory agrees with your assessment that of all of the energy simultaneously released by the thousands of missiles caused an arc between the shield and the magnetic field. It seems your generator merely followed its programming once a pathway was established to its intended destination. Now the shield seems to feed off the generator for its energy and vice versa. A never-ending feedback loop of power that has no on-off switch.

“And, as I said, even if we could find one, we wouldn’t dare use it,” she added. “For Andras waits outside that shield and he has sworn to finish the job you started. He went insane shortly after the war, partly from the injuries he sustained, and swore he would have his revenge. We managed to drive him off the planet years ago, but he still remains a very real and dangerous threat to humankind. He looks more like a monster than a man now and he is the reason why we cannot leave Earth.

“We try to establish bases outside the shield, he destroys them. We send emissaries to seek peace, soldiers to destroy him. They never return and he is still there, waiting, probing for a way to penetrate the shield. When he finds a way through, or if it should ever be shut down, we are doomed. We may be doomed already.”

“Why?”

“Because we are slowly dying off,” she answered sadly. “I told you earlier that our population count was a little over one million, that’s down from two million just twenty-five years ago. Attrition and dwindling resources have been chipping away at us. The classroom of twenty-five students you appeared in represents half of the population under the age of fifteen years. We are not reproducing enough to maintain our population, another effect of living a lifetime under the shield. The human race is on the brink of becoming an extinct species unless we find a way to get out from under the shield. The last estimate, provided Andras doesn’t break through first, gives us less than thirty years before the last human being dies on this planet.”

Steve struggled to his feet again and returned to the window. This time he drew the drape back and tied it off to the side. He looked long and hard at the scene outside, at the hellish world he’d created. He’d killed billions, condemned uncounted millions more to an unacceptable existence and how many more had never been born because he’d killed off their parents. He’d even managed to create a pair of monsters, one an unfeeling terror in the sky that kept its victims pinned to the ground and the other an uncaring madman waiting beyond to consume any who managed to escape the first. For some insane reason, a quote from an old book he’d read as a child burst from his mouth as he stared out the window.

“My name is Ozymandius,” he began, his tone thick with bitterness, “King of Kings. Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

 

  •  What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Maelstrom? 

The biggest challenge was trying to find the time to write it while working full time as a sports writer and editor and also making sure I was involved in my kids extra-curricular activities at school as they grew up.

The biggest achievement was finally finishing it about 15 years after I had first started on it. 

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Maelstrom? 

How to be more disciplined in setting aside time to write and not taking any easy excuse to “write later”. 

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors? 

Don’t worry that not every reader will love your work. No one in the history of writing has ever had a 100% approval rate.  Write what you love to write and never stop just because of someone else’s negativity. 

  • Anything else you would like to say? 

Just that I hope the reader, whether they are reading my science fiction story, my mystery-thriller or sports non-fiction, was entertained. 

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned? 

The second book of my Jack Del Rio series, Betrayals, is due out later this fall as is another Sherlock Holmes anthology that I have a story in. My second sports non-fiction, Perfection’s Arbiter, will be released on October 8th and I am almost finished writing another sci-fi novel, Escaping Infinity, that I hope will be out sometime in 2017.


Website:  www.richardpaolinelli.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RichardPaolinelli1964/

Twitter: @rdpaolinelli

Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8096549.Richard_Paolinelli/blog

 

 

 

 

 

 


Author Interview: Christopher D. Abbott

Posted September 17, 2016

Christopher D AbbottMy name is Christopher D. Abbott and I live in Connecticut, USA. I’ve been in the USA for 6 years–I emigrated from the UK. I’m an author of cross-genre mystery, horror, and fantasy. Hobbies include music (playing and recording), cooking, charity works.


1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

When I was about twelve or thirteen I used to write little stories and staple them into books. My friend and I spent days making a small library of these books for our class mates to read. We had an entire series. Of course they were terrible, but I think I can trace my desire to write back to there.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?

I’ve travelled around a lot, so I’m quite used to writing wherever I can set-up my desktop. Oddly, I never quite got the hang of or used to a laptop. My most creative time is late at night.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I prefer solitude and usually listen to music on headphones whilst I write. A fellow author friend of mine, John Templeton Smith, suggested I do this – I thought it was absurd at the time, but the score and tempo of certain music can seriously influence the scene you are writing. I always have my trusty writer’s handbook nearby, and my ever expanding library of plot ideas and notes. Other than that it’s fingers to the keys!

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

In every genre there are well established authors whose success you obviously want to aspire to and emulate – my book Sir Laurence Dies has been compared to Agatha Christie in style which of course is flattering – and that’s important when you’re establishing yourself in the genre. I’m known for mystery stories so starting out in fantasy is fresh and new. I’m influenced by a number of fantastic writers, Tolkien being number one, but there isn’t a specific author or book I aspire to.

5) What inspired you to write Songs of the Osirian

Songs of the Osirian started life as a short story entitled Songs of Beast. It was published by Media Bitch Literary Agency and Productions in April 2016. When I first started writing for this allegorical world, I had no idea that it would end up becoming the monster it did.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

The story depicts a catastrophic event that wipes out most of mankind. But this event has a science-fiction twist. I envisioned beings from another universe that were so far evolved they were godlike in powers. Over millennia these beings (known as the Ardunadine) developed a transcendent idiolect of symphonic communication – referred to as the Power of Song. This phonological power allowed them to create and weave patterns in the universe, brought to vision by Arrandori–for want of a better reference the “Father of All”–and thus created the universe we live in. The character of Beast is a fallen Ardunadine banished to Earth for unspeakable crimes. As the story unfolds, we discover Beast wove an escape plan into his banishment and although he is cut off from the Celestial Temple of Song, his darkness taints the world in such a way, that what we now understand as evil seeps into its fabric and slowly manifests in all life throughout the planet’s evolution.

Jump forward millions of years and Beast now has an army of dark creatures born of his own dreadful being. Terrible behemoths known as Faulgoth rampage and lay waste to our world with neither compassion nor remorse.

That’s when the Ardunadine, who are forbidden to directly interfere, send the people of Earth teachers known as the Osirian. These beings are equally godlike to man, but lessor in power than their Ardunadine masters, who the Osirian themselves consider divine. The Osirian, led by Osiris, having no direct contact with Man’s enemy, imbue Kings and Queens of the world with the Power of Song, thus enabling them to fight on equal terms.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

The Warrior Goddess Neith and the Osirian Akhet are particular favourites. The character of Doctor Mary Wilson has human connection and I’m fond of her evolution. On the side of darkness, there is Sam, Prince of Darkness and Shadows. Some incidental characters that sprung out of the story were developed beyond their intial conception due to the fact that I fell in love with them. There’s Lethor the half-man half-jackal Guardian of the Prison of Song, and Melrah – originally a stray dog – tainted by the living evil that spews from beneath the Earth, he goes on to become much more …

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

This review gives a good idea of the message within the book.

Reviewed By Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite

Songs of the Osirian by Christopher D. Abbott is an epic tale of good and evil. It is a tale of the enduring power of light in a world where darkness is relentless. I like the idea of a force for good quietly teaching men a better way through age after age of the rise and then fall of civilizations. There is a great foreword by Chase Masterson, and I think Songs of the Osirian will reach a lot of eager fans. If a great novel and a great foreword are not enough for you, then there is a bonus short story at the end of the book. The Last of Us by Rob James is a great tale too. Some great Christian allegory here.

What struck a chord for me as a reader was the almost biblical, end of days tones the writing in Song of the Osirian evoked. Christopher D. Abbott knows how to add a sense of drama and high consequence to his clashes between Beasts and the Osirian. The sense of the fall of great civilizations was very strong, but more importantly, the sense that goodness endures was always present too. Complex characters and a plot leading to an epic battle between Good and Evil will make Songs of the Osirian a must-read for fans of epic fantasy everywhere. I especially liked the conversations and scenes where Beast gives his side of the story. He is a little more than just evil incarnate and feels wronged by God and the forces of good.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Absolutely!

‘Poor thing, lost in shadow,’ a voice hissed from around him.
Sam froze.
He searched for the source in his mind, finding nothing but void. He held out his sword, but his reaction was of little use, as he was not sure in which direction he should point it.
Loud cackles reverberated around the cavern.
‘Lost and senseless, that’s just how I like them.’
A different high-pitched voice said, ‘Is it juicy, sister? Will it be sweet?’
Then the first voice said, ‘It is much stronger than a man, I can feel that. It smells sweet. Perhaps it will taste that way, too? I suspect it’s not quite as putrid as the babbling things we caught last night.’
High-Pitch hissed. ‘Shall we not try it, and find out?’
Sam cleared his throat and in a steady voice said, ‘I am neither sweet nor wholesome, vile creatures of rancid odour. You would not want to eat me, for if you were somehow able, Underblade would render you ash before you were able to swallow.’
‘Ah, it speaks.’
‘Very sure of itself it is, too,’ High-Pitch remarked.
The first voice asked, ‘What is Underblade?’
Sam put his back to the wall.
‘You’ll know its sting soon enough. Tell me, what are you?’
‘What are you?’ An indignant voice responded.
‘My apologies,’ Sam said, and meant it. ‘I am the Prince of Shadow, wielder of Underblade bestowed upon me by Beast, lord of all things dark. Brother and servant to Arnold, King of Darkness. I am your destruction, and you shall fear me.’
They laughed.
‘That was a very nice introduction, truly, and such wonderful accolades and titles, Sam of Lies. But I will tell you, since you mention it so, that I know nothing of any beast ruling my darkness, teller of fantasy. Come now, if you are all you say, why do you not see us?’Songs of the Osirian
‘Yes … stand before us, if you can, Prince of Blindness.’ High-Pitch hissed a cackle.
Sam was thoughtful. ‘Oh Mighty Ones, I dare not stand before your grace, for then our eyes would meet, and my Lord was most insistent I bring back the head of anything seen. You seem violent and foul, and I do not wish to appear rude by chopping off your heads, so I choose to keep my sight to myself.’
They hooted and gurgled in delight.
‘You have a good tongue, young one. It flaps like a banner in the wind. It’s a long time since anything caught was so courteous. I like the cut of you, and I shall enjoy eating you enormously.’
High-Pitch said, ‘You say Prince of Shadow? You need no eyes to perceive us, foolish thing.’
‘Well,’ Sam continued, ‘I spent time on my introduction maybe you would grace me with yours?’

There was a dreadful unnerving silence. Odd feelings rose up from the pit of his stomach, into his mouth as bile. Sam spat out the bitter taste. Fear had now frozen him to the spot and he could no longer function. He remained still, his back firm against the wall. Although his courage was gone the ability to reason was still intact, and he fought a hard battle over his mind.
Sam considered possibilities. If he were to exit in failure, having fought hard in attempt, his master might be merciful. But if he were to flee in terror and come before that same master, what might be his response? Sam knew there would be no mercy, for King would deal torment upon him, the likes of which Sam couldn’t conceive of, and that was a far more terrifying thing to fear.
It helped. The shame of weakness boiled into anger, like fire in a cold boiler. Slow, at first to warm, it cascaded through frozen veins melting fears, allowing limbs to move. It didn’t stop there. A chain-reaction within sent strange sensations throughout; they made the skin of his entire body tingle. Fear of unknown voices in darkness no longer held him. The strange warmth of his anger spread through nerves until it reached into his head, stabbing hard behind his eyes.
Sam took a sharp intake of breath. Instinct forced his hand to rub away the pain, and when he removed it, the cavern immerged into focus as new sight filled him with courage once again.
He could see them now; their truth visible in hideous terror. He was deep inside a cavern littered with centuries of waste and filth. The things he saw made him–almost–wish his sight had not been returned. The dread he felt before was nothing compared to the horror now standing in front him: Two giant spider-like creatures with rows of black eyes and sharp teeth. Both as large as houses, they sat on plump bellies. …

10) What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Songs of the Osirian?

Getting the pace of the book right was a challenge. I’m one of those people who struggle with the introduction phase of a book, so I made a conscious effort to try and tighten and get to the action as soon as I could. I think I got the balance right. A lot of my beta readers were very positive about it. My biggest achievement for this one is creating a brand new world that’s all mine.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Songs of the Osirian?

That I can write fantasy fiction far quicker than I can mystery! This story told itself, it amazed me. When I write mystery (especially whodunit style) the preparation and planning, the character twists and developments, the intricate red herrings … all this takes weeks and months to flesh out before I can start telling the story. But with this story, once I’d developed the world and its characters, it went very fast indeed.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Read, read, and read some more … that’s what I was told by my mentor and it’s true. Also, when the moment takes you, write something, anything. Even if you don’t use it, store it in an archive for use later. Don’t throw anything away, ever!

13) Anything else you would like to say?

I was very fortunate and humbled to have a delightful foreword written by actress Chase Masterson, who has most recently been seen guest starring on CW’s The Flash, which won the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite New Drama.” Chase best known for her break-out role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, one of the highest-rated syndicated shows of all time, Chase is loved by millions of fans worldwide.

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I’m currently working on book 2 of the Songs of the Osirian, and book 3 of the “Dies” Trilogy. I’m also working on concepts for a project with Chase for her charity, the Pop Culture Hero Coalition – “The 1st-ever 501c3 organization to use stories & celebs from TV, film & comics to make a stand for real-life heroism over bullying, racism, misogyny, cyber-bullying, LGBT-bullying, and other forms of hate at Comic-Cons, and in schools & communities” – so I’m pretty busy right now!

osirianeyes



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Author Interview: Alex Gates

Posted August 30, 2016

ExtraOrdinary- Alex Gates -eBookMy name is Alex Gates and I grew up in a small town in Northern California. I enjoy a wide variety of things as long they include my wife or some friends. I love the Sacramento Kings and Dallas Cowboys, so you can say a hobby of mine is being disappointed often, which has helped temper my expectations throughout life. I write in the science fiction/fantasy genre because it’s my closest to Narnia, to a new world.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I’ve always loved books, and I remember being young, grade school age, and reading the Scooby-Doo Mysteries. I started writing my own little mysteries. Unfortunately, I never showed them to anyone, including the parents, which meant they weren’t saved. Well, maybe that’s fortunate. I continued dabbling with the pen in high school and college, then decided to write my first novel. It sucked! But I hope to clean it up, add some Mascara, clip its nails, and publish it in the same world as ExtraOrdinary.

 

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

I wrote ExtraOrdinary on a small desk while sitting on a box. It was the worst. My wife and I had just moved into a new house and had ZERO furniture, so I had to work with what was available. My second novel (not released yet) I wrote on a breakfast nook table, because it was our first real piece of furniture, and I finally had a place to sit. I think my favourite place to write is a comfy chair with a movie or tv show playing the back. Football season starts soon, expect me to get a lot of writing done then, while on the couch, possibly in very little clothing.

 

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

No. I’m the worst with routines. I’m not a morning person, so I’m slow at finding motivation and being productive until I’ve had a massive breakfast and copious amounts of coffee. Then I like a little cartoon action to spark the old imagination, or maybe read a few chapters in a book. Unless I’m teaching. Then I write in the afternoon/evening, sometimes in my office, sometimes on the couch, sometimes in bed, or a coffee shop, maybe a bar. It’s quite chaotic to be honest, but it works for me.

 

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I love Stephen King, and would love to write something like the Dark Tower series. I plan to do that on some level with all my books, as he did, connecting each story so they fit in one world. I get such a rush finding commonalities between unrelated books by the same author.

 

  • What inspired you to write ExtraOrdinary?

It was summer of 2015. All these superhero movies were coming out, and I was reading The Amazing Spider-Man, and I connected some thread, put the graphic novel down, and stared at the wall (I do my best creative thinking staring at walls). What if, I thought, superheroes weren’t the extraordinary, but someone without a power? What if the world was filled with super-powered humans, but the hero of the story didn’t have anything? It was the opposite of everything we have been taught to love. The title came immediately. I loved the play on words. The tricky part was figuring out the world they lived in.

 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

As mentioned above, the book is about Braiten, the hero. He doesn’t have an ability like every other person on Earth, and must navigate through a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by the corruption power breeds. It also follows Drake, the most powerful human ever, as he struggled with his internal weaknesses. Drake is…. (Read the answer to question 7.)

 

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Drake is my favourite character. The most powerful person a world where everyone is powerful, and he is a wreck. He’s scared, insecure, shy, and he doesn’t know how to survive without depending on others. He was meant to be the bad guy of the book. It turned out he wasn’t bad, just scared and alone in a dying world. He’s by no means “good,” but I think that’s why I enjoy him. All he wants is to find the girl he loves, and he pays steep prices for that.

 

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I don’t know. I didn’t write it intending to give a message, but if they can take, that’s awesome. Strength and power are two different things? I don’t know. You read it and let me know what you think! That’d be awesome!

 

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

When Braiten reached the body, his skin dripped with sweat. The sun was relentless, had been for years, and the black rubber didn’t mesh with his anger, nor did it go along with his thirst. His tongue rubbed against his upper lip like a dry sponge trying to absorb any type of moisture. Sweat dripped from his forehead, chin, and arms, and steam simmered from the tires’ heat.

Braiten settled into a tire, locking his lower legs into the hole to help keep his balance. He knelt and inspected the body. It belonged to a male in his late teens or early twenties, about the same age as Braiten. The dead man’s facial hair was still patchy and scarce. Where his skin should’ve been, bones and scales grew.

“A Survivor.”

A breeze came through and touched his sweat-stained skin like a cold kiss. He shivered despite the heat.

Survivors had the ability to adapt and overcome anything attempting to hurt or kill them, which often came by growing excess body parts or gaining reinforced skin. Because of their disturbing appearance and often unwanted presence, they’d formed a gang and were rarely found alone.

Braiten’s knees popped as he kneeled next to the body. The sunlight reflected from an item in the young man’s mouth. He put a finger on the upper teeth and pulled the jaw wider, then turned his head in a fit of gagging. The rotten stench smelled worse than his dry mouth tasted.

With his head turned away, he inhaled and kept the breath, then faced the boy again. The jaw had locked, and Braiten tried to pry it open. It snapped under his force. Braiten held down vomit from the sickening noise and regained his composure.

I should’ve gone to the bar.

 

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing ExtraOrdinary?

The biggest challenge was putting together a website to start a little promotion for the book, and formatting the manuscript to look professional on an eReader and paperback. My biggest achievement was doing the aforementioned in a half-decent manner. And publishing a book, of course!!!

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing ExtraOrdinary?

ExtraOrdinary went through two round of professional edits, by two different editors. I learned I’m patient and flexible, willing to sacrifice my words for the betterment of the story. I also learned I need to start outlining before I begin writing!

 

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write. Then write. After that, write!

Read. Then read. After that, read!

Failure is like an alarm clock, either don’t set it, or hit that snooze button forever so that you can dream and dream until that dream turns to reality.

 

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you to Michelle Dunbar and IndieSciFiFantasy for hosting me. Thank you to my readers for reading. Mostly, thank you to my wife for making my dream possible.

 

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

SO MANY!

Book of Raziel: Chapter 1 will be out early 2017. You can go to alex-gates.com and subscribe for my newsletter to get the blurb, cover reveal, and promotional material about that. It is connected to ExtraOrdinary.

ExtraOrdinary Volume 2 will release middle of 2017.

A young adult connection to ExtraOrdinary focusing on the Rulers will be released late 2017.

 

I also have two stand-alone novels and a nonfiction book that I hope to have done by early 2018.


Webstie: alex-gates.com

Facebook: @SuccessFreeLiving

Twitter: @AlexGatesAuthor


ExtraOrdinary- Alex Gates -eBook

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Ten Things I’ve Learned Since Having a Book Published by Madeline Dyer

Posted June 3, 2016

 

So, a few days ago I celebrated the one year anniversary for the publication of my debut novel, UNTAMED (Prizm Books, May 2015). During that year, I’ve learned a whole bunch of things and thought I’d share ten of them here with you.

 

1: Not everyone realises having a book published is a big deal. 

You feel great about your book being published, but some of the people you excitedly tell just don’t ‘get’ it. You see their faces fall and realise that when you told them you had ‘big news’, they were expecting something much bigger. And it’s hard not to let that upset you.

But writing a book—and getting it published—is a huge achievement. And we know just how many months (and even years) of hard work, sweat, and tears have gone into this… but not everyone gets this.  To some, writing a book is nothing, and publishing it is just a shrug-your-shoulders kind of moment. But you shouldn’t let the reactions of non-knowers (as I affectionately call them) get you down.

Just because someone doesn’t understand that you’ve poured your soul into this book and spent months and months labouring away over it, it doesn’t mean that your achievement is any less validated.

You still rock—you wrote a book! And don’t worry, there’ll be other people who do understand why this is a shout-from-the-rooftops moment.

 

2: A lot of the non-writers who you tell about your novel will suddenly confess their dream to you—that they, too, wish to write a book.

Often this statement is followed by some sort of justifier, that they will write their book ‘when they have time’. And time seems to be the only thing a lot of non-writers think is necessary to have when writing a book…

At first, I was surprised by how many people seemed to think I had managed to write my book because I apparently ‘had the time’ to do so. In their eyes, skill and motivation didn’t really feature that highly. And didn’t they realise that I was busy with other stuff too?

I mean, I wrote the first draft of UNTAMED when I was 18—whilst I was at school and studying for A-levels. And then I worked on in-house edits with one of my publisher’s editors alongside doing my degree. It was tough to fit it all in.

But part of being a writer is having the determination to write, and the determination to find time to write. That fifteen-minute break? Well, I can write a couple of hundred words then. That bus journey? Yes, I can get some outlining done.

Writers don’t magically have more hours in the day than everyone else in the world. We have the same amount of time. But we just have to find the time to write, and we organise ourselves in such a way that we do have time—even if it means less sleep, or not going out to see that film.

I’m a firm believer that if someone’s a writer, they have to write as much as possibly they can. Writers don’t have any choice, and they can’t put off their writing dreams for a more suitable time—say, in ten years. There’ll never be a more suitable time, and writers write whenever they possibly can.

 

3: You also won’t feel like a proper writer.

Even now, after signing a second book deal with my publisher, I still feel like I’m not the real thing. From talking to other writers, it seems the aptly named Imposter Syndrome is common among us all. We all feel like we’re not good enough, and that soon someone is going to realise it—but, according to some, that’s a sign of a proper writer. It’s when you’re certain that your writing is spectacular and that you’re the next J.K. Rowling that you might need to worry…

So, I guess the thing that I’ve learned here is that it’s okay to feel like this. It’s normal. And other famous writers feel like this too.

 

4: But once you’ve got one book published, writing your next can be harder.

I’ve certainly found this to be true for me. Having already had one book published, I feel there’s a great amount of pressure on me to write one that readers love just as much—if not more.

And these expectations we think people have makes writing a follow-up book an incredibly daunting task all of a sudden. And all your doubts about your writing ability come flooding back. After all, what if that first book was a fluke? What if you can’t produce the stunning sequel that you know readers are waiting for?

Well, don’t worry. That’s my answer, and that’s what I’ve been telling myself every time I start fretting. I think the main problem for me is that I’m now comparing my patchy first draft of book two to the final version of book one. And of course, the writing’s not going to be great in a first draft. And there will be holes in the plot, and characters who aren’t that well formed.

But I know I can fix all this. I have to tackle it one step at a time, just as I did when I was rewriting and editing Untamed. And I have to believe in myself. If I wrote one book that readers loved, then I know, deep down, that I can write another, even if my first thought is that I can’t. I’m still the same writer. And it’s all about self-belief and not becoming intimidated by what you achieved before.

So, just write. And get your first draft done. That, for me, is still the hardest bit, and becoming a published writer hasn’t made it any easier.

 

5: Now onto reviews: don’t read them!

Okay, I’m not very good with this one. I know I shouldn’t read the reviews that my book garners, but I just can’t help it. There’s something exciting about realising you have a new review on Goodreads, or Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. And you just find yourself clicking through to read it, whilst anxiously wondering whether the person loved or hated your book.

And there will be some negative reviews. Whether a book is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is, after all, subjective. And you won’t be able to please everyone.

But as soon as you come across a negative review, you suddenly feel as if this review speaks the Ultimate Truth. All the good things you’ve previously read about your book are washed away, and all you can focus on now is the less-than-favourable thing that someone has said. And this really fuels that feeling that you’re not good enough, that you’re not a proper writer… that you’re an imposter.

And it can hamper your creativity.

That’s why I know that no author should read their reviews—and NEVER respond to any. Seriously, don’t.

But, if you must read those reviews then definitely do the next thing on my list.

 

6: Save your good reviews.

Print out a hard copy of your favourite reviews and stick them in a scrapbook. Then, whenever you come across a negative review and end up feeling like you’re the worst writer ever, read through your book of positive reviews. I promise they’ll make you feel much better, and you won’t (hopefully) spend days crying.

But, at the same time, don’t fall back into the trap of reading your best reviews and thinking, ‘but what if I can’t write a sequel that readers love as much as my first?’

So, yes, even your good reviews can be a double-edged sword. They certainly make me feel better and motivate me to write, but at the same time, I worry about disappointing my fans with my next manuscript. Ah, it gets so complicated…

 

7: Finding readers can be hard.

Even when your book is traditionally published, finding readers can be tricky. There are so many books out there competing for readers’ attention that many unfortunately do get lost.

But this is where promotion and marketing come in—trust me, marketing your book is important. And marketing it correctly is even more important.

You need to know your audience, and you need to engage with them. You also need to seem like a real person, so talk about your everyday life and share funny anecdotes. And always engage with your readers as an equal—never talk down to them.

But you also need to make sure that readers can find information about you quickly. A website is a must—and if you can host it on your own domain, even better. You’ll seem more professional that way. And make sure that you have clear links on your website to where readers can buy your book—don’t make it hard for them to find this information.

 

8: The number of reviews you have is important.

Once you reach certain numbers of reviews for a single work, many retailers include your book in different lists—and even on newsletters. So, the number of reviews you have is important. And the more reviews you have, the easier it is to sell your book.

But getting genuine reviews can be difficult, especially when you need unbiased reviews from people who you don’t know. Amazon removes the reviews from reviewers they think know the author, believing these to biased and untrustworthy.

And finding readers who will review your book can be difficult enough in itself. Especially when only around 1 in 100 will write a quick review of your book off their own back.

But book bloggers are great. And there are thousands of professional reviewers and bloggers out there who will write an honest review of your book in exchange for a free copy of your book—and include that disclaimer in their review. Plus, many of these reviews can also be used as editorial reviews, and often you can use snippets from these reviews in your marketing.

And also; NEVER buy reviews. I mean it. NEVER do it. When I hear that others are considering it, I cringe so much. Buying reviews can destroy everything—and cause retailers to block all your reviews (even any genuine ones). Never do it. Your reviews need to be genuine and unbiased, from actual readers who have actually read your book.

 

9: Nothing sells your last book like your next.

This is actually something I’ve read a few times now, in many different places. But it seems to be true. And it makes sense: the more books you have out, the more people will see your name, and the more readers will look for your other works having read one.

So perhaps the best marketing you can do for book one is to produce book two.

It seems so simple, and it emphasises an important part of being a writer—you know, the writing part.  Just because you’ve got one book out, doesn’t mean you need to stop writing. Quite the opposite, actually!

(And again, don’t let you success with one book intimidate you and make you feel under pressure with your second—I’m definitely struggling with this, now that we’re less than months away from the release of my second book… but what if readers really don’t like the direction I’m taking the Untamed Series in?)

 

10: And the final thing to mention here is that reading (and relaxing) is still important.

All writers, whether they publish or not, need to read widely. Don’t stop reading—and having fun—just because you’ve had a book published. Sure, it can be harder to find the time, now that your days (and nights) are filled up with marketing, promotion, answering interviews, writing, editing, researching, and booking events—plus other life commitments!

But you still need to read.

So please, don’t stop. Make sure you have time.

For me, reading is also a way of relaxing. And it is so important. Don’t overwork yourself—you still need some time off. And you still need to do what you love.


Madeline Dyer lives in the southwest of England, and has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal. She can frequently be found exploring wild places, and at least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes. Her debut novel, UNTAMED (Prizm Books, May 2015), examines a world in which anyone who has negative emotions is hunted down, and a culture where addiction is encouraged. FRAGMENTED (Prizm Books, Sept. 2016) is her second novel.


Author Interview: Greg Spry

Posted May 14, 2016

Greg Spry was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1978. He majored in industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin—Madison before earning a graduate degree in space systems from the Florida Institute of Technology. When he’s not writing the next epic sci-fi adventure, he enjoys playing kickball and cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He currently resides in the United States.


1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

In late elementary school, I wrote my first novel, Crystalia, which filled 365 pages of two 5-subject notebooks (writing on physical paper really takes me back). I followed that up with another short novel, Bear Wars, in middle school, and wrote the very rough draft of Beyond Cloud Nine in high school. Further details about my early works can be found at https://www.gregspry.com/earlyworks.php.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?

I write at my desktop computer at home most of the time. While I’ll occasionally take my laptop somewhere, I find that I’m most comfortable and productive at home.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

My larger publication process for a single book is as follows:
1) Write first rough draft
2) Refine characters/plot, self-edit, and polish second rough draft
3) Submit cover specs to designers
4) Submit chapters to a critique group and/or beta rears for feedback and apply to draft 3
5) Work with a professional editor to apply developmental and line edits (drafts 4 and 5)
6) Cover reveal
7) Have proofreader revise the book, apply changes to draft 6
8) Have beta readers provide feedback and apply to the final draft 7
9) Three-month pre-publication / ARCs / promotion period
10) Publication and promotion

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
Arthur C. Clarke. The master had a way of writing easy-to-understand prose and dialogue while still including the hard science. You know he invented the geosynchronous communications satellite, right?

5) What inspired you to write the Beyond Saga?

My primary influence for Beyond Cloud Nine, Beyond the Horizon, and the upcoming final two books in my Beyond Saga actually came from an Anime series known as Robotech in the USA or Macross in Japan and abroad. I wanted to do a similar grand-sweeping, fate-of-the-universe-hangs-in-the-balance space opera series with the beginnings of FTL (faster-than-light) travel, first contact, space combat, time travel, and more. I also draw influence from Star Trek: The Next Generation in that I want the plots to deal with higher-brow ethical dilemmas rather than cliché good versus evil.

I talk about my motivation and influences in more detail at https://www.beyondcloudnine.com/Background.aspx and https://www.beyondthehorizonbook.com/Background.aspx.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

My latest release, Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2), is the story of a young ensign who must foil an attempt at genocide during humankind’s first interstellar mission.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I certainly have an affinity for Brooke Davis of Beyond Cloud Nine and her tough demeanor. Lyana, the main character of Destalis (book readers won’t see until after I’ve finished the Beyond Saga), is a self-doubting introvert and martial artist who must get out of her own head in order liberate her home world.

In general, I think it’s important for an author to like their main protagonists. After all, the author has to spend multiple years with each character while writing his or her story.

8) Do your books contain a message for readers to consider?

Always. The main theme of Beyond Cloud Nine and the Beyond Saga is “Would you rather be happy living a lie or be miserable knowing the truth?” The antagonists have a plan to bring about a utopian society for the human race but it requires lies and deception to achieve. Every reader has to decide for themselves whether they think the ends justify the means. The Beyond the Horizon press release at https://www.gregspry.com/pressrelease.php discusses the theme in more detail.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

The below excerpt is from the inside flap of Beyond Cloud Nine. In chapter 3, ten-year-old Brooke Davis accidentally kills her father:

I did it. At the age of ten, I killed my father.
It was an accident, but it was still my fault.
Nothing I do can ever make up for the heinous mistake.
But I will spend the rest of my life trying . . .

The canopy blew away from the flyer. A spring-loaded mechanism punched her out into open air.

Brooke plunged and spun out of control. Rushing air pummeled her in the face. Gravity shoved the terror-stricken screams back down her throat.

The automatic parachute blew open, jerking her body upward. Her orientation righted, Beyond Cloud Nineand her descent slowed.

The Little Angel disappeared over the nearest mountain, but she couldn’t locate her father’s chute anywhere in the sky.

Where is he? Didn’t he jump out? Did his seat malfunction?

The wind whipped through her hair. Water trickled through a stream far below her hanging feet. A flock of birds glided past her.

A thunderclap jolted her heart.

An explosion mushroomed upward from behind the mountain, burning the image into her memory forever.

“Daddy!”

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing?

Publishing my first book, Beyond Cloud Nine, was a big deal as I’m sure it is for most authors. I spent ten years (2004-2014) educating myself and learning how to write until I felt my craft was ready for prime time. Now, my biggest challenge is promotion, and I’m learning more and more each day about how to generate exposure and sales.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing your books?

Based on reader and reviewer feedback, I’ve gained confidence and validation in knowing that my books are of sufficient quality to stand side-by-side with many traditionally published works.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Absolutely. My writing process and advice for new authors can be found at https://www.gregspry.com/process.php.

Also, know that the process of being a successful author begins only once you’ve published your first book.

 

13) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I’m currently writing the third book of the Beyond Saga, Beyond Yesterday, in which Maya heads back in time to figure out how a piece of modern technology ended up 200,000 years in the past. Then the saga will conclude with book four, Beyond Existence, in which Maya must travel to alternate timelines and time periods to prevent powerful exobeings from wiping mankind out of existence. Learn more about the Beyond Saga at http://www.beyondsaga.com.

After the Beyond Saga, I’ll resume work on the first full-length manuscript I wrote as an adult, Destalis. Set several thousand years in the future, Destalis will be the unofficial sequel to the Beyond Saga and finish exploring the concepts introduced in Beyond Existence. I haven’t yet decided whether Destalis will be a single novel or multi-book series. Visit the Destalis official website at http://www.destalis.com to learn more about it.

I also have plans to write a sci-fi comedy series of short stories entitled Bears in Space, the concept for which can be found at https://www.gregspry.com/bearsinspace.php.



Author Links
Website: https://bit.ly/gregspry
Amazon: https://bit.ly/grsamzn
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/gsgoodr
Twitter: http://bit.ly/gstwitr
Facebook: http://bit.ly/gsfaceb
Google+: http://bit.ly/grsgplus
LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/grlnkin
Pinterest: https://bit.ly/gspinit


Beyond Cloud Nine (Beyond Saga Book 1) Links
Website: https://bit.ly/bc9home
Amazon (Kindle): https://bit.ly/bc9kdle
Amazon (Trade Paperback): https://bit.ly/bc9prbk
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/bc9good
Twitter: https://bit.ly/bc9tw
Facebook: https://bit.ly/bc9fb
Google+: http://bit.ly/bc9gplus
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/bc9pinit


Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2) Links
Website: https://bit.ly/bthhome
Amazon (Kindle): https://bit.ly/bthkdle
Amazon (Trade Paperback): https://bit.ly/bthprbk
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/bthgood
Twitter: https://bit.ly/bthtw
Facebook: https://bit.ly/bthfb
Google+: http://bit.ly/bthgplus
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/bthpinit


Author Interview: J.D.Cunegan

Posted May 14, 2016

J.D.CuneganFresh off his debut novel Bounty, J.D. Cunegan introduces his intense follow-up, Blood Ties, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that re-introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, enjoys reading, and is an avid auto racing fan.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

 

When I was 11, I picked up my first-ever comic book, an issue of X-Men from the Chris Claremont/Jim Lee era. I’d never been much of a reader up to that point, and I certainly had never entertained the thought of writing, but once I got into comic books, it was like a switch had been flipped. By the time I got to high school, I was creating my own characters and crafting stories for them. By the time I got to college, I started studying journalism, and my career as a sports writer kept me writing, even when the creative juices weren’t there. But I’ve been writing, in one form or another, since I was 11 years old, and I have comic books to thank for that.

 

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

 

I don’t really have a favourite place to write, purely out of necessity. My day job is extremely time-consuming, and it keeps me on the road for days or weeks at a time, so I have to be flexible about when and where I can write. I’ve written in my office, in airports, on planes, in hotel rooms… if I have the time and the space, I can write almost anywhere.

 

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

 

Much like I can’t afford to have one place in particular, I don’t really have a set routine. I don’t outline my novels beforehand; outside of a general idea of a book’s plot, I’m very much a pantser. It can sometimes make the editing process a pain in the butt, but I find the less I plan, the more freedom I have when writing. Sometimes, that freedom leads to some pleasant surprises – and if I’m surprised as the writer, something tells me my readers will be surprised, too.

 

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

 

Not necessarily. If I spend too much time aspiring to be something or someone other than myself, then my work suffers. Reading helps my writing in several different ways, but at no point have I sat down and thought “I want to be the next so-and-so” or “I want to write the next insert-title-here.”

 

  • What inspired you to write Bounty/Blood Ties?

 

I created Jill, the protagonist, when I was in high school… and it’s a character and a universe that’s grown over the years as I’ve grown. Of all the characters I’ve created, Jill is my favourite, so it’s only right that my first published works are with her in them. The cop doubling as a superhero angle had always intrigued me, and I’m glad I get to play around with genre convention a little bit in that regard.

 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

 

Blood Ties centers around the mystery of Jill’s father. In the first novel, Bounty, we Blood Ties ebookestablish that Jill’s father had once been a detective, like her, but that he had fallen from grace after being convicted of three murders and sentenced to death. Blood Ties finally answers the central questions: 1) Did Jill’s father actually commit those murders? 2) Will he actually be executed? From there, Blood Ties unravels a grand conspiracy involving a shadowy cult called The Order, and they’re quite intent on making sure Jill doesn’t survive long enough to properly deal with what happens to her father.

 

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

 

Jill is the obvious favourite, but I want to point to a character making his debut in Blood Ties: Detective Earl Stevens. He’s a former college football player who’s been on the force for about 15 years, and his dialogue is some of the most unique and colourful I’ve ever written. He’s not a great interrogator, but I found myself writing a few chapters in which Earl interrogated someone, just so I could see what kind of stuff would fly out of his mouth. I wasn’t disappointed, and I don’t think the readers will be either.

 

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

 

I haven’t gotten too heavy-handed with messages in either Bounty or Blood Ties yet… though through Jill, I do convey the message of even one person making a difference (and conversely, how much can one person really do, in the grand scheme of things?). But my next book, Behind the Badge, will be message-heavy, tackling the issues of police brutality and racism.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing these Bounty novels?

 

The biggest challenge is always knowing when the book’s ready. There’s no solid end point when it comes to editing and revising, so it’s hard to tell sometimes when it’s ready to be published. There have been times where I’ve felt my book was ready, only to discover there was a lot of work still to do on it. The line is hard to see, harder to reach, and sometimes, you don’t realize you’re there until you’ve blown right past it.

 

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing these first two novels?

 

That I can actually finish a project. The last decade or so has been littered with WIPs that held a lot of promise and were just… abandoned at some point. I never even finished the first draft. But now that I have two full-length novels and a digital short (Boundless) under my belt… I know I can see a project through to completion, and that really helps on days in which the words aren’t coming.

 

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

 

The best way to improve as a writer is to write. Simple as that. The second best way? Read. Read as much as you can, as often as you can. Don’t just read stuff similar to what you’re writing, either; read everything you can get your hands on. Even reading the newspaper can help. Also, I’m generally loathe to recommend books on writing, but Stephen King’s On Writing is as close to a must-have as it gets.

 

  • Anything else you would like to say?

 

Never sweat the quality of your first draft. You’re not going to be Stephen King or James Patterson on the first draft (hell, Stephen King and James Patterson aren’t Stephen King and James Patterson on the first draft). Trust the editing process. Trust someone else, more than one if possible, to read your work at some point. Another pair of eyeballs will always catch more stuff than you will.

 

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

 

Behind the Badge, the third Bounty novel, is set to be released in June. I’m also writing the fourth novel in the series, Behind the Mask. I also have two separate projects in the works: a political thriller titled The Pen is Mighty and a supernatural epic titled Notna. I hope to have all three of those out by the end of 2017.

End with links to Blog /FB & Twitter etc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JDCunegan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JD_Cunegan

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14050436.J_D_Cunegan

Website: https://jdcuneganbooks.wordpress.com/

Tumblr: http://jdcuneganbooks.tumblr.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.D.-Cunegan/e/B00YNTP4S2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1433567933&sr=8-1

 


Author Interview: Tom Fallwell

Posted March 12, 2016

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1951, Tom Fallwell had always had a love of fantasy Role Playing games and was a game master who created adventures for other players to enjoy. Now, since retiring as a computer programmer,  he is writing the fantasy stories he had always wanted to write and enjoying every minute of it.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?
    Shortly after retiring, in 2014, I met a friend who immediately saw my love of creating stories and recognized my talent. Through her encouragement, I wrote a short story, a sort of Christian/Fantasy/Romance. It was well received by those who read it, and this encouraged me even further. I had a story in my head that I had only thought of a beginning for, with a simplified plot that I had in mind. I decided, why not? So I sat down and started to write. The story took on a life of its own and within six months I had a novel. The whole experience was so much fun, I never stopped. I kept writing, and I’m still writing.
  • Do you have a favourite place to write?
    I only have one place. Sitting at my computer. I use Microsoft Word and do all my writing at my desk, which is in my bedroom. I have no wife or children in the house, so I find plenty of solitude. I have a 42” flat screen TV as my computer monitor and a custom built quad-core computer running Windows 10. I may slosh stories around in my head all the time, but my desk is my only place to write. I don’t play music or have other distractions when writing.
  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
    Not specifically. In general, I have an idea and I form a rough outline of the plot, then I start writing. Almost inevitably, that plot changes as I write. I am not sure how to explain with words, but it is as if the story tells itself. I start down a path, then the story and characters take on a life of their own, and before long I feel like I am just writing what I am told to write by the characters and the story itself.
  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
    I have always been fascinated by the world that J.R.R. Tolkien created with his stories of Middle Earth. It is my greatest desire to create a world with the same rich lore and history, a world that is fascinating to the reader as much as the characters, and to create characters who come to life in the reader’s mind, just as Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and others. Tolkien is my hero. I aspire to be as well-read and remembered as he is.
  • What inspired you to write the Rangers of Laerean series?
    Back in the late 1980s was a phenomenon called the Black & White Comic Boom. There was an explosion of writers, artists and publishers to get comics on the shelves, and many made it to comic stardom. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for example, became an overnight success and has now been two live action movies, at least. Back during that time, my brother, David, and I created a Black & White Comic called Dark Regions, which was a fantasy story that I was involved in writing. We created a trio of characters that I have known intimately for many, many years. One of those characters, Baric, I had always considered a Ranger, sort of like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, though not exactly the same.After writing my first novel, I knew I wanted to create a world like Tolkien. I wanted to create the whole things, politics, economy, races, all of it. I wanted to create a series of novels based on this world, and it just seemed logical to include Baric. So, the idea for the Rangers was born. Also, I loved heroic fantasy stories, again like what Tolkien did, so I created a group of heroes as the Rangers to be able to keep telling stories about this world. Not just about Baric, but about others as well. So, Rangers of Laerean was born and the Lands of Hir were created.
  • Can you tell us a little about your book?
    The first book, A Whisper In The Shadows, is an introduction to the Rangers and to Baric in particular. Baric agrees to help what is supposed to be an emissary from the region called Vaar’da, where a dark-skinned, elf-like race dwells. But Baric soon discovers that theWhisperInShadowsCover2_SM emissary, and exotic female who deems humans as barbaric, is not an emissary after all, and she has used deception to get a Ranger at her side for an entirely different reason.The Vaar’da, Whisper, is an assassin, but she is having nightmares that are tearing her soul apart and she is seeking help to journey to a place her drams seem to be pulling her. What she and Baric discover is something that neither expect, and they soon find themselves on a quest to save the entire world of Hir. Baric gathers a small army of fellow Rangers to assist them as they delve into the depths of an active volcano, Mt. Scorch, to prevent the destruction of all of Hir.Upon writing this book, it became apparent that this story was going to require more than one book to tell, so it has become a trilogy. Book #3, Where Shadows Fall, was released in February and is now available. I am currently writing book #3, The Shadow of Narwyrm. This trilogy tells one story, and I have many more in mind for the series as a whole. Future novels will cover different times, different places and characters.
  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
    Currently, I have to say Baric is definitely my favourite. That may change in the future. Who knows? I have created many characters on this journey, and I expect I will be creating many more.
  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
    My main goal is to entertain, though I have no doubt I subconsciously do have messages in my writing. Upon reading the finished first book, I could definitely see a theme about prejudice that became quite apparent. But I don’t consciously try to instil messages.
  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

    As his torch lit up the interior of the cell, he saw that last thing he could have expected. Inside the cell, chained to the wall, standing upright, was a fur-covered figure, as big as himself, with a lion-like face and ears, and a long, flowing mane. A Zumarian.

    The Zumarian’s eyes were closed, and he appeared to be unconscious. He wore a loincloth, but his chest, arms and legs were covered in soft, golden fur, fading to white around his chest. His leonine face bore a human-like nose and cat-like mouth, with a slight hair-lip appearance. The claws on his hands and feet looked formidable.

    His long mane flowed down around his shoulders, golden brown with braids on the sides that held the fringe back and out of his face. As they eyed him, his eyes suddenly popped open, showing sea-green irises around an overly large, black pupil. His mouth formed into an angry expression when he saw Whisper.

    “The gods are cruel indeed if they send a Vaar’da as my rescuer,” he snarled. His voice was guttural, but understandable.

    Almost instinctively, Whisper immediately assumed the air of self-importance that she had once displayed for Baric and other humans. “I would just as soon finish what someone else has started,” she hissed.

    “Wouldn’t it be to the benefit of us all to concentrate our fury on the Manenase instead of each other?” Baric asked in a determined tone.

    The Zumarian and Whisper both looked at Baric with surprise, as if they both had forgotten he was there. Whisper nodded, her gaze still focused on the Zumarian.

    “Sorry,” she said. “Old habits.”

    “Who are you?” asked the Zumarian.

    Baric looked back to the prisoner. “I’m Baric, a Ranger from Laerean.”

    The Zumarian suddenly grinned, showing a mouthful of sharp, pointed teeth. The grin could easily be mistaken as menacing, if not for the obvious delight conveyed by his eyes.

    “Then my luck has indeed changed,” the Zumarian chimed in a soft growling voice. “My name is Shaha. Mercenary and warrior. Can I assume you will set me free?”

    “Can I assume you won’t attack my companion?” asked Baric.

    Shaha chuckled, a growling sound, but definitely a sign of amusement. “You have my word,” he said.

    Whisper snorted and rolled her eyes, but she said nothing more. Producing some lock-picks from her robe, she went to work on the cell door. After about a minute, the lock clicked and the door swung inward.

    “Can you get the shackles?” asked Baric.

    “Of course,” she huffed, acting more like the Vaar’da Baric had first met back in Ronan’s office those many months ago.

    “Do you have weapons or armor anywhere?” Baric asked as Whisper began to work on Shaha’s shackles.

    “They took them from me,” said Shaha. “Where, I do not know.”

    The shackle around one of Shaha’s hands clicked open. He held it up and flexed his claws a few times, trying to restore the blood flow. “I can use these for now,” he grinned.

    Baric nodded. The claws were at least an inch long and looked razor-sharp.

    Another click, and Shaha was free. Whisper stepped back, returning her picks to their pocket inside her robe.

    “Remember who freed you, Zumarian,” she said with no small amount of contempt. Shaha just grinned, baring his teeth.

    Baric broke the tension. “Come, we’re still deep in the demon’s lair.”

     

    • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing the Rangers of Laerean series?
      With this first story as a trilogy, I think my greatest challenge has been to tell the story so that a reader does not have to read the previous books in order to enjoy the current one. I try to give enough information about what has transpired, without becoming a boring documentary about the past. So, that has been a challenge for me. To make each book able to be read as a stand-along novel, but still have all three tied in as a trilogy.
    • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing the Rangers of Laerean?
      I’ve learned a lot more than I could relate here. It has been a fantastic learning experience. I’ve learned about the whole writing and publishing process, about the roles of copy editors, cover artists, formatting, and on and on. What I really learned about myself is that, I can’t do it alone. A good novel takes more than one person. I may do the writing, but to be a good book, it needs a whole lot more.
    • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
      There are many people writing and publishing out there. If you want this to be something you can enjoy, then you need to take your mind off fame and riches. If your stories are good, and people like them, then word will get around. You have to promote, sure, but what I learned was to concentrate on writing what I wanted to write, and writing to please my own sense of style, not to try and become someone else. True, I love Tolkien, but I know I am not him, and I don’t want to be him. I want to be me, and if I am to become known as a good author, I want it to be because of what I wrote and enjoyed writing. It’s been a lot more fun that way.
    • Anything else you would like to say?
      Just thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions. I always enjoy interviews and meeting others. I ‘ve made many new friends since I started writing and I look forward to meeting many more in the future. It is always a pleasure for someone to tell me they enjoyed on of my books.
    • And finally, do you have any future works planned?
      As I noted earlier, I am currently working on book #3 of the Rangers of Laerean series, The Shadow of Narwyrm. I am also currently working on a science-fiction short story that I hope to enter into a contest. As well, I have more stories in mind for the series and other books in general. I have plans for much more. I’m still having too much fun.

     

    Website: http://tomfallwell.com
    Facebook: http://facebook.com/TomFallwellAuthor
    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11303749.Tom_Fallwell
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/RhemaTom

     


Author Interview: E.A.Copen

Posted February 26, 2016

Guilty by associationE.A. Copen is the author of the Judah Black novels, an urban fantasy series. She’s an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy and other genre fiction. When she’s not chained to her keyboard, she may be found time traveling on the weekends with the Society for Creative Anachronism. She lives in beautiful southeast Ohio with her husband and two kids, at least until she saves up enough to leave the shire and become a Jedi.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I must have been five or six. I wrote this short story about a girl who ran away from home to live in a rose garden. At the time, I was in a rough place. I was a foster kid and I was always trying to run away. I didn’t have a sense of home. Writing about a girl who runs away from home only to discover how tough life can get when you don’t have a mom…It was cathartic, even if I didn’t understand it at the time. I’ve been writing ever since then. It’s my therapy.

  • Do you have a favorite place to write?

In my head because everything sounds way more epic in there! Seriously, though…I’d like to have a tiny little soundproof room but I make do with the desktop in the dining room.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

The only thing I absolutely have to have when I’m writing is music. I can’t write without it. In fact, I generally pick a single song for each scene and just put it on repeat. While that might be annoying to some, I think it kind of helps me zone out. It doesn’t matter to me if it has lyrics or not as long as the mood fits what I’m writing about.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I’d like to be as good as Jim Butcher one day. Considering that each book he releases is written better than the last, that’s never going to happen. He’ll always be about thirty times better than me. What he did with Changes…That’s what I want. That’s just beautiful writing, cover to cover.

  • What inspired you to write Guilty by Association?

That’s kind of a long story and it starts with Twilight. Wait a second and hear me out. See, my step-daughter was obsessed with those books and I just didn’t get the appeal. At about the same time, I was taking a class in college where we had to read Dracula. I’d read it before but, this time, one question really stuck with me. How had Van Helsing gotten so good at vampire hunting? How did he know so much about vampires? The answer I eventually arrived at was that Van Helsing had to be at least half vampire himself. Who better to hunt vampires than a half vampire, right?

With all that in mind, I entered a writing contest where I had to plot, write and edit a novel all in 72 hours. I challenged myself to write a story about vampires that explored the answer I’d come up with and, if it was better than Twilight, I was going to publish it. Back then, it was much more Constantine meets Underworld than it is now and the protagonist was male (and a half vampire exorcist). I’ll leave it to the readers to decide if I succeeded.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Well, having just talked vampires to death in the last question, I can tell you there aren’t really any vampires in it. I think there are one or two but they don’t play a major role. This book is mostly about what it means to be a monster. Where do you draw the line between man and monster? Which one is really scarier?

It starts out as a murder mystery but evolves into a story about the people who slip through the cracks, the ones who live on the edge of society because there’s nowhere else for them to go. That’s where monsters are born. It’s also where heroes are made. Sometimes, they’re one in the same. That’s kind of the idea behind the whole series and it starts with the murder of a homeless guy.

comingsoonGBA

  • Do you have a favorite amongst all your characters?

I have a particular soft spot for Ed, one of the werewolves. I like to take popular tropes and kind of turn them on their head a bit. Werewolves are supposed to be strong, fierce and threatening. Ed’s anything but. He plays fetch and would rather be at home playing WOW than hunting monsters. Just the same, he gets caught in the middle of everything and shows a certain strength of character that wouldn’t be there if he were big on the machismo.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Newton’s third law of motion says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I think that applies to more than just physics. We create our monsters and our heroes. We build them with our words and our actions. Every person you interact with needs a hero, even if it’s in some small way. You’ve got to choose whether or not you’re going to be their hero or their monster. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as it is in the book. Simple acts of kindness can ripple a long way.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Guilty by Association?

The biggest challenge has been overcoming my extreme self-doubt. There’s always this little voice in my head that tells me that I’m not good enough. One day, I decided not to listen to that voice. The voice didn’t really go away or anything. I just ignored it for one day. On that day, I hired an editor. She eventually told me what I had wasn’t complete crap and continued to make it better. I love my editor. My greatest achievement is sort of linked to that big step. By reaching out to others, I’ve gotten to be a part of this amazing community of writers online. I’m no longer that socially awkward grammar nerd writing about werewolves at 2am…Okay, so that hasn’t changed. But I’m not doing it alone anymore. I have friends that understand why 2am is the best hour for such things.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Guilty by Association?

I really suck at romance except when I’m not trying. This book has no romance. I tell everyone that who reads it. Yet everyone has come back to me with favorite character pairings. I find it really funny how much chemistry is there even though I actually edited a major romantic arc OUT of the story!

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

If you want to write bad enough, you will find a way. The devil himself won’t be able to stop you. My oldest has moderate to severe autism and I was his primary caretaker while writing this. I also went to college full time and worked full time. Finding time to write is only an obstacle if you let it become one. All the talent in the world isn’t going to make up for the time you need to sit down and spend writing. As my mother would say, “Do it, don’t talk about it!” Tough love, sure, but you didn’t think this was going to be easy, did you?

  • Anything else you would like to say?

I just want to remind people to leave reviews for the books they read on websites like Amazon and Goodreads. Those reviews really help indie authors become known and they do make a huge difference. Please don’t forget to leave reviews!

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Oh, yes! If all goes well, the Judah Black series is plotted to include at least 16 novels. I also have a space opera series of 4 novels in the works called Broken Empire. The first book of that will probably come out between books 3 and 4 of the Judah Black novels.

End with links to Blog /FB & Twitter etc

Website/Blog: http://ea-copen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EACopen/

Twitter: @authoreacopen

 

 


Author Interview: Brady Koch

Posted January 20, 2016

Guns Gods and RobotsBrady Koch is an independent sci-fi writer that lives with his wife and children in Westchester County, NY. A constant presence in the flash fiction scene, he has curated his first collection of novellas and short stories into Guns, Gods & Robots: Seven Curious Tales.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?
    • I’ve always dabbled, but didn’t really love it until I found the courage to take some of my stories to a local writers group. Somehow their feedback validated my work enough to really allow myself love my work. I was a little insecure about it beforehand.
  • Do you have a favourite place to write?
    • Some people like to be at the bar until last call, I prefer closing down the library. There’s zero distractions and the librarians are great at enforcing a quiet atmosphere.
  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
    • I tend to writer about 30 mins in the morning then again on my train back from work. I might get another hour in at night time after everyone’s asleep. This schedule lends itself nicely to writing shorter works is a good fit as I prefer working within these smaller spaces.
  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
    • I like Kurt Vonnegut’s conversational tone, Bradbury’s economy of storytelling and Brian K. Vaughn’s ability to world build while anchoring his work in humanity.
  • What inspired you to write Guns, Gods & Robots?
    • My wife is discerning with her sci-fi likes. It was fun to write my stories in such a way that hooked her on a human connection with a character, then transition in sci-fi concepts in such a way that when she was finished with the story, she’d say “I didn’t know I would ever like a story like that.” It’s like if Rocky Balboa trained and trained for his fight with Apollo Creed then he was challenged to a bout with that robot he bought Paulie for his birthday in Rocky IV. An awful analogy not indicative of Guns, Gods & Robots, but I want to see how many more readers like her I can win over.
  • Can you tell us a little about your book?
    • Guns, Gods & Robots is a collection of seven sci-fi novellas and short stories centred around the themes presented in the book’s title. They can be read independently, but there’s enough of a shared world in the diverse set of stories that they also build off one another.
  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
    • Cid the engineer is likely my favourite. He has a job that requires him to hold a certain blind faith, but he’s analytical at heart. The challenge he faced with his broken robot forces him to find a balance between both sets of needs.
  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
    • I don’t like leading the reader too much. Guns, Gods & Robots is full of strange scenarios and unusual circumstances and I want the reader to see if they agree or disagree with the choices my protagonists are making. I know I don’t approve of many of their decisions. Having stated all of that the closest message I’ll commit to is how can we preserve our core of humanity while the world evolves around us at an accelerating pace.
  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Guns, Gods & Robots??
    • Honestly just picking the final seven stories was an achievement. Like a music album, I had more than enough to pick from and creating the perfect playlist was daunting and rewarding. The good news is I now have a lot of “b-sides” to share with my readers as a result of curating this collection.
  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Guns, Gods & Robots??
    • I’ve always been happy when laying out a really unusual scenario in such a way that it seems common place in the universe these characters inhabit. It would be an exhausting read if every character was constantly shocked at the fantastical events transpiring in the stories. The reader may flinch at a robot missionary, but to a blue collar maintenance worker in my story, that’s just another day in the office.
  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
    • I encourage writers to write with one specific person in mind. I’d rather please one person really important to me, than try and create something that is meant to be everything to everyone. That specific person is as important to me as whatever my “author’s voice” is supposed to be.
  • Anything else you would like to say?
    • Give an independent writer a chance and compose a nice email to them after you’ve finished their book. The letters I would get early on in my writing career, really kept me motivated to continue to hone my storytelling.
  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?
    • Of course. I’m about halfway through a new novel about a crime writer involved on the wrong side of a bank robbery scheme he inspired.

www.BradyKoch.com

Twitter: @BradyTheWriter

 

 

 


Author Interview: M. LaRose

Posted December 17, 2015

The Flower Eater

  1. LaRose is the pen name of an American writer of fantasy who lives in the New England state of Vermont, an area known for beautiful woodlands and bucolic farms. Like many of the characters in the old-world fairy tales that she admires, LaRose lives in a forest that constantly inspires her imagination with its mystery.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I have always loved stories.  The first thing I can remember intensely wanting, was the ability to read.  Before I entered elementary school, my mother was friends with another woman who had taught her daughter to read at the age of three. When we visited them, I’d sit with this other little girl, who was younger than me, and she would read her books aloud while I hung on every word. One day I asked her to read a certain picture-book and she agreed, but added, “I’m picking the next book.” This was totally fair, but I hated the fact that I had to rely on someone else to read to me.  It felt like someone else held the key to the garden of stories that I wanted to enter.

By the time I was in second grade I had written my first story (about some fuzzy monsters) and decided I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I used to wander around with stories playing in my head, and whenever I told them to other children, they would listen with great attention – I guess you could say that I started creating and sharing my own garden of stories way back then.

  • Do you have a favorite place to write?

A: I write at home (rather than out in coffee shops or other public places).  I live in a very small cabin without an office, or even a desk, so I write on my laptop, either sitting on the couch or at our breakfast bar. In the summer I would love to write outside, in my quirky flower garden, but so far I don’t have a spot outside where I can read the computer screen clearly!  I hope to someday have a covered porch or awning that will allow me to write outside.

  •  Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really! But when I was writing the final chapters of The Flower Eater I did write every evening, as I felt the momentum of the ending pulling me along. Ideally, I would like to write every day, but I don’t always find the time, or the feel the urge strongly enough, especially since I have a full-time day job. I’ve recently begun writing short stories and entering them in contests, and the contest deadlines have helped me finish some good stories.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

There are so many writers I admire that this is difficult to answer! I tend to skip around among writers and genres, rather than focusing one.  But I know I’ve been deeply influenced by fantasy books I read in childhood, including The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; and The Hobbit, as well as Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.  As a teenager, I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo, and was very intrigued by the scene where a priest declares his love for a gypsy, and begs her to run away with him.

  • What inspired you to write The Flower Eater?

When I was a child I read a lot of old-world fairy tales that had been collected in a huge series of volumes that were available in our town library. The intensity, emotional depth, and magical elements of those fairy tales really appealed to me. My parents divorced when I was six years old, and there was a largely unspoken but tacitly powerful belief, on my mother’s side of the family, that after my father left her, my mother never fully recovered from the heartbreak.

In my novel, The Flower Eater, I explore ideas around heartbreak and emotional breakdown, as well as the concept of taking and breaking vows. I’m also very interested in psychic powers and the possibility of alternate dimensions, and those feature in my novel, The Flower Eater. The title came to me first, and hovered around in my psyche for many years before I finally began to write the book. The plot came to me over the course of fifteen years, as I slowly wrote the novel in my spare time. Certain scenes came to me very suddenly, out of the blue, and felt very much like magical or divine gifts for which I am very grateful.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book? 

Here’s the “elevator pitch” for The Flower Eater:

In a world of medieval magic, a young priestess is enthralled by a handsome blacksmith into breaking her sacred vows. A crisis of faith and passion launches her into an astral dimension where mysterious flowers beckon and an evil prince flexes his psychic powers toward world domination.

  • Do you have a favorite amongst all your characters?

Trilla, the heroine of The Flower Eater, is still on my mind. Her story continues in the sequel that I’m currently writing. I’m also fond of Trilla’s best friend, Brea, and Trilla’s true love Venn. Recently, I wrote a short story about a mermaid and I enjoyed conjuring that character so much that I may write a novel, or a collection of short stories, about the mermaid.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Yes. As the reader follows the main character, Trilla, they’ll see an over-confident young priestess wrestle with the darker sides of herself and the world she inhabits. The Flower Eater is about overcoming one’s lowest, self-centered, potentially evil, desires, to see the larger picture and work for the greater good.

  • Q: Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Here’s a brief teaser from The Flower Eater:

In the pattern of the watching crowd, a spot of pale blue began to catch my eye each time I passed it.  A gentle color, vividly pale.  The Song-Sister’s voice and the Bell-Sister’s music reached a crescendo.  I leapt into the final steps of the Dance, twirling rapidly to the spot on the stage where I’d begun.  With a flamboyant twist of legs and skirts, I kicked and jumped, then fell to a sudden landing with my sisters.  Chests heaving from exertion, arms raised, we were done, our features glowing but as still and composed as the faces of the statues above us.

I looked out into the crowd and saw the swatch of pale blue color that had caught my eye.  It was a woman’s dress, worn by a maiden of my age: a stranger, someone from other parts, come to see the new Priestesses dance.  Near her stood Brea’s parents and siblings, and her aunt Rissa.  Next to them, I spied Uncle Verd and Aunt Fara gazing at me with awed smiles and shining eyes.  I smiled back, very slightly, to show that I saw them.  Then, suddenly, my eyes were drawn upward, toward the back of the crowd, where a dark-haired man fixed me with his gaze.  Harnn was there, staring at me.  For a moment, I stared back without thinking, my heart jumping inside me at the sight of his handsome features, fixed on mine, from across the throng.  The memory of his passionate kisses flared through me like a flaming arrow.  Then I tore my gaze away.  The serenity of the Trance was gone in an instant.

  • What have been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Flower Eater?

Besides finding the time to write, my biggest challenge was dreaming up the plot. When I began to write The Flower Eater, I had only a vague premise about forbidden love and broken vows, and knew I wanted to write in the fantasy genre, but the plot was not clear in my mind. Because I had come up with the title first, that title stimulated my imagination to ask questions that eventually led me to write various plot scenes and twists. There is one major plot twist that I resisted when it first came to me, but the idea wouldn’t go away. Once I allowed myself to take the story in that direction the plot began to open itself, like a flower, in my mind. That was an amazing experience, but it also took years for me to put all the words down on paper.  My greatest achievement is that I finally completed the story to my own satisfaction – and that most readers so far have enjoyed it.  It also felt good when Kirkus Reviews called The Flower Eater a “magnificent debut” and “delightfully entertaining story” – that was really nice!

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Flower Eater?

The Flower Eater is the first complete story I’ve written since childhood, and it took me about fifteen years to write, during which I was not writing any other fiction. I learned a lot about perseverance, editing, and trusting my imagination. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with procrastination, so learning to persevere and complete my writing is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write a story that appeals to you. And if you’re easily shaken by criticism, do not share it with anyone until you’ve finished it to your own satisfaction. If you want to sell your writing, you will have to handle feedback and criticism at some point, of course, but first just get the words down on paper. Then set it aside for a while and re-read it later, as if you were a stranger who knew nothing about the story. If you don’t like editing, hire a good editor.

  • Anything else you’d like to say?

Just my thanks for this interview!

  • Do you have any future works planned?

Yes, I’m working on the sequel to The Flower Eater, and hope to get that largely completed by next summer.  I just finished writing my first short horror story (about an evil clown).  And I have a short fantasy story in progress that features a woodland nymph. And, as I said earlier, I may write more stories that feature a mermaid.


Twitter @TheFlowerEater

Facebook: The Flower Eater by M. LaRose

Thank you for your interest!

*******

 

 


Author Interview: Patricia Loofbourrow

Posted November 26, 2015

Patricia LoofbourrowPatricia Loofbourrow, MD is an SFF and non-fiction writer, PC gamer, ornamental food gardener, fiber artist, and wildcrafter who loves power tools, dancing, genetics and anything to do with outer space. She was born in southern California and has lived in Chicago and Tokyo. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three grown children.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I began writing in high school, mostly journals and poetry.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

At my desk, upstairs. We have a large room where most of my family keeps their computers, games, music and so on.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I’m more of an addict. I write when I feel like it which fortunately is most of the time.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I love what George RR Martin has done in his Song of Ice and Fire, mainly because I love books with multi-dimensional characters and political intrigue. I also love the Dune series by Frank Herbert for much the same reason. Every time I read Dune I learn something new.

  • What inspired you to write The Jacq of Spades?

I just recently wrote an article about that: http://www.pattyloof.com/blog/how-i-went-from-sentence-to-series/ A couple of years ago, a couple of sentences popped into my head which struck me as reminiscent of film noir. Since I also like steampunk, I decided to combine the two. On plotting the story, I realized I was starting in the wrong place. The Jacq of Spades is really a prequel to the book I originally wanted to write.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

The Jacq of Spades is the first book in a series about a female private eye in a neo-Victorian domed city split between four crime families.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

My protagonist’s mortal enemy is a man known as “Black Jack” Diamond. He has about as bad a reputation as a man can have (and is quite possibly insane) but is protected by his Family, who own the prison and most of the court system. Jack Diamond is very fun to write.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I try not to write moralistic stuff. But it’s intentionally noir. As such, it deals with choices and how they may or may not make a difference to anyone but yourself.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

The once-beautiful domed neo-Victorian city of Bridges is now split between four crime families inThe Jacq of Spades an uneasy cease-fire. Social disparity increasing and its steam-driven infrastructure failing, a new faction is on the rise: the Red Dogs.

Jacqueline Spadros has a dream life: a wealthy husband, a powerful family. But her life is not what it seems.Kidnapped from her mother’s brothel and forced to marry, the murder of her best friend Air ten years before haunts her nightmares. She finds moments of freedom in a small-time private eye business, which she hides in fear of her sadistic father-in-law.

Air’s little brother disappears off his back porch and the Red Dogs are framed for it. With the help of a mysterious gentleman investigator hired by the Red Dogs to learn the truth, Jacqui pushes her abilities to their limits in hope of rescuing the child before the kidnapper disposes of him.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Jacq of Spades?

I had to rewrite it a lot to get to where I wanted it. I wrote one large section of the story at least six times, trying to understand a certain character’s background and motivations. Moving around scenes and adding subplots three months before publication was pretty harrowing: I feel like I went through almost as much as my characters did! The achievement, I think, was pushing through and getting the book to where I wanted it.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Jacq of Spades?

I have a lot more grit than I thought I did.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write a lot. I feel that the “million words” advice is good. You need to find your confidence and perspective, and you need to learn how to write. It’s hard to do either if you’ve only written one or two stories.  I began writing novels in 2005 and I think I’m close to the two million word mark. I’d have to go back and check.

Find a team. You can’t do this alone. You need readers you trust who will tell you the truth. You need the best editor you can afford. You need a fan section. This takes time. Start participating in writing groups while you write your million words, making friends, finding who’s good and who’s not.

Don’t try to publish a novel unless you really feel ready, because it’s a lot harder than it looks. You have to really want this bad and have a story you really believe in. That said, once you decide to do it, put a realistic deadline for your book and draw a line in the sand. Tell everyone you know. Doing that made me step up to the plate in a way I never thought I could.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Self-publishing a novel is like being the first one on a new rollercoaster in the dark. You don’t know what is going to happen – you just sort of have to trust that it all will work out. But it’s fun.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I’m plotting my second book in the series and plan to write it during NaNoWriMo 2015.


http://www.jacqofspades.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheJacqOfSpades

https://twitter.com/Jacq_Of_Spades

http://red-dog-conspiracy.tumblr.com/

amazon

 

 


Author Interview: P.F.Davids

Posted November 17, 2015

pfdavidsphotoI’m P.F. Davids, fantasy writer and author of Lesser Evil.  I write from my little place in Central Florida.  When I’m not writing, I’m playing tabletop games, or watching numbers go up in the latest RPG.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

When I was very young.  Some of my earliest memories are of making little picture book stories for my mom.  It’s really all I’ve ever wanted to do.  During High School, I did novelling as my senior career project.  College saw me take a path through the IT field, but I never stopped writing.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

A boring answer, but my bedroom.  The more unique thing is when I write: typically 90% of my writing has gotten done between 12 AM and 5 AM.  I’ve always been a night-owl, and those hours after everyone has gone to bed and before the sun rises are so peaceful and free of distractions that I can really focus on putting my thoughts to words.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

My programming professor probably gave me the best advice (or worse, depending on your point of view): keep some candy or other snack about you, so if you reach a problem that is particularly frustrating you can take a bite and keep your calm.  This advice has worked for me in writing as well, keeping a nice stack of snacks about really helps me when I struggling with writer’s block or a certain paragraph that I know what is supposed to be said but just won’t get phrased right!  Course, probably not the healthiest habit, but it helps.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Joe Abercombie’s First Law trilogy really opened my eyes to modern fantasy.  Or I should, shattered my perception as to what good fantasy had to be.  While I’m not really a student of the Grimdark style (as I still like my stories to have a more hopeful or heroic overall tone), it did shape how I view my writing drastically.  I’m hoping to eventually find that perfect balance between classical fantasy elements and modern fantasy as inspired by him.

  • What inspired you to write Lesser Evil?

I was told by a certain friend that he liked my villains more than he liked my heroes.  So I decided to do an exercise where I told a story from villain’s perspective to see what I could learn from that in terms of telling my heroes story.  I ended up really liking some of the characters that I came up, so I retooled them for an upcoming NaNoWriMo challenge.  I actually failed my goal that year, but by that time I was determined to see the project through. 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

The book is a play on the classic story of good versus evil,  with the question at the forefront being, “If a good man does evil to fight evil, can he still be considered good?”  Kester Belisario’s order is on the verge of extinction at the hands of the Serpentine Empire, and the only hope they have is to assassinate the Empire.  To this end, Kester must recruit an old enemy of the Church, a man cloaked in darkness whose evil deeds are legendary.  If they can work together without killing one another, they might just succeed.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I don’t like to play favourites with my characters.  There are some who are easier to write than others, though.  Writing a character like Reis, who plays naturally on my darker side, and whose sarcasm matches the way I normally think, is fairly easy for me to write for.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Each book is different for every reader.  I will leave it to readers to decide what messages to take from it.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Taken from Chapter 3, the first Reis point-of-view chapter.

Why did his research always seem to take two steps back for every step forward?

Reis sighed and leaned back in his chair.  He tried in vain to wipe the sleepiness out of his eyes with his hands.  He had worked through the night, as he often did, and had been positive, as he often was, that he was on the verge of a major breakthrough.

Well, I suppose a result is a result.  Now if I could just figure out what it means.

            He could feel himself getting frustrated, a familiar anger rising up inside him.  It would not do.  Anger had its uses.  It could drive you in combat, it could motivate you to press on against rough conditions and impossible odds, it could blind you to pain and sorrow.  But alchemy required a cool, logical mind.  Reis closed his eyes and forced himself to take a few deep breaths.

Green and red, saved from the dead.  Blue and black, a life you now lack.

The annoying little rhyme played over and over again in his head.  With his eyes closed he could even see the thick spectacles of his alchemy teacher staring over him as he was forced to repeat the rhyme until it was burned into his mind.  Elixirs should all turn one of those four colors.

So why the hell is it purple?

            Reis opened his eyes, looking again at his unusual concoction.  It was not the strangest result his experiments ever yielded, but it was certainly among the most puzzling.  The color told him nothing.  At least when a failed experiment turned blue or black he could get an idea of what went wrong based on the shade.  But purple?  That was meaningless.  For all he knew, the experiment was a resounding success and he had just discovered a new type of elixir.

He raised the vial up to his nose and took a deep sniff.  The smell turned out to be just as useless as the color.  It smelled sour at first, but then he began to notice a distinctly salty scent.  None of that made sense.

Was one of Lesser Evilmy ingredients contaminated?

            He had no choice but to check all his ingredients for purity.  He grumbled to himself when he thought about the amount of tedious work that would require.  There was no getting around it, though.  Alchemy had zero room for error.  Even the smallest contaminants would cause a concoction to take on unwanted properties.  Any future experiments could be compromised if he did not ensure his stock was up to quality.

Reis got up slowly from his chair behind the lab desk and stretched his legs.  It was good to move around again after being cramped in the lab for so long.

He stepped out into the second floor hallway.  He was greeted as always by the strong smell of sulfur from one of the rooms down the hall.  For all the advances he made, he had yet to come up with a solution to stench.  Fragrant candles, perfumes, even scented cloths held to his nose failed to alleviate the stench.  He had grown mostly used to it by now, and fortunately it saw no use in his recent elixirs, so he had no need to smell it up close.

The doctors who had built this mansion had the clever idea to do so in two layers.  There was the outer layer, which encompassed the hospital and other public areas.  To separate their home from the hospital they built another layer inside it, almost a house within a house.  It made sense; it helped keep their personal and business life separate.  Plus, in the winter it was easier to warm just the living area as opposed to the whole mansion.  When Reis had found the mansion the outer layer had already fallen to disrepair, the roof rotting, the hospital leaking, the walls seemingly near collapse.  The inner layer had fared much better against the elements and Reis had been able to perform some basic repairs to get it into livable condition.  He also spent quite a bit of coin procuring quality furnishings, so he could continue to live the lifestyle to which he was accustomed.  As Reis walked down the hall he passed several comfortable chairs, their cushions plump and ready for him should he desire a break.

It had seemed like the perfect arrangement to him.  The mansion’s outwards appearance of rot and disrepair discouraged visitors and enemies alike, while inside he had all the comforts he desired.  At least, until the Empire decided to pay a visit.

The pushy colonel had left Reis little choice.  He would have preferred not making such a powerful enemy, but he was not about to be pressed into the Empire’s service either.  There would undoubtedly be consequences; the Empire knew where he lived and had surely learned of the colonel’s demise by now.  Reis wondered how long he would have before they came marching in force towards his home.

He would have to move on before then.  It would be a pity abandoning the place he had lived in so long, but Reis was not one for sentimentality.  The worse part would be abandoning his massive stock of alchemical components.  Even if he hired a cart to assist him, his stock was too large to take with him and many of the ingredients would become contaminated in the process.  Which is why it was so crucial for him to make some progress in what time he had left.

The first store room came up on the left.  The occupants before Reis had likely used this room as a child’s bedroom.  Now it was filled with shelves containing jars of powders, oils, plants, preserved animal parts and insects, dried leaves and grass, solid crystal fragments.  All the common alchemical ingredients, as well as some that were not so common, such as blood and gemstones.

Reis checked each container in turn.  He checked the seals, smelled the contents, ran the powders through his fingers.  He found no signs of contamination.  He checked the next store room, and the last one down the hall.  In none of his inspections did he find anything that suggested contamination.

No closer to solving this mystery.

            Reis was running out of options.  At this rate the only way forward would be to test the elixir, and he sure wasn’t going to drink it with no idea of what it would do.  He was going to need to find a ‘willing’ test subject.

            And he knew just where to find one.

 

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Lesser Evil?

Getting the book ready to be published was a brand new challenge for me.  Going from cover design, interior formatting, editing… oh, editing.  Thankfully, I had great help from talented cover designer and an editor who cut me deal.  Oh, and many friendly proofreaders.  Couldn’t have done it without them.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Lesser Evil?

I learned I am capable of a complete book, from beginning to end to publication.  Really, something I was not sure I would be able to do.  Now that I know I can, I can’t imagine anything stopping me going forward.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Yeah, write.  It seems simple, but just sitting down and writing is much harder than it sounds.  Getting those words on pages is a great struggle for all writers, particularly new writers.  I suggest taking a crack at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) one November if you are the kind whom a deadline would be beneficial.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Support your local bookstores!  (Also, small bookstores, I wouldn’t mind your support as well)

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I’m currently working on the second book in the Lesser Evil trilogy, which I will make an official announcement of in a couple of day.  And being a trilogy, you can expect a third book as well.  I’m also in the planning stages of major series, which I can’t go too much into right now (mostly cause the notes are such a jumbled mess right now), but it is a single series with each book telling the journey of a single character.


You can find Lesser Evil on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lesser-Evil-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B015JAQ10I/

And Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26705917-lesser-evil

You can follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pfdavids/

And Twitter: https://twitter.com/PFDavids

 

 


Author Interview: Andean White

Posted September 29, 2015

Andean WhiteUtah is where my hat has found its hook for forty plus years, just north of Salt Lake City. Access to the outdoors, close to family in Wyoming, and good jobs have been key in the decision to stay.


When did you first discover your love of writing?

Started writing about five years ago when I retired. The first attempts drew interest on a few free eBook sites, but needed considerable improvement to be worthy of publishing. Finding a mentor/editor, writing short stories, rewriting book chapters, and changing genres have energized my love of writing.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

Mood, background noise, and schedule determine which one of three settings is used for writing. Each location has something different to offer. The downstairs office is a “serious” desk with two stacks of papers, stapler, lamp, and a good atmosphere for grinding through the details that polish a story. The family room is where I can replay movies that help create moods for writing. The kitchen table is bathed in sunlight, which sparks creativity, and strangely it is a great place to edit.

Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

A general outline is created followed by a chapter list with short descriptions—only generating detailed information to the next three to four chapters. I find this keeps the story line from running away, but gives the characters flexibility to be creative.

OneNote is a good tool for recording the outline, chapter list, and detailing of the chapters.

Are there authors or specific books you aspire to?

I like John Grisham. He manages his stories well and applies the right tension keeping the reader engaged. When reading The Firm I could not put it down.

What inspired you to write Spring’s Saboteurs?

A sequel was just a thought then the reviews and feedback on Winter’s Thief turned out better than expected. Then somewhere around the middle of writing Spring’s Saboteurs it became a four book series.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

The back cover says it best:

Prince Argo has arranged the deaths of his older sister and two brothers. Now the king, his deceptive and clever planning skills set in motion a multifaceted revenge scheme to overthrow Manshire Province. Kidnapping Queen Althea’s younger sisters initiates a whirlwind sequence of events threatening the lives of the Manshire Queen, the Captain of the Long Bows, the Queen’s husband, and the province.

Lieutenant Charles Cromwell, Argo’s Field Commander, has trained a militia four times larger than the Manshire Long Bow Knights. His vast battle experience makes him the perfect leader for Argo’s scheme.

The scheme is so well planned; the first elusive clues evade Captain Oscar until the ransom letter arrives. Oscar must marshal all of his skills and separate reality from ruse provided by mysterious characters with ties to Argo.

Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

My favorite character is Bernard the surprisingly gentle hermit. Bernard has a mysterious sense of timing. He is completely comfortable with his modest existence, which is a sharp contrast to his educated manners and speech. Everyone that meets Bernard, and his wolf Exeter, leave with a feeling that he is more than just a hermit who happens to be the brother of the enemy king.

Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

No message, though I am hoping the readers find it entertaining.

What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement writing Spring’s Saboteurs?

I was halfway through the book when my writing energy went flat. Two days passed and my interest remained low. On the third day I tossed the notes on the next three chapters and started over—no organization, no typos fixed, and no spelling corrections. By noon I knew exactly where the book was going.

I would not call it writer’s block. Writer’s overload best describes the problem. It was not obvious to me until the new chapter outlines were complete, with some of my favorite ideas left out that I realized the book was getting too complicated.

What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing?

I had a schedule in my mind for finishing the book, which was driven by a desire to release it in Spring. The self-imposed stress reduced the quality of the delivery. Rewriting further delayed the completion date.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Don’t give up. The world of writing is full of tales about famous writers that took eight years to become an overnight success, or a writer that taped all the rejection letters together to make a thirty-foot sheet.

Do you have any future works planned?

Book three, Summer’s Swarm, of the four book Seasons Series is 25% complete.


Links:

Email:              Andean.White@gmail.com

Website:         www.AndeanWhite.com

Twitter:          @AndeanWhite

FaceBook:      www.facebook.com/AndeanWhite

 Spring Saboteurs

eBook at Amazon:

Springs Saboteurs – link

Winters Thief – link

 

Video: Springs Saboteurs Video



Author Interview: Aida Jacobs

Posted September 29, 2015

 

Aida JacobsBio:

My name is Aida Jacobs, I am a thirty-three year old, self-published, fantasy author. When I am not tirelessly toiling away on my writing, I love spending time with my loving, supportive husband, and our inquisitive daughter in Minnesota where we make our home.


When did you first discover your love for writing?
Fifteen years ago during my Senior year of highschool, I found myself with a free period that needed to be filled, so on a whim, I signed up for creative writing. I signed up for the class because I knew the teacher from other classes, and I liked her. She was very animated and passionate about what she taught, and it translated over into her lessons, so I knew that I would enjoy the class regardless. However, what I did not expect was to be bitten by the writing bug. Some people are bitten by the acting bug, but once I started writing…I simply couldn’t stop.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

Thanks to Google Docs, I can write anywhere via my phone or tablet whenever I get an idea while I’m out running errands, but my favorite place to write is at my desk at home. It’s where I have all my reference materials (among which is a map I drew of the kingdom I created). This location gives me ready access to the all-important coffee maker after all, and sometimes getting up to get a fresh cup of delicious caffeine is all I need to think of a solution to a scene that was giving me trouble.

Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Whenever I find myself dealing with writer’s block, I write fanfiction. I know that some people roll their eyes at such a thing, but I find it to be a valuable writing tool because it gets my mind off of what has me stuck and thereby forces me to think of something else so I don’t drive myself crazy by not being able to write my way out of a problematic scene right away.

Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Tolkien will always hold a special place in my heart because my first exposure to the world of fantasy was my father reading The Hobbit aloud to me when I was a child. Every night, he would read a chapter to me, and he even did voices for the various characters. It was from that first night that I became hooked on the world in which magic and dragons ran rampant. I also enjoy Salvatore’s Legend of Drizzt and have often looked to those books as a guide on how to incorporate humor into an otherwise dismal situation.

What inspired you to write your Primordyan Chronicles?

This goes back to my creative writing class in high school. In the class, the students had to turn in a new project at the end of every week. It did not matter if it was a short story or a collection of poems, so long as it (or they) were original works. At the time, I had trouble grasping the concept writing a short story (it was the concept of compressing an entire plot into only a few pages that illuded me), and poetry was something I reserved for whenever I felt upset or depressed. So, on a whim, I approached my teacher a posed the concept of writing a novel wherein I would turn in a new chapter at the end of each week. My teacher agreed to my idea very enthusiastically, and I spent that night brainstorming.

I thought it would be best to stick with what I loved, and so the story that took shape over the course of the year was a fantasy with strong Celtic influences. I had no idea at the time that I was in fact writing the very first draft (there have been many drafts since that first one) of what would eventually become Dragon Guardian: Fire which serves as the cornerstone for my Primordyan Chronicles.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

In Dragon Guardian: Fire, the reader is introduced to Marin Draconya, the half-elven princess and protagonist of my series, as she is literally thrown into a life and death situation from the very first page with no explanation at all from her father mere minutes before her entire family is slaughtered. Upon surviving by the skin of her teeth, she is later rescued by Nicodemus, a powerful wizard, who explains to her the truth of destiny to become a Dragon Guardian–a rare mage with the power to command dragons as well as the powers they wield–and restore peace to the war-torn land of Primordya. Accompanied by her loyal companions, Marin then embarks upon her quest to merge her soul with the Fire Dragon, the first of the four Elemental Dragons, so she can acquire his power and begin achieving her destiny.

In Dragon Guardian: Water, Marin now finds the powers of the Water Dragon awakening within her. However, before she can join with the second dragon, she finds herself abducted by pirates! As though that were not troublesome enough, the land of Primordya finds itself facing a new, impending war upon its shores in addition to the constant threat of Nahga–leaving Marin’s companions unable to rescue her. Alone in the middle of the ocean, Marin must find her way back home if she is to have any hope of achieving her destiny, but this seems a completely impossible task when she finds herself suddenly bereft of her powers.

Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

They are all my babies! They are each precious and special in their own ways, and I love them all for the different facets that they add to the story.

Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Nothing is impossible!

Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

(The following is a teaser from Dragon Guardian: Fire)

 

“They’ve picked up the girl’s scent.”

“She couldn’t have gone far. Lucky thing since the sun is rising higher.”

“Stay close on their tails. Remember…Queen Nahga wants the half-breed brat alive.”

Marin’s blood ran cold and she was filled with a renewed burst of adrenaline as she leapt to her feet and rushed deeper into the woods at a full sprint. Yet, for all her fear and adrenaline, Marin could not deny the fact that she was growing weary any more than she could ignore the burning of her lungs or the sharp aches in her sides. However, she dared not stop. The howling of the large beasts chasing her coupled with the mental image of them sinking their teeth into her flesh provided more than an incentive to continue on her mad race for survival.

She did not know where she was going, and at that moment she did not care. She had to live—if only to ensure that the sacrifices made by her family had not been in vain.

She had to live!

It felt as though she had been running for hours, but in reality, Marin had no idea how much time had passed since her escape. While the grey of dawn had been chased away, she was in no position to see where the sun hung in the sky. Even when she finally burst out of the woods, she paid the sun’s position no heed, choosing rather to find a place to hide. Happening to glance over her shoulder as she ran up a hill with the intention of crossing the river which awaited her on the other side, she did not see the adolescent, auburn-haired girl kneeling in her path.

Kneeling just past the top of the hill, the young woman—no doubt a resident of the nearby village of Metallum—had been in the process of gathering berries for her family’s morning meal, and she let out a surprised squeak upon seeing the sprinting girl barreling towards her. Turning her gaze back at the surprised sound, Marin saw the girl too late and collided with her head on—causing the both of them to fall to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs. Marin’s cloak fell from her shoulders as she struggled to her feet but she paid it no heed.

“What the blazes?” the girl demanded in an annoyed tone as she glared up at the wild-eyed girl before gathering up her basket of berries.

“Run!” Marin screamed breathlessly.

“From what?” the girl asked in confusion.

Marin did not take the time to answer. Rather, she sprinted down the hill until she came to the Flumen River into which she then jumped and allowed the rough, swift-flowing water to sweep her downstream.

“What was all that about?” the young girl muttered to herself while shaking her head before her gaze fell upon the fallen cloak. Deciding it best not to allow the perfectly good article of clothing to go to waste, the girl simply shrugged and picked up the cloak before tying it around her own shoulders. Then, with her freshly picked berries in hand, she turned…

Just as a large, black, seemingly incorporeal wolf attacked her.

The massive animal of living shadow leapt into the air—throwing all of its great weight against the girl’s slender frame and knocking her to the ground. The girl screamed, but to no avail. Fueled by the young woman’s terror and relishing in its potency, the beast ripped out her throat. The other shadow hounds closed in upon their dying victim and mauled her face and arms as the young woman made a last, futile effort to protect herself–the grass running red with her blood.

It was then that the dark elves burst through the tree line and sprinted up the hill towards the hounds.

“Stop! Get off!” The elf pulled a bottle from his small satchel and uncorked it–allowing a blinding flash of light to escape and make the hounds vanish without a trace.

“It’s too late,” another elf said. “She’s dead.”

“No… we’re dead when Nahga discovers this!” another snapped. “She wanted us to bring the girl back alive not as a half-mangled corpse!”

“Just bring the body and blame it on the hounds. It is their fault.”

“He’s right. It’s better than coming back empty handed.”

“I hope you’re right…for all our sakes.”

The dark elves took the girl’s mangled body, wrapped it in a large piece of cloth, and began dragging it back to where they knew Nahga would be waiting.

(End)

Dragon Guardian

What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing your Primordyan Chronicles?
I would have to say that my biggest challenge was finding the courage to self-publish after being rejected by every publishing house to which I submitted my work. Naturally, every rejection I received over the years made me question my writing skills because no matter how much I tweaked and revised Dragon Guardian: Fire after every rejection in attempts to make it better, publishing houses still turned me away. But then, after a nearly fatal medical procedure, I decided not to waste another moment waiting for someone else to decide my work was worth publishing. Life is short, so I took matters into my own hands, and now my books are available on Amazon, Kindle, as well as bn.com. It still blows my mind to go to either place and find my work there for all to see!

My biggest achievement would have to be developing a small clutch of fans. I would have been happy with just one person who enjoyed my stories and my characters, but…as it turns out, there’s more than one. I’m not pretending to have a legion, not by any means, but the limited number doesn’t make them any less important to me. I treasure and appreciate every, single one of them, and I can only hope that they will continue to enjoy my writing.

What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing your Primordyan Chronicles?

I have learned that I am deeply attached to all my characters because they have been part of my life for so long. This was never made clearer to me than while I was writing Dragon Guardian: Water and I killed off one of my characters. The death was necessary to the plot, but that did not make me grieve the loss any less.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

If you truly believe that you have a story that is worth telling, then do not give up! Even if you have to go the self-publishing route because publishing houses don’t believe your story is worth their time, do not give up. If you truly believe that your story is good, then don’t let anyone tell you “no”.

Anything else you would like to say?

While it’s good to have a basic idea for your characters, never set all of their details in stone. While they exist only on paper, characters still have life. They must be allowed to grow and evolve organically as their story progresses or else they, as well as the story, fall flat.

And finally, do you have any future works planned?
I have two more books planned for what will be the core of my series. I am currently writing Dragon Guardian: Air, and the one to follow will be Dragon Guardian: Earth. After these two books, I plan on writing a prequel as well as a few “sequels” which will focus on characters that served secondary roles or who were simply referenced to in the four, core books. I’m really looking forward to expanding upon the world I created and further fleshing out characters that have either only been referenced to in passing or have yet to have their true moment in the spotlight.


Twitter: @Primordya4ever

Website: http://bookfairy1216.wix.com/aida-jacobs

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/primordyanchronicles


Dragon Guardian


Author Interview: Esther Dalseno

Posted September 10, 2015

EstherDalsenoMy name is Esther Dalseno and I’m an Australian living in Berlin.  I’m about to publish my debut novel, Drown, a YA crossover fantasy that I wrote entirely in Laos, South East Asia.  I’m a big traveler, I left Sydney alone nearly ten years ago and worked my way across the world, teaching and writing.  In three totally different countries, I acquired a husband, a daughter and a Pekingese dog (not necessarily in that order).   


When did you first discover your love for writing?I discovered my love for writing, I would say, when I first began to read.  I was so entranced by my childish picture books that I immediately attempted to create my own.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

Yes, and it’s boring as anything: I like to be at home, in silence, and completely alone.  Impossible with an infant daughter!  I find music influences the tone and pacing of my writing, so I can’t have any of that.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I always edit any work I have done previously before I can write anything fresh.  Then I procrastinate for maybe 2-3 hours, faffing about on social media and texting people.  I tell myself, “I’ll just make another cup of coffee before I start” and then three cups later, I’ll write one sentence.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Absolutely.  I’m in love with Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende.  My idea of the “perfect” novel is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.  Other epic books I am in awe of include Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, and The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Murakami.

  • What inspired you to write Drown?

I was sick and tired of waiting for someone else to do it.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Drown is a dark and twisted retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I love a good villain.  That’s all I’ll say.  (Also: Voldemort was misunderstood, and Harry Potter overreacted.)

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Cliche, sure, but true: treasure each day.  Our lives are short, we only get one.  The power of free will.  On a related note, perhaps after readers finish the novel, they will assume that I personally have certain ethics/religious beliefs.  I assure you, I do not.  I wanted to stay true to Andersen’s original intent for his story, and that’s all I will say in case I ruin it any further!

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Drown?

Publishing.  I am being published by a micro press, 3 Little Birds, and it’s very much a partnership where I exercise a lot of control and give my opinion very fearlessly!  However, my journey to this point was long and arduous.  My little writer’s heart was absolutely broken by the Big 6 back in 2010.  I scored a very big agent with Drown Drownon my first round of query emails, and even then, I had other offers of representation before I decided to sign with this wonderful soul.  The results that followed were heartbreaking in the sense that I was so close to a substantial
book deal I could practically smell it.  However, there were issues with censorship, and I had to delete words like “sperm” from the manuscript.  Then there was a problem
with placement, as my writing was deemed too “literary” for YA audiences, and my themes far too dark, too adult.  I think what it all boiled down to was the economic crisis at the time, and how the Big 6 were not about to risk plonking down cold, hard cash on such an indefinable manuscript and no-name author.  We came very, very close.  Mere inches away, really.  But in 2015, the face of YA has changed.  There is more “risky” subject matter, more adult content, more sex.  Very real issues are being discussed.  The writing is less frothy, more substantial.  YA authors are finally being taken seriously as writers.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Drown?

That I am a quitter!  Seriously.  After all that heartbreak, I absolutely gave up.  I buried myself in a dark cave and hibernated.  I couldn’t write another word.  I refused to tell anyone about it, and certainly never mentioned I was a writer!  Then when it became apparent I was going to be a mother, I knew I had to try again.  That I couldn’t teach my daughter to go for her dreams and never give up if I was a quitter.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Never, ever, ever give up.  And when you are not writing, read.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Just that I am overwhelmed by the response to Drown already, on premise alone, as it hasn’t yet been released.  Social media is full of wise, creative, supportive and accepting souls.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

My second novel, Gabriel and the Swallows, is due for release in early 2016.  It is a coming-of-age story set in Italy during the 1960’s:  mysterious winged creatures, a beautiful Turkish boy followed by an unexplained swarm of swallows, feverish Roman nights, murder most foul, vineyard escapades, everlasting love.


Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/drownbydalseno

Website: www.estherdalseno.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26115647-drown

Twitter: @EstherDalseno


Author Interview: Mark Binmore

Posted September 3, 2015

by Mark Binmore

Mark BinmoreAccording to my official twitter feed, I am a top selling author (so I’m told) with a hint of mint, mid 40s, based sometimes in London other times in south of France at my own small hotel.  I have published twelve books, some prose and short stories, two collections, a biography and two novels about people and places which never existed except in the mind of this author.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

When I was a child, I developed a love and passion for stationary especially pens and notebooks.  I didn’t see the point in having one without the other and so from then on I started writing.  I started out writing imaginary characters, song lyrics and short pieces of poetry before progressing to structured stories.  I used to carry a notebook with me to catch memories and observations.  It’s something I still do today, carry a notebook and people watch, observe, and listen for a name or something which grabs me.  The other day having coffee I was intrigued by conversations near me about a woman called Jane Fish.  I thought it was a great name but even better was that this Jane Fish came along and it turned out she was actually called Jane Finn.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

I have my own library at home in France – my own private space which is filled with books, records, artwork, letters, unfinished manuscripts and other bits and pieces.  It’s actually a tranquil room where I can escape to and think.  On the wall are two of my favourite paintings which many friends find slightly strange.  One is a picture of a cracked baby dolls head floating in a sewer and the other is of a little by lying in a field watching big clouds pass by.  I find them both aspiring.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Every outcome is different but my usual routine when writing would be a good straight four hours in the morning followed by a break, lunch or gym, then back to writing afterwards but more and more I prefer to write in the evening especially late when there is quiet from the outside world.  It can be sometimes different.  I recently spent three days writing none stop and completed a book before falling asleep for about a day.  Surprisingly the finished book needs little editing – according to my editor that is.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I am more aspired by books rather than a specific author.  Vile Bodies and Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh take me back to a different era while autobiographies of people who have lived really grab me.

  • What inspired you to write Simply Divine?

Set mainly during the 1920s/30s, it is a period in history which really fascinates me, the in between war years, the time when young people cast away their parents and grandparents Victorian values and wanted to party.  I wanted to recreate this gluttonous fantasy by creating people that never existed against a backdrop of a world that did exist.   

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Simply Divine brings two of my books together – Now Is Not The Time for Trumpets and A Life Of Parties.  We look at the lives of two beautiful party people Stephen and Agatha and go on their life journey. Both are different and both are based on real people.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Agatha Dewsbury.  In a way parts of my life are embedded in her story.  There is a great part of the book where discussions are raised between her editor and herself about publication of books, artwork, promotional activities etc.  Those dialogues actually did happen between my editor and me.  Although she is a carefree spirit, there is also a lonely fragile and vulnerable side to her which comes out and can relate to.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Live life, have no regrets.  It is what it is.  That has always been my motto, “it is what it is.”

Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? Of Course.  This is the beginning of the Trumpets book, setting the scene between James, an aspiring author and Stephen.

           (James) Okay I’m nearly ready…

(Stephen) No rush…

Stephen was lounging in an armchair dressed in a bizarre outfit of purple trousers, a canary yellow and white frill shirt and a gold blazer.  His hair, what was left of it, was also dyed purple and his cracked lips painted rouge.  He smelt of a mixture of cologne, lavender and cigarettes.  Surrounding him was an array of photograph frames and a collection of dusty hardback books.  I recognised a few of the people featured inside the silver frames, his mother, sisters, one of his brother and a collection of deceased dogs all wearing a bizarre collection of Christmas party hats.

There was also a large black and white print taken sometime during the 1930s in the garden of Arches, Stephen looking angelic in a pirouette costume, his face dusted with white powder and heavy rouge applied to his cheeks.  He is looking away from the camera while other people notably the socialites Angela Dewsbury and Desha King gaze affectionately in a sombre pose.  It was this photograph that drove me to write to Stephen, this beautiful photograph of beautiful people that made me want to know more.  In one hand Stephen held a gilded cigarette holder and the other a large glass of neat gin.  He was shaking slightly and his eyes were glistened with tears.

I’m actually quite nervous

Why?

I’m not sure….I guess I have waited a long time to meet someone who wanted to listen.

Take all the time you need

Are you okay with this recording machine?

Yes, that’s fine

 

Okay, let’s do a test…just say something into the microphone…

Okay….

(Pause)

I don’t know what to say

Start with your name

Stephen…Stephen Wallingford

And where are we?

Arches…..Arches……

 

Stephen picked up my letter I had written to him earlier in the year.  I was researching a book on what people call, the Bright Young People of the 1930s.  Some called them beautiful; others labelled them as tragic and stupid.   These Bright Young Things, or Bright Young People was a nickname given by the tabloid press to a group of bohemian young aristocrats and socialites in 1920s and 30s London. They threw exotic fancy dress parties, went on elaborate treasure hunts through night-time London, and drank heavily and experimented with drugs—all of which was enthusiastically covered by the journalists of the day.  They were ridiculed, laughed at but most of all idolized by many.

I had read about Stephen and knew he had refused interviews for over twenty years.  I understood he was the main persona behind this beautiful set and the last of a dying breed.  I wanted to know the real Stephen, the man people forgot, I wanted to hear about his friends, the parties, what made him who he was now, the enigma, a recluse…a somebody.   I was also keen to view Arches, the splendid home of Stephen and the base of where many a weekend party was held.  Closed to the public and indeed to the outside world, I had read about the once beautiful building and its interior which featured a green morning room, a red morning room, the finest dining area, a great hall and the famous magnificent staircase which had been designed by architect Samuel Othman.

The staircase itself is of marble and the steps having broad treads, moderate nosings and very low risers. A flight runs parallel to one side of the gallery to the angle of the wall where there is a landing, and then another flight parallel to the other side to the first floor, with an intermediate landing supported on small open arches. The balustrade is of marble with a broad flat handrail and dwarf pillars with swelling bases

In 1925, the London Times described it in the following terms.

This staircase is one of the most beautiful and interesting portions of house, I shall describe more minutely below. It is noticeable now, as giving a key to the external appearance of the whole. Round three sides of it on the east, south and west the principal rooms are grouped; and the simplicity of the arrangement has enabled the architect to obtain an external effect of considerable grace and dignity

Arches was large, more villa than manor house and like other notable houses of the period built for sizeable families like the Wallingford’s who needed plenty of spacious rooms to hang with draperies, fill with furniture and stuff with objects they adored and had collected over the years.   Such houses were no trouble to heat, fuel was cheap and it was easy to keep clean as servants were inexpensive.

Arches was an unusual and attractive house.  Wide sash windows and coloured glass in the upper part.  There was a multiplicity of chimneys, trellis work and plants covered the walls.  Attached to the house was an airy conservatory where Stephen’s mother once kept birds.  It contained wicker furniture, exotic plants, palm trees and other spiky plants.  There was also a second smaller greenhouse which housed broken furniture, storage for croquet, mallets and hoops.  This was a place where Stephen used to escape to, to think, to be alone.  I had arrived a few hours ago and was slightly saddened at the shabbiness and darkness of the house.  The once fine building looked a shambling wreck upon first glances, the gardens unattended and the paintwork peeling.  A nondescript maid had opened the door, nodded at my prompt arrival and then proceeded to show me straight into the library.

I noticed that much of the house was no longer in use and everywhere you walked there were filthy white sheets covering an array of furniture and paintings.  I was therefore surprised to see inside the library for it would seem this was one of few rooms that were still alive.    My first judgement at meeting Stephen was wondering who the old frail gentleman was.  I guess I was expecting the younger Stephen, the Stephen who had gold dust in his hair, the Stephen who wore makeup, who was slim and full of life.  This Stephen was fatter, frail and yet….still mischievous looking.  This Stephen was, of course, older.

 

So where do you want to start?

I don’t mind.

The beginning?

Yes….it was such a long time ago you know, my memory…well, it’s not what it was.  It all happened here….in this house…..

Stephen paused for a few moments, stubbed out his cigarette and immediately lit another one and blew smoke into the sunlit room.   I casually glanced around at the chaos.  Golden art deco objects caught my eye, a catalogue of books, scatter cushions, dead flowers and the fragment smell of sandalwood and teak.  Every ashtray was filled with the stubs of Pera cigarettes.  Stephen caught me looking, smiled and preceded with his own question.

Perhaps…perhaps one should start with me……The interview begins.

Simply Divine Book Cover

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Simply Divine?

 

Funnily enough completing it.  It was my first full length novel and I started both Trumpets and Parties with the first chapter and then completed the last one, so I knew what journey I had to head towards.  I spent last summer promoting the book throughout Europe (Chris Henson came with me and wrote an observational travelogue book called Tour De Europa) and acknowledging the reception the book received was amazing.  The book was also nominated as fictional biography of the year by GoodRead.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Simply Divine?

I was told that I had a great way of writing about every tiny detail, what shoes Agatha was wearing, the fabric colour, the accessories as well as embracing the whole mood of the era.  I felt pleased that when people gave me feedback they really felt they were there at the parties, at Arches where Stephen lived and knew someone like Agatha – I guess in life we all know a Stephen and Agatha.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write.  Pure and simple, just write and never, ever throw anything away.  I wrote a book several years ago and then left it.  It has recently been rediscovered and re-edited for publication next year as it fitted into the era of my previous books.  I would also set realistic targets even if it is just say thirty minutes of writing a day or six months to complete and edit a novel.  I think it is essential to write about what you know, what you love and what you have experience in unless you am ample time and energy to do intense research.  Most of all, my only advice for anyone wanting to write is just enjoy it, see where the journey takes you, you may be surprised.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

I am more than happy for new writers to send me a proof copy of any book ready for publication if they feel they want someone neutral to give constructive feedback.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Two books are ready for publication next year.  Take Down The Flags tells various stories all set on one day; the day in question is the end of world war two.  All stories are the opposite of celebration; I wanted to see the end of war from another angle.  Simple Pleasures is the lost manuscript mentioned above.  It’s a diary of a housewife, simple but with added observations and humour.  It has been reedited to incorporate characters from Simply Divine to make it relevant.

 

Thank you for having me!


www.markbinmore.wix.com/markbinmore Main website

www.amazon.com/author/markbinmore Amazon

www.facebook.com/markbinmoremedia Facebook

www.twitter.com/MarkBinmore Twitter

www.instagram.com/markbinmore Instagram


Author Interview: Andrea Jenkins

Posted August 14, 2015

Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins

Biography:

Andrea Lynne Jenkins born in Allegan, Mi, USA is an American author currently writing her trilogy “Kara”, “Vero” and “Andromeda”.

A former model (attending John Casablanca’s in 2010 in Tampa, Florida), Andrea is a scifi, thriller, romance novelist and mother of four. She loves travelling (having driven through 33 states before the age of 29) reading, writing, watching movies, dancing and music. A true lover of the fine arts.


1) When did you first discover your love for writing?
A: I started writing songs and poems when I was twelve. I always kept a diary growing up, and eventually started writing my first novel in 2013.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?
A: I actually find it most calming to write on my front porch. I sit out there enjoy nature and peace. (I live in the country)

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
A: I write everyday – generally at night.
Or if something pops in my head while thinking about my story, I start writing.

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
A: Nicholas Sparks and Stephanie Meyer.
I love the Twilight saga, The Hunger games and The Divergent series.

5) What insipired you to write your trilogy “Kara”, “Vero” and “Andromeda”?
A: Honestly I had this amazing dream about it, which also helps with my writing because I could “see” the story. I woke up and began writing.

6) Can you give us a description about your trilogy?
A: An American girl, Audrey, discovers a human-Alien boy, Lylan, that came here to warn Earth about a black hole that will literally suck Earth into it within weeks.
They fall in love as she’s helping him and they face many trials together.
He brings her back to his planet and Earth declares war (after witnessing Lylan’s strength and “special powers” Earth views him and his planet as a dangerous threat). Audrey returns to Earth to continue to warn Earthling’s only to be held captive. (At this point she has Lylan’s “powers” because when two people fall in love, they become one).
Lylan fights for the love of his life. Audrey fights from within…
I won’t give too much away, but I will say this:
It is very suspenseful with a lot of plot twists.
I love the element of surprise.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all of your characters?
A: It’s almost a tie between Audrey and Lylan. Not only is their love and teamwork inspiring but their courage really lights up the story.
I also love the queen (Lylan’s mother “Ledayn”) and his sister “Malik”

8) Does your book contain a message for your readers to consider?
A: Yes! A corrupted Earth, finding kindness/peace, being courageous and standing for your beliefs when everyone else doesn’t agree with you.

9) What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing “Kara”, “Vero”, and “Andromeda”?
A: I have re-written certain parts numerous times. I want the best of the best and I won’t settle for less.
Achievements,  being able to write and share this amazing story with the world.

10) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing your trilogy?
A:
1) I have a voice and it can be heard.
2) I have a very creative mind
3) I love researching facts to make my trilogy feel like it could happen.
(I am now addicted to Nasa’s website and TV channel!)

11) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
A: Keep writing. If you get writers block, take a short break then write, about anything to keep yourself in that mode of writing.
Be patient, but persistent.

12) Anything else you would like to mention?
A: Look for “Kara” (Which means Earth in Italian) December 2015 on Amazon!

13) And finally, Do you have any future works planned?
A: Indeed I do.
I have two other romance novels I will begin writing after I finish “Andromeda”.


Blog: www.missfictionlove.weebly.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/xoxoandreaj
Twitter: https://twitter.com/xoxoandreaj



Author Interview: R.R.Virdi

Posted April 2, 2015

I’m RR Virdi, author of The Grave Report, a paranormal investigator series set in NY. I live in Falls Church, Virginia. I’m 25 at the moment, I’d like to keep it that way. I’m predominantly an urban fantasy author, but I have written and will go back to writing fantasy and science fiction. I’m an ex-mechanic and still an avid car lover, video gamer, PC builder and modder. I am also a competitive napper.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

Age 18, summer before college, best thing ever.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

My room on my custom gaming PC.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

No, in all honesty, I would likely benefit from one however.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Jim Butcher.

  • What inspired you to write Grave Beginnings?

I still don’t have an answer for that, I just did, and do. I don’t decide what I want to write, I just get ideas that I am overly excited about and I chase them.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Grave Beginnings is a paranormal investigator novel set in New York. It follows Vincent Graves, a soul without a body, murdered by the paranormal a long time ago. He is tasked with inhabiting the body of those killed by monsters and using their bodies, skills, and memories to solve their murders for them. The catch with this is that it comes at the cost of his own original memories, the more people he helps, the more of his own memories slip away. The series begins in media res with him having done this for years and no longer aware of his original identity and life.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Vincent Graves, always Vincent.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Hope, fighting against the odds no matter what. Sometimes you get dealt bad cards in life, it happens, don’t give up, but fight on in spite of that. Play your hand best you can.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Grave Beginnings

 

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Grave Beginnings?

Honestly, the biggest challenge was just getting it done. Life kept trying to get in the way. School, oh man, that and day jobs were trying to keep me away from it all. I was working so hard just to try and hit my desired word counts. It’s a challenge that honestly is still plaguing me at this time in my life. But, I’m dealing with it. I don’t have much of a choice otherwise.

  •  What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Grave Beginnings?

That I really love urban fantasy, myths, magic and monsters a great deal more than I originally thought. That I can devote a heck of a lot more time to something that I ever imagined possible, even after that something was done. The constant improvements, editing with my amazing editor, the new cover, all of it. It was a lot of work, still is, worth every second of it too!

  •  Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Never stop working and improving on the craft. Never. Write short stories when you can, if you can. Read a lot, write a lot. Everything makes you better. Find excuses to write. I’m still in the process of developing my career, but that advice seems to be working for me. I’m an author with one novel out, and it’s doing pretty well all things considering.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Give me a million dollars. Please? But seriously, life is short, and that’s a cliche, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. I dropped out of college, I’ll be honest here, I don’t know where my life is going. There are days I am terrified if I did the right thing. But it feels right. I have nothing to fall back on…and yet, I still know writing feels right. I don’t know what my career will look like in ten years, all I know is what I hope it looks like. And that will have to be enough. Most days it is. I’ve written Grave Beginnings, it will be in print soon. Grave Measures is with my wonderfully skilled and amazing editor, and will likely be out by early 2016. The long gap in between books was that life thing I mentioned earlier.

Don’t you hate that?

And I’m writing a new novel/series right now. So I’m working a lot, writing hasn’t given me a fully sustainable career yet, but, I’m still doing it. Something is driving me, something I can’t explain. Sometimes it pays to listen to those somethings in my opinion. Because I’m broke, but you know what? I’m still pretty happy. So yeah.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I do indeed! I have another urban fantasy series planned, I’m being a good little ink monkey and penning it as I write this, because…I have two monitors. And I have some one off novels planned as well as some short stories that will be free. Yes, free. That magical word. And I have some fantasy epics planned for the future. I’m young and insane. So I have all the time in the world and lunacy to do it all!


Blog: http://rrvirdi.com/

Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/R.R-Virdi/e/B00J9PZ1YW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1440927074&sr=8-1-spell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rrvirdi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rrvirdi