Author Interview Number Seventy-Nine – Hannah – Fantasy/Erotica

Welcome to Hannah.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’ve lived in Canada my whole life, back and forth between Quebec and Ontario. Currently I’m pretty settled in Southern Ontario.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write erotica. I really enjoy writing about relationships between people and I use sex to symbolize different aspects of the relationships. I’ve recently been really into paranormal/fantasy type stories and have begun a series of short stories under the series title, “Irish Fantasy”. Paradoxically, I’ve also started a series called “Average People Having Average Sex” which is exactly what it sounds like so I’m kind of all over the board.

Where do you find inspiration? My best inspiration usually from personal experiences. My worst inspiration comes from history and mythology. These tend to lead to really complicated, convoluted plots that end up in the garbage.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? No, that wouldn’t be fair.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? Not really. In fact I love all my characters, even the horrible ones.

Are your characters based on real people? I can’t help but base my characters on real people. Even when I don’t start out with that intention, I often find half way through a piece of dialogue that a character has morphed into someone I know. It’s kind of a weird subconscious issue for me, but I think it gives an element of realism to my stories.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Hahaha no, that’s a good idea though…

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Kind of. Not really. Maybe. I think it’s important to have some kind of theme that ties it all together so that it’s not just gratuitous sex. There’s not necessarily a message in my writing, but usually an emotional dilemma that some how gets worked out, expressed, or exasperated through sex.

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 my books are available in e-book because they’re not long enough to warrant a print edition. In future, I plan to have a collection of them printed together in one book.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I have an editor. I think it’s important to have someone tell me when something is terrible and makes no sense. Some people write things better the first time than I do so maybe they don’t need one.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Oh yeah definitely. It’s so easy to self publish that you can publish just about anything these days. Literally you could just write “book” on a word doc and publish it on Amazon within ten minutes. I don’t think anyone would argue that there are many self-published books that fall below the standard of traditional publishers and good self published books can easily get lumped in with these ones. There’s also the issue that since self published authors can’t offer the same discounts to retailers, their books rarely appear in book stores, giving the impression that self-published books aren’t “good enough” to be sold in stores. In addition to all of this, I think there’s a perception that people only self publish when traditional publishers fail to respond to their work. I don’t know how true this is, but I think it’s becoming less and less true as time goes on.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yup. There are some good ones for sure.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I’ve heard this is a faux-pas so it’s something I would never do because I don’t want to look like a dweeb, but I do think there’s something to be said for interacting with readers. Maybe that just isn’t the platform to do it on.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? I read reviews when I buy anything.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? I’ve read that reading is actually really good for developing empathy and that children who learn to read late in life aren’t affected intellectually at all, but can be delayed emotionally. After learning that, I’ve found evidence that supports it in my personal life and I’ve been a huge promoter of literacy programs ever since.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Keep writing, get honest feedback about your work and don’t let criticism get you down, but treat it as being very valuable.

Do you have any pets? No. I used to keep dogs in my home for an animal rescue program and while I did love them, it made me realize that I never want a pet. I did it for a year until I had to move out of the area. It was incredibly rewarding and I still love dogs, but I was always really relieved when they got adopted to a permanent home.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I can’t whistle. I’ve tried and tried, but I just can’t do it.

FOR EROTICA AUTHORS

As a writer of erotica have you encountered any prejudice?  How have you dealt with it? Do you write under a pen name? I haven’t encountered any prejudice. I find I treat people with respect and I get respect back from them. There are some people who don’t like erotica and that’s great. I don’t like a lot of things too.

Where do you think the lines are drawn between romance, erotica and porn?  Other people would probably argue with me on this one and maybe they would be right, but since you asked me, I would say that romance focuses mainly on the relationship and emotions and sex may or may not be a part of that. In erotica the emotions are an excuse for sex and in porn… it’s just the sex.

I think I kind of straddle the line between erotica and romance by this definition. The reason why I would never call my writing romance is because I don’t want to be trapped by the readers expectations of a romance story. They usually want to see two beautiful people meet, fall in love and end up with a happily ever after and if that’s not what they get, they’re going to be unsatisfied. Some people write very good romance stories that meet reader expectations. I don’t think I could tell a story like that and make it feel genuine.

Erotica is not a new genre do you think it is becoming more accepted into mainstream reading? Slowly but surely! I think some people will always curl their nose at it. You can only expect that when it comes to sex, not everyone will be comfortable reading and talking about it.

Book links, website/blog and author links: http://www.amazon.com/Act-Three-Hannah-L-Wing-ebook/dp/B00P46ZHJ4/

http://www.amazon.com/Drowning-Fantasy-Hannah-L-Wing-ebook/dp/B00PBLWC2C/

Blog: http://hannahlwing.wordpress.com/

Author Interview Number Seventy-Seven – Echo Fox – Fantasy/Young Adult

Welcome Echo Fox, YA Fantasy author!

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’m currently writing the fourth book of my fantasy series. The Equilibria Series is different from many other series, in that each book can be read as a standalone. Each one focuses on a different character in the same world, Pangaea – it will only be in the fifth book that the characters will meet each other. So it really doesn’t matter what order the books are read in. The order I’ve written them in however, is ‘Wave Singers’, ‘Earth Drummer’ and ‘Air Riders’. Can you guess number four’s title?

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 love researching and do it constantly; as a hobby rather than a chore. I maintain a Pinterest board where I keep all the latest images inspiring my fantasy world and characters and once I have that visual aspect it’s much easier for me to start creating the blanks – who is this person, why they act like that, what their history is. You can see my board here: http://www.pinterest.com/radientcolour/equilibria

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…) Tricky! I’d have to go with solid plot, great characters, great world-building, technically perfect. Although saying that I do find bad spelling or grammar a big no-no when reading, it distracts me from the story too much. If the plot has obvious, gaping holes in it then the whole story fails in my eyes. Great characters help move things along and provide someone for the reader to empathise and identify with. World-building is important, especially in a fantasy or sci-fi work, but ultimately the characters and plot line is what you fall in love with.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? My other job is as a copywriter / editer, so yes, I do self edit. However, you can always miss things or get carried away so I generally have a couple of beta readers on hand to help out. My book is always read and checked for consistency and errors by about four or five people before I publish it.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, indie books are often an untapped well of brilliant stories unbound by the publishing house’s views on ‘What sells’ or ‘What the public want’. I find my next reads through the social movement #IndieBooksBeSeen.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Reviews are everything. Well, no, that’s melodramatic. Reviews are pretty important. It’s how I know whether someone liked the book, or what they would have changed. It helps me grow as an author and it helps potential new readers make a decision on whether to take a chance on my books. I really appreciate every review that comes my way and I love chatting to people on Twitter and Facebook about their favorite characters.

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

  1. Start writing. Just sit down and do it.
  2. Keep writing. Don’t stop to edit or change things until you have a first draft down, complete.
  3. Join a club if you need motivation, like NaNoWriMo – I love the charts, I’m a sucker for gold stars. Find my profile here: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/radiantc

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I just finished ‘The Palace Job’ by Patrick Weekes and loved it – you can see my review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1061345227?book_show_action=false

What are your views on authors offering free books? I think it’s great, I do it myself. Many people cannot always take an expensive chance on a new author, so a free book is a chance to discover a new author without any monetary risk. If you’re interested in knowing when I next offer a free book, you can sign up here: http://echofoxbooks.co.uk/register-interest/

Do you have any pets? I do, a black and white cat called Kiddo, who I adopted from my boyfriend’s sister when she moved house and couldn’t take the cat. She is hilarious, but camera shy, otherwise she would be an internet sensation by now.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? Hmm, worst job? I was officially a Receptionist at a Day Spa, but the position eventually boiled down to ‘General Dogsbody.’ I can draw on that for feelings of being put upon, for sure. As a freelancer, I’ve had lots of jobs that fuel my writing, such as Crematorium Assistant, Sports Coach, Nutritionist or Florist!

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I used to hiccup – a really tiny, squeaky little hiccup – at least once a day, consistently, for about three years.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Twitter: @EchoFoxBooks https://twitter.com/EchoFoxBooks

 

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

 

Website: www.echofoxbooks.co.uk

 

Mailing List: http://echofoxbooks.co.uk/register-interest/

 

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Echo-Fox/e/B00GR98CM6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

 

1st book Wave Singers on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wave-Singers-Equilibria-Echo-Fox-ebook/dp/B00GQYQBL6/

 

2nd book Earth Drummer on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Earth-Drummer-Equilibria-Book-2-ebook/dp/B008Z2GID8/

1st book Wave Singers on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18819891-wave-singers

 

2nd book Earth Drummer on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22067102-earth-drummer

 

3rd book Air Riders on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22610003-air-riders

 

 

 

Author Interview Number Sixty-Eight – Olga Godim – Fantasy

Welcome to Olga Godim.

Thank you, Alex, for having me on your blog.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m Canadian. I live in Vancouver – a wonderfully green city on the West Coast.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’m predominantly a fantasy writer. I have one mainstream novel, Lost and Found in Russia, published last year. It’s women’s fiction about mothers and daughters, but most of what I write is fantasy. My novels are high fantasy. They have a quasi-medieval setting, magic, and swords. My novel Almost Adept is the first in the series I’m working on. It was published in January. My second novel in the same series, Eagle En Garde, was published in May. All the novels in the series are stand-alone, united by the same world.

I also recently published a collection of short stories in the urban fantasy genre, Squirrel of Magic.

Who or what are your inspirations/influences? The idea for Almost Adept started developing in my head long ago, after I read one of Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey. Lackey definitely influenced my writing in many ways. She was the first fantasy writer I ever read, the one who introduced me to the genre. In the end of that book of hers, the main character dies heroically. I dislike such endings, so I started fantasizing: what if he didn’t die? What if… One thing led to another, until the guy transformed into someone entirely different, relocated to my imaginary kingdom, and acquired a wife and a daughter. But I didn’t want to write about him. His daughter Eriale became my heroine – a young and very powerful magician.

Strangely, when I started thinking about Eriale’s adventures, they came to me backwards. First, I wrote a story about her, when she was about 30 years old. This story exists on my computer as the first draft of a novel. I’m going to revise it soon. Then I wanted to see how she started on her magic path – and Almost Adept got written. I’m working on two more novels about Eriale.

I also have a couple of short stories about her, both happening before Almost Adept. Both stories are available as freebies on my website.

Do you have a favourite character? If so who and why? My favorite character, Miles Vorkosigan, doesn’t come from fantasy. He is the hero of Lois McMaster Bujold’s sci-fi series Vorkosigan Saga. Miles is unmatched in the genre. On one hand, he is a sick man, on the other – a kind-of ‘prince’ in a futuristic empire. He is also a genius at solving cosmic problems. His adventures are always original, his obstacles gargantuan, and his solutions frequently funny. He is arrogant and kind, self-delusional and insightful, ingenious as a military commander but inept with women. He is a heap of contradictions and charming to the core. I wish I could create a protagonist as memorable and engaging as he is.

Are your characters based on real people? Not in my fantasy novels, but my mainstream novel Lost and Found in Russia is based partially on my personal experiences. When I was young and poor, I often thought: what if someone showed up at my door and said that I had been switched at birth, and my birth family was rich. And they’re looking for me. What would I do? What would my mother do? And – here was the tricky question – what would my other mother do? Would she want and love me as much as the mother who raised me? From that daydream sprouted the idea for one half of the book – the story of a mother who discovers after 34 years that her daughter was switched at birth, by mistake.

The second part of the novel unfolded in my mind after I met an amazing woman Irina in Montreal. An immigrant from Russia, like my protagonist, Irina came to Canada with nothing and accomplished much. I was inspired by her optimism and determination. She told me about her life and her struggles to find her place in a new country. Awed by her courage, her indomitable spirit, and her lovely soul, I adopted her as a model for my heroine. After my meeting with Irina, the novel practically wrote itself.

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? The reason I write high fantasy is because it doesn’t need lots of research. Well, that’s a bit of a joke, but it’s the truth too. In a fantasy story, I can make up a world and all the rules in it, and nobody can say that I’ve made a mistake. It’s my world after all.

Furthermore, fantasy allows me to escape reality. That’s why I read fantasy and that’s why I write fantasy – escapism pure and simple. I imagine my heroes talented and brave, with lots of friends and lots of choices. I make them able and smart. You read about them and you forget (I hope), if even for an hour, while you read, that you need dentures you can’t afford, that your bills are overdue, that your boss is an asshole, that your mom is eighty and getting weaker every day, and you’re helplessly watching her slip away. If I can give you this tiny escape from your worries, then I’ve done my job as a writer.

My urban fantasy short stories are all happening in the city I live in, Vancouver, so again, no research is needed most of the time. And if I do need to check up some facts – the internet is my friend. Almost anything is available, if you ask Google the right questions.

Of course my mainstream novel required more research. For example, my heroine visited the Russian city of Suzdal, a city-museum with a number of old Russian churches. I have never been to Suzdal, but lots of pictures are available online. And I contacted a historical society of Suzdal to ask some questions. As I’m bilingual – I speak and read both English and Russian – I could do that. The people I communicated with were very helpful.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing? This is an interesting question. When I started writing the series of fantasy books, of which Almost Adept is the first, I didn’t intend to convey any message or preach or anything. I just wanted to tell stories, to entertain the readers with my heroes’ adventures. The novels are all high fantasy, so what kind of a message could there be for modern readers, right? But my characters express my world view. They think a bit like me. I suppose it’s inevitable, if a writer is true to herself. So now, when I look at the novels I have written, some published, some not, and some only in the first draft stage, I see a message coalescing, and it has to do with my disbelief in bureaucracy and my mistrust of people with power. What I say in each novel is: “Don’t accept unconditionally what the authorities, secular or religious, tell you. Think first. Doubt. Ask questions.” I guess my skeptical nature shows in my fiction, whether I wished it or not.

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

Reviews are extremely important in spreading the word about your book, but as an author, I wouldn’t comment on reviews, even if they’re negative. People are free to express their opinion, and as the celebrities know very well, no publicity is bad publicity. In fact, when I see only 5-star reviews without exception, I get suspicious about that book and the people who wrote those unified reviews. In reality, you can never please everyone. When I write, I write mostly for myself, to tell the story I want to tell. Of course some readers would dislike it. It’s an unpleasant fact of life, like a flu. It happens. You suffer through it and move on.

Kurt Vonnegut in his book Bagombo Snuff Box lists his famous 8 rules of writing. His rule #7 states: “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” I can’t say it better.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? I don’t have three advices – I have one. Persevere. I have a favourite quote – my motto in writing:

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”

― William Feather

That would be my advice to any aspiring writer. Don’t give up. If one route to publication doesn’t work out, try another. If nobody wants your novel, try to write for a newspaper or a magazine. Start a blog. You need to find readership that don’t know you. You need to convince strangers that what you write could be interesting for them. And write, write, write.

A writer friend I met online once said: you can only consider yourself a professional writer after you’ve written one million words or more. It’s true. An average novel is about 60,000 to 100,000 words. If I toss in all the writing and re-writing I’ve done for all the short stories and novels, plus my 200+ newspaper articles (I’ve been writing for a local newspaper since 2007), I’m somewhat over one million mark now. And I got three novels published by small publishers. I can definitely consider myself a professional writer.

Keep in mind that writing is a long process, and you can’t skip the apprenticeship phase. Skills come from years of practice, like in music. Of course there are exceptions, but they only underscore the common fact: instant gratification doesn’t exist for writers. Almost always, your first novel isn’t good. My first novel was terrible. It’s still hidden in the bowels of my computer. It will never be published, although I have revised it at least ten times. It was my school. Your first novel is your school. Don’t publish it. Learn from it and move on.

Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? What book(s) have you just finished? I write fantasy, so it won’t surprise you to learn that I like reading fantasy too. My favorite fantasy writer is Sharon Shinn. I enjoy her lyrical and magical tales, a blend of fantasy and romance. Her stories are full of light, without the darkness that’s dominated fantasy novels in the past decade. I especially like her older Samaria series. In it, she writes about angels, and her concept of angels is unique in the genre. It has nothing to do with biblical angels and everything to do with the writer’s imagination. She created a charming race of angels in her stories, angels I believe in, despite my atheism. Her angels are arrogant and talented, decadent and dedicated to their duty, in short – alive. When I read Shinn’s books, my spirit soars. I want to write like she does.

She is one of the very few writers I use as a self-teaching aid. Whenever I’m stumped in my own writing, I ask myself: how would Shinn handle such a conundrum? I open one of her books at random and page through a dialog or a narrative to see what she does. It often helps.

My recent read was The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I read it for a group read on BookLikes. It was a re-read; I first read it long ago. I liked it then and I liked it now. A wonderful book!

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I use a pen name for fiction – Olga Godim. In my real life, I’m a journalist, and my newspaper articles all have a different byline. I wasn’t always a writer. I was a computer programmer for many years before I started writing. When I submitted my first fantasy story to a magazine, I was still working at my computer job and I felt slightly embarrassed by my fantastic tale. Women of my age and profession didn’t entertain themselves with tales of sword and magic. Or so I thought. So I decided to use a pseudonym. Olga is my first name, and Godim was my father’s first name. He died before I published my first piece, before I even started thinking about writing, but I wanted him to be a part of my writing life, so I chose his name as my nom de plume.  Now, he’s always with me, a witness to my successes and failures as a writer.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Website:                                 http://olgagodim.wordpress.com

GoodReads:                           https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6471587.Olga_Godim

BookLikes:                             http://olgagodim.booklikes.com/

My book Almost Adept is available at

The publisher’s website: http://burstbooks.ca/product.php?id_product=118

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Almost-Adept-Olga-Godim-ebook/dp/B00HPPNRUI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389036660&sr=8-1&keywords=olga+godim

Or other online retailers.

AlmostAdept-EBOOK_small

Author Interview Sixty-One – Bruce Durham – Fantasy/Sci-fi/Horror

Welcome to Bruce Durham and a return to Hell.

#HeroesinHell #PoetsinHell

Excerpt from ‘Hell-Hounds’: from by Bruce Durham,  Poets in Hell, copyright (c) 2014, Janet Morris.

Marconi nodded slowly at first, then vigorously shook his head. “Maybe they’re not dead. Maybe they’re trapped and need our help.”

Bell stared at him for long seconds. “You’re shitting me, right?”

“No. No, I’m not. We can’t just leave. We have to know for sure if they’re safe, or not.”

“Sure we can leave. In fact, I insist.” Bell jerked his thumb toward the van. “They get hazard pay, so it’s not our problem. And what happens if we run into one of those hell-hounds?” Bell reached for his tool-belt. “Let’s see. I have a hammer, a screwdriver, cable-crimpers, some ty-wraps, an ohm-meter.

Hmm. No gun. Must have left that back at the shop along with the bazooka. Of course, we could always try harsh language. Hell-hounds hate harsh language.”

Where are you from and where do you live now? Born in Toronto, Ontario, I have lived most of my life in neighbouring Mississauga. I spent over 30 of those years in the CATV industry in a variety of capacities, most recently as a consultant.

At one time I moderated the Fiction Forums for Paradox Interactive Games, laying the groundwork that turned it into a wildly successful platform where gamers still write about their empire building experiences. And, until recently, Administered the Community Forums for the official Robert E. Howard website.

Though my age has been placed around the Jurassic Era, the reality is I am 60 and been happily married for 29, almost 30 years. My wife and I own a Shar-Pei named Haley and a Brussels Griffon called Maggie Q. Both run the household with firm paws.

Some boring (mainly Canadian) personal facts:

* I saw The Beatles when I was 12. All I remember is the screaming.

* In 1971 I walked away from a plane crash.

* Around the same time I met Pierre Elliot Trudeau at a political rally. Love him or hate him, the man oozed charisma.

* I met Isaac Asimov at a Convention in Toronto and PO’d him with my request to sign a book (sorry, no further details coming with that one). At the same Con I was mistaken for David Gerrold.

How did you end up writing for Heroes in Hell? It was through my friend Michael Hanson. I was writing for his ‘Sha’Daa’ series of books when he mentioned he was involved in the ‘to be resurrected’ ‘Heroes in Hell’ series. Being a fan of the original ‘Thieves World’, and specifically the character of Tempus Thales, I asked if he could mention my name if an opening in this by-invite-only anthology came up. The rest, as they say, is history.

How do you deal with writing in a shared universe? I had lots of experience with this concept before I came aboard. For several years I ran a series of collaborative ‘books’ based on the computer game Europa Universalis from Paradox Entertainment.

I was essentially a ‘dungeon master’ that guided over a dozen writers through a storyline I created based on elements of the game. It was very successful and a blast to do. It also gave me a chance to hone my craft, so to speak. This experience made fitting into the intricacies of the hell-world quite easy.

Why did you choose the characters you are using? Being a Canadian through and through, I thought this was the perfect chance to introduce some important historical characters from my country that most people probably never heard of, or knew little about. Though British, General James Wolfe was key in the formation of Canada, while I found his sickly character (he suffered from consumption) fascinating. Beyond that, there were some important military leaders like the Duke of Marlborough, Prince Eugene of Savoy, and Belisarius that screamed for attention.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’ve been writing short stories for various publications for about a decade now. My work encompasses several genres, including fantasy, SF, horror, historical and alt-historical. My very first sale, ‘The

Marsh God’ was published in the late and lamented ‘Flashing Swords eZine’ and garnered recognition as Best Short SF & Fantasy story for that year. It was also adapted into a graphic novel. My latest story is ‘Hell-Hounds’, and appears in the recently released ‘Poets in Hell’.

Where do you find inspiration? Many of my story ideas come from history books and daily news. It’s amazing how often the phrase ‘I’m not making this up’ from some current news item will produce the germ of a story.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? Arguably my favourite character is Mortlock the Footman, found in two anthologies from Rogue Blades Entertainment: ‘Return of the Sword’ and ‘Rage of the Behemoth’. Mortlock is my ‘everyman’, a person with a somewhat jaundiced view of the world. He’s a reluctant hero, no world saviour. He’s just happy to follow orders and live to see another day, though events usually conspire against him.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No, but I’ve been awfully tempted. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen one of these days.

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 tend to go overboard with research. Especially with my historical pieces. The beauty of this is that it often leads me into areas of history I know little or nothing about. Then after compiling the research, the trick is to let that knowledge support the story and stay away from the dreaded infodump. Another advantage is discovering some obscure event that develops into a story idea.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book? Naw. I just like to tell a story with no ulterior motive.

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, solid plot, great world building, technically perfect. To me this is a natural progression. A solid plot is almost as important as great characters. I’ve read stories that had well defined characters and good world building but virtually no plot. Just a lot of wandering around.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I self edit, probably more than I should, but also rely on trusted people and editors to correct my glaring omissions and missteps.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Definitely, though I think the perception is slowly changing. I’ve read books from indie authors that were excellent, and books from the traditional authors that left a lot to be desired. A lot. The beauty of the indie scene is that it caters to many, many tastes, while I find the traditional publishers tend to jump aboard a flavour of the month and milk it to death.

Do you read work by self-published authors? All of the time.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I recently completed ‘I, The Sun’ by Janet Morris. I have a fascination with the Hititte culture and this book fulfilled it in spades. Well researched and well written. Definitely recommended. I also completed ‘The King in Yellow’, by Robert W. Chambers. I had to thank the recent series ‘True Detective’ for turning me on to that one.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? This depends on the genre, but for fantasy my favourite traditionally published author is Robert E. Howard. Those who know me will find that no surprise. I also enjoy Joe Abercrombie. For history I’ve always enjoyed the works of Nigel Trantor and Bernard Cornwall. SF is a bit harder, as I prefer hard- edged space opera to today’s watered down fare. I would have to go with Frank Herbert or maybe Larry Niven. Indie authors? Well, there’s Joe Bonadonna and Howard Andrew Jones to name a couple.

Do you have a favourite movie? No, but I have a top ten list. Again, it depends on the genre.

Do you have any pets? I have two dogs. Haley, a shar-pei, and Maggie Q, a Brussels Griffon.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Website: brucedurham.ca

Amazon Author Link: amazon.com/Bruce-Durham/e/B004NMV5HS

I am also on Goodreads and Facebook.

Author Interview Number Fifty – J. Woods

Welcome to J. Woods

Where are you from and where do you live now? I am from and currently live in Toronto, Canada

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre and title. Anything Romance! My first series was a paranormal romance and this new series I am currently writing is a contemporary romance series.

Where do you find inspiration? I can generally find inspiration anywhere, other books, movies, music, a stroll through the park – and I tend to have an overactive imagination which I guess works well for me 😉

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? I don’t think I could pick just one – I fall a little bit in love with all my characters but my favourites are when I write strong female roles, the take charge, bring it on heroines.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? I don’t think there are characters that I dislike per say – there are characters that I have written that reside on the side of evil and my keyboard definitely felt the brunt of those raging emotions.

Are your characters based on real people? I never base an entire character on one particular person – I tend to take specific traits from people and combine them into one person.

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 LOVE this aspect of creating a novel! I like to do a lot of research both before and during my writing – knowledge is power! My favourite resources, hmm… I’m big on documentaries and biographies! And I love to pick people’s brains; I ask a lot of questions.

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? Right now my books are only available in e-books and expanding into print definitely lies in the future.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do not self edit – I have a wonderful editor who has to deal with all of my gibberish! I do think a book suffers without being professionally edited only because a writer will spend hours upon hours with their novel and when they have to go back to apply edits and refinements, for me at least, I get stuck in that tunnel vision. An editor provides a fresh set of eyes and that can truly be what makes or breaks a book.

Do you read work by self-published authors? I love reading self-published authors since I am one myself! I go through books like candy and self-published novels are a big part of the throng for me.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? A book is so mental where a movie or a video game is more visual. With books, the reader has the ability to create the world as they see it, whether it was the way the author intended or not. They provoke imagination in a way that another form of entertainment can’t provide.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Keep writing, never give up, don’t get yourself down on bad reviews.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? The best marketing tip I received was just to keep writing, the more you write and put out there the more you are exposed!

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I LOVE to read – obsessed, probably my favourite thing to do. Recently, I read the latest in Bella Andre’s Sullivan series called Just To Be With You, which was fantastic and I am currently reading Brenna Aubrey’s At Any Turn which I am definitely enthralled in.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? Oh I couldn’t pick just one! I read too many genres to pick one particular writer, but anyone that can give me a happy ever after story… well you’ll have me hooked!

Do you have any pets? I do! I have one wild cat whose name is Stitch J

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I can be a huge nerd. I love anything sci-fi – sit me in front of an Ancient Aliens marathon and you won’t see me for hours… possibly days.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Gilded Feathers:

Gilded Faith:

Gilded Promise:

Infinitely Gilded:

Savage Seduction:

 

Website:

http://www.caesarsandstraws.com/

 

Author Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/J-Woods-Author/165695656956528

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jwoodsauthor