Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Linda Jordan – Here Be Ghosts Bundle

 

Author name: Linda Jordan

~What first prompted you to publish your work? Alfred Lets Loose is one of those magical stories that came to me just as I was waking up one morning. I could hear the voice of the main character and had the story unravel itself before I even made it to a standing position. I can’t remember how long it took me to write, but it’s rare that a story comes to me all spooling out like that. It’s a wonderful experience.

~Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I started out as a plotter, but have turned into a pantser. I read Dean Wesley Smith’s book Writing Into the Dark and I was convinced that was the way to go for me. We have very similar problems with being easily bored. After I outlined a book, I no longer wanted to write it.

Making the change was frightening at first. I was afraid that no story would come. But it always has. Every single time. And I’m enjoyed being surprised by the story that does come. I figure if I’m surprised, the reader will be as well.

~What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? I wish I’d known to look at everything I was writing as practice. It would have taken some of the pressure off. Everything I write is always practice for something else. Also, I wish I’d known to trust myself.

~What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work? I offer free books on a regular basis (usually the first in a series) as a means of giving people a taste of my work and as a gift for signing up for my mailing list. I don’t think free books are demeaning.

Libraries? They’re this awesome place that lend free books. All right, paid for by our taxes, free books.

I think free books are good marketing, if done right.

~What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Don’t do it. What people think of your work is their own business, not yours.

As a writer, you shouldn’t be reading reviews of your past work. You’re done with that. Over. Finished. You should have moved on and be writing the next book. You did the best you could at the time. Every book will get better. If you spend all your time neurosing about the skill level in your previous books, there will be no new work. You won’t improve.

~How influential is storytelling to our culture? Storytelling is so embedded in our culture we don’t even realize we’ll listen to any sales spiel if there’s a story involved. It’s the heartbeat of our culture. We crave stories and we’re drawn into stories on a daily basis. We want the story of our kid’s day at school. We want to listen to the stories of the world when we turn on the news. Songs are stories with a rhythm. We sit around the screen at night, watching stories.

~What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Write the next book, publish it. Then write the next one. And repeat.

~What is your writing space like? My writing space is in the kitchen (the center of the universe). I have a desk that closes with a drawer where my laptop lives. The closing desk is essential—because cats. My desk is covered with rocks, lists, post-its, fairy lights, pens and other cool stuff. And a couple of light boxes because I live in the Pacific Northwest where it’s dark and rainy for five months of the year. Next to this desk is a standing desk, which is home to too many piles of things. But I still use it, moving the laptop back and forth between the two. That’s my fall, winter and spring office. They summer office is outside at a table under an umbrella to keep the glare down. I’ve got three different tables out in various parts of the garden, each with an extension cord to plug in. Where I sit depends on the warmth of the day and whether I need more shade or sun at that time of the day. I love writing outside, but alas, it’s only for a short few months of the year.

~What’s your next writing adventure? I’m currently writing the second novel of a five book series. It’s a post-apocalyptic story with magic. I’m having so much fun with these characters and this world. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

~What is the last book you’ve read? Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans by Sonya Rhen. A fun YA science fiction book about a rock band touring the universe and all their mishaps. Finished it last night. Guess I’ll need to pick up the other two books in the series. Science fiction humor is a hard thing to balance and she does a great job.

~Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? I think we’re in the middle of a transition. I think the story is the important part and that the form it takes will continue to morph and expand, along with technology. I think ebooks are a huge thing, but not the end. I also think there will always be paper books. People still love them, including kids and teens. Bookshops are in decline at this point. They may rally and shift form, but I think the age of the super bookstore is over. They take up too much expensive real estate and don’t earn enough money to sustain the business. I also think new ways of storytelling will come into being with new technologies.

~With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling? I can’t see that trad pub will be able to continue business the way they have in the past. They’re owned by such large corporations who are pinching every penny paid out to writers and not supporting books that aren’t bestsellers. I think being an Indie is a much more vibrant path and the potential for growth is awesome. Provided the vendors continue to send money our way. It seems to be working for musicians and for movies. I hope it continues to work for writers. I can’t say it’s the future, because the future is always changing.

~How important is writing to you?

Vastly important. I spent decades procrastinating and the days I didn’t write I felt terribly guilty. Now when I don’t write because life has gotten too busy, I feel uneasy. The whole day feels wrong. As a result, I write most every day. And most days it’s the most rewarding thing I’m doing. Telling this story, one chapter at a time. Writing is my life.

Links

htpps://www.lindajordan.net/

www.facebook.com/LindaJordanWriter

 

Bio

Linda Jordan writes fascinating characters, visionary worlds, and imaginative fiction. She creates both long and short fiction, serious and silly. She believes in the power of healing and transformation, and many of her stories follow those themes.

In a previous lifetime, Linda coordinated the Clarion West Writers’ Workshop as well as the Reading Series. She spent four years as Chair of the Board of Directors during Clarion West’s formative period. She’s also worked as a travel agent, a baker, and a pond plant/fish salesperson, you know, the sort of things one does as a writer.

Currently, she’s the Programming Director for the Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest.

Linda now lives in the rainy wilds of Washington state with her husband, daughter, four cats, a cluster of Koi and an infinite number of slugs and snails.

Alfred Lets Loose Linda Jordan

Swift Six and Blog Tour – Janine Ashbless – Erotic Romance/Fantasy

Name:  Janine Ashbless

What attracts you to the genre in which you write?

I write erotic romance and erotica, mostly with fantasy or paranormal settings. It’s the perfect genre for me: I can build whole unique worlds with dramatic settings and life-or-death plots, and at the heart of the story is all the tension and fear and challenge of passionate attraction. I know my readers are going to get a huge kick out of the sex scenes, but I can also use the sex to explore depths of character and pivotal moments of decision.

And yeah, I think love and sex are two of the most important things in life. They can transform it, destroy it, or make it worth living. So why would you not want to write about them?

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures?

You are never going to please everyone, no matter what you write or how well you do it. So write for those who love what you do, and don’t worry about the others.

 If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you chose?

The god Dionysus … The wine would be great and the entertainment truly memorable!

 Who has been the greatest influence on your own work?

My greatest literary inspiration is Angela Carter, with her wonderful lyrical fairy tales in the collection “The Bloody Chamber.”

 Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print?

No – there’s something about physical books that people love. In the UK this year the sales for e-books fell for the first time, and the sales of paperbacks rose!

Speaking personally, I buy both. But when I’m hunting for something to read, I’m much more likely to pick up a paperback – and if I read one I love, then I’ll buy that author again.

 Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?

The Lord of the Ringsbecause it’s a book I can get lost in every time I read it.

The SAS Survival Handbookfor obvious practical reasons!

A large book of blank pagesso I could write!

  

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure. She likes to write about magic and myth and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.

Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000. She’s also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora’s Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology ‘Geek Love’.

Born in Wales, Janine now lives in the North of England with her husband and two rescued greyhounds. She has worked as a cleaner, library assistant, computer programmer, local government tree officer, and – for five years of muddy feet and shouting – as a full-time costumed Viking. Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, and holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage.

Her work has been described as “Hardcore and literate” (Madeline Moore) and “Vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love.” (Portia Da Costa)

You can find Janine on Facebook or at her website or blog.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

In Bonds of the Earth is the new paranormal erotic romance by Janine Ashbless, and is the second in the Book of the Watchers trilogy.

 

Broad at the shoulders and lean at the hips, six foot-and-then-something of ropey muscle, he looks like a Spartan god who got lost in a thrift store. He moves like ink through water. And his eyes, when you get a good look at them, are silver. Not gray. Silver. You might take their inhuman shine for fancy contact lenses. Youd be wrong.

 Milja Patek’s bloodline were sworn to guard the fallen angel imprisoned beneath their family church, until Milja fell in love and set him free. Now she has to learn to navigate her new life as wife and plaything to Azazel.

Angel or demon, protector or tyrant, right or wrong, Everything Milja once knew has been flipped upside down and all she can do is follow her heart, even if that means waging war against Heaven and releasing the rest of the fallen.

Unafraid to tackle the more complex issues surrounding good and evil in mainstream religion, Janine has created a thought-provoking and immersive novel which sets a new standard for paranormal erotic romance. The first in the series, Cover Him With Darkness, was released in 2014 by Cleis Press and received outstanding reviews.

In Bonds of the Earth is published by Sinful Press and is due for release on March 1st, 2017.

 

 Ebook:

Amazon

Apple

Kobo

Google Play

Barnes and Noble

 

Print:

Support your small publisher and buy direct

Waterstones

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

Goodreads

 

*****

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/janine-ashbless-3/

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8b9ec5be178/?

 

Blog tour organized by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Excerpt from In Bonds of the Earth

Wrapping the cheap cotton throw from the foot of the bed around my bare body, I padded through to the doorway. The Archangel Michael stood in the middle of my small apartment, looking about him at the book shelves and the pictures. A paperback copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo slipped from his hand back onto the low table.

“Hello, Milja. Nice place. Has he moved his toothbrush in yet?”

It was like waking to find a giant bird of prey in my tiny living room; he looked wildly unsuited to a domestic setting and way too big for it, even with wings furled. In fact, with that Roman nose and those unblinking amber eyes, there was something distinctly golden eagle-like about him. If he stretched out he could knock over walls, I thought.

“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked. “This is my home. You can’t just come barging in!”

“You’re right,” he said, looking startled. “I have to have your permission. No, hold on, wait…that’s vampires. Shame.”

I pursed my lips. “Well, God certainly did not hold back on the sarcasm when he made you guys.”

He smirked. If you’re that good-looking, even a less-than-warm smile can be a weapon of devastating charm. Turning to the couch, he sat down with arms draped over the back and knees spread. It was not so much an invitation as a claiming of territory.

“What do you want?” I kept my voice hard, even as I thought of the icon of Saint Michael that had stood guard over the key in my father’s church. That holy painting had always made me feel nervous as a child, and he was no less intimidating in the flesh. His piercing gaze rested lightly upon me, with all the gentleness of a sword-point.

“Nothing.”

His rigger boots were caked in dried mud, I noticed, and flaking on my rug. I wished he would blink. It still creeped me out, even though Azazel should have inured me to it. “Angels aren’t supposed to lie. What are you doing here?”

“Waiting.”

“So, what…you’re sitting guard over me until Azazel comes back? Is that your plan?”

“He’s too much of a coward to face me. Runs every time.”

“If that’s the way you want to call it.”

He looked at the kitchen door. “I see you have a kettle. You got any tea? I like that Earl Grey stuff. Tastes like flowers.”

“I know the rules, you know. You can’t actually do anything to me.”

“True enough. And I’m not stopping you leaving, if that’s worrying you.”

“I can move out. Get a new place.”

“That’s fine, I’ll find you. This apartment’s a bit small for the two of us, to be honest.”

I clenched my jaw, weighing my options. “Okay,” I said, and dropped my wrap to reveal my naked body, in all its post-coital salty glow.

That wiped the smile off his lips. “Don’t play those games,” he growled, sitting up and looking away from me.

Love is Azazel’s weak spot. Shame is theirs. They’re terrified of their own human flesh.

“What? Does this make you uncomfortable? That’s a pity, seeing as how it’s my house and I like to walk around it naked.”

“You are shameless.” His gaze was sliding all over the place, not daring to settle on me.

“I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.” I hefted my breasts and jiggled them. “They’re my tits. In my apartment. If you don’t want to see, clear out.”

“Put your robe back on,” he rasped.

“Oops,” I said. “Did I drop it?” Turning my back to him, I spread my feet and, straight-legged, bent over to pick the fabric up again. Nice and slow…

He moved so fast he’d launched me across the room and onto my bed before I even realized he was out of his seat. The abused mattress twanged in alarm. It knocked the wind out of me—and more than that, shocked me half to death. I wasn’t in the least bit hurt, not even bruised, but I hadn’t expected him to touch me at all, under the rules. Maybe the Boatman sailed closer to the wind than I’d bargained for.

“Don’t do that, whore!” he barked, leaning into my face. He looked furious. I knew why. It takes a human decades to learn how to deal with all the things that come with an adult body—all those hormones and instincts—without losing control. Angels never had the advantage of a gradual introduction.

I had two choices: surrender or fight. I bared my teeth and snarled right back at him, matching his rage and contempt. “Or what? You’re going to rape me? ’Cause I think that might just count as a fall from Grace, don’t you? And then you’d be royally fucked, Mister Michael.”

He recoiled, drawing himself up in undisguised horror. I took advantage of the gap between us to roll over and pull the drawer of my bedside cabinet open, pulling out the silicon rabbit sex toy I’d been given at my graduation party. I hadn’t used it in months, I couldn’t even remember if there were any batteries in it, and I certainly wasn’t feeling horny, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

“Wanna watch?” I asked, spreading my legs wide. “Because that’s what us girls do when we’re home alone these modern days. You can go into the other room if it squicks you out to see. Then you’ll only have to listen to the noises I make.”

He turned on his heel and stomped away, slamming his hands into the doorframe hard enough to crack the wood. But he didn’t leave altogether. He was just that bit too stubborn.

 

Author Interview 122 – Em Dehaney

Welcome to Em Dehaney

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in a town on the River Thames called Gravesend, and now live in a village not too far away. Gravesend is ever present in my writing, and my first novel is set there. It has a rich and varied history, and you may know it as the place where Pocahontas died.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc? I write mainly fantasy and horror. My novel, The Golden Virginian, is an urban fantasy, but I like to research real historic events and base my writing around that. My writing often links the past and the present. I have been a lifelong horror fan, so my writing also regularly veers towards the supernatural and murderous.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? One of my favourite characters from The Golden Virginian is Ethel Tilley, a 400 year old riverside prostitute. To quote the description of her from the book

“Ethel was both tired and ancient yet playful and fresh. It was as if her mind was stuck being a teenager, but her body was struggling to keep all its molecules together after four hundred years”.

And she makes exceedingly good cakes!

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? The taxi-driver John Pete. Everything about this character is vile.

“A spluttering cough announced the entrance of a man whose palette consisted entirely of grey and yellow. His skin was a sallow ash, as though no oxygen had made it to the surface since 1975. The whites of his eyes. were no longer white, but a sickly, pale lemon. His shirt was the colour of used dish-water with yellow stains mushrooming out from under the arms. Wispy grey hair was dotted about the sides of his head, the top of which was shiny-bald. A smile broke out on his face, presenting an array of misshapen, rotted tooth stumps.”

Are your characters based on real people? The main character The Golden Virginian, Tommy Tucker, starts life as a lazy stoner with no girlfriend and no job, and he ends the book as The Searcher of The Thames. This was a real role of royal appointment since the 14th century, and in was the precursor to Customs & Excise. The Searcher was given permission by The King to check every ship entering Gravesend for contraband, counterfeits, secret letters and any other prohibited or taxable goods. In my novel, the first Searcher of The Thames (a man called John Page) uncovered a world of magical trade happening in secret under the King’s nose, and so becomes the first tax collector of the magical community in Gravesend.

Pocahontas also features as a character in the opening of this novel, although I have taken some artistic licence with her final hours.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? As my novels are all based around real historic events, I try and use local resources for my research. Lots of visits to the Gravesend library, plus talking to local historians, is far better than just using the Internet. I like to visit the places I am writing about and feel the atmosphere. The novel I am writing at the moment, The Lady of The Dead, opens with the murder of a Transylvanian Prince, which occurred in nearby Gad’s Hill. This was a real event that took place in 1661, and when I first read the accounts, it was so mysterious and evocative I knew I had to incorporate it into one of my novels.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book? Although on the surface The Golden Virginian is about magic, revenge and the journey of the main character, it is at heart a story about family. I don’t think I set out to write a novel about families, but my family is important to me, so it naturally came out in my writing.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? I am planning to self-publish The Golden Virginian in March 2017 in e-book and print, to coincide with the 400th Anniversary of Pocahontas’ death.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I have not employed the services of a professional editor, but I do have a particularly eagle-eyed and pedantic friend who edits and proof reads for me. I also like to get lots of feedback from different beta-readers.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I think the stigma around self-publishing is on the way out. It would be great if people thought about indie-publishing in the same way as indie music – it’s real, authentic and less commercial than traditional publishing and you get full creative control. Yes, its harder work, but you are the one reaping all the rewards. That’s not to say that a book deal with a publishing house isn’t still the end goal, but if I don’t ever get there, I wont feel like a failure as people will still get to read my work.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, all the time. I’ve just read a great supernatural blues odyssey by Richard Wall, and I love the work of horror writers CL Raven and Matthew Cash.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Reviews are vital, especially to indie authors, but NEVER comment on them, whether good or bad.

What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? Writers are all readers. You can’t be a good writer without reading extensively, and giving reviews to a fellow writer as long as you have read the book is fine.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Never give up. Finish what you started. You can always edit a bad novel, you can’t edit thin air.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I absolutely loved the Hellraiser/Sherlock Holmes crossover Sherlock Holmes and The Servants of Hell by Paul Kane. As a fan of both the original source materials, I thought it was a well-thought out book and didn’t read like second rate fan-fic.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? My two all-time favourite authors are Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. While King is traditionally thought of as horror and Gaiman fantasy, I feel that they both transcend genre. Whatever mood I am in, there is always a King or Gaiman short story to suit, and I never tire of re-reading their novels.

Do you have a favourite movie? Hitchcock’s Vertigo is a classic, stunning in both style and substance. The feeling of impending doom that runs through the whole film, the music and that reverse camera focus-pull that is now standard visual language for fear of heights, but was created by the master.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I used to belly dance.

 

Website https://emdehaney.com/

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

Out now: 12Days Anthology featuring my poem ‘Here We Come A-Wassailing’. All proceeds go to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

12-days

 

On Kindle

In print

 

 

Boo! Authors – Erin McGowan – #Horror

Who are you?

Sure, we can start with the most open-ended question of all time.  My name is Erin, my nickname was Lark once upon a time, but you can call me anything, so long as you don’t call me late to dinner.  I’m an accountant/administrative assistant/whatever-the-hell-my-boss-tells-me-I-am by day and a writer and very occasionally editor by night.  I love to read, travel, read, drink coffee, read, take walks on the bead, and read.

Tell us about your Boo! story:

I have one story about friendship, life, love, and scary shit.  My second story is about brotherhood, friendship, love, bikes, and more scary shit.  Seriously, though, one of my stories is about two best friends who go on an impromptu Halloween road trip and find more than they bargained for.  The other story is about a motorcycle club and the lengths they will go to in order to keep people safe.  I just now realized that both of my stories deal with travel and unbreakable bonds, but that’s not too surprising, because those are both things I value immensely.

What else have your written?

I’ve written short stories in “Music Speaks” and the other three “Boo” books.  I’ve also written two full-length novels.  “Aftermath” is a contemporary fiction novel that I am still half-tempted to entitle “Everybody Dies” just so I don’t have to give a summary of the book.  “The Mage: Awakening” is a young adult urban fantasy book about a young woman who learns how to control her magical powers and tries to fit in in a new school and the mage society.  It’s the first in a series.  I hope the second book will be out soon.

What frightens you the most?

Being alone, or letting the people I love down.  And clowns.

Have you ever seen a ghost?

I have.  It was in an apartment, and it was massively angry.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m just about to start “Dead Zone” by Stephen King.  I thought, given the election, it was fitting.

If you could meet any living famous person for dinner who would it be and what would you eat?

I would love to meet Jimmy Buffet.  I don’t think I could bring myself to say anything, but I’d be in Heaven.  We’d eat some sort of fish, I’m sure.  I’d let him choose.

If you could meet any dead famous person who would be and what would you have to eat?

I have to pick one?  Did you ever see the Gilmore Girls episode where they had all their friends come eat a fancy dinner at the Inn?  I want to do that with dead people.  Shakespeare and Byron and Amelia Earhart and Dorothy Parker and Sid Vicious and David Bowe and Rich Meyer and Cina Clark and Brian Wilson and so many more that I can’t even keep them straight.  People I love, people I admire, and people I aspire to be like would all be there.

Which book do you see as the most influential in your life?

Too many to choose from.  I would say Jim Butcher and all of his books changed my life in a major way, though.

In the zombie apocalypse what would be your weapon of choice with which to defend yourself?

I want Harley’s mallet and giant thews.

 

Social media links etc.

Aftermath: https://www.amazon.com/Aftermath-ebook/dp/B00DPYX64A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374341129&sr=8-1&keywords=Erin+McGowan

The Mage: Awakening: https://www.amazon.com/Mage-Awakening-Erin-McGowan-ebook/dp/B01BIR0AJO/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Music Speaks: https://www.amazon.com/Music-Speaks-LB-Clark-ebook/dp/B008C88QTE/ref=la_B008CBE1H2_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478144407&sr=1-6

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ErinMWrites/?ref=br_rs

Lonestar Book Works: http://www.lonestarbookworks.info/

 

Author Interview 116 – Charles F. Bond

Welcome to Charles F. Bond

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in Basildon, Essex, and having moved around a lot, working on various pig farms throughout the UK, yes, Scotland as well, I’m now living in Suffolk, where I have the opportunity to earn some money whilst working with pigs, and have enough time off to write.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.I like fantasy stuff, so that’s where I’m most happy writing, but I also like ghosts, and write about these in other stories, most of which have been short stories to date. Buried was an exceptional write, and I still enjoy reading it at writer clubs that I attend.

Beyond Endless Tides is a fantasy tale told within the ocean, and my debut series if you like. I love the fact we don’t know everything about our water world, and that appeals to the writer in me to be creative when making up a story.

Are your characters based on real people? No, simply because I can’t imagine them with tails. There is an exception, of course, and though I won’t embarrass her by mentioning her name, I did have an image of a friend I knew years ago who had long hair which flowed to the nape of her back and a little beyond. I saw her as a mermaid, in some of my dreaming, and though she didn’t make the cut as it were into the casting, I did dream of swimming and meeting her as a mermaid.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? [Chuckles] It’s a writer’s prerogative isn’t it, but no, I haven’t drowned anyone, as yet. In the future novels which will come, I may find a way to do so.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? I write books to tell stories. No hidden agendas, no messages, just story. I know many great books with this element, but I’m not a fan of putting it in my own worlds. This may change as the years roll on, however. As to their importance, I’m easy where it comes to other authors, if they have a message and they want to convey it in their storytelling then I guess it’s important enough to that individual author to do so.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? I’m glad you asked. So far anyone can get copies of my books as e-book and print paperbacks. Now that I have completed the third novella, which falls just short in word length to a novel, I’ll be looking into getting a narrator to read each story for their individual audiobook.

For anyone who may have looked over my website, you may know the reason behind my dedicating Beyond Endless Tides to Andrew. For those of you who don’t, Andrew was my first ever best friend, and when he went away on holiday, I was distraught when he didn’t return. You see he was on the Herald of Free Enterprise on 6th March 1987, and was one of the 193 passengers and crew who didn’t make it. Next year heralds the thirtieth anniversary of the disaster, and I’ll be creating an omnibus edition, which will feature extra scenes, and maybe a few ones that I cut. I’m undecided but will probably go for a hard back copy, though may run leather bound editions for a short time, too. Whatever I do they will be released on 6th March 2017.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Yes, I self-edit, you have to after a first draft, and then you edit, and edit again until you are happy with the story. But this isn’t what you meant. Every story, no matter who writes it, being a first-timer or a veteran needs some form of outside influence. The writer is just too close to his own works to make the necessary changes to improve the reading experience. He/she him- herself may be the world’s most avid reader, but where it comes to their own work, they need other eyes to show them where things are and aren’t working. Editors are a must for any author, indeed they are.

I think most early authors, myself included, are so eager to get their works out there, they fail to take the time to get any form of editing services. You can tell.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I think certainly this used to be the case when self-publishing first took off, predominantly because indies were thought to be bad writers who couldn’t get a traditional book deal. This of course wasn’t the truth on the most part; it was just that their story, at that time wasn’t seen as a good investment for one reason or another. There are many reasons publishing houses reject submissions, and many aren’t seen at all in some cases because the author didn’t follow one guideline or another in their approach.

But the world is a changin’ and indies are becoming more and more sought after in the marketplace, some even get the traditional deal they want after their books prove to be a success. Indeed there are many successful indies out there, and this falls to the previous question, editors. Indies know they need them to create a marketable end product. The writing serves its own reward for the author.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, and I am delighted with the books I’ve read. I know plenty in the business through social media.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Reviews are a necessity for discoverability. You are doing any author a huge favour by leaving a review: it’s a little like putting him/her on the news where people see their face and know more about what they do. And authors who reply to these reviews should always be professional, polite and courteous. No author should ever fall into the trap of responding to bad reviews. Reviews are a person’s personal experience of the title, leave them be.

What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? We are all readers, too, and have our likes, dislikes and such, and should have our say on the time we spend in another’s world.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? I’ve had this discussion with many people. To me, reading words on a page will always allow the reader’s mind to create its own image of a scene. I sometimes, hate when a book I’ve loved is made into a film, because what I see in my imagination through reading isn’t going to be the same as the setting on a movie. When I’ve read a good book, what I have in my head is my own private account of what I was given from reading the pages, and it’s mine, no one else’s.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? First and foremost, read. Some say you should not read in the genre you are writing, and that may be true when you are actively writing, but when you are between books, read that genre, too. Read consciously, sub-consciously, good stuff and bad, it all helps you become a better writer.

Find yourself a good illustrator. I have now, and for my next book I’m willing to shell out on a good book cover image. People do judge a book by its cover, so it is paramount you make it the best you can.

And remember, writing is always rewritten, once the first draft is done, you should always go back and retype. Edit your words as much as you can until you are happy. We are our own worst enemies where it comes to our creations, so you have to make it as good as you can, and then seek out a good editor to find the parts you, as the author of the story, are just too close to notice.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?Yes, love reading. The most recent read that I finished was Theif’s Magic by Trudi Canavan. She is an Australian author whose author voice I adore because, in places, she has poetic prose. This book has a talking book with a twist, and no I won’t spoil it and tell you what that is.

My current read is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I bought this book a month ago and have been putting off reading it for no other reason than I had other books to read whose authors I’ve read before. Had I known Rothfuss’s words would sing to me, as they do, I’d have read this a lot, lot sooner.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I have mixed views on freebies. It’s a good idea to run a free promotion on an earlier book of a series prior to a new release, doing so in the run up to ‘book day’, but permanently free is another matter. I don’t think authors should be giving away their hard work, not for long periods. Promoting your brand is fine, but in little bites.

Do you have a favourite movie? Some of you may already know this, but my favourite movie is Waterworld. “Good morning, or night, whichever the case may be”, is one of my favourite quotes from the film.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I’ve always had a vivid imagination, even as a child. My big sister knew this and told me many silly facts. The one that sticks with me to this day is that she once told me if the blood from my nose bleed touched either of my feet, I’d die. I believed her.

 

Book links, website/blog and author links:

The Gradonzaras is out 3rd October. Pre-orders available for e-book editions, though paperbacks are live and you can purchase these ahead of release date.

 

Paperback

Amazon (UK)

Feedaread

 

E-book Links are for The Sea Dragons (English Vernacular Edition). My original idea was to make up some mer-words for Beyond Endless Tides, but some early reviewers said these were too confusing when reading on ereaders, though a glossary was included, and I think I have done enough around each word for readers to understand them as they go. In most cases a few clicks will take you to the original idea I’m sure.

Amazon (UK)

Kobo

NookBook

Apple

 

Learn more about Charles by visiting his website

And check out these author pages

Goodreads

Facebook

Amazon

Twitter

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Author Interview 116 – A J Dalton – Fantasy

 

Welcome to A J Dalton

 

Where are you from and where do you live now? From Croydon, now living in Manchester, UK. I also live online a lot. My website is www.ajdalton.eu, which is a portal for those who like fantasy, and which gives plenty of advice and steer to aspiring authors. And I’m on facebook and twitter, blah blah.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’m the UK’s leading author of metaphysical fantasy, mainly cos all the other writers are dead. It wasn’t me. I wrote the first new-wave zombie book back in 2008, called Necromancer’s Gambit. I then did a trilogy for Gollancz, starting with Empire of the Saviours, which sold very well in Germany for some reason (they either have good taste or no taste). Now, I’m doing a trilogy for Grimbold Books: The Book of Orm (2015), The Book of Angels (2016), and The Book of Dragons (2017).

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? My fantasy novels tend to be second-world and psychological, so I don’t need to do much research. Mind you, I’ve taught English all round the world, and other cultures definitely influence my writing. I’ve also learnt a number of martial arts – I’m one of your better authors when it comes to writing a bloody fight scene. But the only book I’ve ever done historical research for is ‘I Am a Small God’, because it’s about a minor Greek god who survives through different eras – so I had to get human historical details right. I don’t enjoy researching that much, as it slows down the writing. Unlike Hilary Mantel, I prefer the writing to the research.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Yes, a number of philosophical themes, including the impossibility of true freedom. I actually coined the sub-genre of ‘metaphysical fantasy’, which is now a category of fiction within the Amazon website.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I self-edit because I’ve been an English language teacher for like 20 years. I have better grammar and punctuation than anyone my publishers can supply. BUT I do use a reading group to spot typos and continuity errors – and they give me emotional support too (very important during long winters).

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Yes. There is a (false) idea that self-published work is inferior to stuff published by the mainstream. This idea is wrong, and probably an idea put round by those with a commercial agenda. Basically, publishers reject commercial-standard manuscripts on a daily basis simply because the publishers (falsely) believe the market is only looking for certain things. Look at Marlon James (Booker Prize Winner) – his books were rejected by everyone. Charlaine Harris’s True Blood series was rejected by every single publisher until vampire fiction was suddenly fashionable again.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I think authors should be able to comment on reviews, especially reviews that are unfair. BUT that’s not how things work, I’m afraid. Any author commenting on a review gets accused of silencing free speech, etc. It’s a shame.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? Ha. Authors are often very enthusiastic about the genre in which they write. They’re readers too. They often want to share their enthusiasm. BUT if the review isn’t entirely positive, the reviewing author will suddenly find their own books start getting reviews that aren’t entirely positive too. Tit for tat. It’s a shame.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Well, F. R. Leavis said a book was ‘active entertainment’ but a movie was ‘passive entertainment’. I tend to agree. A book makes you work harder than a movie. But a book and a movie serve different functions. They both have their strengths.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

  1. Develop your selling skills – cos writing it is far easier than selling it
  2. Ignore feedback unless you’re getting similar feedback from a range of readers
  3. Learn to master narrative perspective and avoid ‘intrusive author voice’ – if you’re not sure what that means, check my short essay and the cited examples in Art of the Novel, by Salt Publishing.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? My guilty pleasure is Gotrek and Felix, by the Black Library. Very strong characters, with well constructed moral dilemmas, and good fight scenes.

What are your views on authors offering free books? If an author has a range of titles, then giving one away for free can win you readers for your other titles. Look, authors make very little money as it is, so we’re not doing any of this to make money really. We’re doing this cos we have something we want to share with people. Giving away a few books never really hurt. And if the person who got the free copy passes it on, they’ll help recruit new readers for you and your other titles.

Do you have a favourite movie? Rollerball, James Caan. The individual fighting the world… and winning.

 

 

 

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Returning Author – Tori Zigler

I’d like to welcome back author Victoria Zigler, or Tori, if you prefer.

Please recap briefly about your books:

Most of my books are fantasy stories, fairy tales, animal stories, or some combination of those, but I’ve also written books in other genres too.  Regardless of genre though, my stories are aimed at children.  I happen to know that some adults have really enjoyed them too, however, and I’m not just talking about adults who are family members or friends either.

Not all my books are children’s stories.  I also write poetry, which is generally suitable for any age level, and has also been enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Plus, I have a fantasy story published in the “Wyrd Worlds II” anthology.

What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news!

The last time I was interviewed on here, I was about to release the final book in my “Kero’s World” series, and had ”Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie” due for release the following month.  Since those titles came out, I’ve published another 14 titles.  Two are poetry books, four are the books for my “Zeena Dragon Fae” series, and the others are more stand alone stories.  My most recent releases are a poetry collection called “The Ocean’s Lullaby And Other Poems” which was released in early July, and my first ever science fiction story “Jeffrey The Orange Alien” which was released in late August.

Also, at the time my last interview went live, I was only doing my books as eBooks, but now I have them all available as paperbacks too.  The eBooks are still published via Smashwords, and distributed to all eBook retailers Smashwords distributes to (such as Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, etc) so are available in multiple formats to work across a variety of eReaders and other devices.  The paperbacks are published via CreateSpace, and distributed to all the retailers CreateSpace distributes to (such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc).

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be?

Yes, I do.  For some reason, people got it in to their heads that self-published translated in to “not good enough to be published” – despite the fact that there are many reasons why a traditional publisher might not want to publish something, and most of those reasons have nothing to do with the quality of the work in question.  Unfortunately, the fact that some self-published authors put their work out in to the world before it’s really ready (in other words, before it’s been properly edited, proof read, etc) has led to some poor quality work being on the market, which has only served to encourage this view.  Opinions are starting to be swayed by some self-published authors who have managed to make it big, and show the world that a self-published book can be as good as a traditionally published one for quality, but I think it’s going to be a while before everyone is willing to accept this new viewpoint – if they ever do.

Do you read work by self-published authors?

Yes, I do.  I also accept books from them in exchange for posting a review.  Personally, I don’t care how an author has published their work.  If it sounds like a book I’ll enjoy, I’ll read it whether it’s self-published or traditionally published.  I use the same criteria for deciding if I want to read a book regardless of the publication method, and don’t give the method of publication a single thought when rating or reviewing a book.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?

Reviews are very important.  They’re useful for authors sometimes, because some contain helpful information on what an author could have done to improve the story, which can potentially help to improve the author’s next piece of writing.  However, reviews are mostly important for other potential readers, since they tell those readers that someone has read the book, and give some insight in to what they thought about it.

Authors can “like” a review, or thank a reviewer for a good review, if they really insist on interacting with reviews.  But that’s it.  An author should NEVER comment on negative reviews, especially not to disagree with the reviewer.  By all means read them, and privately take note of any constructive criticism contained in them, but don’t comment.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors?

I don’t see anything wrong with author’s reviewing work by other authors.  I’m an author, but I was a reader first, and the same is true for all authors, which means there’s no reason an author can’t assume the role of an average reader while enjoying the work of another author.  Plus, it’s a bit silly to exclude someone from being allowed to review a book just because they’ve written one of their own.  As long as an author leaves an honest review, and isn’t leaving a good review on the work of another author just in hopes of getting one in return, or leaving a bad review because they got a bad review from that author, there’s no problem.  I mean, there’s nothing wrong with author’s doing review swaps, as long as they’re done with the understanding that the review should be an honest one based on your opinion of the book in question, rather than one based on how good or bad the review the other author gave you was, if you know what I mean.

I quite often review books, and rate those I don’t review.  Whether I’ve just picked up a book randomly, or have been given a copy by the author or publisher (or both, in the case of most self-published books) in exchange for a review, I always try to be honest in my reviews and ratings, whether the author has reviewed my book(s) or not, and regardless of how good or bad any review the author left for me was.

Looking back what do you wish you’d known when you started writing?

Since I started writing as soon as I learned how to, I don’t think there’s anything.  Honestly, I don’t remember much from the time before I started writing for pleasure, since I learned to read and write early, and was quick to learn the pleasure of writing.  Plus, I think you learn more about writing by actually doing it, and never stop learning.

Although, if you mean before I started writing professionally – in other words, before I started publishing my books back in 2012 – the answer is different.  The thing I wish I’d known then was that an already established online presence would help my writing career, rather than hinder it.  I’m not really sure why I got it in to my head that continuing to blog would take too much time away from my writing.  After all, I’d been blogging regularly – usually at least once a day – for about six years when I published my first book, and had been doing plenty of writing in that time, even if I wasn’t mentioning most of it on my blog.  But I became convinced for some reason that if I wanted to make a career out of writing, I should stop blogging publicly.  I still kept my blog, and posted a few things on it with it set to “private” just for my own benefit, but I stopped allowing others to see my posts, and stopped visiting the blogs of my friends.  Huge mistake! Not only did it cost me several really good friends – friends who I miss, because they were a great group of people – but it also meant I lost several potential opportunities for sales, as well as potential people who might have helped me to spread the word about my books.  I only had my blog private for about a year, but that year was enough time for me to lose touch with most of the people who had been regular readers and commenters on my blog, most of whom still don’t appear to realize I’m blogging again, even though I’ve been doing so for around three years, and am doing so on my original blog, which I’ve now made public again.  I’m trying to reconnect with as many of the people as I can.  Not just for the potential networking opportunities, but also because I miss them.  Unfortunately, success on this front has been limited.  In short, the choice to stop blogging publicly was a bad one, which I regret, both from a personal and professional point of view, and if I’d known then what I know now, I never would have even considered stepping away from the blogging world.

Do you have any unpublished novels under the bed/in a folder anywhere which you thought were awesome at the time, but now will never see the light of day?

Nope.  I mean, I did have some stories that were… Well, let’s just say they needed a lot of work.  I also had several poems that needed a little work.  But I hated to see them go to waste, so I took the time to rewrite them, and later edited and published them.  All I have unpublished now – that I have copies of, anyway – are poems I’ve written since my last poetry collection was published (which will go in my next one) and the stories I’m in the process of writing.  There were probably others that I didn’t get to re-write, but no copies of them exist anymore, since they’ve been lost in moves and computer crashes, and I don’t think it counts if the only record of them is a vague memory I have of having written other stories and poems.

How have you progressed as a writer since you started?

Since, as I said when answering a previous question, I was really young when I started writing, I would hope I’ve progressed a lot.  I know my grammar skills have improved, I’ve learned more about sentence structure, I’ve learned about different poetry styles and tried a couple of them out, etc… All the stuff you learn as you progress with education.  Beyond that, I’ve learned not to assume that because I know something my reader will.  In my early stories, I often assumed I didn’t need to describe things because I knew what they were, but I now know descriptions are important, and not everyone will recognize even some everyday items I take for granted, since different places have different names for some of them, and others aren’t actually available in other countries.  Luckily, I learned about this before starting to publish, so have done my best to take this in to consideration in my re-writes, as well as in my newer stories.

What aspect of writing do you least enjoy? Why might this be?

When it comes to the actual writing process, there’s nothing I don’t enjoy.  I enjoy research too, since I enjoy learning about different things, and if it wasn’t a topic I was interested in I wouldn’t be writing about it, which would mean I wouldn’t be researching it.  The only part about being an author I don’t enjoy very much is the marketing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love connecting with my readers on social media and such, but I hate the part where I have to spend ages doing the posts that are essentially just different ways of saying “please buy my book.”  Unfortunately, since I want to be able to share my stories with the world, I have to do that part as well as the writing and research.  I try to focus more on finding interesting things to share and post about, as well as interacting with others in places where I might get sales, rather than actually posting “please buy my book” type messages, which makes the marketing stuff a bit more fun.  It’s probably more fun for potential readers that way too.  At least, I hope it is.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?

The last book I finished reading was a children’s story by a fellow self-published author.  The book’s title was “Oh Grandad!” and the author’s name was Stephanie Dagg.  It was, as I said in the short review I put up for it on Smashwords, an amusing and fun read.  Actually, all the stories I’ve read by Stephanie Dagg have been entertaining and enjoyable reads.

Do you have a favourite movie?

“Practical Magic” and “The Craft” are my favourite movies.  However, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the movie “Frozen” since I first saw it towards the end of last year, so I might have to add that one as a third favourite from now on.

What are your plans for the future? When will we see your next book?  Tell us about it.

I’ve got my first ever historical fiction story due out in October, which is a story based on the Battle Of Hastings.  I’ve already written several new poems towards my next poetry collection, so I’ll hopefully have a new poetry collection out next year too.  I’m also working on a couple of other stories, one of which is a Christmas story involving a giant, the others I can’t tell you more about just yet, because I don’t know much myself; I’m a pantser, and I’ve not long started working on them, so right now I don’t know exactly where they’re going, nor even exactly which genre they’ll all be in as it stands at the moment.  Like I said, I rarely know much at this stage myself.  One time, for example, I had a story I thought was going to be a mystery, only for it to turn out to be a fantasy.  Anyway, I’m not yet certain what the future holds beyond that.

If you had to pick five books to have on an island which five would you pick?

I’d rather not be limited on my choice of books, but if I had to pick, I’d want “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgeson Burnett, “Matilda” by Roald Dahl, “Strings” by David Estes, “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and something that will be useful for telling me how to survive while waiting to be rescued.  Either those five books, or just that last one, plus my Kindle and some kind of solar powered charger, that way I could have the time to read all the books waiting on it for me to read them.

How do you think fantasy is portrayed in the media?

Though it’s not always the case, for the most part, from what I’ve read and watched, fantasy is generally portrayed as being a mostly male dominated genre, with vicious dragons and weak women making regular appearances, while mighty men rush in to save the day.  I want to see more vegetarian dragons and strong female characters, maybe with some men needing to be the ones rescued for a change.  Not just in children’s books and movies, but in general.

 

Links etc.

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

Author Interview 109 – Amanda Byrd

Welcome Amanda Byrd

 

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m from Pennsylvania and now live in the state northerners vacation in, Florida

 

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write what I call non-fiction “real talk”.  There’s quite a few “bad words” in my book(s), but they’re just words to me.

 

Where do you find inspiration? Real life experiences

 

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? There are no characters in my books, but I do have a favourite fantasy character.  Drizzt Do’Urden.  He’s so profound, and that profundity comes from the wonderful creator of him, R. A. Salvatore

 

Are your characters based on real people? They’re not exactly characters in the sense of character.  I’ve used titles like “said co-worker” and such.

 

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? If I ever write fiction, I’m sure I will J

 

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? My message is simple: being an adult is not fun.  I write experiences and lessons learned and hope my readers can learn from those mistakes I’ve made or build off of them.

 

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? I go with e-books and paperback publishing.  I am considering audiobook, but the interest hasn’t generated enough yet.

 

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do. It’s cheaper and I know what I want my book to look like, whereas a professional editor will try to change the entirety of the book.  Also, I don’t think a book suffers without professional editing, but the ones that are professionally edited…may want to be edited twice.  I’ve recently read some traditionally published books with horrible editing.

 

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I think the acceptance of self-published/indie authors is growing at an exponential rate and people are starting to respect us more because they realize we can sometimes write better books.

 

Do you read work by self-published authors? I do as a member of an author review site

 

 

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Reviews are extremely important.  If you have minimal, that greatly lowers your chances of someone buying your book.  As for the author commenting on the reviews, I feel that’s a great way to build reader relationships and exposure.

 

When buying a book do you read the reviews?  Rarely

 

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Use of imagination, which I feel doesn’t happen much in today’s world

 

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?  I’ve really only got one piece of advice, and it’s this: If the urge to write strikes, no matter what you’re in the middle of, STOP AND WRITE! I’ve lost a lot of great material by putting writing off…and it’s not coming back.

 

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst?  Facebook ads haven’t really done anything for me.  I did join a local business association, which has really helped with networking.  I’m a firm believer in word of mouth and face-to-face relationship building are the best.

 

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? R.A Salvatore

And your favourite indie/self-published author? Don’t have one yet

 

What are your views on authors offering free books?  I’ve done giveaways and not even gotten reviews for them, so I’m off the giveaway thing for a while.

 

Do you have a favourite movie? Hannibal

 

Do you have any pets? Yessir! Cats!

 

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? My worst job was the one I had while writing my first book.  I’ve learned a lot about what I don’t ever want again in a job.

 

 

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I’m just a big kid with an organizational obsession.  I goof off all the time and simply enjoy making people laugh.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

 

Amazon

Website

Facebook

GoodReads

 

Author Interview 104 – Oliver Chase

Welcome to Oliver Chase

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m not from any one place in particular, and instead grew up on military bases throughout the country. Like all boys, we played good guys and bad, although usually I favored the good. Coaxing me into an afternoon of baseball or hiking the Southern California hills didn’t take much unless a book grabbed me first.

With my fourth novel scheduled for publication in the winter of 2016, I spend a lot of time on the family’s tiny farm along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. My job is farm hand, dung digger, and companion to the farmer, my lovely wife. We have family in north Florida, so I spend time there, too. The beaches are terrific and the fishing great, although my finny friends have little to fear from me.

I’ve got a corner of the old farm house that waits for me in the early mornings with all my forgotten and remembered friends and enemies, and my research. Every few months, I head out to bookstores and malls to sign my work, always with the intention of meeting new friends. Everyone has a story, and I love to listen. If we have the chance to meet one day, don’t be too surprised if you find your way into my pages.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.

I’ve written five novels for publication to date:

Marsh Island, mystery thriller 2013 AEC Stellar, Inc New Orleans

Blind Marsh, mystery thriller 2014 (second in series) AEC Stellar, Inc New Orleans

Levant Mirage, military/science thriller 2015 Pearl River Publishing

Joshua Tree, political thriller 2016 Pearl River Publishing (release date March 15, 2016) PRPG

Bequeathed, adventure thriller projected 2016 PRGP

Where do you find inspiration? I like to write what I know. Hence, many of my characters are investigators, cops, soldiers, pilots, divers, drivers and unwitting observers to human shortcomings. I avoid autobiographical insertions and instead choose to believe many of my extraordinary acquaintances, both good guys and bad, worthy of my pages. I’ve known and respected strong women and opinionated men, the two traits not necessarily ascribed to either sex who’ve found their way into my pages. I find watching aggentively, meeting, and testing people to an internal yet intriguing exercise. In my devious brain, they slip into a new set of virtues and sins. No one knows I do this, so please keep it between us.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? My current favorites are Scott and Angela McHale, the dynamic son and lovely daughter of California field workers. Winning election after election, the kingmaker proclaims the time is now and the sky is the limit. Cast in the image of John Kennedy’s bygone Camelot come hints of America’s first Latino presidency. Just when life seems its most promising, his beautiful senatorial aide goes missing. Rumors abound. Storm clouds darken the horizon. Three thousand miles away, an unwitting fisherman stumbles upon her pregnant corpse. Speculation and accusation become the media’s daily fare. At the height of the investigation, the senator plans a weekend retreat only to have his private airplane disappear into the night. Daily revelations drive delighted conjecture and reform public opinion until suddenly, the country’s electrical grid comes under hacker attack. Words of the senator’s warning prove prophetical as the nation plunges into a chaos that threatens a second, and far uglier American Civil War.

Have you ever thought about the secret you? The one that no one ever gets to see, not even the one person on earth we trust the most? Well, Scott thought that guy was under control. When he fought and climbed into the national limelight, he found fidelity and integrity often stand at odds with desires and dreams. Joshua Tree is more than a redemptive novel and begs to ask if history makes a person, or does an influential person make our history. Intriguing. I also note you address this concept in your later questions.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? I don’t dislike Walter LoPresti as much as I fear him. For all the thousands of years of social evolvement, Walter is a man bypassed by humanity’s better traits. His heroes are dark villains and nasty legends, his brilliance unmatched, and his wanton desires legion. If at some time you were to fall within his crosshairs, don’t run, because as the saying goes, you’ll only die tired.

Are your characters based on real people? I like to think that all my characters have doppelgangers in real life. The only difference is one character is many people that I’ve known through the years. Therefore, no one character is reflected by a similar live person. My research sets the stage and renders my setting believable and possible. My memory and the interpretation of my own emotion drives the characters.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?Funny question, but no, I’ve never committed murder either literally or … literally. Some have not survived the story, but it wasn’t me that pulled the trigger. One of those dang protagonists killed him.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? Research is the best part of filling out the reality in a novel; organization makes it worthwhile and believable. My studies are broken into two general camps. The first allows me to build a world, even if it happens to be in downtown Miami on Calle Ocho. I like real places with a real feel. If a book is cooking inside my brain, I like to go there. Most of the time, I’ve already been there because frankly, Google maps just won’t do it. The exception might be a back alley in Fairbanks, Alaska or Reykjavík Iceland. I’ve been in plenty of alleys and recall the smells and feel, so no, I won’t go camp out in New Orleans and pretend it’s cold.

The second research I try to minimize is using Bing or Google while I’m getting the first draft down. Afterwards, maybe, but stopping to plan out the size of a doomsday asteroid breaks my concentration and may end me up with start-stop disjointed writing. That usually turns into an additional draft, etc.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Absolutely. Theme is equally as important as creating a world, characters, and plot. A theme is my shot at influencing and affecting my reader’s outlook. I’m not egotistical enough to believe I’m always right, but I do have an opinion, and I like to share it. The theme in a novel is more than an opinion and often borders on strong belief. Harry Potter had a theme, and if you missed it, you missed out on Ms. Rowling’s message, muggle.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) In the historical context, great and strong personalities, possessing charisma, leadership, and other virtues are often consigned to local, less memorable events. This might be the respected dogcatcher, who with his superior wit and feel for animals saves a village from rampaging wolves. Because, the wolves are local, the dogcatcher never rises to the epic proportions of say, an Adolf Hitler. Here’s another character of wit and feel who stepped into history books largely because of the Weimar Republics’ abject failure in the 1920s. Could someone else have done what Hitler did? So goes the argument. My position? Historical circumstance allows the famous and infamous to be known, not the other way around. (Here comes all the philosophical opposites about to argue the other side of this well-worn coin. Go for it!)

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Currently I only do print (Ingram Spark, Lulu, and CreateSpace-Amazon), and Ebooks (Smashwords, Kindle, Lulu, and PDF all via my website http://oliverchase.net). At this time, we’re considering an audio version of Levant Mirage. Joshua Tree will follow if LM is a commercial success. I love, trust, and believe in my work, but this stuff is really expensive. I haven’t done any hard covers or large print because I agree with setting financial priorities. Pearl River Publishing is a small, boutique publisher representing a limited number of authors with the stated goal of launching only a single writer at time. This enable that person’s full and unfettered use of all company resources. I had my shot, and now its Greg Lamb’s turn. He’s another terrific writer that PRPG will soon launch.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? That’s best answered by revealing my process:

1) I write a first draft…and a third draft, and each in between.

2) I then self edit in accordance with the Browne and King Self Editing manual.

3) The book then resides in a drawer (or desktop folder) for at least sixty days.

4)  I again read, and edit, and fault search-not error search-in accordance with the Canadian fiction self editing guide. I’m not a Canadian, but it’s a heck of a good guide.

5) I then grab coffee, schedule a day without interruption and read for “continuity, cleverness, and consistency.” Red ink marks only.

6) I grind the novel into an MS find and correct using my own unpublished guide.

6) My novel is then ready for an editor. I hire one and send it off.

7) Following two drafts reviews, I read a last time (and boy am I sick of re-reading), and then…

8) I then send to my beta reader and give them a couple months.

9) And then, you guessed it. I re-read, correct and send off for one last edit, but not by me. By another’s set of eyes.

10) Then, I release the book to the world. Watch out.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Absolutely. Today’s market has amazing self-pub authors (SPA). Some of the work I read, especially local colour literature easily reaches and exceed work I’ve read by traditionally published authors (TPA). For discussion purposes, a TPA is a product of one of the top houses or their off-shoot imprints. I’m somewhat a product of both and have my roots as a SPA, so when I say there’s a lot of less-than-professional work out there, I’m being critical of myself as well as others. We tend to rush our work to market, thinking readers will treat us like our mothers. Doesn’t work that way. A single mistake may put off a reader, and they’ll proceed no further. How many “free” novels have been offered? There’s no free novels in publishing! Those things drip in blood for god’s sake. Give them free to your parents, but sell them to a reader. How can they respect us, if we cheapen our work and ask for nothing except a promise in the future?

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes. All the time. Too often I’m forced to quit early due to overwhelming errors. Often enough, I’m engrossed and lose sleep with great stories.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? If you mean, me commenting on my reviewers, some things must be done in private. I’ve been slammed before. If you haven’t, you will, because it’s only a matter of time. Keep your opinion of the reviewer to yourself.

One of the greatest compliments ever paid to me was a reviewer who took another reviewer to task. I stayed above the fray and didn’t comment publically. Nor did I cry in my beer. There’s no crying in writing…did I already use that one? Life’s too short to take on a knucklehead, even if they deserve it. I’ve read enough to know a good novelist will just use a denigrating reviewer’s portrait in some future  work. I can’t wait to read it.

Reviews are huge and wildly important…to future readers. I like reviewers face to face. In a recent presentation to a library writer’s group, an audience member took me to task and pointed out a grammatical error. I appreciated that effort, because obviously she read the book. Afterwards, I scribbled a note to myself and added her critique to my self-edit checklist.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? Not as much as some. Generally, I know the authors, like the authors, understand that not everyone will be on their game every time. I also know that what I like, may not be liked by someone else.

What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? It’s okay, and done often. Honest reviewers are key. Writing is like any other game in life. Integrity means we all get our fair shot. Cheating is for cheaters, and they can play their own game without me.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

1) Read as often as you can. Always carry a book  in some form with you and hope someone will strike up a conversation. If they do, cover up the title of the book, and have fun telling them about your book. Oops…integrity right?

2) Set a schedule and write. Get up early or stay up late, but write every day. Make it a habit.

3) Keep your life in balance. Treat writing, family, obligations, duties, and responsibilities with equal importance. Keep any one, from dominating the other as you set priorities.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? Eric Larsen’s Dead Wake. Absolutely chilling and suspenseful non-fiction.

 

Book links, website/blog and author links:

http://interestingauthors.com

http://oliverchase.net

http://oliverchase.wordpress.com

http://facebook.com/oliverfchase

Here’s a trailer you might enjoy:

Levant Mirage 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview Ninety-Nine – Dean Drinkel

Welcome to Dean M. Drinkel

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in Surrey, live in London for another few weeks and then relocating to Cannes, France.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example, genre, title etc. I am primarily a horror writer as well as being a compiler / editor of anthologies. The last four or so years have been quite manic – this year alone has seen: Within A Forest Dark (novella), Tales Of The Titanic (anthology), Demonology (anthology) all from Lycopolis Press; Curse Of The Vampire (novella) from Hersham Horror; Masks from Black Shuk Books. December 2015 will see my final anthology of the year Chromatics (Lycopolis Press). I have also contributed a number of poems to The Book Of The Night by MoonDream Press. Next year is already shaping up quite nicely too with a number of contracts signed for collections, anthologies and novellas.

Where do you find inspiration? Absolutely anywhere and everywhere. It can happen whenever I least expect it, so I’m always carrying out a notebook and pen or if for some reason I can’t then I’ll type something direct into the phone to pick up the next day. I use the trains a lot and I’m able to phase right out now and write no matter who is around me. I’ve been known to write at football matches too.

Are your characters based on real people? They can be yes – sometimes an amalgamation of different people but then sometimes when I’m writing something and someone pops into my mind, fully formed as it were, I just think yeah – why the hell not? Change the name, perhaps the age or a characteristic but other than that just keep them as they are. Of course that sometimes backfires when someone reads a story of mine and they recognise themselves and then they try to take me to task about it but I’ll just take them for a couple of drinks and convince them they’ve got it wrong!

Have you ever used a person you don’t / didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Okay the answer to this is 100% yes. The lead character in Within A Forest Dark is totally based on someone I couldn’t stand. The first time I met him I thought he was a dick (don’t worry, I wasn’t the only one who thought this) and when I started writing the story I found I needed a complete and utter asshole and well, one thing led to another. I had great fun putting him through the ringer and killing him off. The good thing is that I am writing a sort of sequel in 2016 so am going to bring him back for a couple of pages and do it all over again! The lesson here is don’t piss me off.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? There has always been an element of research for me because the majority of my stories are set in Paris, France. So when I feel I need some inspiration or if I need to check something out then I’m on the coach or Eurostar over there as quick as I can. This is a great question because at this moment in time I am in the middle of researching a big project for 2016 – it is not a horror story as such but a historical film script set in the middle of the 19th This is a going to be something massive – I’m working with a young French writer on it (Romain Collier) and I’m actually relocating to France for this. We’ve spent some time in Paris checking out some key places and whilst I’m actually moving to the south of France we will also be taking in Vienna, Austria for some major scenes. We have been working on the background research for a month or so and then will be sitting down and writing in late December / early Jan. Many books have been sourced and it’s been great fun thus far, though of course the hard work hasn’t yet started. I’ll let you know how we get on.

 Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book? A lot of my short stories can be quite extreme – I love playing with boundaries but also the reader’s perception. Characters which may start off as ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ then end up sleeping with each other or murdering each other or murdering other people and then you realise that they weren’t related at all – I love fucking with people. I seem to have a go at Catholicism a lot too – this isn’t on purpose really, it’s just there is so much iconography / symbolism contained within that particular religion – it is such a deep sandpit to play in. I’m not sure if there is a real message as such except perhaps for this – life is so short, if you’re lucky to find someone along the way that loves you for being you then make sure you do everything to hang onto them – live for the moment because you never know what’s around the corner. Be happy and always keep smiling.

In what formats are your books available? Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? At the moment definitely paperback / ebooks but I am really interested in audiobooks – I’ve got some great actor friends who would be perfect for this so I’m tentatively dipping my toe into that so let’s see what we can do in 2016. I’m also thinking about graphic novels / manga – I’m always up for experimenting.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? One: write, write and write. Every day. Even if it’s only a few lines – it’s true what they say, the brain is a muscle and it needs to be flexed. Two: believe in yourself. When your story is the best that it can be – get it out there, show it to friends, show it to family etc etc. Let them tell you their opinion and some of it you should / could take on board – but never doubt yourself. You will know when it is read and then start subbing it to editors / Anthos / competitions etc etc. Three: find a great editor, approach them, work with them but never piss them off and if you do that, they will take a chance with you. I’ve been compiling / editing an antho recently. It was invite only but as I was then approached by a young writer who had been told to contact me. I asked him to send in some stories and one of which actually fitted the theme – it was a very good story but needed a little work. So I went through it with a fine tooth comb and in his words turned a story which was 89% or lower into now something which was 100%. There was no quibbling from him about my edits, he could see that I had done something special with his tale – so we were both happy. He could have turned around and said “fuck you” but he realised the power of a good editor and all going well, we will be working together again in the near future.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? As I mentioned above, I’ve been reading a lot of historical non-fiction of late. I’m a great admirer of Umberto Eco and David Mitchell too so I’ve been reading their new books these last couple of weeks. I have just finished Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission. I won’t say too much about this except that I enjoyed it immensely and whilst it is set in the near future it makes some great comments on the world (and France in particular) today – and could almost have predicted those terrible events of a couple of weeks ago in Paris – a city that I know and love very much.

Do you have a favourite movie? Doesn’t everyone? Hellraiser was the one that set me on my writing path; I also love Rob Zombie’s movies – particularly House of a 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects BUT I’m actually going to say that Amadeus is my current favourite movie – ask me this next week and I’ll probably give you another answer but for now let’s go for Amadeus. I’m a great lover of Mozart’s music and I simply love The Magic Flute…but the story here between Tom Hulce’s Amadeus and F. Murray Abraham’s Salieri is near damn perfect. I’ve never seen the original play but hope too at some stage…I also think Jeffery Jones is great as the Emperor. Damn it…as I’m typing this I’ve put it on in the background. I’d love to direct my own version of The Magic Flute if I could…love to do it in the open air…

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? I started writing whilst at University – I was lucky that my first collection came out not long after. It was only a small publisher and I sat by the front door every day expecting “Hollywood” to come calling offering me loads of cash to turn my stories into films – anyway, that didn’t happen so as I lived in a shared house I needed to bring in some money so a friend and I joined an employment agency and they got us some work at Heathrow airport – cleaning aeroplanes! There were the quick cleans that meant that as the passengers exited from the back we would go in via the front, we would be given one cloth which we had to clean the tables etc but then also used them to wipe down the toilets. Yes, the same cloth! It was absolutely disgusting and is one reason I don’t fly anymore. Where I can I mention this in my stories…filth, my friend, filth!!! But don’t get me started on that…

 

http://www.amazon.com/Dean-M.-Drinkel/e/B00TKF1OXI/