Author Catch-Up – Francis H Powell

Welcome back to author Francis H Powell – please tell us your news.

 

My big important news in recent times, is that after a long wait, my new book Adventures of Death, Reincarnation and Annihilation, finally got published, by Beacon publishing.

I have written a lot of short stories, a  lot of them revolve around “death”.  While living in Paris, I saw a writing competition, which required writing about the last person on earth.  I sent three stories, the last of which they really liked, but it arrived too late to be published. This sent me on the course of writing about world annihilation. It also introduced an unlikely science fiction element into my writing.

At some point I decided to group all my stories that connected with death into a book.

I decided to try to write a story that would exceed my normal page length. It is called “the Master”. The story is a bit like a Russian doll; it contains stories within stories.  Finally we never really know who the Master is, even he is unsure of his own identity. This story covers the element of reincarnation, the Master is an old soul, who is re-discovered by a young girl who he was involved with in his previous life.

Despite the title; not all the book is doom and gloom, there are quirky characters, unfortunate happenings and attempts at wit.

I have a follow-up, which I am working on at the moment. It is far more shocking than  Adventures of Death, Reincarnation and Annihilation, it is called “I am the priest killer”. It is set in different times, the past, the present and the future. I don’t know where the idea came from, but the title seems like a newspaper headline from some trashy journal.

I started off by writing about a psychopathic priest killer, then moved onto a female priest killer, a story set in Italy in the past. I decided I wanted a real contrast so I created a druid priest killer, set in Celtic times. Finally and more recently I have been writing about the future and a woman who more kills the priest’s faith, similar to the way Winston Smith is persecuted in 1984.

Some parts have involved research, because for example they are set in the past in Italy. I have also researched Celtic culture including the role of a druidess and medicinal remedies. So writing a book also involves learning and investigation. In this work I describe battles, which is something new to me. I am a history teacher, and love history,  which certainly has impacted some of the stories.

At the moment I am trying to plug my book, as much as I can, so as to engage as many readers as possible.

Born in 1961, in Reading, England Francis H Powell attended Art Schools, receiving a degree in painting and an MA in printmaking. In 1995, Powell moved to Austria, teaching English as a foreign language while pursuing his varied artistic interests adding music and writing. He currently lives in Brittany, France writing both prose and poetry. Powell has published short stories in the magazine, “Rat Mort” and other works on the internet site “Multi-dimensions.” His two published books are Flight of Destiny and Adventures of Death, Reincarnation and Annihilation

Front cover alone.jpg

https://francishpowellwriter.wordpress.com/2019/12/20/death-is-a-wild-adventure/

https://francishpowellauthor.weebly.com/

https://twitter.com/Dreamheadz

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Reincarnation-Annihilation-Francis-Powell/dp/1949472019/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1575577744&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Francis-H-Powell/e/B00WSWYVNK?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

New Features! New Interviews! New Friends

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Over the coming weeks, I will be changing and expanding the interview and promotional opportunities available here. There will still be great features and some of them will be available at no charge but for the enhanced/expanded features then there may be a small charge. Of course, for that, you get more. More tweets, more choice of features, promoted on my new author interviews promotion page. Of course, if you simply wish to participate in one of the free features – that’s great as well.

There will be a range of the following:

Swift Six – short author or character questions

Book spotlights

Dirty Dozen – author or character interviews

Reader interviews

Editor, cover artist or narrator interviews

Top Tens

Guest posts

‘Weeks With’ a particular author

Days in the life of characters or authors

Zweihanders – double interviews with character lovers or siblings

Good cop/bad cop – heroes and villains going head to head.

Here’s the new Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Erana-Interviews-and-Features-215319805541102/

And there will soon be ‘Friends of Erana’ page listing useful services, contacts and allies of The Library of Erana.

If you’re a blogger and willing to co-host, feature or help or your an author, cover designer, audio book narrator, or of course a reader then do get in touch.

You can either use the ‘contact us’ link in the page menus or drop me an email at libraryoferana@gmail.com

 

 

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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Author Interview 113 – Steph Bennion

Welcome to Steph Bennion

 

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I was born and bred in the Black Country (to the uninitiated, that’s in the English Midlands, which with Birmingham was the industrial revolution’s ‘workshop of the world’). After spending too many years living in the big bad city that is London I moved last year to Hastings, a very nice town on the south coast.

 

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

The books in my Hollow Moon series are tales of space-opera mystery and adventure for young adults and adults young-at-heart. To date I have published three novels plus a selection of short stories, all of which share the same fictional universe where humanity has learned to cross the cosmos and reach the nearby stars. City Of Deceit, the latest novel in the series, wraps up the story of the civil war on the moon of Yuanshi, Epsilon Eridani, a war that formed the backdrop to events in the first book Hollow Moon. This is my first science-fiction novel set mainly on Earth; the story takes place in London, which in the twenty-third century is ravaged by rising sea levels, social inequalities and terrible politics. It’s all fiction, honest.

 

Where do you find inspiration?

I tend to get bits of ideas from all over the place; some might spark a train of thought that develops into a story, others may end up as background detail to fill out whatever world I’m creating. I try to credit influences where appropriate; for example, the asteroid colony ship Dandridge Cole, the ‘hollow moon’ of the novels, is named after Dandridge M Cole, the aerospace engineer and futurist who developed the concept in books like Beyond Tomorrow. A fantastic resource is the TV Tropes website, which is great for getting a feel for the nuts and bolts of different genres. I think it’s important to understand the reasons why people like stories and what they expect to get from one. On a very basic level, I try to write books I would want to read myself.

 

Do you have a favourite character? If so why?

I had a lot of fun writing the character of Zotz Wak, the young boy and inventor who in Hollow Moon reveals his superhero persona in an attempt to express his secret crush on heroine Ravana O’Brien. Zotz sat somewhat on the sidelines in Paw-Prints Of The Gods, so in City Of Deceit I gave him a leading role fighting the injustices of dystopian London. He gets to be the hero, fight the bad guys and even finds a girlfriend.

 

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why?

Not a character as such, but I really don’t like the weavers, the multi-legged alien horrors that reappear in City Of Deceit. Like many I have an irrational fear of spiders, so making giant alien arachnids the number one monsters in the books seemed the obvious thing to do! On a more human note, I would have to choose Governor Jaggarneth, the slimy corporation bureaucrat who also returns in the latest book. He has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

 

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?

I like to think properly about the science and technology in the books and its fun to extrapolate current thinking and imagine what this world and others might be like 250 years from now. For example, the holoverse in City Of Deceit, the corporate visual trickery behind which the real city hides, comes from current ideas on augmented reality. Then there’s things like working out which constellation Earth’s sun would appear in if viewed from a moon in Epsilon Eridani (Serpens, by the way). Research for City Of Deceit was different in that it features locations in London that many readers will know for real. I spent some time walking around central London, trying to imagine which buildings would survive the test of time and how the city might change. Victor Habbick, who created the book cover, captured this really well.

 

Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book?

Stories always carry messages; in a way, our stories define what it is to be human. The theme that emerged whilst I was writing City Of Deceit was that real change comes from within, whether it is by a virus nibbling away at cells or by human angst simmering within a city, corporation or colony. More broadly, my novels tend to revolve around working-class folk who find themselves battling the consequences of upheavals caused by those in power. The books are ultimately about friendships and how people come together in times of need.

 

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?

City Of Deceit is available as an ebook from most online retailers. A paperback edition will follow at some point. Hollow Moon and Paw-Prints Of The Gods are available as ebooks from all the usual websites and in paperback from Amazon. Audiobooks are a possibility sometime in the future.

 

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?

Yes, I edit my own work. One thing about spending years in a Civil Service policy team is that it taught me to be quite dispassionate about revising my own work. After I’ve finished the first draft of a novel, I put it to one side for a few months and immerse myself in something else, so that by the time I return to start the editing process it’s like looking at it with fresh eyes. I also have a friend who proof-reads the final manuscript, which helps. I think if an author approaches editing in the right way, you can successfully self-edit: Hollow Moon and Paw-Prints Of The Gods are both Awesome Indies approved books and passed the ‘professionally edited’ test.

 

Can you name your favourite traditionally-published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?

This changes with the seasons. At the moment my favourite ‘traditional’ author is Alastair Reynolds and I’m currently reading his space opera epic Pushing Ice. My new favourite indie author is Emily Devenport; I’ve read two of her science-fiction novels to date – Belarus and Broken Time – which I thought had some really distinctive and original ideas. I’d also like to mention Anna Erishkigal, indie author of the very entertaining Sword of the Gods Saga, who does a sterling job looking after the Space Opera Fans group on Goodreads.

 

Do you have a favourite movie?

I’m going to say Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985), on the grounds that it’s wonderfully weird, features really great performances and tickles my sense of humour. It shares a lot of themes with George Orwell’s 1984 but is a far better film than the version of Orwell’s book released around the same time. As a civil servant I love the hilarious dystopian bureaucracy, in the same way that This Is Spinal Tap is the funniest thing ever to anyone who has been in a band…

 

Book links, website/blog and author links:

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

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

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5438403.Steph_Bennion

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Steph-Bennion/e/B009JRP6RC/

 

 

Author Interview 108 – Mary Ellen Quire

Welcome to Mary Ellen Quire

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m from Kentucky and have lived there all of my life.

 

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I have been plucking away at writing for quite some time.  Sheldon’s Diary is my most recent book.  I guess you could put in the young adult genre, although it does pretty well in Women’s Fiction.  The stories are a mixture of action, adventure, light-hearted comedy and suspense.  The entire book can be summed up by the burning question many animal lovers have had running through their mind, “What do they really do while you’re away?”

 

Are your characters based on real people? All of the humans in Sheldon’s Diary are based on real people and I would say that probably fifty percent of all the critters in the book are real.  The other fifty percent come from a wild and woolly imagination.

 

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…) Great characters, without them you have nothing but an empty map.

Solid plot, readers need this as motivation to keep reading and as a reward for having travelled the journey with you.  Writer’s need it because it’s probably the only bit of order that can be found in a mind swimming with possibilities.

Great world-building, it’s third because it can make for an awesome story, but for me as a writer I don’t believe it is absolutely essential.  Many great books have been written with the background tucked nicely away in the background.

Technically perfect, is there such a thing?

 

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? Sheldon’s Diary is available in paperback and in the Kindle version.  I would love to see it in Nook, but that will be later.  Audio may also come in time.

 

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do self-edit, not because I’m an English whiz or anything, but because professional editing is very costly to me right now.  Occasionally, I’ll have a friend do a once over for a manuscript to catch things I have missed.  Do I believe a book suffers without professional editing?  Sometimes, but I’ve read many books that have hit the shelves over the years, professionally edited, that still have mistakes.

 

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Unfortunately, I do think there is a stigma place on indie/self-published authors.  It’s one that seems to say, “Hey, you just weren’t good enough to publish with a real publisher, but you were definitely vain enough to pay for it.”  What people do not realize is that books are rejected by traditional publishers for a number of reasons, not just because the story was inferior.  For example, the publisher may have all of that type/genre of book they can handle at the time or they might not be able to make it sell.  Publishing is a business after all, so you have to hit the right one with the right thing at the right time.  It’s a crap shoot.

 

Do you read work by self-published authors? I’ve found several really good books/series through self-published authors.  It just goes to show you that just because it trickles away from the traditional doesn’t mean it sucks.

 

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot?  Mostly I believe the book is always better then the movie/video game because you are allowed to really delve down deep into the character(s).  You’re in their brains, mulling around in their thoughts and feelings, and you get a better sense of who they really are.  You cannot do that in any other type of media.

 

What are your views on authors offering free books? I love the idea.  I think it’s an awesome way get readers take a chance on your book and see if they not only enjoy that particular one, but the author’s style of telling a story.

 

Do you have any pets? Right now, I have four.  Two of them are cats, Sir Sheldon and Sir Cheddar.  One rat, Templeton.  And then there’s my 15 year old Ball python, The Wheezer.

 

Book links, website/blog and author links:

www.maryellenquire.com

www.facebook.com/sheldonsdiary

Sheldon's Diary Cover Pic

Get to Know Author A. L. Butcher @libraryoferana #fantasy #authorinterview #bookpromo

My latest interview!

Back Catalogue 4 Another Interview

First published on  in 2013 http://www.kyrahalland.com/blog/author-spotlight-alexandra-butcher

Please visit Kyra’s Blog for more great interviews and reviewd

 

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a British author with a variety of other interests, including nature, history, the theatre, gaming and, of course, reading.  I live in the south-west of Britain with an assortment of pets, plants and books.

 

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I suppose at school, I always enjoyed reading and English Literature and certainly at primary school/middle school age I would get asked to write poetry or short prose for summer events. Always an imaginative person I would often imagine stories or what is now called ‘fan-fic’ from the books I read. More seriously I suppose the fan-fic progressed into more than just a few pages and the poetry continued, albeit darker. Running and playing RPG games, including Warhammer, Vampire and Star Wars  meant I often had to write interesting adventures, and even as a player I often used to come up with complex backgrounds. Yes I am a geek, and proud of it.

Why? That is more of a difficult question. If I am honest probably as escapism as I was often quite unhappy at school and would both read and write to lose myself in new and exciting worlds. All my family like books, my sister is a teacher of English and Drama and my late grandmother was a researcher of local history and had a couple of books published.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write poetry, as I mentioned, but not often now and most of it will never see the light of day. I do have a couple published in an anthology and I recently wrote a summer based poem which will feature in a summer charity anthology, along with a short fantasy story. My main genres, however, are dark fantasy/fantasy romance and erotica.

I love to create the worlds and the adventures, it is very exciting to be able to see the story flow.

4. What is your latest book? Any forthcoming books?
Can I mention both? The first is the ‘Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I’, which was published just over a year ago and I have just released ‘The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book II’ which was released just a few weeks ago. I also, as I mentioned, have a short fantasy story and some poetry in ‘A Splendid Salmagundi’. I am just about to start writing Book III of the Chronicles and there will also be some short stories.

5. “Welcome To My Worlds”: Tell us a little about the world of your latest book.
The books are set in the world of Erana, a dark medieval-style fantasy world. There are humans, half-elves and elves in Book I and Book II introduces trolls and fae. Erana is not a nice place to live, especially for those of the elven race. Elves are un-free, with no rights, no recourse to justice and often kept as slaves or servants, they are unable to move around freely and many are forced to live in utter poverty. Those who live in their ancestral home – the Shimmering Forest – do so in hiding ever afraid the slavers will come. The land is run by the Order of Witch-Hunters, a brutal and largely corrupt organisation who maintain their power through ignorance, fear and violence. Magic is also illegal. Mages are feared, and anyone who has magic in one form or another must hide it or risk a visit by the Order of Witch-Hunters.  The humans tend to be unkind to the elves. The nobility too are often corrupt and indifferent. Life is hard for the poor and most people are too busy surviving to dare to question the status quo, or in some cases it suits them.

In Book II we are introduced to the trolls – which are not creatures who live under bridges and menace travellers. These trolls are a noble race; strong, and clever but rather insular. They too have magic but it is limited, they are shape-shifters and seers. We also meet the fae, believed to have been banished and nasty – think emotional-vampire mages who use the fear and turmoil of others to enhance their spells. Book II reveals quite a lot more lore of the world, the history of the darkness and of Dii and Archos. More will be revealed later on.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Book I features Dii, an elven sorceress and former slave, who runs away from her master’s house in fear of her life. Fleeing into this dark threatening world she must survive and find a way to be free. She is also passionate and loving and to a great extent she needs to be looked after, she is the more submissive of the two mages. She does learn to be a little more dominate but she likes to please, this is a result of her slavery. She is also extremely clever and she finds wonder and joy in many things, such as snowfall, being allowed to read what she wishes and the sheer beauty of the natural world. She is wary of people.

Then there is Archos, a mysterious nobleman and powerful mage who befriends her. Those two have quite the passionate relationship!  Archos is powerful, rich, handsome and dangerous but he can be moved to acts of great kindness and bravery, including at the risk of his own life and his reputation. Archos is a lot of fun, he is a real anti-hero. He fights for the good team but he doesn’t always use pleasant means to achieve his ends. He is also quite mysterious and dark. He is certainly not how he appears. He does have a kind side, his relationship with Dii is very touching and to his friends he is loyal and generous, but to his enemies he is ruthless.

The other main characters are Olek, a half-elven thief and the young elven huntress and scout Ozena, whose sister is taken by slavers. Ozena is the young rather naïve and virginal girl in book I. Raised in a small elven village she knows next to nothing about the world of humans but she is brave in her own way and she is stubborn, if sometimes impulsive. She does not wish to ask the humans for help but she knows she must. She does have a bossy streak though.

Book II has these four, plus Marden who is a human warrior and has other secrets, Th’alia an elven scholar and Talfor a shape-shifting trollish warrior.

What do I like about them? Dii is kind and gentle, despite her terrible history, and as the stories progress she becomes more confident and more sure of her magic and starts to become a formidable mage in her own right in Book II. Olek is amusing. He loves to eat and he has a good sense of humour but again he knows what is needed to be done and he does not shirk from it. He is very worldly, which is surprising for an elf or half elf. He is also very confident, another unusual trait for an elf. Marden is interesting and he develops a lot as a character and a man in book II. Archos is deliciously nasty when he needs to be but he is also quite amusing. He has an air that he knows more than others, but this is often the case. He does. He can be arrogant but in some ways he has the right to it.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
I am frightened of clowns.


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8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
‘The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I’ and The Shining Citadel are available as an e-book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and  I-books.Book links –The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Light-Beyond-Storm-Chronicles–ebook/dp/B0088DQO9C
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481255622 (paperback)
Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
I-tunes | I-tunes UK

Book 2 http://www.amazon.com/The-Shining-Citadel-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00D4CF6W8

Blog/Websites
www.LibraryofErana.wordpress.com
http://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

Author Interview 107 – Dean Mayes – Paranormal/Thriller

Welcome to Dean Mayes.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born and raised in country Victoria, Australia. In the mid 90’s, after I completed my degree in Nursing, I moved to Adelaide in South Australia and I’ve been living there ever since.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My writing has crossed genres since I was first published back in 2010. My debut, “The Hambledown Dream” (2010, Central Avenue Publishing) was a romantic fiction novel with a paranormal undercurrent that explored reincarnation. My follow up novel “Gifts of the Peramangk” (2012, Central Avenue Publishing) was a more literary fiction/coming of age story about an Aboriginal child prodigy living here in Adelaide. For my upcoming novel “The Recipient” (2016, Central Avenue Publishing), I have gone in the direction of an action oriented psychological thriller but I have reintroduced a paranormal theme relating to organ donors and their recipients.

Where do you find inspiration? Inspiration comes from many places and it is usually unexpected. I find that if I go looking for inspiration, it is rare that I find it. “The Recipient” was actually inspired by a very intense and vivid nightmare where I was witnessing a violent assault and then, at one point, I couldn’t discern between whether I was witnessing it or whether I was actually experiencing it myself. When I woke from the nightmare, I madly began scribbling as much as I could remember down in a notebook I keep beside my bed. Before too long, I had the rudimentary beginnings of what has become “The Recipient”.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? I think that all my characters have been favorite – especially when I have been in the thick of writing them. Casey Schillinge, my protagonist in “The Recipient” has definitely been the most interesting character to write because there are several facets to her persona that make her complex. She is highly intelligent and technically savvy and she is also stubborn and dogged. When she latches onto something – a suspicion or a gut feeling – she will follow it through to the end, despite encouragement from others to slow down. She is also pragmatic and empirical which makes the nightmares she experiences at the beginning of the novel so frightening for her. She cannot quantify them so they knock her off balance.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? I actually don’t. All of my characters are created in service to whatever story I am telling and their roles are important. If I infuse my characters with a certain level of evil or “badness”, there is a context to that which I value.

Are your characters based on real people? Some of them are. Over time, I have infused some of my characters with the qualities and mannerisms of people who have been and are important in my life. I like to be able to do that because I think it gives them more gravitas, it makes them more real to life and tactile.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?Maybe peripheral characters but, in the main, all of the characters I have created have remained integral to my works.

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? I do! Even with the more fantastical story writing I have done, the importance of creating a real world feel cannot be understated.

“The Hambledown Dream” featured the dual settings of Chicago in the United States and the South Coast of New South Wales here in Australia. I’m familiar with the South Coast because I spent a lot of time there growing up so it wasn’t a stretch to recreate that in the novel. For Chicago, I did a lot of visual research into things like the architecture and the socio-economics of the inner northern suburbs which is where a lot of the early part of that novel takes place. I also have friends living in that part of the city so I had eyes and ears on the ground there and they were great in helping to visualize the feel of the city. And then there were subjects like cancer which required me to refresh my knowledge about disease process and treatment modalities. I have been an Intensive Care Nurse for over a decade now so I was able to tap into a lot of resources in order to bring that to life in the novel.

For “Gifts of the Peramangk”, I spent about a year on pure research into the White Australia policy and the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Australians. These remain sensitive subjects in our national conversation and I didn’t want illustrate anything in the novel that would disrepect the gravity of those issues. Additionally, I spent a lot of time researching the Peramangk people. This is a nation state in our Aboriginal nation for which not a lot is known, so I needed to ensure that I could present them in such a way that was respectful and authentic.

In “The Recipient” I have returned to a more medically oriented story so here I tapped into a number of resources in the field of transplant surgery and after care. Getting that aspect of the story right was important because it allowed me to introduce the paranormal elements seamlessly. Some of the early feedback I’ve had from medical professionals has been really positive in that they were totally convinced of the possibilities of what I was throwing up. Police procedure also featured heavily in the novel and so here I talked to a number of law enforcement agencies here in Australia and they were really grand in helping me to portray procedures accurately.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? I don’t set out to convey a message in my writing. I am more compelled to create a really good and satisfying story. If I were to consider it though, “Gifts of the Peramangk” probably contains the most powerful message that says no matter who you are, if you apply yourself and you work hard, you can achieve anything. It’s not a conscious message on my part though. I think it depends on the topic and the motivation of the writer as to whether a message is important to impart in a work of fiction.

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…) For me, great characters are the kernel of great story writing. If I can believe in the characters then I can believe in the story. How they see the world influences the world building aspect so I guess world building is the next most important aspect. The plot has to be solid of course. For me, the plot of my stories is set out in a rudimentary fashion when I begin and I allow my characters and their motivations – to an extent – to drive the story forward. Technical perfection comes afterwards but it is no less important for me than any of the others. It is just that this is how I write and how I edit so I guess I am setting out my process in the steps that I follow. I won’t release a product until I know that it is technically perfect.

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? Presently – print and digital. My publisher and I have focused on these two branches of the market primarily because of production costs and the obvious reach of those branches. Audio is attractive to me but the production costs are prohibitive right now. If I were to attain significant success that would allow me to invest in audio production, I would definitely consider it.

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 one of my OCD quirks! I have gotten better at focusing on pure writing, getting the words and the ideas onto the page but I still go back often and review and refine. I really enjoy the editing process and regard it as one of the most important aspects of writing. Professional editing is essential to a good end product and I do believe a book that has not been professionally edited suffers in the long run. That is a lesson I have learned through experience.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I think they are. It comes down to the sad fact that, with the explosion in self publishing, we’ve seen all manner of people producing works featuring varying levels of quality. It is a sad fact that many of those works have come from self published authors who have not invested the time and the money in having their work professionally edited and proofed before proceeding to publication and they do themselves a disservice because of it. That said, poor editing and proofing is not confined to self published authors. I was reading a book just last month (January, 2016) from one of the major publishing houses and I came across several instances of grammatical errors, poor sentence construction and confusing paragraphs. So poor editing is not confined to self published authors by any stretch.

Do you read work by self-published authors? I have. There are several self published authors whose work I really admire and have returned to subsequently. It is clear to me that they have invested in their work to ensure they have produced the best product possible.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? When I started out, I did read and comment on reviews but I don’t anymore. I think an author runs the risk of being misinterpreted in their responses to reviews and I have seen cases where and author has responded in a respectful manner to a review and it has been totally taken out of context. I keep myself at arms length from reviews now.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No. I usually pick up a book based on a recommendation or if something about the title or the liner notes strikes me as interesting. I’ll avoid reviews because many of them will contain spoilers and that it definitely a killer for me.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? I’m really not sure about that one so I’ll just say that I don’t have a view.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Books work on a subconscious level and they fire our imagination in ways that a video game or movie can’t. I requires effort and engagement to ‘see’ the world an author has created whereas a game or movie presents it to you in all its technicolour glory. That said – I am a casual gamer and I love movies  soooo…does that cancel my answer out?

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Keep a notebook with you to jot down ideas and notes as they come to you – and only write in pencil. Forget about social media, word counts, group discussions and marketing advice and just write.

Have a basic story structure but don’t be dictated by it. The is more than one way to get from Point A to Point B.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? Marketing should be all about the Pull. In the first instance, you should a have product that is professionally edited and proofed. You should have a website that is simple but engaging. It should reflect a little bit about you and the information there should be concise and easy to find. Pick three social networking platforms and stick to those. Don’t allow yourself to be overrun by the false notion that you have to be everywhere and across everything. It will not make you happy and you’ll end up resenting it.

Don’t Push! Don’t Facebook or Tweet or G+ incessantly with “BUY MY BOOKS” You will find yourself muted or blocked or even reported. Social Networking/Marketing should be all about building relationships and, in the first instance, you shouldn’t even mention your works. If you’ve structured you platform correctly, you’ll have relevant links that are easy to see and find. If your connection wants to discover more about you, they will.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I just finished a gorgeous romance novel set here in Australia called “Summer Harvest” by Georgina Penney. It was just a joy to read.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? I keep returning to the works of John Jackson Miller who has writted a lot in the Star Wars universe. He is a really great author. I don’t have a favorite indie but I do read a lot of them.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I think it is an essential part of an author’s marketing strategy and I will often do giveaways. This should be dictated by cost/benefit considerations as each author will have flexibility in what they can offer as to what they can’t.

Do you have a favourite movie? Two words = Star Wars.

Do you have any pets? My writing partner is a spaniel named Sam.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? I’m not sure if I should answer that question. I will say that I did learn a lot from it and I did use it in my writing.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I love romance novels.

Links to Dean Mayes:

 

Official Website: http://www.deanfromaustralia.com

Publisher’s Website: http://centralavenuepublishing.com

Facbook: https://www.facebook.com/Dean-Mayes-The-Hambledown-Dreamer-263088081779/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hambledown_Road

 

9781771680387

Welcome back into Hell – Hell Week 2015 – Jack William Finley

The Jack O’Lanterns are carved, and the marshmallows are toasting over the hellfires. Pull up a pitchfork and join me once more in the devilish domain of His Satanic Majestic.

Characters and authors aplenty for your infernal entertainment.

Welcome to Jack William Finley, one of the authors from the Heroes In Hell shared universe series.

Where are you from and where do you live now? From Logansport Indiana and now live in Indianapolis.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My writing has been compared to old Twilight Zone stories, that’s probably a pretty fair comparison.

Where do you find inspiration? I think one of the most important parts of becoming a decent writer is knowing that ideas and inspiration are everywhere. If you can write and write, not even well, just competently, there is nothing you can’t use.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Nope. Sounds like it would be fun to do at some point.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Yeah, probably. I’m pretty opinionated and I can’t imagine that doesn’t bleed into the writing. No, I don’t think it’s all that important.

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…) OK, here’s the argument-You’ve gotta have interesting character because no one will care if you don’t. People will watch/read really interesting characters no matter what they are doing or where if you don’t think so, watch 5 minutes of something popular on TV. But, flash over substance works too, just watch a summer blockbuster or in too many cases read one. As often as not these things fall apart under close examination, but if they have enough spectacle they’ll entertain people for the length of a book or movie. Technical perfection doesn’t mean a thing if you have nothing to say. If you think you must have technical perfection you’ve never read Cormac McCarthy and I hear he’s done pretty well for himself. I think this is a terribly dangerous road for writers to get on. If you let yourself believe any part of the writing is more important that another you focus too much on that part. Good writing should be a cohesive whole. I think if anyone can point at some part of your story that stands out as being better than the rest you’ve made a terrible mistake and need to fix the stuff they didn’t like or tone down the thing they did like because the story is out of balance and a story can never be as good as it can and should be if it’s out of balance.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Exclusively self edit? Hell no. I think one of the worst things you can do is assume that you can catch all the things that are wrong with a story without anyone else’s eyes ever being on it. I think one of the most catastrophically bad things about the ease of self publishing is that some of these new writers think they can do it all and it’s a train wreck way more often than it isn’t. You have to self edit some what, that part of the job of writing but to rely on just that is asking for trouble.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I think publishing is in a transition state and because of that people are putting way to much time into thinking about the wrong stuff. What makes a good story hasn’t really changed since cave men telling stories around campfires-and someone somewhere is annoyed I said cave men and not cave people-we’ve putting way too much stock in where the writing comes from and what format it’s in. The only thing that should matter is whether or not it’s good story telling. Yeah, I do think they are seen differently. Some people champion self publishing because of a David vs. Goliath attitude and some people think if it wasn’t good enough to be picked up by a REAL publisher it probably sucks and I think it’s all very unfortunate because it’s distracting people from what’s important and that’s-is the story any good and is it well told. Everything else to me is just an annoying distraction.

Well, I don’t rule out self published stuff. I think the only thing that matters is if it’s good, no matter what the source is and even if it isn’t good, sometimes you can learn a lot about what not to do reading stuff and isn’t good.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Engaging with reviewers is, to me a waste of time, but I know people who do it very well and get a lot of attention doing it. I suspect they are preaching to the choir and very possible not getting good value for the investment of time, but that’s just me. I’m a writer. I think anything that isn’t making the next story better is an annoying waste of time. I’m told by smart people reviews are important. I try really hard to give a rat’s…it’s a work in progress

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No, not really. I have a lot of smart friends with good taste and I tend more toward recommendations from people I know rather than the random opinions of people I don’t.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? You don’t read enough, read more. You don’t write enough, write more. Find people you trust to tell you when your stuff is good, because you probably won’t know.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? I really suck at the whole favourites think so, no, not really.

Do you have a favourite movie? There’s a list. It’s longer than this questionnaire/Interview and it generally changes before I can get from the first on on it to the last one on it.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?  I did, I think, half a day as a telemarketer once. It was many years ago and I’m not entirely sure I’ve scrubbed myself clean from it. Did I learn anything useful? Maybe. Just about everything you ever do is useful in some way or another at some point or another, but I couldn’t pick it apart and tell you when or how and I’m not sure it would be useful if I did. That’s just the sort of thing you learn by doing. You write enough and at some point you think-how I remember when that thing happened to me and yeah, that would work really well with what I’m doing with this story write now, but it’s something that just happens. I don’t think it’s the sort of thing you can plan.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? Probably not. I suspect I suck at silly even more than I suck at favourites.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Jack’s author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jack-William-Finley/e/B008KKI5YK/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6440300.Jack_William_Finley

Rogues in Hell http://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B008JZCFMO/

Dreamers in Hell http://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Hell-Heroes-Nancy-Asire-ebook/dp/B00DEB1IJE/

Poets in Hell http://www.amazon.com/Poets-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00KWKNTTW/

Doctors in Hell http://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Hell-Heroes-Nancy-Asire-ebook/dp/B00DEB1IJE/

Heroika: Dragon Eaters http://www.amazon.com/HEROIKA-DRAGON-EATERS-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00VFVCQRS/

Terror by Gaslight http://www.amazon.com/Terror-Gaslight-Fantom-Enterprises-Production/dp/1499057571/

Author Interview Number Ninety-Seven – E.M. Nelson – Horror/Apocalyptic

Welcome to E. M. Nelson

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m originally from the great state of Utah, but for now I call Bavaria, Germany home.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My debut piece is a short story in the apocalyptic horror genre titled Dark Assent. It is published in the anthology Nation of the Moon. I don’t generally stick to that genre though- preferring coming of age and dystopian themes more.

Where do you find inspiration? Google. Ha, only partly joking. I actually draw most of my inspiration from everyday life- how could I not living in the lands where the Grimm brothers got their stories from? My husband enjoys talking about how cool it’d be if… fill in the blank here with any number of out of the box ideas. His suggestions get the juices flowing and the next thing I know, I have a full story built up waiting to come out.

Are your characters based on real people? Some of my characters are based on real people- I have one character in each of the pieces I work on who is based completely off my best friend. We are close enough to be sisters and I feel it’s only fitting to include her in the stories since she is a huge part in my motivation to write. I also used my youngest daughter as part of the inspiration for Dark Assent.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Ha ha, not yet, but don’t put it past me. That’s a warning to all of my enemies- if I had any… darn, guess I’ll have to stick to my imagination.

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 my favourite part! There’s something so thrilling to me to figure out what a place would look like, how a certain scene will play out based on the natural way things happen in the world, or what to name that pesky character who insists on being in the story but doesn’t provide the name they wish to be called. Seriously, if you ever need to relax while you’re on the computer try searching for abandoned theme parks… probably one of the most amazing  things you’ll ever see.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Dark Assent does have an underlying theme of preservation, determination, and love, but I also hope that the reader will take away from it the idea that no matter how dark and dismal our destiny proves to be, it is ours alone and we should embrace it and accept it as shuch.

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? Nation of the Moon is offered in both print and digital format.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I think all authors do to an extent. It helps us realize just what needs to be improved. I also think every book needs professional help because after so many hours of talking to yourself, you tend to become a little stiff and a good editor can take that and help you massage your work until it flows the way it should.

Do you read work by self-published authors? I love indy authors! There’s something great about someone who doesn’t just give up when others say no and instead choose to take their destiny into their own hands and run with it. Don’t get me wrong though, there is a ton of crap out there by those too lazy to put the effort in to polishing their piece, but overall I do believe the self-published author is a great asset to the industry.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Reviews are the lifeblood of the market- especially the indy market. I don’t think authors should respond to the reviews directly though. I’ve seen this go badly on one too many occasions. A general thank you to the readers for their reviews and for simply giving them the time of day is awesome, but when the author starts the trend of commenting on each review, it can lead to trouble when the inevitable bad review arises.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? I graze them. I enjoy seeing the good and bad, but I find that reading the full reviews before reading a book tends to spoil the experience of discovering the book on my own.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? World building. Our brains are way more efficient at taking a sentence and turning it into a magical experience than any movie out there. Besides in a book you are forced to connect with the characters, feeling like you are almost living the story while in a movie you are merely along for a ride.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Don’t stop until you finish. I mean at all. Make it a daily challenge to make the words come out.

Editing is for the second draft, not while you’re writing the first- I struggle with this one daily.

Write for you because if you are writing for the money, the fame, or to appease the masses, you will only fail and hate yourself while doing it.

What are your views on authors offering free books? Is this even a question? If you are writing for the love of writing and you want to put all that work and dedication into something and hand it out freely, be my guest! I love many a free book that I have read- I’ve hated equally as many but we’ve already discussed the why behind that.

Do you have any pets? I have 5 children. There is no time for pets.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I can lick my nose. It’s a talent really. Most people can’t even get close, but me? I can lick the top of that bad boy!

TEASER

As we begin pulling out of the parking lot, there is a flurry of movement in the building across the street. In an instant, a group of raggedly dressed people come rushing out, waving weapons and yelling loudly. The hair on the back of my neck stands on end. It isn’t words but howls, like those a wolf would make.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

www.figidpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorE.M.Nelson

https://twitter.com/emnelsonauthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14431001.E_M_Nelson

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